Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Final Thoughts on the 2014-15 CCL

1. We can win this thing! Montreal made it to the CCL Final and led both legs against Mexico's Club América despite playing with arguably their fourth string goalie and with multiple starters (Justin Mapp, Víctor Cabrera, Hassoun Camara, Cameron Porter) out with injuries. Despite everything, they were one half away from bringing home a championship before the walls came crashing down. This is an Impact team that won only 6 games out of 34 last season in MLS and remains winless in 2015. This isn't a team that's going to be confused with the Sounders or the Revs or the Galaxy, and yet THEY almost won the Champions League. I hope other teams are paying attention at what happens if you actually try to win this tournament because we're long overdue for brining home a title.

2. The Impact did all this with one Designated Player. Ignacio Piatti is the only designated player on the Impact's roster right now (they have two empty DP roster slots). Piatti scored the goal in the opener and assisted on both Impact goals tonight. Just think if Montreal had two more guys like him that they could've put onto the field. Maybe then you aren't starting Nigel Reo-Coker out of position in a CCL Final. I understand it's often an issue of money, but if you have the option to bring in high-priced talent, ESPECIALLY knowing you had the Champions League ahead of you, I think you're foolish not to if you want to be taken seriously as a franchise. Look at what Canadian counterparts Vancouver and Toronto have done. The Caps' Octavio Rivero is tied for the league lead with five goals while Toronto's Jozy Altidore has four and his teammate Sebastian Giovinco is an unreal talent. Big name players are often difference makers, and with the Montreal roster thinned out due to injuries, the Impact just didn't have the depth or talent to stay with their Mexican counterparts.

3. As an MLS Fan, I'm proud of these guys. I mean how could you not be? Despite the wheels coming off in the second half, they kept fighting, even grabbing a late goal. In the end it didn't make a difference, but it was great to see an MLS club go out there and claw and scratch for every inch in this tournament. They knocked out Pachuca, the New York Red Bulls and Alajuelense, and had to put a good scare into América tonight. In a tournament where we saw three MLS clubs (Sporting KC, Portland and the Red Bulls) fail to make it out of group play, and DC United's defense go to pieces in Central America, it was great to see somebody represent the league well. Great job, Montreal, you've gained a fan.

Montreal Impact - Final CCL Stats

Montreal CCL Stats

Current Roster

Dilly Duka - 10 starts, 2 goals
Evan Bush - 9 starts, 28 saves, 3 shutouts, 11 goals allowed
Calum Mallace - 9 appearances, 5 starts, 1 assist
Ignacio Piatti - 8 starts, 2 goals, 4 assists
Andrés Romero - 7 appearances, 6 starts, 3 goals, 1 assist
Patrice Bernier - 7 appearances, 2 starts, 1 assist
Maxim Tissot - 7 appearances
Dominic Oduro - 6 starts, 4 assists
Donny Toia - 6 starts, 1 assist
Nigel Reo-Coker - 6 starts
Bakary Soumaré - 6 starts
Laurent Ciman - 6 starts
Hassoun Camara - 5 appearances, 4 starts
Jack McInerney - 5 appearances, 2 starts, 3 goals
Víctor Cabrera - 4 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist
Marco Donadel - 4 starts, 1 assist
Justin Mapp - 3 starts
Cameron Porter - 3 appearances, 1 start, 1 goal
Wandrille Lefèvre - 3 appearances, 1 start
Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé - 2 appearances, 1 start
Eric Miller - 2 appearances, 1 start
Kristian Nicht - 1 start, 2 saves, 4 goals allowed
Anthony Jackson-Hamel - 1 appearance

SuperDraft Rookie Stats Through April

Here's a look at your MLS Superdraftees who've seen MLS action in 2015:

1 - Cyle Larin (Orlando City) - 5 apps, 3 starts, 272 mins, 11 shots, 1 goal
2 - Khiry Shelton (New York City FC) - 7 apps, 3 starts, 396 mins, 8 shots, 1 assist
3 - Romario Williams (Montreal) - 1 app, 0 starts, 6 mins
4 - Fatai Alashe (San Jose) - 6 apps, 5 starts, 459 mins, 5 shots, 1 goal, 2 yellows
7 - Matt Polster (Chicago) -  6 apps, 5 starts, 444 mins, 3 shots, 2 yellows
8 - Zach Steinberger (Houston) - 1 app, 0 starts, 21 mins, 1 shot
9 - Clement Simonin (Toronto FC) - 1 app, 1 start, 90 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow
10 - Connor Hallisey (Sporting KC) - 1 app, 1 min
14 - Axel Sjöberg (Colorado) - 4 apps, 4 starts, 360 mins, 2 shots, 1 yellow
16 - Cristian Roldan (Seattle) - 5 apps, 2 starts, 162 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow
17 - Miguel Aguilar (DC United) - 2 apps, 0 starts, 23 mins
20 - Amadou Dia (Sporting KC) - 4 apps, 2 starts, 222 mins, 3 shots
36 - Rob Lovejoy (Houston) - 5 apps, 1 start, 150 mins, 3 shots, 1 goal, 1 assist
40 - Oniel Fisher (Seattle) - 1 app, 0 starts, 4 mins
45 - Cameron Porter (Montreal) - 2 apps, 1 start, 39 mins, 1 shot
67 - Dominique Badji (Colorado) - 7 apps, 5 starts, 419 mins, 9 shots, 1 goal, 1 yellow
71 - Raymond Lee (Philadelphia) - 1 app, 12 mins

Hallisey and Lee debuted this month bringing the total of SuperDraftees to see the field this year to 17. With goals by Larin, Lovejoy and Badji, the rookies are up to four goals and two assists in 32 starts.

