Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why Chad Barrett Makes Sense for San Jose

On Monday, the San Jose Earthquakes made their first major move of the offseason by signing free agent striker Chad Barrett to a contract. Here's five reasons why this is a good move for San Jose:

1) Despite another big season from Chris Wondolowski, the Quakes scored more goals than just two teams in 2015, Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids. Midseason acquisition Quincy Amarikwa was the only player other than Wondo to score more than three goals, something Barrett has done eight times in 11 seasons including five goals in 2015 for Seattle.

2) Injuries to Innocent and Steven Lenhart left the Quakes without much quality depth up top in 2015. Adam Jahn, Mark Sherrod, Tommy Thompson, Leandro Barrera and Mike Fucito combined to score just 1 goal in 57 appearances, and it wasn't until the addition of Amarikwa that the Quakes had any semblance of a credible second attacking option.

3) Barrett is a winner. Over the course of his career he has won two U.S. Open Cups, two Supporter's Shields, one MLS Cup and two Canadian Championships. The Quakes have just one postseason appearance in the past five years while Barrett has made eight trips to the postseason.

4) Barrett is accustomed to coming off the bench as he's made at least as many substitute appearances as starts in each of the past four seasons. Quake reserves combined to score just one goal all year (by Cordell Cato vs LA on June 27th). Barrett scored two goals as a sub in 2015, three as a sub in 2014, two as a sub in 2013, one as a sub in 2012 and two as a sub in 2011.

5) Only two teams allowed fewer goals than San Jose in 2015, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders, but San Jose still missed the playoffs by four points in the tough Western Conference. If Barrett can even provide a slight uptick in offense, the Quakes who had five games in 2015 that ended as either a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 defeat could be a playoff team.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Making Moves

Here's a look at three more moves in what has already been a busy MLS offseason:

1) Marco Pappa traded to Colorado. Pappa's two year stint with the Sounders has drawn to a close as the Guatemalan midfielder was shipped to Colorado for cash earlier this month. It comes as a bit of a surprise that Seattle would cut ties with the useful midfielder, but in addition to Pappa, the Sounders will also be heading into 2016 without Lamar Neagle (DC United), Michael Azira (Colorado) and Andy Rose (Coventry City) in addition to having Chad Barrett, Leonardo Gonzalez, Troy Perkins, Gonzalo Pineda and Zach Scott all not under contract. Pappa should provide an immediate boost to the Rapids' league-worst attack and adds a veteran presence to their midfield. The MVP of the 2014 Copa Centroamericana has 35 goals and 27 assists in 161 regular season matches for Seattle and Chicago, and has also notched three assists in ten postseason appearances. He also scored this gem against the U.S. during World Cup Qualifying in 2012.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Flashback Highlights

Saw this on Facebook the other day, and didn't realize it was from like two years ago. Anyhow, here's a clip of some ridiculous goalkeeping by Peruvian U-20 goalkeeper Angelo Campos as he denies Uruguay's Gonzalo Bueno twice in succession at the 2013 South American Youth Championship, and I'm pretty sure wins a goal kick as well. Peru would add a late goal to tie the match at 3 goals apiece.


The Mexican Exodus

It's still early in the MLS offseason, but already four MLS regulars have made moves south of the border to join first division teams in Mexico. Juninho (Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Luis Gil (Querétaro) and Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna) will all be in different jerseys next season with Villafaña and Gonzalez joining Champions League sides from Liga MX. While this is a positive move for U.S. Soccer with Gonzalez, Villafaña and Gil all with some level of National Team experience, it doesn't do a lot for MLS's Champions League aspirations. The Galaxy lose both Juninho and Gonzalez from their 2015-16 Champions League run and could now conceivably have to play against Villafaña in the CCL Knockout Round. Not only that, the Timbers won't have Villafaña for their run in the 2016-17 Champions League. Similarly, Real Salt Lake is also still alive in the 2015-16 Champions League and they will have to move forward without Luis Gil. A Champions League title continues to prove elusive for MLS and as long as players in their prime (Gonzalez is the oldest of the four at age 27) are transferring south instead of north, it will continue to be an uphill battle for MLS clubs.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Making Moves

Lots of moves in the early stages of the MLS offseason, but here's my thoughts on three:

1) Drew Moor Signs with Toronto - Moor leaves the Colorado Rapids where he won an MLS Cup in 2010 and made it to his first All Star game in 2015, a season after suffering an ACL injury. A veteran of 11 MLS seasons, Moor has appeared in over 300 regular season matches, as well as appearing for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2007 and 2008. What Moor will give Toronto is a veteran presence on a back line that allowed a league-worst 58 goals during the 2015 regular season. For all of Colorado's struggles during the 2015 season, the defense conceded just 43 goals, ranking behind only FC Dallas, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and San Jose. Toronto had no trouble scoring goals this past season with the likes of Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley running the offense, but with the addition of Moor and Steven Beitashour, the defense becomes less of a liability moving forward.

2) Tyler Miller Signs with Seattle - So last winter Miller made headlines by opting not to sign with the Sounders in favor of a fourth division opportunity in Germany, a topic of conversation that we covered in our Superman & SoccerSmith Q&A last January. Now, a little under a year later, Miller has signed a deal with the Sounders for the 2016 season. Funny how things work out. Stefan Frei is still the number one guy in Seattle, but with Troy Perkins' option declined, Miller has a chance to serve as his back-up.

3) Dan Kennedy Traded to LA Galaxy - I was excited last year when Kennedy joined FC Dallas, and I'm equally excited about him getting picked up by the Galaxy this year. While he won't have defensive stalwart Omar Gonzalez in front of him in 2016, the Galaxy will still likely be one of league's top teams, and Kennedy will be an upgrade over the declining Donovan Ricketts in net. Kennedy allowed just 19 goals in 16 starts for FC Dallas last season before getting replaced by 20 year old phenom Jesse Gonzalez down the stretch. Dallas, in return for Kennedy, will receive a pair of draft picks in 2017.

Barcelona Wins Club World Cup

With a 3-0 win over Argentina's River Plate on Sunday, Barcelona won their third FIFA Club World Cup Final, becoming the first team to do so. Barcelona, who also won the tournament in 2009 and 2011, defeated Guangzhou Evergrande (China) 3-0 in the semifinals behind three goals from Uruguay's Luis Suárez before riding two more Suárez goals to an identical 3-0 win in the Championship. Suárez's five goals are the most ever scored by a player in the tournament's history (which dates back to 2000). As such, Suárez earned the tournament's Golden Ball while teammates Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta earned the Silver and Bronze Balls respectively.

And We're Back!

Been a wild month here with the birth of my second son, but things have finally settled down enough to get back into the blog. With that said, a lot's happened since my last post. There's a new MLS Champion, players are changing teams, Abby Wambach has retired, there's a new NCAA Champion, and so much more... There's obviously no way I can cover it all, but as they say when trying to eat an elephant, you do it one bite at a time. So here we go in full catch-up mode. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Three Things - 12/6/15

1) Lucas Melano's nail in the coffin against FC Dallas last weekend was filthy, and that's exactly the reason that Portland signed him to a designated player contract. The 22 year old had just a goal and three assists during the regular season after signing in July, but he's obviously got some moves.

2) Two of MLS's best African strikers will face off against another today as Fanendo Adi (Portland/Nigeria) and Kei Kamara (Columbus/Sierra Leone) both led their clubs in scoring this season. The two combined for all three goals in the only meeting between the Crew and the Timbers during the regular season, a 2-1 win for the Timbers.

3) Here's five players to watch from each team in today's final.

For Columbus:

Kei Kamara - Tied for League Lead with 22 goals this season
Ethan Finlay - 12 Goals and 13 Assists during regular season
Federico Higuaín - Excellent playmaker in central midfield
Gastón Sauro - Big Center Back who has dramatically raised Columbus's level of defending
Justin Meram - Iraqi International; scored fastest goal in postseason history vs NYRB

For Portland:

Fanendo Adi - Led Team with 16 goals during regular season
Diego Valeri - Sensational passer/playmaker, now finally healthy
Darlington Nagbe - Latest addition to USMNT, could play huge role in 2018 World Cup Cycle
Nat Borchers - Amazing Beard, bruising defender, natural leader
Adam Kwarasey - League-high 13 shutouts, won shootout vs Sporting KC this postseason

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chivas USA - Where are they now?

Here's a look at what the players from Chivas USA's final days did in MLS this season:

Dispersal Draft:

1. Dan Kennedy - FC Dallas - 16 GS, 30 Saves, 19 GA, 5 Shutouts, 7-5-4
2. Matt Dunn - New York City FC - 1 appearance (waived in June)
3. Thomas McNamara - New York City FC  (exp draft) - 19 Apps, 15 Starts, 5 Goals, 3 Assists
4. Donny Toia - Montreal Impact - 31 Apps, 29 Starts, 1 Goal, 0 Assists
5. Caleb Calvert - Colorado Rapids - DNP (On Loan to Charlotte Independence)
6. Kris Tyrpak - DNP (waived by San Jose in Feb, played w/ Austin Aztec & San Antonio Scorpions)
7. Marco Delgado - Toronto FC - 20 Apps, 19 Starts, 3 Goals, 3 Assists


Bobby Burling - Colorado Rapids - Waiver Draft - 22 Apps, 22 Starts, 2 Goals, 0 Assists
Carlos Bocanegra - Did Not Play, Retired
Tony Lochhead - Did Not Play in MLS
Martín Rivero - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for Aldosivi (Argentina)
Nigel Reo-Coker - Montreal Impact - Waiver Draft - 28 Apps, 20 Starts, 0 Goals, 2 Assists
Agustín Pelletieri - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for Tigre (Argentina)
Michael Nwlioh - Did Not Play in MLS
Akira Kaji - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for Fagiano Okayama (Japan)
Eric Avila - Orlando City SC (Loan from Santos Laguna) - 21 Apps, 15 Starts, 1 Goal, 2 Assists
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - Did Not Play in MLS, Released by New York Red Bulls in June
Marvin Chávez - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for San Antonio Scorpions
Ryan Finley - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for Charlotte Independence
Trevor Spangenberg - New England Revolution (Loaned to Richmond Kickers) - DNP
Nathan Sturgis - Houston Dynamo - Reentry Draft - 18 Apps, 15 Starts, 1 Goal, 2 Assists
Oswaldo Minda - Did Not Play in MLS, Plays for Barcelona (Ecuador)
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado - Did Not Play in MLS

Designated Players:

Cubo Torres - Houston Dynamo - 11 Apps, 3 Starts, 0 Goals, 1 Assist

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Postseason Goal Scorers by Nationality - Conference Finals Leg 1

Lots of goals this weekend as the conference finals kicked off with both home teams coming away with two-goal victories. Here's how all of the postseason goals break down by nationality of the goal scorer. Kei Kamara leads everyone with three goals in this year's postseason while Liam Ridgewell became the fifth player to score in this year's playoffs after not scoring during the regular season.

