By Chris Reiko
After they had been devastated by Galaxy, Seattle dominated our MLS Alphabet this week, but also a little about benching and coaching nose. Where all the sudden those 27 goals came from, how to coach the wind, and how Bobby Convey responded? Bonjour Montreal in MLS Alphabet Week 7. Enjoy.
A – Allsopp, Danny – D.C. United Australian forward. He scored 2 goals and gave some spark and hope to his earlier “hopeless” team. Congratulations for Allsopp and D.C. fans but what worries me is his constant association with a word “hopeless”.
OK just to be clear he played 1 (one) English Premiership game for Manchester City in 2000/2001 season, so is he really that hopeless?
“Absolutely hopeless. I am just being honest.” said his Australian national team coach Dutchman Pim Verbeek when describing Allsopp’s performance against Indonesia in February 2009. Yes, that game was against Indonesia, I guess they play some soccer in and around Jakarta, but being called hopeless after game vs Indonesia? Well, almost exactly 1 year later he landed in D.C. United, which somehow made them “hopeless”. Those two goals just compensated United fans very little for their team’s “hopeless” performances for almost 6 weeks. We’re just hoping that United didn’t overpay for this guy, otherwise things could get really “hopeless”.
B – Boggs, Zak – New England Revolution striker. Before trip to Columbus by some soccer specialists Revs were sentenced to be beheaded by the favorites Crew. Well thank you Zak Boggs for showing us how entertaining MLS soccer can be. Guy came of out of nowhere and in the game against one of the best teams in MLS scored two great goals. He actually made some of the Crew defenders looks like rookies that included not that long ago US World Cup hopeful Frankie Hejduk.
C – Convey, Bobby – Earthquakes midfielder. He once publicly complained about coach Frank Yallop’s decision for benching him at half time for his poor performance against RSL. Benching highest paid player is never popular or easy decision, but credit to coach Yallop, this move paid off big time. We just learned that it was the best that Frank Yallop as coach can do when dealing with Convey’s inconsistency. Convey finally started realizing that this is last year of his contract and ….somehow almost immediately improved his game since then. His progress or recovery if you will is one of the reasons why Earthquakes have already 12 points. Against 10 man Red Bulls Convey assisted on 3 goals and the same fans that few weeks ago offered him ride to the airport clapped like crazy after those goals. They should also give some applause for coach Yallop, just in case they forgot, so on their behalf – THANK YOU Frank.
D – Defensive lines of Sounders, Fire, Crew, Revolution, Union and Chivas USA – thank you very much for very entertaining weekend.
E – Extremely Exited Earthquakes Erupted and demolished 10 man Red Bulls and made coach Hans Backe first visit in beautiful Bay Area his worst road trip in short MLS carrier. Coach Backe did not have a great weekend, his team in Santa Clara kind of reminded us that Hans not that long ago was assistant to Sven Goran Erickson with the Mexican NT. There is more bad news for the Red Bulls, who not only lost 0-4 to Quakes, but they also heard MLS commissioner Don Garber talking about their possible new expansion team competitor in New York City?
F – FC Dallas – they cashed 6 points and enjoyed so far the best week of the season. I know how hard is to believe but yes they did. Congratulations to Schellas Hyndman and FCD players, their winning is almost automatically bringing fans to the Pizza Hut Park. Just one win and FC Dallas had more fans on the stadium on Saturday, than the Earthquakes (hello SJ marketing department).
G – Goals – I guess we should start scheduling more games at 4.00 PM EST, some say good sunny weather, make players in good mood and they more motivated and score more goals. That is not what helped our forwards improve their scoring average, which on Saturday was 3.86 goals per game. I don’t buy the good weather excuse, because in Toronto and Columbus it was cold and very windy and they still scored 10 goals there. What factor has all of a sudden improved MLS scoring? Poor defending in Seattle and Columbus, wind in Toronto, red card for the Red Bulls, sleeping Chivas USA defense, another Chris Seitz error and another gift from Union back line. Does that explain the secret of MLS’s scoring improvement? Help me if I missed something.
H – Hamid, Bill – 19 years old D.C. United goalie. After losing 5 games Curt Onalfo had enough of Troy Perkins and nothing more to lose. Putting Hamid between posts was his risky call, but it became one the most profitable moves for United this season. Bill Hamid got a win in his first MLS start and United got that first victory of the season.
