All posts by MLSFemale

MLSFemale is a group of talented soccer reporters. We bring you MLS from the female perspective.

Latest Road Trip

Christy Casas - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Christy Casas // @nkstar9

Saturday, August 12: 1-0 Loss

The Vancouver Whitecaps fall to New England Revolution in the last game of their road trip. Bringing back 4 points over the 3 game trip, they head into Pride night, which is a breath of fresh air. 

Other than the game loss, the team suffers a player loss with Matias Laba being out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. 

The Whitecaps are a team on the cusp of making the playoffs. Though, I can tell you that their hot and cold mentality will not cut it when teams see the playoffs in sight. 

They played with the most heart against New York City FC. Over the summer they have had some encouraging wins, like the 4-0 victory over FC Dallas. The road trip was ended with a mediocre show in a loss to the Revolution. What we need now is consistency. 

We need Fredy Montero to make the best of the chances he is given. We need to play with the fire and heart we have seen shine through on rare occasions. We need the backs to make runs, we need to see the field and we need them to want it. 

Hopefully our hometown crowd can add a little fuel to the fire. Wouldn’t it be great to see #raincity in the playoffs. 

Welcome again to Aly Ghazal, Aaron Maund, and Stefan Marinovic. 

#riseupraincity Glad the smoke from wildfires is gone and glad that you are coming home. 

Featured image courtesy: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nkstar9

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Crew SC vs San Jose Earthquakes

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, August 5: 2-1 Loss

At some point, it just stops being fun—watching your team lose a game that they could have won.  As a Columbus Crew SC fan, it feels like it has happened a lot this year– points slipping through our fingers.   It happened again Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes as Crew SC lost 2-1. 

Some thoughts about the match:

  • Even though he was scored on twice, Zack Steffen played a great game.  In the 20’, he saved a Wondo header, and he denied Wondo again in the 46’.  In the 87’, Steffen had a one vs. one save.  I would imagine it’s hard to keep going if you are the Crew SC keeper when your defense hangs you out to dry, but Steffen plays with intensity and won my vote for man of the match.
  • During the first 12 minutes and periodically throughout the game, I thought to myself, “Wow, we are moving the ball incredibly well.”  There were a lot of first touch passes, and we controlled the field during those times.  This is the team we have to consistently be in order to be successful.
  • We had trouble finishing opportunities.  Ola Kamara had a few chances prior to the 14’ that should have been finished.  Raitala had an opportunity unmarked at the top of the box in the 20.’  In the 73’, Arthur had a pretty shot from distance.  In the 81’, Kamara sent a nice ball to Meram who took a shot that the keeper couldn’t keep his mitts on, but there was no one at the backdoor to finish it off. 
  • Mensah was a mixed bag. He got a well-deserved yellow in the 26’.  He was somewhat culpable for Wondo’s goal in the 57’, but he also headed the corner that led to Adam Jahn’s goal in the 75’. 
  • We did concede 10 corners in the first half, and after that, I stopped keeping track.  It was surprising that none of San Jose’s goals came from them as we kept gifting them corner kick opportunities.
  • The field was awful, awful, awful….  Crew SC players slid or fell at least 6 times during the game, usually in key moments that could have resulted in a cross for us or a defensive block against San Jose.

During away games, I try to keep up on twitter to see others’ responses.  It always ranges.  During and after this game, it was people ready to have Gregg fired, disappointed in our development of players, being frustrated at dropping points again, or unhappiness at the lack of movement so far during the transfer window.  It was people finding the positives in Steffen’s play, cheering on Jahn for his goal, or being excited to see Cristian Martinez get some minutes.   

I am not going to tell any Crew SC fan how to feel.  I know I went through most of those feelings at some point during the game too.  I did not want to sit down and write about another loss.  But I will reiterate one of my tweets from last night.  I appreciate fans looking for the positives in the games or being incredibly upset about the state of the team.  It means we care about the team, that we truly bleed black and gold.  

This team needs passionate fans more than anything, and I know on that we can deliver.  Hopefully, they can deliver a turnaround on the season.  They have done it before, and I’m not ready to count them out. 