Argentina (3)

Federico Higuaín (Columbus) - (1) - 8 goals in 32 appearances
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal) - (1) - 9 goals in 26 appearances
Maximiliano Urruti (Portland) - (1) - 4 goals in 30 appearances

Austria (1)

Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle) - (1) - 1 goal in 6 appearances

Canada (3)

Patrice Bernier (Montreal) - (2) - 0 goals in 20 appearances
Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas) - (1) - 5 goals in 28 appearances

Monday, November 23, 2015

MLS Cup Conference Finals Diary, Leg 1


All right, time to watch the first leg of the Conference Finals. We'll start off with the Red Bulls taking on the Columbus Crew and then we'll follow that up with FC Dallas against the Portland Timbers. Hopefully we can get through both games, but that will really depend on whether or not my poor laptop can hold it together and if my wife can hold off on going into labor (due date is tomorrow). Let's start with Columbus vs New York...

The big story for Columbus is the fact that they're without their starting center back, Gastón Sauro, who's on a yellow card suspension. Sauro has been a tremendous addition to a defense that had issues all year, but tonight it'll be on Tyson Wahl teaming up with Michael Parkhurst in the heart of the Crew defense. Here we go!

0' - WOW. So the game has been going for all of 10 seconds and Justin Meram already has the Crew up 1-0. Taylor Twellman made the comment before the game started that this game would have some fireworks, and so far it has not disappointed. Ethan Finlay got absolutely trucked my Matt Miazga on that play too, but funny how those plays don't seem to hurt as much when you score.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

U.S. Settles For Draw in Trinidad and Tobago

So, the U.S. played a feisty Trinidad and Tobago side to a 0-0 draw and people are freaking out a little bit. My favorite comment though came from @benpkaufmann:

Phenomenal performance if we're in the WC needing a tie w/ Brazil. Qualifier v Trinidad? Not so impressive #USMNT #USAvTRI

Similar stuff from @Metro_Soccer:

Yes, Klinsmann said a draw would be good enough on the road, and no, it should not be. Trinidad isn't Argentina or Brazil #USMNT #USAvTRI

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Looking Back at Previous World Cup Qualifying Cycles

In preparations for this afternoon's World Cup Qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and look at how we fared in previous World Cup Qualifiers over the last four World Cup cycles. Not surprisingly, the U.S. generally has performed pretty well sporting an overall mark of 44-12-12 between 2000 and 2012. Here's some of the more notable observations I made:

1) Earnie Stewart was a beast during the 2002 World Cup Qualifying cycle scoring 8 goals in a 12 match span. He only scored 19 international goals in his entire career. He didn't pile them up against just the minnows either scoring against Mexico, in Costa Rica, and in Honduras.

2) Eddie Johnson scored goals during qualifiers during the cycles of 2006, 2010 and 2014. The only other players to do that were Carlos Bocanegra and Landon Donovan.

3) Clint Dempsey, an omission from the current squad, scored 8 times in World Cup Qualifying for the U.S. during the 2014 cycle.

4) The last American to score in a World Cup Qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago was Ricardo Clark (2009).

5) For all the talk about how Mexico is such a tough place for the U.S. to play, the U.S. has lost every World Cup Qualifying match they've played in Costa Rica going back to the 1990 cycle and have been outscored 19-6 over their last eight matches. You have to go back to the 1985 CONCACAF Championship - the precursor to the current World Cup Qualifying - where the U.S. drew 1-1 inCosta Rica to find a qualifier the U.S. didn't lose there.

6) The U.S. had just 7 shutouts in 16 World Cup Qualifying matches during the 2014 cycle. Only one of those shutouts came on the road, and that was in Mexico.

7) Of all the U.S. players who scored against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, only Jozy Altidore had previously scored for the U.S. in a World Cup Qualifier.

8) The U.S. lost in Trinidad and Tobago in 2008, 2-1.

9) Jozy Altidore's first international hat trick came against Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

10) Dating back to last cycle, the U.S. has won four consecutive World Cup Qualifying matches.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

U.S. U-23s Throttled in Loss to Brazil, 5-1

An early 1-0 lead quickly became a distant memory as the U.S. U-23s found themselves on the wrong end of a rout in Brazil. The two teams went into halftime tied at one goal apiece before the floodgates opened up and Brazil wound up winning 5-1. The U.S. were outscored 7-2 in their two game series with the Brazilians. It was a disappointing trip for the U.S. as they get ready for next year's two-game series with Colombia to determine the final spot in the 2016 Olympics. Colombia split two games with Brazil earlier this year in the South American Youth Football Championship, dropping their first match 2-1, before beating them 3-0. Here's a look at how MLS was represented in the Starting XI of today's defeat:

Starters vs Brazil

Dave Romney - LA Galaxy
Eric Miller - Montreal Impact
Dillon Serna - Colorado Rapids
Matt Polster - Chicago Fire
Khiry Shelton - New York City FC

Saturday, November 14, 2015

USMNT and CMNT MLS Contingent Results

For the U.S. vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Around CONCACAF - World Cup Qualifying

By now, the fact that the U.S. has defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines is old news, but what about the rest of CONCACAF? Just as a refresher, the Fourth Round of Qualifying for CONCACAF consists of round-robin play for three four-team groups. The top two teams in each group will advanced to the Fifth Round, commonly known as the Hexagonal. The U.S. is in Group C with Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The other two groups are Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Canada and Honduras, and Group B: Panama, Jamaica, Haiti and Costa Rica. Here's a quick glance at the rest of the matches on Match Day 1 (home teams in bold):

Group A

Mexico 3 El Salvador 0
Canada 1 Honduras 0

Group B

Costa Rica 1 Haiti 0
Panama 2 Jamaica 0

Group C

Trinidad and Tobago 2 Guatemala 1
United States 6 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1

And here's the match schedule for Tuesday:

Mexico at Honduras
Canada at El Salvador
Jamaica at Haiti
Costa Rica at Panama
Guatemala at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
United States at Trinidad and Tobago

Friday, November 13, 2015

U.S. Opens World Cup Qualifying with 6-1 Win

Five Thoughts on the U.S.'s 6-1 Win over St. Vincent & The Grenadines

1) Yes, the U.S. won this match, and won big in the end, but a 6-1 win over a team like St. Vincent & The Grenadines really doesn't tell you a whole lot. In fact, it's probably more significant that the U.S. trailed in this match than it is that the U.S. won by five goals. The St. Vincent goal was a result of a bad clearance and soft defending, and it's still unclear if the U.S. has settled on a starting back four moving forward. This much is for certain, we'll know a lot more about the U.S. after Tuesday's match against Trinidad and Tobago. On a side note, the St. Vincent goal scorer, Oalex Anderson plays in the USL for Seattle Sounders FC 2 which means you might see him in a Sounders uniform next season. Anderson, who just turned 20, has already scored 10 goals for St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

2) One of the biggest stories of this match is the fact that the U.S. was able to get both Matt Miazga and Darlington Nagbe onto the field which means that both will (hopefully) be a part of the U.S. soccer team for years to come. Miazga was being actively courted by Poland while Nagbe was born in Liberia and still eligible to play for them. Now, having appeared for the U.S. in a Qualifier, they're both "Cap-Tied" to the United States. Obviously it's too early to tell what kind of impact they'll have, but adding a center back and playmaking midfielder into the mix are never a bad thing.

3) Three of the six U.S. goals came as a result of set pieces, but what was interesting was that it was Fabian Johnson taking the kicks early on instead of Michael Bradley. The result was a free kick that deflected in off the wall, and a pair of corners flicked on to players making a back post run. Johnson, who started in the midfield instead of outside back, was dangerous all night and if Klinsmann can afford to keep him in the midfield, that could be a huge boost to the U.S. attack moving forward.

4) All Bobby Wood does is score big goals. He's scored four times (all this year) for the U.S. and his four goals are as follows: 1) Game Winner against the Netherlands, 2) Game Winner against Germany, 3) Extra time equalizer against Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, 4) Equalizer in World Cup Qualifying against St. Vincent & The Grenadines. I know Clint Dempsey's still out there, but could Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore be our solution up top? We should know more after we see the Trinidad and Tobago game next week, but there's no question that Bobby Wood is for real.

5) With a pair of goals, Jozy Altidore moved ahead of Brian McBride and into fourth place on the all-time scoring list with 31 career goals for the United States. Altidore now needs just three goals to catch Eric Wynalda for third place.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

U-23s Drop Opener in Brazil, 2-1

The U.S. U-23s dropped the first of two friendlies scheduled with Brazil, 2-1 on Wednesday. Jerome Kiesewetter, who scored 4 goals during Olympic Qualifying, converted a penalty kick for the U.S.'s only goal after they'd already fallen behind 2-0. Of the 11 U.S. starters, four weren't a part of the group that participated in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (John Brooks, Eric Miller, Julian Green, Khiry Shelton), and a fifth (goalkeeper Charlie Horton) was on the U.S. roster, but didn't appear in any matches. Here's a look at how MLS was represented in the Starting XI.
Starters vs Brazil
Boyd Okwuonu - Real Salt Lake
Eric Miller - Montreal Impact
Fatai Alashe - San Jose Earthquakes
Matt Polster - Chicago Fire
Khiry Shelton - New York City FC

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

U.S. Rosters for World Cup Qualifying/U-23 Friendlies

Here's a look at how the U.S. will line up in their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers as well as in a pair of U-23 friendlies against Brazil. The biggest surprise has to be the omission of Clint Dempsey who led the U.S. in scoring in 2015 with 9 goals in 10 matches. You could also argue the inclusion of Alan Gordon is also a bit of a surprise given that he doesn't start for his club team, the LA Galaxy, but his strong showing in the Champions League and knack for scoring goals off the bench was likely a factor. Here's a look at both rosters. The U-23s play Brazil today and Sunday, while the Senior National Team plays St. Vincent & The Grenadines on Friday and Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.

