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Caps sign Scottish striker Kenny Miller

Last year for Cardiff, Kenny Miller scored 10 goals. So did Southampton’s Guly Do Prado. Never heard of him? Exactly.

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

Today the Whitecaps announced the signing of Kenny Miller, captain of the Scotland national football team. With his signing, MLS teams (but most specifically Portland and Vancouver, with two each) have now signed seven Scottish players this season. That’s fine and all – Miller, along with with the Timbers’ Kris Boyd and Vancouver’s own Barry Robson – is not a bad player, but it’s another example of MLS teams splashing big money on guys who are name players by virtue of playing in the EPL and Scotland at some point, but not necessarily ones who will make the league better.

Sure, the recent fixation on the Scottish hasn’t reached the level of Colombia – there are 33 Colombians in the MLS, ranging from the excellent (Jamison Olave, Juan Pablo Angel, Freddy Montero) to the mediocre (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Hanyer Mosquera) to the awful (Jorge Perlaza, Juan Diego Gonzalez). But nonetheless, it’s hard to see how a player like Miller, prolific in a three-year stretch with Glasgow Rangers but mediocre otherwise, justifies a DP salary while the team jettisoned a proven goalscorer in the MLS in Sebastian LeToux who was probably making 1/8th of what Miller will make. As Boyd’s seven goals for almost $2 million dollars for the worst team in the Western Conference shows, a name doesn’t breed success. The Caps have a good fanbase; I hope Miller works out. But if he doesn’t, it’ll be another example of how the league, if grabbing players from abroad, needs to either sign stars or young, hungry up-and-comers, not aging veterans that their GMs saw on TV four years ago playing for Derby County. Or just sign an American – there are a lot out there.

Rounding up this weekend’s trades in the MLS

Thierry Henry’s beard will now have another Frenchman to converse with. “Parlez-vous francais?”

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer

So there were a couple big(gish) trades in the MLS this weekend that I should mention. First off, Toronto shipped midfielder Julian DeGuzman to Dallas for forward Andrew Wiedeman. It’s a good trade for Toronto, who were paying DeGuzman a hefty salary – and honestly, does a team need two DP’s in central midfield? No. No they don’t. Wiedeman is unproven, but it doesn’t really matter. Dallas has had trouble, well, everywhere this season, so maybe De Guzman will be a good pickup, though I’m inclined to think not.

Meanwhile, the Red Bulls were active, picking up Sebastian LeToux for winger Dane Richards and then snagging goalkeeper Bill Gaudette from the LA Galaxy for a draft pick or allocation money. I forget which. Both good trades. LeToux wasn’t flourishing in the Caps defense-first system, and Richards gives them a little more speed on the wings, which has been missing. LeToux, meanwhile, gives the Red Bulls another good option in the event Thierry Henry takes a month off to vacation in Barbados. Gaudette is a decent backup goalie, which the Red Bulls needed.

Vancouver Whitecaps 3, Houston Dynamo 1

Yes, the MLS is still going on, albeit just a couple matches over the last two weeks. In the lone match of this weekend, Vancouver hammered Houston. 3-1 isn’t that dramatic of a scoreline, but it could’ve been a much worse defeat for Houston, who were missing Geoff Cameron and whoever plays at right back for them usually. At any rate, the Dynamo, who I think I and a lot of viewers expected to suddenly start winning after their long road trip ended, just haven’t gotten it going this season. Will it happen? I don’t know, friends. I don’t know.

Darren Mattocks scored twice and looks like a promising MLS striker. Sure, he ballooned the ball over the bar a couple times, but it seems like the Dynamo had no answer for his pace and strength. Nonetheless, they got back into the match through that most rare of sightings: A Mac Kandji goal, before Jordan Harvey made sure of the points.

Long Tan interview

Not courtesy of me, sadly, but the always excellent Wild East Football posted an interview with Vancouver Whitecaps forward Long Tan Chinese. For fans of the Whitecaps and Chinese football.

See it here.

