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This Week in MLS--May 31, 2011

 

This Week in MLS – May 31, 2011
 
  • Gold Cup, international friendlies kick off this week
  • Quotables and Sweet Tweets
  • According to Elias: “On any given weekend …”
  • Week 12 match previews
  • Upcoming Birthdays
 
Week 12 match schedule
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Wednesday, June 1
            Chivas USA vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, June 3
            LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United, 11 p.m. (FOX Soccer)
Saturday, June 4
            Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (TSN)
            New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
            Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 8:30 p.m.
            FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution, 8:30 p.m.
            Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union, 9 p.m.
            Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 p.m.
            San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. (Galavision)
            Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
 
CONCACAF Gold Cup, international friendlies kick off this week
 
The CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Sunday, June 5, when Costa Rica takes on Cuba and Mexico faces El Salvador in a doubleheader at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In all, 32 players from 15 MLS clubsare part of 10 of the 12 national teams playing for the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
 
Other MLS players will be involved in friendlies throughout this week. Canada begin their Gold Cup preparations on Wednesday with a friendly at BMO Field in Toronto against and Ecuador side that includes scintillating Toronto FC newcomer Joao Plata. Guatemala, featuring Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire) and Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Union), begin their Gold Cup run-up with a friendly against Venezuela, who have called in Chivas USA striker Alejandro Moreno.
 
In addition, a number of MLS players are involved as African Nations Cup qualifying takes place. Kei Kamara of Sporting Kansas City has been called into Sierra Leone’s national team, Nizal Khalfan (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) has been called in by Tanzania’s national team, and Sanna Nyassi (Colorado Rapids) and Mamadou Danso (Portland Timbers) have been called in by The Gambia. New Zealand will feature three MLS players – Michael Boxall (Vancouver), Andrew Boyens (Chivas USA) and Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers) – for a pair of friendlies.
 
Quotables
 
“You can try to spin it however you want. Down a man and all that stuff. But at the end of the season, when you look back, no one’s going to remember that, they’ll just remember you lost the game.”
-- Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson, to the Salt Lake Tribune, after the club’s first league home loss in two years
 
“D.C. United said they were going to come and silence the crowd and be the first team to win at Jeld-Wen. They did one of the two things. They never silenced the crowd, but they did win the game. I take my hat off to them.”
-- Portland Timbers coach John Spencer
 
“We’re a team that doesn’t have balance. We’re one of the best teams at scoring goals, but we also receive a lot of goals. When this happens, it’s hard to win.’’
-- Chicago Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos after the club’s winless streak reached a club-record nine games
 
"Since the Fire has elected to move in a new direction with its coaching staff midseason, we wanted to ensure a seamless transition by naming [technical director] Frank Klopas interim head coach,"
-- Javier Leon, managing director of Andell Sports, the Fire’s ownership group.
 
"It's like someone's driven over a black cat at the moment."
-- Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Terry Dunfield, to The Province, after an 11th league game without a win
 
"I think it shows ambition and we're not fulfilling the ambitions we wanted to at this time. … It's very, very difficult. Teitur [Thordarson] is a fantastic guy, a top professional, hugely committed to this club. As a decision, it's certainly one of the hardest I've been involved in."
-- Paul Barber, CEO of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, upon the club’s dismissal of Thordarson as head coach. Tommy Soehn, the club’s director of soccer operations, has taken over as head coach for the remainder of the 2011 season
 
Sweet Tweets
 
@troybardy– May 24
Pulled up behind Mike Magee in Starbucks drive thru before training. When I got to the window, lady said it was taken care of! #class #mls
 
@JeffreyCarlisle– May 26
Houston had a 727 minute streak back in 2007. RT @3rdDegreeNet: Is the 489 minutes without a goal by FC Dallas the All-Time MLS record?
 
@SoccerInsider(Steven Goff) – May 29
#mls this weekend: Visiting clubs had a 5-0-4 record
 
@smitchcd(Shawn Mitchell) – May 29
I misquoted #Crew96 GK Hesmer earlier. He said: "$1 beers and six goals? You can't complain about that." No. No you can't.
 
According to the Elias Sports Bureau: “On any given weekend …”
 
Perhaps the most often-quoted incomplete thought in American culture, “On any given Sunday,” generally applies to NFL-style football. But with a little tweaking — let’s say, “on any given weekend” — it can apply just as well to fútbol. And this past weekend illustrated why MLS fans can always expect the unexpected. Here are a few examples:
 
  • Philadelphia Union scored as many goals on Saturday (six) as it had over the first nine games of the season combined.
  • The Columbus Crew entered the weekend tied with Philadelphia as the league’s lowest-scoring club, but then erased three different deficits in one home game. No MLS club had done that since the Crew beat the San Jose Earthquakes in June 1999.
  • Five players ended goalless streaks of 40 or more games by scoring a game-tying or go-ahead goal: Andrew Boyens (54 games), Emmanuel Ekpo (54), Cory Gibbs (52), Andrew Jacobson (52), and Patrick Ianni (41).
  • Only three of the top 25 active career goals leaders found the back of the net: Josh Wolff, Conor Casey, and Chris Wondolowski.
  • D.C. United became the first team from the Eastern time zone to win on the West Coast this season, and they did it against a Portland Timbers team that previously had gone 5-0 at home in MLS.
 
