Kick Off: Magee says NY's MLS Cup drought will continue
LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee spent six seasons with the New York Red Bulls as one of the loyal servants of the club. But with the two teams facing off in the Western Conference Semifinals, there is probably not a lot of lingering goodwill after these statements.
He pointed out how “I got everything I wanted when I went to LA … I don’t have to have a new coach every year.” And after calling New York’s run to the 2008 MLS Cup final a “fluke,” he gave NYRB fans some hope … or something like that: “They’ll get their championship. Not this year, but they’ll get one.”
This is how big the NY vs. LA match-p has become, especially after Sunday’s mêlée: SportsCenter calls up Thierry Henry to talk about losing Rafa Márquez to suspension for the second leg. Also, listen to the Frenchman as he compares the MLS Cup Playoffs to the UEFA Champions League. (VIDEO)
The Philadelphia Union have had a chance to review the tape from Sunday night’s first leg against Houston and spotted a few debatable calls, including an alleged hand ball in the box by Houston’s Brad Davis: “After looking at game film, it is obvious where a couple of incidents were that we were really unfortunate not to get a different decision,” said assistant coach John Hackworth.
Although the Houston Dynamo have the second-most wins at home in MLS (10), they are not about to sit back for Thursday night’s return leg against Philly (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). “If we sit back, they're a talented enough team where they're going to score on us," says Dynamo captain Brian Ching. "We definitely need to take the game to them.”
After refusing to speak to media on Saturday night after the 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, Sounders captain Kasey Keller finally came around on Monday at practice. He admitted there was a “little bit of dejection” still lingering among the players and when the team conducted its video session, it made “a few more people a little more down.”
“It’s more of an outside shot, but at least it’s a shot.” No, Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid is not talking about his team’s chances of advancing past Real Salt Lake in the second leg on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). The comment refers to Mauro Rosales’ injury status.
Real Salt Lake are doing everything they can to have defenders Jámison Olave and Nat Borchers recover from quad strains that knocked them out of the first-leg playoff against Seattle. They will both make the trip but don’t count against them starting: “I’d take a 50 percent Jámison Olave over a 100 percent defender in this league any day of the week," Borchers said. "It’s just going to be a game-time decision."
It’s been a rough year for RSL forward Álvaro Saborío following a pressure-filled Gold Cup in which he missed two penalty kicks and the tragic passing of one of his friends on the Costa Rican national team. But his teammate, Will Johnson senses a different “Sabo”: “I think it's safe to say he's back, he's really positive and he's scoring some wonderful goals. It definitely seems like he has a smile on his face."
The “Graham Zusi to the US national team” has left the station with Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes saying: “For him not to get a look say, this upcoming January, I’d personally be very surprised.”
Arguably no MLS team in playoff history has been plagued by injuries the way the Rapids are ahead of their second leg against Kansas City on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). All three players who succumbed to injury in the home loss to KC are now out for the return match: "We've got seven players injured, six of them who played in the [MLS Cup] final last year," says manager Gary Smith. "It's not going to be easy, that is for sure."
New Vancouver Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie is also looking up and down the roster to see who will feature for him … next season. He begins a one week postseason camp tomorrow and this article handicaps the list of players that could move on.
Colorado Rapids and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke spoke at a media briefing in London on Monday and fans will surely find it interesting to read the complete transcript of the entire session. He talks about how his son played ODP soccer and how he was looking at eight to 15 clubs before he settled on Arsenal.
Speaking of Manchester United, they’re taking on Facebook with the launch of their own social network for Man Utd fans around the world.
Meanwhile, former US Under-17 national team player Neven Subotic is rumored to be a target of Manchester United to succeed Nemanja Vidic on the back line. (PORTUGUESE)
Back to social media and soccer. Have you read about the Mexican soccer team that has replaced player names with their Twitter handles on the back of their jerseys?
The UEFA Champions League takes over the afternoon today with three live matches: Genk vs. Chelsea (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), Arsenal vs. Olympique de Marseille (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and FC Viktoria Plzen vs. FC Barcelona (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes).
Lastly, the archbishop of Prague will be issuing a blessing to the Viktoria Plzen players ahead of their match against the European champions: “He will at this time have a private meeting with the players. He has equally been asked to bless the team. As far as I know, he will not refuse such a request.”
Playoff edition of ExtraTime Radio with Alexi Lalas, Danny Califf and Arlo White
MLS Cup Top 50 Moments: When heroes were honored at MLS Cup 2001
Playoffs in Profile: Risk and reward for Seattle’s Ozzie Alonso
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