Take a deep breath. It's back already.
With an overload of international action this week, MLS was back on the agenda earlier than usual after the FIFA dates, and tempers were flaring in a hotly disputed 0-0 draw between Seattle and Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night.
The Sounders were down to 10 men for over 60 minutes of the contest, after Zach Scott was controversially handed two yellow cards early on. Watch the highlights here.
And head coach Sigi Schmid certainly wasn’t happy with some of the referee decisions. “I thought we were hard done by officiating all night in certain regards. It just seems that whenever there was something 50/50, we didn’t get the break.”
Schmid wasn't done criticizing referee Ricardo Salazar. The Seattle manager wanted a red card on RSL defender Chris Schuler (watch the play here) and a penalty kick for a hand ball in the first half: "I don't want anymore questions about Salazar. But the thing is, our fans know his name. I don't think many fans know the name of the referee. I think that's an indication."
Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis doesn't see eye-to-eye with Schmid on the Scott red card: “The sending-off was right in front of me, and I thought it was a straight red card,” Kreis said. “I don’t think there was any question about it. It was a very, very dangerous tackle that stopped an attacking chance. So for me, no decision necessary there.”
But late on the Sounders did get the breaks, as ‘keeper Michael Gspurning emerged as Seattle’s savior by producing three wonderful stops to grab a point for the Rave Green.
And Kreis and RSL were happy to snatch a point and stay ahead of Seattle in the Western Conference standings, with just two games to go: “We told the players yesterday that three points would certainly be our objective here, but one point would be very, very good as well because we would control our own destiny on the last weekend.”
The USMNT had destiny in their own hands and didn't disappoint, but some long-term issues may need to be addressed if Jurgen Klinsmann’s men are to be successful in the Hex.
On the latest March to the March podcast, the guys discuss just how Klinsmann and his troops can move forward and also analyze just how many changes the German coach keeps making every single game, and the effect it's having on the players' mindset. Listen here.
MLSsoccer.com's signature series Postcard from Europe also takes a look at where the US can improve, with central defense becoming a real problem area for the USA, as this columnist also points out.
Also see which young European-based American star could take CONCACAF by storm, if given the chance by Klinsmann.
One player who knows all about taking the US by storm as a youngster, Philadelphia’s Freddy Adu, is getting advice from in-form US striker (and close friend) Eddie Johnson to try and bring some consistency back to his game. And Adu is pleased to see Johnson getting his career back on track, with EJ putting a frustrating few years in Europe firmly behind him.
“You can never write anyone off," Adu says. "And Eddie has proven everybody wrong because I know a lot of people had written him off.”
With the US through to the Hex, rumblings of discontent are still surfacing in Canada, after the Canucks were humbled by Honduras and dumped out of World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night.
The Vancouver Sun looks at what the next step is for the Canadian national team.
With Canada out of World Cup contention, LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane is hoping his Republic of Ireland side don’t follow suit. The LA striker reaffirmed his aim to reach Brazil 2014, with two crucial games coming up for the Emerald Isle in the next round of qualifying. That 6-1 drubbing by Germany last week has been brushed aside by Keane and the focus now turns to Sweden and Austria.
Another foreign star is allegedly on his way to join Keane in MLS, as reports linking Andrei Arshavin with a move stateside surfaced on Thursday morning.
Arshavin is currently back at Arsenal after a loan spell with Zenit St. Petersburg, and according to former Zenit striker Alexander Pandov the 31-year-old is seeking a move away from European soccer to kick-start his career.
It won't be surprising when San Jose becomes the talk of the league this weekend. The Quakes are aiming for a double celebration on Sunday: A Guinness World Record attempt at the groundbreaking of their new stadium in San Jose could cap off a wonderful day for the franchise, with the Supporters’ Shield up for grabs, too, when they face the LA Galaxy (7 pm ET Galavision).
Earthquakes president David Kaval is beyond excited for what could go down as one of the greatest days in franchise history: “To have the ability to clinch the Supporters’ Shield on the same day that we break ground for our new stadium is really just a momentous occasion.”
The Quakes will be hoping their new stadium doesn’t have to deal with anything close to the torrential rain storm that postponed Poland’s home tie against England on Tuesday. Officials running the National Stadium in Warsaw came under fire after the decision to leave the roof open during the storm, caused the pitch to be unplayable.
The game finally got underway on Wednesday afternoon in the $655-million venue, with Poland outplaying the Three Lions to secure a deserved 1-1 draw. England’s players had a sleepless night in Warsaw, with the media blaming sleeping pills for their sluggish performance.
And finally another controversy surrounding England, this time their U-21s, took a dramatic twist on Wednesday evening when the Serbian FA released a statement denying claims of racial abuse towards England’s players. UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against both governing bodies after Tuesday's fiery encounter.
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