CCL Finals, Leg 2 Starting XIs

Let's breakdown the lineups for Leg 1 real quick:

For Club América:


GK - Moisés Muñoz - Started First Leg, 1 Save
D - Ventura Alvarado - Did not dress for First Leg, 3 CAPS for USMNT
D - Miguel Samudio - Started First Leg
D - Pablo Aguilar - Started First Leg
D - Paul Aguilar - Started First Leg
M - José Guerrero - Appeared as a sub in First Leg
M - Osvaldo Martínez - Started First Leg
M - Rubens Sambueza - Started First Leg, 1 Assist
M - Darwin Quintero - Started First Leg at Forward
F - Darío Benedetto - Started First Leg
F - Oribe Peralta - Appeared as a sub in First Leg, 1 Goal

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Who's In Goal for Montreal???

So here we are with the Montreal Impact playing in one of the most significant matches in MLS history, only they're about to trot out a goalie who has never appeared in an MLS match. First stringer Evan Bush received a questionable yellow late in first leg that will cause him to be suspended for the second leg, so he's out. Second stringer Eric Kronberg is cup-tied to Sporting Kansas City and hasn't been eligible to play for Montreal in the tournament this year so he's out. Third stringer Maxime Crépeau may be the keeper of the future, but he hasn't been healthy so him getting the call seems unlikely. So that leaves two players currently on loan to Montreal: John Smits and Kristian Nicht. So who are these guys and does Montreal have a snowball's chance in Mexico to bring the title to MLS?


Smits' story is an interesting one as he was the goalie for FC Edmonton, the team that nearly ended Montreal's historic run before it ever started. Now 26, Smits has spent the last three seasons with FC Edmonton in the NASL (the second tier of US Soccer, one below MLS). In 2014 he was named the Golden Glove Winner (goalkeeper of the year) in the NASL. Smits has served as a back-up for Bush in the tournament, but hasn't played.


Of the two rent-a-keepers, Nicht is the more experienced boasting a 16 year professional career and is now 33. He's played professionally in Germany and Norway before coming to the U.S. and eventually settling in with Indy Eleven. Once upon a time he was the Bundesliga 2 Goalkeeper of the Year in 2006 and started 17 Bundesliga matches during the 2006-2007 campaign for Alemannia Aachen. He was the 2012 USL PRO League (Third Tier of US Soccer) Goalkeeper of the Year after posting 11 shutouts with the Rochester Rhinos, and last year he started every game for Indy Eleven and was a part of the squad that took the Columbus Crew to extra time before falling 2-1 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. Nicht also backed up Bush earlier on in the tournament during separate loans, and spent the 2015 presseason with the Impact in Mexico, which likely makes him the front runner for a starting spot.

Kickoff is tomorrow night at 8 pm. We'll see who the Impact trot out between the pipes. Either way, Go Impact!

MLS Weekly Predictions, Week 9


New York Red Bulls 2 Colorado Rapids 0 - New York's strength is in its midfield, and while Colorado is playing better lately, I don't know that they can hang with the likes of McCarty, Sam, Kljestan and Felipe.


Houston Dynamo 1 FC Dallas 1 - Fabián Castillo is going to be key in this match, but I don't see Houston's defense falling to pieces two weeks in a row. Dallas's defense on the other hand...

San Jose Earthquakes 2 Real Salt Lake 1 - Real Salt Lake is better than they showed this weekend against New England, but I'm a believer in San Jose, probably to a fault. Wondo is due to break out.


Toronto FC 4 Philadelphia Union 2 - Toronto's undefeated when Jozy Altidore scores two goals. I'm betting he scores two more against the struggling Union.

Columbus Crew 2 DC United 1 - Columbus is heating up and DC United is due for a let down game. Look for Ethan Finlay and company to take advantage.

New York Red Bulls 1 New England Revolution 1 - An Eastern Conference Finals preview? The Revs are red hot, but the Red Bulls can't lose. Sounds like an even match-up.

LA Galaxy 1 Colorado Rapids 0 - San Penedo has bailed the Galaxy out a couple times already this season. Look for more of the same as they await the return of Robbie Keane and the arrival of Steven Gerrard.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Portland Timbers 2 - Should be an exciting match with Darlington Nagbe and Octavio Rivero going toe-to-toe.


Chicago Fire 2 Sporting Kansas City 1 - The Fire are on fire and Sporting struggles to put together complete efforts. Look for the Fire to make it four in a row.

Seattle Sounders 4 New York City FC 1 - City is running out of healthy bodies while the Sounders are back at full strength. Dempsey and Martins should run wild.

Last Week: 5-4 (Columbus, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, Houston-Sporting KC)

Overall: 19-44 (Actually posted a winng record last week. You wouldn't know by looking at the overall record.)

Weekly MLS Top Tens and Power Rankings - 4/28/15


1- New York Red Bulls (3-0-3) - Hard fought draw with the short-handed Galaxy, but hard to knock down the last of the unbeatens. Last Week: 1
2 - DC United (4-1-2) - Found a way to beat Vancouver, and they're still not at full strength. Last Week: 4
3 - Seattle Sounders (4-2-1) - Dempsey snapped a six week scoreless streak with his fourth goal of the season and the defense picked up their fourth shutout in seven tries. Last Week: 3
4 - Vancouver Whitecaps (5-3-1) - Losing to DC United isn't the end of the world, but Octavio Rivero appears to be cooling off. Last Week: 2
5 - New England Revolution (4-2-2) - Completely dismantled a short-handed Real Salt Lake squad and they still haven't seen the best of Lee Nguyen. After going scoreless in three straight to start the season, the Revs are 4-0-1. Last Week: 9
6 - Columbus Crew (3-2-2) - The Crew lead MLS with 12 goals and they've only allowed six. My preseason pick to win the East is starting to heat up. Last Week: 8
7 - LA Galaxy (3-2-3) - Playing without Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard is going to make them a much deeper club. Great seeing Bradford Jamieson take advantage of his playing time. Last Week: 5
8 - FC Dallas (4-2-2) - The good news is that Mauro Díaz is back. The bad news is that Blas Pérez's red card likely cost them a win. Last Week: 6
9 - Chicago Fire (3-3-0) - Three straight wins after three straight losses and all of those new faces Chicago brought in are starting to contribute. Last Week: 14
10 - Real Salt Lake (2-2-3) - No Nick Rimando, no Jámison Olave, no defense. This is a better team than we saw on Saturday, so it's not time to panic just yet. Last Week: 7