MLS rankings: Week 24

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. LA Galaxy didn’t play. Galaxy are going through a tough stretch of the tougher Western Conference opponents. If they make it through this unscathed, the Supporter’s Shield (best record) should be theirs.  Season: 14-9-3, 37 gf, 20 ga; Up next: Sporting Kansas City on Monday

2 – 2. Seattle Sounders beat Columbus 6-2 at home. Sounders are undefeated in their last eight in all competitions. Season: 13-9-5, 42 gf, 29 ga; Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

3 – 4. FC Dallas won 3-2 at Sporting Kansas City. A surprising rally from two goals down at Kansas City helped alleviate Dallas’ recent slump. The playoffs are assured, but can they stay in the Top 4? Season: 13-7-7, 36 gf, 28 ga. Up next: At New England on Saturday

4 – 3. Colorado Rapids lost 2-0 at Chicago. After being in fairly imperious form, Rapids were woeful against Chicago. All the Champions League travel might cause a slip in MLS play. Season record: 10-11-7, 39 goals for, 36 goal against; Up next: At LA Galaxy on Friday

5 – 7. Real Salt Lake won 2-1 at home against Philadelphia; won 1-0 at Chivas USA. RSL are very up and down this year, but on their day, they’re very hard to beat. It helps that they’re starting to get injured players back, finally. Season: 12-6-7, 34 gf, 21 ga; Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

6 – 5. Columbus Crew lost 6-2 at Seattle. After a very strong second half, the Crew were annihilated at Seattle. Now at least they host Toronto, who can’t stop anyone from scoring. Season: 11-7-8, 31 gf 30 ga; Up next: Toronto on Saturday

7 – 8. Philadelphia Union lost 2-1 at Real Salt Lake. Philadelphia needs to find some way to turn things around of they’re in danger of missing the playoffs; they are winless in their last six and have only won once in their last nine.  Season: 8-10-7, 31 gf, 26 ga; Up next: New England on Wednesday

8 – 6. Sporting Kansas City lost 3-2 at home to FC Dallas. After giving up a two-goal lead the last twenty minutes of the match for the second time this season – this time at home – KC needs a much better performance against the Galaxy. Season: 9-9-8, 38 gf, 34 ga; Up next: LA Galaxy on Monday

9 – 9. Houston Dynamo lost 1-0 at Vancouver. It says it all about the Eastern Conference that after the mediocre season Houston has had, they’re still third in the conference. They still need to finish strong to ensure a playoff spot. Season: 8-11-8, 33 gf, 33 ga; Up next: At Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

10 – 10. DC United didn’t play. DC are one point out of the last playoff spot, but have two games in hand. Winning at Chivas would go a long way toward getting them there. Season: 7-10-7, 34 gf, 35 ga; Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

11 – 11. Portland Timbers didn’t play. It says a lot for Portland that despite their occasional poor play, they have stayed on the edge of making the postseason. Unfortunately, they haven’t proven conclusively they can beat anyone on the road. Season: 9-5-12, 33 gf, 41 ga; Up next: At Philadelphia on Saturday

12 – 13. Red Bull New York didn’t play. Vancouver is the sort of team New York should beat 4-0 in a home match, but the way they’ve played this season, they could lose 4-2. Will Hans Backe keep his job if they miss the playoffs? He probably shouldn’t. Season: 6-14-6, 41 gf, 37 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

13 – 12. Chivas USA lost 1-0 at home to Real Salt Lake. After some good results, Chivas have now lost their last two to fall back out of the playoff positions. Season: 7-10-10, 32 gf, 30 ga; Up next: DC United on Saturday

14 – 16. Chicago Fire won 2-0 at home against Colorado. Will a late-season rally be enough to get the Fire into the playoffs? Probably not, but the way the MLS works, it’s never impossible. A match at San Jose is one the Fire are fully capable of winning. Season: 4-15-7, 30 gf, 33 ga; Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

15 – 14. New England Revolution didn’t play. A miserable season for the Revolution is almost over, at least. Can they salvage some pride in hosting the Union? Season: 4-11-11, 26 gf, 39 ga; Up next: Philadelphia on Wednesday

16 – 15. San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 at Toronto. On the bright side, San Jose managed to not lose at Toronto. On the down side, they still didn’t win, and the playoffs are all but out of their reach at this point, unless they go undefeated the rest of the way. Season: 5-11-10, 27 gf, 35 ga; Up next: Chicago on Saturday

17 – 17. Toronto FC drew 1-1 at home with San Jose. Toronto probably should be beating a team like San Jose at home. There have been enough intriguing signs from the team this year – and at least they’re playing well in the Champions League. Season: 4-12-12, 26 gf, 49 ga; Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

