Monthly Archives: March 2011

Jeremiah’s Weekend And More Roundup: March 25-29

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Oh friendlies and other international fixtures. Did anyone else watch these games? Me neither.

Friday

Austria 0 Belgium 2. It was a terrible two matches for Austria, who went from being the frontrunner to join Germany as the two qualifiers for Euro 2012 to trailing Belgium and Turkey and likely not to qualify. Alex Witsel scored twice for Belgium. Belgium are currently in second place – they face Turkey next, in a match that could decide who advances out of the group besides Germany. I can’t remember, are the No. 2 seeds doing a playoff round in qualifiers this year? Anyone?

Slovenia 0 Italy 1. Italy wins on a goal from Brazilian Italian (whatever that means)

Thiago Motta: Less Italian than me

Thiago Motta. Disappointing from Slovenia, who are now level on points as Serbia, and arguably not as good. Both teams have a couple patsies coming up in qualifiers before meeting again, so nothing will be decided right away in this group.

Other qualifiers on Friday: Spain beat Czech Republic. Netherlands hammered Hungary twice, and I think France beat Luxembourg.

Saturday

Wales 0 England 2. England predictably beat Wales, who aren’t very good. In fact, they’re bad. There really isn’t much you can say about this match. It would be a huge upset if England didn’t qualify for Euro 2012, seeing as how there is only one team that is OK (Montenegro), and they aren’t particularly great either. Wales didn’t have Gareth Bale, but they would’ve lost by two goals anyway.

United States 1 Argentina 1. I am disappointed that the U.S. continually can’t get over the hump of being more than just a decent, unexceptional international squad. Certainly a 1-1 result with Argentina is positive, but they were dominated at home and only equalized under somewhat fortuitous circumstances (Juan Agudelo with a tap-in).

Tuesday

United States 0 Paraguay 1. Poor from the U.S. against a team that would probably be considered their equal, though Paraguay does have two forwards (Oscar Cardozo and Lucas Barrios) who are better than anyone the U.S. (apologies to Agudelo, who might be good, but is only 18 and has only played 3 professional matches). This is the same Paraguay team that were beat 3-1 by Mexico a few days earlier and probably should’ve lost by more. Bring on the Gold Cup!

MLS Rankings: Week 2

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first No. is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. Colorado Rapids beat Chivas USA 1-0 on the road. Had little trouble with Portland in season opener. Season record: 2-0-0, 4 goals for, 1 goal against; Up next: DC United on Sunday

2 – 2. Real Salt Lake won 4-1 at home against LA Galaxy. Outclassed LA at home, but they do that to everybody.  Season: 2-0-0, 5 gf, 1 ga; Up next: LA Galaxy on Saturday

3 – 4. Red Bull New York drew 0-0 at Columbus Crew. OK result at Columbus, and they were missing some key players. Season: 1-1-0, 1 gf, 0 ga; Up next: Houston on Saturday

4 – 3. LA Galaxy lost 4-1 at Real Salt Lake. I know RSL is tough to beat in Utah, but 4-1? Yeesh. Season: 1-1-1, 3 gf, 5 ga; Up next: Philadelphia Union on Saturday

5 – 9. Philadelphia Union won 1-0 at home against Vancouver. Two matches, two wins and two clean sheets. They haven’t really been tested yet, though. That will change Saturday Season: 2-0-0, 2 gf, 0 ga; Up next: At LA Galaxy on Saturday

6 – 5 Sporting Kansas City lost 3-2 at Chicago Fire. Umm … so I was thinking about what I said about Omar Bravo…. Season: 1-0-1, 5 gf, 5 ga; Up next: At Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday

7 – 12. Chicago Fire won 3-2 at home against Kansas City. It’s early, but this Chicago team looks full of goals, surprisingly. Season: 1-1-0, 4 gf, 3 ga; Up next: At Seattle on April 9

8 – 10. San Jose Earthquakes beat FC Dallas 2-0 in Dallas. Chris Wondolowski with a promising brace against Dallas. Season: 1-0-1, 2 gf, 1 ga; Up next: Seattle on Saturday