MLS Weekly Recap, Week 8

Ignacio Piatti and the Montreal Impact nearly stole a win in Mexico this week only to watch it slip away with an 89th minute equalizer against Club América in the first leg of the CCL Finals. After that it was goals galore as four different MLS clubs scored four goals highlighted by Houston and Sporting KC's 4-4 draw. In other action, the Red Bulls stayed unbeaten, Toronto snapped their four-game losing streak, and the Fire are back to .500 after starting the season 0-3. Here's a rundown of all the action:



Montreal Impact 1 Club América 1


Chicago Fire 1 New York City FC 0
FC Dallas 1 Colorado Rapids 1


Columbus Crew 4 Philadelphia Union 1
New England Revolution 4 Real Salt Lake 0
Houston Dynamo 4 Sporting Kansas City 4
DC United 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 1


New York Red Bulls 1 LA Galaxy 1
Toronto FC 2 Orlando City SC 0
Seattle Sounders 1 Portland Timbers 0

MLS SuperDraft Rookie Watch, Week 8

Week 8 pitted Khiry Shelton and New York City FC against Matt Polster and the Chicago Fire with Polster and company coming away with a 1-0 win. Sporting Kansas City's Connor Hallisey made his MLS debut with a cameo against Houston while Colorado's tandem of Sjöberg and Badji appeared together in the starting lineup for the first time since the 21st of March. Here's a rundown of all the action:

1 - Cyle Larin - Orlando City - Started vs Toronto, 67 mins, 2 shots
2 - Khiry Shelton - New York City FC - Started vs Chicago, 90 mins, 1 shot
7 - Matt Polster - Chicago - Started vs NYCFC, 90 mins, 2 shots
10 - Connor Hallisey - Sporting KC - Appeared as sub vs Houston, 1 min
14 - Axel Sjöberg - Colorado - Started vs FC Dallas, 90 mins
20 - Amadou Dia - Sporting KC - Appeared as sub vs Houston, 27 mins
67 - Dominique Badji - Colorado - Started vs FC Dallas, 65 mins

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Montreal Impact CCL Stats Through Leg 1

Montreal CCL Stats

Current Roster

Evan Bush - 9 starts, 28 saves, 3 shutouts, 11 Goals Allowed
Dilly Duka - 9 starts, 2 goals
Calum Mallace - 8 appearances, 4 starts, 1 assist
Ignacio Piatti - 7 starts, 2 goals, 2 assists
Andrés Romero - 6 appearances, 5 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist
Patrice Bernier - 6 appearances, 2 starts, 1 assist
Maxim Tissot - 6 appearances
Dominic Oduro - 5 starts, 4 assists
Víctor Cabrera - 4 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist
Nigel Reo-Coker - 5 starts
Bakary Soumaré - 5 starts
Donny Toia - 5 starts, 1 assist
Laurent Ciman - 5 starts
Hassoun Camara - 5 appearances, 4 starts
Jack McInerney - 4 appearances, 2 starts, 2 goal
Marco Donadel - 3 starts, 1 assist
Justin Mapp - 3 starts
Cameron Porter - 3 appearances, 1 start, 1 goal
Wandrille Lefèvre - 3 appearances, 1 start
Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé - 2 appearances, 1 start
Eric Miller - 2 appearances, 1 start
Anthony Jackson-Hamel - 1 appearance

5 Thoughts on Leg 1 of the Champions League Final

1) MLS still has a ways to go. How is it that we have an MLS team in a continental championship match in a stadium with like 100,000 screaming fans and the best we can do is Fox Sports 2. Not even Fox Sports 1. Fox Sports... TWO. COME ON!!!

2) There's a saying the first and last five minutes of each half are the most important. Montreal is here because they scored in the 94th minute against Pachuca, and they led 1-0 until the 89th minute tonight before finally surrendering the equalizer. There will be lots of woulda, coulda, shouldas, but the reality is, a 1-1 result in Mexico is nothing to be ashamed of. And a 0-0 tie next week will still be enough to give the Impact the title. Still, you've got to think they'd like another crack at those closing minutes.

3) Dominic Oduro: Distributor. With the assist on Piatti's goal, Oduro now has four assists in five Champions League matches. The 2014 seasson, in which Oduro played in 35 matches for Toronto and Columbus, is the only one in his MLS career - a career that dates back to 2006 - in which he's had more than four assists (he had five).

4) Evan Bush is my unsung hero. Outshot 28-4 and facing 16 corner kicks, Bush made 8 saves and nearly pulled off a miraculous shutout. No shame in walking away from an onslaught like that with a 1-1 draw. Let's face it, we just saw Herediano go into Azteca and lose 6-0, surrendering five goals before halftime. What the Impact accomplished tonight was no small feat. The only question that remains is, can they do it again in a week?

5) Who knew Montreal had so much depth? No Justin Mapp, no Cameron Porter, no Marco Donadel, and no Víctor Cabrera, and this group still survived 90 minutes in hostile territory, but put themselves in a position to win the Champions League. This is the same Montreal that won all of five games in 2014, and has yet to win an MLS match in 2015. Truly unbelievable. Leg 2 is in seven days, get excited Montreal! Everyone in MLS is rooting for you.

