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MLS Alphabet Week 5

MLS Alphabet Week 5

MLS Alphabet – Teaches you the ABC’s of all the MLS action over the past week and more. Brought to you from a European perspective by Chris Reiko and posted here each Monday immediately following all the action over the weekend.

By Chris Reiko

What an explosive MLS weekend, 3.44 goals per game, with 2 penalties saved, we have got you explosive alphabet.Chris Reiko Birthday celebrations without victories, and what happened to the Oranges? Salazar at his best! How TFC put the highflying Crew back on the ground. It was great weekend for trickery specialists. Gift to help prevent a Frank Yallop injury, and Union about to file a petition. Plus we get another new MLS club in the fold….All in MLS’ Alphabet Week 5

A – Atlanta, likely to be 22nd MLS team, the official announcement will come within a week or so. It’s the 22nd not 23rd, because Miami has not officially been awarded yet, until a new stadium deal is finalized. That’s great news, because finally a Olympic town, heart of a huge metropolitan area, will have it’s own MLS soccer team. The new club owner Arthur Blank, is also the owner of the American football team The Falcons, and that’s huge from a marketing perspective.
By several accounts and sources the team from Georgia will start playing in the 2017 season, at the new NFL Atlanta Falcons stadium (photo above).
Bad news, they are already talking about stadium with artificial turf, which a majority of soccer players don’t like – in fact many European teams will not play on it. Last weekend New York Red Bulls rested Thierry Henry, for that reason.

That's how much USMNT star Michael Bradley received in Columbus, after scoring a goal for TFC vs Crew. How many fans showing "International hello" to Michael? PHOTO #TFClive

That’s how much love USMNT and TFC star ,Michael Bradley received in Columbus, after scoring a goal for Toronto FC vs Crew. PHOTO CONTEST How many fans showing “International Hello” to Michael? PHOTO #TFClive

B – Bradley, Michael lets hope he keeps his extremely high form until June. He has been outstanding lately. Which comes as little surprise, because typically after signing a big contract, players have a slow season. Well, with the exception Michael Bradley. He’s outstanding now, and league MVP candidate already.

C – Chara, Diego – Portland Timbers midfielder, who on his 28th birthday scored 2 goals vs Sounders. Diego’s birthday could be celebrated with a few more fireworks, if his colleagues from a deep defensive formation put a little bit more attention to the events that occurred in the final 10 minutes of the game.

D – Dempsey, Clint – Sounders and USMNT star midfielder, had an awesome week.

MLS Player of the week Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders and USMNT treasure. PHOTO Seattle Sounders FC

MLS Player of the week Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders and USMNT treasure. PHOTO Seattle Sounders FC

“I think our fans appreciated the character that we showed in fighting back and saving face in terms of getting a point — especially coming from two goals back with a mountain to climb” said Dempsey. Yes, it’s very positive to have a leader like Dempsey, who despite being 2 goals down kept playing his brand of soccer. Very promising for the World Cup as well, I hope I’m wrong, but there is a huge chance that USMNT will be down by 2 goals at some point, and his leadership could be priceless. Stay healthy Clint.

E – End of the winning run for the Columbus Crew. Nothing lasts forever, and the Earthquakes would love to extend The Ohio’s team loosing strike next Saturday. Wonder how Gregg Berhalter’s side will react to its first loss under his regime. They travel to San Jose, where winless and points hungry Earthquakes, have an appetite for 3 points. It’s about time guys.

F – Fooling on April 1, The Colorado Rapids fooled entire league on April 1st with presentation of their new away kit. On Saturday they fooled the Whitecaps defense and TV announcers, with two wonderful goals by Jose Mari. Their MLS record for getting a penalty in every game, finally ended, but their week of “fooling” finished with 3 points on the road. On Saturday the Rapids, will try to fool TFC in Toronto. Good luck with that.

Colorado Rapids April 1 2014 kit. PHOTO courtesy of Colorado Rapids

Colorado Rapids April 1 2014 kit. PHOTO courtesy of Colorado Rapids

G – Goals, goals, goals. Despite a scoreless draw in Kansas City, a total of 31 goals were scored in 5th weekend of the season, which gives us an impressive 3.44 goals per game. Well it could have been higher averages had not goalkeepers Zack MacMath and Chris Seitz, saved penalties – both are heroes for their teams.