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Sunshine On BMO: 4-0 Sweeping of NYCFC

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Sunday, July 30: 4-0 Win

Song of the Match: Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves

July was a month of firsts for Toronto FC. First new contract for a manager, first MLS goal for not one, not two, but three players and all Canadian to boot; and of course first place for a lot of the month. I can only speak for myself but I’m a little sad to see it go, but optimistic to see out the summer.

Congratulations are in order for Raheem Edwards’ first MLS goal. It didn’t dawn on me that it was his first until hours later when I happened upon Jay Chapman’s tweet congratulating him. It seemed absurd that his first goal came in the dying embers of July when all season he’d been making huge contributions to the team, be it just by coming off the bench and injecting the team with some much needed energy, or handing out assists like gifts. He’s become so important to the team’s success I nearly forgot how new he is to the scene, not to mention how young.

It was a beautiful afternoon for a beautiful game in our beautiful stadium. The whole day had a glow about it. It’s safe to say at this point that Toronto FC loves playing NYCFC, and Sebastian Giovinco loves it most. In the past year Toronto FC have managed to absolutely steamroll NYCFC 13-2 across 4 games with Giovinco bagging a hat trick in one and a brace in another.

The highlight of the game for me came from the blessing I have to be a Season Seat Holder in the south end Supporters’ Section of BMO Field. I got to bear witness to a small moment not entirely caught on camera that is one of those moments that reminds me why I love the beautiful game.

It was the 75th minute and Toronto FC were awarded a penalty; Giovinco got to the ball first. He picked it up and held it against his chest. He could probably taste the hat trick only seconds away from his clutch. But then he must have thought of Jozy Altidore, of the players we had just gotten back from International Duty and whom Seba looked absolutely delighted to be reunited with. Especially Jozy (the jumbotron had been playing a slow-motion replay of Seba running into Jozy’s arms on the first goal throughout the game).

He marched up to Jozy and proffered the ball to him but Jozy said no at first. The second time Seba held the ball out to Jozy he took it reluctantly, and a hush seemed to fall over the south end. We had seen Jozy miss penalties before, and he looked none too comfortable as he set the ball down and stood back for the whistle. “Come on, Jozy!” a few of us yelled in support.

If Jozy had turned for one last look at Seba in that moment, I’m sure Seba would have offered a wink and a thumbs up. It was with the confidence of Seba, the rest of the team, and the fans that Jozy stepped forward and keenly shot the penalty kick home, effectively burying NYCFC by making it 3-0 with only 15 minutes remaining. Of course, Raheem would hammer in the nails at the very end with our 4th.

That show of sportsmanship is extra special to me coming from Seba, who was accused of selfishness early this season for an outburst. As a Toronto supporter, nothing makes me happier than seeing players come to our city and learn to love Toronto and the team. Seba showed that on Sunday with his enthusiasm, work ethic, and team effort. There’s no better ways we could have asked for to close out the month than 4 goals and a clean sheet in the Six and in the sun.

My only point of contention? I’m a bit perturbed that Jay Chapman lost a starting spot though it was not unexpected. He will perpetually face the issue many of our Canadians guys face which is to compete in a deep squad, particularly in the midfield, and Jay has it the hardest when guys like Michael Bradley and Victor Vazquez are effectively pushing him out of the team. Still, he came off the bench and got the minutes he deserved so I can’t say I’m too disappointed.

Quick shout out to the David Villa jersey wearing NYCFC fan who travelled from New York to stand in the Supporters’ Section. I’d apologize for the torrent of chanting you endured but it was just way too much fun taunting you for the majority of the second half. Thank you for being a good sport about it and my condolences that you chose to stand amongst the most loyal of Toronto FC fans.

Here’s hoping that August is as fruitful as July! See you all this weekend when TFC travels to D.C. to face D.C. United on their home turf.