CONCACAF Champions League Finals - Starting XIs

Let's breakdown the lineups for Leg 1 real quick:

For Club América:


GK - Moisés Muñoz - Age 35, 13 CAPs for Mexico, joined América in 2011
D - Erik Pimentel - Age 24, debuted with América in 2011
D - Miguel Samudio - Age 28, 21 CAPs for Paraguay, joined América in 2015
D - Pablo Aguilar - Age 28, 13 CAPs for Paraguay, joined América in 2014
D - Paul Aguilar - Age 29, 40 CAPs for Mexico, joined América in 2011
M - Cristian Pellerano - Age 33, joined América in 2015
M - Michael Arroyo - Age 27, 23 CAPs for Ecuador, on loan from Atlante FC (Mexico)
M - Osvaldo Martínez - Age 29, 28 CAPs for Paraguay, joined América in 2013
M - Rubens Sambueza - Age 31, Youth National Experience for Argentina, joined América in 2012
F - Darío Benedetto - Age 24, joined América in 2015
F - Darwin Quintero - Age 27, 14 CAPs for Colombia, joined América in 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekly Predictions, MLS Week 8


Chicago Fire 2 New York City FC 1 - The Fire are well rested and City is still struggling to put the pieces together. Look for Harry Shipp and company to attack early and often.

FC Dallas 2 Colorado 1 - I don't know that Colorado can catch lightning in a bottle twice against Dallas. That 4-0 win was impressive, but it's a performance they've yet to duplicate this season against anyone.


Real Salt Lake 0 New England Revolution 0 - Nick Rimando is stingy and New England still hasn't hit its stride offensively. Lee Nguyen has just one goal and one assist this season after scoring 18 with five helpers a year ago.

Columbus Crew 2 Philadelphia Union 1 - The Union are definitely a better team with John McCarthy between the sticks, but as we saw again on Sunday, this team is still susceptible to a late game collapse.

Houston Dynamo 1 Sporting Kansas City 1 - Houston hasn't surrendered more than a goal in any game this year. Seems unlikely they'll reverse that trend here.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1 DC United 0 - They Caps just keep finding ways to win and with DC struggling to put teams away, this looks like another golden opportunity for Octavio Rivero and company.


New York Red Bulls 2 LA Galaxy 1 - The Red Bulls are the league's most complete team right now, a title that may shift to LA when Steven Gerrard arrives this summer. It ain't summer yet. Advantage Red Bulls.

Toronto FC 3 Orlando City SC 2 - At some point, Toronto is going to win. They are too good to keep losing. Sebastian Giovinco showed us a glimpse on Saturday night with a pair of late goals against Dallas, if he picks up where he left off, look out Orlando.

Seattle Sounders 2 Portland Timbers 1 - Seattle's getting healthier which is bad news for the rest of the Western Conference.

Last Week: 2-8 (Columbus, Seattle)

Overall: 14-40 (I should at least be able to pick 1 out of 3, right? Come on!!)

MLS Weekly Top Tens and Power Rankings - 4/20/15


1- New York Red Bulls (3-0-2) - Thanks to RSL's loss to Vancouver, the Red Bulls are the last of the unbeatens. Sacha Kljestan's goal was his first in MLS since 2010 back when he played for Chivas USA. Last Week: 1
2 - Vancouver Whitecaps (5-2-1) - Fastest to 5 wins, and they're arguably still not playing up to their potential. Last Week: 2
3 - Seattle Sounders (3-2-1) - Finally got goals from someone other than Clint Dempsey or Obafemi Martins as Lamar Neagle netted a brace against Colorado. Last Week: 5
4 - DC United (3-1-2) - Let another lead slip away, but they managed to pick up points even with Bill Hamid unavailable. Last Week: 3
5 - LA Galaxy (3-2-2) - Big Omar Gonzalez capped off a big week that started with a shutout win over Mexico in central defense and finished with a stoppage time game winner against Sporting KC. This team may have more depth than they're given credit for as they started the Sporting match with Gonzalez and Zardes on the bench, and no Robbie Keane, and still came away with the full three points. Last Week: 7
6 - FC Dallas (4-2-1) - Needed just 29 seconds to score the opener against Toronto, but the defense continues to play like a sieve. Nine goals allowed in their last three. Last Week: 6
7 - Real Salt Lake (2-1-3) - Finished the match against red-hot Vancouver with nine men and finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. The good news is that Kyle Beckerman's injury against Mexico didn't keep him out of Saturday's contest. Last Week: 4
8 - Columbus Crew (2-2-2) - We finally got a glimpse of what the Crew offense can do. Granted both of their wins came against short-handed opponents, but good teams punish teams for mistakes. Last Week: 8
9 - New England Revolution (3-2-2) - Got a huge lift off the bench from Teal Bunbury who came through with a goal and an assist. I still maintain that this team is at its best when Charlie Davies is on the field. Last Week: 12
10 - Houston Dynamo (2-2-3) - This team would be much worse off without Tyler Deric in net. The Dynamo have allowed just 4 goals in 7 matches. Last Week: 14

Sunday, April 19, 2015

MLS Weekly Recap, Week 7

Another solid week for MLS, this one punctuated by the U.S.'s 2-0 win over Mexico that included a goal from New England's Juan Agudelo. Aside from that we saw the Red Bulls extend their unbeaten streak, Real Salt Lake fall for the first time this season, Vancouver become the first team to five wins, and Dallas score in less than a minute as they extended Toronto's losing streak to four. Around the rest of the league, New York City FC's Khiry Shelton finally broke into the starting lineup and earned his first assist, Omar Gonzalez came off the bench to give LA a stoppage time game winner, and Seattle finally got a goal from someone other than Clint Dempsey or Obafemi Martins. Here's the full rundown:



