Look, I LOVE watching Lionel Messi play. I think the man's just absolutely brilliant with a ball at his feet. That being said, was he really deserving of the Golden Ball in this year's World Cup? I guess it comes down to your interpretation of what the Golden Ball winner should be. Should it be the best player playing in the tournament, or the player who had the best tournament? Messi is arguably the best player in the world, but I don't think you can say that there weren't people who outplayed him in Brazil. Arjen Robben comes to mind, as does James Rodriguez, or even Thomas Muller. It just seemed like a cop-out to say that Messi, after an unspectacular 120 minute finale, should have been named the tournament's MVP.
MLS Week in Review
Clint Dempsey and Marco Pappa scored late in the second half last Sunday as the Seattle Sounders persevered with a 2-0 win over their rival, the Portland Timbers. With their U.S. Open Cup win over Portland last Wednesday it marked the second time in 5 days that Seattle had defeated the Timbers.
Conor Casey got Philadelphia on the board early, and Fred and Sebastien Le Toux added goals late as Philadelphia defeated New York 3-1 on Wednesday. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 16th goal of the season in a losing effort.
Benny Feilhaber delivered the game winner in the 93rd minute as Sporting Kansas City stole a 2-1 win in Columbus. C.J. Sapong opened the scoring in the first half, but Columbus was able to equalize after Aurelien Collin was sent off early in the second.
Jermain Defoe's second half penalty forced a draw between Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Caps struck first behind a goal from Darren Mattocks.
Robbie Keane scored 2 goals and added 2 assists as the Galaxy steamrolled the Revolution on Wednesday 5-1. Gyasi Zardes added a pair of goals of his own in a game that saw both LA's Dan Gargan and New England's AJ Soares sent off with straight red cards.
Argentineans Diego Valeri and Maximiliano Urruti each scored in the second half as the Timbers rallied for a 2-1 home win over the Colorado Rapids on Friday night.
Benny Feilhaber struck for the second time this week and Lawrence Olum added a goal as Sporting KC dealt the Galaxy their first loss since May, 2-1. Robbie Keane scored his third goal of the week in a losing effort.
Steven Lenhart's 85th minute tally denied the Red Bulls a home win as San Jose and New York played to a 1-1 draw. Bradley Wright-Phillips buried a penalty kick for his league leading 17th goal of the season.
Bernardo Anor scored a pair of goals to give the Crew a 2-1 win over Montreal in front of a sellout crowd in Columbus. The Venezuelan striker doubled his goal total for the year, finding the net for the first time since March 22nd. 38 year old Marco Di Vaio, who scored 20 goals for the Impact a year ago, scored his fourth goal of the season in a losing effort.
Sebastien Le Toux scored a stoppage time penalty as the Union stole a point from the Fire in a 1-1 draw. Jeff Larentowicz, now in his 10th MLS season, had put Chicago in the lead earlier in the second half with a header.
FC Dallas extended their unbeaten streak to five games as they cruised to a 2-0 win over New England at home. Andrew Escobar and rookie Tesho Akindele scored for Dallas. Akindele, the 6th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft has three goals on the season.
Houston squandered another 2-goal lead, but this time salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. Will Bruin and Giles Barnes scored for the Dynamo with Gilberto and Dominic Oduro finding the net for Toronto. All four goals were scored in the first half.
Joao Plata's 8th goal of the season gave Real Salt Lake a 1-1 tie against Vancouver. The 5'2" Ecuadorian's 81st minute strike negated an earlier goal from Darren Mattocks. Mattocks has just four goals on the season, but 2 in the last 5 days.
Eddie Johnson, Perry Kitchen and Luis Silva all scored for DC United as they soundly defeated Chivas USA 3-1. Erick Torres accounted for Chivas USA's only goal, the sixth straight match he's found the back of the net.
The All Stars
Here's a look at your 2014 MLS All-Stars, the 23-man squad was announced on Saturday:
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Goalkeeper: Bill Hamid (DC United)
Defender: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
Defender: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Defender: DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
Defender: Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City)
Defender: Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Defender: Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)
Midfielder: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
Midfielder: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Midfielder: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)
Midfielder: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielder: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielder: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls)
Midfielder: Will Johnson (Portland Timbers)
Midfielder: Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Forward: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Forward: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
Forward: Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)
Forward: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Forward: Erick Torres (Chivas USA)
Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)
Forward: Jermain Defore (Toronto FC)
Top 10 Leading Scorers
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips (England) - New York Red Bulls - 17
2. Dom Dwyer (England) - Sporting Kansas City - 14
2. Erick Torres (Mexico) - Chivas USA - 14
4. Jermain Defoe (England) - Toronto FC - 11
5. Robbie Keane (Ireland) - LA Galaxy - 10
6. Clint Dempsey (USA) - Seattle Sounders - 9
7. Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) - Seattle Sounders - 8
7. Joao Plata (Ecuador) - Real Salt Lake - 8
7. Sebastien Le Toux (France) - Philadelphia Union - 8
10. 5 tied with 7
Player Bio of the Week
The Chicago Fire announced the signing of Romanian midfielder Razvan Cocis this week, and I'll be honest, my first reaction was... who? So here's the lowdown on the attacking central midfielder. Now 31 years old, Cocis has played for a number of clubs since his professional debut in 2001 including FC Universitatea Cluj (Romania), FC Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), Politehnica Timisoara (Romania), Al-Nassr FC (Saudi Arabia), FC Karpaty Lviv (Ukraine), FC Rostov (Russia), and FC Hoverla Uzhhorod (Ukraine). He's tallied 56 goals for his career and finished 3rd in the Moldovan National Division in scoring in 2004-05 and 2005-06 with 12 and 10 goals respectively. He helped FC Sheriff Tiraspol to a pair of championships during his tenure with the club albeit with early Champions League exits. He has appeared in 50 matches for the Romanian National Team bagging goals against Armenia in a 2006 friendly and the Faroe Islands in a 1-0 win in 2008 during the 2010 World Cup Qualification. Cocis last appeared in a Romanian jersey in the final match of World Cup Qualifying for 2014 where they fell to Greece 4-2 on the aggregate and missed the final spot in Brazil. He joins a Chicago squad that has missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons and currently find themselves in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. That said, they are in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals next month, but they must figure out a way to solve the Seattle Sounders.