Featured image courtesy: @torontofc

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

The Less than Grand Rapids: Dropping 2 points in the 6

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw

Song of the Match: Bodies by Drowning Pool

I may not have explicitly stated this, but let’s all accept that I had taken a vow of silence until Jay Chapman got his first MLS goal and move on, shall we? There’s something bittersweet about it when, just 3 days before, I sat at my keyboard to angrily tap out—with stills as evidence—just how he was robbed by a shoddy offside call in the New York City FC game. No matter now, our boy has done it and he did it at home! My exaltation could be felt throughout the south end. He made us all proud.

I will also reiterate a common theme I’ve seen tossed around the Toronto FC circles over the past week, which is if Jay had have been able to finish out the game we would have walked off the pitch with 3 points instead of 1. He was my clear vote for Player of the Match and in his absence the team fell a bit in their graces and we conceded a goal on a bad turnover from Armando Cooper. It wasn’t, however, without a plucky performance from Raheem Edwards who came on as a sub and tried his utmost to save the game. Needless to say the Canadians boys did me proud that day, even if the result didn’t.

Not for the first time, I find I have to prevent myself from writing an entire article about one of our Canadian prides, but I will take a short reprieve to complain a little. I speak from a place of complete bias but the refereeing was, to put it lightly, deplorable. I have never seen a team waste so much time writhing on the ground in apparent pain with the ref doing little to prevent it or to fairly allot stoppage time accordingly, despite the protests of our players.

Colorado Rapid fans I wish to remain on good terms with, please cover your eyes – but to be frank if that were my team I’d be embarrassed by that display of bad sportsmanship. That is not how you beg for a point, not in my house. But apparently in ref Guzman and co.’s books that is how you rustle up a point and it doesn’t even count towards injury time. Maybe because he knew as well as we did the “injuries” were questionable.

Of course the draw is not to be attributed solely to the histrionics of the Colorado players in the final 10 minutes. We were lackluster at times and we could have put the game to bed in the first half with half a dozen clear cut chances we couldn’t capitulate on. Nonetheless, it left a bad taste in my mouth to end the game on such a sour note when we had brought on a Raheem Edwards who was ready to run his way back to a win.

Since early July our squad has been depleted by players away on International duty for the Gold Cup, as well as, injury and during that time we managed to pick up 5 points in 4 games and maintain a 2 point lead at the top of the table, albeit with a game in hand. To be honest, I’m not too sure what to make of that.

TFC fans have been positively spoiled of late, and I’ve come to expect wins nearly all the time. However, we managed to keep our feet beneath us with a squad that didn’t have a lot of experience playing together and some of the greener players were able to show us what they’re made of.

I hope manager Greg Vanney remembers that down the line, after a second season of Jay Chapman showing us just what he can be capable of after a run of games. I remain optimistic and I know a lot of us were worried about dropping points during this stretch. At any rate we survived it, our squad is slowly returning to full strength, and we are prepared to continue fighting for our place at the top.

It’s an exciting season with Toronto FC; we did the unprecedented in offering a coach a contract extension (no seriously, we’ve never done this before. Moving on up! [source]) and we boast what has been called the deepest team in MLS history (thanks, Greg![source]). We recently reached a franchise record of 6 consecutive wins [source], and the Montreal Impact are doing abysmally. For once in our lives, it’s easy being Red. So here’s to the coming weeks, closing out the summer on a high, and enjoying watching some quality football without our jackets on!

P.S. A huge congratulations as well for Ashtone Morgan. As I was on my vow of silence (ahem), I didn’t get to congratulate him before but I am extremely happy for him for the goal and for the blessing of being able to watch Ashtone come back into himself as a player. Another Canadian who has me welling up with pride at the moment!

P.P.S. Welcome back Nick Hagglund. I love you and missed you, Nicky!

Featured image courtesy: @torontofc

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

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Evening The Score

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Wednesday, July 19: 1-4 Win

When you wish upon many red cards…

After four losses and four draws against the Portland Timbers the last 8 times we played against them, Real Salt Lake finally managed to defeat them, 4-1 in Providence Park.

Alright, I’m gonna set you a scene.

