It may turn out to be the turning point in the race for the 2011 Supporters’ Shield.
We’ll find out later today the full extent of the knee injury to league MVP candidate Mauro Rosales after the Daniel Woolard tackle forced him out of the closing stages of Seattle’s 3-0 blanking of D.C. United.
The play has manager Sigi Schmid making an appeal to the refs: "The league's got to start protecting him. … The last two games teams have gone out there and kicked him, and I don't think the referees have done a good job protecting him.”
The LA Galaxy continued to roll atop the league with a handy 3-0 win over Vancouver. But the Whitecaps feel they were denied two penalty kicks in the loss by referee Michael Kennedy: “He's one of the best referees, if not the best referee, this league has ever had but tonight I think he's going to be second-guessing himself,” says Vancouver’s Peter Vagenas.
The league leaders were complimentary of the Whitecaps but at the same time, they recognized that the expansion team’s marking was more than a little lax: “They’re maybe a little bit naïve,” says LA’s Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy’s move to acquire Designated Player Robbie Keane, who had a goal and assist vs. Vancouver, is already working out pretty well, according to the LA boss himself, Bruce Arena: “We haven't had a whole lot of training together, but I think you're recognizing he's a pretty good fit.”
The other team with three Designated Players of their own, the New York Red Bulls, are fighting for their playoff lives and have adapted a new style which helped them achieve their first victory in nine matches in Dallas: “Defend, defend, defend and play a little bit dirty.”
As far as FC Dallas are concerned, manager Schellas Hyndman admits that the loss was deflating after the club missed on numerous opportunities in front of goal: “This might be the first time in a long time that I’ve seen the discouragement in the locker room.”
How many teams waltz into Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium and come out saying: “We dominated the entire game from beginning to end”? Those were the words of Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes after his team’s 1-0 loss to RSL, who scored an “easy goal” on a set piece header by defender Nat Borchers.
Here’s the explanation behind the constant remonstrations from RSL captain Kyle Beckerman toward referee Ricardo Salazar throughout that match: “This must have been the most boring game I’ve ever been part of in my life. What were there, 100 fouls? I felt bad for the fans; they spent their money.” There were 34 fouls, 18 committed by RSL.
They love their bear dancing in Houston, where rookie Will Bruin busted out the celebration after coming on to score the game-winner for the Dynamo in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, which keeps Houston in the wild card race. "Until this year when I met Will, I don't think I've ever been excited to see a guy dance like a bear. … So every time I see it, I'm pretty happy," said goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Some guys need to resort to intimidation and threats to score their goals. In the last line of this article, 10-goal forward Dominic Oduro explains one of his secrets to getting his compatriot Patrick Nyarko to pass him the ball on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over Chivas USA: “I told Patrick today ‘if we have a breakaway and you don't pass me the ball, I'm going to hit you.’ I think he remembered that.”
The Philadelphia Union’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew will be remembered for Roger Torres’ exquisite pass for the game-winning goal and the MLS debut of 16-year-old Zach Pfeffer as a starter in central midfield: “This was a big step for him, but a fully deserved step,” manager Peter Nowak said.
Another player who made his MLS debut was Hawaiian native and third-division college soccer player Morgan Langley, who had the name on his jersey misspelled as “Langely” for his first match: “Was it, really? Wow, I feel bad. I gave it to my brother.”
Toronto FC’s Aron Winter believes his team earned their 2-1 win over the defending champion Colorado Rapids. But they needed two goal-line clearances by Ashtone Morgan and Richard Eckersley to get the job done. “I guess I owe both of them dinner. … Sometimes I make a save for them and sometimes they do it for me.”
Here’s a surefire hot stove topic for the MLS offseason in a couple of months: forward Nicolas Anelka, who has been linked to MLS clubs in the past, says he wants to leave Chelsea, according to manager André Villas Boas.
Over the weekend, US manager Jurgen Klinsmann spoke to a group of Miami-based reporters and did not shy away from his pursuit of dual-nationality players for the USMNT: “The dual-citizenship issue is something that is out there for every country in the soccer world. … It all started really with France in the 1990s — if you look at what team France won the World Cup with in 1998, then you understand how hot the topic of dual-citizenship is.”
In other USMNT news, Bolton Wanderers confirm that American midfielder Stuart Holden will play in tomorrow’s Carling Cup match against Aston Villa, making his first official appearance since recovering from a long-term knee injury.
The top stories from European action over the weekend include Real Madrid losing 1-0 to lowly Levante, Barcelona romping 8-0, Napoli downing AC Milan 3-1 and Arsenal dropping another to Blackburn 4-3. In two other highly anticipated matches, EPL leaders Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-1 (highlights), while Carlos Bocanegra and Rangers came back to hand Celtic an Old Firm defeat. (VIDEO)
American Clint Dempsey also featured prominently as Fulham stormed back for a 2-2 draw with Manchester City. The result left free-spending Citizens manager Roberto Mancini — of all managers — stating: “I don’t have players at this moment. … We’re lacking players.”
The only live soccer on TV today is an English second-division match between Ipswich Town and Coventry City (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Finally, two dramatic head injuries to goalkeepers marked the weekend in Europe: The two victims were PSV Eindhoven’s Przemyslaw Tyton in a big match against Ajax and AS Roma’s Maarten Stekelenburg, who was kicked in the head by Inter Milan defender Lúcio. (VIDEO)
MLS Cup Playoff Standings: The New York Red Bulls get a new lease on life
Watch: Playoff intensity heats up with every weekend match producing a winner (VIDEO)
24 Under 24: The latest rankings as the Top 5 are announced this week
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