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Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio scored 2 goals and RSL beat Houston Dynamo 3-1. PHOTO by Rick Osentoski / isiphotos.com

Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio scored 2 goals and RSL beat Houston Dynamo 3-1. PHOTO by Rick Osentoski / isiphotos.com

By Chris Reiko

Good week for youngsters, goalkeepers and defenders, but also for Nick Garcia, Danny Mwanga, Brek Shea, coach Gary Smith and his sexy accent in MLS Alphabet Week 8.


A – Alvaro, Saborio – Real Salt Lake forward and MLS player of the week scored 2 great goals that helped beat the always strong Dynamo. Saborio so far is one of the best off-season signings in all of MLS. Good scouting by RSL coach Jason Kreis who got him. Saborio last season he wasted in the English Champioship with 10th place Bristol City, where he went on loan from F.C. Sion of the Swiss first division.

B – Brek Shea – FC Dallas midfielder scored his first-ever goal and in my opinion was goal of the week.

Brek Shea already looks like future of US Soccer. PHOTO by Max Becherer / isiphotos.com

Brek Shea already looks like future of US Soccer. PHOTO by Max Becherer / isiphotos.com

 World class strike gave FCD lead in Philadelphia and he showed huge potential and this guy is just 20 years old. Dane Brekken Shea, who always goes by Brek is not really out of nowhere. He was a member of the U.S. FIFA U-17 World Cup and already at age 17 practiced with English Premiership club Bolton. When he plays like he is playing and scores goals like that, soon he will back in England or other European league.

C – Columbus Crew, went through another thriller, but their fans apparently enjoy those last second finishes, because more and more of them are coming to the stadium. Fortunately at least in last two games, Crew players manage to provide their fans with a happy ending.

D – Mwanga, Danny Union forward. FC Dallas fans said that he scored because he doesn’t like to run after the game. Who does? The 18-year-old out of Oregon State was the first player chosen in the MLS Super Draft – and with the selection came high expectations. “The ball came to me and I knew I had a clear shot and tried to strike it as hard as I could,” Mwanga said.

It is just pure joy and beauty about MLS, when we can watch such a great goal scored by an 18-year old rookie. “The goal was such a good feeling. Coming out of college, I knew this was a different level compared to where I was playing. I was coming in, working hard every day to make the adjustment and help the team. And scoring my first professional goal, at a time we needed a goal … it feels great.” Those moments make us think positive about US soccer, cause it proves we have deep reserves in the youngsters. Don’t you love it?

E – Emilio, Luciano – he just signed with United and he fit perfectly with the club. Coaches somehow just discovered that he is a “little” overweight. Yes, some readers from Europe probably don’t believe this, but in MLS, this is not a first time that professional club is signing player with few extra pounds. Do you remember Rosenthal from Chile in Crew uniform few years ago?

F – Fredy Montero, “We had made the decision earlier in the week that we weren’t going to start him this weekend,” said Schmid, whose team played a solid defensive game. “He ended up coming down with the stomach flu a little bit. We brought him because we felt he could still come on for us.” Good nose Sigi.

“He hadn’t scored in the run of play since the first game of the season. We just felt there had to be a little more energy to his game. Fredy accepted the decision well. I told him ‘You’re going to play minutes in this game. It’s probably going to be the most important minutes of the game.’ He said ‘I want to come in. I want to make a difference.’ Obviously he did.” Sounders fans they don’t really care whether Montero is starting, on the bench, in the locker or at the bar. As long as Seattle is winning, all is good in the neighborhood. 

G – Garcia, Nick – welcome back. He badly needed that kind of game. Congratulations Nick for the best game in a long time, and for sure the best in Toronto FC uniform. When fans and press (including myself) really questioned his ability to play at all, his old friend Preki (currently his coach) trusted him enough to play him against –  at least statistically – the best team in MLS. Let’s hope Nick will build on it, great impressive comeback by someone who was once one of the top MLS defenders. Was it just a one time event, or Nick is back?

H – Hartman, Kevin – FC Dallas goalkeeper. Was stellar between those posts in Philadelphia, and only thanks to him FCD is going home with the tie. Despite the constant pressure, Hartman made six saves and nearly had another shutout until Mwanga’s first career shot landed in the net. Instead of his 87th career shutout and 149th win, Hartman and his teammates had to settle for a frustrating tie. Can someone please explain me why Dario Sala was starting games this season ie. in New England?

I – Impotency of all the forwards last weekend, they really need some serious supply of …… I don’t know where and when they’ve been scoring lately, but last weekend it was not on the MLS pitch.

J – Julio, Martinez – Chicago Fire winger who did good job with his first MLS goal.

Chicago Fire midfielder Julio Martinez. PHOTO by Bill Barrett / isiphotos.com

Chicago Fire midfielder Julio Martinez. PHOTO by Bill Barrett / isiphotos.com

We don’t know much about 24 yr old Julio, but he changed 3 clubs in one year and we know that Fire manager Carlos de los Cobos, coached him in the Salvadoran national team, and Martinez was one of his transfers. So far very promising Julio, at least now he has more of a chance to survive with the Fire club than the coach who brought him in.

K- Kamara, Kei – he is back, this time from half a yard but his scored game-tying goal in last minute. The conditions were the same: wet and slippery. The situation was the same: ball all alone on the goal line and begging for a touch. This time Kamara was wearing blue cleats instead of white. “Same weather and everything,” Kamara said, “but different shoes.” I am watching and following soccer for over 40 years, but every week in MLS I am learning something new. I guess for a player of Kamara’s caliber, the color of the cleats really matters.