9 – 13. New England Revolution beat DC United 2-1 at home. Shalrie Joseph has played quite well in the first two matches of the season. Season: 1-1-0, 3 gf, 2 ga; Up next: Portland Timbers on Saturday

10 – 7. Seattle Sounders drew 1-1 at home with Houston. Finally scored, but that’s about the best thing you can say about their first three matches. Season: 0-1-2, 1 gf, 3 ga; Up next: At San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday

11 – 8. Vancouver Whitecaps lost 1-0 at Philadelphia Union. Didn’t do much against Philadelphia, but have the luxury of returning home for their next match. Season: 1-0-1, 4 gf, 3 ga; Up next: Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

12 – 11. DC United lost 2-1 at New England. Another goal for Charlie Davies, but that aside, DC didn’t impress in second game. Season: 1-0-1, 4 gf, 3 ga; Up next: At  Colorado Rapids on Sunday

13 – 17. Toronto FC beat Portland 2-0 at home. Looked much better against Portland, but who wouldn’t at this stage in the season. Season: 1-0-1, 4 gf, 4 ga; Up next: At Philadelphia Union on Saturday

14 – 15. Chivas USA lost 1-0 at home to Colorado. You could argue that opening the season with two losses at home is a bad omen. And you’d be right. Season: 0-0-2, 2 gf, 4 ga; Up next: At Toronto FC on Saturday

15 – 6. FC Dallas lost 2-0 at home to San Jose Earthquakes. Dallas struggling to find goals – or play fluently at all, early on. Season: 0-1-1, 1 gf, 3 ga. Up next: At Columbus Crew on Friday

16 – 18. Houston Dynamo drew 1-1 at Seattle Sounders. I still think Houston is pretty bad, but a draw at Seattle is heartening, at least. Season: 0-1-1, 1 gf, 2 ga; Up next: At New York on Saturday

17 – 14. Columbus Crew drew 0-0 at home with New York Red Bulls. Next opponent, Dallas also has 1 point from two matches. Season: 0-1-1, 1 gf, 3 ga; Up next: FC Dallas on Friday

18 – 16. Portland Timbers lost 2-0 at Toronto FC. Don’t worry, Timbers fans: You only have one more match away ’til you get a brief respite at home. Season: 0-0-2, 1 gf, 5 ga; Up next: At New England on Saturday

MLS Weekend Roundup: March 25-26

Don't worry, Richard Balchan DID play for Columbus.

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Friday

Seattle Sounders 1, Houston Dynamo 1. Disappointing result for Seattle, who muster 26 shots on goal, but only score once and barely at the end through Steve Zakuani. It doesn’t bode well for your team when all your quotes after the game are “At least we finally scored.” With that said, I still feel Seattle will be in the playoffs at season’s end. Houston aren’t very good, but it’s a good result for them.

Saturday

Toronto FC 2, Portland Timbers 0. Sort of a predictable result (If you look at my previous post, I actually called it 2-0. Yay me!) New signing Javier Martina scored twice for Toronto, one being a highlight reel goal where he volleyed in a long punt from goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Portland was better than in the loss to Colorado to open the season, but they’re in for struggles on the road this year. Incidentally, how terrible is ESPN Soccernet’s coverage of MLS games? C’mon guys, I’ll write for you if you need someone that has seen a soccer match before. Sorry, tangent.

Chicago Fire 3, Sporting Kansas City 2. If you read one of my previous posts on the MLS, I said that if Omar Bravo kept playing like he did in the first game, he could be the MVP. Well, he didn’t make it two matches in a row, giving up a penalty and getting sent off to boot. It’s only the second match, so we have a ways to go. How surprisingly good are Chicago so far? Diego Chaves scored again, and Gaston Puerari and Marco Pappas both added goals. Maybe Chicago is going to be OK this year, stupid me. For Kansas City, it’s not a great result, but they weren’t going to go undefeated on the road anyway, so it’s OK.

