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MLS Alphabet – Week 4

LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle (14) is tripled teamed by Real Salt Lake defenders Nate Borchers (6-l), Tony Beltran (2-r) and midfielder Nelson Gonzalez (22-foreground). The LA Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Home Depot Center stadium in Carson, California on Saturday April 17, 2010.PHOTO ISI by Michael Janosz

LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle (14) is tripled teamed by Real Salt Lake defenders Nate Borchers (6-l), Tony Beltran (2-r) and midfielder Nelson Gonzalez (22-foreground). The LA Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Home Depot Center stadium in Carson, California on Saturday April 17, 2010.PHOTO ISI by Michael Janosz

Lovel Palmer goal of the week. Bouna is back, but what Seitz spelling stands for ? Is Califf heading to the NFL ? Opara, Convey, Wondolowski, Arena, Hyndman, Fucito, Buddle, and others including United and Toronto FC fans.

A – for Arena, Bruce, Galaxy coach. 4 consecutive wins, what a great start to the season. Galaxy fans have been waiting a long time. Arena did not have David Beckham or Landon Donovan in preseason, but he had a concept and a strategy. Despite his team somehow allowing its first goal of the season, Galaxy in the rematch with the current MLS Champions looked impressive in all formations. Not that they need any excuse, but Real’s goal came while Galaxy defender Sean Franklin was being treated on the sideline.

B – for Bouna, Coundoul – within a week the Red Bulls keeper turned from zero to hero. After scoring an own goal just a week ago in the Chivas game, he was an easy target for outside criticism. But a short memory and a quick mental recovery helped Bouna’s confidence.

Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul is back PHOTO by Richard McEnery

Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul is back PHOTO by Richard McEnery

Critics only make him stronger. He not only showed that he can handle critics and pressure, but he also responded with a big time game with 7 saves, some of them spectacular.

C -for  Cannon, Joe – Outstanding game and some important saves gave the Earthquakes a victory against the Revs, and the 35yr old goalkeeper earned his 100TH win in MLS on Saturday. He has played in the MLS since 1999, and when you think how good he is, it’s really hard to believe that he needed almost 11 years to get 100 wins.  He had break from MLS in 2003 when he played for French club Lens. After coming back from France he played for Rapids and Galaxy, and at the time those teams haven’t been winning that many games, like the Quakes the last two seasons. His green uniform works for him much better than the yellow one.

D – for Danny  Califf –  Union defender for his silly red card play which was a key reason for their loss against Toronto. Union fans as well as opponents hope that his coach, Peter Nowak, even with his accent, should be able to explain to Danny Califf that at least for now he’s still playing in professional Major League SOCCER not in the NFL.

E – for eggs. Yes eggs. Thousands of eggs were thrown by disappointed Juventus fans at the team bus before their game with another Italian powerhouse Inter Milan.  Our MLS fans so far are very kind, nice and very friendly to their players. They are, so far, very patient about their team performances, but everything has limits and might change. I wonder if few more poor games by well-known teams may produce some giant Italian omelets in Washington and Toronto.

FFucito, Michael – Sounders midfielder who last Saturday became a euphoria maker in Seattle. When after 90 minutes another shutout in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Qwest Field seemed inevitable, the 24 yr old Harvard graduate scored the game winner and the stadium erupted.

G Gary Smith – Rapids coach.  “We’re absolutely delighted with how they played in the game. To come away with nothing in this game is a real kick in the teeth for us.” – That is what he said after loss to the Wizards a week ago. On Sunday against a tired Toronto FC, Rapids played without jaw protectors, but they had been literally kicked. This time in their legs, but referee Ricardo Salazar was there and easily called two penalty kicks, and Conor Casey even converted them into goals. Do not kick the Rapids anymore.

HHyndman, Schellas – I am big fan of FC Dallas coach and I really felt for him after the Red Bulls game.  Schellas, you are one of nicest coaches in MLS, but even so, the referee of the year can still call 2 penalty kicks against your team. Both calls are good, and it is not Alex Prus’ fault that your offense cannot convert 4 one-on-one chances with Bouna.

