As we wait for more details from Chivas USA's new sole owners, Chivas Guadalajara's Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, here's something for Goats fans to get excited about.
In a video interview with Sports Business Journal, MLS Commissioner Don Garber makes mention of an "opportunity to build a stadium for them in downtown Los Angeles."
Garber says that Chivas USA is "a team we want to see rise up and create more excitement in the local market."
In addition to that news, there are plenty of nuggets for MLS fans to chew on, including expansion, a rivalry in New York, ownership in Columbus and the regular season Cascadia derby between Seattle and Portland that is "arguably the biggest and perhaps the most important event that we've had."
Vancouver a enfin gagné ! Sur un score plantureux en plus : 4-0 contre Chivas USA (résumé vidéo). Il faut dire que les visiteurs encaissaient du coup leur septième défaite consécutive (et ils n’ont marqué qu’un but lors de ces sept rencontres). Qu’importe l’adversaire : l’équipe de l’Ouest canadien se donne de l’air sur Dallas, Camilo s’est fait pardonner et DeMerit est heureux d’avoir vu tous ses équipiers prendre leurs responsabilités.
Dans l’autre match de la soirée de mercredi, Chicago a oublié de défendre (voire de jouer…) contre Philadelphie et s’est incliné 1-3 (résumé vidéo). La tête était possiblement déjà au sommet de ce week-end à New York, même si entre les clubs de ceux deux grandes villes, la rivalité n’a jamais été acrimonieuse.
Les supporters de l’équipe nationale canadienne attendaient pour leur part avec impatience la sélection de Stephen Hart pour les rencontres ô combien importantes des 12 et 16 octobre, contre Cuba et au Honduras. Il n’y a guère de surprise dans le groupe, quasiment inchangé depuis les duels du mois dernier. Dwayne De Rosario, blessé, n’en fait pas partie, de même que le jeune Ashton Morgan. Ils sont remplacés par Mike Klukowski et Iain Hume.
LA SÉLECTION CANADIENNE
Gardiens : Milan Borjan (Sivasspor/Tur), Lars Hirschfeld (Vålerenga/Nor), Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK/Suè)
Défenseurs : Marcel De Jong (Augsburg/All), David Edgar (Burnley/Ang), André Hainault (Houston/É-U), Dejan Jaković (DC United/É-U), Ante Jazić (Chivas USA/É-U), Mike Klukowski (APOEL/Chy), Kevin McKenna (Cologne/All)
Milieux de terrain : Patrice Bernier (Montréal), Julian De Guzman (Dallas/É-U), Terry Dunfield (Toronto), Atiba Hutchinson (PSV Eindhoven/P-B), Will Johnson (Salt Lake/É-U), Nik Ledgerwood (Hammarby/Suè), Pedro Pacheco (Santa Clara/Por)
Attaquants : Iain Hume (Doncaster/Ang), Simeon Jackson (Norwich/Ang), Olivier Occean (Francfort/All), Tosaint Ricketts (Vålerenga/Nor)
Si la saison de Chivas USA s’arrêtera à la fin du mois, le « deuxième » club de Los Angeles, en pleine disette offensive, aura pourtant un rôle crucial à jouer d’ici là. Au cours de ses derniers matchs, il affrontera une fois Vancouver et deux fois Dallas, les deux équipes qui luttent pour le dernier sésame qualificatif dans la conférence Ouest.
Tout commencera ce soir en Colombie-Britannique (22h00 HE), probablement sans Mattocks blessé, avec un Camilo en quête de rédemption et un Matt Watson à son tour encouragé par Martin Rennie, toujours aussi positif. Pour mieux comprendre la situation à Vancouver, ne manquez pas l’émission Coup Franc de la semaine, avec Alain Rochat.
Un peu plus au sud, Portland, lui aussi déjà écarté de la phase finale, pense à la Coupe Cascadia, qui pourrait sauver sa saison. Il pourrait se l’adjuger en cas de bon résultat à Seattle ce dimanche, mais sera reçu chaudement : 66 000 billets ont déjà trouvé preneur !