World Cup Qualifying

From MLS/U.S.

GK - Bill Hamid - DC United - 2 Caps
DEF - Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City - 27 Caps
DEF - Matt Miazga - New York Red Bulls - 0 Caps
DEF - Brek Shea - Orlando City SC - 34 Caps, 4 Goals
MID - Kyle Beckerman - Real Salt Lake - 51 Caps, 1 Goal
MID - Michael Bradley - Toronto FC - 107 Caps, 15 Goals
MID - Mix Diskerud - New York City FC - 36 Caps, 6 Goals
MID - Jermaine Jones - New England Revolution - 54 Caps, 3 Goals
MID - Darlington Nagbe - Portland Timbers - 0 Caps
FWD - Jozy Altidore - Toronto FC - 87 Caps, 29 Goals
FWD - Alan Gordon - LA Galaxy - 2 Caps
FWD - Jordan Morris - Stanford - 6 Caps, 1 Goal
FWD - Gyasi Zards - LA Galaxy - 17 Caps, 2 Goals

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nigeria Wins U-17 World Cup

Victor Osimhen broke the U-17 World Cup Scoring Record with his 10th goal of the tournament, and that was all Nigeria would need as they shutout Mali 2-0 on their way to their 5th Championship. Funsho Bamgboye added an insurance goal a few minutes later for the Champions who finished the tournament with a record of 6-1-0 and outscored their opponents 23-5. Osimhen took home the Golden Boot and Silver Ball, while teammate Kelechi Nwakali took home the Golden Ball and Bronze Boot. Mali's Aly Malle won the Bronze Ball and their keeper Samuel Diarra won the Golden Glove. Finally, Germany's Johannes Eggestein won the Silver Boot and Ecuador won the FIFA Fair Play Award. In the consolation game, Mexico drew even with Belgium in the 88th minute on a goal from Francisco Venegas, but Belgium answered with a dramatic stoppage time winner when Dante Vanzeir clinched the match in the 93rd minute with his second goal of the game.


Nigeria 2 Mali 0

Consolation Game

Belgium 3 Mexico 2

Monday, November 9, 2015

Final Thoughts on the Conference Semifinals

Wow, what a Sunday! All four games were highly contested and just made for some really exciting soccer. In no particular order, here's a bunch of my observations from an action-packed day:

1) Of the four conference semifinal winners, the Red Bulls are the only ones who won both legs of their respective match-up.

2) Substitutes on Sunday accounted for 2 goals (Tesho Akindele, Walker Zimmerman) and 4 assists (Marco Pappa, Blas Pérez, Gonzalo Verón, Cedrick).

3) Every player to come off the bench for FC Dallas on Sunday (Tesho Akindele, Walker Zimmerman, Blas Pérez) notched either a goal or an assist. Akindele and Zimmerman also both scored PKs during the shootout. During the regular season, Akindele (goal) scored just once in fourteen appearances as a substitute, Zimmerman (goal) did not log a goal or an assist during the entire regular season, and Pérez (assist) did not log a goal or an assist in nine appearances as a substitute.

Playoff Match-Ups: Conference Finals


New York Red Bulls (1) vs Columbus Crew (2)

2015 Meetings

3/28/15 - New York Red Bulls 2 Columbus Crew 1
NYRB: B. Wright-Phillips, Grella; CLB: Tchani

7/4/15 - Columbus Crew 2 New York Red Bulls 1
NYRB: Abang; CLB: Finlay 2

10/3/15 - New York Red Bulls 2 Columbus Crew 1
NYRB: Sam, B. Wright-Phillips; CLB: Meram

New York In Brief

Record: 18-10-6, 62 Goals For, 43 Goals Against (+19)
Goals: Bradley Wright-Phillips - 17 goals
Assists: Sacha Kljestan - 14 assists
Goalkeeping: Luis Robles - 9 shutouts, 1.26 GAA, 18-10-6

Defeated DC United, 1-0 - McCarty (1)
Defeated DC United, 1-0 - B. Wright-Phillips (1)

Columbus In Brief

Record: 15-11-4, 58 Goals For, 53 Goals Against (+5)
Goals: Kei Kamara - 22 goals
Assists: Ethan Finlay - 13 assists
Goalkeeping: Steve Clark - 6 shutouts, 1.56 GAA, 15-11-8

Lost to Montreal, 2-1 - Higuaín (1)
Defeated Montreal, 3-1 (a.e.t) - Kamara 2 (2), Finlay (1)

MLS Postseason Goal Scorers by Nationality, 2015 Edition, Week 2

Quite a weekend in MLS as we're down to the final four teams. This weekend featured some incredible matches with both likely and unlikely heroes stepping up. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his first goal of the postseason to clinch a win for the Red Bulls; FC Dallas's Walker Zimmerman scored both the goal that forced extra time and the winning penalty kick despite not scoring in 2015 (or 2014); Chad Marshall was in line to be the hero before Zimmerman's heroics when, after going scoreless in 2015, he headed in the go-ahead goal in the 90th minute for Seattle; Kei Kamara scored a goal, hit the crossbar with a header, had a penalty kick saved, and then scored the game winner in extra time in Columbus's emotional win over Montreal; and Fanendo Adi helped Portland to the only upset of the Conference Semifinals. Here's a rundown of all your goal scorers broken down by nationality through the first two rounds of the 2015 postseason.

Argentina (3)

Federico Higuaín (Columbus) - (1) - 8 goals in 32 appearances
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal) - (1) - 9 goals in 26 appearances
Maximiliano Urruti (Portland) - (1) - 4 goals in 30 appearances

Austria (1)

Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle) - (1) - 1 goal in 6 appearances

Canada (3)

Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas) - (1) - 5 goals in 28 appearances
Patrice Bernier (Montreal) - (2) - 0 goals in 20 appearances

Postseason Rookie Watch, Week 2

Only three teams featured rookies in the second leg of the conference semifinals, and all three of those teams lost. Vancouver's Tim Parker and Seattle's Oniel Fisher both started for their respective clubs, but both sides were eliminated from the competition.


17 - Miguel Aguilar - DC United - Sub vs NYRB (Leg 2), 9 mins


13 - Tim Parker - Vancouver - Started vs Portland (Leg 2),  90 mins
16 - Cristian Roldan - Seattle - Sub vs FC Dallas (Leg 2), 44 mins
40 - Oniel Fisher - Seattle - Started vs FC Dallas (Leg 2), 88 mins

Friday, November 6, 2015

Season in Review: Houston Dynamo

Record: 11-14-9, 42 pts, 8th Place Western Conference
Goals For: 42
Goals Against: 49

Team Leaders

Goals: Will Bruin - 11
Assists: Brad Davis - 10
Shutouts: Tyler Deric - 7
All-Stars: DaMarcus Beasley

Year in Review

It was a tough year for the Dynamo as they missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Giles Barnes, a year after scoring a team-high 11 goals, endured a 13-match scoring drought midseason, Cubo Torres failed to score on the heels of his 15-goal season with Chivas USA in 2014, and injuries derailed the seasons of rookies Rob Lovejoy and Taylor Hunter, as well as veteran Jermaine Taylor. Meanwhile, the Dynamo's aging veteran core - DaMarcus Beasley (33), Ricardo Clark (32), Brad Davis (33) - while still productive, is now another year older with another season of miles on their legs. But while there are certainly question marks going forward, not everything was a disaster in 2015. Tyler Deric won four Save-of-the-Week honors in his first full year in net after the departure of Tally Hall, Beasley made the All-Star team, Davis notched his seventh double-digit assist season, Clark doubled his career-high with 8 goals, Will Bruin scored double digit goals for the third time in four years, and youngsters Mauro Manotas, Zach Steinberger, Lovejoy, and Rasheed Olabiyi all logged playing time. But Houston never won more than two games in a row at any point in the season and their longest unbeaten streak was just 3 matches.

What's Next?

With Giles Barnes, Cubo Torres and Will Bruin (if he re-signs), the Dynamo have proven goal scorers, but Barnes and Torres in particular will have to do more than they did in 2015. Clark and Davis were both solid in 2015, but they won't continue on forever, and at some point replacments will need to be groomed. Rumors of Davis's departure have already started swirling, but it's too early to tell if those hold water. Torres and Beasley are currently holding down Designated Player spots on the Dynamo roster which means Houston could go out and get another piece. I'd expect a midfielder or a defender. The Dynamo defense was solid if not spectacular in 2015 with Beasley, David Horst, Raúl Rodríguez and Jermaine Taylor/Sheanon Williams holding down the backline. Still, depth was an issue as there were times this year when midfielder Boniek García was forced to play in the back due to injuries. The Dynamo aren't that far removed from back-to-back Finals runs, but they'll need to make some adjustments if they want to end the playoff drought in 2016.

U-17 World Cup Update - Semifinal Edition

It's going to be an All-African Final at the U-17 World Cup as Nigeria will face off against Mali in the title match on Sunday. Mali won their rematch against Belgium 3-1 rallying for 3 unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 in the 16th minute. Nigeria overcame a similar 1-0 deficit in their 4-2 defeat of Mexico. Nigeria's Victor Osimhen continued his scoring tear with a converted penalty in the 83rd minute tying the tournament record for goals with nine. Nigeria will be playing in their 8th Final and going for their 5th win while Mali is playing in their first U-17 Final. Mali won the 2015 African U-17 Championship back in February, but didn't face Nigeria in the tournament (Nigeria finished fourth).