H – Dynamo in their Orange jerseys, looked like Oranges without the juice and pulp. They played the last 30+ minutes with man down, but even before the Houston team was completely outplayed by FC Dallas in the Texas derby. Boniek Garcia – one of my favorites even failed to score from the penalty spot. I don’t remember when was the last time the Dynamo conceded 4 goals at home, but it could have been worse….. Wonder if the Houston team just had a bad day, FC Dallas is that strong, or this time coach Dominic Kinnear missed something in his preseason analysis of his cross state rivals?

I – Impact, Montreal is still making no impact on eastern conference table. Montreal ‘s team is still winless, and some fans in the province of Quebec are getting a little nervous, so are some high rank club officials, when they see their club at the bottom of the eastern conference. There is always next week, but this time the Impact will host another winless team, the Fire.

J – Jose Mari – the Colorado Rapids defensive midfielder from Spain. His brilliant two strikes one from each foot, both of them goals of the week candidates, he singlehandedly made B.C. Place in Vancouver pretty quiet. What a beautiful pair of goals, by a defensive midfielder, who was signed by the Rapids two months ago. For last two years he played in the Spanish La Liga, for Real Zaragoza.

Colorado Rapids Spanish midfielder Jose Mari, shocked everybody in Vancouver, including announcers. PHOTO Colorado Rapids

Colorado Rapids Spanish midfielder Jose Mari, shocked everybody in Vancouver, including announcers. PHOTO Colorado Rapids

In his last 38 games in La Liga, he scored just once, but he doubled that production in the Rapids uniform on Saturday in Vancouver, making technical director Paul Bravo look like a genius, and head coach Pablo Mastroeni happy. Jose Mari’s gracious corrida matador goal celebration may also get special Twitter account 🙂

K – Kings of Texas, by beating Houston Dynamo 4-1 in their stadium, FC Dallas proved they are not only dominating in the state of Texas, but also currently they are MLS’ best team. Oscar Pareja enjoying a great start of the season as FCD manager.

L – Lousy job by TV announcers of the Rapids vs Whitecaps game. Believe it or not, they missed Jose Mari’s second goal. Marcelo Balboa and his partner, talked, talked, talked and talked some more. Score actually changed to 2-1 Rapids, but they kept talking like nothing happened. All the sudden, they realized that they just missed a goal- then they were speechless. Why don’t we put somebody in there that will tell us the score every 10 minutes, (just the score) instead of listening to announcers who did not even notice the basic and most important thing in a soccer match, a goal. Common Marcelo, you are better than that.

M – Morrow, Justin just wants to say hello to San Jose Earthquakes fans, with his brilliant play and assist on Toronto FC’s second goal. He’s one of the most missed guys in Quakes locker room.

N – Nelsen, Ryan – Toronto FC head coach, for outstanding scouting and tactical job in Columbus. After 3-0 loss at RSL, and playing without 4 starters, plus Michael Bradley coming from USMNT duty in Arizona, The TFC loss was almost predictable, but not for Ryan Nelsen. He got his team well prepared, ready for the challenge and very organized.

O – Oduro, Dominic – Columbus Crew striker for his unlucky haircut. Wonder what would be his next creative thing to put on his head? A Goal with a header wont hurt, but please not next Saturday, because the Crew are visiting my Earthquakes. 🙂

Dominic Oduro haircut for Crew vs Toronto FC game

Dominic Oduro unlucky haircut for Crew vs Toronto FC game. What’s next? PHOTO Twitter

P – Philadelphia Union, after they were done with the paperwork for the Jack McInerney trade to Montreal, they planned to file a petition to MLS, for changing playing time from 90 to 80 minutes. If the games were only 80 minutes long, The Union would be on top of the Eastern Conference table now. This time in Chicago, they led 2-1 in 86th minute, and almost lost.

Q – Quality players are key to success. The Galaxy showed us that on Sunday vs Chivas USA, that no matter how good tactically the opponent is, and how ready and prepared they are, a quality player would overcome every tactic. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan as usual showed why they are Designated Players, and the 31-year-old newcomer from Sweden, Stefan Ishizaki also had a very good game.

R – The Revolution, proved in Washington, they can only score against the Earthquakes, all their game plans stopped working since they landed back on the east coast.

S – Salazar, Sebastian. Yes, not your favorite referee Ricardo, but Sebastian Salazar – the Houston Dynamo sideline reporter for his wonderful job, dynamic, energetic and with great insight in the game. After watching MLS games for 18 years, I can tell you many tried, but very few sideline reporters put that kind of effort, and positive energy level into reporting as this young man does. You better remember his name, I have feeling he will be big shot one day. Having such talented reporters, MLS soccer can grow even faster.

