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MLS Alphabet – Week 3

Philadelphia Union players pay tribute to victims of Polish tragedy. PHOTO by Ron Cortes/Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Union players pay tribute to victims of Polish tragedy. PHOTO by Ron Cortes/Philadelphia Inquirer

 This week my MLS Alphabet came with a little delay, I hope you understand and enjoy. Delay was due to national tragedy in my home country of Poland and unexpected extra media work  because of this tragic event.

A – for Avila, Eric – This is soccer not volleyball or basketball. The FC Dallas forward’s 18-yard shot give the Hoops just a point, but his helped him to do that. Thanks to weird defensive play by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, his Crew lost two sure points, and again in the last minute in Dallas.

B – for Coundoul , Bouna – with one of the most comical goals in MLS history, he left the Red Bulls manager already thinking how to pull Jon Busch from San Jose. Can you believe that coach Henryk Kasperczak once called Bouna into the Senegal national team?

C – for Chivas USA – for their surprising first win of the season, which gave coach Martin Vasquez some breathing room.

D – for Dykstra, Andrew another keeper this time from Chicago Fire. Earthquakes fans want to thank him and other MLS fans want to thank coach de los Cobos for keeping Dykstra between posts for their games. See what just a look from Jon Busch can do?

Polish flag with black ribbon on Toyota Park during Chicago FIRE - Earthquakes game, where also game started with moment of silence. PHOTO by our great friend Peter Wilt

Polish flag with black ribbon on Toyota Park in Bridgeview/Chicago, during FIRE - Earthquakes game, where also game started with moment of silence. PHOTO by our great friend Peter Wilt

E – for Earthquakes. The San Jose team recovered from disappointing home opener and showed in Chicago,  that if they stay healthy and focused they will again be in the playoffs.

F – for focus of TFC defender Nick Garcia. Once one of the really solid defenders, he now has problems focusing in crucial moments of the game, which already cost Toronto FC couple goals this season. TFC defense is screaming loud HELP PLEASE.

G – for goalkeepers  Bouna Coundoul, Chris Seitz and Andrew Dykstra. Their salaries become locked for a while after Saturdays’ matches. Why? Every time they ask for raise, bonus, or more money, their club managers will show them video of their last Saturday games.

H – for Hackworth, John – When Peter Nowak took the day off, Hackworth as his assistant stepped up, kept his spirit, and showed leadership from the bench, which lead to the first ever Union victory in MLS.

I – for Ignorance of some of our MLS host teams this Saturday. The biggest game of last weekend in the world was Real Madrid versus Barcelona, and taken together both teams arguably have the best soccer players on the planet. Before that game, ALL those millionaire superstars took a minute before the match, stood together in the middle and by moment of silence paid respect to the victims of the tragedy in Poland. A class act, by world-class players and people around them. Not all MLS hosts watching that kind of games. For those ignorant that did not have time for a moment of silence before their MLS matches, you are not only ignorant, but think how little you are, and how big the gap is between you and the rest of the world. Ask UNION and Chicago FIRE players and fans for showing world-class act, they did act like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

J – for Jakovic, Dejan  – United defender is already in my alphabet for the second time. D.C. fans should send thank you notes to referee Terry Vaughn. Good ref might didn’t have his best game in Philadelphia, but the good news for United is that he showed red card for Jakovic, which will finally force coach Onalfo to use some alternatives. Why should he? Check letter “X”

K – for Kamara, Kei – Kansas City Wizards forward is one of the most unpredictable players in MLS. Sometimes, watching him on the field you might wonder how he became a soccer player, and all of a sudden, a week later he looks like a star and is scoring goals.

L – for Le Toux, Sebastien – what a bonjour in Philadelphia. 3 goals and a great performance by the former Sounders forward left Seattle coach Sigi Schmid scratching his head and asking himself what I was thinking to let him go? French forward has already scored 3 times more goals in one game, than in the entire last season in a Sounders uniform.

