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MLS Alphabet – Week 2

MLS Alphabet – Week 2

Javier Martina two goals make the best in Toronto FC history season opener at BMO Field. PHOTO by Nick Turchiaro / ISIPhotos.com

Javier Martina two goals make the best in Toronto FC history season opener at BMO Field. PHOTO by Nick Turchiaro / ISIPhotos.com

By Chris Reiko

What is strange about last MLS weekend is the heroes from week 1 who scored 2 goals, had then were sent off with red cards a week later. Sounds like warning before week 3 for Javier Morales, Javier Martina and Chris Wondolowski as they all scored 2 goals each in MLS week 2.

AAgudelo Juan, this is MLS Alphabet and he actually did not play in the league game this weekend, but I am sure the American soccer nation really didn’t mind that. Agudelo goal scored against Argentina, and it could be one of the most important in his short carrier. We are all asking each other, is potential superstar Agudelo the real deal? We would love to hope so, but doesn’t he remind us a bit of Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson. Important Agudelo goals prove that soccer is just like life, where timing is everything. Can you imagine the size of the wallets of the agents and scouts who attend USA vs. Argentina game? We had better enjoy Agudelo in MLS as much as we can. He is already target for some big clubs, and soon we will have to look to web sites such as Yanks Aboard. Lionel Messi and his orchestra of Argentinean teammates sure will remember Juan Agudelo.

B Beckham collected another yellow card in Galaxy demolition in Utah. Don’t you think that Becks timing seem to be off a bit? Together with obvious frustration, it’s just bad combination for the Galaxy. With all respect to his hairdresser skills, on the pitch he looks a lot better when Landon is next to him.

CCarlos Ruiz is scoring again in MLS, this time he netted game winner for the Philadelphia Union. It was nice to see “El Pescadito” celebrating again. This was the 83rd goal for the Guatemalan striker in MLS. The first 50 he scored for the Galaxy but his last one created extra interest for the Union as a club and soccer in general. Philadelphia sports reporters, especially those not very familiar with soccer, have been little confused on Sunday hearing that “Carlos Ruiz” scored for the Union. What? How? Why? MLB baseball team Philadelphia Phillies have a starting catcher whose name is also…”Carlos Ruiz”, they were even born the same year. The only difference is that catcher is from Panama.

DFC Dallas, don’t go to Mexico prior playing Earthquakes. They had friendly game midweek with Mexican club Tigres and I am not sure about the timing of it. They lost there and the travel and all the distractions sure affected their game against the Earthquakes. Thanks to Tigres, Wondo and the Quakes had good time in Frisco. 

EEarthquakes, after a loss but good game at home to RSL, they got a well-deserved and valuable win on the road in Dallas. Some might be surprise when looking at the final score but I predicted their win in my MLS Picks section this week. Why? FC Dallas has started season slow. On the other hand, the Quakes looked solid against RSL, and the powerful Utah team is what the Galaxy fell to on Saturday.

F Frei, Stefan assists by the goalie do not happen often in MLS. This was a special Euro-connection goal. Swiss keeper kicked the ball from his box to the Timbers box, where Dutch forward Javier Martina’s one touch beautiful volley landed in the visitors net. BMO Field, thanks to goals like that, will be packed all season.

G Galaxy, yes they played without Landon Donovan, but they still must be devastated. If I remember correctly, the last time a team coached by Bruce Arena allowed 4 goals was in a CONCACAF Champions League game versus the Puerto Rico Islanders. Other than the historic first Galaxy goal by Juan Pablo Angel, their visit to Utah was a complete disaster. Real Salt Lake plays very good now, and arguably they are the best in MLS now, but the entire Galaxy team should go to church every Sunday and pray for Landon to stay healthy, because otherwise we may see more games like the last one.

