Le coup d’envoi de la saison a été donné et il n’a pas fallu attendre longtemps pour assister à la première surprise : le LA Galaxy, qui n’avait plus été battu à domicile depuis le 14 novembre 2010, a mordu la poussière contre le Real Salt Lake. Buddle a ouvert la marque à moins de 20 minutes du terme, 120 secondes avant que son équipier Franklin ne marque… le premier but contre son camp de la saison. Lors d’une fin de match tonitruante, les virevoltants Morales et Espindola ont fixé les chiffres à 1-3.
Il n’a guère fallu attendre non plus pour voir le premier but de l’année, œuvre de Sébastien Le Toux à Vancouver face à Montréal. Jamais dans l’histoire de la MLS n’avait-on marqué aussi vite lors d’un match inaugural ! Forts de cette avance, les hommes de Martin Rennie ont été patients et ont porté le coup de grâce en début de deuxième mi-temps. Battu 2-0, l’Impact espérait de meilleurs débuts en MLS.
Le bonheur québécois de la semaine est donc à aller chercher chez André Hainault qui, dans les arrêts de jeu, a offert la victoire 0-1 à Houston sur le terrain de Chivas USA (décidément, le Home Depot Center était maudit ce week-end). Houston n’est jamais aussi dangereux que quand ses défenseurs montent sur des coups de pieds arrêtés. Même fin de match complètement folle à DC United, où Sapong a offert la victoire 0-1 à Kansas City après la fin du temps réglementaire.
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Last year, before the season started, I very cleverly predicted that LA would win the West, the Shield and the Cup. I predicted that Houston would win the East. And I came up with a few other good ones that panned out.
Unfortunately I made these predictions on Twitter, and 4000 posts later, I was no longer able to have my moment of glory. Not gonna make the same mistake this year.
Real Salt Lake
US Open Cup
Defender of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
And the most important question... will another forward come out of the blue and rack up double-digit goals? Wondolowski and Dom Oduro have done so in the last two seasons. This year's version will be... Tommy "Disco" Heinemann.
Feel free to bookmark this and throw it in my face 9 months from now.
Cheers, and enjoy the soccer.
One of the hot topics around the soccersphere today was news of sanctions levied against supporters of the Houston Dynamo. Below is the letter sent from MLS to leaders of the Houston Dynamo supporters groups on Monday. According to MLS spokesperson Will Kuhns, this is not the first time that an MLS supporters group’s privileges have been suspended for behavior issues. In the letter, you will see that the incidents at issue occurred during road games, and that the sanctions apply only to road games.
Major League Soccer and its Clubs are committed to the growth of a vibrant and healthy environment in our stadiums. We are focused on fostering a League-wide culture that embraces the passion of our core fans. That passion however, must be displayed in a responsible manner that is in accordance with the MLS Fan Code of Conduct.
This letter serves to address several violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct committed by Dynamo supporters at the following events:
1. MLS Cup, Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center (November 20, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. multiple illegal smoke bombs were brought into the stadium, ignited and thrown onto the field
b. various objects that presented a safety risk thrown onto the field in the direction of players and stadium personnel
c. obscene language and gestures by multiple supporters
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (November 6th, 2011): Violation of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
3. Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park (September 24, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
As of March 1, Dynamo traveling supporters will not be permitted to utilize items listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy (e.g. flags, banners, confetti, drums). This sanction shall continue to be in effect until otherwise notified by MLS; provided, however, that at a minimum it shall apply to the following games:
1. Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas at the Home Depot Center (March 11, 2012)
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (July 7, 2012)
The decision to impose this sanction is based on the League-wide position that misconduct at any MLS event can affect a fan’s standing at other MLS facilities. MLS will not tolerate behavior which threatens the safety of any fan, stadium employee or match participant. The actions of just a few individuals can influence the perception of all of our supporters, clubs and League.
After the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12, 2012, the League will evaluate whether to lift the ban on the previously stated privileges. The following factors will be considered in determining the ultimate length of this restriction:
1. Supporter conduct at 2012 MLS away games
2. Supporter conduct at BBVA Compass Stadium
3. Implementation of a supporter charter
4. Formation of an effective leadership system for all Dynamo supporters that is recognized by the club
The League is encouraged by the ongoing discussion between the Dynamo supporters and the front office to learn from past events and prevent them in the future. While regrettable that these incidents took place, it is our hope that 2012 marks the year that such misconduct is a thing of the past so that we can return to our focus of supporting the Texian Army, El Battallon, Brickwall Firm, La Bateria and any other legitimate group supporting the Dynamo.
It may be I'm reading too much into this quote. I'll admit it. But did Rauwshan McKenzie just take a shot at Jason Kreis?
“This is the first time that I’ve had a defensive coach,” a smiling McKenzie said on Monday after inking a deal with Chivas USA three days earlier. “It’s easy to understand what he’s talking about and he obviously helps me because he played the position when he was playing, so it’s a bit easier than having like a forward as a coach.”
The move to Chivas makes sense - McKenzie played for Real Salt Lake in 2010 while current Goats head coach Robin Fraser was an assistant under Jason Kreis. Wait, isn't Kreis a forward?
Yes, actually. Kreis has 108 career MLS goals and was the league MVP in 1999 while with the Dallas Burn. Since then, he's made a pretty successful transition to coaching (see: MLS Cup, 2009).