18 – 18. Vancouver Whitecaps won 1-0 at home against Houston. Vancouver won at home against Houston. They have been terrible this season, but they have great fans, and man, what a beautiful city. Season: 4-9-13, 27 gf, 42 ga; Up next: New York on Saturday

MLS rankings: Week 23

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. LA Galaxy beat San Jose 2-0 at home. The Galaxy continue to roll on, winning matches where they don’t even play well, but that’s what champions do. The question is, will any of it matter when the playoffs roll around? Season: 14-9-3, 37 gf, 20 ga; Up next: Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 5

2 – 2. Seattle Sounders won 1-0 at FC Dallas. A win at Dallas goes a long way toward solidifying the No. 2 spot for Seattle. The teams is also doing quite well in Champions League play. Is this the season the MLS is officially on par with Mexican teams? Season: 12-9-5, 36 gf, 27 ga; Up next: Columbus on Saturday

3 – 4. Colorado Rapids drew 2-2 at home against Chivas USA. The Rapids are now undefeated in six straight. They have a shot at the best record in the MLS, though it’s doubtful. Season record: 10-11-6, 39 goals for, 34 goal against; Up next: At Chicago on Saturday

4 – 3. FC Dallas lost 1-0 at home against Seattle. Dallas continues to excel in the Champions League, but their exertions of have started to take a toll on what has been a very good MLS campaign. Season: 12-7-7, 33 gf, 26 ga. Up next: At Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

5 – 6. Columbus Crew won 2-1 at home against Philadelphia. Columbus are interesting in the sense that they never really seem much better than their opposition, yet more often than not, have won. They’re not very good on the road, though. Season: 11-7-7, 29 gf 24 ga; Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

6 – 7. Sporting Kansas City won 1-0 at home against DC United. An exhausted Dallas team gives Sporting a chance to boost their point total before the grind of a tough season-ending stretch of matches. Season: 9-9-7, 36 gf, 31 ga; Up next: FC Dallas on Saturday

7 – 5. Real Salt Lake lost 3-2 at Houston. Unless they completely collapse down the stretch, RSL should be able to get into the playoffs at No. 6 or 7. And as the playoffs have shown, anything can happen – especially for a team with their experience and defense. Season: 10-6-7, 31 gf, 20 ga; Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

8 – 8. Philadelphia Union lost 2-1 at Columbus. The Union have only collected 3 points from their last five matches. They desperately need to turn around their poor run of form and start scoring some goals. Season: 8-10-6, 30 gf, 24 ga; Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Sept. 3

9 – 12. Houston Dynamo won 3-2 at home against Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo have three games they should be able to win easily the rest of the season. They probably need to win two to get into the playoffs. Season: 8-11-7, 33 gf, 32 ga; Up next: At Vancouver on Saturday

10 – 9. DC United lost 1-0 at Sporting Kansas City. Good performances recently by Houston and Portland mean United have a big three points at stake on Saturday. Nonetheless, it’s been a heartening season after last year’s struggles. Season: 7-10-7, 34 gf, 35 ga; Up next: Portland on Saturday

11 – 13. Portland Timbers won 1-0 at home against Chivas USA; won 2-1 at home against Vancouver. With back-to-back wins and a favorable season-ending schedule, the Timbers are a dark horse to sneak into the playoffs at No. 9 or 10. Season: 9-5-12, 33 gf, 41 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

12 – 10. Chivas USA lost 1-0 at Portland; drew 2-2 at Colorado. After a good performance against Colorado, Chivas were poor in Portland. They will struggle to reach the postseason. Season: 7-10-9, 32 gf, 29 ga; Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

13 – 11. Red Bull New York drew 2-2 at New England. Hurricane Irene caused the postponement of the Red Bulls’ match against the Galaxy, and it’s probably just as well, because I don’t see how they could’ve done anything but lose 3-0. Season: 6-14-6, 41 gf, 37 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Sept. 10

14 – 16. New England Revolution drew 2-2 at home against New York. The Revs will be bitterly disappointed to have drawn with New York after being two goals up. Will coach Steve Nicols keep his job? Season: 4-11-11, 26 gf, 39 ga; Up next: Philadelphia on Sept. 7

15 – 14. San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-0 at LA Galaxy. Amazing to think that only a few months ago, the Earthquakes were flirting with being a Top 6 side. I expect some changes in the offseason. Season: 5-10-10, 26 gf, 34 ga; Up next: At Toronto on Saturday

