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MLS Alphabet Week 7

MLS Alphabet Week 7

MLS Alphabet – A Light column from A to Z about MLS Soccer, read Weekly and Alphabetically

By Chris Reiko

Who was to blame, and who solved Chicago Fire’s problems with converting penalties? Toronto FC GK Julio Cesar and questions about his salary. Chris ReikoWhich player is Peter Vermes’ biggest pain in the ass? Who has a hospital in their locker room, and why do 40% of the MLS games have the same outcome? Which coach asked referees for “fair consideration,” and which others asked them to define “delay of the game?” What do President Obama, the White House and underwear have to do with MLS soccer? We had 6 red cards on yellow Easter, all in MLS Alphabet Week 7.

A – Anangono, Juan Luis – First of all, why did the 25 year-old Chicago Fire striker take the penalty? His shot was weaker than those in high school girls’ league, and it ruined Easter in the Chicago area. Who in Fire uniform should’ve taken penalties, and who took responsibility for it? You will find out under letter L.

B – Blank, Arthur, the new Atlanta MLS franchise owner. Based on several interviews, Arthur Blank is already assuring fans that he’s serious about his MLS soccer project in Atlanta. He already knows very well how to get attention of millions of soccer fans, and not only at the stadium. The 71 year-old Blank, as one of its founders, started the company called The Home Depot in 1978, which is now worth over 100 billion dollars. Sounds familiar for soccer fans, not only from LA or Atlanta.

C – Cesar, Julio – Toronto FC goalkeeper and his salary.

Julio Cesar PHOTO Toronto FC

Does Julio Cesar really play for $202,000 a year? PHOTO Toronto FC

Many General Managers and owners of MLS clubs, maybe not publicly yet, are seriously questioning his salary and TFC cap-management in general. After our own tiny investigation, it looks like up to 2012 he was making around $2.5 million as goalkeeper for Inter Milan, and he left the club after refusing to lower his salary. In 2012, Julio Cesar signed a 4-year contract with then English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, where, according to several British sources, his salary was 45,000 pounds / week, which translates to over $75,000 per week and $3.9 million annually. At some point last year Arsenal offered him 30,000 pounds weekly, but he didn’t accept the offer, which means he was making more with QPR. There is a high possibility that QPR covers some part of Julio Cesar’s current salary, because it’s hard to believe that he loves Toronto so much that he decided to lower his income more than 10 times just to play for them. Where is the problem? Toronto FC claims that Julio Cesar salary, costs them only $202,000 per …..year. Do you believe it?

D – Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City forward. The 23 year-old Englishman has scored four goals in his last four matches, including two against Impact on Saturday, but his coach Peter Vermes said he’s a pain. See letter P below.

E – Eggs, Easter – BTW, the Earthquakes got their first clean sheet of the season, lets hope they can do it little more often, because Easter comes only once a year.

F – Fair consideration, that’s what Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera is asking MLS referees for when they call his team’s games.

Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera. PHOTO by John Dorton / ISIPhotos.com

Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera. PHOTO by John Dorton / ISIPhotos.com

“We don’t receive the respect and we don’t receive fair consideration from the refereeing,” Cabrera told reporters after 1-2 home loss to the Sounders. “We know that it’s going to be difficult, but even at home, it’s the second game we finish with 10 men; that’s not right. Every call and every 50-50 call was for the other team.

“[The] Sounders are a very good team. They won because they scored two goals and we only scored one, but it’s a little bit frustrating with those calls, those issues and that red card. At this point, it’s fair to say the players feel that they don’t receive respect from the guys in yellow.” said Cabrera, and it is hard not to agree with him. To be fair, the trend is not only against Chivas USA. Not sure if that will make coach Cabrera happier, but we have a few other teams often getting 50/50 calls made against them, based on reputation: the Earthquakes, D.C. United, the Dynamo and the Revolution.

G – Gorlitz, Andreas, the San Jose Earthquakes right back. Maybe it’s a little too early or unfair to give him too much credit for entire team’s solid defensive performance, but his presence definitely helped the Quakes escape with a point from Colorado. The 32 year-old Gorlitz knows his fussball. In his long career, he has played 18 games for Bayern Munich and has 2 caps for the German National Team. Let’s hope he stays healthy.