Week 12 match previews: June 1-4, 2011 (all times ET)
Wednesday, June 1
Chivas USA vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m.
  • The match will be the first for Whitecaps FC under coach Tom Soehn. Teitur Thordarson was relieved of his duties Monday, after the club’s MLS winless streak reached 11 games. The 59-year-old Icelander first took the reins at Vancouver in 2008 and led the club to the 2008 USL First Division title.
  • Known as “Sueño” after winning the inaugural edition of MLS Sueño, Jorge Flores scored his first goal of the season in the 3-3 draw with Columbus, the fifth of his MLS career. But he will not figure in the Vancouver match after he was sent off for the first time in MLS, received a pair of yellow cards.
  • On Saturday, Chivas USA’s Andrew Boyens scored the second goal of his MLS career, his first since June 2, 2007, playing for Toronto FC in a game against Colorado.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Though 30 shots total were fired in their first meeting, goalkeepers Jay Nolly (Vancouver) and Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA) were able to keep clean sheets April 16 at The Home Depot Center.
 
Friday, June 3
LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United, 11 p.m. (FOX Soccer)
  • Winners of three in a row by a 1-0 scoreline, the Galaxy can become the first team in MLS history to win four in a row by the game’s only goal. The MLS record for consecutive 1-0 games is Colorado with five last year from May 1-June 5, but the Rapids lost the first two and won the next three.
  • After playing in the testimonial for Manchester United’s Gary Neville at Old Trafford at midweek, David Beckham returned to the Galaxy lineup and recorded his seventh assist, one off the MLS lead.
  • In a friendly against AFC Ajax, United’s Blake Brettschneider scored a goal. Inserted into the starting lineup against Portland, the rookie from the University of South Carolina set up two goals in United’s 3-2 win.
  • The Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak vs. United to six games with a 1-1 draw April 9 at RFK, as Mike Magee and Charlie Davies traded goals. United have not defeated the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center since 2005.
 
Saturday, June 4
Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (TSN)
  • Sporting Kansas City concludes their 10-game road trip in Toronto. Livestrong Sporting Park opens Thursday, June 9. SKC halted their five-game losing skid by drawing with Colorado, though they still have not won since First Kick (now 1-6-2).
  • The six goals allowed by Toronto FC against Philadelphia were the most in club history. The previous record was five, on the final day of the 2009 season in a loss at New York when the Reds were in contention for the club’s first playoff berth.
  • Maicon Santos scored the first multi-goal game of his career last weekend against Philadelphia. His five goals in 2011 matches his single-season MLS career-high, set last year with Chivas USA and TFC.
  • Toronto FC is 2-0-2 their past four home games against Kansas City. In the inaugural game at BMO Field on June 28, 2007, Kansas City defeated TFC, 1-0.
 
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
  • With the Crew’s leading scorer, Emilio Rentería, injured, Andrés Mendoza started for the first time since April 1 and scored two goals against Chivas USA. He also stormed straight to the locker room after being substituted in the 71st minute.
  • Emmanuel Ekpo scored his first goal since May 2009, netting the late equalizer against Chivas. Earlier in the game he set up the first Crew goal; it was the first time in his 80 MLS appearances he’d been involved in more than one goal in a game.
  • Two youngsters made their MLS debuts for the Red Bulls in Vancouver – Red Bull Academy product Matt Kassel and 2010 SuperDraft selection Austin da Luz.
  • The teams are playing for the second time this season, after the Red Bulls came away from Crew Stadium with a scoreless draw March 26.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 8:30 p.m.
  • This will be the Fire’s first test under new coach Frank Klopas, the club’s technical director. The Fire fired Carlos de los Cobos after their winless streak reached nine games against San Jose, matching the club record set June 12-July 28, 2004.
  • Sounders FC have ended the two longest home unbeaten streaks in MLS history, after winning 2-1 at Real Salt Lake. Seattle also put an end to the Columbus Crew’s 22-game home unbeaten run, then the longest in league history, in a 1-0 victory Oct. 3, 2009 at Crew Stadium.
  • Twenty-year-old Colombian striker Cristian Nazarit made his MLS debut for the Fire and nearly scored his first goal, cracking a shot that hit both posts and rolled across the goal line before Dominic Oduro tapped it in.
  • Goals by O’Brian White and Steve Zakuani gave Sounders FC a 2-1 win in the first meeting between the teams this year, April 9 at Qwest Field; the Fire are winless in five meetings all-time with Seattle.
 
FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution, 8:30 p.m.
  • In the 2-2 draw at Houston, FC Dallas saw their shutout streak come to an end at 531 minutes, the fifth-longest in MLS history. It was an FCD club record and the longest this season.
  • FC Dallas ended the month of May unbeaten in seven games. A year ago, FCD lost once in the month (May 20, 0-1 to LA Galaxy) – their last loss until mid-October, 19 games unbeaten. Dallas currently has an eight-game undefeated streak overall.
  • The Revolution were shut out for the fifth time in eight games against the LA Galaxy. They’ve scored five goals over that stretch.
  • FC Dallas have only won once in six games vs. New England all-time in all competitions at Pizza Hut Park.
 
Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union, 9 p.m.
  • Justin Mapp and Danny Mwanga each had the first two-goal games of their careers in Union’s 6-2 win at Toronto FC. The six goals were the most scored in a game in the club’s short history and nearly doubled their entire output for the 2011 season (from eight to 14).
  • Gabriel Farfán scored his first MLS goal in the Union win, matching the goal scored by twin brother the previous week. The Farfans have become fifth brother act to score goals in MLS league play, matching Chris (51) and Sean (4) Henderson, DaMarcus (14) and Jamar (7) Beasley, Sam (4) and Seth (3) George, and Sainey (7) and Sanna (2) Nyassi.
  • Making his second start in three games after missing six games to a hamstring injury, Conor Casey scored his first goal of the year in Colorado’s 1-1 draw with Sporting KC. Casey has hit for double-digits in goals in each of the last three years, with 40 in all in that time.
  • The Rapids defeated Union 4-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in their first Colorado meeting, Sept. 29 of last year; the teams played to a 1-1 draw at PPL Park last August.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 p.m.
  • Real Salt Lake saw their MLS-record home unbeaten streak come to an end after 29 games in the 2-1 loss to Seattle. RSL had last lost to an MLS opponent at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 16, 2009.
  • Nick Rimando allowed his first goal since April 30 and 409 minutes, the third-longest shutout streak in club history (behind 568- and 567-minute streaks set last season, the third- and fourth-longest in MLS history).
  • RSL’s Nelson González scored his second career goal in 14 appearances, after netting last July 31 in a 3-0 win against D.C. United. It was the first goal for Real in 271 minutes, since a 1-0 win at Chivas USA on May 7.
  • Eric Hassli regained the Whitecaps FC scoring lead with his fourth goal of the season, his first since April 6, converting a penalty kick vs. New York.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo, 10 p.m. (Galavision)
  • Brad Davis reclaimed the MLS assist lead by setting up both goals in the 2-2 draw with FC Dallas.
  • Earthquakes rookie Anthony Ampaipatakwong made the second start of his MLS career and responded with two assists in the 2-2 tie with Chicago.
  • The MLS Golden Boot winner a year ago, San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski scored his sixth goal of the campaign vs. Chicago – two off the league lead held by LA’s Landon Donovan. Four of Wondolowski’s goals have come in the last six games.
  • Last year, in what’s become a rivalry of clubs sharing a common ancestry, the Dynamo won for the first time in four visits to Buck Shaw Stadium, and the Quakes won their first match at Robertson Stadium.
Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
  • Portland is the only club in MLS with five home wins so far this season, but suffered their first loss at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday against D.C. United.
  • Jack Jewsbury scored his third goal of the season, converting a penalty kick on Portland’s third attempt. Jewsbury stepped up after Kenny Cooper’s first two attempts were blocked; but United goalkeeper Hamid was adjudged to have moved early. It was the ninth goal scored this season by Portland that started from a dead ball.
  • Chivas USA alternated between scoring three goals in a game and being shut out in five consecutive games. The Red-and-White scored three goals against New England, New York and Columbus, wrapped around shutouts by Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy.
  • While it’s the first league meeting ever between the clubs, they did face other earlier this year in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match, the Timbers winning 2-0 at Jeld-Wen Field on March 29.
 
Upcoming Birthdays
Current MLS Players:
May 31 – Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson (22); Columbus Crew defender Danny O’Rourke (28).
June 3 – FC Dallas defender Jackson Goncalves (23); Seattle Sounders FC defender Taylor Graham (31).
June 4 – Toronto FC goalkeeper Milos Kocic (26); New England Revolution defender Otto Loewy (24); San Jose Earthquakes forward Scott Sealy (30).
June 6 – Chicago Fire DEF Dasan Robinson (27).
 
Notable Former MLS Players:
June 1 – Alexi Lalas (41); Tony Sanneh (40).
June 2 – Freddy Adu (22); Zak Ibsen (39); John Maessner (42).
June 3 – Richie Williams (41).
June 5 – Thor Lee (46).
June 6 – Paul Broome (35).