T – Timbers are still winless, despite leading by 2 goals with about 7 minutes to go in the match of the week at Providence Park. The Portland team is surely happy to have stadium name sponsor, but they can’t win at home after their venue name changed. The Timbers head coach Caleb Porter’s post game press conferences are getting longer, and longer. Last one was almost 15 minutes, but next Saturday there is a chance for a shorter one. The Timbers are hosting Chivas USA, in a must win situation.

U – United, congratulations on the first win of the year, hope is just the beginning. That was their first win in their last 15 games, and what is important is that they are no longer the bottom team on the east. They didn’t quite score the first goal, but The Revs defender Jose Goncalves scored for them. Chris Rolfe’s insurance goal in stoppage time was a nice welcome in D.C.. Hope United can build on it, and their fans wont wait 15 games for another victory.

V – Vision and stability in the future that was the Union’s Head coach John Hackworth’s explanation, on a surprising trade of the week. The Union sent Jack McInerney to Montreal for Andrew Wenger. Apparently Jack McInerney’s contract was going to the end, and The Union simply will loose him for nothing if he decides to go elsewhere, but he said to MLSsoccer.com that he would have loved to extend his contract with the Union?
“I definitely wanted to be here. I’ve been here since the beginning. I’ve grown to know the city and love the city and its fans. It’s pretty sad for me and disappointing.” said McInerney.
Managing owner Nick Sakiewicz, had a different idea, or/and was afraid that Jack would escape to Europe for free, when his contract ends.
“People were saying that but I was asked if I had the opportunity to go to Europe and I said I would consider it, but “I didn’t say that was something I was going to do. I was happy here in Philly. I didn’t want anything to change at that point.” McInerney said over the phone to Dave Zeitlin. OK, how will Montreal benefit from it ( the trade ) when JacMac will leave them also ? At least a little salary cap room.

Je-Vaughn Watson with Boniek Garcia. PHOTO by  Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Je-Vaughn Watson with Boniek Garcia. PHOTO by Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

W – Watson, Je-Vaughn Watson the FC Dallas midfielder – 2 beautiful headers were the decisive factor in The Texas Derby. With great support from his teammates he made FC Dallas soccer Kings of Texas. Ironically, the experienced Jamaican midfielder, brutally executed his former employer. He spent 2 seasons with Dynamo, before joining FCD in 2013. Nothing tastes better than 2 goals in 4-1 win over your former team.

X – Attendance goes up, but it’s very hard to calculate what would be the number of fans waiting for their team’s first victories. Five clubs, Fire, Red Bulls, Impact, Timbers and Earthquakes (played only 3 games) have not enjoyed the taste of victory this season, and we are already heading into week 6. FC Dallas and RSL are the only unbeaten teams this year so far.Happy 50th Birthday Frank Yallop

Y – Yallop, Frank – Happy 50th birthday to The Chicago Fire head coach. His players, and even the referee had apparently been planning to celebrate with Frank after a big victory – but when Mike Magee didn’t convert a penalty in the very last minute all was gone. . The Fire players should buy Frank Yallop some nice sunglasses as a birthday present, because he can get some serious sun injury to his hands after hanging his head in them – some say to protect him from the sun – others to protect his eyes from teams collapse at the very end.

Zac MacMath Philadelphia Union goalkeeper, hero of the game in Chicago. PHOTO by John Dorton / ISIPhotos.com

Zac MacMath Philadelphia Union goalkeeper, hero of the game in Chicago. PHOTO by John Dorton / ISIPhotos.com

Z – Zac MacMath for saving a penalty in the very last minute of stoppage time, and ruining Frank Yallop’s 50th birthday celebration.
Zac, also saved a well deserved point for the Union, and relieved his pissed off and stressed out coach. The Score was 2-2, and in 95th minute, referee Chris Penso called a penalty for Fire on a obvious Aaron Wheeler foul . The Camera showed a stunned Union manager John Hackworth, who looked like someone had just stole his brand new uninsured car.
“There were some really silly decisions that led to the goals and to the penalty kick at the end of the game, and Zac saved us,” Hackworth told reporters after the game.
Knowing “Sons of Ben”, Zac will notice their appreciation, and good luck in a real test against RSL next week.
You can contact the author, Chris Reiko, at ChrisReiko@hotmail.com
By Chris Reiko

The “Comment of The Week” gets 2 FREE tickets to any MLS game of your choice! I welcome your comments below
MLS Alphabet Week 1 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 2 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 3 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 4 / 2014

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