HHassli, Eric (Vancouver Whitecaps striker) – Looks like he was jealous that Omar Bravo

Eric Hassli was sent off in 57 minute, but he promises to Vancouver fans, he 'll be better next time. PHOTO by Tony Quinn / ISIPhotos.com

Eric Hassli was sent off in 57 minute, but he promises to Vancouver fans, he 'll be better next time. PHOTO by Tony Quinn / ISIPhotos.com

 was sent off after scoring 2 goals in the first week, so he basically got his red 57 minutes into the game. The good news for Whitecaps fans is that Hassli promises to do better next time. “I feel bad because I punished the team,” the contrite Frenchman said through a translator after his BIG participation in loss to Philadelphia. Union’ defender Danny Califf said of Hassli. “He started to try and get the upper hand in there and throw the body a little. We gave it right back and he got upset with it. It was kind of funny.” By his act, Hassli also gave favor to Sporting Kansas City, because he is out for the next game at Empire Field.

IImpressive Toronto FC fans, we just love you. Applause to all 20,086 fans who after devastating 2-4 loss to the Whitecaps in the first week, despite cold temperatures, they showed up at BMO Field and they got their reward. Great come back by Aron Winter’ team and let’s just hope this wasn’t just that one game against an inexperienced expansion opponent.

J Javier’s Saturday in MLS. JAVIER was a very high scoring first name last Saturday. Javier Martina for TFC and Javier Morales for RSL, both netted twice.

KKyle Nakazawa – Union midfielder, on getting the start and a chunk of playing time: “I feel very fortunate. To get a chance to show the fans that I have improved and that I am committed to winning is something I am very proud that I have been able to do”. He is just 23 and his improvement is one of the reasons why Union have already 2 clean sheets this year. This kind of attitude can only help winning.

LLoud crowd in Sandy, Utah. “Tonight the crowd before the game was so, so loud before the kickoff,” Kreis said. “I thought it was just a magical moment—the beginning of the game for us—I just knew the guys were going to be way into it.”

Jason Kreis is a master in recruting new players. PHOTO by Chris Reiko

Jason Kreis is a master in recruting new players. PHOTO by Chris Reiko

“We feel the crowd all the time,” Morales said. “I think they are amazing. For me, we have the best crowd in the league.”

Who is going to help Sigi Schmid figure out how to use their loud crowd on Quest Field and translate that to results?

M Martina, Javier – Two goals, especially the second one, was like gift from God to him. A few months ago he was injured and unemployed, until current TFC and former Ajax coaches Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk decided to give Javier a hand. “That’s why after my second goal I ran to them and gave them a hug and said, “’Thanks.’ It’s like a dream, they gave me a second chance”- said the hero of the last match at BMO Field. An ACL tear ended his season with AFC Ajax soon after, the Amsterdam club didn’t renew his contract and let him go. Great signing by TFC and he is just 24. Can’t wait for more…

N Nowak, Peter – Union coach “We have guys now that are not only experienced but will fight for every ball and they know what to do in exact moments. I don’t really need to tell them anything.” Did Peter use his Playstation coaching method to make them play like that?

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OChad Ochocinco and Omar Bravo, what do they have in common? Well they have been practicing together for a few days. Bravo must be watching some footage of his potential new teammate, because he was red carded in just 30 minutes,  making him go from hero in the first week to zero in the second. After the match, Sporting coach Peter Vermes said to mlssoccer.com, “It’s not a red card, it is not even a penalty. Omar goes in, and at the same time he’s giving the guy a little shoulder and he kicks the ball out-of-bounds himself. The guy didn’t even take a shot.” The best quote I heard about Ochocinco was from Union coach Peter Nowak who said, “Is he aware about our salary cap?” Didn’t take long for Bengals wide receiver to respond “I’d play soccer for free. There are a lot of people who question how serious I am about it. But for those who know me, who know my background, this is where it all started.”

Great marketing move by coach Peter Vermes and all the guys from Sporting Kansas City, yes we are MLS, we are growing and we need propaganda just like other leagues.

PPaulo Araujo Jr  – Just 22 years old, the Brazilian striker scored a goal for RSL, had an assist, and he also “organized” a penalty kick. The absences gave others a good opportunity to make their cases, and he made his very well. He already impressed his coach Jason Kreis so much that he said: “The very next game, imagine: I’ve got to choose now between Sabo, who’s coming back; Fabián, who’s doing so many wonderful things for us; and Paulo, who has an assist, a goal and sets up a penalty”. That’s what internal team competition creates, Araujo is in the mix. Another positive for RSL, and you just love Jason Kreis’ recruiting.