L’autre rencontre de la soirée opposera Chicago à Philadelphie (20h30 HE). Un match déjà dans l’ombre du déplacement de Chicago à New York ce samedi... lui-même occulté par une nouvelle majeure à New York : l’arrivée du duo Jérôme De Bontin - Gérard Houllier. Le premier, ancien président de l’AS Monaco, prend la place d’Eric Soler au poste de directeur général et se concentrera sur les opérations commerciales du club. Le second, qui a entre autres dirigé Liverpool et l’équipe de France, est pour sa part en charge des aspects sportifs.
Équipes nationales et clubs sont à l’honneur de l’émission Coup Franc de cette semaine (à écouter ici), à laquelle se joint Olivier Tremblay, affecté à la couverture de l’Impact de Montréal pour MLSsoccer.com. Au menu :
- Gros plan sur Canada - Panama en compagnie de notre invité, Olivier Occean, qui nous parle aussi de son adaptation à Francfort. Quelle configuration offensive pour le Canada ? Peut-on se passer de Simeon Jackson dans le onze de base ? Que sait-on de l’équipe panaméenne ?
- Discussion sur les autre matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde dans lesquels sont impliqués des joueurs de MLS, avec Jamaïque - États-Unis, mais aussi Honduras - Cuba ou Costa Rica - Mexique.
- Retour sur Columbus - Montréal : l’adaptation rapide de Federico Higuain à la MLS, la fin de rencontre difficile de Montréal, l’importance du jeu aérien, la gestion du trio Nesta - Rivas - Ferrari, les clefs du match.
- Plus rien ne va à Vancouver, battu pour une quatrième fois d’affilée.
- Bien démarrer : Houston le voulait mais s’est planté à Chicago.
- Chivas USA, qui s’est effondré à San José, pourra-t-il jouer les arbitres en fin de saison ?
Ever wonder what the days are like in the life of MLSers leading up to matches?
Well, now you can find out. Major League Soccer and NBC have announced a new, day-in-the-life series, MLS 36. The program – which follows in the footsteps of fellow NBC Sports Network series Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and NHL 36 – takes viewers behind the scenes for a player's 36 hours prior to kickoff.
San Jose Earthquakes star and golden-boot leading Chris Wondolowski wil be the first league player highlighted, when his preparation for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game will air on Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. The second installment is set to air the following Friday, August 10 when Seattle's Fredy Montero's preparations are recorded ahead of the Sounders' World Football Challenge match vs. Chelsea on July 18.
Additional episodes and players of MLS 36 will be announced at a later date. Which player to the right would you want to see featured? Or, let us know who else you would want in the comments below.
On vient de dépasser la mi-saison et j’avais envie de voir à quel point les équipes en étaient par rapport au même stade l’an dernier. Le calendrier de la MLS étant ce qu’il est, j’ai d’abord réalisé un classement des 18 premières rencontres de chaque club (qui permet au passage de relativiser le classement actuel). Ensuite, je l’ai comparé avec le classement de leurs 18 premiers duels l’an dernier pour voir leurs progressions / régressions respectives. Même s’il faut prendre ces tableaux avec des pincettes, notamment en raison du déséquilibre entre les matchs joués à domicile et à l’extérieur, ils n’en demeurent pas moins des indicateurs très intéressants. À vous d’en tirer vos propres conclusions… N’hésitez pas à les partager !
|CLASSEMENT 2012 APRÈS 18 MATCHS|
|COMPARAISON 2012 / 2011 APRÈS 18 MATCHS|
There's like a 99 percent chance that, if you're reading this blog post, you also watched the 2012 European Championship final between Spain and Italy.
It was awesome. Even if you had no rooting interest (full disclosure: I'm a quarter Italian, but was pulling for Spain), it's hard not to get caught up when the stakes are that high and the quality of soccer on display matches it.
And it just kills me that CONCACAF and CONMEBOL can't figure out a way to get a "Copa Américas" up and running every four years, starting immediately after the Euros. What an incredible opportunity the two confederations are missing.
Hopefully someday, they'll figure it out.
Anyway, only one real observation this week...
Scoring keeps going up and up and up
OK, now that you've read it, you know that teams are passing more, passing more accurately, passing more aggressively, and as a result (we assume), scoring more. Before this week scoring was already up 12 percent over last season's pace. That will have gone up some more, since in Week 17's 10-game slate there were 34 total goals.
