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10 May 11:42 am

Quelle semaine riche en MLS : après les 6 rencontres de mercredi soir, il y en aura 9 au programme ce week-end. Et vous aurez tout le loisir de suivre celles de votre choix, puisque sept d’entre elles seront diffusées gratuitement sur MLS Live.

La plus disproportionnée sur le papier oppose le premier du classement général, Dallas, dont les bons résultats contribuent à la popularité, au dernier, DC United, dont la défense a multiplié les cadeaux ces derniers temps. L’autre club texan jouera aussi à domicile : Houston, actuel dauphin de son voisin d’État, a fait le plein de confiance avant de recevoir Kansas City.

À New England, New York tentera de remporter sa cinquième victoire consécutive, probablement sans ses attaquants français Henry et Luyindula. Deux des autres clubs en embuscade, Montréal et Salt Lake, s’affronteront au stade Saputo. Les Québécois continueront de faire tourner leur effectif pour tenter de battre un Nick Rimando en toute grande forme.

En forme également, Portland se mesurera à Chivas USA devant les caméras d’Unimas alors que l’autre équipe de Los Angeles, le LA Galaxy en attente du retour de Roy Keane, ira à Vancouver. À suivre sur vos écrans TV : la visite de Philadelphie, qui mise sur la formation des jeunes, à Chicago (TSN2, NBCSN) et l’éternel choc entre Seattle et San José (Univision Deportes).

LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Samedi 11 mai
13h30 : Chicago - Philadelphie
14h00 : Montréal - Salt Lake
16h00 : Seattle - San José
19h00 : Vancouver - LA Galaxy
19h30 : New England - New York
19h30 : Columbus - Colorado
20h30 : Dallas - DC United
Dimanche 12 mai
17h00 : Portland - Chivas USA
20h00 : Houston - Kansas City

Classement général
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs

09 May 5:12 pm

It was just a run-of-the-mill Thursday for former Columbus Crew player and current Crew brand ambassador Frankie Hejduk.

Or, maybe not.

Hejduk participated in a "Monster Meat" eating competition with local broadcasters and seven Asian elephants (yes, you read that right) in a charity event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. The event was sponsored by restaurant group Max & Erma's, who provided the sliders for the humans to eat, and the Ringling Bros., who provided the elephants competing against the humans.

So how well did Hejduk represent the Crew and MLS? He certainly held his scarf aloft and cheered enthusiastically, as you'll see in the video. As far as the competition itself, Hejduk didn't fare as well, as the player well-known for his fitness during his playing days probably didn't routinely eat a stack of sliders at once as part of his regimen.

Citing a lack of appetite, the two-time MLS Cup champion could only finish four sliders, but it was all for a good cause, as Max & Erma's donated $18,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs.

This event got us thinking: If Hejduk joined the circus, what would be his ideal event? Would his physical gifts make him a good choice for the tightrope or trapeze? Or should he be the ringmaster, with his unlimited energy and infectious enthusiasm?

Maybe his stint with the circus should last longer than one day!

09 May 12:54 pm

LA Galaxy boss Bruce Arena has coached at every level of the men's game in the United States, and he's also kept an eye on the women's side, as he proved by sharing some intriguing observations with former WNBA president Val Ackerman in an in-depth interview for ESPNW this week.

The four-time MLS Cup winner and former US national team coach discussed the growth of women's soccer at the youth, collegiate and international levels – which he believes has accelerated “at a little faster rate than it has on the men's side” – and even praised female players for generally being more coachable and not as “contaminated” by greed and ego.

“In my experiences with coaching girls or women ... they are much more receptive to coaching than men,” said Arena. “They're eager to learn, and I believe they're more disciplined in terms of their concentration and training.”

READ: LA Galaxy look to regain momentum on road as they kick off three-game trip

He also issued a surprising mea culpa regarding the impact of Title IX, the law mandating gender equity which transformed the college sports landscape over the past four decades. Arena made his name at the helm of the University of Virginia's NCAA dynasty in the 1990s, and he admits now that his qualms about the change were mistaken.

“We see all the good things that have happened because of it,” he said of Title IX. “People like myself, at the time, thought it was wrong on so many fronts. I was absolutely wrong on every front.

“I thought it would take away from men. Nothing was taken away from men. It was appropriate to give women opportunities to participate and they've taken those opportunities and have grown them at every level.”

READ: FC Kansas City-Portland Thorns raise the curtain on new women's league NWSL

Arena and Ackerman also mulled the struggles of women's professional soccer in this country. Though he believes there is limited “crossover” potential with MLS, he sounded a note of cautious optimism about the NWSL, the new effort in that sphere being led by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

“They have a better financial model in place and, in the early going, I think there is going to be patience,” Arena said. “So, if we give it time, the women's professional league is going to be around for many years to come, and hopefully this new plan will make it work.”

09 May 11:26 am

Houston et New York ont réalisé la bonne opération du milieu de semaine en revenant à un point de Dallas pendant que Seattle prenait ses distances d’un fond de classement où DC United s’enfonce de plus en plus.