“He stepped in and did a really good job and earned the right to play again,” Coach Curt Onalfo said about the youngster that in some respect helped him keep his job. There is a hope that we’ll see him more, because he did really well in Dallas too. Onalfo move could be also be used as signal to Peter Nowak, because it seems like waiting for the improvement of Chris Seitz already cost and might even cost more points given away by the generous Union. Who knows? Benching Seitz might work well in the Union’s favor in the long run. Alternatives in Philadelphia are also youngsters Brad Knighton (25yr old) and Brian Perk (20). Who will we see between the posts against FC Dallas on Saturday? That’s Peter Nowak dilemma.
I – Improvement in Philadelphia Union discipline, they finally finished game with 11 man and they just got one yellow card. This was nice to see, but improvement is still needed ASAP in Philly’s goalkeeping and defending. With just a few corrections there, results will come for Union in no time. The Galaxy, before they became our USA Galacticos went through the same tough times as the Union do now. You may think Galaxy are our best team, but their coach is also hoping for …. Improvement. “We’re going to get better. We have to get better,” Arena said after beating Sounders on the road 4-0. “Or else we’re not going to be a team that’s around at the end of the year. We’re only eight games in. There’s a lot of games left ahead.” – Galaxy coach said.
It’s all about improvement, and that means that the Sounders, United, and Union are still able to make the playoffs, even though now it is little hard to imagine that. There are many games still to be played, so let’s go back to work on improvements.
It’s all about improvement, means that Sounders, United and Union are still able to make playoffs, even now is little hard to imagine that. Many games still to be play, so let’s go back to work on improvements.
J – Jeff Cunningham, he finally scored game winner for FC Dallas vs United. Cunningham is like good old diesel engine, takes him a while to start, but after he does as long as he is getting fuel (good passes) it’s very hard to stop. Jeff Cunningham on fire against struggling Union goalie Chris Seitz on this coming Saturday smells like goals for Dallas to me.
K- Kirovski, Jovan currently Galaxy forward / midfielder. Just in case you wonder, yes he is still alive, still playing soccer and he even scored for Galaxy on a go-ahead goal from over 25 yards. Kirovski (34) with his mediocre shot, made 40 years old Sounders keeper Kasey Keller look like rookie and then demolition of the Sounders started.
L- Landon Donovan, by his concert in Seattle he made England NT coach Fabio Capello really worried about the US game.
After this huge victory, when asked if Edson Buddle should go to the World Cup, Landon responded without hesitation “Yeah, absolutely”. What does that mean? Despite the fact that Buddle has had very little time in the USMNT (only time in 2003), after this quote from Landon I can bet my money that if Edson stays healthy and not going to do anything stupid (yes he can), we will see him in South Africa this June. Will anybody question Landon Donovan leadership and influence on USMNT? I don’t. Bob Bradley either, and he also want to have Landon pleased and in good mood, so how he can say no? Mark my words Edson Buddle is in, period.
M- Montreal, Impact – on Friday became 19TH MLS Club and they will start playing in 2012. This beautiful and the most European town in North America will get an MLS soccer team. This is huge for French speaking Canadian province of Quebec, where at some point they had language police. Yes, language police to make sure that every single document or price in the store, or any flyer is written in French. Great step forward for MLS and credit to Don Garber, because negotiating in Quebec even with Saputo family is never easy. I can’t wait for first MLS derby Canadian Toronto FC vs Québécois from Montreal . Already sounds very inviting, and I am sure St. Catherine Ave. in Montreal will be electric as never before the games with those TFC fans walking there. Bienvenue sur MLS, Montréal serait formidable.
N – Nick LaBrocca – he was not really shooting, but with huge help from the wind his shot ended up in the Chicago Fire net, next to a little surprised and disoriented Andrew Dykstra. “I was trying to whip it into the back post and the wind took it in there,” LaBrocca said. Thank you for being honest Nick. For the record, for this goal LaBrocca was credited and poor wind has done so much and wasn’t even mentioned for an assist :).
O – Oh my God – that is what Sounders fans been screamed every time Landon Donovan had the ball, or close to it.
P – Pause, Logan – Chicago Fire midfielder. He reminds rest of the team why Chicago is called the Windy City and from, what, 40 yards scored in Toronto a beautiful goal by taking at least a little advantage of the wind. Krzysztof Krol got his first MLS assist on this play and regardless of the wind, for me Logan Pause was obvious goal of the week.