16 – 17. Chicago Fire won 2-0 at home against Toronto. “Operation Salvage Some Sort of Pride” goes into week two with a home match against Colorado. It’s a season of missed chances for the Fire, but Sebastien Grazzini looks good. Season: 3-15-7, 28 gf, 33 ga; Up next: Colorado on Saturday

17 – 15. Toronto FC lost 2-0 at Chicago. Toronto are all but out of the playoff race after losing at Chicago, but at least they have a match they should win in hosting San Jose on Saturday. Season: 4-11-12, 25 gf, 48 ga; Up next: San Jose on Saturday

18 – 18. Vancouver Whitecaps lost 2-1 at Portland. It says it all about the ‘Caps that their season highlight has to be either a draw against Seattle or a win at home against Toronto, but nevertheless, hey, welcome to the MLS. Season: 3-9-13, 26 gf, 42 ga; Up next: Houston on Saturday

MLS rankings: Week 22

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. LA Galaxy did not play. The Galaxy get a week off and trade off one foreign striker (Juan Pablo Angel) for a younger version (Robbie Keane). Season: 13-9-3, 35 gf, 20 ga; Up next: San Jose on Saturday

2 – 2. Seattle Sounders drew 0-0 at home with Chivas USA. The Sounders probably feel a bit hard done by in drawing at home to Chivas. After an impressive Champions League win, can they keep their momentum going? Season: 11-9-5, 35 gf, 27 ga; Up next: At FC Dallas on Saturday

3 – 3. FC Dallas drew 2-2 at Philadelphia. Dallas is having a bit of a hiccup in regular season play after losing to LA and drawing against the Union in a match they dominated, though they did manage to become the first MLS team ever to win in Mexico, in midweek. They get another big test this weekend. Season: 12-7-6, 33 gf, 25 ga. Up next: Seattle on Saturday

4 – 5. Colorado Rapids won 2-1 at San Jose. Colorado continues to steamroll the opposition in MLS play and opened their Champions League campaign in impressive fashion despite some horrible defense. Season record: 10-10-6, 37 goals for, 32 goal against; Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

5 – 4. Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 at Toronto. A stop-start season continued with a loss at Toronto. Where is the RSL attack of a year ago? Oh, it’s probably on the sideline, injured. Season: 10-6-6, 29 gf, 17 ga; Up next: At Houston on Saturday

6 – 6. Columbus Crew won 3-1 at home against New England. The Crew could benefit from not having to deal with midweek Champions League matches like other teams – oh wait, none of the Eastern teams except for Toronto are in the Champions League. Nevermind. Season: 10-7-7, 27 gf 23 ga; Up next: Philadelphia on Saturday

7 – 8. Sporting Kansas City won 3-1 at home against Portland. After the blip at home against Seattle, it was business as usual for Kansas City in hammering Portland at home. Season: 8-9-7, 35 gf, 31 ga; Up next: DC United on Sunday

8 – 7. Philadelphia Union drew 2-2 at home against FC Dallas. The Union were somewhat lucky to escape their match against Dallas with a draw. Their match against Columbus could go a long way toward determining who finishes first in the East. Season: 8-10-5, 29 gf, 22 ga; Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

9 – 10. DC United drew 1-1 at Chicago; won 4-0 at home against Vancouver. United are on a nice run of form, but winning at Kansas City is going to be a difficult task for this team. Season: 7-10-6, 34 gf, 34 ga; Up next: At Sporting Kansas City on Sunday

10 – 9. Chivas USA drew 0-0 at Seattle. Chivas added Juan Pablo Angel to a fairly weak attack. Can he partner up well with Justin Braun? Season: 7-9-8, 30 gf, 26 ga; Up next: At Colorado on Saturday

11 – 11. Red Bull New York drew 2-2 at home against Chicago. Lack on concentration on defense? Overconfidence? Whatever the cause of the Red Bulls struggles, Thierry Henry was right when he said their match against the Revs is a must-win. Season: 6-13-6, 39 gf, 35 ga; Up next: At New England on Saturday

12 – 13. Houston Dynamo drew 1-1 at New England; won 2-1 at home against Portland. The Dynamo might have played their way back into the playoff race with a string of good results. Can Carlo Costly enliven their attack?  Season: 7-11-7, 30 gf, 30 ga; Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