L- Lucky Columbus Crew won again second time in a row by scoring game winner in last seconds.. “In 2007, we would lose this game. But now we are experienced. We know what the situation is on the field.” said Schelotto after he converted another penalty. This time he was very lucky. MSL disciplinary committee already suspends game winning goal scorer Schelotto for one game on a play even the referee missed and did not show him any card. The incident happened in the 78 minute, video shows that Schelotto should be red carded 12 minutes earlier for overusing his elbow without the ball. His suspension got some applause in New York where Crew plays with Red Bulls this Thursday, but even without GBS, Robert Warzycha’s team should be able to get a result there.

M- Mehdi Ballouchy, Rapids capitalized again on great vision by the Moroccan, who under coach Gary Smith seems to be a bit more productive. Way to go Mehdi.

N – Nil – Nil is the worst score for soccer fans, and happened on just two occasions this week. We are already tired of this good defending and good goalkeepers. Aren’t we?

O – Onalfo, Curt – “A questionable missed call led to the goal,” as he laid the blame on referee Jorge Gonzalez for allowing play to continue on Ballouchy’s winner. Common Curt, you want the referee to score goals for your team? On the other hand what would you do differently in Curt Onalfo place?

P – Preki, did his homework very well and credit to him for preparing his team for possibly the biggest challenge of the season. I know it was last MLS game for Landon and Edson prior to going to the World Cup camp, but there is something that worries me. Preki was able to figure out how to eliminate from the game the two most dangers players in the Galaxy and USMNT team. Don’t you think England NT coach Capello can do it? With all due respect, there is a big difference between Preki and Capello and not only in their paycheck.

Q- Quite poorly?,”I honestly think we played quite poorly,” said Columbus Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer. “But when you build a team as solid as ours, we’re going to catch our breaks.” Oh just shut up Will, we have few teams in MLS that will take 6 points in 2 games playing poorly.  

R-apids, Colorado Rapids as team. Under coach Gary Smith, this team is playing the best soccer that any Colorado club has ever played. They’ve been playing well from the beginning of the season, they lost two close games 0-1 to Earthquakes and the Galaxy, but they went to Washington and won there for first time in 11 years. Are they for real?

S – Smith, Gary –”I thought we deserved our win,” Rapids coach Gary Smith said. “I’m absolutely delighted for the players, because the last two weeks we played ever so well and we’ve not got our reward.” Englishman was talking about points. Getting points? Talking points? Don’t worry Gary, that is what we have matches with D.C. United for 🙂 Well, at least this season.

T – Toronto FC, I have feeling that we just witnessed the key turning point in this great organization. Preki already did an amazing job by sticking to his plan,  but when he finds performers TFC can get really far. I was shocked by the scoreless draw in Los Angeles, but I am not surprised by the progress TFC is making this season. They just need to sign a real forward, who together with DeRo can produce more goals. That will come with time. Sounds like great times ahead for fans from around Lake Ontario, I told you so – check out my previous MLS Alphabets.

U – Umbrella was the most appreciated item in Kansas City last Saturday, just next to Kei Kamara’s two goals. Believe or not, but this time he did score twice.

V – Vodka, soccer, vodka, soccer, lots of vodka in Chicago. This week, the Fire are hosting Sister Cities Cup tournament with participation of famous Polish side Legia Warsaw and legendary Serbian Red Star Belgrade, two teams just into their off-season. And in their culture, they can really drink. Just in case, they will take little break there, as they will also play French side Paris Saint-Germain. What a great place for a tournament. You can say what you want, but soccer players, fans and city of Chicago knows how to party.  If you are looking to meet some of those players after hours in Chicago, I bet there will be heavy traffic around the bars and night clubs such as Martini, Jedynka, Accent Café.

W- What happen?  to Bruce Arena and his Galaxy ? What happen to Hans Backe and his Red Bulls last week?

X – X for sexy accent. Rapids coach Gary Smith, because of his sexy British London accent, in Denver and around he is one of the most desirable men between single women. When all those women all at once will shows up at Rapids stadium, DSG Park will be the sexiest venue in MLS and this could seriously improve their average attendance.

Y- Yeisley,  Jason – FC Dallas forward. Can you imagine, coming back to your home town having your whole family and friends in the stands and don’t play even a minute? More than 60 friends and family members from the Allentown area made their way to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday to see Yeisley, the third-round pick of FC Dallas in the MLS SuperDraft, play against the Philadelphia Union. ”It’s a great fan base, and this is a very exciting thing to have for the city,” he said. By the time Yeisley left the locker room and went back to the field to find his rooting section, bad luck again. The ensemble had been forced to leave the stadium, so he went back to the team bus to meet up with the group at the team hotel.  I am glad they did not have to go to Dallas to talk to him 🙂

If you are D.C. United fan, you had better skip letter “Z”

Z- ZERO – that is how many points United will get from their next 4 games !!! I hope I am wrong, but I am damn serious now. With a trip to Houston this week ahead of meetings with Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see how United is going to get points from those games. Looks like “Mission impossible” for coach Onalfo and his boys.

Chris Reiko


MLS Alphabet – Week 7

MLS Alphabet – Week 6           MLS Alphabet – Week 5           MLS Alphabet – Week 4   

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

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

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