Columbus Crew 0, New York Red Bulls 0. What a dull match this was, but did that surprise anyone? Thierry Henry didn’t play for New York, which we can only assume is because they had a sale at Dolce & Gabbana. I really don’t have anything to say about this, except that it’s another example of how the MLS’ decision to play matches during the international break makes the league a bit of a joke in some circles.

Philadelphia Union 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 0. Everyone’s favorite player Carlos Ruiz gets the lone goal in this match. Eric Hassli was sent off for Vancouver, making him the second newly signed designated player to be sent off in his second match after scoring twice in his debut match (along with Bravo, obviously). Philadelphia off to a strong start. I think Vancouver will be OK, though I’m dubious about their playoff chances this year.

New England 2, DC United 1. Charlie Davies continues to impress, scoring his third goal in two matches with a penalty late in the game. United struggled, only managing three shots on goal in the match. For New England, Shalrie Joseph scored again (a penalty), and Zack Schilawski (no idea) scored the other goal.

FC Dallas 0, San Jose Earthquakes 2. Rough start for my fightin’ red stripes, who are starting to convince me I shouldn’t pick them as my MLS team. Hmm. One point from two home matches against somewhat meager opposition is not the way you want to kick off the season if you were the MLS Cup runners-up the previous year. Chris Wondolowski scored twice for San Jose.

Real Salt Lake 4, LA Galaxy 1. Big win for Real Salt Lake, though not entirely a surprise. Javier Morales scored twice for RSL, and Andy Williams and Paulo added goals. Juan Pablo Angel got the consolation for Los Angeles, who were missing Landon Donovan, but probably would’ve gotten hammered either way.

Chivas USA 0, Colorado Rapids 1. Colorado win thanks to Quincy Amarikwa’s goal. He was filling in for Omar Cummings, who was playing for Jamaica. Chivas just can’t score goals. What are they going to do this season? Struggle to finish ahead of the two newly promoted teams? It looks like it.

MLS Weekend Preview: March 25-26

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Because the MLS as a collective group are genius, they’ve elected to schedule MLS matches during the inernational break, which means that soccer fans in the U.S. can choose between watching Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes take on FC Dallas or they can watch the U.S. national team try to stop Lionel Messi. Smart planning guys. If they have MLS games during the Gold Cup, I’m going to find Don Garber (the commissioner of Major League Soccer) and smack him. Then I’ll film it and post it on Facebook, and you can like it.

* Denotes game to watch
> Denotes game not to watch

Friday

Seattle Sounders v Houston. (7 p.m.) Seattle comes off two very difficult matches to the Galaxy and New York, and they lost both 1-0. Houston have been in slow decline since their run of two MLS Cups in their first two years after moving from San Jose (2006, 2007), and early indications are the Dynamo and their fans are in for a second-straight difficult season. It’s too early in the season for a must-win for either team, but this is the type of match Seattle should win, and easily. Prediction: Seattle 3-1

Saturday

Toronto FC v Portland Timbers. (11 a.m.) Both teams were overwhelmed in away matches in their season openers. Toronto were hammered by expansion club Vancouver, and Portland suffered a heavy loss at Colorado. In all honesty, both matches could’ve been bigger blowouts than they were. After a promising beginning in the MLS, Toronto have sort of been treading water, but they have good home support, which should be enough to see off Portland, who probably can’t wait to get back to the confines of the Beardy City. Prediction: Toronto 2-0

Chicago Fire v Kansas City. (1 p.m.) This is a match of two teams that probably surprised some with decent performances in their season openers. Chicago drew at FC Dallas, but were probably the better of the two teams, and Kansas City scored three goals at Chivas USA. Chicago is sort of an unknown quantity at this point with all the new players. Omar Bravo will look to continue his strong start for Kansas City. Prediction: 1-1

Columbus Crew v New York Red Bulls. (1 p.m.) Columbus is another team that has suffered from contraction in the offseason, and they’ve been miserable in the Champions

Come to Only Love Soccer for all the latest Richard Balchan updates!

