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Chicago Fire

03 December 8:23 de la tarde

By now you've probably seen "the list," the group of guys available for the third-ever MLS Re-Entry process, which includes Stage One and Stage Two Re-Entry Drafts on Dec. 7 and 14.

Things could certainly change between now and then – guys could opt out of the process, come to new terms with their clubs, be traded to another MLS team or head overseas – but I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of lineup you could pluck from those made available by their clubs.

Without too much in-depth research, below is my Re-Entry XI. Feel free to discuss and share yours in the comment section below.

Goalkeeper: Kevin Hartman

Defense (left to right): Gonzalo Segares, Marvell Wynne, Ike Opara, Jeremy Hall 

Midfield (left to right): Justin Mapp, Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani, Eric Avila

Forwards: Juan Pablo Ángel, Maicon Santos

25 November 8:35 de la tarde

From Will Bruin's opener in Chicago all the way to Robbie Keane's crafty penalty kick in Seattle, we've seen a juicy 30 goals since the MLS Cup playoffs began. And KICKTV's got all of 'em in this handy compilation for your viewing pleasure. 

Which was your favorite? Was it Darren Mattocks' poach job vs. LA? Nick DeLeon's back-breaker vs. New York? Eddie Johnson's careful finish past Josh Saunders? Watch them all right here.

22 November 11:43 de la mañana

En ce jeudi de Thanksgiving pour les Américains, je poursuis la série « Pleine lucarne », mon classement des bons coups de la saison 2012.

8. Direct dedans
Je voulais souligner quelques beaux coups francs tirés cette saison en MLS, et notamment le coup de patte de David Beckham, toujours fidèle à sa réputation dans ce domaine. C’est un incontournable qu’on ne verra malheureusement plus en 2013, mais on a encore eu mieux cette année : deux corners directs ! On a beaucoup parlé de celui de Thierry Henry contre Columbus, mais Marco Pappa a aussi marqué de la sorte pour Chicago contre Seattle. C’est d’ailleurs ce but-là que j’ai choisi pour illustrer notre « pleine lucarne » du jour.

7. Kenny Cooper a assuré sans Thierry Henry, puis confirmé avec lui
Quand New York a été privé de plusieurs forces offensives à la fin du printemps, ils étaient peu nombreux à croire que Kenny Cooper pourrait porter l’attaque d’une équipe aussi ambitieuse. Il s’y est attelé avec brio, et a ensuite constitué un duo de choc avec Thierry Henry. Cooper marque dans toutes les situations, est aussi efficace en début qu’en fin de match, est bon tant du pied que de la tête. Quant au Français, il peut délivrer des passes décisives d’à peu près n’importe où sur le terrain et n’a pas perdu son sens du but.

Pleine lucarne : les tops de la saison 2012
9. Patrice Bernier - Felipe, axe des succès montréalais
10. Jaime Castrillon et Brian Mullan sauvent l’honneur de Colorado 

01 November 11:53 de la mañana

Houston s’est imposé de maîtresse manière hier soir à Chicago (1-2 - résumé vidéo). L’autre rencontre du premier tour opposera ce soir le LA Galaxy à Vancouver (22h30 HE, direct RDS2, TSN, NBC Sports Network).

Dès l’entame de la partie, Houston a pris les choses en mains sur le terrain de son adversaire, déployant son meilleur jeu depuis longtemps, et a été récompensé par deux buts de Bruin : l’un suite à un corner de Davis côté gauche, l’autre suite à une passe de Carr côté droit. Malgré un petit relâchement qui a permis à Alex de relancer le suspense en fin de match, les Texans ont su préserver leur avance. « On ne peut pas laisser de telles possibilités à ce genre d’équipe », regrettent les joueurs de Chicago. En demi-finale de conférence, Houston affrontera Kansas City.

Ce soir, le LA Galaxy partira largement favori contre Vancouver dans l’autre rencontre du premier tour. Notamment parce que les Canadiens restent sur une deuxième moitié de saison régulière catastrophique. Cela n’émeut guère Landon Donovan, qui prône patience et concentration. Ce sont surtout ses passes décisives qui risquent de faire mal à des visiteurs qui pensent déjà à la séance de tirs au but.

Vancouver aime attendre son adversaire : il n’y a pourtant rien de plus dangereux que de laisser le LA Galaxy déployer son jeu. Si Martin Rennie compte beaucoup sur le duo Miller - Mattocks, à mes yeux, Camilo et les montées de Lee Young Pyo face à Todd Dunivant seront les meilleurs atouts d’un improbable exploit.

31 October 11:25 de la tarde

The Houston Dynamo have defeated the Chicago Fire, 2-1, in the Eastern Conference Knockout match, the opening match of the MLS playoffs.

Let the chatter, the praise, and the second guessing begin.

Watch +Greg Lalas +Simon Borg +Jonah Freedman and +Jason Saghini break it all down.

31 October 1:15 de la tarde

On efface (presque) tout et on recommence : ce mercredi s’ouvre la phase finale de la Coupe MLS 2012 avec le match du premier tour entre Chicago et Houston (21h00 HE, direct RDS2, TSN2, ESPN2).

Le match s’annonce serré, puisque quatre de leurs cinq confrontations ces deux dernières saisons se sont soldées par un partage. Seule exception, leur affrontement le plus récent, remporté 3-1 par Chicago début septembre. À en croire Tally Hall, Houston a retenu les leçons de cet échec.

Ayant terminé derrière leur adversaire et jouant donc en déplacement, les Texans ne partent pas favoris. Mais ils ne se sentent jamais aussi bien que quand ils sont dos au mur, prévient Brad Davis. Ce dernier détient peut-être les clefs de la victoire avec son pendant à droite, Boniek Garcia, et Houston prendra une option sur la qualification s’il arrive à faire le jeu à Toyota Park.