13 – 12. Portland Timbers lost 3-1 at Sporting Kansas City; lost 2-1 at Houston. The Timbers are struggling to stay in the playoff race. They must beat Vancouver if they still have hopes of making the postseason – plus, it’s a totally winnable match. Season: 7-5-12, 30 gf, 40 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

14 – 14. San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-1 at home against Colorado. The Earthquakes continue to struggle to beat … anyone. Despite having a relatively easy run-in, it’s hard to see this team challenging for the playoffs. Season: 5-10-9, 26 gf, 32 ga; Up next: At LA Galaxy on Saturday

15 – 16. Toronto FC won 1-0 at home against Real Salt Lake. Toronto’s recent run of success – undefeated in their last six in all competitions – has a good shot of continuing in their visit to Chicago. Nonetheless, their defense is stunningly awful. Season: 4-11-11, 25 gf, 46 ga; Up next: At Chicago on Sunday

16 – 15. New England Revolution drew 1-1 at home against Houston; lost 3-1 at Columbus. The bad news: The Revs have struggled to beat anyone this year. The good news: They’re taking on New York. Nonetheless, a wasted season is almost over. Season: 4-10-11, 24 gf, 37 ga; Up next: New York on Saturday

17 – 18. Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at home against DC United; drew 2-2 at New York. It must be excruciating to be a Fire fan (right, Fire fans?). They often play decent football and counter attack with pace. They’re also horrible defensively and incredibly bad finishers. Season: 2-15-7, 26 gf, 33 ga; Up next: Toronto on Sunday

18 – 17. Vancouver Whitecaps lost 4-0 at DC United. Vancouver is pretty bad, but they have a good chance at beating struggling Portland – who are playing their third match in less than a week. Season: 3-9-12, 25 gf, 40 ga; Up next: At Portland on Saturday

MLS rankings: Week 18

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

I get the league’s justification for all the exhibition matches against English and Spanish teams – it’s a money maker and they do it every summer. But next to, oh, a major international tournament, it severely disrupts the regular season. And for what? So you can find out that Frederico Macheda would probably be a viable goal scorer in the MLS. Exciting stuff. It’ll be interesting to see how some of the teams pick themselves up after these exhibition matches. The Galaxy beat Columbus after being throttled by Real Madrid. New England was hammered by Manchester United, then lost to Philadelphia. Seattle’s 2nd team gave up six goals in the second half to ManU. Next up: Chicago and Philadelphia. The thing is, of course Manchester United will crush MLS teams. They have to. All it does is highlight the disparity between the money flowing into Manchester, excuse me, Boston or New York or wherever the owners live, and since the major teams in Europe operate without financial restriction, it makes perfect sense that they can stockpile talent. And that’s what makes the current state of European soccer so painfully dull. Nice to see Mame Biram Diouf get a goal for Manchester United, since he probably won’t see a minute for this team in the regular season. But you know what? He’d score double-digit goals in the MLS. Anyway, off my soapbox and on to the rankings.

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 1. Real Salt Lake did not play. RSL didn’t play, but as noted the last few rankings, have been playing back to almost their best. A visit from struggling San Jose shouldn’t change that. Season: 8-6-3, 22 gf, 12 ga; Up next: San Jose on Saturday

2 – 2. LA Galaxy beat Columbus 1-0 at home. The Galaxy were whipped by Real Madrid – predictably – but recovered for a somewhat uninspiring win over Columbus. And that’s all they need to do, really. Season: 11-9-2, 28 gf, 16 ga; Up next: At Vancouver on July 30

3 – 4. Seattle Sounders won 4-3 at home against Colorado. The big question is, will Seattles 8-match unbeaten streak be adversely affected by the absolute pasting their B team (They were only down 1-0 with the starters in) took against Manchester United? For the sake of their fans, let’s hope not. Season: 10-8-4, 32 gf, 23 ga; Up next: Houston on July 30

4 – 3. FC Dallas won 1-0 at Toronto; drew 0-0 at home with DC United. Dallas had a tougher than expected (maybe) couple of matches against DC United and Toronto, but did what good teams do and got results. Brek Shea continues to have a fantastic year, even if his hair is dumb. Season: 11-5-5, 27 gf, 18 ga. Up next: At New York on Saturday

