All posts by MLSFemale

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

Defy Expectations – Orlando City SC

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Introduction time! I’m Shae (Shy-Aye, not Shea) and I am so excited to be the new Orlando City Official Reporter for MLSFemale!

Soccer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played defense from youth through high school until a foot injury ended that dream for me, so then I started following the pros (and some not so pros – Go UVA Cavs!). For the longest, I only paid attention to overseas, Real Madrid specifically and the World Cup teams. Then Orlando joined the MLS and I jumped in head first and never looked back.

It was kind of like fate. My favorite color has always been purple and, despite growing up in New York, I knew from age 15 I wanted to be in Orlando. When I moved in 2013, I fell in love with the city. And then I found out about Orlando City, who just so happened to be purple (which is not your typical jersey color). It struck me as my time to get involved with MLS.

I’ve been a diehard ever since, attending as many home games as physically possible. I’ve been known to scour Central Florida for a place to watch away games. I even celebrated my birthday last year out in Las Vegas and went searching for anywhere that would let me watch an out of market game. (We lost 4-0 to Houston but hey).

That’s just a quick intro to me! I look forward to sharing Orlando City news with you all and making new connections! I can be found on pretty much any social media network at @shaeeliz. Come by and say hey!

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @ShaeEliz

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How I grew to embrace the ISC Wooden Spoon, but I am so happy to see it go. Congrats, LA!

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Have you heard of the ISC (Independent Supporters’ Council) Wooden Spoon? Unfortunately, I’m all too familiar.

After attending Chicago Fire games regularly since 2004, in 2015, I decided to take the plunge and run for the Director of Communications position for Section 8 Chicago (S8C); I ended up holding the position for two years. As luck may have it, those two years (2015-16) the Chicago Fire was the worst team in the league. Yep, both years. Bottom. Of. The. Table.

As a board member for S8C, my daily routine consisted of producing social media content that would encourage support of the team. A goal of ours was to stress the importance of getting into the stadium early to cheer on the Fire (#FirstInLastOut), and of course, we also wanted to expand our supporters’ community.

It was a challenge to get regular, long-time supporters to games, let alone new fans.  “Hey, come to a Fire game, statistically, it’s unlikely that they’ll win.” It was a melancholy time for me. Fans argued. Stands were empty. Supporters’ culture faded. Two years in a row, the Chicago Fire finished in last-place earning them the honors of the ISC Wooden Spoon.

As a supporter, it was frustrating and often heartbreaking to see the decline of the team, but the 2015-16 seasons took suffering to a different level. Somehow, even with love for the Men in Red in my heart, the team grew more agonizing to watch.

So what exactly is the Wooden Spoon that I speak of, and why did I (and other Fire fans) learn to embrace it?

When your team finishes last place in the league two years in a row, you can either sulk endlessly or embrace it. And don’t get me wrong, we did sulk. We cried. We complained. We were bitter. But in the end, we continued to love the Fire, and we even learned to love our wooden spoon too.

The History of the ISC Wooden Spoon

via Daniel Giroux (Vice-Chair of S8C) on October 17, 2017

Conception of the spoon

The spoon was kind of a long term process if you wanna talk about it’s conception. It was first decided at the ISC in Chicago, so January 2016, that there needed to be a league wide trophy to shame the worst team. Since the ISC is the overarching organization that administrates the Supporters Shield it made sense that they will also run the Wooden Spoon. It was decided Section 8 Chicago would make it as we won the wooden spoon that year. Sadly, it would be a long process as we would also win the spoon the following year as well. The reason it was decided this needed to happen is we felt that the league didn’t do enough to punish or shame the failures in the league. Pro/rel does that automatically for most leagues and in most leagues the losing team gets significantly less money. In MLS you are rewarded for failure, at least monetarily by the league. The spoon was our small way of putting pressure on a failing organization.

Trophy design

For some reason it was put on me to make the trophy, with the deadline of having it ready by the next ISC in Atlanta. I definitely stalled on it a bit and we tried many many different designs before we settled on the current iteration. I started work on the final design in November 2016, but I don’t think it was actually finished until the week before the 2017 ISC in late January. It is made of 90% plywood, wood glue, malort and hatred. Seriously, the woodworking is absolutely garbage, but that is kinda the point. I did my worst, in a very literal sense.

Who should win the Wooden Spoon?

Personally, I’m hoping for LA, as this year is already so backwards. That would just be the most backwards thing possible. Also, I want a fanbase that will properly shame their front office with it – that is the whole point. I think D.C. and Colorado will laugh it off and take it in stride. LA would HATE having this thing.

With that said, Congratulations, LA Galaxy and fans. You are now the privileged winners of the ISC Wooden Spoon. Even last-place deserves a trophy.