Privé de plusieurs titulaires, le leader a souffert chez lui devant Portland mais la paire Hedges - Woodberry s’en est bien sortie derrière, limitant les dégâts à un but compensé par le penalty inscrit en fin de match par Cooper, et vivement contesté par les visiteurs. Ces deux unités perdues par Dallas ont néanmoins offert la possibilité à ses poursuivants de se rapprocher.

New York a saisi sa chance en s’imposant contre Montréal grâce à deux buts de Thierry Henry - dont un spectaculaire retourné - mais l’attaquant français appréciait davantage les trois points que l’esthétisme de sa réalisation. Après avoir réduit l’écart, les visiteurs ont failli égaliser dans les arrêts de jeu : un point qui, selon eux, aurait été mérité même s’ils admettent que l’ouverture du score locale juste avant la pause leur a fait mal.

Houston recolle également à une unité de la tête du classement général, grâce à une plantureuse victoire 0-4 à DC United, marquée du sceau de Will Bruin impliqué dans chacun des buts. Plus rien ne va dans l’équipe de la capitale américaine, dernière avec la plus mauvaise attaque et la plus mauvaise défense. Ben Olsen sent que sa place est en jeu.

Enfin, Kansas City a galvaudé l’occasion de réaliser une bonne opération, en passant à côté de son sujet en deuxième mi-temps face à Seattle, tout heureux de voir la chance lui sourire enfin cette saison.

LES RÉSULTATS
DC United - Houston
New York - Montréal
New England - Salt Lake
Kansas City - Seattle
Dallas - Portland
San José - Toronto

 
0-4
2-1
1-2
0-1
1-1
2-1

Classement général
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

09 May 10:15 am

This one's pretty easy:

Player Chances Created from Open Play
Wondolowski, Chris 18
Lee Young-Pyo 17
Higuaín, Federico 17
García, Oscar Boniek 17
Ferreira, David 16
Harris, Atiba 16
Henry, Thierry 15
Chara, Diego 15
Feilhaber, Benny 14
Bruin, Will 14

Bear in mind, Wondo has played more minutes than most of the guys on that list, and San Jose's wide-open style is conducive to creating a ton of chances no matter who's out there.

But still... he's leading the league in chances created from the run of play. And he's tied for second in assists. It takes more than a poacher's instincts to manage that.

08 May 4:04 pm

It took a day or two, but cooler heads have prevailed in Houston after an unfortunate incident involving homophobic tweets posted on a Dynamo supporters group's Twitter account Sunday night.

On Monday Dynamo officials met with the leadership of the Brickwall Firm, the group at the center of the controversy, and determined that the tweets were the product of a single individual whose statements did not reflect the group's collective values. Brickwall has been tasked with identifying and ejecting -- from their ranks as well as from future Dynamo matches -- the person who wrote them.

“First of all, something totally unacceptable in society has occurred,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told the Houston Chronicle. “We are condemning the comments. The leaders of the group are condemning the comments. They don’t share those values. It was an individual.

“It doesn’t paint a broad picture of members of Brickwall, our supporters groups, our fans or our community. We are going to work with the group to have the person identified and have the group take action against that individual.”

The Brickwall Firm's official account tweeted out an explicit slur towards LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan after Houston's 1-0 win over LA. A day later, Brickwall apologized for the incident in a series of tweets that underlined the isolated nature of the opinions which had been expressed.

08 May 4:00 pm

It took two games for Roy Miller to become a punchline this season, but since his return to the lineup in mid-April, the New York Red Bulls have gone 4-1-0. Here's a chart that should give you some idea as to why:


Team Crossing Open Accuracy Crosses/Corners Accuracy
New York Red Bulls 31.21 33.02
D.C. United 27.27 30.32
Colorado Rapids 26.67 30.9
LA Galaxy 25.56 29.26
Seattle Sounders FC 25.22 27.85
Montreal Impact 25 29.27
New England Revolution 24.32 23.58
Sporting Kansas City 22.78 30.37
Chivas USA 22.76 32.92
FC Dallas 22.48 23.16
Houston Dynamo 22.31 27.66
Chicago Fire 20.65 21.05
Vancouver Whitecaps 19.72 22.58
Philadelphia Union 19.23 25.13
Portland Timbers 19.08 20.19
Real Salt Lake 18.38 22.65
San Jose Earthquakes 18.32 23.1
Columbus Crew 16.13 27.27
Toronto FC 12.71 17.47

This is not to say that Miller, alone, is the cause for New York's crossing prowess. In fact, he rates significantly lower than Heath Pearce – the "other" left back in Mike Petke's rotation – by Opta's count.

But one of the best aspects of Thierry Henry's game is his ability to drop deep on the left, find space, then curl in a right-footed cross to the penalty spot – usually aiming for the head of Tim Cahill, who still excels at making those delayed runs from central midfield.

