All posts by MLSFemale

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

Depleted Crew Hold On Against Revolution

By Hilary // @hils4crew

The Crew came up with a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday, April 6th.  The line-up was essentially the same as the last game except for Hector Jimenez who started in Harrison Afful’s typical spot.  Harrison Afful broke his jaw in a collision with a teammate in the waterlogged game last week in Columbus and will be out a minimum of six weeks.  The Crew have lost both their starting outside backs to injury this year. At least, we will see Afful again this season, while Milton Valenzuela, the left back, remains out for the season.

New England seemed to be the better team for much of the game.  It started off with a dangerous shot by Jalil Anibaba from outside the 18 yard box that a diving Zack Steffen saved.  In the 41’, the Crew’s defense continued their scoring run of the season with a Josh Williams header from a Federico Higuain free kick.  This assist tied Higuain for the most club assists with other Crew legend Robert Warzycha. Williams, who even went to Endeavor Brewing Company to celebrate with fans when the initial Saved the Crew announcement was made, ran over to the Nordecke to celebrate his goal with the fans.

In the 49’, Jonathan Mensah almost put another header in off a Pipa corner kick to continue the defensive line scoring trend, but was denied by midfielder Scott Caldwell with a goal line clearance.

In the 64’, defender Michael Mancienne took out Higuain resulting in his second yellow card of the night.  From that moment on, New England would be playing a man down. However, with the exception of one play in the second half, a beautiful ball from Jimenez to Gyasi Zardes for a header attempt in the 81’, the Crew seemed to be the team playing a man down.

New England continued to attack and almost evened up the score in the 88’.  Buchanan passed a very short ball to Teal Bunbury who crossed the ball right in front of the goal. Jimenez chested it towards Zack Steffen, but Cristian Penilla of New England was there to try and finish the ball into the back of the net.  Steffen stepped in front of the ball sending it away. Soon after, the final whistle blew.

Thoughts on the match:

This game had a lot of fouls.  The Crew committed 16 fouls while New England committed 10.  It was a chippy game, and the ref should have gotten a handle on it earlier.

During the game, Hector Jimenez went down right before half and looked to be in pain.  He was able to return into the match and finish out the game. I only hope that he stays healthy as we don’t have an experienced player who can fill that spot.  

I’m not sure what the coaching directions were once we went a man up.  It seemed to be play keep away by passing the ball in our own half of the field.  This was not a good strategy as a few bad passes led to some good attempts by New England to punish us for our mistakes.  The Crew should have been attacking or at least playing keep away further down the field.

Once again, Zack Steffen kept us in the match with several incredible saves.   We need a quality replacement for him, or we need to figure out how to clone him before he moves to Manchester City in June.

Finally, while I feel our defense played a solid game, our offense seemed a little lost. We need to figure out a way to get the offense clicking.  We can’t depend on our defensive players scoring all our goals for the rest of the season.

We will see if the offense can get it going this upcoming Saturday when the Crew play away against the Montreal Impact.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Columbus Crew defeat Atlanta United 2-0: Did We Actually Play Soccer?

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

The answer is yes, kind of. It was part soccer match—part playing on a Slip and Slide. The Columbus Crew took on the defending MLS Cup Champs Atlanta United this past Saturday, March 30th. The game took place during a rainstorm that even the pristine pitch at Mapfre Stadium couldn’t drain fast enough.

The Crew came out and scored in the 2’ of play. When Artur received a ball from Wil Trapp, he carried down the sideline and crossed it about 9 yards from the end line.

Gyasi Zardes tried to slide into the ball along with an Atlanta defender to put it into the goal. He missed it, but made it to the backside of the goal where Pedro Santos was making an unmarked run and to put the ball into the back of the net.

In the 24’, Atlanta almost evened up the score. Julian Gressel headed a beautiful ball from Ambrose that Zack Steffen was able to stop. It bounced off Zack and Josef Martinez tried to finish the bouncing ball that was quickly cleared by Jonathan Mensah.

Then, the game went into a weather delay due to lightning in the area. After the almost hour weather delay, the game resumed with the rain still pouring down.

In the 34’, Zack Steffen proved why he deserved Man of the Match honors. Atlanta was dangerous again with a ball that squirted through from Franco Escobar to the approaching Ezequiel Barco. Zack made an incredible diving save keeping the Crew’s lead safe.

