Kick Off: Vancouver star calls Sounders "nothing special"
It will go down as one of the most entertaining matches of the season, but the thrilling 2-2 draw between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders will be remembered for much more, courtesy of Davide Chiumiento.
The Whitecaps playmaker felt his team’s performance (watch the highlights here) exposed the Sounders: “They are a good team," he told The Province of Seattle, "but, really, players on this team, they think they are better than everybody and, personally, I think they have a couple of good guys, but nothing special.”
Oh, he’s not done: "They play like they already won the league, or like they've played, I don't know where. They are good, but not better than we are, and the game shows it. They have better results [than us] last year, but it means nothing. It's a long season and we'll play them again and I look forward to it."
Several MLS players will be looking forward to the start of USMNT camp, but that group will not include FC Dallas star Brek Shea, whose absence is arguably the biggest surprise of this round of call-ups. Klinsmann gave his rationale for leaving him out in this article.
Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi left a lasting impression in January camp, according to Klinsmann. In fact, “Zeus” was aware for some time already that he’d be getting the nod: “I had known for a couple weeks now, but it had been kept pretty secretive,” he said. “I’ve known since the week after the Montreal game.”
One player who is back after a relatively long absence is LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. In this interview with FIFA.com, Donovan dispels any rumor that there may be any division between him and Klinsmann: “Jurgen’s very adamant about pushing us, even to the point of getting out of your comfort zone and I think it’s done wonders for a lot of our guys so far. It was a little slow to take hold early on, but I think guys are started to adapt now.”
It didn’t go well for Donovan and the Galaxy this weekend. A combination of a SuperClasico loss to Chivas USA (watch the highlights) and a win by the Portland Timbers on Sunday dropped the defending champs into last place in the Western Conference. And although NFL legend Bill Parcells says, “You’re as good as your record says,” LA manager Bruce Arena doesn’t buy it: “Our record is probably not real precise in terms of how we've played. I think we've played better than our record indicates.”
Chivas USA received a boost from newly acquired Juan Agudelo and Danny Califf, who both started in the Goats’ first win over the Galaxy since 2007. Agudelo feels that fans will be hearing more from his pairing with Colombian forward José Erik Correa, who converted the winning PK: “We're both Colombian, so we speak Spanish to each other, and I think that connection of South America is working.”
The Portland Timbers ended a four-game scoring drought with an Eric Brunner goal and then used a decisive own-goal to beat the Chicago Fire and move out of the Western Conference basement (watch the highlights here).
While relieved with the win, the Timbers didn’t appreciate what they believed was gamesmanship by the Fire players: "They were going down pretty easy. They were just diving around. They got a couple of calls, but I think the ref realized what they were doing,” Lovel Palmer said.
Speaking of the Timbers, defender Steve Purdy says that the club did not release him for friendly El Salvador’s friendly matches in the lead-up to World Cup qualifying. But apparently he will be joining the nation for the games that count. (SPANISH)
If you’re keeping count, it’s now seven matches without a win for FC Dallas, who finished in a 1-1 tie with the Philadelphia Union (watch the highlights here).
FCD didn’t appreciate the physical nature of the match, including a tackle which took Hernán Pertúz out of the game, and captain Daniel Hernandez did not hold back from letting the refs know it: “It’s the same old, same old with the refs – getting in guys faces, talking trash to the players, not pulling out their cards when they should,” he said. “We’re talking about a team that is getting bad officiating at home, just can’t get any calls our way. By no means is it the refs’ fault that we tied the game, but at a certain point they have take a responsibility in doing their job just like we do ours.”
Chris Wondolowski missed a PK but Alan Gordon came through for the San Jose Earthquakes, who salvaged a last-minute 1-1 tie vs. Columbus (watch the highlights here). It was San Jose’s second straight home draw – “Only two points at home – that hurts,” Wondolowski said – and goalkeeper Jon Busch feels the team is in “a goalscoring rut.”
How exactly did Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum stop the MLS Golden Boot leader from scoring on that PK? MLS ‘keepers take note: “I just dove and made myself big,” Gruenebaum said. “I started to over-dive it, but I just stacked the pads and made the stop.”
The PK that was awarded to the New York Red Bulls in their 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium was disputed by Impact manager Jesse Marsch (watch the highlights): “I don’t think the one we gave up was a foul,” he said. “I don’t think you see that called ... when a guy’s sliding and it hits his arm. I don’t know where in the world you see that call ... so not very good.”
You think Marsch is upset? Try talking to New England manager Jay Heaps about his team conceding set piece goals. It happened again in a 2-2 tie against the Houston Dynamo (watch the highlights here): “It’s one of those things where you go over it and over it and over it and over it and over it and over it and over it, and it’s disappointing,’’ Heaps said. “I’m flipping mad, if you want to know the truth, flipping mad.”
Nothing to get mad about at D.C. United these days. Dwayne De Rosario scored another two goals against a former club and Hamdi Salihi was back on the board in a 3-1 win over Toronto FC, who are now 0-9-0 (watch the highlights). United’s Andy Najar also earned his manager’s praise: “It’s been a year or two since I’ve seen Andy consistently playing with the hunger I see right now,” Ben Olsen said. “The plays he was making on their defenders were pretty fun to watch.”
Given the tendencies of US-based soccer media, you’d figure that DeRo will be in the running for Player of the Week honors with Sporting Kansas City’s Teal Bunbury, who scored an early brace in Colorado. The Rapids battled back for a 2-2 tie (watch the highlights here), but the start didn’t please manager Oscar Pareja: “What happened in the first 15 minutes is unacceptable for us as professionals. Our fans deserve [more], it's not fair for them.”
Ex-Colorado and Kansas City player Herculez Gomez didn’t see the field yesterday, but Santos Laguna still did the business without him, taking a 2-1 result in the Mexican final second leg to win their fourth Mexican league title. (VIDEO)
Everyone likes a good fairytale. So enjoy the crowning moment of Montpellier in France after they beat out free-spending Paris Saint-Germain to capture their first Ligue 1 title. (VIDEO)
Staying in Europe, Juventus were looking to wrap up a perfect season without a single defeat in domestic league and cup play. But they’d receive a surprise against Napoli in the final of the Coppa Italia. (VIDEO)
Check out all the photos from the double-decker bus parade after Chelsea’s historic victory in the UEFA Champions League final over Bayern Munich. Chelsea are set to play four matches in the USA this summer between the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and World Football Challenge. (PHOTOS)
Lastly, there’s been plenty of talk about the TV broadcasts of US national team away matches during World Cup qualifying. Fans will be interested to know that there could be a new player in the soccer TV business in the USA: Al Jazeera is in talks to set up a hub in Miami and acquire a bundle of rights.
MLSsoccer.com Must-See Clips:
Watch: Fredy Montero’s stunning equalizer in Vancouver
Goal: See why they call San Jose’s Alan Gordon “an animal” after this acrobatic finish
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