USA 2 Mexico 0


New York City FC 1 Philadelphia Union 1


New York Red Bulls 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0


D United 1 Houston Dynamo 1
Columbus Crew 3 Orlando City SC 0
FC Dallas 3 Toronto FC 2
Seattle Sounders 3 Colorado Rapids 1
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 Real Salt Lake 0
LA Galaxy 2 Sporting Kansas City 1


New England Revolution 2 Philadelphia Union 1
Portland Timbers 1 New York City FC 0

MLS SuperDraft Rookie Watch, Week 7

Khiry Shelton finally got his first start with City and he picked up his first assist. Cyle Larin's second start was cut short thanks to a Rafael Ramos red card. Around the rest of the league, Fatai Alashe continued his role as a regular in San Jose, while a slough of others enjoyed second half cameos. Here's the full rundown:

1 - Cyle Larin - Orlando City - Started vs Columbus, 36 mins, 1 shot
2 - Khiry Shelton - New York City FC - Started vs Philadelphia, 90 mins, 2 shots, 1 assist
2 - Khiry Shelton - New York City FC - Started vs Portland, 90 mins, 2 shots
4 - Fatai Alashe - San Jose - Started vs Chicago, 90 mins, 1 shot, yellow card
16 - Cristian Roldan - Seattle - Appeared as sub vs Colorado, 9 mins
17 - Miguel Aguilar - DC United - Appeared as sub vs Houston, 10 mins
20 - Amadou Dia - Sporting KC - Appeared as sub vs LA, 15 mins
36 - Rob Lovejoy - Houston - Appeared as sub vs DC United, 10 mins

Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Thoughts on USA-Mexico

1) Let's not get carried away. This was a big win for us because it was against Mexico, our biggest rival, and because we needed a result. But let's remember that this wasn't Mexico's "A" team, the field conditions, as the announcers stressed about a million times over the course of the match, were poor, and this was just a friendly. This doesn't mean we've fixed the glitch and all is well in the universe again. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of positives that came out of last night's game, but we didn't suddenly become the favorites to win the Gold Cup.

2) Jordan Morris appears to have a bright future. I love that Morris got the opportunity to start this game, and that he made the most of his opportunity. He certainly had some spells where he showed his inexperience, but when the time came and he was in a position to score, he made the most of it. Clint Dempsey isn't going to be able to play forever, and someone needs to be able to jump in and fill that void when he eventually leaves. I'm not ready to hand the keys of the U.S. offense to Morris just yet, but I'm excited that we're starting to build up a stable of younger guys who could potentially fill that role. On a side note, Clint Dempsey's Sounders own the rights to Jordan Morris should he decide to play in MLS. Tell me you wouldn't like to see that tandem together.

3) I think we're a better team with Kyle Beckerman on the field. I think having a player like Beckerman who can hold things down in front of the back line and distribute balls into the midfield effectively makes us a much better team. Beckerman obviously isn't the long term solution as he'll be in his mid-30s come the next World Cup, but someone like Perry Kitchen or Wil Trapp might develop into that role. Regardless, I think there's something to be said for having a defensive minded player in that position.

4) Michael Bradley looked like the player we all hoped he'd be during the World Cup. Again, this wasn't the toughest competition he was up against, but Bradley looked completely comfortable handling the ball and distributing. AND he played a part in both U.S. goals. Hopefully his confidence continues to grow because let's face it, as he goes right now, so goes the U.S.

5) This is how I would line up for the Gold Cup if it started tomorrow: Assuming a 23-man roster: Brad Guzan in net, Brek Shea at left back, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in central defense, Fabian Johnson at right back, Alejandro Bedoya at left mid, Michael Bradley as the attacking mid Kyle Beckerman as a defensive mid, Mix Diskerud at right mid, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey up top. On the bench I'd have Nick Rimando (keeper), Bill Hamid (keeper), Greg Garza (left back), Ventura Alvarado (center back), DeAndre Yedlin (right back/right mid), Gyasi Zardes (right mid/striker), Geoff Cameron (defense/midfield), John Brooks (central defense), Jordan Morris (striker), Aron Johannsson (striker), Graham Zusi (left midfield), Perry Kitchen (defensive midfield).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekly Predictions, MLS Week 7


New York City FC 2 Philadelphia Union 1 - Philly is making some positive changes as evidenced by their win last week, but I think City is getting tired of losing. At what point do they mix things up by throwing Khiry Shelton into the Starting XI?


New York Red Bulls 2 San Jose Earthquakes 2 - No Adam Jahn means Wondo goes back up top. I'm envisioning dueling braces between him and BWP. Dare to dream, right?


Columbus Crew 3 Orlando City SC 1 - I keep waiting for the Crew to break out. The pulled off a couple big road draws last week, I'm thinking this week they walk away with three points at home.

Seattle Sounders 1 Colorado Rapids 0 - Colorado erupted for four goals last week against Seattle. I'm thinking fluke, let's see if they prove me wrong.

Sporting Kansas City 1 LA Galaxy 1 - I'm not sold on the Galaxy right now. That said, Sporting's offense has not impressed either with Graham Zusi sidelined and Dom Dwyer frustrated. Still, Benny Feilhaber leads the league in assists.

DC United 1 Houston Dynamo 0 - So far every DC game where they don't face the Red Bulls has ended with them winning 1-0. Sounds like a safe bet here considering Houston struggles to score and hasn't given up more than a goal in a match yet this year.

Toronto FC 3 FC Dallas 2 - Dallas has allowed seven goals in their last two matches. Toronto desperately needs to show some life. Sounds like a recipe for a much-needed win.