Semifinal Match-ups

Nigeria 4 Mexico 2
Mali 3 Belgium 1

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Season in Review: New York City FC

Record: 10-17-7, 37 pts, 8th Place Eastern Conference
Goals For: 49
Goals Against: 58

Team Leaders

Goals: David Villa - 18
Assists: David Villa - 8
Shutouts: Josh Saunders - 4
All-Stars: David Villa, Frank Lampard

Year in Review

New York City FC stormed out of the gates with a win and a draw in their first two matches, but followed that up with an eleven game winless streak (0-7-4), and despite winning four of their next five, they never truly recovered. Ultimately, they capped their season with a three-game losing streak, a three-game winning streak, and finally another three-game losing streak. The season started without franchise centerpiece Frank Lampard, as his loan to Manchester City was extended, and when Lampard finally did arrive, City lost the first four games he played in. Lampard would play in only 10 matches all year during which City went 3-7-0. Mix Diskerud struggled mightily in his first MLS season scoring just three goals in 27 appearances, injuries tabled top draft pick Khiry Shelton and striker Tony Taylor for much of the season, and while the mercurial Andrea Pirlo brought sensational playmaking to the table, he didn't help City's defense which allowed a league-worst 58 goals. Still, despite the struggles and the disappointment of missing the postseason, David Villa showcased his abilities to the tune of 18 goals and 8 assists in his MLS debut season and youngster Kwadwo Poku was a great story as he delivered four goals and seven assists despite starting just 6 matches and logging less than 1000 minutes on the season. Still, when you have Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, David Villa and Mix Diskerud, you expect to win more than a third of your matches, and an eighth place finish in the East was seen as cause to fire first-year head coach Jason Kreis.

What's Next?

City is going to have to address their defense moving forward. Just four shutouts in 34 matches and a league-worst 58 goals surrendered was more than their offensive arsenal could overcome. Josh Saunders faced 20 more shots than any other keeper in the league and while he led the league in saves, he also led the league in goals allowed. I would expect to see improvement in the back as City's ownership has not shown themselves to be the types to sit idly by. For example, this past season they brought in RJ Allen, Angeliño, Andoni Iraola, Jefferson Mena and Pirlo; all months after the season began. While the offense certainly wasn't a weak point in 2015, I'd expect to see it be even stronger in 2016. Mix Diskerud should improve upon his poor showing (3 goals, 1 assist), Lampard and Pirlo will have a full season to get used to playing together, and youngsters like Shelton and Poku should get more time on the field. It will be interesting to see how City goes upon filling the vacancy left by Kreis, as that will go along way in deciding just how far City can go next season.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Season in Review: Real Salt Lake

Record: 11-15-8, 41 pts, 9th Place Western Conference
Goals For: 38
Goals Against: 48

Team Leaders

Goals: Javier Morales - 8
Assists: Javier Morales - 12
Shutouts: Nick Rimando - 8
All-Stars: Tony Beltran, Nick Rimando

Year in Review

For the first time since 2007, Real Salt Lake failed to make the MLS postseason. With 8 losses in their final 12 matches, the perennial contenders fell below the red line and closed out the season with three straight losses during which they scored just one goal TOTAL. RSL's leading scorer from 2014, Joao Plata, never truly returned to the form he had before his injury and scored just 4 goals in 19 appearances. And while RSL remained ever dangerous on set pieces thanks to Javier Morales, the rest of the attack struggled mightily ranking 19th in goals out of 20 teams. Strikers Sebastián Jaime, Juan Manuel Martínez, Olmes García and Devon Sandoval combined to score just 12 goals, and all-time leading scorer Álvaro Saborío was traded away midseason to DC United for Luis Silva. Silva, who had 11 goals a year ago for DC United, had 0 goals and 0 assists in 530 minutes for RSL after the trade. Defensively, RSL struggled to overcome the offseason losses of veterans Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert and Ned Grabavoy, and then to add injury to insult, defender Chris Schuler was limited to just five games due to multiple injuries during the season. Despite all the issues, 2015 wasn't a total loss though. Youngsters Jordan Allen (20), Luis Gil (21), Justen Glad (18) and Elías Vásquez (23) all logged a good chunk of minutes, and despite their struggles in league play, Real Salt Lake still managed to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. But ultimately, after a seven year run of postseason appearances including two MLS Cup appearances, 2015 feels like a failure.

What's Next?

Kyle Beckerman (33), Javier Morales (35), Jámison Olave (34), Demar Phillips (32) and Nick Rimando (36) don't have too many years left in them, but all five made at least 16 starts in 2015. While, some youngsters on the roster have begun to emerge as legitimate contributors, there is still a significant bridge to be gapped before torches can be passed. First and foremost, Real Salt Lake needs to address their attack. The lack of a big-time goal scorer hurt them down the stretch, and I'm not sure the answer is currently on their roster unless Plata bounces back in 2016. RSL has used all three of their designated player slots on Plata, Jaime and Martínez (who ironically are all strikers), and if all three are back next year, they MUST do better. Still, this team is better than their 9th place finish suggests, and now that they are equipped with a high draft pick, they should be able to turn things around relatively quickly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Meet Patrick Foss, Long Range Bomber

So, I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I came across this in a recent Sports Illustrated issue (still catching up on my magazines). Last month, the University of Virginia's Patrick Foss scored two goals on free kicks as Virginia defeated Louisville 3-2. Foss's second goal came from beyond midfield which, to be honest, I had to see to believe. Sure enough, Foss, late in the second half, delivered a game winning blast from wayyyyyyy down town (on his 21st birthday no less). No question it was a terrible play by the keeper, but goals are goals, and it won his team the match. Here's the highlights.

Those are Foss's only two goals this season. He also has five assists for the 9-3-3 Cavaliers.

Monday, November 2, 2015

U-17 World Cup Update - Quarterfinal Edition

Victor Osimhen has scored in all five of Nigeria's matches as the defending U-17 World Champions are through to the semi-finals where they'll face off against unbeaten Mexico (4-0-1). Osimhen, who plays for Ultimate Strikers FC in Nigeria, leads all players with 8 goals so far during the tournament, the most since Souleymane Coulibaly (Ivory Coast) scored 9 goals during the 2011 competition. In the other semifinal, unbeaten Mali (4-0-1), who has been scored on just once in five matches, will take on Belgium. The two countries played to a scoreless draw on October 18th in the opening match of the tournament for both teams. Both semifinals will be played on Thursday, with the 3rd Place Game and Championship to be held on Sunday.

Quarterfinal Match-ups

Nigeria 3 Brazil 0
Mali 1 Croatia 0
Mexico 2 Ecuador 0
Belgium 1 Costa Rica 0

Season in Review: Philadelphia Union

Record: 10-17-7, 37 pts, 9th Place Eastern Conference
Goals For: 42
Goals Against: 55

Team Leaders

Goals: C.J. Sapong - 9
Assists: Cristian Maidana - 15
Shutouts: Brian Sylvestre - 5
All-Stars: None

Year in Review

The Union won just once in their first 11 matches in 2015 (1-7-3) and were never able to recover from their slow start. Still, posting a nearly .500 record over the final 2/3 of the season (9-10-4) and advancing to the U.S. Open Cup Finals for a second consecutive season leaves fans reasons to be optimistic moving forward. Andre Blake emerged out of the wreckage that was Philadelphia's goalkeeping situation and the 24 year-old Jamaican will likely hold down the position for the Union for years to come. C.J. Sapong (26) resurrected his declining career with his best MLS season despite an early injury and gave the Union attack some youth as Conor Casey (34) and Sébastien Le Toux (31) were the club's top two scorers in 2014. Cristian Maidana was second in MLS with 15 assists and the addition of Swiss International Tranquillo Barnetta added stability to the midfield. But the defense lacked consistency and their -13 goal differential was the second worst in the league behind only the Chicago Fire. On offense, promising loanee Fernando Aristeguieta contributed only 14 starts and scored just twice after April 5th, and the Union never won more than two in a row at any point during the season.

What's Next?

Cristian Maidana definitely earned his designated player paycheck, but neither Maurice Edu nor Aristeguieta delivered memorable performances in 2015. Aristeguieta's loan is up and assuming he returns to Nantes (France), that will free up a designated player spot on the Union roster. The emergence of Blake finally solves Philadelphia's goalkeeping issues and allows them to focus their attention elsewhere going into 2016. The backline wouldn't be a bad place to start, but a strike partner for Sapong wouldn't be a bad thought either. The midfield with Maidana and Barnetta is surrounded with young talent in Andrew Wenger (24), Eric Ayuk (18), Zach Pfeffer (20), and if Edu can somehow get pushed out of central defense, he'll shore that group up even further. If the Union play like the team that ended the season instead of the one that started it, they should be in the mix in the East next year, but they'll need better performances than they got from a lot of the supporting cast this year.

MLS Postseason Goal Scorers by Nationality, 2015 Edition

Just one week into the 2015 postseason and already we've had quite a good bit of craziness; bicycle kicks, shootouts, comebacks, free kick brilliance... But in the goal scoring realm perhaps nothing has been more impressive than Montreal captain Patrice Bernier who was held scoreless in 20 matches this season, and 26 more last season, and is tied for the playoff scoring lead with two goals through the Impact's first two matches this postseason (both wins). Bernier isn't the only player held scoreless during the regular season to score in this year's playoffs though as Seattle's Erik Friberg scored the game winner against the Galaxy in the knockout round after going scoreless since his acquisition in June. Here's a rundown of all your goal scorers broken down by nationality through the first week of the 2015 postseason.

Argentina (3)

Federico Higuaín (Columbus) - (1) - 8 goals in 32 appearances
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal) - (1) - 9 goals in 26 appearances
Maximiliano Urruti (Portland) - (1) - 4 goals in 30 appearances

Austria (1)

Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle) - (1) - 1 goal in 6 appearances

Canada (2)

Patrice Bernier (Montreal) - (2) - 0 goals in 20 appearances

Postseason Rookie Watch, Week 1

Of the 12 teams to make the postseason in 2015, only three have started a rookie through the first eight matches. While Sporting Kansas City, who started TWO rookies (Saad Abdul-Salaam and Amadou Dia), was eliminated in a heartbreaking penalty kick shootout in one of the most entertaining matches in MLS postseason history, both teams that started a rookie in Leg 1 of the conference semfinals found success as Oniel Fisher and Seattle knocked off FC Dallas 2-1, and Tim Parker and Vancouver shutout Portland on the road in a 0-0 draw. Here's a rundown of all the rookie action through Week 1 of the MLS postseason.