M – for Moffat, Adam – had great game with a goal. Originally, from Scotland, the 23 yr old has already become Robert Warzycha’s top secret weapon.

N – for Nowak, Peter – The  former Polish national team captain, having a historic home season opener with his  newly built Union team, he learned in the morning about national tragedy in his home country. President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, his wife Maria and 97 others, including  top army generals, ministers, high ranking officials, politicians, including some of Peter Nowak friends died in plane crash in Smolensk, Russia. Devasted by the tragedy, Nowak decided not to coach from the bench, but his team not only won the home opener, but showed respect and solidarity with Poland by wearing black armband. Nowak has lived in US for over 12 years and in all those years has worked in US soccer, but he always remembers where he came from.

5 years ago Nowak as D.C. United coach, in tunnel before Galaxy game at Home Depot Center heard sad news that his way more famous countryman Polish National hero and mentor Pope John Paul II – died. Peter Nowak was the first to worn black armband on his arm to pay respect and show solidarity with mourning nation. President Kaczynski rest in peace, and he and all Poland can be proud of his former national team captain.

O – for Opara, Ike – Don’t you love this kid? Great career ahead of this Wake Forest product. If, as a rookie defender on the road, in his second MLS game, he can score even from Bobby Convey (good game) service and not from set piece, he is special. Opara’s  great vision and lots of talent make him already great prospect for future US National team. Lets enjoy him in MLS now, because it is hard to believe that that this 21-yr old will still be here 3 years from now.

P – for Padilla, Jesus for a great second goal for Chivas, and a magic touch on the first, one that fooled Bouna Coundoul and resulted in the goalie mistake of the year.

Q – for Quaranta, Santino – a week ago he talked about United scoring, and this Saturday he took care of business and scored himself beautiful goal. What should we expected next week? Hm, tough to say, cause this time Santino was quiet after the game. 

R – for Red Bulls, in order for them to win again on the road, their head coach has to stay in hotel during the game. Taking him to hospital in the morning might help too.

S – for Schilawski, Zack – you better get used to his last name MLS fans. Scoring 3 goals in less than 15 minutes, Revolution rookie forward not only shocked Toronto, but whole league. It was his birthday gift, cause on April 15 he’ll become 23. Happy birthday Zack.

T – for Toronto FC. After their 2nd half against Revolution, I don’t want to be TFC player on the way home in the same airplane with Preki. He has already fired 9 players since his arrival in Toronto. Who’s next? Very possibly his old bud Nick Garcia, who may be looking for a job outside the soccer field.

U – for Union players and fans, on behalf of millions Polish soccer fans THANK YOU for paying respect to national tragedy in Poland. Commenting on this US President Barack Obama said “in those dark days for Poland we are all Poles”.  On Saturday, Union and United players and fans were our Real Madrid and Barcelona, at least they acted like them. Your classy act will be remembered in Poland and worldwide for long time.

V – for Vasquez, Martin – um, congratulations for first victory as Chivas USA head coach.

W – for Whiskey is a good thing to have handy, especially when you are United fan and going to watch their next games. Why? Check letter X

X – for how many goals the United defense is going to allow this season? We might have a new all time MLS record this season? In 3 games, United back line allowed 9 goals and so far they haven’t even faced any strong teams.

Y– for YEAH that’s what Galaxy fans are saying after 3 perfect wins and Landon Donovan did not even score yet. He didn’t have to, because Edson Buddle with 5 goals in just 3 games is knocking on the door to be on Bob Bradley’s World Cup team. It’s not that hard to imagine Edson with Landon in South Africa this summer.

Z – for Zakuani, Steve – just 22 years old, the super dynamic Sounders forward scored his first of the season, confirming and improving his value as player and as an asset for export.

CHRIS REIKO

ChrisReiko@hotmail.com

MLS Alphabet – Week 2

MLS Alphabet – Week 1

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