Real Salt Lake 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - Octavio Rivero has only been held scoreless twice all year, but RSL hasn't lost yet.


New England Revolution 0 Philadelphia Union 0 - The New England is a lot more potent when they start Charlie Davies. Will he get the call this week?

New York City FC 2 Portland Timbers 2 - The Timbers played better than the result they got last weekend, but this is a big match for both teams. Look for David Villa and Darlington Nagbe to elevate their games for their respective clubs.

Last Week: 3-7 (Vancouver-Columbus, New England-Columbus, Houston)

Overall: 12-32 (I guarantee I'll get one match right a week... maybe...)

MLS Weekly Recap, Week 6

What a week. It started with Montreal's historic clinching of a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League Finals. How rare is that? It's the first appearance ever for a Canadian club, and the first appearance for an MLS side since Real Salt Lake in 2011. Meanwhile, in regular season action, Colorado scored their first four goals of the season against FC Dallas, the Union pulled off their first win of the year thanks to a stoppage time goal against NYCFC, San Jose stunned red hot Vancouver 1-0, Jermaine Jones returned to New England's lineup, the Galaxy got their first win in over a month, and both the Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake remained unbeaten. Here's a rundown of all the week's action:



Alajuelense (Costa Rica) 4 Montreal Impact 2 - Champions League Semis, Leg 2, 4-4 aggregate, Montreal advances on away goals tiebreaker (2-0)


Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Columbus Crew 2


Colorado Rapids 4 FC Dallas 0


New England Revolution 0 Columbus Crew 0
Philadelphia Union 2 New York City FC 1
New York Red Bulls 2 DC United 2
Houston Dynamo 3 Montreal Impact 0
Sporting Kansas City 0 Real Salt Lake 0
San Jose Earthquakes 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 0


Orlando City SC 2 Portland Timbers 0
LA Galaxy 1 Seattle Sounders 0

Weekly Top Tens and MLS Power Rankings - 4/13/15


1- New York Red Bulls (2-0-2) - Rallied for an important draw against rivals, DC United. So far this season, the Red Bulls are the only team to score against Bill Hamid. Last Week: 3
2 - Vancouver Whitecaps (4-2-1) - It's still early, but Octavio Rivero is making quite an impression with five goals in his first seven matches. Last Week: 1
3 - DC United (3-1-1) - A perfect 3-0 against teams not named the New York Red Bulls. Bill Hamid and company let a 2-0 second half lead slip away in a missed opportunity. Nice to see a big game from Perry Kitchen though. Last Week: 5
4 - Real Salt Lake (2-0-3) - It's still a work in progress, but just think how dangerous they'll be when they get Joao Plata back. Last Week: 6
5 - Seattle Sounders (2-2-1) - Definitely could have used Clint Dempsey against LA, but not much you can do when an opposing keeper makes 10 saves to beat you. Last Week: 4
6 - FC Dallas (3-2-1) - Starting to think I might have overestimated Dallas given they've allowed seven goals in their last two matches including four to the punchless Rapids. Their saving grace is that their three game winless streak has coincided with playmaker Mauro Diaz's absence. Last Week: 2
7 - LA Galaxy (2-2-2) - Got three big points against Seattle, but this is no doubt a team that isn't playing at its highest level. Last Week: 7
8 - Columbus Crew (1-2-2) - Went on the road for two huge draws this week at Vancouver and at New England. Now they must build on this. Last Week: 11
9 - San Jose Earthquakes (3-3-0) - The Quakes already have wins against Vancouver and Seattle so far this season, and they haven't even scratched the surface of their potential. Last Week: 13
10 - Sporting Kansas City (2-1-3) - Good to see the defense lock down Real Salt Lake, but the offense still needs work. Last Week: 10

Sunday, April 12, 2015

MLS SuperDraft Rookie Watch, Week 6

Great week for the 2015 MLS SuperDraft Class. Dominique Badji, the 67th pick in this year's draft, became the second player of his draft class to score this year when he notched the opening goal against Dallas on Friday, which also marked the first goal of the year for the Rapids. Not to be outdone, Houston's Rob Lovejoy, the year's 36th overall pick, came off the bench against Montreal and notched a goal AND an assist on Saturday night. Finally, Cyle Larin, the first overall pick made his first start with Orlando City and bagged the game winner against Portland. 

1 - Cyle Larin - Orlando City - Started vs Portland, 82 mins, 3 shots, 1 goal
2 - Khiry Shelton - New York City FC - Appeared as sub vs Philadelphia, 45 mins
4 - Fatai Alashe - San Jose - Started vs Vancouver, 90 mins, Shutout Win
16 - Cristian Roldan - Seattle - Started vs LA, 81 mins
36 - Rob Lovejoy - Houston - Appeared as sub vs Montreal, 26 mins, 1 shot, 1 goal, 1 assist
67 - Dominique Badji - Colorado - Started vs Dallas, 89 mins, 3 shots, 1 goal

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Inside Montreal vs América

Here's some stats for the upcoming Champions League Final between Club América and the Montreal Impact:

Group Play

Montreal 1 CD FAS 0 - 8/5/14
Montreal 3 CD FAS 2 - 8/20/14
Montreal 1 NY Red Bulls 0 - 9/17/14
Montreal 1 NY Red Bulls 1 - 10/22/14

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Canada vs América

What seemed like a very winnable Champions League Final just got a lot harder. Despite trailing 3-0 heading into their second leg against Costa Rica's Herediano, Club América erased their deficit in less than 20 minutes and took the lead for good in 25. When the dust finally settled, the Mexican powerhouse walked away with a 6-0 victory behind four goals from Dario Benedetto. Club América has scored a tournament-high 30 goals in eight Champions League matches including six or more three times. Including Benedetto, five different América players (Benedetto, Oribe Peralta, Martín Zúñiga, Luis Gabriel Rey, Emilio Sánchez) have scored twice in the same game during the tournament. They've also only been scored on six times in the eight games, and three of those came in the first leg against Herediano. So while they're beatable, this is going to be a tremendous challenge for the Impact who, despite showing their mettle against Pachuca in the quarterfinals, will face a huge uphill battle. The first leg will be April 22nd in Mexico with the second leg scheduled for April 29th in Montreal. No MLS club has ever won the CONCACAF Champions League in its current format.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Impact CCL Finals Bound!

