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Kick Off: NY star levels harsh comments at teammates

The New York Red Bulls locker room will not be a fun place to be when the squad gets back together for practice. Not only were RBNY embarrassed by Real Salt Lake in a 3-1 home loss last night, but Designated Player Rafael Márquez also went after his own teammates after the loss with statements that are not commonly seen in the media.

“I’m focusing on really performance at my highest level. That doesn’t mean that the whole backline can perform at that same level, so that’s a problem,” Marquez said through an interpreter, before adding, “I think this is a team game and unfortunately there isn't an equal level between my teammates and me.”

Red Bulls manager Hans Backe believes his team played well but that “two terrible individual mistakes changed the game,” singling out Teemu Tainio and Tim Ream, who were responsible for the first two RSL goals. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

It’s a different vibe with Real Salt Lake, who are bullish after their fifth straight victory: “Our group was ready to play this game and New York wasn’t,” RSL manager Jason Kreis said about his club which is now just seven points behind the LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield with a game in hand. More from Kreis: “I believe we should be considered a contender for the championship.”

Despite going down to an early Kenny Cooper goal, the visiting San Jose Earthquakes dominated the run of play against the Portland Timbers last night at a raucous JELD-WEN Field as Khari Stephenson finally broke through for the equalizer in a 1-1 draw: “We’re pushing for the playoffs. We’re more than capable,” says the Jamaican, who again played at forward.

Portland left back Mike Chabala admits that the result “stings” although the point pushes the expansion Timbers (37 points) past the New York Red Bulls (36 points) into the final wild card playoff spot (watch the highlights here). But even Portland manager John Spencer admits: “To be fair, if you look at the game as a whole, I think San Jose was very unlucky not to get more than a point.”

D.C. United manager Ben Olsen was less forgiving with respect to his team after they held a 2-0 lead at home against Chivas USA, only to watch the Goats storm back with two Juan Pablo Ángel goals in a 12-minute span in the second half. “We played like boys, not just the second half. I thought the first half we played soft, we played naive.”

Dwayne De Rosario, who scored his team’s opening goal, could have clinched it for DC with a stoppage-time penalty kick but Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who was always confident he could save the attempt, stopped him.

“I should’ve buried it. A game like this — 2-2, 90th minute, penalty shot, perfect time to put the icing on the cake — I feel like I let my team down,” De Rosario said.

In the CONCACAF Champions League, the positive start by MLS teams in the group stage has been undone by a series of defeats which will increase the pressure heading into the second to last matchday next week.

We start with the LA Galaxy, who went down to a stunning free kick goal by Alajuelense’s Pablo Gabas and never recovered in a 1-0 road loss last night. David Beckham admits the Galaxy “were beaten by a team that performed better on the night,” while Landon Donovan, who missed a clear scoring chance in the first half, says that LA played “a little naïve” in what was a hostile atmosphere in Costa Rica. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

Another MLS team lost its first place standing in the CCL group stage as FC Dallas bowed down to visiting Pumas UNAM 2-0 at Pizza Hut Park (watch the highlights here). The goals came late as Dallas’ legs gave out and Pumas ran rampant to avenge the 1-0 loss suffered in Mexico City at the hands of the MLS club. But the Pumas manager says it wasn’t about revenge.

It was an especially long night for Dallas left back Jeremy Hall, who was targeted by the Pumas wingers. And the MLS team was not helped by the fact that Jackson Gonçalves was ejected in the first half. But Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman was still praising the referees and defender Ugo Ihemelu, who “played for some other players who didn’t have the same effort.”

The Colorado Rapids admit that they did not place much emphasis on last night’s home CCL match against Real España and they paid for it with a humiliating 2-1 home loss (watch the highlights here). “I did give more credence to this Saturday’s game [vs. San Jose] than this midweek game [vs. Real España], that is the reality,” manager Gary Smith said to justify his choice of reserve players for the CCL.

The playoffs and Champions League are not a subject of conversation this year in Vancouver, but the Whitecaps are hard at work developing the next generation of talent through their residential academy. This feature gives you a unique peek inside.

Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak was tight-lipped about the potential lineup that might take the field against Sporting Kansas City for the Friday night match on Fox Soccer. “It’s not like I try to play with the players’ minds and change the lineup because I feel so, he says. "Every game is different."

The big question heading into tonight’s international between the USWNT and their counterparts from Canada is whether Portland native Megan Rapinoe will actually celebrate Timbers style in case the US score: “I want to go saw one of those pieces of wood off.” (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

In addition to the US women, there’s La Liga action between Espanyol and Getafe (2 p.m. ET, GolTV) and Real Betis and Zaragoza (4 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes), the Serie A match between Roma and Siena (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and a Copa Sudamericana doubleheader on Fox Deportes featuring the all-Colombian match between Deportivo Cali and Santa Fe (7 p.m. ET and 9:30 p.m. ET).

Lastly, for those who think streamers at matches are all fun and games, watch this assistant referee get knocked out by a roll tossed from the stands in a Copa Sudamericana match which was suspended. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Climbing The Ladder: Who scores the most important goals in MLS

Playoff Standings: Red Bulls again find themselves on the outside after midweek matches

Michael Bradley off to a flying start in Italy as Chievo Verona downs Napoli

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