Kick Off: So was it a penalty kick or not in Vancouver?
This week’s AT&T MLS All-Star Game will unite the league's best for one common goal: beat Chelsea on Wednesday night.
But they were a divided bunch up in Vancouver last night, where a controversial penalty kick decided the match in a 2-1 Whitecaps victory against league-leading San Jose.
Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop didn’t mince words after his side’s 2-1 loss at BC Place: "Referee decided the game. Well, undecided the game, to be honest. [Jair Marrufo] is five yards away and he lets a fellow 50 yards away call it. I was just disappointed with that."
While Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch affirms “there’s zero contact on that penalty,” his team captain Chris Wondolowski didn’t leave any room for interpretation with his comment: “It's just a bummer that an assistant referee wants to have a whistle in his mouth and isn't good enough to do that."
"I thought it was a penalty for sure," countered Vancouver manager Martin Rennie. "We haven't had a penalty all season, which is incredible. We definitely deserved it." Watch the highlights yourself to find out whose side you're taking. (VIDEO)
Another memorable moment in Vancouver: Apparently Whitecaps supporters were chanting the name of former designated player Eric Hassli in the 29th minute – he wore No. 29 – after his trade to Toronto on Friday. They also revealed this tifo.
If he had the time, LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena would probably produce some tifo for Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. The two Designated Players continued to combine well together in attack, accounting for all the goals in a 3-1 SuperClasico win over Chivas USA: “We're scoring an awful lot of goals [with Donovan partnering Keane at forward], right? It's been pretty damn good. It really has,” says Arena. Find out why the manager called the pairing “outstanding” in this highlight reel. (VIDEO)
Too bad Arena's statements can’t sound more like the headlines written across the way in England: Apparently, “Robbie’s The Wheel Deal” (see the accompanying photo), while Donovan’s statement that it’s a shame David Beckham won’t be playing for Team GB is clearly interpreted as: “Stu’s Becks Boob.” Thank you, The Sun.
Both Beckham and Donovan will be training later today in Philadelphia when the MLS All-Stars gather for their first practice session. MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Greg Lalas were in Philly on Sunday and provided the latest update on the festivities. (VIDEO)
One of the lesser-known All-Stars is Steven Beitashour, who’s arguably the best right back in MLS. Find out his story as told by the San Francisco Chronicle.
We can only hope that the All-Star Game provides a moment like the one that took place at Red Bull Arena in a 2-0 victory for the home team over the Philadelphia Union (watch the highlights here): Goalscoring hero Kenny Cooper recognized a hero of his own and paid a heartfelt tribute to the son of ex-US captain Claudio Reyna, who passed away last week.
In a very different kind of tribute, Thierry Henry was full of praise for NYRB rookie Connor Lade. Check out some of his comments when asked about the St. John’s product: “He’s the man of the season. … He’s a revelation. … When you’re good, you’re good. … I love Connor. … He’s our go-to guy.”
Brek Shea was another star who wasn't even near the stadium, according to reports, as FC Dallas thrashed the Portland Timbers 5-0 to extend the Timbers' record goalless drought on the road to 697 minutes (watch the highlights here). How did they do it? Well, it helps to have ex-MVP David Ferreira: “The scary part is I think [David] is only 80 percent [fit],” manager Schellas Hyndman said.
It was an overall good weekend for FC Dallas, who also came away with the prestigious US Under-18 Development Academy national title. They beat Vancouver in Sunday night’s final, coming from behind twice.
Winning cups is fun. Just ask Real Salt Lake who took their sixth straight Rocky Mountain Cup over rivals Colorado Rapids with a 2-0 blanking (watch the highlights here). The Rapids have now lost five straight league matches.
Here’s something you don’t see everyday: Jason Kreis and his RSL coaching staff seated at the opposite end of the bench. Reporters speculate it was in protest to referee Allen Chapman and his direction of the match against San Jose. "There was definitely a very well thought-out reason for doing it, but I'm not going to discuss why," Kreis said.
Here’s another question. What happened to D.C. United? The one-time East leaders are now falling off from the top spot after a 1-0 loss in Columbus (watch the highlights here). “I’m concerned a little bit, yes,” admits MVP Dwayne De Rosario. And manager Ben Olsen addsed “I told you we have a long way to go to learn how to be a championship team.”
The team looking good in the East these days is the Houston Dynamo, 3-0 winners over the Montreal Impact (watch the highlights here). Turns out Houston had a lot to play for after their most recent visit to Montreal: "For the people that believe in karma and all that stuff, you kind of say we went up there and didn't get treated well," said Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell. "So we wanted to make sure we didn't treat them well when they came here. I think 3-0 is a good way to send them [Impact] home."
Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain sent 38,000-plus fans home happy after playing the first-ever match at the new Yankee Stadium, a 1-1 tie on Sunday in the Herbalife World Football Challenge. PSG put on a first-half show, the pro-Chelsea crowd willed the Blues to the equalizer and Frank Lampard addressed those persistent MLS rumors.
Chelsea next head to Philadelphia for the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday followed by a final WFC match in Miami against AC Milan. There are already more than 50,000 tickets sold for the match at SunLife Stadium.
In the other WFC match of the weekend, Toronto FC put forth a valiant effort in holding Liverpool FC to a 1-1 tie at Rogers Centre (watch the match report here). (VIDEO)
The Chicago Fire also played this weekend, dropping a 1-0 result in an international match against Aston Villa. With the attack sputtering on the night, the story was all about team defense and the hometown return of Aston Villa’s Americans Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj. Watch them in this video.
The LA Galaxy will get set for an international friendly of their own on Tuesday, when they host Tottenham Hotspur. André Villas-Boas, who coaches Spurs, had this to say about his upcoming opponents: “I think the way US soccer has grown so much in the last 15 years is also down to the job especially of Los Angeles Galaxy.”
Well, nothing quite like Hollywood and soccer mixing together. Check out the exchanges when Will Ferrell and his The Campaign co-star visited with Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Petr Cech over the weekend. (VIDEO)
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.