What a wild finish in Costa Rica tonight. Thanks to a first half goal from Jack McInerney, the Impact held a 3-0 lead on aggregate goals with just 45 minutes to play tonight. In the bag, right? Guess again. The hosts would not go quietly as Pablo Gabas quickly brought them back into the match with a pair of goals. Montreal countered with a goal from second half substitute Andrés Romero to push the aggregate lead back to two, but again Alajuelense rallied grabbing a third AND a fourth goal late in the match to bring the aggregate score to 4-4. Happily, MLS fans can finally breathe again as with the blowing of the final whistle, Montreal still advances thanks to a 2-0 edge on the away goals tiebreaker. With the series win, they become just the second MLS franchise, and first since Real Salt Lake in 2011, to reach the CONCACAF Champions League Finals.

MLS Week 6 Predictions


Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Columbus Crew 2 - I'm standing by my decision to pick the Crew to win the East so at some point they need to start earning points.


FC Dallas 2 Colorado Rapids 0 - I'm going to go out on a limb and say Colorado isn't going to break their scoreless streak against Dallas.


New England Revolution 1 Columbus Crew 1 - I'd love to say the Crew are going to be able to exact revenge for their playoff defeat, but playing two games this week isn't going to help them.

New York City FC 2 Philadelphia Union 1 - The Union have to be gutted after this weekend's loss to Sporting. Their defense has a lot of holes which I believe City has the weapons to exploit.

New York Red Bulls 1 DC United 0 - This was the game of the week just a few weeks ago. The only difference now is that DC is starting to get healthy.

Houston Dynamo 1 Montreal Impact 0 - All the Impact are going to care about is winning tonight's Champions League showdown against Alajuelense. This will work in Houston's favor.

Real Salt Lake 1 Sporting Kansas City 0 - Rimando and company are still unbeaten, and Sporting's still pretty inconsistent. Advantage RSL.

Vancouver 3 San Jose 3 - So many talented offensive players on both sides, why not a shootout? That said, it will probably end up 1-0 Caps.


Portland Timbers 2 Orlando City 1 - Portland is high on confidence after knocking off FC Dallas. Orlando City is linked to Chicharito, but he won't help them on Sunday.

Seattle Sounders 4 LA Galaxy 1 - You think the Sounders won't get up for this game? LA's playing poorly, and Seattle will take advantage with Oba and Deuce leading the charge.

Last Week: 2-6 (Seattle, Sporting KC)

Overall: 9-25 (You'd think at some point I'd start accidentally getting some of these correct)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Weekly Top Tens and Power Rankings - 4/6/15


1 - Vancouver Whitecaps (4-1-0) - Impressive win against LA gives them four in a row and Rivero's 4 goals lead the league. Last Week: 2
2 - FC Dallas (3-1-1) - The streak is over, but Dallas is still pretty darn good. Last Week: 1
3 - New York Red Bulls (2-0-1) - If they'd played this week, I'd have considered moving them ahead of Dallas, but hard to move someone up during a bye week. Last Week: 3
4- Seattle Sounders (2-1-1) - Seattle's only been scored on in one game so far this season. Meanwhile, Obafemi Martins has scored in all three matches he's played. Last Week: 6
5 - DC United (3-1-0) - Three 1-0 wins. Is this a playoff team without Bill Hamid? Last Week: 8
6 - Real Salt Lake (2-0-2) - One of just two unbeatens, Real Salt Lake always seems to find a way to be competetive. Last Week: 7
7 - LA Galaxy (1-2-2) - Winless in four, and their only win this year came against Chicago when the Fire were still playing badly. Last Week: 4
8 - Toronto FC (1-3-0) - Time to panic in Toronto? No. There are still 30 games left. Last Week: 5
9 - Portland Timbers (1-1-3) - Got to give them props for dealing Dallas their first loss. Just think where these guys will be when everyone's healthy. Last Week: 12
10 - Sporting Kansas City (2-1-2) - It was ugly, but they stole a win at home from Philadelphia, Dom Dwyer snapped his scoreless streak and Hungarian striker Krisztián Németh showed what a difference he can be when healthy. Last Week: 10

Out: Columbus (9-->11)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

SuperDraft Rookie Watch, Week 5

Week 5 featured the debut of Philadelphia's Raymond Lee, but it was one to forget as Sporting Kansas City scored twice on his watch in stoppage time. In other action, Matt Polster and Fatai Alashe were once again in their respective starting lineups while number one overall pick Cyle Larin got his longest run of the season logging 68 minutes off the bench. Here's a look at all five SuperDraft rookies who saw the field this week:

1 - Cyle Larin - Orlando City - Appeared as a sub vs DC United, 68 mins, 4 shots
4 - Fatai Alashe - San Jose - Started vs Real Salt Lake, 90 mins, 1 shot, yellow card
7 - Matt Polster - Chicago - Started vs Toronto, 88 mins
67 - Dominique Badji - Colorado - Appeared as a sub vs New England, 32 mins, 2 shots
71 - Raymond Lee - Philadelphia - Appeared as a sub vs Sporting KC, 12 mins

MLS Weekly Recap - Week 5

So we're over a month into the season and both Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy continue to struggle with neither side able to find a win since Opening Day. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps stay red hot with their fourth straight win, Real Salt Lake remains unbeaten, DC United pulls off another last gasp 1-0 victory, Portland deals FC Dallas their first loss of the season, and Colorado finally yields a goal (although they still haven't scored one). Here's a rundown of all the action from Week 5.