The reason Henry has all that space? Because Miller overlaps as relentlessly as any fullback in the league, dragging defenders away from the Frenchman, creating new passing lanes, and just making it harder to defend that side of the field.

08 May 11:04 am

Six rencontres sont au programme de ce mercredi soir et tant le leader Dallas que ses quatre poursuivants seront sur le terrain.

Le sommet incontestable de la soirée se jouera à Frisco et mettra aux prises les deux seules équipes invaincues lors de leurs sept dernières duels, Dallas et Portland. Identique depuis quatre rencontres, le onze de départ texan va subir plusieurs modifications suite à la suspension de Jackson et à plusieurs blessures. Dallas a tout gagné chez lui cette année, Portland n’a pas encore perdu en déplacement… « et on ne nous arrêtera pas », clame Caleb Porter.

Une confrontation directe opposera deux des quatre équipes à trois points du leader : New York et Montréal, deux formations dont les jambes sont lourdes en raison d’un calendrier chargé. Mike Petke songe à laisser certains de ses défenseurs au repos alors que Marco Schällibaum continuera sa tournante mais veut surtout que ses hommes « jouent en leaders », notamment quand ils sont proches du but adverse.

À voir le classement, Kansas City, où Kei Kamara pourrait déjà jouer ses premières minutes cette saison, part largement favori contre Seattle. Mais ce dernier compte sur la forme ascendante de Rosales et Martinez pour retrouver une place plus conforme à ses ambitions. Le dernier des quatre poursuivants de Dallas, Houston (que nous avons analysé en détails dans l’émission Coup Franc de cette semaine) se déplacera à DC United.

Autres rencontres au programme de la soirée : San José, qui peut enfin compter sur Walter Martinez, accueillera Toronto, qui vient d’acquérir deux renforts en prêt, alors que New England, fraîchement renforcé par Juan Agudelo, se mesurera à Salt Lake.

LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
19h00 : DC United - Houston
19h30 : New York - Montréal
20h00 : New England - Salt Lake
20h30 : Kansas City - Seattle
21h00 : Dallas - Portland
22h30 : San José - Toronto

Classement général
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs

07 May 2:11 pm

Is the quest for a place in the UEFA Champions League comparable to liberating a faraway kingdom from a terrible dragon?

That might be a good question for Tottenham and US national team star Clint Dempsey, who is one of many English Premier League players taking part in “Premier League Reading Stars,” a commendable project intended to develop and encourage reading skills among children in the United Kingdom.

Deuce's favorite book? J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic The Hobbit, which he enthusiastically describes as “a good read” and  “a story about personal growth” in a video for the project.

“It's being able to go outside the comforts of your own home, and go out into the real world and see what's out there,” said the Texan as he explained why he loves the 75-year-old tale. “And even though it's going to be tough, and it's going to be ups and downs, it's about the adventure that you would've never got if you'd never left home. Without putting yourself outside your comfort zone, you don't know what you're capable of doing.”

READ: American Exports: Dempsey's goal sparks Tottenham to massive win over Manchester City

As Dempsey narrates the harrowing adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his colleagues, it's not hard to see parallels with Dempsey's own professional journey from an unheralded rookie with the New England Revolution to USMNT captain and standout performer in one of the world's toughest leagues.

“He was able to find that he had a lot of strength inside himself and that there were a lot of things he could accomplish,” said Dempsey of Baggins. “I think it's a great story about how you find strength from within, and strength from putting yourself in uncomfortable situations sometimes and being able to prevail.”

Though he's since moved on to become Toronto FC's head coach, Ryan Nelsen is also featured in “Premier League Reading Stars” with footage recorded during his final season as a player with Queens Park Rangers.

Nelsen picked a slightly different book, one from his five-year-old son's current rotation: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

“It just has a good buzz and wording to it, you can kind of sing it or you can read it,” said Nelsen. “My son absolutely loves it."

07 May 1:48 pm

 

Demonstrating exactly how the game of soccer can make a difference, the Portland Timbers joined forces with Make-A-Wish Oregon to create a very special day and helped to make Atticus Lane-Dupre's wish come true. Over 3,000 members of the Timbers Army were on hand to show their support as Atticus' Green Machine beat the Timbers in a scrimmage at JELD-WEN Field. The day began and ended with behind-the-scenes access and unique experiences for Atticus and his teammates. Learn more.

Congratulations to the Timbers!

 

How you can help...

  • To support the Children's Cancer Association's work in bringing joy to seriously ill children and their families please visit: http://joyrx.org
  • To support the American Cancer Society's work in transforming cancer from deadly to preventable please visit: http://www.cancer.org/
  • To support Make-A-Widh as they continue to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy please visit: http://wish.org/

 

 

Related Links

MLSSoccer.com's Anatomy of a Goal breaks down Atticus' nutmeg gamewinner - Video

How the Portland Timbers made a cancer-stricken 8-year-old'swish come true - Video

Portland Timbers and MLS WORKS help beautify Hosford Middle School on Earth Day - Video