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman and his assistant John Ellinger, who did the finishing practice? PHOTO ISI by Howard C Smith

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman and his assistant John Ellinger, who did the finishing practice? PHOTO ISI by Howard C Smith

 “Last week we talked a lot about finishing. We did a lot of finishing exercises and we didn’t get it done today. The opportunities were there.” – FCD coach said. Hey Schellas, if your assistant John Ellinger was overlooking those exercises, do not trust him anymore, in fact some karate practice one-on-one with him are suggested. On more serious and positive note, if FC Dallas keeps playing the way they did last Saturday, they have nothing to worry about and their opponents will have a hard time with them.

I-for I -“I don’t have an answer, I’ve never felt this way, I’ve never been in this situation. I don’t think anybody has. It’s very hard to describe,” to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff – said United Captain Jaime Moreno. When player who is playing in his 15th MLS season and has scored 132 goals is saying that he never felt that way, is this a signal to the United office, or what? I respect Jaime and I love his skills, as well as the fact that he is the only original MLS player that is still active and playing. Jaime Moreno for sure knows this game, he knows this league and I bet he also knows what it takes to get results. Does he know what is wrong in D.C.? I bet he does.

J – for Juan Manuel Pena – nominal United defender was signed a few weeks ago, but so far he is only defending his pocket and bank account. He fits perfectly into the team and he is already injured.

K -for Keller, Kasey – a great victory-preserving save by Keller on the last play of the game.

Kasey Keller 40, still in oustanding shape. PHOTO ISI by John Todd

Kasey Keller 40, still in oustanding shape. PHOTO ISI by John Todd

 Germans always play to the end. He is American but he learned that when playing for 3 years in the Bundesliga. There’s a reason why the 40 yr old was once called one the most intelligent goalies in the world. Truly, off the field, Kasey with those sexy glasses, he could easily be mistaken for a surgeon or chemistry professor. 

L Landon Donovan “It’s still early. You can’t get carried away. But the beauty is we have guys who have thousands of professional games who aren’t even playing for us yet. Our best days are still ahead” –  Donovan said.  Watch out, this means the Galaxy are just warming up, and we have not seen their best yet. Really?

M – for Marvell, Wynn – Rapids defender. How you can let go a player like Wynne? He was traded to the Rapids before this season. Wynne dedicated Sunday’s Rapids victory to his former employer, cashing in three points for his new team, he politely said an international hello to the Toronto FC office. I wonder how TFC “MoJo” felt after that game. Is he even watching games? 

N  – for nicest goal of the week.  It was NO problem for Lovel Palmer for scoring a possible goal of the year. He fires from way over 36 yards out right to the top corner – fabulous. “Coach Dom brought me here for a reason. He paid good money for me to leave Jamaica and come here, and I’m just trying to repay the favor” – said Lovel. We love you Lovel, we love the goal, we love your approach, and your honesty. Welcome in MLS

OOpara, Ike – 2nd time in a row in MLS Alphabet but he is exceptional, and he deserved nothing but compliments. He just scored his second goal in only his third game in pro soccer. Scoring is not everything from Opara, he is outstanding in defense and only one in Quakes team that can quickly understand Bobby Convey’s intentions. Even current Fulham and US MNT star Clint Dempsey did not have such an impressive start to his career in MLS. Opara is the future of US soccer defensive line.

P Pappa, Marco – Chicago Fire midfielder. After Cuauhtemoc Blanco left the team, Guatemalan Marco Pappa stepped up and became the leader in Chicago. He might be a leader there for a while. He is just 22 yr old and he has had a very promising start to the season and his 2 great goals are exceptional.

Q– for Qwest Field – Sounders stadium crowd erupted after Michael Fucito’s goal. The Seattle fans enjoyed and celebrated the first-ever game-winner in stoppage time in Sounders franchise history.

R– for Radosavljevic, Preki – “We just have to regroup fast,” said Toronto FC head coach, but some extremely loyal fans from around Lake Ontario wonder if regrouping will apply only to players or some controversial office people as well. Frustration level in Toronto goes higher every week.  After 2 seasons under current management where are they? They have great fans, but TFC can only beat undermanned expansion teams via goalie blunders and penalties. No one can blame disciplined, hard working Preki. He started in November and he is paying the price for his predecessor’s decisions. Good news for TFC is that things can only get better from now. They will.