17 - Miguel Aguilar - DC United - Sub vs NYRB (Leg 1), 6 mins


12 - Saad Abdul-Salaam - Sporting KC - Started vs Portland, 120 mins, yellow card, missed PK*
13 - Tim Parker - Vancouver - Started vs Portland (Leg 1), 90 mins, 1 shot
16 - Cristian Roldan - Seattle - Sub vs LA, 2 mins
16 - Cristian Roldan - Seattle - Sub vs FC Dallas (Leg 1), 14 mins
20 - Amadou Dia - Sporting KC - Started vs Portland, 120 mins, 1 assist, yellow card, made PK*
40 - Oniel Fisher - Seattle - Started vs FC Dallas (Leg 1), 90 mins

*Shootout Penalty

Friday, October 30, 2015

Playoff Match-Ups (Conference Semifinals)


Columbus Crew (2) vs Montreal Impact (3)

2015 Meetings

6/6/16 - Montreal Impact 2 Columbus Crew 1
7/11/15 - Montreal Impact 3 Columbus Crew 0

Season in Review: Colorado Rapids

Record: 9-15-10, 37 pts, 10th Place Western Conference
Goals For: 33
Goals Against: 43

Team Leaders

Goals: Kevin Doyle - 5
Assists: Dillon Powers - 6
Shutouts: Clint Irwin - 8
All-Stars: Drew Moor, Sam Cronin, Clint Irwin

Year in Review

No team scored fewer goals than the Rapids in 2015 and ultimately their attack would be their undoing as they missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. Struggling to find a lineup that could bring results, the Rapids did not have a single field player with more than 25 starts. Youngster Shane O'Neill, who represented the U.S. during the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, only made four appearances before being transferred to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. Dillon Serna was on the U.S. U-23 squad that finished third in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying this month, but only made eight starts for the Rapids this year. Jamaican striker Deshorn Brown scored 10 goals for the Rapids in both 2013 and 2014, but was sold to Vålerenga (Norway) in March, and the Rapids never did figure out a way to replace him. Irish International Kevin Doyle failed to duplicate Robbie Keane's MLS success scoring just five goals in 20 appearances, but that was still enough to lead the team. In total the Rapids were shutout 11 times in 2015 and scored just one goal in 16 other matches. Still, Colorado offered glimpses of promise with a pair of three game winning streaks before going 1-6-1 over their final eight games. SuperDraftees Dominique Badji, Joseph Greenspan, and Axel Sjöberg all stuck around over the course of the season, and the Rapids brought in some young talent in Lucas Pittinari (23) and designated player Juan Ramírez (22) this year. Ultimately though, if not for Clint Irwin's heroics in net, the season could have played out substantially worse.

What's Next?

The Rapids have an open Designated Player spot on their roster so I would expect them to go after someone, either a striker or central midfielder, who could dramatically boost their attack. As the lowest scoring team in the league, they need to do something to generate more chances. The other thing they need to figure out is if they can contend right now, or if they're building for a year or two from now. The Rapids boast a number of players on the wrong side of 30 on their roster: Marc Burch (31), Bobby Burling (31), Kevin Doyle (32), Maynor Figueroa (32), Nick LaBrocca (30), Drew Moor (31), James Riley (33), Vicente Sánchez (35), Marcelo Sarvas (34) and Sean St. Ledger (30). While there is certainly value in having veteran leadership and experience on your roster, I think the Rapids went too far in that direction and have somewhat stifled the development of some of their younger talent. I would expect a lot of the older guys to be gone next year, and see Colorado embrace the youth movement while building for a big-time run in 2017.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

USMNT Vets Showing Disturbing Lack of Composure/Maturity

So last night's ejection of Jermaine Jones in stoppage time got me thinking of a disturbing trend among some of the more senior players on the U.S. Men's National Team. Multiple times this year we've seen our guys getting stupid ejections for club and/or country; not for fouls, but for interactions with referees. Here are four instances now:

3/31/15 - Jozy Altidore gets a yellow card for a foul, then curses at the referee and gets sent off against Switzerland. The U.S. had a 1-0 lead at the time of the foul, and after going down a man surrendered the equalizer.

6/17/15 - Already down to nine men following an injury to Obafemi Martins and a second yellow for Brad Evans, Seattle's Michael Azira was sent off in the 113th minute of a 2-1 game in the U.S. Open Cup against Portland. Clint Dempsey then took it upon himself to take the referee's notebook and rip it up whereupon he too was sent off. Seattle went on to lose 3-1.

10/14/15 - Altidore wasn't even in the match against the New York Red Bulls when he received a red card from the bench for "abusing the assistant referee."

10/28/15 - After a non-call on an apparent handball that, had it been called, would have given New England a penalty kick with a chance to equalize in their playoff game against DC United, Jones lost his mind, shoved a referee and sealed the Revs' fate with a stoppage time ejection.

U-17 World Cup Update

The U.S. may be out of the U-17 World Cup, but CONCACAF has a pair of teams in the quarterfinals thanks to wins by Mexico and Costa Rica. Meanwhile just two European clubs remain in the tournament following losses by Germany, France and Russia in the Knockout Round. Of the eight teams that are remaining, none have won all four of their matches.

Knockout Round Matches

Brazil 1 New Zealand 0
Mexico 4 Chile 1
Nigeria 6 Australia 0
Belgium 2 South Korea 0
Croatia 2 Germany 0
Mali 3 North Korea 0
Costa Rica 0 France 0, Costa Rica Wins 5-3 on Penalties
Ecuador 4 Russia 1

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Playoff Match-Ups (Knockout Round)


Montreal Impact (3) vs Toronto FC (6)

2015 Meetings

5/6/15 - Montreal Impact 1 Toronto FC 0 (Canadian Championship)
5/13/15 - Toronto FC 3 Montreal Impact 2 (Canadian Championship)
6/24/15 - Toronto FC 3 Montreal Impact 1
8/29/15 - Toronto FC 2 Montreal Impact 1
10/25/15 - Montreal Impact 2 Toronto FC 1

Season in Review: Chicago Fire

Record: 8-20-6, 30 pts, 10th Place Eastern Conference
Goals For: 43
Goals Against: 58

Team Leaders

Goals: David Accam - 10
Assists: Harry Shipp - 8
Shutouts: Sean Johnson - 4
All-Stars: None

Year in Review

Chicago made a lot of noise this past offseason bringing in players like David Accam, Kennedy Igboananike, Adaílton, Guly Do Prado, Jon Busch, Michael Stephens, Joevin Jones and Shaun Maloney. Unfortunately, most of the moves didn't pay off. Do Prado parted on mutual terms in early August after fifteen scoreless appearances while Maloney, the Scottish International, was transferred to Hull City a few weeks later after scoring just 3 goals in 14 appearances. Big Brazilian center back Adaílton failed to provide stability along a back line that surrendered a league worst 58 goals, and overall the club just never really got into a groove peaking with a three game winning streak that ended in early April; in Chicago's final eight matches, they lost seven times. Several midseason moves fell flat for the Fire as well including their trade of Quincy Amarikwa to the Quakes for defender Ty Harden. The Fire then watched Amarikwa - who went scoreless in 14 games for the Fire this season - finish as the Quakes second leading scorer with six goals and third on the club in assists with four. Harden, meanwhile, made just three starts for Chicago. The Fire also had to endure winning the rights to Didier Drogba only basically having to trade him to Montreal instead. And you all know how that Drogba guy ended up doing up north. Finally, Mike Magee - who scored 21 goals in 2013 - never fully recovered from last season's injury and was limited to just 3 starts while being held scoreless. It wasn't all bad though despite the club record 20 losses. Accam finished the season with ten goals and Igboananike added seven more of his own. Harry Shipp showed his rookie season wasn't a fluke with a solid second season including eight assists, SuperDraftee Matt Polster garnered USMNT U-23 attention with his performance, and Joevin Jones showed tremendous versatility playing all over the field while making 28 appearances. Finally, Gilberto, although a consolation prize following the loss of Drogba, finally gave the attack some consistency and credibility as his five goals were the fourth most on the team despite his appearing in just ten matches.

What's Next?

The Fire have an open Designated Player spot on their roster so they could go out this offseason and make a splashy signing to go along with Accam and Gilberto. It will be interesting to see how they use that though as their biggest needs aren't necessarily in flashy positions. There's no question that Chicago will need to address the issues along their back line going forward. Offensively, despite their shortcomings in 2015, this group has the playmakers to be competitive in the East, but adding depth to their attack certainly wouldn't hurt them. Goalkeeper becomes a bit of a question mark as well with ongoing rumors about Sean Johnson's departure overseas, but even if he leaves, they do have veteran Jon Busch, as well as Alec Kann who made six saves in the season finale on the roster. The Fire last made the postseason in 2012, and they have their work cut out for them, but they at least appear to have some pieces in place to begin to turn things around.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Legend of Robert Earnshaw

34 year-old Robert Earnshaw logged just 43 minutes for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015, but managed to score a pair of goals. Last year he scored three goals in just 174 minutes, and he also scored in the 2013 season finale. Putting that all together, in Earnshaw's last 306 minutes on the field, spanning 15 matches, Earnshaw has six goals on 16 shots. If you're keeping track, that's 1.76 goals per 90 minutes. Here's a look at his goals that include three game winners, two equalizers and four strikes after the 80th minute:

10/26/13 - Tor vs Montreal, 16th minute, W 1-0, Game Winning Goal
8/23/14 - Chi vs Tor, 70th minute, D 2-2, Goal tied game at 1
8/30/14 - Chi vs Dal, 83rd minute, W 1-0, Game Winning Goal
10/2/14 - Chi vs Phi, 92nd minute, D 1-1, Goal tied game at 1
3/28/15 - Van vs Por 90th minute, W 2-1, Game Winning Goal
10/25/15 - Van vs Hou 93rd minute, W 3-0

Not bad for a guy who has been on three teams in three years and started just two regular season matches in the last two.