DC United 1 Orlando City SC 0


Chicago Fire 3 Toronto FC 2
New England Revolution 2 Colorado Rapids 0
Seattle Sounders 1 Houston Dynamo 0
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 LA Galaxy 0
Portland Timbers 3 FC Dallas 1


Real Salt Lake 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0
Sporting Kansas City 3 Philadelphia Union 2

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MLS Week 5 Predictions


DC United 1 Orlando City SC 1 - Kaka is starting to get things going, but Orlando City still has things to fix before they become true competitors in the East.


Toronto FC 2 Chicago Fire 1 - Toronto needs this win badly, and I have to think that their veteran leadership will make sure they get it.

New England Revolution 0 Colorado Rapids 0 - Hard to bet against a 0-0 tie with New England's attack struggling and Colorado having reeled off three straight scoreless draws.

Seattle Sounders 1 Houston Dynamo 0 - These are the kinds of games that we've become accustomed to seeing Seattle win. Even short-handed, they should be more than the Dynamo can handle.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 LA Galaxy 2 - I don't see the Galaxy losing two in a row, but I don't see them playing well enough to knock off red-hot Vancouver.

FC Dallas 2 Portland Timbers 1 - Portland struggled to slow down Vancouver's offense, and Dallas's attack is far more dynamic. Darlington Nagbe will make sure Chris Seitz and the Dallas D doesn't get a fourth shutout in five matches.


San Jose Earthquakes 2 Real Salt Lake 2 - RSL hasn't looked unbeatable, but here they are in Week 5 without a loss. Betting Wondo gets another goal closer to 100 here.

Sporting Kansas City 2 Philadelphia Union 0 - I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is where Dom Dwyer gets his first goal of the season. Philadelphia just needs help and they're not going to find it here.

Last Week: 2-8 (DC United, Colorado-Houston)

Overall: 7-19 (I am NOT good at this...)

2015 MLS SuperDraft Rookie Stats Through March

Here's a look at your MLS Superdraftees who've seen MLS action in 2015:

1 - Cyle Larin (Orlando City) - 1 appearance, 0 starts, 19 mins, 1 shot
2 - Khiry Shelton (New York City FC) - 3 appearances, 0 starts, 81 mins, 3 shots
3 - Romario Williams (Montreal) - 1 appearance, 0 starts, 6 mins
4 - Fatai Alashe (San Jose) - 3 appearances, 2 starts, 189 mins, 3 shots, 1 goal
7 - Matt Polster (Chicago) -  4 appearances, 3 starts, 266 mins, 1 shot, 2 yellow cards
8 - Zach Steinberger (Houston) - 1 appearance, 0 starts, 21 mins, 1 shot
9 - Clement Simonin (Toronto FC) - 1 appearance, 1 start, 90 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow card
14 - Axel Sjöberg (Colorado) - 2 appearances, 2 starts, 180 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow card
16 - Cristian Roldan (Seattle) - 3 appearances, 1 start, 72 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow card
17 - Miguel Aguilar (DC United) - 1 appearance, 0 starts, 13 mins
20 - Amadou Dia (Sporting KC) - 2 appearances, 2 starts, 180 mins, 3 shots
36 - Rob Lovejoy (Houston) - 3 appearances, 1 start, 114 mins, 2 shots
40 - Oniel Fisher (Seattle) - 1 appearance, 0 starts, 4 mins
45 - Cameron Porter (Montreal) - 2 appearances, 1 start, 39 mins, 1 shot
67 - Dominique Badji (Colorado) - 3 appearances, 2 starts, 160 mins, 1 shot, 1 yellow card

So far only 15 of 84 players drafted have gotten on the field, and only nine have broken into their clubs' respective Starting XIs. And that includes Cameron Porter, whose season was cut short by a knee injury. Chicago's Matt Polster leads all draftees with 266 minutes and 3 starts while San Jose's Fatai Alashe owns the only goal through the season's first four weeks.

U.S. Draws With Swiss - Three Things

1) The U.S. lacks mental toughness. Breakdowns late in games can often be attributed to mental shortcomings. A missed assignment, a bad decision, poor communication, etc. These have plagued the U.S. since the World Cup as we've seen an inability of this group to hold leads late in matches against any level of opponent. Yesterday we saw a new type of mental breakdown when Jozy Altidore earned himself a double yellow by cursing out the referee after committing a foul. Instead of comfortably hanging onto a 1-0 lead on the road, the U.S. spent the last 20+ minutes a man down in a hostile environment and eventually conceded an equalizer. These mental mistakes have to stop if the U.S. is to go anywhere in this summer's Gold Cup.

2) Brek Shea is coming around. Shea scored his second goal of the year when he drilled a free kick over the wall and into the back of the net from just outside the penalty box. Shea is starting to shake off the rust that comes with sitting on the bench for an extended period of time and looks to be a lock at left back for Klinsmann moving forward.

3) The U.S. is having issues on both sides of the ball. It's not just the offense or defense that is struggling right now, it's both. The defense has holes, and I defy you to put money on a starting backline. It's anyone's guess who our best three or four (or five?) defenders are at the moment. Offensively, it's been great seeing Jozy showing glimmers, but we still aren't creating enough opportunities and aren't finishing the ones we're getting. Even the goalkeeping has been somewhat suspect as neither Brad Guzan or Nick Rimando has done anything to distinguish themselves since Tim Howard's leave of absence. Klinsmann has his work cut out for him. All hope certainly isn't lost, but we're running out of time to figure this all out.