Sunday, July 13, 2014

The World Cup is Over... MLS Week in Review

Germany Wins the World Cup

What an epic finish to just a sensational World Cup. Mario Götze, the 22 year old Bayern Munich striker, delivered just a clinical finish in the second half of extra time to give the Germans a 1-0 win, and their first World Cup title since 1990. It wasn't the high-scoring affair that we all might have wanted, but it wasn't short on entertainment. Ultimately, Argentina just didn't create enough chances in the attacking third, and they coughed away some of the ones they did have. Still, they can hold their heads high knowing they played a really strong tournament. Germany just played a better one. Now sadly we wait for four more years until Russia, 2018.

U.S. Open Cup Semifinals Set

The semifinal pairings for the 2014 U.S. Open Cup are set with FC Dallas set to take on the Philadelphia Union on August 12th, and the Seattle Sounders hosting the Chicago Fire on August 13th.

Philadelphia defeated New England 2-0 behind Sebastien Le Toux's 14th career U.S. Open Cup Goal. Le Toux now is the tournament's all-time leading scorer in the modern era (1995-present).

Dallas got all they can handle from the Charlotte RailHawks in a high scoring affair. Down 1-0 early, Dallas got three goals from Blas Pérez and a goal and two assists from Fabián Castillo en route to a 5-2 win.

Chicago got late goals from Jeff Larentowicz and Alex to defeate a plucky Atlanta Silverbacks squad 3-1. Chicago lost Mike Magee to a red card though and will be without him for their semifinal match against the Sounders.

Seattle saw Darlington Nagbe steal a win from them late in stoppage time with a dramatic equalizer, but Kenny Cooper, tied for the lead with a tournament-high four goals, headed in the game winner in extra time after Portland had gone a man down. Marco Pappa added an insurance goal a few minutes later to send Seattle through 3-1.

MLS Weekly Recap

DC United defeated San Jose 2-1 on Friday behind goals from former U.S. National Teamer Eddie Johnson and Luis Silva. Chris Wondolowski, in his first game back from the World Cup, scored his sixth goal of the year in a losing effort.

Thierry Henry had a goal and three assists giving him 37 for his career in a New York uniform making him the franchise's all-time leader as New York routed Columbus 4-1. Bradley Wright-Phillips, a former Manchester City product, added his league leading 15th goal of the season.

Jermain Defoe, who scored for England in the 2010 World Cup, bagged a pair of goals in the second half as Toronto came back from being 2-0 down to defeat the Houston Dynamo 4-2. U.S. World Cup veteran Brad Davis scored twice for Houston in the first half.

After scoring just 7 goals in his first 5 MLS seasons, Quincy Amarikwa is in the midst of a break-out season in 2014. The 26 year-old striker tallied his sixth goal of the season to give Chicago a 1-0 win over New England. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson denied Chris Tierney on a PK late in the match to preserve the win and earn the shutout.

22 year-old Gyasi Zardes scored the only goal of the match as the LA Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak to 7 games with a 1-0 victory over Nick Rimando and Real Salt Lake. Rimando saved a late penalty to keep the game close, but Real Salt Lake was unable to find an equalizer.

Colorado rallied from a 3-1 deficit to draw with the Philadelphia Union 3-3 on Saturday. Jamaican-born Deshorn Brown scored in the 86th minute to even up the score and break the hearts of the Philadelphia faithful. Argentinian midfielder Cristian Maidana, in his first MLS season, delivered his 8th assist of the year for the Union, second in the league behind Henry's 9.

Dom Dwyer scored two more goals, giving him 14 on the year, as Kansas City defeated Montreal 2-1. Dwyer has 6 goals this year against the Impact, the last of which came in the 89th minute of this match to break a 1-1 tie. Unfortunately for American soccer fans, if you're hoping Dom Dwyer is the future for U.S. strikers, Dwyer is English.

Erick Torres, on loan to Chivas USA from Guadalajara (Mexico), scored for the fifth straight match as Chivas USA defeated Vancouver 3-1. Vancouver's Jordan Harvey sustained a costly red card in the 69th minute of the match with the game still tied at 1. The Whitecaps were unable to hang on after going a man down.


Top 10 Leading Scorers
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips (England) - New York Red Bulls - 15
2. Dom Dwyer (England) - Sporting Kansas City - 14
3. Erick Torres (Mexico) - Chivas USA - 13
4. Jermain Defoe (England) - Toronto FC - 10
5. Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) - Seattle Sounders - 8
5. Clint Dempsey (USA) - Seattle Sounders - 8
7. Fabián Espíndola (Argentina) - DC United - 7
7. Robbie Keane (Ireland) - LA Galaxy - 7
7. Joao Plata (Ecuador) - Real Salt Lake - 7
7. Jack McInerney (USA) - Montreal Impact - 7

Player Bio of the Week

This week's focus is on striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. The 29 year old Englishman leads MLS this year with 15 goals for the New York Red Bulls. Signed in late July of 2013, the Red Bulls were 4-0 in games he started last year and he scored once during the regular season and again in the playoffs. In 2014, he's become a mainstay up top with Thierry Henry helping New York to an Eastern Conference high 30 goals through 23 matches. Wright-Phillips has a pair of hat tricks on the season, and has scored in 9 of his last 11 league matches. He began his career with Manchester City, but after an unproductive couple of seasons there, he was sold to Southampton before later ending up with Plymouth Argyle, Charlton Athletic and Brentford. Wright-Phillips' best season came in 2011-12 when he led Charlton Athletic to the English Football League One Championship behind his league leading 22 goals. His success didn't transfer up a division though as he scored just once in 19 league matches during the 2012-2013 season and was subsequently released. Wright-Phillips logged five appearances with the English U-20 National Team back in 2005, but has not been a member of the National Team picture in recent years.

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