5 – 5. Philadelphia Union won 3-0 at New England. An impressive road victory over New England will probably be followed by a spanking at the hands of Real Madrid. Nonetheless, Philadelphia have firmly established themselves as the class of the East. Season: 8-7-4, 24 gf, 16 ga; Up next: Colorado on July 29

6 – 8. Colorado Rapids won 4-1 at home against New York; lost 4-3 at Seattle. After improved play lately, the Rapids finally broke out and crushed New York. This will be a team to watch in the push for the Top 3 playoff spots late in the year. Season record: 7-9-6, 29 goals for, 28 goal against; Up next: New England on Saturday

7 – 7. Columbus Crew lost 1-0 at LA Galaxy; drew 0-0 at home with San Jose. The Crew are competitive, but they’re also tied for fourth from last in goals scored. It’s nice that their defense is so tight, but they’re doomed to an unfavourable playoff matchup unless they start putting the ball in the back of the net.  Season: 7-7-6, 21 gf 20 ga; Up next: Portland on Saturday

8 – 6. Red Bull New York lost 4-1 at Colorado; drew 0-0 at Chivas USA. I thought that the Red Bulls couldn’t get any worse than their 11-match stretch where they won once earlier in the year. I was wrong. The first half against Colorado was as bad as I’ve seen any team in the MLS play this year, and that’s including Toronto’s 7-1 loss to Philadelphia. Season: 6-11-5, 35 gf, 28 ga; Up next: FC Dallas on Saturday

9 – 10. Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 at Houston. KC lucked out a bit in getting a draw at Houston. They face a potential banana peel in hosting Toronto this weekend. It’s a match they should win easily, but Toronto looked better with all the new players in the team, and Kansas City hasn’t shown any killer instinct lately. Season: 5-8-6, 24 gf, 25 ga; Up next: Toronto on Saturday

10 – 9. DC United lost 1-0 at home to New England; drew 0-0 at FC Dallas. After being a fun, high-scoring team the first half of the year, now United can’t score, despite having Dwayne De Rosario in the team. Was trading for him a mistake? Season: 5-8-6, 24 gf, 30 ga; Up next: San Jose on July 30

11 – 11. Chivas USA drew 0-0 at home against New York. Chivas have to be disappointed failing to score goals against the hapless Red Bulls. They’re still on the fringes of playoff qualification. Season: 5-8-7, 24 gf, 23 ga; Up next: Houston on Saturday

12 – 13. San Jose Earthquakes drew 2-2 at home against Vancouver; drew 0-0 at Columbus. After failing to score in ages, the Earthquakes finally came out of their shells against Vancouver. Who was the culprit? Well, Chris Wondolowski, of course. Season: 5-9-6, 24 gf, 23 ga; Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

13 – 12. Houston Dynamo drew 1-1 at home against Sporting Kansas City. Houston were dead-set on three points against KC and then their players inexplicably went crazy and started committing bad fouls and getting sent off. Poor discipline is to blame for their failure to get three points, and we’ll have to see if that torpedoes their season. Season: 5-9-6, 23 gf, 23 ga; Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

14 – 16. Portland Timbers won 1-0 at Chicago. It seems that playing the Fire is a cure-all for struggling teams, and last weekend, the Timbers were the beneficiary. Did they deserve the win? Well, not really. Nonetheless, they’ll take it, and maybe even push on from here, though don’t count on it, unless they can find a remedy for their striking woes. Season: 6-3-9, 22 gf, 31 ga; Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

15 – 14. Chicago Fire lost 1-0 at home against Portland. Alright Fire, I’m not predicting a win for you again this year. You were taking on the team in the worst run of form in the league, at home, and you couldn’t score a single goal. Pitiful. I hope the Fire win the US Open Cup, because it’ll give them something to look at instead of watching the playoffs on TV. Season: 2-12-6, 20 gf, 25 ga; Up next: Philadelphia on Aug. 3

16 – 17. Vancouver Whitecaps drew 2-2 at San Jose. The Caps finally got Eric Hassli back and immediately looked dramatically better. He should be the MLS newcomer of the year. They’re still having trouble winning games, though. Season: 2-9-10, 21 gf, 30 ga; Up next: LA Galaxy on July 30

17 – 18. Toronto FC lost 1-0 at home to FC Dallas. Toronto looked considerably better with all the new signings, though it remains to be seen whether all the pieces can gel before the playoffs are completely out of reach. Season: 3-9-10, 17 gf, 37 ga; Up next: At Sporting Kansas City

18 – 15. New England Revolution won 1-0 at DC United; lost 3-0 at home to Philadelphia. Based on their win at DC, I would move New England up in the rankings, but a dreary home loss to Philadelphia is keeping them in dead last. Season: 4-7-9, 17 gf, 27 ga; Up next: At Colorado on Saturday

Jarju to Vancouver, Smith leaving Wiz, oops, Sporting KC

When I googled Ryan Smith, this photo popped up. Not the same guy.

