Kick Off: USMNTers grab the goals as Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski shine
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. DEMPSEY DOES IT AGAIN
Slump? What slump? After all the criticism last season, the Seattle Sounders' Clint Dempsey continued his fine 2014 form with two goals on Saturday, leading the Sounders to a 3-2 win over FC Dallas (watch highlights here). The trip to Texas was something of a homecoming for Dempsey and with the Seattle DP playing an important role in all three goals, the home side couldn’t help but be impressed by his performance. There's more to come, though. Both Dempsey and his teammates expect stronger displays as they continue to improve.
2. EDU SAVES THE DAY
When Kyle Beckerman scored a late goal for Real Salt Lake against the Philadelphia Union, he probably thought he’d done enough to snatch three road points. However, an even later strike by Maurice Edu allowed the Union to salvage a 2-2 draw (watch highlights here). In spite of giving up the win, Real Salt Lake remain undefeated this season: “That’s what we can build on,” Beckerman said. Zac MacMath also played the hero for the Union, saving a penalty for the second week in a row, but while the Union continue to give up spot kicks, it’s now been 41 games since they earned one of their own.
3. REVOLUTION DOWN THE DYNAMO
After making a strong start to the season, a 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution (watch highlights here) consigned the Houston Dynamo to their third straight defeat, with a couple defensive errors costing the Dynamo the points. The Revolution, meanwhile, settled into a nice groove in the second half, allowing Kevin Alston to score his first goal in MLS, a great story considering what the defender, now in his sixth MLS season, had to overcome last year.
4. McINERNEY MAKES HIS MARK
Jack McInerney wasn't shy about saying he wanted to show John Hackworth he’d made a “big mistake” letting him go, and while McInerney may have scored on his Montreal Impact debut, it wasn’t enough to lead the Canadian side to a win over the Chicago Fire as Quincy Amarikwa struck once again to ensure a 1-1 draw (watch highlights here). Amarikwa’s goal came thanks to some good link-up play with Mike Magee, and the goalscorer was particularly pleased to score against his former head coach Frank Klopas: “Obviously it was nice to show him why I should have played more last year.”
5. PORTLAND’S PAIN CONTINUES
The Portland Timbers are still looking for their first win of 2014 after another late goal left them with a 1-1 draw against Chivas USA (watch highlights here). Following the result, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter was honest in his assessment: “We’re not where we want to be at this point, and we’ve got to step it up.” Chivas USA, on the other hand, were incredibly pleased with their comeback, with head coach Wilmer Cabrera suggesting that, having led the game on shots and possession, his team was the better side.
6. EVERY GAME THE SAME FOR COLUMBUS
While they didn’t leave it as late as usual, the San Jose Earthquakes battled back against the Columbus Crew to earn a 1-1 draw (watch highlights here). Despite giving up the lead early in the second half, the Crew remain unbeaten on the road, something that the Gregg Berhalter attributes to attitude. Wondolowski scored the equalizer for the Quakes -- paying attention, Jurgen Klinsmann? -- yet Yannick Djalo stole the show with his cameo off the bench. Is the Portuguese attacker ready to start next weekend?
7. D.C. UNITED WIN AGAIN
Don’t be alarmed people: D.C. United’s 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls (watch highlights here) means they have now won two games in a row! That’s the first time United have managed such a feat since Oct. 2012, and the landmark came thanks to a Davy Arnaud goal in the fourth minute. Designated Player Eddie Johnson still hasn’t scored, extending his goalless streak to 451 minutes, but Johnson continues to do everything else just fine according to head coach Ben Olsen. On the other side, the Red Bulls are now six games into the season without a win and Mike Petke acknowledged that it’s starting to weigh on his players minds.
8. TFC SUNK BY RAPIDS
Despite battling gamely for most of the match, a Toronto FC side missing both Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley fell to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rapids (watch highlights here). While the TFC’s players and coach lamented the result, the Rapids are more than pleased with their fine road form, something they attribute to “the characters on the field.”
9. LA TOP VANCOUVER
The wait for Landon Donovan’s record breaking 135th goal continues, but Robbie Keane still did his thing on Saturday, scoring the lone goal for the LA Galaxy in their 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps (watch highlights here). While Keane’s goal earned heaps of praise, one former teammate was certainly less than thrilled to see it go in. Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson may be disappointed with the result, but the Welshman was more than pleased with the performance, something that puts the 'Caps in good stead for next week’s return fixture at BC Place.
10. COMMISSIONER TO UNDERGO CANCER TREATMENT
This weekend’s matches were preceded on Saturday afternoon by the news that MLS Commissioner Don Garber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment. The good news? Garber is expected to make a full recovery, and will remain in charge of the league during treatment. In a statement issued on Saturday, Garber said he hoped his situation might mean others cut the disease off at the pass: “I hope through my experience that I will be able to create awareness of prostate cancer and encourage men to get regular testing.”
11. ROGERS RETURNS AS GALAXY II LOSE CALIFORNIA DERBY
The LA Galaxy II didn’t share their parent side’s good fortune over the weekend, falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sacramento Republic FC late on Sunday evening. Prior to that game, the Galaxy announced on Friday the latest batch of players to be loaned to their USL PRO side, including Robbie Rogers as the midfielder attempts to regain fitness following his latest injury. Elsewhere in USL PRO, Orlando City SC moved top of the league with a 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps affiliate the Charleston Battery.
12. ATLANTA 2017
While news of an announcement in Atlanta has been teased out over the past week, we now have a time and a date, with Arthur Blank and MLS Commissioner Don Garber set to make “a major announcement” this Wednesday at 5 pm ET. We don’t know much more than that right now, but could the invitation sent out to the press hint at the new club’s colors?
13. TOUGH START FOR JAMAICAN ROOKIES
For the past two seasons, one of the three finalists for Rookie of the Year has come from Jamaica, and with three of the top 10 SuperDraft picks all hailing from the Caribbean nation, expectations were high that the feat may be repeated again this year. Things haven’t panned out quite as planned for the rookies so far.
14. RAMOS’ ROLE
Tab Ramos recently transitioned into a new role as Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant coach while holding onto jobs as U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director and head coach of the U-20 team. With just under two months to go until the World Cup, Ramos has been explaining what his new role involves and how players will adapt to the situation.
15. LOOKING TO MAKE WORLD CUP HISTORY
While the USMNT face the difficult task of advancing out of their World Cup group stage this summer, they’re not the only Americans hoping to have a good tournament, as referee Mark Geiger has set himself the goal of becoming the first American to referee beyond the group stage of the FIFA tournament.
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