And it's not just a blip. Since the end of the international break, MLS clubs have produced 100 goals in 33 games (thanks to Greg Lalas for that little tidbit).
It's the reversal of a 10-year trend. Back in 2001 MLS averaged 3.28 goals per game; by 2010, that was down to 2.46. Here's the whole table:
2011 -- 2.58
2010 -- 2.46
2009 -- 2.54
2008 -- 2.81
2007 -- 2.66
2006 -- 2.62
2005 -- 2.87
2004 -- 2.61
2003 -- 2.89
2002 -- 3.01
2001 -- 3.28
2000 -- 3.19
1999 -- 2.86
1998 -- 3.57*
1997 -- 3.26
1996 -- 3.37
The key thing here isn't just that MLS have imported guys like Thierry Henry (one of the league's elite finishers) and David Beckham (one of the league's elite chance creators). The league's also kept guys like Dwayne De Rosario and Brad Davis, who've both had overseas interest; they've developed highly rated talents like Chris Pontius and Will Bruin, who've both been given plenty of time to figure out where the net is; and, of course, used the Reserve League to help build Chris Wondolowski, who's turning into one of MLS' all-time greats.
It's a multi-faceted approach to finding and cultivating talent, and the numbers say it's working.
* For those of you who don't remember 1998 for one reason or another ... yes, that season was as crazy as the numbers indicate. Go find some YouTube clips of that year's Galaxy squad — it'll be worth your time.
I just went 2/9 on my weekend picks. This was after going 2/6 midweek.
It’s not because I’m bad at picking games (though lord knows, I’m not good), but it’s because the parity in MLS is just that hard to get a handle on these days. This is a league where players like Branko Boskovic and Chris Rolfe come off the bench, where Danny Koevermans goes from misfiring back to deadeye, and where a nine-point week is enough to vault you back into the playoff race.
Turns out the Galaxy aren’t dead yet
Sorry, I know this is going to annoy a lot of you. It’s always fun to try to shovel dirt on the champs – doubly so when it’s a high-profile team.
But it turns out that was premature. LA just rattled off three straight wins, including two by shutout. It’s too early to say they’ve returned to their 2011 form, but it’s also clearly too late to take back all the nasty stuff we’ve said about them over the past couple of months.
One thing to bear in mind: David Beckham said it came down to being happy and loose in the locker room, and that it’s cleared up only in the past couple of weeks. So whatever it was that was eating away at LA’s commitment went away when Robbie Keane did. Will it return now that he has?
“Emergency Defender” proving a rock in Philly
Last week John Hackworth said that youngster Amobi Okugo would be playing in central defense for the time being as an emergency measure. If his first two games there are any indication, he may never get a chance to move back to the midfield.
Okugo is simply excellent when the game is being played in front of him, showing good anticipation and understanding of both when and how to play outlets to the midfield. He’s also big and strong enough (6-foot, 170 pounds) to bully around in the box when it comes down to that.
Most importantly, though, he’s just a better player when he doesn’t have to have 360 degree awareness. This isn’t unusual – d-mids tend to mature later than other players precisely because it’s such a complex position.
But Philly already have two veterans (Brian Carroll and Gabriel Gomez) for that spot, and are paper-thin in defense. And the US… well, we know all about the plethora of defensive-minded central midfielders available to Jurgen Klinsmann.
There are, however, precious few young central defenders who’ve impressed on a game-to-game basis. Okugo’s off to a good start in that regard. Let’s hope he stays there, and we see a bit of him in the red, white and blue this January.
Why not build more Gordons?
Alan Gordon didn’t just become a good soccer player overnight. He’s always had a great passing eye, a good understanding of where to be in build-up play and a willingness to stick his nose in. Even if he’s not a 90-minute player, he’s still valuable. The past two months – and past two games especially – have been proof enough of that.
The thing is, though, that Gordon (and his teammate Steven Lenhart) were built by years of practice and occasional game time. Each of them took several years to get up to speed, and now the Quakes are reaping the rewards of both LA’s and Columbus’ hard work.
Which begs the question: Why don’t more teams take on young guys like Gordon and Lenhart then groom them for that specific role? While combing through MLS rosters, the only ones I’ve seen who are really, truly doing that are Columbus (with Tom Heinemann and Aaron Schoenfeld), Houston (Cam Weaver and Colin Rolfe) and New England (Blake Brettschneider).