S – for Seitz, Chris – Enough been said about his errors, but just his last name says a lot to his fans,

S-ome ….E-rrors ….I-ncluded …..T-errible …..Z-ooming. In last 2 Union games, Seitz made Jason Kreis look like a visionary genius, after he traded him from RSL.

Chris Seitz needs just one big game to recover PHOTO ISI by Nick Turchiaro

Chris Seitz needs just one big game to recover PHOTO ISI by Nick Turchiaro

Union goalie has so many advisors nowadays, but one particular item got my attention. Former great goalie Shep Messing when asked, “how Jaime Moreno scored on Chris Seitz” he said on the air “my advice to Chris is the next time just use his elbow into the face of the forwards and they will leave you alone”. I think his teammate Califf tried that last time. I hope Chris didn’t hear that, and don’t take Shep advice seriously because otherwise the Union will never be be able to finish a game with 11 men.

T – for terrible marketing and community relations by the Earthquakes. To honor the death of their President, Lech Kaczynski, and 96 other victims of the national tragedy in Poland, a group of Polish Earthquakes fans had asked the club for moment of silence before the Revolution game, same as Real Madrid and Barcelona, Union, Chicago Fire and other big clubs had done. Polish fans learned before the game that some “corporate people” in the Quakes office had ignored their request, so fans ignored the game. Is this is one of the reasons why they can’t sell more than 9,072 tickets?

U– for United fans, I know it is hard to believe but the last time your team started the season 0-4 was in 1996 and some of you may not remember that but they won championship that year.

DC United fans PHOTO ISI by Jose L Argueta

DC United fans PHOTO ISI by Jose L Argueta

It sounds like a mission impossible this season. Curt Onalfo’s team is on the very bottom of the 16-team league and is the only club without a single point in the standings. Good news for United is that no one will beat them this coming weekend……they  have no game in their schedule for next weekend.

V – for Vagenas, Peter, Sounders midfielder “We were awful, I don’t think we were very good at all, and that’s to be honest. I think that’s something that I’ve been trying to preach. I know the coaching staff has been trying to preach that we need to judge ourselves based on performance and not necessarily results” – Vagenas said.  Awful? Well, thank you for your honesty Peter, but what are you going to call teams worse than the Sounders? We have quiet few of them. 

W – for Wondolowski, Chris – The Earthquakes forward proved that is a big difference when player like him is a starter; just with his confidence and simply feeling the tempo of the game. 

Chris Wondolowski scored first goal. PHOTO ISI by Michael Pimentel

Chris Wondolowski scored first goal. PHOTO ISI by Michael Pimentel

 By scoring a nice goal, he nicely paid back coach Frank Yallop for the credit. Good thing for Wondo is that Eduardo is injured, and like many coaches Yallop rarely changes his winning squad. Wondolowski’s goal calmed a little some of the critics of Quincy Amarikwa trade. Way to go Wondo, we hope for more goals to come. 

X – for how many goals Edson Buddle will score this season if he keeps his current tempo? In his first 4 games he scored 7, average 1.75 goal per game. We have 26 games to go. Lets hope Bob Bradley will take Buddle to South Africa, which with all the preparation camps and the tournament itself will take Edson out of a maximum of seven  games from the Galaxy’s schedule. With 19 matches remaining, Buddle would add another 33 goals. I know this sounds crazy and is less than likely, because if he keep scoring like that European clubs will be in line to get him out of here in July or August. 

Y– for Yallop, Frank “This is more like what I want,”  said Earthquakes head coach after his team sent the Revolution home with the baggage of  2 goals. Yallop used his magic to make Bobby Convey finally play at least closer to his potential, and his passes seem easy find Ike Opara’s head. The experiment with Brandon McDonald in the middle clicked right on time. If the San Jose team keeps the momentum and do not lose on the road next week with Chivas, we may witness resurrection of the old good Earthquakes and once again Frank Yallop as winning coach. It’s about time. 

Z– for Zero tolerance for Chris Seitz errors in Philadelphia, let’s make it clear, if not for his mistakes, TFC  had no way to score. Same with United. Seitz must improve ASAP or Peter Nowak had better start looking for good cardiologist. The best way to respond, is the way Bouna did after his bad game. 

Chris Reiko 


MLS Aphabet – Week 3         MLS Alphabet – Week 2           MLS Alphabet – Week 1 

Who would you add to MLS Alphabet, any suggestions? – comment below

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