Q- Question in Seattle? How many players will be gone after last game from Sounders locker?
While Adrian Hanauer moved to make things right in the stands, he said he also is ready to make changes on the pitch. “Short term, we can get more aggressive in our conversations when teams call us and asking for our players. Maybe losing a guy with a little more talent and gaining a guy with a little more passion and heart is going to be worth the trade. (Then) the June World Cup break and then the subsequent July transfer window … is an opportunity to make some changes. … This organization just doesn’t intend to be a last-place team.” – said Sounders general manager. Are we going to have some kind of tornado in the Seattle locker room?
R- Warzycha, Robert – Columbus Crew coach, for quote “It is about to find way to win the game”. Coaching favorites is not easy, especially after his defense gave him thriller with a happy ending. Warzycha when asked on press conference why in 89 minutes he pulled striker Steven Lenhart out, he responded “Nothing against Steven, but sometimes I have feeling that someone else will convert opportunity” – that is called a coaching nose.
S – Sassano, Luke – – Red Bulls midfielder, who got red carded for bad foul on Convey. Don’t mess with Bobby Convey, for that brutal play the angry Earthquakes playmaker responded with 3 assists.
T –Tickets – we will refund money for this game – said Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer. Despite losing by four goals late in the game Saturday, many of the 36,273 fans (a team-record crowd for an MLS game) stayed and cheered through the final whistle. Guess what, 32 000 of them will get their money back, how much that will cost? Check letter “X”.
U – Ugo Ihemelu – FC Dallas defender for great goal and vision. He is defender and FC Dallas was playing man down on the road against Houston, but he had enough gas and belief to go to the penalty box on a set piece. All the sudden a great header by Ugo Ihemelu gave FC Dallas a shocking first win of the season and its first ever at Robertson Stadium.
V – Vividness of the image. “On the fourth goal we were ducks in a shooting gallery.” said Sigi Schmid. “It’s embarrassing,” Schmid summed up. I know Sigi for years and I know he will recover big from this, and the last game was just a wakeup call that should make the Sounders better. I remember days when Sigi has been criticized by everybody in and around Columbus and been booed by his own fans. Guess what Seattle fans? Next year Sigi won MLS Championship, that was his response. Sigi Schmid is a very strong man and he will be back, but I am not sure about some of those players? Unfortunately for Sigi and his Sounders in my MLS Alphabet Week 6 I predicted outcome of Sounders last 2 games. If I can figure this out this from my couch in Menlo Park, California, don’t you think Bruce Arena has better sources?
W– Wind. The Chicago Fire team from The Windy City was blown away by Toronto FC and their …wind. When he became TFC head coach, everybody around Lake Ontario expected miracles from Preki, so he is delivering them. Mysterious Preki he even took care of the wind, how did he coach this wind?
X – For how much money Sounders FC will lose because of their 0-4 loss to Galaxy? Sounders club promised season ticket holders they would give their money back in form of a credit, because of extremely poor performance in last Saturday’s game. How much is it? Roughly 32 000 season ticket holders by average single ticket price of $38.20 give us a loss of about $1,223,680. That’s big bucks guys.
Refund is subject to season tickets holders only, and only if they decide to renew their tickets for 2011 season. Money back for poor performance? D.C. United asks what?
Y- YEAH – Yeah, Yeah, Yeah screamed Toronto FC fans. It was nice to hear that 4 times on electric BMO Field last Saturday. Those patient and extremely loyal fans waited long enough and deserved that moment. They sure hope that this 4-1 win over Fire is one of the first good signs of Preki’s long term coaching strategy.
Z- Zakuani, Steve — Sounders FC forward, for admitting his team embarrassment. He was first who said after a disgraceful 0-4 loss at home to the Galaxy that “our fans deserve an apology and shouldn’t have had to pay to see that kind of performance”. Zakuani quote was taken as direction for Adrian Hanauer, the team’s co-owner and general manager, who made spectacular call. “We don’t plan on giving people money back every time we have a bad game,” Hanauer said. “But as the owners of the club, we reserve the right to do whatever we think we need to do to treat our fans the way they’ve treated us.” Hanauer said refunding the fans is the first act the team will make in response to the loss.
Who would you add to MLS Alphabet, any suggestions? – please comment below
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