Back to McKenzie, though: The 6-foot-4 center back has made exactly 11 appearances in MLS, so I think it's fair to characterize his field time as "limited." And whatever else he's done as a coach, Kreis did some of that limiting. If McKenzie harbors any bitterness about his lack of minutes, his former coach probably has a role in that.
And then we have this quote about how he's enjoying not having, like, a forward as a coach. Which is interesting in part because Kreis - yes, the forward - coached the team that set the current record for fewest goals conceded in a single season.
Game on? I hope so. There can never be too many grudges in MLS, as far as I'm concerned.
¡Cuidado Galaxy! No eres el único club de Los Ángeles que sueña con tocar el cielo con las manos.
Al mejor estilo Hollywood, Chivas USA se vistió de pionero y presentó su nueva playera de manera muy particular: durante un vuelo de Volaris de Guadalajara a Los Ángeles el miércoles utilizando a Juan Pablo Ángel, Jorge “Sueño” Villafaña y Dan Kennedy como modelos, seguidos – por supuesto – de las siempre sonrientes ChivaGirls.
Contó Rodrigo Morales, Vice-presidente de Mercadeo del club, que la presentación además de ser muy unica fue también muy simbólica.
“El primer [símbolo] es que es un vuelo desde Guadalajara, donde nuestro club hermano fue fundado, a LA, donde queda nuestra casa. También, mantener a Chivas a esta altitud es importante porque si revelamos nuestra playera de este modo, entonces vamos a necesitar una temporada fantástica en 2012, estoy seguro que pasará”.
Este evento pone a Chivas USA – de temporadas débiles en años recientes – en la obligación de mostrar algo interesante esta campaña. La afición pide nuevas ambiciones por parte de los Rojiblancos y – siendo honestos – al menos uno de los dos equipos de Chivas tiene que hacer un buen trabajo… pero eso solo se hace con los pies sobre la tierra.
Una última cosa, y la pregunta de pronto sobra, pero ¿Si cambió la camiseta?
Cheerleaders: love 'em or hate 'em they are an inextricable part of the American sports landscape. But for many of the MLS fans that weighed in on the league's Facebook page yesterday they aren't part of one sport: soccer.
"I don’t understand this notion that cheerleaders don’t belong in soccer. Cheerleaders have been around the game forever. Maybe not in Europe, but if you look at Mexico, Colombia and most of all the other Latin-American countries, you will see that many of those clubs have had cheerleaders for many years and the game didn’t get ruined. They get to cheer the crowd at halftime, when no one has anything to do other than eat, drink and wait for the second half. Cheerleaders are not going to change what happens inside of the field, and that’s what I care about. So I say, sure, bring them on." - Edgar Acero
"When it comes to soccer, cheerleaders are nothing but a distraction. Then again, that's pretty much their purpose in just about any setting. But by that definition, so are concession stands, play areas that give parents a much-appreciated outlet for their offspring and just about anything that happens away from the field during the course of a match. Many people spend 90 minutes fixated on the play itself, but countless others scarf down giant, salted pretzels, play around on Twitter or ogle pretty girls with pom poms. Who am I to say any of those things don't belong? To each his own." - Andrew Wiebe
"I’m opposed to cheerleaders in MLS, but only because I’m opposed to cheerleaders in general. It adds nothing to the product on the field, and anyway, why would you spend money on tickets if your only goal is to see scantily-clad women? You could just as easily stay home and use man’s greatest invention: the interwebz." - Nate Sulat
"I'll admit that as a former Texas high school football player I have a strong association with cheerleaders & pointyball. So as much as I enjoy pretty women, team spirit and soccer it just seems a little odd --not to mention possibly degrading-- to me. Not because it's "Americanizing" the game, as some allege, but because they just remind me of autumn Friday nights in Anytown U.S.A. Also, rejection. - Shawn Francis
What's your take on cheerleaders in soccer? Let us know in the comments below.
The list of players who have stood on both sides of the Los Angeles MLS divide looks set to add another name to its ranks. Former Galaxy man Peter Vagenas is in camp with The Goats and may be sporting red & white stripes come March. Now there may be a few Chivas USA fans who are less than thrilled about this prospect but he certainly wouldn't be the first guy to move across the hall at the Home Depot Center. Here's a list of the top 5 Gals gone Goat.
Juan Pablo Angel
After a slow start to the 2011 season with LA, Angel was dealt to Chivas USA to make room for the incoming Robbie Keane. The change of locker room worked wonders for the Colombian as JPA picked up a hefty 7 goals in 9 games to end the year on a high note.
Before he was picked up by Sporting Kansas City in December's year's Re-Entry Draft, Paulo Nagamura was on his second stint with Chivas USA after having began his professional career with LA in 2005. Over the years Nagamura shined for both sides of the SuperClasico amassing 99 appearances for Chivas USA while turning out 54 times for LA.
After spending nearly 10 years plying his trade in Russia, Croatia and Austria, the Canadian defender entered the world of Los Angeles soccer in 2006 with the Galaxy before a switch to Chivas USA in 2009. He is widely acknowledged to be the most-accomplished Ante to suit up for both sides ahead of former Goats & Galaxy player Ante Razov*.
The Venezuelan striker has played for more MLS sides than you can count on one hand while scoring exactly 50 goals along the way. His first club? The LA Galaxy. His current club? Chivas USA.
The current Chivas USA head coach never played for the Goats but he is a stone cold, old school Galaxy legend with 129 appearances from 1996-2000. He is also the first guy to have played for both teams and later became an MLS head coach.
*That's a joke. It's Monday, you'll need a bit of humor to get through today.