Here’s a quick look at what you’ll want to have your eyes on as Week 10 of MLS action gets started Saturday.
You’re going to want to watch the Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 4:30E, NBCSN.
When a MLS team gets a new stadium it’s a lot like when a buddy gets married. Some fans are perfectly content with what they already have, others might not have quite as pretty a partner but they’re still settled, and then there will be the outright envious who are single and would love to take the lucky guy’s place. But no matter what role you’re in, you want to see it because at the end of the day you’re happy for the guy. And you don’t even have to suit up for this one. (more…)
You know those blogs, the ones that give you three observations or five things we learned or the best XI thoughts. But sometimes that number isn’t enough. Other times it’s too many. So, here’s an arbitrary number of MLS thoughts:
EVERYBODY PANIC!: Sporting Kansas City, up until three weeks ago, looked to be far and away the best team in MLS. Now, they’ve lost two in a row – both to opponents nowhere near the top of the table. I mean, not only are the Impact an expansion team, they weren’t even playing their strongest lineup. So after these losses it’s time to panic in KCK, right? Of course not. Teams might think they have a blueprint on how to beat Sporting, crank up the pressure, clog those wings and make your shots count.
It’s almost like some teams’ strategy against Barcelona. You know they’re going to pass you to death and you suspect they’re more talented than you are, but put some effort into it, play a high pressure game and come away with at least a point. (more…)
Everyone loves stats and analyzing numbers – from how many goals were scored over the weekend to the total attendance of MLS games. So, here are some notable statistics from week three of MLS play. (Click links for visual representation of numbers.)
183565 – Slightly lower than last week, but 183565 people attended MLS games the past weekend. Each stadium had an attendance of 10000 or more, and the average attendance was 20,396.
1000 – Mat Reis made 3 saves against the Portland Timbers to become the 6th MLS goalkeeper to reach 1000 saves.
458 – Real Salt Lake completed the most passes, 458, in week three; their opponent, Chivas USA, completed only 267. Real aslo had more shots, 10, to Chivas’ 4. RSL produced 10 keys passes, while Chivas only constructed 2 ,but Real Salt Lake lost the game 1-0. (more…)
–Five takeaways from MLS opening weekend.–
Defense a Problem for Galaxy: Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena admitted that Champions League play hurt LA’s fitness for their league opener, but there was still defensive mishaps in their match versus Toronto and First Kick debut against Real Salt Lake. When the mishaps came, they usually arrived in spurts such as the two early goals in Toronto and three goals from RSL that occurred in the last 17 minutes. Missing the strong presence of Omar Gonzalez seems to be more of a factor than predicted; the Galaxy back four need to communicate proficiently and put more pressure on the ball in counter-attack situations. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake started the 2012 season strong, coming back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat LA at the Home Depot Center where they weren’t beat the entire 2011 season.
Vancouver Hot N’ Ready: It was a challenging debut for expansion side Montreal as they traveled to a jam-packed BC Place to meet a Vancouver squad on a mission. Within four minutes newcomer Sebastien Le Toux handled a leading header from Eric Hassli to break behind the Impact defense and score his first goal as a Vancouver Whitecap. Montreal was able to obtain chances in the match, but Vancouver dictated much of the pace and sealed the match with a brilliant one, two, three touch that sent a streaking Camilo Sanvezzo towards the second and final goal for the Whitecaps. If Le Toux and 2011 team-leading scorer Sanvezzo can continue to direct the offensive attack, Vancouver will be contenders in the Western Conference. (more…)
Many were left stunned and silent in the wake of Seattle’s lopsided 3-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend.
After a season of triumphs and accolades, to see the Sounders bossed off the field in game of that magnitude came as something of a surprise.
Overlooking Real Salt Lake that night would be unfair, of course. Jason Kreis had the game plan in place, and his team executed it to near perfection, overcoming the loss of starting center backs Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave to blank the high-powered Sounders attack. Javier Morales continued to return to form after his horrific injury, while his central midfield partner Kyle Beckerman was his solid and steady self. And let’s not forget Alvaro Saborio’s peach of a second goal.
Staring at a 3-0 deficit, Seattle has comfort in a return home, where they’ve managed to score at least three goals on five separate occasions this year.
None of those other victims were on the same level as Salt Lake is heading into this one, though if Borchers or Olave both can’t go, hope springs eternal for the Sounders.
After the jump, we’ll take a look at what each team can do tonight to advance.
When it comes to the two-legged version of the MLS Conference Semifinals, the label home field “advantage” is tossed around quite liberally.
