The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.
MR. IRRELEVANT GETS A GOAL: The Sounders kept up their strong preseason form Thursday with a 2-1 win over Cascadia rivals Vancouver. While Designated Player Obafemi Martins was the hero in Wednesday's win over San Jose, this time, two more unheralded players made their mark as part of a more experimental lineup.
Fabio Pereira, the 77th and final pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, opened the scoring eight minutes in when he slotted home a Chad Barrett pass. On-trial Martinique international Kevin Parsemain added the Sounders' second goal nine minutes later off a feed from second-year defender Dylan Remick while Erik Hurtado netted Vancouver's only goal less than a minute into the second half with a spectacular half-volley. RECAP
Remick's performance in particular drew praise from Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid, who told SoundersFC.com, “That was a great run that he made to set up the second goal. That’s something that he can give us on the left flank. He’s another guy who can get forward and he’s really worked a lot on his crossing and his crossing has really improved.
“What I’m happy with, too, is his defending. He’s gone up against some good players at this stage and hopefully that will continue to develop.”
Here's what Remick had to say after the game:
REV IT UP: Darrius Barnes scored the game-winning goal in the first minute of stoppage time on Thursday afternoon as the New England Revolution wrapped up the Bradenton, Fla., leg of their preseason training with a 2-1 win over the NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
After falling behind 1-0 in the 24th minute, the Revs found the equalizer in the 34th minute behind a Dimitry Imbongo goal off a long O’Brian Woodbine throw-in.
Barnes’ goal came off a corner kick in the game’s waning minutes. Kelyn Rowe’s out-swinging service found A.J. Soares, who flicked it across the face of goal as Barnes rushed on at the far post and pocketed the goal at the final whistle.
The Revolution, who finished the 12-day, three-game trip to Bradenton with a 1-0-2 record, will return to Foxborough for local training next week before departing for a 16-day trip, Feb. 15-March 2, to Tucson, Ariz., to play in the Desert Diamond Cup, hosted by FC Tucson.
TRANSFORMED TFC TRIUMPH: Toronto FC got their new era off to a positive start on Wednesday night with a 1-0 friendly win over D.C. United in extremely foggy conditions in Bradenton, Fla. (HIGHLIGHTS)
And while Bright Dike's late winner was the difference, TFC fans might be most encouraged by what they saw from the Michael Bradley-Jonathan Osorio pairing in central midfield, as well as the composure of a very young back four. Head coach Ryan Nelsen shared a few postgame thoughts with the media:
UNITED STILL RAW: On the other side of the coin, D.C. took away several lessons from their loss as they attempt to mold a dramatically revamped squad into a cohesive group. Assistant coach Chad Ashton stated that the team is only "about 20 minutes fit or so," with tired legs leading to some mistakes against TFC, and a relative lack of familiarity among the central midfield trio of Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud and Luis Silva makes the engine room a work in progress. (See below for a glimpse of the postgame recovery process.)
On the positive side of things, Ashton noted that rookie Christiano François provided a dangerous attacking presence on the wings: "He put their defense on their heels a few times. He ran at some people and created some havoc."
The Black-and-Red will seek an improved display in their next Bradenton scrimmage, a duel with the Chicago Fire on Saturday (live stream on MLSsoccer.com). In other news, D.C. officially confirmed the renewal of their developmental partnership with USL PRO club the Richmond Kickers.
OBA BEING OBA: The Sounders sounded generally pleased by their display in a 2-1 friendly win over San Jose in Arizona on Wednesday ( HIGHLIGHTS), as Designated Player Obafemi Martins struck twice in a two-minute span in the first half. And perhaps more importantly, the Nigerian showed signs of a growing understanding with strike partner Kenny Cooper.
“They were able to combine with each other. Kenny was able to open the game up with some good balls out to Lamar [Neagle] and some good balls out to [Tristan] Bowen,” said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought Ozzie [Alonso]’s passing was very good today as well. Then Oba does what Oba’s supposed to do, which is finish the opportunities when they’re there and he did that very well.”
CREW GET FRANKIE STYLE: Columbus won Wednesday's other preseason friendly in Bradenton, edging Swedish side Malmö FF 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal from Jairo Arrieta. Check out the Crew's recap and photo gallery.
The Massive Canary got to do their recovery work in a scenic setting this morning, taking to one of Southwest Florida's many picturesque beaches and making assistant coach Frankie Hejduk's day in the process:
FIVE YEARS IN PHILLY: The Union are quietly hard at work in the Orlando suburb of Deltona, Fla., this week, and the club's website caught up with defender Sheanon Williams to discuss how, at age 24, he has become the elder statesman of a new-look backline.
Back home, the club invited #DOOP fans to help commemorate their five-year anniversary with a special edition of "Throwback Thursday" on social media:
ABU DHABI ADVENTURES CONTINUE: FC Dallas players took a breathtaking trip to a local mosque on Wednesday. On Thursday, defender London Woodberry and his teammates added another memorable chapter to their training stint in the United Arab Emirates with a unique Middle Eastern experience:
GOATS ENCOURAGED: Chivas USA earned a 2-2 comeback draw with their hallway rivals the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Wednesday, a performance that gave new head coach Wilmer Cabrera reasons for optimism as he looks to revitalize the Goats in 2014.
"The behavior, the attitude and the mentality of all the players is excellent," said Cabrera after his charges engineered a second-half rally through goals from Jacob Barron and Matthew Fondy. They are committed, motivated and have a strong work ethic. We are working hard and having those attributes, I think we can start turning things around."
Meanwhile, former Goat Gabriel Farfan got things started at his new club, Mexican side Chiapas, with a training session at their Estadio Víctor Manuel Reyna home:
DESERT DYNAMO: Houston began the Arizona stage of their preseason with a 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday, the first of three friendlies against fellow MLS clubs in the Grand Canyon State.
It's a homecoming of sorts for new acquisition Tony Cascio, who has joined the Orange on an historic seasonlong loan from the Colorado Rapids. He and his Dynamo colleagues take on San Jose on Saturday (live stream on MLSsoccer.com) before a meeting with local side FC Tucson on Monday.