In the 39’, the Crew picked up their second goal with great runs by Robinho and Zardes. Zardes was making a break for the 6-yard box, stopped, and stepped back a few steps losing his defenders. Robinho, who had received a great ball from Federico Higuain, had run down the sideline and sent a perfect cross to Gyasi who buried it.

In the 57’, Zardes earned a PK that Federico Higuain took. Brad Guzan made a good save on the PK.

At this point, the game was really being played in a swamp. Atlanta had some chances as did the Crew, but the game held at 2-0.

Thoughts About the Game:

In this game, I joked on Twitter that the field had the best first touch of any player out there because wherever the ball landed it would just stop.

I truly believe that Mapfre Stadium has one of the best pitches in the MLS. (It is not artificial turf, and the Columbus Grounds Crew is the best! I’m sure I’m biased, but I don’t care.)

However, there is no way that any pitch could hold up against the amount of rain that poured down during the course of this game. The puddles and amount of water on the pitch just stopped the ball dead.

There wasn’t any way to dribble the ball. In fact, many players who tried ended up tripping over the ball when it dead stopped in the water.

In many ways, it was a hilarious game to watch because, at many points in the game, it looked as if the players were on a Slip and Slide. However, I was very concerned that players on either team would get hurt. Definitely a game for the books.

Also, Robinho was dangerous and has definitely set the bar high in order for Justin Meram to win back his starting spot. Robinho had several great crosses and shots during the game. I’m excited to see what he can do.

Federico Higuain is a great player. However, he cannot make consistent PKs on the south goal Mapfre Stadium. While I know he would like to get that monkey off his back, he just needs to stop taking PKs on that end of the stadium.

I will say it again, and I will say it every game until he is gone. But, we don’t win this game without Zack Steffen. I wish we had brokered a deal where we could have him back on loan. He is such a great keeper, and I feel privileged to have seen him play.

I joked with MLS Female writer @robynsaghini that we should have negotiated in Zack’s contract that we get him back for playoffs if we play against Atlanta.

This week, the Crew remain at home at a (hopefully) much drier Mapfre Stadium to take on the New England Revolution on April 6th.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Columbus Crew: Let us invite you…

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

On Saturday night, the Columbus Crew took on the Philadelphia Union.  Both teams had players missing.  The Crew rolled out their similar formation. 

Hector Jimenez was playing for left back in place of Waylon Francis.  Patrick Mullins was in at forward.  Ricardo Clark played in Wil Trapp’s spot, and Robinho played on the wing for Justin Meram.  Also, Joe Bendik was playing for the injured Zack Steffen in goal.  

While I knew these were not typical starters for the team, I wasn’t too nervous going into the match as most of these guys are experienced MLS players.  Last season, outside of Robinho and Bendik who weren’t on the team, these guys played frequently in the weeks where we had multiple games in a short time frame.  

The start of the game validated my lack of worry as the team seemed to come out on the attack. 

However, that soon changed.  It seems the Crew sent an embossed invitation to David Accam to score goals.  Multiple goals.  

In the 31’, David Accam snuck behind the defenders on a great run and banged it into the goal off the post after a give away from the Crew that the Union brought down the field.  

Then, in the 41’, Gaston Sauro tried to stop Accam.  Then, Mensah and Afful tried unsuccessfully to stop Accam who slotted in a goal near post past Bendik.  

Finally, in the 48’, David Accam took a break from scoring and decided to assist instead.  He knocked down a bouncing ball and got it to Ilsinho who hit it off the crossbar into the goal.  

Philadelphia ended the game with a win 3-0.  

Other thoughts:

I can’t really find anything positive to say about the Crew’s performance Saturday.  I am nervous about not having Zack Steffen, and this game turned the fear up many notches.  However, other than the second goal, which I think Bendik could have done more on, I feel most of the blame lays at the defense’s feet

Is this because Bendik isn’t good about communicating to his line and Zack is?  Is this due to the fact that the defense just had a really bad game?  I’m not sure, but whatever it is, the Crew have until June to figure it out.