League and in their first MLS match. But what do you expect from a team with Richard Balchan starting? New York looks good in the early going, though they’ll be without Juan Aguedelo, Dane Richards or Rafa Marquez, thanks to the stupid MLS scheduling. The impetus is on Thierry Henry to start scoring or setting up goals after I’ve said all these nice things about him. Prediction: New York, 2-1

Philadelphia Union v Vancouver Whitecaps. (1 p.m.) I have a feeling that the two expansion teams are going to be fairly impenetrable at home and miserable on the road. As mentioned earlier, the Whitecaps thumped Toronto in Vancouver. Now they play at Philadelphia, which in theory would be an easy game since the Union weren’t particularly good last year. But … that’s not the way it works. One positive about the MLS expansion is that the expansion teams have great followings, and are therefore difficult to defeat at home. Case in point: The Union went 8-7-15 overall last year (last number is losses), but only lost three times at home. Prediction: Union win 3-0

> New England v DC United. (1:30 p.m.) With apologies to the great story of Charlie Davies coming back from a near fatal car crash and scoring twice in United’s opener with Columbus, DC still sucks. New England were decent against LA, but still could’ve gotten tanked. It’s good that Shalrie Joseph is back and scored against the Galaxy, but I would be shocked if either team made the playoffs. Prediction: 0-0

FC Dallas v San Jose. (6 p.m.) The bright side of the nonsensical MLS scheduling is that you can watch Real Salt Lake take on the LA Galaxy in a matchup of two of the Top 3 teams in the league, in the event that the U.S. is getting thrashed by Lionel Messi and co. The alternative is this match, though it’s only slightly more intriguing than Revolution-United, even if Dallas is supposed to be my MLS team. (I’m trying!) Prediction: FC Dallas wins 2-1

* Real Salt Lake v LA Galaxy. (6 p.m.) If the MLS scheduling office weren’t complete idiots (I’m really banging this drum today, aren’t I?), this would be a fantastic match between what I consider the two best teams in the MLS (though New York is trying to get in there too.) Unfortunately, LA will be without Landon Donovan, though they’ll still have Juan Pablo Angel and David Beckham. For their part, RSL will be without Alvaro Saborio and Arturo Alvarez, but they do have the advantage of playing at home, where they have lost two regular-season matches in the last three years. Advantage: RSL. Prediction: Real Salt Lake wins 2-0

Chivas USA v Colorado. (7:30 p.m.) This wouldn’t be a bad match, except for, well, I’m not going to say it – I’m just going to let you guess. Colorado thrashed Portland in their opener, but aren’t nearly as solid away from home, and since Omar Cummings, who might be the best forward in the MLS, isn’t playing, they’ll have trouble scoring goals. Luckily for them, Chivas probably will too. Prediction: Chivas 1-0

Jeremiah’s Weekend And More Preview: March 25-29

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Pretty much everything happening this weekend is either a Euro 2012 qualifier (Not as boring as a friendly, but still, pretty boring), or an international friendly – or as I like to call them, a game no one should watch unless they actually have tickets. To be there. Live. The MLS is playing, because in their infinite wisdom, they decided they’d pit American international stars (taking on Argentina, no less) against their not-quite-good-enough professional counterparts. Oh MLS, when will you learn?

Friday

Austria v Belgium. (Euro 2012 qualifiers Group A, 12:30 p.m.) The importance of this match lies in, with almost half of the qualifiers played already, Austria and Belgium are competing (along with Turkey) to see who will finish 2nd in Group A behind likely winners Germany. Whoever finishes second will then get to play another team in a playoff to advance to Euro 2012. This is what goes for exciting in the non-World Cup, non-Euro Cup years. Anyway, if Austria wins this and then beats Turkey on Tuesday, they’ve got a virtually unassailable path to Euro 2012. Yay. If Belgium wins, then we wait longer to see.
Prediction: Austria 3-1

Slovenia v Italy. (Euro 2012 qualifiers Group C, 12:45 p.m.) Italy are looking pretty good so far this year. But if Slovenia wins – and they are playing at home, so who knows, right? – then Slovenia is one step closer to qualifying and Italy is … well, they’re still probably going to qualify. At any rate, this Italy team looks miles better than the 2010 World Cup squad, so if you just feel like watching good players play, you can watch this.
Prediction: 1-1

Other qualifiers on Friday: Spain takes on Czech Republic to decide who will finish first or second in their group, yawn. Hungary can close in on the Netherlands with a win (Won’t happen). Luxembourg takes on France to answer the age-old question “Does Luxembourg really have a team?”