H – Hospital – A hospital is an institution providing patient treatment with specialized staff and equipment, but that’s also what Toronto FC’s and San Jose Earthquakes’ locker rooms should be called. Injuries are just killing the Quakes this season, and things are getting serious out there. The injured Steven Lenhart is gone until at least mid-June, Alan Gordon will likely join him, and Yannick Djalo hasn’t even started single game yet, but had to be subbed out in Colorado due to his hamstring problems.

I – Impact de Montreal – Their office has become a place where more and more coaches’ and general managers’ resumes arrive every week. The Impact team become very consistent, and in KC was their second game in a row, they ended with 2 shots on goal.

J – Jurisevic, Edvin, the referee of the Rapids vs Earthquakes scoreless draw.

Edwin Jurisevic PHOTO Stephen Dunn GETTY IMAGES

Referee Edwin Jurisevic PHOTO Stephen Dunn GETTY IMAGES

Overall, Jurisevic had very solid game, even with San Jose fans questioning his red card call on Adam Jahn. That decision was based on 4th official Tyler Ploeger’s statement, and he had no choice other than showing red to Jahn. DisCo may yet overturn the call, allowing Jahn to play in the Quakes’ next game vs Chivas USA.

K – Kansas City is a very friendly town, with exceptions for visiting teams. The MLS Cup Champs aren’t kidding around at their beautiful stadium. With 4 goals scored against the Montreal Impact, it was pure execution on last year playoff team.

L – Larentowicz, Jeff – Every single Fire fan asked why the Chicago Fire midfielder and team captain did not take the penalty in final seconds. Larentowicz took responsibility: “Juan steps up and grabs the ball, that’s what happened, but as captain and as one who has made a penalty kick this year, I should take the ball and take the kick. That’s on me, not Juan.” said Larentowicz, basically telling us who will take next PK for the Fire. You would think Jeff will convert 🙂

M – Manneh Kekuta – the Vancouver Whitecaps striker scored a beautiful goal of the week against the Galaxy. The 19 year-old youngster from Gambia is arguably one of the most valuable assets not only the Whitecaps but MLS has at the moment.

N – Nigeria is not only a USMNT warm-up opponent before the World Cup, but also the country that gave us Sounders forward Obafemi Martins. Martins scored another nice goal that turned out to be the game winner after a brilliant pass by our National Treasure, Clint Dempsey.

O – Obama, Barack – The President of United States has designated about an hour each year to host the MLS Cup Champions at the White House.President Barack Obama David Beckham MLS

Sporting Kansas City players, their head coach Peter Vermes, and staff members will all have their photo taken with the President at the White House. That’s great motivation for winning the next MLS Cup. Once, during an LA Galaxy visit to the White House, President Obama even mentioned David Beckham’s underwear. Wonder who he will pick from SKC?

P – Pain in the ass – “Sorry, but he was a pain in the ass for their defenders, he really was. They were having a hard time with him all night,” said Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes, about his English striker Dom Dwyer. Wonder if coach Vermes would trade his pain maker to some other MLS club, as many coaches would love to have that kind of pain maker in their team.

Q – Quality goalkeeping by Nick Rimando not only preserved 3 points for RSL, but also all-but-assured his spot as third goalkeeper on the USMNT World Cup roster. No MLS goalie deserves more than Nick.

R – Red Eggs and Red Cards. Easter-time is, through eggs, usually associated with the color yellow, but in many countries there is huge Easter tradition of painting eggs many different colors. Maybe that’s where the avalanche of red cards came from. A total of 6 were issued last Saturday in 9 MLS matches. Some of them were more obvious than others, but DisCo (MLS Disciplinary Committee) will be busy this week, and may take some overtime to review them.