Top American Goal Scorers in MLS in 2015

Here's your top American goal scorers during the 2015 season in MLS:

1. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) - (16) - 14 goals in 26 appearances for San Jose in 2014
2. Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) - (13) - 3 goals in 7 appearances for NYRB in 2008
3. Ethan Finlay (Columbus) - (12) - 11 goals in 29 appearances for Columbus in 2014
4. Will Bruin (Houston) - (11) - 10 goals in 27 appearances for Houston in 2014
5. Charlie Davies (New England) - (10) - 3 goals in 18 appearances for New England in 2014
5. Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) - (10) - 15 goals in 26 appearances for Seattle in 2014
5. Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC) - (10) - 4 goals in 31 appearances for Sporting KC in 2014
5. Chris Rolfe (DC United) - (10) - 6 goals in 23 appearances for DC United/Chicago in 2014
9. Mike Grella (NYRB) - (9) - First MLS season
9. C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia) - (9) - 2 goals in 20 appearances for Sporting KC in 2014
11. Ricardo Clark (Houston) - (8) - 4 goals in 25 appearances for Houston in 2014
11. Sacha Kljestan (NYRB) - (8) - 1 goal in 10 appearances for Chivas USA in 2010
13. Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution) - (7) - 9 goals in 14 apps for Chivas/Revs in 2013
13. Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) - (7) - First MLS season
13. Lee Nguyen (New England) - (7) - 18 goals in 32 appearances for New England in 2014
13. Kelyn Rowe (New England) - (7) - 5 goals in 27 appearances for New England in 2014
17. Quincy Amarikwa (Chicago/San Jose) - (6) - 8 goals in 32 appearances for Chicago in 2014
17. Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago) - (6) - 6 goals in 33 appearances for Chicago in 2014
17. Jack McInerney (Montreal/Columbus) - (6) - 8 goals in 30 appearances for Impact/Philly in 2014
17. Patrick Mullins (NYCFC) - (6) - 4 goals in 21 appearances for New England in 2014
17. Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) - (6) - 16 goals in 32 appearances for LA in 2014

Top MLS Goal Scorers in 2015 By Country

Here are your top MLS goal scorers broken down by country. In total, 47 countries were represented this year. Where nationalities are a little fuzzy, notes have been added at the bottom:

Argentina - Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact) - 9
Austria - Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle Sounders) - 1
Belgium - Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact) - 2
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Baggio Husidić* (LA Galaxy) - 2
Brazil - Kaká (Orlando City SC) - 9
Cameroon - Tony Tchani** (Columbus Crew) - 5
Canada - Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC) - 17
Chile - Pedro Morales (Vancouver) - 6
Colombia - Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas) - 9
Costa Rica - Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake/DC United) - 7
DR Congo - Cedrick Mabwati (Columbus) - 1
Ecuador - Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake) - 4
El Salvador - Darwin Cerén (Orlando City) - 2
England - Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls) - 17
France - Sébastien Le Toux (Philadelphia) - 8
Gambia - Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver) - 7
Ghana - David Accam (Chicago)/Lloyd Sam (NYRB) - 10
Guadeloupe - Ronald Zubar (New York Red Bulls) - 1
Honduras - Boniek García (Houston Dynamo)/ Bryan Róchez (OCSC) - 3
Hungary - Krisztián Németh (Sporting Kansas City) - 10
Iraq - Justin Meram (Columbus Crew) - 6
Ireland - Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) - 20
Italy - Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) - 22
Ivory Coast - Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact) - 11
Jamaica - Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo) - 7
Liberia - Darlington Nagbe*** (Portland Timbers) - 5
Mexico - Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy) - 3
Morocco - Mehdi Ballouchy (New York City FC) - 3
Nigeria - Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers) - 16
Norway - Pa-Modou Kah (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 3
Panama - Blas Pérez (FC Dallas) - 5
Paraguay - Nelson Valdez (Seattle Sounders) - 1
Poland - Damien Perquis (Toronto FC) - 1
Portugal - José Gonçalves (New England)/ Steven Vitória (Philadelphia) - 1
Romania - Răzvan Cociș (Chicago) - 2
Saint Kitts & Nevis - Atiba Harris (FC Dallas) - 2
Scotland - Shaun Maloney (Chicago) - 3
Senegal - Dominique Badji (Colorado) - 2
Sierra Leone - Kei Kamara (Columbus) - 22
Spain - David Villa (New York City FC) - 18
Sweden - Stefan Ishizaki (LA Galaxy) - 1
Switzerland - Adrian Winter (Orlando City SC) - 2
Trinidad and Tobago - Cordell Cato (San Jose) - 3
United States - Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) - 16
Uruguay - Octavio Rivero (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 10
Venezuela - Fernando Aristeguieta (Philadelphia Union) - 5
Wales - Robert Earnshaw (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 2

*While born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husidić is a U.S. citizen
**Born in Cameroon, Tchani became a U.S. citizen in 2013
***Born in Liberia, Nagbe became a U.S. citizen in 2015

2015 MLS Goal Scorers by Nationality

Now that the regular season is over, here's a breakdown of every goal scorer (own goals not included) broken down by Nationality:


Mauro Díaz (FC Dallas) - (8) - 3 goals in 17 appearances for FC Dallas in 2014
Fabián Espíndola (DC United) - (5) - 11 goals in 27 appearances for DC United in 2014
Gastón Fernández (Portland) - (2) - 7 goals in 32 appearances for Portland in 2014
Federico Higuaín (Columbus) - (8) - 11 goals in 29 appearances for Columbus in 2014
Sebastián Jaime (Real Salt Lake) - (5) - 0 goals in 6 appearances for Real Salt Lake in 2014
Matías Laba (Vancouver) - (1) - 0 goals in 32 appearances for Vancouver in 2014
Cristian Maidana (Philadelphia) - (1) - 2 goals in 26 appearances for Philadelphia in 2014
Juan Manuel Martínez (Real Salt Lake) - (1) - First MLS season
Lucas Melano (Portland) - (1) - First MLS season
Leonel Miranda (Houston) - (2) - First MLS season
Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) - (8) - 9 goals in 30 appearances for Real Salt Lake in 2014
Matías Pérez García (San Jose) - (2) - 1 goal in 6 appearances for San Jose in 2014
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact) - (9) - 4 goals in 6 appearances for Montreal in 2014
Lucas Pittinari (Colorado Rapids) - (1) - First MLS season
Juan Ramírez (Colorado Rapids) - (1) - First MLS season
Andrés Romero (Montreal Impact) - (4) - 6 goals in 29 appearances for Montreal in 2014
Mauro Rosales (Vancouver Whitecaps) - (1) - 0 goals in 32 apps for Vancouver/Chivas USA in 2014
Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers) - (4) - 10 goals in 30 appearances for Portland in 2014
Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers) - (2) - 11 goals in 33 appearances for Portland in 2014
Gonzalo Verón (New York Red Bulls) - (1) - First MLS season

Weekly Top Tens - 10/27/15


1. Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) - Toronto FC - 22 goals, 16 assists
2. Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) - Columbus Crew - 22 goals, 8 assists
3. Robbie Keane (Ireland) - LA Galaxy - 20 goals, 8 assists
4. David Villa (Spain) - New York City FC - 18 goals, 8 assists
5. Bradley Wright-Phillips (England) - New York Red bulls - 17 goals, 7 assists
6. Cyle Larin (Canada) - Orlando City SC - 17 goals
7. Fanendo Adi (Nigeria) - Portland Timbers - 16 goals, 3 assists
8. Chris Wondolowski (USA) - San Jose Earthquakes - 16 goals, 2 assists
9. Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) - Seattle Sounders - 15 goals, 6 assists
10. Jozy Altidore (USA) - Toronto FC - 13 goals


1 Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) - Toronto FC - 7
1. Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone - Columbus - 7
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips (England) - New York Red Bulls - 7
4. David Villa (Spain) - New York City FC - 6
5. Jozy Altidore (USA) - Toronto FC - 5
5. Krisztián Németh (Hungary) - Sporting Kansas City - 5
5. Robbie Keane (Ireland) - LA Galaxy - 5
5. Fanendo Adi (Nigeria) - Portland Timbers - 5
5. Chris Rolfe (USA) - DC United - 5
5. Octavio Rivero (Uruguay) - Vancouver Whitecaps - 5


1. Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) - Toronto FC - 16
2. Cristian Maidana (Argentina) - Philadelphia Union - 15
2. Benny Feilhaber (USA) - Sporting Kansas City - 15
4. Sacha Kljestan (USA) - New York Red Bulls - 14
5. Ethan Finlay (USA) - Columbus Crew - 13
6. Javier Morales (Argentina) - Real Salt Lake - 12
7. Clint Dempsey (USA) - Seattle Sounders - 10
7. Mauro Díaz (Argentina) - FC Dallas - 10
7. Brad Davis (USA) - Houston Dynamo - 10
7. Lee Nguyen (USA) - New England Revolution - 10


1. Josh Saunders (Puerto Rico) - New York City FC - 123
2. Steve Clark (USA) - Columbus Crew - 114
3. Stefan Frei (Switzerland) - Seattle Sounders - 111
4. David Bingham (USA) - San Jose Earthquakes - 105
5. Bill Hamid (USA) - DC United - 101
6. David Ousted (Denmark) - Vancouver Whitecaps - 99
6. Evan Bush (USA) - Montreal Impact - 99
8. Tyler Deric (USA) - Houston Dynamo - 89
9. Clint Irwin (USA) - Colorado Rapids - 88

10. Luis Robles (USA) - New York Red Bulls - 86


1. Adam Kwarasey (Ghana) - Portland Timbers - 13

1. David Ousted (Denmark) - Vancouver Whitecaps - 13
3. David Bingham (USA) - San Jose Earthquakes - 124. Stefan Frei (Switzerland) - Seattle Sounders - 10
5. Evan Bush (USA) - Montreal Impact - 9
5. Luis Robles (USA) - New York Red Bulls - 9
7. Tim Melia (USA) - Sporting Kansas City - 8

7. Nick Rimando (USA) - Real Salt Lake - 8
7. Bill Hamid (USA) - DC United - 8
7. Bobby Shuttleworth (USA) - New England Revolution - 8