Saturday

Wales v England. (Euro 2012 qualifiers Group G, 8 a.m.) The tiny sliver of interest I have in this match is due to the fact that England is trailing Montenegro by three points, and if they lose and Montenegro wins in their next qualifier match (June 4), then England will be six points behind them with five matches to p … l. Oops, sorry, I fell asleep there.
Prediction: England wins 2-1

United States v Argentina. (International friendly, 4 p.m.) As I said, I hate friendly matches if I’m not actually there, because there is no competitive instinct or anything. Boring. But at least this one has the world’s best player in Lionel Messi taking on the U.S., who are always hoping to pull of a shock win against a world power. It probably won’t happen, though last time these teams played in the U.S., they settled for a 0-0 draw, which is a win for the U.S., more or less. Sadly, the U.S. will be without Stuart Holden, who was sidelined for six months by a tackle from Manchester United’s Jonny Evans.
Prediction: It doesn’t matter. U.S. wins 38-3

Tuesday

United States v Paraguay. (International friendly, 5 p.m.) Yeah, I know, two international friendlies in a row, but it’s the U.S. national team, so I’m contractually obligated to highlight this game (The check better be in the mail, Sunil). Actually this one interests me more, since, at least in theory, these are two fairly even-matched teams. Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on the strength of a strong defense, which is a reasonably eloquent way of saying they’re boring. Nonetheless, Lucas Barrios (of Borussia Dortmund) is a good striker, and apparently women think Roque Santa Cruz is attractive (See below).

"I am looking for thees Doctor Heebler to help me with my sore ojo"

So watch, or whatever.
Prediction: U.S. 2-1

MLS Club Rankings: Week 1

With the Red Bulls, Joe found an activity that made people ignore his horns

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first No. is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. Colorado Rapids beat Portland Timbers 3-1 at home. Had little trouble with Portland in season opener. Season record: 1-0-0, 3 goals for, 1 goal against; Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

2 – 3. Real Salt Lake won 1-0 at San Jose. Early on, with their results in the Champions League, RSL look like the best team in the MLS, but until Denver loses … Season: 1-0-0, 1 gf, 0 ga; Up next: LA Galaxy on Saturday

3 – 2. LA Galaxy drew 1-1 at home with New England. Disappointing result, though they had three goals ruled out for fouls/offside. Beat Seattle in season opener. Season: 1-1-0, 2 gf, 1 ga; Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

4 – 4. Red Bull New York beat Seattle Sounders 1-0 at home. Though they only scored once against Seattle, NY will be heartened by a strong display an nice goal by Juan Aguedelo. Season: 1-0-0, 1 gf, 0 ga; Up next: At Columbus Crew on Saturday

5 – 7 Sporting Kansas City won 3-2 at Chivas USA. So far, Omar Bravo looks like a great signing. Season: 1-0-0, 3 gf, 2 ga; Up next: At Chicago Fire on Saturday

6 – 5. FC Dallas drew 1-1 at home with Chicago Fire. Largely outplayed by Chicago in season opener, but it WAS the season opener. Season: 0-1-0, 1 gf, 1 ga. Up next: San Jose on Saturday

7 – 6. Seattle Sounders lost 1-0 at New York. Probably the best 0-0-2 team you’ll see, but they need to beat Houston in their next match. Season: 0-0-2, 0 gf, 2 ga; Up next: Houston on Friday

8 – 15. Vancouver Whitecaps beat Toronto 4-2 at home. The surprise result of the first round, hammering Toronto. Could Vancouver actually be good this year? Ehh…not so fast. Season: 1-0-0, 4 gf, 2 ga; Up next: At Philadelphia Union on Saturday

9 – 11. Philadelphia Union won 1-0 at Houston Dynamo. Nice way to start the season for Philadelphia. Season: 1-0-0, 1 gf, 0 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