I’m concerned about the number of giveaways and bad passes I felt the Crew had.  This needs to be better

Finally, you saw Caleb Porter sub in Luis Argudo, Eduardo Sosa, and Jerome Williams after Philadelphia’s third goal.  This could be due to wanting to keep some starters from getting hurt or seeing if a younger player would be hungrier to get a goal and make a difference on the pitch.  It was nice to see the young guys on the pitch despite them not making a splash in the score line.  

The Crew return home this Saturday to play defending MLS Cup winners Atlanta United.  Hopefully, they can try to remedy some of the wrongs from this game to play a better game at home.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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And It Was All Yellow

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

That was the pregame song playing as the scoreboard showed a montage of Columbus Crew plays, and the yellow soccer team, ironically not wearing yellow, won the game 1-0 against FC Dallas this past Saturday.

Rolling out a line-up similar to the last home game with the exception of Robinho starting in place of Justin Meram, the team got the winning goal early in the game.  In the 10’, Pedro Santos took a near post corner kick aimed at the head of Gaston Sauro.  Sauro, who was being hugged by one FC Dallas defender and closely guarded by a second defender, jumped and headed the ball into the net. 

Two seasons ago, Crew fans and Gaston Sauro himself did not know if he would ever play soccer again.  Now, he’s put in goals in both of the Crew’s home games.  Currently, he’s tied with Gyasi Zardes, who had a brace last week against the New England Revolution, for goals. 

Robinho had a dangerous shot in the 21’ that rebounded off the keeper, but Zardes had trouble finishing the ball skying it over the net.  The Crew kept the pressure and shots coming throughout the first half but were unable to put any more into the back of the net.

In the second half, FC Dallas seemed to be more dangerous.  Michael Barrios had a nice shot in the 55’ that Zack Steffen was able to slow down and Sauro was able to clear.  In the last 15 minutes of the game, FC Dallas seemed to possess the ball more and shot the ball several times.  In past seasons, the Crew would have conceded a goal at these times of pressure, so it was nice to see them finish the game with a win.

Other Thoughts:

  • In Porter’s system, it appears that Artur and Wil Trapp will be doing more shifting back and forth between offense and defense instead of Wil being more defensively-minded. I feel like I’ve seen Trapp make more mistakes and not bring his A-game this season.  I don’t know if this is Wil adjusting to the new system, if Wil’s skills doesn’t fit this style as well, or if I’m just being nit-picky. I was a Gregg Berhalter fan but have yet to form an opinion about what I think of Caleb Porter yet.
  • I do feel that Pedro Santos is finally finding his form.  Maybe he needed a new coach, but now he has several assists on the season and had some great passes and shots in this match.  
  • I am nervous about when Zack Steffen leaves this team for Manchester City in June.  I just don’t see what goalkeeper can step in and do what he does for this team.  He was supposed to be out this upcoming week with the US Men’s National Team, but due to a knee injury sustained in training, he is missing this round of friendlies and this week’s upcoming Crew game too.  I guess we will see who might step up in Steffen’s absence.
  • In addition, the team will be missing Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes, Justin Meram, and Waylon Francis for the next Crew match due to national team call ups.

It’ll be interesting to see how Caleb Porter deals with a slightly depleted roster for the call ups as they travel to take on the Philadelphia Union this weekend. 

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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Montréal Impact Emerge from the Lions’ Den with 3 points

Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve // @ejp_nb

After a thoroughly disappointing defeat to Houston Dynamo, Montréal Impact fans were eager to move forward with the next road match, while still nervous that the team would be too fragile to recover from a loss. However, Orlando City had proven to be a comfortable adversary for the Impact since their entry into MLS, and captain Ignacio Piatti had enjoyed scoring 8 goals against them coming into the match, one of his highest tallies against an individual team.

Although de facto right wing starter Harry Novillo had recovered from a late pre-season injury, Orji Okwonkwo was given the start once again as Novillo was not ready to play a full match, and coach Rémi Garde wanted to allow a stable team to build chemistry and rebound from last week’s loss together.

If stability was what Garde sought, his team didn’t initially demonstrate that quality. The first ten minutes of the match in Orlando were reminiscent of last week’s abysmal showing for the Impact, as the Lions pounced while the visitors struggled to find their bearings in the match. Goalkeeper Evan Bush and Lady Luck worked in tandem to allow the Impact to survive an early wave of pressure unscathed. 