I am the third week into my new job. The pressure is REAL, guys. This is not a ReAL pun, I promise. REAL vs ReAl etc… I dunno. Although if I were more clever I would probably make one right now. But it’s been a pretty busy few weeks (sorry for my absence) and I have to start the game off with the announcers asking our previously beloved Nat Borchers how he thinks both teams will do. Have you ever had stabby pains in your heart? That was a thing. Dang, announcers. Why do you have to do this to me before the game even starts? That was cold announcers, that was cold.

Alright. Let’s move on. We’re coming off of a friendly against Manchester United. We didn’t win, but I mean… we gave up 5 goals to Houston and RIGHT AFTER THAT gave up 6 goals to FC Dallas so… I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting us to do as well as we did. The fact that we scored on Manchester United first in the beginning was a shining light in my evening. But this isn’t about *that* game (although let’s just call me out on not writing about that game, eh?). So hey. We’re two days out of a friendly against a pretty big team. We go against a team that we’ve been very evenly matched against. Heartstrings already torn, we open the game.

10 minutes innnnnnnnnn. I hope the multiple “n”s will express to you that this, in fact, was a sing-song moment. Oh captain, my captain. Kyle Beckerman kicks a goal in from 30 yards away, weirdly out of nowhere. I honestly didn’t see it, and it seemed like no one really did until it was happening. But there it was. The first time I’ve ever said ‘Wow’ out loud for a Beckerman goal in a long time. Definitely his goal of the year. And it put us in the lead for the entire first half,  1-0. This is his 421st game, and way to go, Beckerman.

Honestly, even with that early goal Portland did keep up the pressure. They were down quite a few players, and even with that they were still able to create some chances for themselves, ultimately not able to follow through with the first half ending 1-0 Salt Lake, along with both teams collecting a yellow card or two.

The card-packed, controversial (I’ll get to that in a moment) second half opened up with a yellow card with the first minute, against Danilo Acosta who had just barely been put in the game at half time. With this second half off to a slow start it seemed unlikely that we would be seeing scores so soon, but a PK was rewarded to Real Salt Lake, with Joao Plata hitting into the net at the 50’ mark.

From there, it seemed chaos took over. At the 53’ mark Arboleda gets a red card for (imho) what looks like a pretty clear elbow to Plata’s neck. Not only was it out, but it was out, and up, and followed through. I will say that was a pretty solid red in my opinion. So now Portland is down a man in the 53rd minute while they’re also down by two points. Not a good place to be.

But oh. Things get so much worse. For both teams. Simultaneously, and very fast.

Insert unpopular opinion here: Kyle Beckerman definitely should have gotten a card here. A red…. Eh? If what he did deserves a red then there have been a LOT of missed red opportunities over the years of MLS being a sport. Games would end short-handed literally every single game. I will say this – Kyle did this on purpose. He agitates, and every other team knows this (I told you this is an unpopular opinion).

BUT. Here’s where things get hairy for me: Fanendo Adi comes up to Kyle and straight up chest bumps him down to the ground. While Toledo (ref) marked down Beckerman’s elbow as ‘Violent conduct’ he also gave both Kyle and Adi the SAME disciplinary time away from game play. That seems a little uncouth to me. Adi straight up knocked a dude to the ground while Kyle threw an elbow that ultimately left Adi running, even after he was hit, until he decided to let his anger get the best of him and make him turn around. One of those things is definitely not like the other.

As an update on that, RSL did try to appeal the red card and the appeal was denied, so Kyle will be out for the July 22nd game against Sporting KC.

I digress. After a double red with that play, both teams missing men (Portland down to 9, RSL down to 10) we quickly scored two more goals. The 3rd goal was awarded to Albert Rusnak but was first marked as an own goal on Gleeson.  Either way it was a fast one, and Albert’s 5th for the season so far. This kid is impressing me so much. Wow.

Our last and final goal of the night (from RSL) was another one from Plata, right at the 80th. He’s coming back strong after that surgery. We’ve now scored an equal number of goals in these last two MLS games combined than we had in the past 12. So it’s safe to say we’ve been needing this.