10 – 8. San Jose Earthquakes lost 1-0 at home to Real Salt Lake. Not a terrible display against RSL, but look short of goals. Season: 0-0-1, 0 gf, 1 ga; Up next: At FC Dallas on Saturday

11 – 17. DC United beat Columbus Crew 3-1 at home. If Charlie Davies is anywhere close to what he once was, United might surprise this year. Season: 1-0-0, 3 gf, 1 ga; Up next: At New England on Saturday

12 – 18. Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at FC Dallas. It’s hard to tell what we’re going to get with this Chicago squad, who looked good against Dallas but haven’t looked good in preseason. Season: 0-1-0, 1 gf, 1 ga; Up next: Kansas City on Saturday

13 – 16. New England Revolution drew 1-1 at LA Galaxy. Decent performance in Carson, though they were saved by offside/foul calls or could’ve lost by three or four. Nice to see Shalrie Joseph play and get a goal. Season: 0-1-0, 1 gf, 1 ga; Up next: DC United on Saturday

14 – 10. Columbus Crew lost 3-1 at DC United. Aside from the final score, it was a relatively even match against United. Season: 0-0-1, 1 gf, 3 ga; Up next: New York on Saturday

15 – 13. Chivas USA lost 3-2 at home to Kansas City. Aside from Jimmy Conrad, who are these guys? Also, giving up 3 goals at home? Not the way to start. Season: 0-0-1, 2 gf, 3 ga; Up next: Colorado on Saturday

16 – 12. Portland Timbers lost 3-1 at Colorado Rapids. Worryingly, the defense looked completely inept against Colorado. More worryingly – two more away games before they get to play in Portland. Season: 0-0-1, 1 gf, 3 ga; Up next: At Toronto FC on Saturday

17 – 9. Toronto FC lost 4-2 at Vancouver Whitecaps. Looked totally lost against Vancouver, but that will be one of the tougher places to play in the MLS this year. Season: 0-0-1, 2 gf, 4 ga; Up next: At Philadelphia Union on Saturday

18 – 14. Houston Dynamo lost 1-0 at home to Philadelphia Union. Losing at home and getting shut out by an unfancied side like the Union is pretty disappointing for free-falling Houston. Away match to Seattle is next. Uh oh. Season: 0-0-1, 0 gf, 1 ga; Up next: At Seattle Sounders on Friday

MLS Weekend Roundup: March 19-20

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Saturday

Vancouver Whitecaps 4 Toronto FC 2. Newly signed designated player Eric Hassli scored twice for Vancouver as the Whitecaps overwhelmed Toronto in the season opener for both teams. Terry Dunfield and Atiba Harris added goals for Vancouver. For Toronto, Dwayne DeRosario and Maicon Santos scored.

DC United 3 Columbus Crew 1. Great result to open the season for DC United, and a great game for Charlie Davies, who plays his first first-team match in well over a year and scores twice to lead United to the win. Josh Wolff added a goal for United; Robbie Rogers scored the consolation for Columbus.

Red Bull New York 1 Seattle Sounders FC 0. (4:30 p.m.) Are they Red Bull New York or the New York Red Bulls? Does anyone know at this point? Anyway, Thierry Henry had a penalty saved by Kasey Keller early on. New York were stronger for most of the first half, though Seattle got into the game as it went on. Juan Aguedelo scored a fine goal in the 70th minute to give New York the win.

FC Dallas 1 Chicago Fire 1. New signing Diego Chaves scored the opener for Chicago, and Dallas hit right back through Milton Rodriguez, who scored with a fancy backheel. Not much going on in this match, though Chicago probably had the better chances overall.

Houston 0 Philadelphia Union 1. Defender Danny Califf scored the 4th minute goal to give Philadelphia a nice away win. Kind of a slow match, really. Houston could be in for a long season.