S – Shuttleworth, Bobby – The New England Revolution goalkeeper saved his first penalty kick in MLS and, in doing so, saved a point for the Boston team. “I’m just trying to read him a bit and it is an educated guess and spread myself and I made the save,” said the 26 year-old Shuttleworth. His save wouldn’t have been possible if not for a huge contribution from the shooter, who confirmed it was the worst penalty he’d ever taken.

T – Troy Perkins – the Montreal Impact goalkeeper allowed 4 goals, including some that he can clearly assign to his account. Goalkeeping is not the only problem that team from Quebec currently has, but at least this time they can use it as an excuse.

U – United from Washington came up with a surprising point on the road in Columbus, but it could’ve been a lot better. D.C. United’s lack of focus in the final minutes cost them 2 points, but if anybody had offered head coach Ben Olsen a point before the game, I’m confident he would’ve taken it.

V – Victory is a great thing, and gives us wonderful feelings, but fans of 4 teams still haven’t tasted it this year. Fans in Chicago, Montreal, Portland and San Jose are still waiting for their teams’ first win of the season. Spoiled fans from Utah don’t know what defeat really means.

W – Watson, Mark – congrats to the San Jose Earthquakes head coach on his first clean sheet of the season, especially given that his job, day after day, becomes more difficult.

Mark Watson, San Jose Earthquakes head coach has key players injured. PHOTO Jesus Chavez

Mark Watson, San Jose Earthquakes head coach has key players injured. PHOTO Jesus Chavez

Watson made some tough decisions, and partially got rewarded for it. That was the first Earthquakes game this year without last off-season’s acquisition Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi as starting DM. Coach Mark Watson played rookie JJ Koval instead, and while maybe it wasn’t perfect, it was better. He also started the finally-healthy RB Andreas Gorlitz and Ty Harden as LB. The Rapids are not too explosive offensively, but the plan worked out defensively. The Rapids had problems creating chances, but so did the Quakes. High hopes for a dynamic offense provided by Yannick Djalo had to be adjusted due to his hamstring injury.

X-Factor – Draws have become the most popular outcome of MLS games. 25 out of 62 (over 40%) MLS matches in the first 7 weeks of this season have ended in a draw. Last Saturday, 5 out of 9 MLS games ended with a tie. The Chicago Fire are the league leaders with 6  consecutive draws (tying an MLS record), and the Union are second with 5. Last year the Timbers set an MLS season record with 15 draws, and they are already on track to match that number this year with 4. The only team without a single draw this year is Toronto FC.

Y – “You have to be able to do that,” said angry Frank Yallop, the Chicago Fire head coach, currently one of unluckiest MLS managers. If his players only score from the penalty spot or even follow-up on rebounds, the Fire would be one of the top teams in Eastern Conference. Instead they hold the record with 6 consecutive ties. “Taking a penalty kick late in the game is part of winning,” Yallop said. On a positive note, under Frank Yallop, the Fire have lost only once, in their first game at Chivas USA.

Z – ZERO Tolerance by referee Armando Villarreal for delay-of-game tactics, often used in the last 15 minutes of pretty much every single MLS match. That’s why Houston Dynamo’s Kofi Sarkodie got his second yellow card and was sent off. “If that’s delay of game, there could be yellow cards handed out to a number of people that stand in front of the ball on free kicks or who take forever to get a throw in,” Kinnear said after the game. “How that’s a second yellow to me is a bit of a surprise.” Intentional delays and time killing by teams with a favorable score are not only an MLS problem, and consistency of officiating in that department would save some frustration from teams that need to change the score.
You can contact the author, Chris Reiko, at ChrisReiko@hotmail.com

MLS Alphabet Week 1 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 2 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 3 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 4 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 5 / 2014 MLS Alphabet Week 6 / 2014

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  1. Julio C is on loan and QPR is paying most of his salary after he agreed to reduce his salary significantly so he can get playing time ahead of the world cup. This all came out at the press conference months ago.

    Are you saying TFC is not allowed to get a player on loan?

  2. Gazza, nobody is questioning TFC rights to have player on loan, but is very interesting why all the sudden he comes for very little money?
    Do you know how many clubs in Europe and Brazil would like to have Julio on loan, and they will pay at least double or triple what TFC paying him now ?

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