Here are the game highlights:

10′  Goal Kyle Beckerman 0-1

28′  Yellow Card Lawrence Olum

41′  Yellow Card Zarek Valentin

42′  Yellow Card Albert Rusnak

45′ + 1′  Substitution: Out: Chance Myers In: V. Arboleda

45′ + 4′  Substitution: Out: Demar Phillips In: Danilo Acosta

45′ + 5′  Yellow Card Diego Valeri

46′  Yellow Card Danilo Acosta

50′  Penalty Goal Joao Plata 0-2

53′  Red Card V. Arboleda

55′  Red Card Fanendo Adi

56′  Red Card Kyle Beckerman

57′  Yellow Card David Horst

68′  Goal Albert Rusnak 0-3

72′  Substitution: Out: D. Asprilla In: Jack Barmby

75′  Substitution: Out: Luis Silva In: Chris Wingert

80′  Goal Joao Plata 0-4

81′  Yellow Card Jack Barmby

83′  Substitution: Out: Sunny In: Aaron Maund

90′ + 3′  Goal Jack Barmby 1-4

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

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Eleven Games Unbeaten

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Are Fire fans cautiously optimistic for the remainder of the season?

It’s well known throughout the league that the Chicago Fire finished at the very bottom of the table during the last two seasons. It was disappointing and even devastating for countless supporters whose livelihoods revolve around the team.

This season has been much different. While the first couple of months started off at a moderate pace, the Men in Red have now been undefeated in their last 11 MLS games. It’s a new feeling for Fire fans, a feeling that with even a little skepticism is being embraced by Chicago’s supporters.

I, for one, cannot remember the last time I felt such happiness when at the stadium. It’s hard to believe that the product the Fire have put on the field has been of such good quality after watching them suffer the last two seasons. The team has also managed to get points in games when they aren’t performing at their best. In 2015-16 that wasn’t fathomable.

Now, with eleven games unbeaten there is a feeling of euphoria in the air. But is it a temporary feeling? Even with optimism amongst Fire fans, there is still a fear that lingers from past seasons making many wonder, is this too good to be true? As fans, we hope for the best, but we know it is possible the team could fizzle and lose momentum in the second half of the season.

I was able to chat with other Fire fans, here’s what they had to say about the Fire’s eleven game unbeaten and their thoughts on the remainder of the season. (Year followed by fan’s name is the year they became a Fire fan.)

“I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop after being burned from the past couple seasons, I guess. If I can push that out of my mind, though, I am very excited for the postseason.” – Cam Robbins (2000)

“It’s hard to believe the team is unbeaten in eleven MLS matches. I definitely didn’t expect it, but it’s a welcome surprise. I love that there’s more attention on the Fire throughout the city and Chicago media; people are taking notice and watching this team. I’m hopeful for the remainder of the season that they can keep up the energy and keep playing exciting soccer. They’re so fun to watch!” – Sarah Sampson (1998)

“We don’t want this to be a peak, or a plateau. There is a desire, not just among fans, but among staff, for this to be the beginning of a growth rate in relevance, performance, and progress that we aim to sustain for a long time.” – Jacob Peters (2009)

“I can’t wait to see what happens next! I’m just so happy the guys are playing so well and in contention!” – Melissa Kellas (2006)

“I’m still waiting for the bottom to fall out, but still managing to enjoy watching winning soccer.” – Carrie (1999)

“It’s been a fairytale of a season so far, the boys have been connecting well and I hope it’ll continue on that way for the remainder.” – Staci Lorz (1998)

“I get the feeling that there are many fans that feel the same as I do: cautiously optimistic and happy to be where we are, but still mentally prepared for disappointment if the bottom should drop out. It’s happened to us too many times over the past few years, and that’s a tough mental framework to shake. Or maybe I’m just speaking from experience as a lifelong Cubs fan (Though if the 2017 Fire want to follow in the footsteps of the 2016 Cubs, that would be fantastic!).” – Alexis McAdams (2008)

“I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a season. I thought nothing would ever compare to the Fire teams from 1998-2000, and even though the Blanco years were fun to watch, this year’s team is probably the closest to that. I can see them winning it all. And in the 20th anniversary, it’ll be perfect!” – Violeta Santillan (1998)