Colorado 3 Portland Timbers 1. Colorado leapt out of the gates in this one, scoring three goals in the first 25 minutes, and they probably could have been four or five goals ahead by halftime. Jeff Larentowicz got the opener off a nice run from Omar Cummings, who notched the second goal. Jamie Smith added the third goal with a nice long range strike just seconds after Cummings goal. Portland pulled one back through Kenny Cooper, though it was a pretty disappointing performance, particularly by their defense, which was a shambles for the first half, though they improved markedly in the second half.

Chivas USA 2 Sporting Kansas City 3. Surprisingly, this might have been one of the best matches of the weekend. Omar Bravo scored twice for Kansas City and made a general nuisance of himself. If he plays like this all season, Kansas City will make the playoffs, and he’ll be the MVP. Rookie CJ Sapong also scored for Kansas City. For Chivas, Jimmy Conrad scored against his old club, and Ben Zemanski added a late consolation. KC could be my dark horse in the MLS this year.

San Jose Earthquakes 0 Real Salt Lake 1. Real Salt Lake continue to roll, winning on the back of a strong defensive performance and a nice long-range goal from Kyle Beckerman, who had a good game. Chris Wondolowski missed a sitter for San Jose.

Sunday

LA Galaxy 1 New England 1. Shalrie Joseph scored a header inside five minutes to give New England a shock lead. LA put the ball in the back of the net twice only to have both goals ruled out, for a foul and offsides respectively. Juninho (no, not that one) scored his second goal in two games for the equalizer. Juan Pablo Angel scored late, but that too was ruled out for offsides.

MLS Weekend Preview: March 19-20

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Saturday

* Denotes game to watch

Vancouver Whitecaps v Toronto FC. (3:30 p.m.) This match marks the debut of the Whitecaps as an MLS franchise as well as new Whitecaps Designated Player Eric Hassli. I don’t know much about Hassli. He’s big, (6-4), and he has an OK scoring record at St. Gallen and Zurich, for what that’s worth. As for Toronto, after another season that began with promise and ended with failure, it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll do with new manager Aron Winter. Prediction: Vancouver 2-0

DC United v Columbus Crew. (4:30 p.m.) This is probably the one match I’m least interested in this weekend. DC United will probably be terrible, though they do have the bonus of Charlie Davies joining the team, which could be exciting. I just can’t see Columbus being good this year. The bench is very thin, and I’m not sure who will pick up the slack with Guillermo Barros-Schelloto gone. Prediction: 1-1

Red Bull New York v Seattle Sounders FC. (4:30 p.m.) For the Sounders, who opened the season with a loss at home to the LA Galaxy, it doesn’t get any easier. They take on New York, who I saw in person a couple weeks ago and was impressed by. In particular, I think Thierry Henry is going to have a good season. Seattle needs a win or draw to get their season going, but I don’t see it happening here. Prediction: New York 3-1

FC Dallas v Chicago Fire. (5:30 p.m.) I’ve adopted FC Dallas as my MLS team this year, though I haven’t watched any of their preseason matches, so I’m not too gung-ho yet. They do have MLS MVP David Fereira returning, and they just recently signed young Colombian player Fabian Castillo. Chicago looks to be in for a long season. They’ve brought in, I think, 12 new players, have a new defense and two new strikers, Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari. Will it work? I have no idea. Prediction: Dallas 1-0

Houston v Philadelphia Union. (5:30 p.m.) Houston has gone from one of the most dominant teams in the MLS to one of the worst in the past few years, and it’s largely down to departures. If you look at a list of players who have left the team in recent seasons (Stuart Holden, Dwayne De Rosario, Ricardo Clark, Brian Mullan), it’s no shock they’ve struggled. After a predictably bad first season in the MLS, Philadelphia will be trying to sneak in for one of the final playoff spots. They certainly have a young, exciting roster, but still look to be a year or two away. Prediction: 1-1

*Colorado v Portland Timbers. (6 p.m.) This is my game to watch for two reasons. First off, it features the defending champions in Colorado, who just recently added Irish striker Caleb Folan to what is already a decent attack. They’ll be hosting first year club Portland Timbers, one for which the buzz has been similar to Seattle’s first year in the league. They’ve signed some interesting players (Kenny Cooper, Kerrea Gilbert, Rodney Wallace, Sal Zizzo, Darlington Nagbe, et al.), so they should at least be competitive. Prediction: Colorado still wins 3-2

