Draws that end 4-4 may make fans happy, but coaches and players are another story.
Last night, the New England Revolution staked themselves to a 4-1 halftime lead only to see the Philadelphia Union make a furious comeback to equalize and nearly snatch the victory in stoppage time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s only the fifth time in MLS history that a team has come back from three goals down to earn a result.
For New England, it was another case of giving up what should have been a surefire victory. “If you get a 4-1 lead anywhere – even against Barcelona – you're probably happy, you take that and hopefully hang on," says Revs midfielder Shalrie Joseph. "We didn't have the quality and we're not good enough to hang onto a 4-1 lead.”
Union manager Peter Nowak admitted that his team “looked like an expansion team” in the first half. And the Philly players agree: “When you are playing at home, you should never give up four goals,” said Freddy Adu.
The four goals spoiled the first MLS start for 20-year-old goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who was filling in for the injured Faryd Mondragón: “It was frustrating. No ‘keeper wants to give up four goals any time.” (VIDEO)
Next up for the Union is a visit by the expansion Portland Timbers, who can catch the Union in the wild card standings with an away win. "If we get three points, that definitely springboards us for a good run [towards] the playoffs," says Timbers defender Eric Brunner.
The other 2011 expansion side, the Vancouver Whitecaps, are one of three MLS teams who are winless on the road. Interim manager Tom Soehn admits that the team will be studying their travel habits to see what they can change: “You look at the times you eat, the amount of rest we get, what time we leave, what we do when we get there. Humidity, we're doing studies on that. We're looking into sleeping patterns — the works."
FC Dallas Schellas Hyndman has an explanation for the reason that his club has consistently been one of the best road teams in MLS. He says it’s a question of the mentality of his team compared to the others who struggle: “I think they're looking at this as more of a marathon and not a sprint while I'm looking at every game as a sprint.”
Someone who has taken the long winding road from No. 1 pick to flop and now consistent starter is Sporting Kansas City’s Chance Myers, who merely claims his body has matured since he joined the league in 2008. He also responds to the California, surfer dude label he often gets: “I’m laid back. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care.”
When Myers and Sporting KC welcome the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, the Texan side could have a very different look compared to the squad they have typically fielded in MLS. "It is good to have that flexibility,” says Houston manager Dominic Kinnear. "I think it's always important to have guys not just be tied to one position."
The Seattle Sounders will stay at home this weekend as they get set to host Real Salt Lake. The home date will allow a few Seattle players to participate in Sounders Bartender Night tonight in Seattle, where fans can play a round of pool against their MLS players.
Back to Vancouver, where the Whitecaps may be focused on addressing their road woes but they have a new home to look forward to opening: the retractable-roof stadium at B.C. Place. Get the latest look at the renovated stadium in this article, in which Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi says: “We’ve gone from the minor leagues to the major leagues.”
Here in the USA, we’re spoiled with the opening of new state-of-the-art soccer stadiums on a yearly basis. Well, later today the first of the Italian club giants will finally unveil a newly constructed stadium when Juventus welcome Notts County for the opening of Juventus Stadium. Check out the photo gallery of the newest gem in European soccer.
Staying in Europe, US manager Jurgen Klinsmann got to see 65 minutes worth of a recovering Stuart Holden on Wednesday night as he observed him in a torrential downpour during a Bolton reserve match. Funny to see the Mirror in England call Klinsmann’s visit “a clandestine trip.”
Find out the lengths one European first-division team is going to provide a total soccer experience to fans who are blind or visually impaired.
The best international soccer action on TV today will be beamed from South America. We highlight the all-Argentine clash between Vélez Sarsfield and Argentinos Juniors in the Copa Sudamericana (6 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes) followed by the Brazilian league match between giants Corinthians and Flamengo shortly after (9 p.m. ET, GolTV).
Also in South America, California-born Miguel Ángel Ponce of Chivas de Guadalajara was involved in a dramatic scene last night in Chile, where he played for Mexico’s Under-22 side in a 2-2 draw against a Chilean national squad. He left the stadium in an ambulance and lost consciousness for 30 seconds. (SPANISH)
Following the sudden passing of FC Dallas legend Bobby Rhine earlier this week, the American soccer community is mourning another loss today, this one in the college ranks.
As we approach the day in which we commemorate those who lost their life in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 here in the USA, it’s easy to overlook the impact that the tragedy had on the rest of the world, including on the European soccer scene at the time. There was one coach who was glad to see his team draw its match on that day in 2001 so that there would be no celebrations.
Lastly, you may have already seen this video which made the rounds yesterday in the soccer social media space. It’s being called “the worst penalty kick attempt ever” by an Al-Ahly player in Egypt. (VIDEO)
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