QQuincy Amarikwa – Colorado Rapids forward fully used the FIFA international fixture date and came up big for the Rapids with game winner on the road. The former Earthquake will still have hard time to get some playing time this year, unless he move elsewhere.

RReal Salt Lake is currently the best side in MLS. In front of a Rio Tinto Stadium record crowd of 20,507, they jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the halftime and went on to a spectacular 4-1 win against the not long ago powerhouse Galaxy. It makes Earthquakes fans feel really good. RSL coach Jason Kreis extended his contract last week, but probably should have waited to sign the deal until after this performance in front of a record crowd in its Major League Soccer home opener Saturday — giving him more bargaining power, right?

“I should hire you as my agent,” Jason Kreis said to Kurt Kragthorpe, Salt Lake Tribune reporter.

S Seattle or I should say what is wrong with Sounders? Took them 4 hours and 20 minutes to score first goal of the season. Sitting out the game entirely was Designated Player Alvaro Fernandez. Is this a coincidence, or is another DP having problems with Sigi?  Simon Dawkins and Earthquakes midfield will make different types of problems for Sigi Schmid and whomever he chooses to play in midfield. Sounders will need some help from the sky or a miracle to get points in San Jose, otherwise Earthquakes are heavy favorites and they will have good time at Buck Shaw stadium. Weather will be fabulous this time.

TToronto FC’s announced attendance of 20,086 in sub-zero temperatures (for a 2-0 win over Portland) marked the first time in the club’s 5-year history that it failed to draw a sellout for a home opener. They played much worse on defense against Portland than the 2-0 victory would suggest.

“What I want is the players … when they are receiving the ball … that they stay relaxed,” Winter said. “They don’t have to be afraid because (they know) they can play football.” Well, I am afraid that they are more afraid of the coach then of the ball, but agreed they have to be more relaxed. Should be easier now, because after game in Vancouver it was a little difficult, to be relaxed if you play for TFC.

U The Union are the leaders, yes that’s true and well deserved. They’ve scored only 2 goals, but the biggest improvement from last year is they haven’t conceded a single goal yet. Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams and Jordan Harvey comprised a formidable last line that again made Faryd Mondragon look like a rock star in goal.  ‘We have guys now that are not only experienced but will fight for every ball and they know what to do in exact moments,’ said Nowak.  ‘I don’t really need to tell them anything.’

VVancouver I would suggest to stay calm, it was first away MLS game for the Whitecaps and many teams will lose points in Philadelphia this year.

WWondolowski, Chris – if he is not on fire, he is at least back on the scoring track and once again in MLS Alphabet. His two great goals gave the Earthquakes a valuable win. When FC Dallas starts playing their game, it could be tough for visitors to get points at Pizza Hut Park. What worries me a little is that two players that scored two goals in the first week got red cards in the second. If I’m Wondo I‘d be careful and don’t give any hope for Seattle.

X –  How many goals Chris Wondolowski will score this season? His average is one per game. 34?

YMikael Yourassowsky Toronto FC defender. His full name, Mikael-David Youri Yourassowsky, may suggest that he is from Russia, Ukraine or Poland, but he was actually born in Belgium. He is 28, but what is interesting is in his pro carrier the most matches he played in a single season was for Croatian club Rijeka last year, but only 14. Here he played just 2 games for TFC, but his MLS carrier is colorful, he already collected all the cards.

ZZERO cards in FC Dallas vs. Earthquakes match in Frisco, TX. What a clean game, in this real gentleman’s match referee Ricardo Salazar showed no yellow or red card to anybody. All it takes is just two respectful teams with classy players and good ref.

My apology for little delay, next week we should be ready on Tuesday, see you next week

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Who would you add to this week MLS Alphabet? – welcome your comments and suggestions below

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