The tide turned in the 14th minute, when Samuel Piette launched a long pass toward Saphir Taïder. The Algerian international penetrated the Orlando defense and drifted to the right of Orlando’s 18-yard box as Okwonkwo used his pace to arrive near the penalty spot, where he latched on to Taïder’s cross and punished Orlando’s defensive lapse with a clinical finish the home team sorely lacked.

The Bleu-Blanc-Noir would go on to double their lead directly after OCSC restarted play. Orlando allowed striker Maxi Urruti’s incessant pressing to pay off as he intercepted a weak back pass from a central defender. Goalkeeper Brian Rowe was left with no choice but to sweep Urruti off his feet – however the forward had already passed to Piatti, who needed no further invitation to find the back of the net.

This one-two punch had clearly taken some wind out of Orlando’s sails, as the Impact would go on to enjoy comfortable periods of possession for large stretches of the game. After Okwonkwo had run himself ragged, Novillo made his Impact début, and quickly offered an assist to Piatti off yet another Orlando defensive error in the 80th minute. With his 10th goal against Orlando, Piatti is now the player who has scored the most goals against the men in purple.

Unfortunately for all involved, the match was poorly officiated by a referee new to the league, who allowed a series of increasingly physical challenges to go unsanctioned. It became clear as the clock wound down that tension levels were rising, and there had been several minor clashes between players over the course of the match. Dom Dwyer, who had scored a late consolation goal for Orlando, is a notorious instigator regardless of his opponent.

After a stoppage in play deep in injury time where Novillo received treatment following another robust tackle, Orlando City received the ball. Rather than respecting fair play and returning the ball to a goalkeeper, Orlando elected to go on the attack. This move was poorly received by the Impact, and led to a mass confrontation at the next stoppage in play. Central defender Zakaria Diallo allowed himself to be baited by Dwyer, and received a red card for shoving him in the head. 

OCSC coach James O’Connor would go on to apologize to the Impact in his post-game press conference, as even he felt his team had conducted themselves poorly when ignoring fair play. All in all though, the whole incident was just a blip on the radar in an otherwise satisfying away win.

This match marks the halfway point of the Impact’s six-game road trip, and it is an uphill battle from here until the home opener. The Impact will have next week off as many players depart to represent their countries, and will subsequently enter Blue Hell as they visit Sporting Kansas City on March 30th

Featured image: @impactmontreal

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @ejp_nb

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Montreal Impact Suffocated Yet Again In Houston

Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve // @ejp_nb

In all of their visits to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on the Houston Dynamo, Montréal Impact have only ever taken one point. If there are matches on the calendar that fans circle with great anticipation, a trip to Houston is not one of them. However, with the positive atmosphere surrounding the team this year, surely the tide was going to change?

Not to be the case.

Time and again, outside factors such as the stifling humidity, artificial turf, and a lack of ambiance in the stadium have been blamed for the Impact’s consistently poor performances in Texas. And perhaps the display the team demonstrated on the field was a result of any combination of those factors.

Ignacio Piatti, the man who makes the sun rise and set for the Impact, was smothered by defenders any time he got a whiff of the ball, remaining well-shackled and unable to contribute to the game. Passes were errant, attacking creativity lacked, and the Impact conceded a late goal – and all the points – after switching off as Houston ramped the intensity up a notch. Over the course of 90 minutes, there was only one team in the match, the team who had played a mid-week game nonetheless.

 As Rémi Garde put forth an unchanged starting eleven from San Jose, fans were pleased to see that the players would get a chance to build off the chemistry that had been building since pre-season. But as many passes went to the opposition and communication seemed non-existent, that chemistry seemed to evaporate before our eyes. Perhaps the Impact need to remain sequestered in a hotel all season in order to maintain continuity?

The highlight of the match for Impact fans was undoubtedly Saphir Taïder’s second goal in as many matches, nearly a carbon copy of his goal in San Jose – the Algerian snuck behind the defense to finish a deep pass, this time off a brilliant cross from Micheal Azira. 

Houston would go on to score immediately after play restarted, before laying a second-half siege to the Impact’s half, much as San Jose did in the previous match.

As the long road trip continues, fans will hope that fatigue does not get the better of the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, as it seemed to do in Houston. Additionally, it looks as though we are in for another year of “Nacho-dependence,”  this writer is off to light a candle for our maestro.

