This week marks Canada Day (July 1) and American Independence Day (July 4), and you know what that means: barbeques, tailgates, parades, friends and family. It's also an opportunity to thank the men and women in the armed forces who work to maintain our many freedoms every day.
Are you, or is someone you know, in the military?
If so, from 10:30 am - 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday, July 3, tweet us a photo @MLS wearing your favorite Major League Soccer team gear with a description of your role in the U.S. or Canadian armed forces. Be sure to include the hashtag #CelebrateFreedom. One random person will be selected from the first 10 eligible photos received to win an AT&T MLS All-Star jersey.
(UPDATE: Congrats to Philadelphia Union supporter @dixonij on being selected as the winner.) Check out the Facebook Album to see the photo submissions.
On the Fourth of July, we’ll feature our favorite photo submissions in a gallery on the MLS Facebook page. Please read our Official Social Media Giveaway rules to make sure you're eligible.
7 pm ET Montreal Impact vs. Sporting KC
9 pm ET FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC
9:30 pm ET Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
10 pm ET Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders
10:30 pm ET LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union
Now get to tweeting, we can't wait to see your photos!
J’espère que vous avez vu San José - LA Galaxy, un spectacle extraordinaire, véritable propagande pour la Major League Soccer (sinon, il y a un long résumé en bas de ce texte). On parle même d'un des meilleurs matchs de l'histoire de la MLS ! L’équipe locale a ouvert la marque, le champion a pris l’avance 1-3 avant que le leader ne renverse la vapeur pour s’imposer ! En marquant son premier but en MLS, Victor Bernardez a réduit la marque et relancé son équipe. Le LA Galaxy a eu du mal à garder la tête froide.
Une victoire de prestige mais aussi une bonne affaire pour San José puisque un seul de ses poursuivants immédiats à gagné. DC United a été maître du ballon et de son match contre Montréal.
La crise couve à Salt Lake, qui a enchaîné une troisième défaite consécutive : dominé dans tous les secteurs, il s’est incliné à Columbus où Tony Tchani prend du galon. New York a mal défendu et, même s’il a rapidement ouvert la marque, a concédé un nul à Toronto, invaincu depuis quatre rencontres. Kansas City a bien joué mais s’est incliné à Chicago, auteur d’une impressionnante remontée au classement.
Kansas City - Chicago
Toronto - New York
New England - Seattle
DC United - Montréal
Columbus - Salt Lake
Houston - Philadelphie
Colorado - Portland
San José - LA Galaxy
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo
Three major titles in a span of five years.
Everyone is focused on what Spain has accomplished. But on the day after La Roja outclassed Italy in Kiev in the Euro 2012 final, there is also a distinct feeling that Spain could have done more.
No, 4-0 was plenty when it comes to the scoreline. But at 2-0 up, with the match well in hand, Spain really had a chance to transcend.
Italy had raised the white flag with 30 minutes to go. When midfielder Thiago Motta hobbled off the pitch, so too did any real Italian hopes of vanquishing the world champs. He was Italy's last sub and he was done. Italy were down to 10 men the rest of the way.
At that point the mighty Spaniards could have made the ultimate fair play gesture and voluntarily removed a player to even the field at 10-vs.-10.
Whether it was the recently introduced Pedro or even Cesc Fabregas, it wouldn't have mattered with a smattering of minutes left. They would still have won the game and they would have transcended like no team has since the 1970s Brazil side for a simple act of fair play.
They didn't. Instead they chose to keep pouring it on, bringing on two fresh subs who rounded out the score. It was akin to kicking at the cast of a person with a broken leg who just lost a crutch.
But there was one player in red who did opt for Fair Play this weekend.
In the first half of Toronto FC's 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls, Reggie Lambe could have easily hit the deck after he was tugged by New York defender Wilman Conde — it would have meant a red card ejection for Conde. Instead, the Bermudan international chose to stay on his feet. And people took notice. (Watch it here).
“[Lambe] is a young player and a very honest player,” TFC manager Paul Mariner said afterward. “Some players in the world would go down. If you want to be candid then we would have been playing 10 men then. In our position that would have been nice, but my hat goes off to him.”
Too bad we couldn't say the same for Spain.
You've nominated them, now it's time to vote...
Who should win $10,000 for charity and a trip to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game?
One Community MVP has been chosen to represent each MLS club. Only one winner will have the chance to win the Grand Prize, a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice and a trip to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park. MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP Grand Prize voting is now open! Vote now!
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.
Dave Wangerin, author of Soccer in a Football World and Distant Corners: American Soccer’s History of Missed Opportunities and Lost Causes, died on Friday, June 29, 2012.
I never knew David Wangerin, but I feel like I did.
His life story is eerily familiar: born in the Midwest, in love with writing, fascinated by soccer’s rich and woefully overlooked history in America.
His articles for When Saturday Comes and his 2006 book, Soccer in a Football World were — and remain — required reading for anyone in the US soccer scene. His regular appearances on various podcasts were always enjoyable.
Wangerin chronicled soccer here from its immigrant beginnings through the 1970s disco heyday of the NASL to the launch and slow rise of MLS. It was all part of his story.
Sadly, we will only be able to imagine the stories he might have told about the future of the game he loved.
What some of my colleagues have said:
RIP David Wangerin, US soccer history expert, who wrote the excellent book "Soccer In A Football World"
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 30, 2012
Enormously sad to hear about the passing of David Wangerin, author of the wonderful "Soccer In A Football World". Far, far too soon.
— Tom Dunmore (@pitchinvasion) June 30, 2012
We picked out a few of our favorites, below. Like them? Hate them? Think you could do better? Get over to Facebook and prove it.
Tune in to the San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy game tonight, June 30, at 10:00 PM ET on ESPN2 and find out which fans got it right.
Take a look at what the clubs have been doing in the community this week in the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Weekly Club Highlights:
For more community news around the League, visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. news section.
KICK TV seems to be everywhere these days, so it's no surprise that they managed to get Chelsea star Salomon Kalou in front of the camera talking about Steve Nash's recent Showdown in Chinatown and his future in game.
Check out the video to hear what he has to say about MLS.