7. Clint Irwin (USA) - Colorado Rapids - 8


1. New York Red Bulls - 60 Pts (18 wins, +19 GD)
2. FC Dallas - 60 pts (18 wins, +13 GD)
3. Vancouver Whitecaps - 53 pts (16 wins)
4. Columbus Crew SC - 53 pts (15 wins, +5 GD)
5. Portland Timbers - 53 pts (15 wins, +2 GD)
6. Seattle Sounders FC - 51 pts (15 wins, +8 GD)
7. Montreal Impact - 51 pts (15 wins, +4 GD)
8. DC United - 51 pts (15 wins, -2 GD)
9. LA Galaxy - 51 pts (14 wins, +10 GD)
10. Sporting Kansas City - 51 pts (14 wins, +3 GD)


1. Mexico (27)
2. USA (29)
3. Costa Rica (42)
4. Jamaica (57)
5. Trinidad and Tobago (59)
6. Panama (65)
7. Haiti (77)
8. Guatemala (82)
9. Antigua and Barbuda (83)
10. Honduras (89)

Your 2015 MLS Ironmen

Only two field players in MLS started all 34 regular season matches for their respective clubs in 2015: Columbus Crew winger Ethan Finlay and Red Bulls midfielder Felipe. Starting every game in an MLS season is more challenging than one might think. Because MLS often does not recognize FIFA dates, international call-ups frequently pull some of the league's top talent away from their clubs. Additionally there is always the risk of injury or suspension which certainly take their toll. Here's a quick sneak pick at this year's ironmen:

Finlay - After two quiet seasons as a reserve for Columbus, Finlay exploded onto the scene in 2014 with 11 goals and seven assists as he seized a starting role midway through the season. Finlay continued to be a force for the Crew in 2015 scoring 12 goals and finishing fifth in the league with 13 assists as he helped the Crew to the two seed in the Eastern Conference. Finlay has never appeared for the United States, and is also eligible to play internationally for Canada.

Felipe - Felipe spent his first three seasons playing for Montreal before being traded to New York this past January. The trade paid immediate dividends for the Red Bulls as Felipe became a staple in the Red Bulls midfield teaming with Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella to provide continuity and consistency throughout the season; a HUGE reason the Red Bulls are your 2015 Supporter's Shield winners. Felipe scored three goals and had five assists on the year. Born in Brazil, Felipe has never been in the international soccer picture.

Here's a rundown of the other players who have started 34 games in a season since the regular season schedule grew to 34 games following the 2010 season:

2014 - Giles Barnes (Houston), Bobby Boswell (DC United), Raymon Gaddis (Philadelphia)
2013 - Darlington Nagbe (Portland), Dominic Oduro (Montreal), Sam Cronin (Colorado), Jalil Anibaba (Sporting Kansas City), Austin Berry (Philadelphia), José Gonçalves (New England)
2012 - Eddie Gaven (Columbus), Drew Moor (Colorado)
2011 - Brad Davis (Houston), Kosuke Kimura (Colorado), Sebastián Miranda (Columbus), Joel Lindpere (NYRB), Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado), Sébastien Le Toux (Philadelphia)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Final Rookie Stats

Here's a look at the 28 MLS Superdraftees who saw MLS action in 2015:

1 - Cyle Larin (Orlando City) - 27 apps, 24 starts, 1906 mins, 64 shots, 17 goals, 1 red
2 - Khiry Shelton (New York City FC) - 17 apps, 7 starts, 824 mins, 13 shots, 1 goal, 1 assist
3 - Romario Williams (Montreal) - 2 apps, 7 mins
4 - Fatai Alashe (San Jose) - 28 apps, 27 starts, 2317 mins, 19 shots, 2 goals, 2 assists, 5 yc, 1 red
7 - Matt Polster (Chicago) - 30 apps, 26 starts, 2422 mins, 12 shots, 10 yellows
8 - Zach Steinberger (Houston) - 3 apps, 29 mins, 1 shot
9 - Clement Simonin (Toronto FC) - 2 apps, 2 starts, 171 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow
10 - Connor Hallisey (Sporting KC) - 13 apps, 6 starts, 516 mins, 8 shots, 1 assist
12 - Saad Abdul-Salaam (Sporting KC) - 22 apps, 10 starts, 1074 mins, 5 shots, 1 assist, 1 yellow
13 - Tim Parker (Vancouver) - 15 apps, 14 starts, 1262 mins, 4 shots, 2 yellows
14 - Axel Sjöberg (Colorado) - 14 apps, 14 starts, 1259 mins, 12 shots, 5 yellows, 1 red
16 - Cristian Roldan (Seattle) - 22 apps, 11 starts, 1114 mins, 12 shots, 1 assist, 1 yellow
17 - Miguel Aguilar (DC United) - 17 apps, 4 starts, 528 mins, 4 shots, 1 yellow
19 - Sergio Campbell (Columbus) - 1 app, 1 start, 90 mins, 2 shots
20 - Amadou Dia (Sporting KC) - 22 apps, 13 starts, 1317 mins, 5 shots, 1 assist, 2 yellows
21 - Ignacio Maganto (LA Galaxy) - 13 apps, 6 starts, 524 mins, 8 shots, 1 goal, 2 assists
22 - Conor Donovan - Orlando City - 1 app, 1 start, 14 mins
23 - Connor Brandt (New York City FC) - 1 app, 9 mins
26 - Joseph Greenspan (Colorado) - 3 apps, 2 starts, 185 mins, 1 yellow
27 - Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake) - 3 apps, 1 start, 118 mins
36 - Rob Lovejoy (Houston) - 17 apps, 2 starts, 337 mins, 8 shots, 1 goal, 1 assist
40 - Oniel Fisher (Seattle) - 12 apps, 9 starts, 864 mins, 6 shots, 4 yellows
45 - Cameron Porter (Montreal) - 2 apps, 1 start, 39 mins, 1 shot
48 - Andy Craven (Seattle) - 3 apps, 67 mins, 2 shots, 1 yellow
49 - Taylor Hunter (Houston) - 1 app, 1 start, 90 mins
67 - Dominique Badji (Colorado) - 15 apps, 9 starts, 812 mins, 18 shots, 2 goals, 1 yellow
71 - Raymond Lee (Philadelphia) - 1 app, 12 mins
79 - Manolo Sanchez (New York Red Bulls) - 3 apps, 22 mins, 6 shots

Here's a look at your leaders in various categories:

Appearances: Matt Polster (Chicago) - 30
Starts: Matt Polster (Chicago) - 27
Minutes: Matt Polster (Chicago) - 2422
Shots: Cyle Larin (Orlando City) - 64
Goals: Cyle Larin (Orlando City) - 17
Assists: Ignacio Maganto (LA Galaxy), Fatai Alashe (San Jose) - 2
Yellow Cards: Matt Polster (Chicago) - 10
Red Cards: Cyle Larin (Orlando City), Fatai Alashe (San Jose), Axel Sjöberg (Colorado) - 1

Weekly Power Rankings - End of Regular Season (Week 34)


1 - New York Red Bulls (18-10-6) - Clinched their third Supporter's Shield in six years with a 2-1 win over the Fire, but are still looking for their first MLS Cup. Last Week: 2
2 - FC Dallas (18-10-6) - Just missed the Supporter's Shield, but they'll still be Champions League bound next year AND they're getting contributions from everyone. Last Week: 1
3 - Columbus Crew (15-11-8) - Closed out the regular season with a convincing 5-0 win over DC United despite no Kei Kamara. Ethan Finlay needs to get some USMNT love. Last Week: 4
4 - Montreal Impact (15-13-6) - How many goals would Didier Drogba have scored if he played the entire season? 20? 25? Last Week: 6
5 - Portland Timbers (15-11-8) - Darlington Nagbe stepped up in a big way on Sunday. You watching, Jurgen Klinsmann? Last Week: 8
6 - LA Galaxy (14-11-9) - Blew a late lead in the Champions League which cost them the top seed in the Knockout Round AND lost to Sporting Kansas City which means they'll have to win on the road in Seattle to advance to the conference semis. Last Week: 3
7 - Seattle Sounders (15-13-6) - Clint Dempsey scored two goals and added an assist in the opening 20 minutes against Real Salt Lake. That guy needs to show up more often for club AND country. Last Week: 10
8 - Toronto FC (15-15-4) - Will get another shot at Montreal and Didier Drogba this week as the postseason gets underway. Last Week: 5
9 - New England Revolution (14-12-8) - Lee Nguyen and Charlie Davies delivered when New England needed a win. Can they duplicate last season's postseason run? Last Week: 13
10 - Vancouver Whitecaps (16-13-5) - David Ousted made it back-to-back seasons with 13 shutouts, and Vancouver set a franchise record with 16 wins. Last Week: 11