“I hope they can keep their streak alive, and I hope that everyone involved with the club works to build not just to “win now” but for enduring success on the field, in the front office, and in the stands.” – Dan Martin (2006)

“I can’t get over the feeling that the Fire might still lose somehow in the last few minutes of the game, after getting used to that the past few seasons, but I am excited. I’m of the I’ll believe it when I see it mind when it comes to playoffs, but things are definitely looking up. It’s an exciting time, but there are still a lot of factors that don’t always make me as excited as I should be.” – Betsy Tomszak (2009)

“I’m going to enjoy the moment for now. There’s been too many years of disappointment to be all in. I only hope this feeling lasts until the Fire lift the Supporters Shield and MLS trophy at the end of the season. The excitement that this could actually happen is something to hold onto.” – June (2002)

“I’m trying not to inflate my hopes too much. I’ll call my mood at present as cautious optimism. I’m holding on to the pessimism just enough so that it doesn’t hurt too much if our luck turns. I’m thrilled by our current form, but very aware that there are key players that must be on the field to support our current style of play. If any combination of Niko, Basti, Polster, Dax, De leeuw were to be injured long-term we may see a very different result from the rest of the season. Fingers crossed they stay healthy.” – Carmen Norgaard

“It’s really exciting- but at the same time, the better they do and the longer their winning streak goes- the more pressure that gets added and the more nerve-wracking games can be! But overall, it’s just so great to see our team win and know that we love them no matter what!” – Hallie Moberg Brauer

“I’ve spent so many nights watching the Fire perform badly at 1am my time. I’m so proud of my men in red and how they’ve turned things around this season. I’m really excited to see what happens next. I’m so happy my first visit to Toyota Park, getting to meet many of the fantastic Fire family has coincided with a revival in the Fire’s fortunes.” – Emma Price (2013)

Read more about the Fire’s upcoming match against NYCFC tomorrow (Saturday, July 22 at 1PM CT) at Fire Confidential, The Athletic, and The Loop Sports.

Featured image courtesy: @ChicagoFire

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Do You Believe in Magic?

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official New York Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Thursday, July 13: 0-1 Win (US Open Cup Quarterfinals)

In my last article, I mentioned how hard it has been for the New York Red Bulls to defeat the New England Revolution in league play. But they did it. And now, just over a week later, RBNY had to make the trip up I-95 to do it again.

I’M SPOILED: I was in the press box for the last round Open Cup match vs Philadelphia Union, as well as the round before vs NYCFC. So it’s a big change watching the live stream on my tablet at home. It’s much smaller. And I had to make my own dinner. It’s… just not the same.

I can’t say it looked much better up at Jordan Field at Harvard University. Turf field, metal bleachers, threat of torrential downpour. Still, about 75 Red Bull supporters joined the team to cheer them on. It was a familiar sound coming through my tablet when the supporters sang and cheered through the whole match.

CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: with mainstay defenders Aurelien Collin and Damien Perrinelle entirely of the lineup, manager Jesse Marsch made important changes to the starting XI. Connor Lade was given his chance at Center Back, a spot usually reserved for…uh… well: a *taller* player. But he did an amazing job in the back line alongside Aaron Long, Sal Zizzo, and Tyler Adams, who had the freedom to overlap with Sean Davis on the attack.

A SLOW START: Despite being scoreless in the first half, RBNY held on to the ball well. They went on to claim 56% overall possession and over 400 passes. But I was sure this was going to extra time until: 

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been called “The Ultimate Scoring Machine,” a clever send up of the BMW slogan. Can’t argue that!

BREAK RED: Revs defender Benjamin Angoua was shown a Red card in the 75th minute following a challenge on Bradley Wright-Phillips. The challenge itself didn’t seem particularly vicious, and the usual argument with referee Jorge Gonzalez appeared uneventful. But there was Gonzalez, pointing to the sideline, and captain Lee Nguyen trying to calm an incensed Angoua and escort him off the field. I still don’t know exactly what he did or said to merit the red card, but I’m terribly nosy and will keep looking into it.

BONES TO PICK: I’m not one to complain, but this is my article, dang it. And I know I’m saying these things out of love…

WYD Alex Muyl? Stop scrambling and stay on the ball!