Mélange de joueurs jeunes et expérimentés, Chicago dispute son premier match de phase finale depuis 2009. La vivacité sera un de ses atouts principaux. Même les plus anciens, comme Pavel Pardo, affichent une forme physique étincelante ! La défense visiteuse devra être particulièrement vigilante pour éviter que Nyarko, Oduro ou MacDonald ne se présente seul face au gardien.

Si vous êtes trop impatients pour attendre le coup d’envoi de la rencontre, venez en discuter avec Greg Lalas (en anglais) à partir de 15h00.

30 October 8:47 de la tarde

The playoffs are upon us, but if that isn't enough to satiate your thirst for soccer, we've got another contest to keep you busy throughout November.

Yes, it's time to select another AT&T Goal of the Year. Just like 2011, 64 of the year's best strikes – including all 31 AT&T Goal of the Week winners – are up for nomination, and a fan vote will whittle the field down all the way down to the year's best strike.

Whose goal are you looking forward to seeing in contention? One of David Beckham's many wonderstrikes? Or perhaps your tastes run more on the Fredy Montero side?

Tune in to MLSsoccer.com tomorrow, Oct. 31 at 1 pm ET, to find out the first 16 goals up for election and cast your vote!

In the meantime, tide yourself over with last year's winner, an absolute stunner from the Portland Timbers' then-rookie, Darlington Nagbe:

30 October 12:16 de la tarde

The San Jose Earthquakes topped the final regular season installment of the MLS Power Rankings on Tuesday, and it was a fitting end to an impressive season for the Quakes. Although they were one the season’s biggest surprises (MLSsoccer.com had them ranked No. 9 at First Kick), the Quakes ascended to the top spot in Week 16 and never really let up.

In fact, the Quakes held the top spot in the Power Rankings for 17 weeks this season (tops among all teams), and led the way for 14 consecutive weeks after reaching the top midway through the season. They relinquished their spot just once - to Sporting Kansas City in Week 30 – but claimed it again the next week and carried the torch each of the final three weeks of the season.

Some other notes on Power Rankings this season:

  • The biggest surprise of the year was easily D.C. United, who came in at No. 16 at the First Kick poll in early March and finished the regular season at No. 3. They also proved to be one of the most volatile teams on the poll this year, rising to No. 2 in Week 15 before plummeting back to No. 12 as late as Week 28 before they surged down the stretch to finish in the top 3.
  • The biggest disappointment was easily the Portland Timbers, who carried the No. 8 ranking into First Kick and effectively slipped into a free fall from there. They bottomed out at No. 19 in Week 19 and ended up holding that spot for a total of seven weeks this season.
  • Toronto FC led the league with most weeks spent at the No. 19 spot – 14.
  • Six teams held the bottom spot at least once this season – Toronto, Portland, Chivas USA, Philadelphia, FC Dallas and Montreal. The Impact held that spot at First Kick but never graced it again after Week 4.
  • Five teams held the No. 1 ranking at some point this season – San Jose, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy held it at First Kick and never got it back, slipping all the way down to No. 17 in Weeks 11 and 12. The swing of 16 spots is the largest of any team in the rankings this season.
  • The most stable team this season was Sporting Kansas City, who never fell lower than No. 7 and spent a total of seven weeks at No. 1. The Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake both bottomed at No. 8 and reached No. 1 at various points in the season.
  • The Houston Dynamo also never fell outside of the top 10 at any point this season, falling as low as No. 9 and rising as high as No. 2 in Week 22.
  • The biggest one-week jump of any team this season belonged to San Jose, who leaped from No. 9 to No. 3 in Week 4 after a 1-0 win in Seattle. The Quakes never fell lower than No. 4 the rest of the way.
  • The biggest one-week drop also came in Week 4. FC Dallas plummeted from No. 6 to No. 15 after a 4-1 loss at D.C. United.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps are the only playoff team not ranked in the top 10 at the end of the season. They fell to No. 12 in Week 25 and have languished outside the top 10 ever since.
  • Chivas USA was only team to go out the way they came in. They were ranked No. 18 at First Kick and finished No. 18 in the final rankings on Tuesday, having never climbed any higher than No. 12.

Note: There were no rankings for Weeks 13-14 due to international dates.

 

18 October 9:18 de la mañana

Check out this goal from the Chicago Fire's Victor Pineda in a Reserve League match against Houston last weekend. It's got a shimmy, a shake, and a grand finale that, frankly, deserved a little more exuberant celebration.

16 October 12:59 de la tarde

Guatemala-based website selecciondeguatemala.net reported on Tuesday morning that influential winger Marco Pappa will be dropped from Guatemala’s starting lineup against the US national team at Livestrong Sporting Park this evening (7 pm ET, ESPN2/TeleFutura, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).

The site claims that Los Chapines’ veteran Uruguayan manager Ever Almeida will “sacrifice” Pappa, who has been struggling to find his best form for both club and country since his summer transfer from the Chicago Fire to Dutch side Heerenveen, in order to pack the midfield against the heavily favored Yanks. That would likely leave former MLS striker Carlos Ruiz alone up top in either a 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 formation.

While unconfirmed and uncorroborated, the report does jibe with the “park-the-bus” tactical approach expected from the canny Almeida, whose team needs only a draw in Kansas City, Kan., to book their place in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Pappa started on the bench in these teams’ previous meeting in this round, a 1-1 draw in Guatemala City on June 12. But he changed the game when he entered as a second-half substitute, sparking Guatemala’s attack and blasting a free kick past US goalkeeper Tim Howard in the dying moments to snatch a point for his team.