Chivas USA v Sporting Kansas City. (7:30 p.m.) Chivas have been falling off quite a bit in recent years, and had the worst goal-scoring record in the West last season. With a change to a different coach (Robin Fraser) with a more defensive 4-5-1 in mind, it’s difficult to see them scoring many goals. As for Kansas City, there is a lot of buzz with the name change, Omar Bravo on the pitch and (maybe) Chad Ochocinco/Johnson/Whatever trying out for the team, though I don’t expect him to make the team or play really if he does. But hey, if it gets fans in the seats… Prediction: Kansas City 2-0

San Jose Earthquakes v Real Salt Lake. (7:30 p.m.) San Jose have a good defense, and they have Chris Wondolowski, who scored 18 goals last season (the rest of the team scored 15. That’s right, 15.). They’re hosting Real Salt Lake, who have been hugely impressive in crushing Columbus in the Champions League, then going 2-0 up on Saprissa in the semifinals. You can expect it to carry over into the MLS season – this, along with New York and LA is one of the best teams in the league. Prediction: RSL 2-1

Sunday

LA Galaxy v New England. (5 p.m.) Until the Galaxy actually win something, it’s hard to hate them as much as, say, the Lakers, but they already have the glitzy lineup that makes me start to hate them a little. They weren’t amazing in their season-opening win at Seattle, but as they’ve proven in the past, they don’t have to be when they play the Sounders. New England is another example of the MLS’ weird thing with good teams that aren’t LA or New York falling into irreversible decline because of the way the league tries to promote parity. If Shalrie Joseph is back and actually playing, he could provide an excellent midfield with Ousmane Dabo. But if he’s not? Eeeh… Prediction: LA 3-0

CONCACAF Champions League recap: Real Salt Lake 2, Saprissa 0

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

A pretty comfortable win for Real Salt Lake, who, unless they collapse in the away leg at Saprissa, should be able to reach the final against either Monterrey or Cruz Azul. (I’m picking Monterrey.) Alvaro Saborio scored a 9th minute goal after Nat Borchers had what looked like a good goal ruled out for a foul, and then Fabian Espindola finished the match off with a second-half goal. I like Real Salt Lake, even though they have a stupid name, and unlike, oh, every other MLS team that has reached this point in the competition, I think they have a chance to knock off their Mexican rivals. Wouldn’t it be great to see them trying to avoid the usual CONCACAF squad getting knocked off in the second round of the World Club Cup by an African side?

Champions League recap: Day 7

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Bayern Munich 2, Inter Milan 3 (Inter win 3-3 on away goals): An amazing result for Inter, who become only the second team (after Ajax in, oh, ’96 or so) to win a

The mountain lion is like "Get me the hell out of here!"

Champions League knockout tie after losing at home in the first leg. Samuel Eto’o opened with a goal for Inter to make it 1-1 overall, then Bayern seemed to take control with goals from Mario Gomez (who is having a great season, despite Bayern’s overall suckiness) and Thomas Muller. Inter rallied, though, Wesley Sneijder pulling them within a goal in the 63rd minute before Goran Pandev won the tie with a late goal. The match also featured an amazing goal line clearance from Andrea Ranocchia. You can see it here. Bayern dominated big chunks of the game, and have to feel sorely disappointed in being dropped out, particularly at home. It’s the final nail in the coffin of what has been a disastrous season (by their standards). Inter are happy to move on, and they will be a tough match for whoever they get next.

Manchester United 2, Marseille 1 (Manchester United win 2-1 overall). Not an amazing performance from United, who continue to struggle with Chris Smalling and Wes Brown as their defensive partnership. You don’t generally expect to see United on the back foot in a home match against a team like Marseille, but the Frogs dominated big chunks of this match without scoring. United’s two goals came from Javier Hernandez, who has been starting ahead of Dimitar Berbatov and doing well lately. As in the Premier League, United haven’t looked their best in the Champions League this season, but until someone actually knocks them off, they’re in contention to win three titles this year.

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