And Gonzalo Verón STILL isn’t getting more minutes? I know strategy is above my pay grade, but

Snl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hopefully RBNY will be closer to full strength when league play resumes, although Kemar Lawrence and Michael Amir Murillo could still be on international duty. Either way, the boys in red and white should bring the confidence from this win back home to Red Bull Arena. A sprinkling of the magic, if you will.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Goodbye, Open Cup

Allison Sorrell - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Allison Sorrell // @AJSorrell_

Monday, July 10: 3-2 Loss

Now, here’s the thing. I’m going to start off by saying that considering circumstances, this match wasn’t inherently bad. In fact, it could have been much worse. With that statement, I probably lost almost every single one of my fellow LA Galaxy fans and followers reading here. However, let’s break this down.

On Monday night the LA Galaxy took another hard blow and were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-2 loss in San Jose at Avaya Stadium.

Let’s start with the positives here. Brian Rowe is finally back from injury, and it’s comforting to have a little more depth back in the keeper position, and to give Clement Diop, what most of us feel is, a much needed rest to rebuild his personal confidence after a series of defeats between the post for LA.

In addition to Rowe, Giovani dos Santos has made his return after a long stint away on international duty with Mexico, and made his presence known with an assist to Jelle Van Damme’s goal in the 3rd minute, as well as a few convincing chances on goal of his own in the first half. The core of the Galaxy is slowly returning from injury and international duties, and it will be more than welcomed to see how they perform once this unlucky plague of injury is behind us.

However, there are issues that need to be dealt with now. The Galaxy, though seemingly on the upswing, is still stuck with much needed players out on injury. As we all know, Romain Alessandrini has been behind, or at the very least a part of most of the Galaxy’s attacking plays this season, and his absence was very much noticed on Monday. In addition to Alessandrini, Joao Pedro, Jose Villarreal, and Daniel Steres’ absences were all felt.

While Alessandrini and Pedro, who have been training with the team, are on the mend and should be back by the time the Galaxy compete against Manchester United on Saturday (yippee…), the absence of these experienced players in the midfield seems to be a hoop that this team doesn’t seem to be able to jump through. The lack of pressure and possession in the midfield, especially in the second half of this match, wasn’t very hard to see.

By the 60th minute, San Jose were running circles around the Galaxy who seemed to have lost all confidence once again. It isn’t to say that I fully blame them, the past month has been a tough one for this team. Their last win against another MLS side coming almost a month ago on June 21st against Colorado, and confidence is hard to build back, especially for a younger side.

On the contrary, the issue here is that it doesn’t seem like we’re working towards doing anything about it. And while the Galaxy looked drained of confidence and ideas, Chris Wondolowski sure didn’t. Scoring two goals, one in the 16th minute and one in the 51st minute, both assisted by Tommy Thompson. Wondo came to play, and it showed.

A goal from Danny Hoesen in the 62nd minute sealed the Galaxy’s fate, and the match that should have been a redemptive confidence boost for the Galaxy went to the Earthquakes. My hope is that players are well rested and willing to compete for three points on July 19th during LA’s next league match at home against Vancouver Whitecaps. If LA hopes to make a convincing bid for the playoffs this season, now is the time to step it up. We’ve done it before.

Featured image courtesy: @LAGalaxy

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“The good, the bad, and the ugly”

Mercy Payba - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
Official Philadelphia Union Reporter

By Mercy Payba // @mercpay

Thursday, July 6: 1-1 Draw

A point on the road is as valuable as a win, at this juncture of the season. Philadelphia Union’s record away from home has been pretty lackluster with the last win being against DC United in May. This was going to be a tough match from the start for the Union, missing key players like Alejandro Bedoya and Andre Blake on the roster. Another player they will be missing due to the call ups is Chris Pontius who will fly out after this game to join the Gold Cup squad.

Sporting Kansas City was by all means and stats, supposed to be the victor of the midweek battle but even though Diego Rubio scored an absolute rocket of a goal that the Union’s backup keeper John McCarthy had no chance of saving, the game ended in a heated draw.