After all, it’s difficult to truly understand what benefits a team more – playing at home first or last, in a two-game winner take all series.
Regardless of what the right answer is, three of the four teams playing host this weekend in the MLS Cup playoffs couldn’t get it done on home turf, and have to reverse the scoreline traveling away.
Certainly the most surprising result from the quartet of games was Real Salt Lake’s lopsided 3-0 win against Seattle Sounders – the only home team to actually triumph in the first leg. The third-year team many thought would make a run to an MLS Cup championship was picked apart by a very impressive Salt Lake side.
Other than Salt Lake, Philadelphia, New York and Colorado all suffered setbacks at home, and the odds are long to see any of those three making it through to the next round.
Here are four takeaways from the weekend: (more…)
The MLS playoffs hit a new gear this weekend, with four matchups taking place over the course of Saturday and Sunday. Eight teams are left after the elimination of Columbus and FC Dallas, and within a week, the number will be trimmed even further.
Seattle Sounders won’t have Mauro Rosales for this weekend’s opening game against Real Salt Lake after his injury sustained in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Chivas USA.
Top Drawer Soccer, one of the premier sites when it comes to tracking youth soccer, released its top 100 Freshman in the nation this week. Have a look at some future pros and U.S. national team candidates.
Ives Galarcep drops his first big board for the 2012 draft. Get to know more MLS players of tomorrow, today.
D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid is over in England for a ten-day training stint with English Premier League side West Brom.
If you haven’t seen or heard about the remarkable story of Levante – currently top of the table in La Liga – read Sid Lowe’s piece on it for SI.com.
Seattle, Real Salt Lake is the pick of this weekend’s matches.
Houston has experience on its side heading into the two-game series with the Philadelphia Union.
There’s no questioning the MLS Cup playoff match with the most potential to be a classic: Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC.
“It’s going to be a tough series, these are two good teams,” Sigi Schmid said in a conference call. “I think we’ve shown over the course of the season that we’ve been a quality team and certainly Salt Lake with their championship in 2009, they’ve got the same core of players that are there, they’ve been consistent over the last couple of few seasons and they’re a veteran team with a lot of experience.”
Despite Seattle being a bit younger (in its third season in MLS), both teams are very similar. Each features a well constructed and deep roster, one proven of competing across multiple competitions. Each has a rugged and disciplined defensive midfielder, Seattle’s Osvaldo Alson and RSL’s Kyle Beckerman. And each enters with something to prove – RSL in the middle of a six-game winless streak, and Seattle searching for its first-ever playoff win. (more…)
As the playoff picture continues to come into focus – meaning teams are starting to actually clinch spot – it begs the question: who is the best team in MLS?
Of course, because of the playoff format, the best regular season record might not win the battle of attrition and make its way to the MLS Cup, but entering the playoffs this time around, it’s clear that Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy have placed some distance between themselves and the rest of the league.
Seattle’s ability to overcome a season-ending injury to Steve Zakuani is a testament to the club’s perseverance and roster construction ability. No matter who seems to be plugged into the system, it’s clicked especially in the last month.
A big reason for that is Mauro Rosales, who, before suffering a slight tear in his MCL against D.C. United over the weekend, had thrust himself into the conversation as league MVP. His passing ability picked apart United on the weekend, as he had a hand in all three goals. (more…)
BRENT LATHAM -Luis Gil wasn’t always sure about his choice to join MLS instead of accepting a contract offer from Arsenal. In an interview last week, he told me that he had plenty of doubts over the last year, while seeing “virtually no game action” for Real Salt Lake, and that he wasn’t sure his career was on the right track.
I know it’s an unpopular view, but the reality is that Luis Gil’s future was up in the air for the last year. Players who aren’t playing much are subject to losing the love, and the upward trajectory. There are plenty of examples. Look no further than RSL, where Alex Nimo’s promising career was ruined by inactivity at just the age Gil is at now.
But Gil has gotten it all together in the blink of an eye. An injury crisis at RSL gave him the opening he needed, and he’s forced his way into Jason Kreis’ plans, as well as those of whoever coaches this cycle’s U-20 team.
In fact, it’s been Gil’s participation over the last year with the U.S. U-18 team that has really kept him in the loop. He’s having an impressive tournament at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, despite jet lag after playing for RSL Saturday night.
“It helps me become more of a leader and keeps me ahead of the game compared to academy or college players, knowing that I’m coming from a professional environment,” said Gil of his work at the U-18 level. “We’re just taking it one camp at a time with the U-18s. I know my role on the team. I think we’re getting better and better with every camp that goes on. Our goal is always to win the tournament, that’s the goal everyone should have.”