None of these guys are truly ready right now – though Brettschneider is close, and Heinemann would have gotten there this season if not for his injury – but in two years, all of these guys can be looked at as Gordon or Lenhart-types.
Or, if you want to go with the original model: Brian Ching-types.
So yeah, putting a guy like that – a true center forward – out there may not be what Vicente del Bosque would do. But no MLS team is going to have Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas and Busquets to call on. If you’re not Spain, chances are you’ll need a target.
I’d want my team already hard at work making one.
Total Points – Dwayne De Rosario (89)
With Thierry Henry missing several weeks due to a hamstring injury, DeRo has taken over as the No. 1 player in Fantasy Soccer: Manager. He’s had a weeks of 10, 15 and 20 points, and his most recent point output was the most by a single player thus far in 2012. DeRo has 20+ more points than the next closest midfielder, making him a legitimate threat every week and a player you can build your team around.
Percentage Owned – Jay DeMerit (35.3)
DeMerit has been the most widely selected player in FS: M the entire season. Thirty-five percent of all managers currently have him on their roster. The second-closest player is Kenny Cooper (28 percent). At one point, DeMerit had the highest score of any defender, but lately he’s been slipping. D.C. United players Daniel Woolard and Brandon McDonald, Aurélien Colin, and even teammate Lee Young-Pyo have since leapfrogged DeMerit, so only time will tell if it’s his worldwide fame or his actual production that makes him the most “popular” player in MLS.
Crosses & Key Passes – Graham Zusi (33) & (34)
Zusi has calmed down slightly after a fast start, but his 33 crosses are still seven better than the next closest player. Three successful crosses equals one bonus point, so Zusi could’ve potentially gained an additional 11 points for his efforts thus far. He also leads the league in Key Passes (34) and has seven more than the next closest player in this category as well. Zusi should continue to be one of the most coveted midfielders due to his time on the ball and SKC’s all-out attack style offense.
Big Chances Fluffed – Dominic Oduro (7)
One of the fastest – if not the fastest – players in MLS has been a huge bust in 2012. In the four games in which Oduro has scored, he’s tallied six or more points each time. However, in every other game this season (eight games) he’s managed just two points or less. In his last seven games he’s put up one point or less on six different occasions. Oduro is getting great looks, but he’s missing every single one of them. He leads all players in BCFs and has been deducted seven points total because of it. At this point, he’s more of a risk than anything.
CBI’s – A.J. Soares (123)
My initial pick for Defender of the Year is not having a sophomore slump by any means. His 123 CBIs (clearances, blocks and interceptions combined) leads all players and he’ll likely widen the gap with two games coming up in Week 13. Only three other players have more than 100 CBIs and none of them will be under more pressure than Soares should the rest of the season. He’s an absolute ball shark, but has never really been a threat on set pieces. One can only hope that his recent goal will encourage Jay Heaps to push him up more often.
Recoveries – Osvaldo Alonso (136)
Disregarding goalkeepers, there’s a tight battle for the title of “the best second-ball winner” in MLS. Alonso currently leads Dax McCarty (133) by only three recoveries, but that’s pretty much his only competition. Kyle Beckerman has the third most with 100, and it looks as if his absence due to national team duty will only widen the margin. Alonso has gained 19 bonus points already from recoveries so expect him to keep this all season long.
Transfers In – Nick DeLeon (3,800+)
When David Estrada (3,500+ transfers) started cooling down, DeLeon became all the talk. The D.C. United rookie is currently the most added player with over 3,800 transfers. His value started at $5.5m and quickly made its way to $6.8m. Now that he’s back from injury don’t expect him to return to his previous form. When DeLeon was clicking, DeRo and Salihi were in a slump. Now that they’re back in form, expect DeLeon to take a back seat. He’s still valuable, but not as much as he was back in April.
Dream Team – Kenny Cooper (4)
No one has made the “Dream Team” more times this season than Kenny Cooper, but you have to credit Thierry Henry with helping him reach this point. Coop-dog has scored six or more points on nine different occasions in 2012, making him one of the most consistent forwards in MLS. He continued to put up numbers even when Henry was out, so look for him to only get better now that he’s returned.