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Two player transactions of note in the MLS today. The Whitecaps have signed Gambian forward Mustapha Jarju, who scored heaps of goals last year for 2nd division Belgian team RAEC Mons. It remains to be seen whether that will translate into heaps of goals for the Whitecaps, but he certainly seems like a prolifict striker with an eye for goal, and he did reasonably well playing in the top division in Belgium as well. Whether or not this lends credence to the rumor of Camilo heading overseas or not remains to be seen, but even if it does, Jarju and man mountain Hassli figures to be a nice combination in front of goal, though some might argue there are other places where the Whitecaps need help. What, I didn’t say that I said it, I said some might argue that!

The other news is that apparently, according to Spanish sources, KC winger Ryan Smith underwent a medical to join Real Zaragoza in Spain’s La Liga. To be honest, though Smith is a decent player, he hasn’t particularly caught my eye in the few KC matches I’ve seen him play this season. Sporting is pretty loaded in attack anyway, so I don’t expect him leaving will cause them too many difficulties, and they probably get some cash out of the deal. Good luck to him.

Math report: Vancouver Whitecaps 3, Sporting Kansas City 3

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

A shocking result in this match – Vancouver was dead and buried after 70 minutes down

Beware the White Puma!

3-0, and seemed set for a 3-1 loss until Camilo scored twice in injury time to rescue a draw.

Early on, Vancouver was the aggressor, and they had several good chances on goal in the first half, only for Jimmy “The White Puma” Nielsen to thwart Atiba Harris and Brazilian Camilo. Vancouver were clearly missing Eric Hassli, who was suspended after getting a red card against Philadelphia. They were made to pay for their profligacy at the end of the first half when KC’s Teal Bunbury turned Greg Janicki (in for captain Jay DeMerit, who was injured in international duty) and fired a nice strike into the right hand corner for a 1-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, Vancouver looked shell-shocked, and Kansas City pounced, Bunbury turning Janicki again and finishing with his left foot, then Kei Kamara (author of one of my favorite misses ever – watch it here) kneed in a cross from C.J. Sapong for a 3-0 lead. At that point, it looked like Vancouver was headed for a hard MLS lesson – if you don’t finish your chances, you don’t win your games.

Harris reduced the arrears by chesting in a cross from substitute Nizar Khalfan, whose wing play helped change the game for Vancouver. It was 3-1 Kansas City when five minutes of injury time were announced. They got a lifeline when Camilo was played in by Davide Chiumento for an easy tap-in, then their rally was complete when Camilo headed the ball by Nielsen in the 94th minute to make it 3-3.

A disastrous collapse for Kansas City, who only had to see the match out up by three goals with 20 minutes to play, but threw the ball away with poor passing and attempting to score more goals when 3-up. Nielsen had a good match – couldn’t do anything with any of the goals and definitely didn’t deserve to lose or draw the match. You could make excuses for Kansas City being minus designated player Omar Bravo (also out with a red card), but their is no excuse for the way they capitulated the final 20 minutes. Nevertheless, they are on a 10-match road trip, so if they can come out of this stretch with a few wins and draws, they’ll be in good shape once they finally get to play at home. They certainly are strong in attack, but they’re a disaster at the back.

For Vancouver, it’s a heartening result, but it also did a lot to expose their problems. Against a better defensive team, they would have been dead and buried long before. Camilo looks like a fine player, and Harris is a decent athletic workmanlike forward who won’t get a lot of goals but will fight for the team. I can’t see Vancouver getting results like this on the road, and when they play the Galaxies and Red Bulls and Salt Lakes of the world, they could be worse than 3-0 down after 70 minutes. But with that said, they played with a lot of spirit, and four points from three matches to start the season is a good start.

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