The Impact will take to the road once again, this time visiting Orlando City SC, on Saturday, March 16.

Featured image: @lesliecphotos on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @ejp_nb

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FC Dallas – LA Galaxy

By Sahara Clay // @SaharaClayMLSF

FC Dallas played LA Galaxy this weekend in Toyota Stadium. It was a sunny Texas day in March and the stadium was packed full of adoring fans. However, there was one question on everyone’s mind: where is Zlatan?

From the beer garden, chants rang out of “Where is your Zlatan?” and “In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight,” obvious taunts at LA. However, these calls were incredibly valid.

FC Dallas made a huge mistake of marketing Zlatan and this game as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch him play when he was nowhere to be found. Even more embarrassingly, they ran these ads at halftime when it was painstakingly apparent Zlatan would not be found on the pitch.

For such a hyped-up match, nothing much seemed to happen. Yes, FC Dallas won 2-0, but was it the game of a lifetime? Hardly.

In my opinion, Paxton Pomykal was the standout of the match, even though Reto Ziegler and Bryan Acosta scored the two goals of the match. No one showed as much hustle on the field as Pomkykal in every single minute of the game.

In fact, Pomykal is partially responsible for Bryan Acosta’s first MLS goal. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Luchi Gonzalez pushes Pomykal in his debut season as FC Dallas’ coach.

I would love to see Pomykal as a starter this season as his confidence grows on the field. He only gets better. Gonzalez stressed the importance of possession throughout the preseason and Dallas did a great job of implementing that this match.

We ended the match with 64% possession of the ball and even had a whopping 59 uninterrupted passes.

Other notable moments of the match included Edwin Cerillo’s MLS debut after an awesome preseason. Although Cerillo only joined the game in the 79th minute, he had a solid start, with his first touch being a clearance of Joe Corona’s free kick.

Jesse Gonzalez also had a notable save on the field – arguably one of the best of the week – in the 91st minute. His short reaction time saves are some of the best in MLS. Gonzalez and the Homegrowns certainly had an amazing day on the field – pointing towards a promising season if we can keep it up

Featured image: @FCDallas

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @SaharaClayMLSF

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Montréal Impact Start 2019 Campaign on the Right Foot (or the Left Foot)

Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve // @ejp_nb

Montréal Impact had enjoyed a string of promising pre-season results, going undefeated in all matches with only one goal conceded. However, anyone who has ever watched MLS knows that pre-season performances are not totally indicative of how a team’s competitive campaign will go. Regardless, as the team spent 40 long days toiling under the hot Florida sun to get in game shape and strengthen the chemistry that saw them finish the 2018 season on a strong note, a quiet optimism began to buzz around the IMFC fanbase.

The Impact’s schedule will undoubtedly test their mettle, as they begin with six consecutive road games while waiting for the Canadian winter to end. Last year, their road form was far from sparkling. A mere 11 points picked up in away games does not exactly inspire confidence when a team needs to start the season on a strong note. However, this is Rémi Garde’s second year in charge, there has been less upheaval in the squad than last year, and several interesting players have come in, notably Maxi UrrutiHarry Novillo, and Zakaria Diallo (who was signed for the 2018 season, but did not play due to an ACL injury).

2019’s first official lineup saw Diallo, Urruti, and Bologna loanee Orji Okwonkwo make their débuts for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir. Fans’ confidence in the Impact’s improvements were short-lived, as a disjointed start saw San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Magnus Eriksson open the scoring in the 11th minute after Victor Cabrera mistimed a tackle and left an ocean of space at the top of the 18-yard box. Similar to their 2018 road record, the Impact were a dismal 1-13-2 after conceding the first goal last season, so having to face adversity this early in the season, after having enjoyed a comfortable pre-season was far from an ideal situation.

Thankfully, the goal proved a sufficient wakeup call for the Impact, as they snapped into life. In a feat that has been notoriously rare, team MVP Ignacio Piatti scored on a corner played short, allowing the Argentinian maestro to do what he does best—dribble around defenders to unleash a bullet into the back of the net with his magical left foot.

