Monday, July 28, 2014

Impact's Struggles Continue and Big Week for Sporting KC

Beasley, Zusi and Besler

Busy week in MLS, and an even busier week here as evidenced by the fact that it's Tuesday morning and we're just now getting to the "Sunday" Soccer Blog. We'll try and get updated scoring leaders and standings out later in the week, but first a quick recap: DaMarcus Beasley is coming back to MLS where he'll suit up for the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo traded Warren Creaville for the rights to Beasley, the only American to play in four World Cups.

Meanwhile in Kansas City, amid speculation that Graham Zusi and Matt Besler might be headed overseas following their World Cup performances, both players signed on as Designated Players, as Sporting's odds of defending their title improved dramatically. It's an exciting turn of events if you're an MLS fan, as the league gets to keep some of its home grown talent. It also improves the likelihood of a successful Champions League run as Sporting gets set to take on Saprissa and Real Estelí starting in a couple of weeks.

Champions League Schedule

Here's the schedule for your five MLS sides:

8/5 - Montreal Impact vs FAS (El Salvador)
8/19 - Real Estelí (Nicaragua) vs Sporting Kansas City
8/19 - Alpha United (Guyana) vs Portland Timbers
8/20 - FAS (El Salvador) vs Montreal Impact
8/20 - DC United vs Waterhouse (Jamaica)
8/26 - New York Red Bulls vs FAS (El Salvador)
9/16 - Waterhouse (Jamaica) vs DC United
9/16 - Portland Timbers vs Olimpia (Honduras)
9/17 - Montreal Impact vs New York Red Bulls
9/18 - Sporting Kansas City vs Saprissa (Costa Rica)
9/23 - Sporting Kansas City vs Real Estelí (Nicaragua)
9/23 - Portland Timbers vs Alpha United (Guyana)
9/24 - FAS (El Salvador) vs New York Red Bulls
9/24 - DC United vs Tauro FC (Panama)
10/21 - Tauro FC (Panama) vs DC United
10/21 - Olimpia (Honduras) vs Portland Timbers
10/22 - New York Red Bulls vs Montreal Impact
10/23 - Saprissa (Costa Rica) vs Sporting Kansas City

Weekly Recap

Five different players scored for San Jose on Wednesday night as the Earthquakes cruised to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Fire. Yannick Djalo had a goal and two assists, and Chris Wondolowski added his 7th goal of the season to lead the way for the Quakes who were without starting striker Steven Lenhart. Grant Ward scored his first career MLS goal for Chicago.
21 year-old Colombian Olmes Garcia scored twice in the second half to power Real Salt Lake to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact. Montreal's Issey Nakajima-Farran was sent off for a vicious tackle midway through the second half with the game still tied at 1 and Real Salt Lake was able to capitalize on the man advantage.
On the night Colorado inducted their head coach and former U.S. National Teamer Pablo Mastroeni into their Gallery of Honor, the Rapids played one of their best matches of the year and routed Chivas USA 3-0. Nick LaBrocca, Drew Moor and Gabriel Torres all found the back of the net for Colorado while Erick Torres saw his 6-match scoring streak come to an end.
Even with defensive ace Matt Besler getting sent off in the second half following a second yellow card, Sporting Kansas City prevailed over Toronto 2-1 thanks to a late goal from substitute Jacob Peterson. Graham Zusi added his second goal of the year for Sporting as Kansas City won their 4th straight match.
Wins have been hard to come by for New England this year, and they fell yet again on Saturday to Columbus by a score of 2-1. Federico Higuain, brother of Argentinean World Cupper Gonzalo Higuain, gave Columbus an early lead with a brilliant free kick, and Ethan Finlay scored the game winner late in the second half.
Dallas and Vancouver battled to a 2-2 draw on Sunday in a match that saw all four goals scored in the match's first 53 minutes. Darren Mattocks scored in his third straight match for the Whitecaps and Blas Perez, Panama's second leading scorer with 34 goals for Los Canaleros, scored his sixth goal of the year for Dallas.
The Impact's tough week continued as Diego Valeri's 82nd minute goal broke a 2-2 tie and gifted the Timbers a 3-2 win in Montreal. Valeri has now scored in 3 of 4 matches for Portland who also got goals from Maxi Urruti and Will Johnson.
In the latest showdown between Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, the former Captain America once again emerged victorious as the Galaxy shocked Seattle 3-0. Donovan finished with a goal and a pair of assists, and LA added tallies from Gyasi Zardes and Stefan Ishizaki.

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