The penalty awarded to Philadelphia brought a skirmish on between the team, especially with the home side dominating possession and being in the lead. CJ Sapong in the box. SKC did not agree with the call which ended with Feilhaber and Haris Medunjanin getting yellow cards. An incident that didn’t get carded was Ilie Sanchez’ hand on Oguchi Onyewu’s throat, but it was definitely caught.

Roland Alberg was the man who equalized the game for the Union in the 69th minute, beating out the ex-SKC man Sapong for the honor. It isn’t all that surprising, between the game against New England last week and this one, Alberg looks determined to show Jim Curtin that he is the man to start over Ilsinho. I’m not sure I agree, even with that fantastic first-touch goal he launched past Revolution’s keeper Cody Cropper.

After all, the Union aren’t playing their regular game with Bedoya in the midfield, and while Derrick Jones has flashes of brilliance, it’s not the same. Perhaps staying on the bench will enable the Union to use Alberg as a cache in the arsenal (not unlike the one expected out of Jay Simpson) especially in this stretch of games coming up after the break.

The man of the match was definitely McCarthy who took a tumble and still had the mobility to go the distance with saves against Daniel Salloi and Latif Blessing. His six saves over the course of the game were crucial to keep it level. Especially with our defense only rallying after being down a goal and our offense not creating much traction at all. 

The next game on the road for Philadelphia Union is against Montreal Impact who are directly below them on the Eastern Conference table. It’s a whole week of regeneration for the players not called up for international duty that should be taken advantage of, if the Union wants a hope at climbing the table. After Montreal, it’s back to back games with Columbus Crew which might bring the tides of change, if positive results are yielded.  

Featured image courtesy: Philadelphia Union facebook

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Oh, Happy Days

Jennifer Denton - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale
Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Jennifer Denton // @darkwynds

Tuesday, July 4: 1-3 Loss

It has been an insane couple weeks for the Seattle Sounders.  Two weeks ago we had that miserable game in New York, then the Orlando game that felt like a loss with the goal in the dying minute of the game.  Then we had the Portland game when we go down a goal, and a player, only to come back at the death – so a draw that feels like a win.  We come to last Tuesday, the 4th of July game. 

Colorado Rapids have not been the same since last year when the Sounders faced them in the Western Conference Final.  To start the night, Colorado was below us in the standings, both of us below the red line.  The Sounders started the game short-handed.  We only had 5 players on the bench due to international duty, injuries and suspension.  I would love to have a full roster at some point during this season, but that is a discussion for another day.  We have signed a new player but he is not eligible until July 10th

One would think this would be a horrible game, but actually, it was a great game… for the most part. 

The game starts fast, and the Sounders are moving the ball really well.  It seems like they have actually made progress.   This is a nice change of pace.    In the 6’, Clint Dempsey scores an awesome goal with the assist coming from Jovein.  From there, game goes downhill quick. 

In the 13 minute, Ozzie is taken down by a heavy challenge.  He needs help off the field and is replaced by Kovar.  It gets worse from there.  In the 22nd minute, Chad Marshall goes down hard and has to come out, with an ankle injury.  So even with having a goal lead and Colorado defense being less than stellar, I think all Sounder fans were really nervous.  But the Sounders seem to fight even harder as the game goes on.  Will Bruin gets a stunner of a goal in the 30th minute.  We head into halftime up 2 – 0. 

 

The Sounders come out fighting in the second half.  This has been the best the Sounders have looked in a long time.  Maybe things are turning around.  Kovar comes close to scoring.  Of course, with our patched together defense, can’t stop everything.  Colorado starts to push a lot and finally in the 78th minute they get a goal.  Stefan Frei then has a save that might give The Save a run for its money.  Finally, in the 85th minute, Dempsey scores an amazing goal that seals the game. 

Overall, this was a very good game.  There were ups and downs but, finally, we come home with 3 points and we are back above the red line. 

I am really glad we have 2 weeks off so our players can heal and be ready for a push to the playoffs.  The next game is Saturday, July 8 with a friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Next MLS game is July 19th at home against DC United

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

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