As halftime neared, the Impact were well in control of the match, often enjoying controlled spells of possession—a clear departure from the “sit deep and absorb pressure” tactic employed last season. Diallo had roamed forward from his central defender position to pick up the ball in San Jose’s half and was given an ocean of space to parade forward and launch a mouth-watering low cross to Saphir Taïder who dropped off the shoulder of his defender to give the Impact the lead. There remains some debate as to whether or not the Algerian was offside at the time of the cross. However, neither the linesman nor VAR signaled, and the goal was good.

The second half saw a return to old tactics, as the Impact bunkered and allowed the Earthquakes to essentially lay siege to their half. Evan Bush was called into action on a few instances, but the defensive line held tight. The match ended 2-1, with the Impact emerging victorious from San Jose, much to the delight of players and fans alike.

There are still 5 road games left before the home opener on April 13th. But, as the Impact opened their season on such a positive note, there is a lot more optimism around this long road trip. Next, the Impact again travel to hostile ground—Houston Dynamo—to play on Saturday, March 9th.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @ejp_nb

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Walkin’ in a Rapids’ Wonderland

Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

MLS is back. Finally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching soccer since the MLS season ended. However, I am very happy to have my home team back on the pitch. Down to ten men in the first half while playing in what was the coldest game in MLS history, the Colorado Rapids put on an incredible show for us.

When we last left, our local heroes were two places out of being labeled the worst in 2018, but only by a three point margin. There was a good deal of shuffling in the off-season that saw some old favorites head elsewhere, but saw some potentially new favorites move in.

Fast forward to Saturday. It was cold. Weather reports were saying that anywhere from four to eight inches of snow would fall by the time the game was over. The wind was rough, and it didn’t seem to matter that I had layered. The cold cut straight through me.

The Rapids set up a 4-4-2 diamond formation with two of our off-season acquisitions, Kei Kamara, and Diego Rubio, at the top. The Rapids took the lead in the fifteenth minute after Kamara put a beautiful pass by Kellyn Acosta into the back of the net. The game moved quickly and the Rapids showed marked improvement over last year’s performances.

However, what became most evident was that while the Rapids had improved over the off-season, the refs had not. The best example of this was the red card in the first half that saw Axel Sjöberg off the pitch and the Rapids down to ten men. I am among those that think the ref got this one wrong.

There was definitely a hand ball, I have no argument there, but to decide it was an intentional handball and send him off was incorrect. Sjöberg slipped and his hands were out when he went down. Does he get a card? Yes. According to IFAB, the International Football Association Board, handballs get carded.

At most, he should’ve gotten a yellow. The ref awarded a penalty kick that Tim Howard saved, but Diego Valeri equalized off of the rebound.

Colorado was forced to make a change here in order to accommodate for the missing body on the back line and they exchanged Rubio for Danny Wilson. The Portland Timbers got the go-ahead goal off of a Diego Valeri corner kick in stoppage time during the first half. While Sebastian Blanco got credit for the goal, it almost looks like the ball took a weird bounce off of the pitch and went in.

When they came back from half-time, the field was a mess. Leaf blowers and snow shovels were brought out to clear the lines. The snow was driving into our faces and it stung. The ball took weird hops and the players had to work to adjust to the different ball movement than what they were expecting. There were a couple times in the first half where I was reminded of when the NHL added colored streaks to the puck in their telecasts because of how the snow kicked up behind the ball and gave it a bit of a tail.

The Rapids had a hard time keeping the Timbers out of their end throughout the second half. The stats show that by all intents and purposes, Portland should have won this. Their pass accuracy was higher, they had more possession, and a greater amount of shots on goal. However, Colorado fought harder. There were more than a few times where I forgot that we were down to ten men because of how hard they were working.

Benny Feilhaber scored quickly in the second half to bring the score even, but just twenty minutes later – Deklan Wynne put in an own goal to put Portland back ahead. Colorado made their last substitution in the 76th minute and brought in 5th pick overall, Andre Shinyashiki for Acosta. This turned out to be a great decision because he scored the late equalizer that gave Rapids a point and continued their streak of not losing the home opener.

His positioning was perfect on that last goal and he was ready to take the rebound from Dillon Serna’s shot. Shinyashiki showed some great promise, but also showed his rookie side. (I found myself hollering “GET ONSIDE!” more than once at him.)