Weekly Recap - Week 34

Jámison Olave headed home a Javier Morales corner kick and Nick Rimando made a pair of saves as Real Salt Lake knocked off Municipal to clinch Group G and advance to the Champions League Quarterfinals... Juan Ramírez came off the Colorado bench and delivered two assists in the final 15 minutes as the Rapids stunned Sporting Kansas City 2-0 and kept the race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference wide open. Prior to the match, Ramírez had just one assist on the year. Colorado Keeper Zac MacMath earned his first shutout since September of last year while making three saves... Alan Gordon scored his fifth goal of the 2015-16 Champions League, but the Galaxy conceded a late equalizer to Comunicaciones striker Rolando Blackburn causing them to lose the top seed in the knockout round and settle for the fifth spot and a date with Santos Laguna... The Whitecaps became the second team to travel to Honduras this year and lose when they, like Seattle before them, dropped a 1-0 decision against Olimpia. Traveling without most of their key contributors, the Caps were outshot 14-3 and maintained just 31.5% of possession during the match. Paolo Tornaghi made three saves in defeat... With Kei Kamara suspended, the Crew turned to midseason acquisition Jack McInerney and he delivered with a goal and an assist while Ethan Finlay added two goals of his own as the Crew routed DC United 5-0 and clinched the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. With the loss, DC United finished fourth... Lee Nguyen scored less than two minutes into the match and New England never looked back as Charlie Davies and Kelyn Rowe added goals and the Revs clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win over New York City FC. The Revs enter the playoffs as the East's 5 seed while City concludes their inaugural MLS season with an 8th place finish... Sébastien Le Toux's first half penalty kick accounted for all of the scoring as the Union ended Orlando City's playoff hopes with a 1-0 win. Andre Blake made five saves to earn the shutout in a match that featured 10 yellow cards and an ejection of Orlando City's Cristian Higuita. Despite the win, the Union end the season in 9th place while Orlando City's first campaign ends with them in 7th... In the span of a few seconds, Montreal erased a 1-0 deficit behind a pair of goals by Didier Drogba and held off Toronto FC 2-1. Montreal now finishes the season in third place in the East while Toronto settles for the sixth seed meaning the two clubs will face off in an elimination match on Thursday. On the bright side for Toronto, Sebastian Giovinco clinched the Golden Boot as he finished his first season in MLS with 22 goals and 16 assists... Darlington Nagbe scored two goals and added an assist as the Timbers routed the Rapids 4-1 on their way to a postseason berth and the third seed in the Western Conference. Rookie and 67th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Dominique Badji, scored the lone goal for Colorado who ended the season in last place in the Western Conference... Vancouver clinched the number two seed in the West with a convincing 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. David Ousted made a pair of saves to reach 13 shutouts for the second consecutive season. With the loss, the Dynamo finished in 8th place in the West... Dom Dwyer's second half game winner lifted Sporting KC through to the postseason as they knocked off the Galaxy 2-1. Robbie Keane scored his 20th goal of the season, but couldn't stop the Galaxy from falling to 5th place in the West. Sporting will enter the playoffs as the six seed... The Red Bulls clinched their fourth Supporter's Shield, and third since 2010, with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire. Chicago's Alec Kann made his MLS debut in goal for the Fire and recorded six saves in a losing effort. The Fire end the season with a league-worst 20 losses... Clint Dempsey scored two goals and added an assist in the first 20 minutes as Seattle assured themselves of a playoff berth and a home game to boot after defeating Real Salt Lake 3-1. Real Salt Lake ends the season in 9th place. Luis Gil scored his first goal of the season for Real Salt Lake in a losing effort... San Jose's playoff hopes were dashed as they couldn't hold a lead against Dallas and fell 2-1 against the Western Conference Champions. While it turned out even a win by San Jose wouldn't have been enough, the loss removed all doubt, and kept them from finishing the 2015 season with a winning record. FC Dallas finished atop the Western Conference and will advance to next year's Champions League, but lost the Supporter's Shield to the Red Bulls on goal differential, 19-13.

MLS SuperDraft Rookie Watch - Week 34

As the 2015 MLS regular season drew to a close yesterday, we saw 11 different rookies take the field across various competitions during the final week of the season. Highlights included Dominique Badji's second goal of the season, Fatai Alashe's second assist of the season, and multiple starts by Sporting KC's Saad Abdul-Salaam, as well as Colorado's Axel Sjöberg and Badji. Here's a rundown of all the rookie action in the final week of the season:


1 - Cyle Larin - Orlando City - Started vs Philadelphia, 90 mins, 1 shot
2 - Khiry Shelton - New York City FC - Started vs New England, 56 mins
4 - Fatai Alashe - San Jose - Started vs FC Dallas, 90 mins, 1 assist
7 - Matt Polster - Chicago - Started vs NYRB, 90 mins, 3 shots, yellow card
12 - Saad Abdul-Salaam - Sporting KC -  Started vs Colorado, 90 mins
12 - Saad Abdul-Salaam - Sporting KC - Started vs LA, 90 mins
13 - Tim Parker - Vancouver - Started vs Houston - 90 mins
14 - Axel Sjöberg - Colorado - Started vs Sporting KC, 90 mins
14 - Axel Sjöberg - Colorado - Started vs Portland, 90 mins
36 - Rob Lovejoy - Houston - Sub vs Vancouver, 1 min
40 - Oniel Fisher - Seattle - Sub vs Real Salt Lake, 20 mins
67 - Dominique Badji - Colorado - Started vs Sporting KC, 74 mins, 1 shot
67 - Dominique Badji - Colorado - Started vs Portland, 90 mins, 1 shot, 1 goal


13 - Tim Parker - Vancouver - Sub vs Olimpia, 28 mins
21 - Ignacio Maganto - LA Galaxy - Started vs Comunicaciones, 90 mins

U-17 World Cup Update

Brandon Vazquez (Tijuana) scored his second goal of the tournament, but the U.S. squandered an early lead for the second match in a row conceding four times against hosts Chile and ending their World Cup with a 4-1 loss and last place finish in Group A. The U.S. finishes the tournament in 21st place out of 24 teams with a record of 0-2-1 and were outscored 8-3 in their three matches. Here's a look at some of the other action as group play wrapped up this weekend:

Croatia 2 Nigeria 1
England 0 South Korea 0
Mali 3 Honduras 0
Mexico 2 Germany 1
Australia 2 Argentina 1
New Zealand 2 Paraguay 1
France 4 Syria 0
North Korea 2 Costa Rica 1

Friday, October 23, 2015

CCL Goal Scorers by Nationality

Here's a list of all of your 2015-16 CCL goal scorers through the group stage broken down by nationality. MLSers are highlighted in red. With 5 goals, Alan Gordon has the highest total by an American player in the Champions League since Herculez Gomez scored 6 goals for Santos Laguna during the 2011-12 tourney.

Argentina (12)

Emanuel Villa - Querétaro F.C. - 6
Jonathan Hansen - Herediano - 2
Diego González - Santos Laguna - 1
Carlos Izquierdoz - Santos Laguna - 1
Juan Manuel Martínez - Real Salt Lake - 1
Rubens Sambueza - Club América - 1

Belize (2)

Deon McCaulay - Verdes FC - 2

Brazil (3)

Danilinho - Querétaro F.C. - 1
Ricardinho Paraiba - Santa Tecla - 1
Israel Silva - Motagua - 1

U-17 World Cup Update

The U.S. grabbed a 2-0 lead against Croatia on Tuesday behind first half goals from Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Brandon Vazquez (Tijuana), but conceded twice after the break and were forced to settle for a 2-2 tie. The U.S. now heads into their final match against Chile today needing a win to assure advancing to the knockout stage. Chile drew with Croatia in their opener before falling to Nigeria 5-1. Here's a rundown of some more of the action from the second round of matches:

Brazil 1 England 0
Mexico 0 Australia 0
Germany 4 Argentina 0
Belgium 2 Honduras 1
Russia 1 Costa Rica 1
France 4 Paraguay 3

Upcoming Matches of Interest:

10/23 - USA vs Chile
10/23 - Croatia vs Nigeria
10/24 - Germany vs Mexico
10/24 - Mali vs Honduras
10/25 - Costa Rica vs North Korea

Clinched Spots in Knockout Round:

South Korea

Top Scorers:

Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) - 3
Johannes Eggestein (Germany) - 3
Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria) - 2
Pervis Estupiñan (Ecuador) - 2
Vitaly Janelt (Germany) - 2
Felix Passlack (Germany) - 2
Bilal Boutobba (France) - 2
Nanimato Ikone (France) - 2
Julio Villalba (Paraguay) - 2
Fedor Chalov (Russia) - 2

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MLS's 20-Goal Scorers

As we enter the final week of the regular season with Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco and Columbus's Kei Kamara neck-and-neck for the Golden Boot, and several other players within striking distance of 20 goals, it's worth noting that no player in MLS history has EVER scored more than 20 goals in a season more than once. Here's a rundown of all the 20-goal scorers in MLS history and a look at how they fared in the aftermath of eclipsing the 20-goal plateau:

Roy Lassiter - 1996, 27 - Lassiter is still tied for the most goals scored in a single season after scoring 27 in the league's inaugural campaign. Lassiter did score 18 goals with DC United in both 1998 and 1999, but failed to reach double digits in his final three season in the league. Career Goals: 88

Raúl Díaz Arce - 1996, 23 - El Salvador's official all-time leading scorer with 39 goals in 68 appearances, Díaz Arce helped DC United win back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997. He scored 15 goals during the 1997 campaign in just 22 matches, and then scored 18 in 1998 with New England, but split the 1999, 2000 and 2001 campaigns between multiple clubs averaging less than nine goals a season his final three years in the league. Career Goals: 82

Eduardo Hurtado - 1996, 21 - Hurtado tallied 21 goals for the Galaxy in 1996, but reached double digits only one more time (11 goals in 1998) before washing out of MLS in 2000. Career Goals: 47

Updated CCL Scenarios

After last night's three matches, only one group remains undecided in the CONCACAF Champions League and that will be settled tonight between Tigres UANL and Herediano. Here's the updated scenarios for each group with tonight's matches highlighted in red:

Group A

Santos Laguna defeated Saprissa 6-1 in the Group A finale to win the group.

Group B

Tigres UANL (Mexico) carry a three point lead and homefield advantage into their final match with Herediano (Costa Rica) on October 21st, but an Herediano win will send the Costa Rican side through as the two clubs drew 1-1 in their previous match-up.

Group C

Querétaro (Mexico) has already clinched the group so the October 22nd showdown between Verdes (Belize) and San Francisco (Panama) is purely for bragging rights. Verdes won the last match-up 2-1.

Group D

The LA Galaxy have clinched the group, but their October 21st match with Comunicaciones (Guatemala) could influence their quarterfinal seed. The Galaxy won the last match-up between these two clubs 5-0 thanks to a pair of goals from both Alan Gordon and Robbie Keane.

Group E

América drew with Motagua 1-1 to clinch Group E with a record of 3-0-1.

Group F

The Seattle Sounders clinched the group thanks to their 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, but the Whitecaps still have one more match to play on the road against Olimpia (Honduras) on October 22nd. The Whitecaps defeated Olimpia 1-0 on September 16th.

Group G

Real Salt Lake's 1-0 win over Municipal guaranteed four MLS squads in the Round of 8.

Group H

DC United has clinched this group leaving the final match between Árabe Unido (Panama) and Montego Bay United of no significant importance.

Current Positioning for the Quarterfinals is as follows:

1. América - 10 pts (+7)
2. DC United - 10 pts (+6)
3. Real Salt Lake - 10 pts (+3)
4. Santos Laguna - 9 pts (+9)
5. LA Galaxy - 7 pts (+9)
6. Querétaro - 7 pts (+9)
7. Seattle Sounders - 7 pts (+3)
8. Tigres UANL/Herediano - 7 pts (+2)

Teams in bold have no matches remaining while teams in red play tonight. For teams that have not clinched, the higher of the points values was used.