In all, the game left me excited for the upcoming season. Yes, it was only one game, but the Rapids did not give up and they showed a physicality that we did not see last season. Like I mentioned earlier, the stats available show that the Rapids should have lost this game. This is when a tie feels like a win though. 

The Rapids will face off against the Seattle Saunders on Saturday, March 9 at CenturyLink in Washington.

Image: John A. Babiak (@photog_johnb)

16’ – GOAL: Kei Kamara (Rapids 1 – 0 Timbers)

18’ – CARD: Diego Chara (Portland, Yellow)

27’ – CARD: Axel Sjöberg (Colorado, Red)

29’ – GOAL: Diego Valeri (Rapids 1 – 1 Timbers)

30’ – SUBSTITUTION: Danny Wilson in for Diego Rubio (1/3 for Colorado)

32’ – CARD: Julio Cascante (Portland, Yellow)

40’ – SUBSTITUTION: Jack Price in for Cole Bassett (2/3 for Colorado)

45’+1 – GOAL: Sebastian Blanco (Rapids 1 – 2 Timbers)

46’ – GOAL: Benny Feilhaber (Rapids 2 – 2 Timbers)

66’ – GOAL: Deklan Wynne, own goal (Rapids 2 – 3 Timbers)

77’ – SUBSTITUTION: Andre Shinyashiki in for Kellyn Acosta (3/3 for Colorado)

86’ – SUBSTITUTION: Andres Flores in for David Guzmán (1/3 for Portland)

87’ – SUBSTITUTION: Lucas Melano in for Jeremy Ebobisse (2/3 for Portland)

90’+4 – GOAL: Andre Shinyashiki (Rapids 3 – 3 Timbers)

Featured image: @official433

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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Opening Stunner Can’t Stop Sounders

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

The newest team in MLS, FC Cincinnati, struck first with an opening cracker of a goal, but it was the Seattle Sounders who ended the night on top sailing to a 4-1 victory.

Prior to kickoff, the Sounders presented Sigi Schmid’s wife and family with the Golden Scarf, a Sounders honor given to a select few members of the soccer or Seattle community. The crowd raised their scarves to honor Schmid, a loss that the Sounders community felt deeply.

As kickoff opened on the Sounders 10th season and FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season, the Sounders pressured early. Raul Ruidiaz sent in a firing header in the 3rd minute, forcing an early save from goalkeeper, Tyton, that hit off the post. 

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

In the 13th minute, FC Cincinnati opened their MLS goal scoring account with an absolute stunner from Leonardo Bertone. However, their lead was short lived when Kelvin Leerdam found the equalizer in the 27th minute after connecting on a deflected cross from Nicolas Lodeiro.

The rest of the game was simply a showcase return for Jordan Morris. After waiting 500 days to start in an MLS match after recovering from ACL surgery, Morris slotted home two goals in 10 minutes. His first goal curled past the keeper in the 33rd minute, ending in a full-team pile up of celebration.

The stadium cheered to one of the loudest volumes in years, rejoicing for the joy of their hometown boy’s return to the score sheet and the field.

In the 43rd minute, Morris powered home a left-footed rocket assisted by Victor Rodriguez to give the Sounders a 3-1 lead. Raul Ruidiaz tallied his own goal in the 87th minute to close the game 4-1.

Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale
Image: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

Take Aways 

Sigi Started It All

Celebrating their 10th season in the league, players from the inaugural season returned to CenturyLink to be honored in the opening ceremony. They were also joined by Sigi Schmid’s widow, sons, daughter, father and grandchildren. It was a somber moment for Sounders fans to celebrate the team and man that started it all a decade ago. 

The Hometown Boy Is Back

Emotions were high from the start Saturday night, but peaked when Morris first put the ball in the back of the net. When every member of the team joined him in celebrating, their joy was echoed by every fan in the stadium.

While walking back to midfield, Nico grabbed Morris by the shoulders, pointed to him, looked up towards the crowd and cheered. In return, Morris broke away from the rest of his teammates and gave a fist raise and clap to the crowd.

Having an in-from Morris will greatly benefit the Sounders this season, who struggled to get started last season. But if his first game is any indication, Morris and the Sounders are storming into their 10th season.

Featured & all images: Jill Peck/mlsfemale

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