Featured image courtesy: @nikhak

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

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Congratulations to Chris Rolfe: A Chicago Fire favorite retires from professional soccer

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Today one of my all-time favorite Chicago Fire players, Chris Rolfe, has announced his retirement from professional soccer. By showcasing his passion for the game with his quick-footed talent, he allowed me to love the magic of the beautiful game more than I already did.

In Rolfe’s tenure with MLS, I was able to establish two amusing interactions with him:

2005:

The first time I met Rolfe was at a team Meet & Greet event. I was young (25) and awkward. Rolfe was a rookie and meeting fans was unfamiliar for him. I approached Rolfe not knowing what to say, “You’re my new favorite player.” He responded by staring at me blankly.

2017:

At the Chicago Fire’s 20th Anniversary party this year, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Chris. I reminded him that he, along with DaMarcus Beasley, are my two favorite Fire players of all-time. I explained that I had finally found my third favorite Fire player, and I asked him to guess who it could be. In less than thirty seconds, he responded, “Michael de Leeuw?” And so, my admiration for Rolfe grew.

Without question, Rolfe has created countless memories with those who knew or supported him during his playing days. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He will always have a home in Chicago.

Featured image courtesy: tradingcarddb.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

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Bear Witness: Toronto FC Starts It’s Playoff Bid with a 2-1 Away to NYRB

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Song: On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons

So we won the Supporter’s Shield, now what? The logical progression, as the best team in the regular season, would be the MLS Cup. However, recent history has proved this a challenge with only 2 teams winning the MLS double in its modern form (since 2003 when the format was changed Source). In this Toronto FC season, records have fallen and new depths have been explored and Toronto FC have shown on Monday night that they aim to win.

Of a wide spectrum of emotions familiar to football fans across the globe, this game had them all. Through the highs and the lows our viewing party buzzed with passion for our team. Despite some long periods of time spent in eerie silence punctuated by fist banging fits of anger, many of us insisted at the end that we were confident in our team all along.

I approached the game with a certain apprehension, knowing that the New York Red Bulls at the Red Bull Arena might just be our toughest game of the playoffs.

A dodgy penalty, a standard Sebastian Giovinco free kick, a kick in the pubis, some dodgy Red Bulls fans whom Greg Vanney eloquently put in their place (what a dad) and 90+ 5 high altitude minutes later we emerged victorious and on top of the world, a feeling we have grown accustomed to. What looked the start of a rocky second half seemed to stabilize after some minor adjustments and Toronto FC kept calm and won the game.

2-1 is a pretty good scoreline to come home to. 2 away goals and the win, NYRB have to score more goals at BMO Field than the home team; a rare feat for wary travelers this year. And the city is ready for them. We have not appreciated the treatment of our players in the States these past few weeks and we are ready to bring the 12th man to the game on Sunday.

If I had to call to mind one image that summed up the match besides the obvious big moments, it would be something like this: Nick Hagglund (possibly in a cape), leaping 10 feet into the air in some sort of karate kick of a clearance. Insert a written sound effect of your choice to indicate great physical prowess and that about sums up our Super Nicky. That’s not to say that Drew Moor doesn’t get the job done, but there was something incredible about watching Nicky come off the bench to accomplish feats of heroism to save us from uncertain death.

It is that type of depth that will take Toronto FC far in this playoff campaign. Hagglund, who has featured in just 3 games for TFC since mid-May after being sidelined twice by injury, was exactly what TFC needed to see the game off. With vigor and the pluck that makes him well loved by Toronto and by former Toronto FC captain and current TSN commentator Steve Caldwell, he put in a performance when we needed him to keep us ahead in New Jersey.

We will likely require another player to step up on Sunday with the possibility of Victor Vazquez missing out (though not if he has anything to do with it) and the team with the greatest depth in the history of the MLS will be tested once again. Who will be our next hero? A stadium will wait with baited breath for all to be revealed.

Featured image courtesy: @torontofc

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

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First Leg Whitecaps v Sounders

Christy Casas - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Whitecaps Reporter 

By Christy Casas // @nkstar9

Sunday, October 29: 0-0 Draw

After a record breaking 5-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, the Vancouver Whitecaps faced the second seeded Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semi-finals. First leg was played at home and resulted in a 0-0 draw. The game was frustrating and intense.

When the lineup was announced, you could tell we were playing defensively since away goals are weighted more than home goals in aggregate scoring. The Whitecaps had some really great chances. I sit near the away team’s support section and boy were they annoying =). Seattle also had their fair amount of chances including an almost own goal from our very own Kendall Waston.

The game was physical right away and the ref let them play. There was a lot of players “down”. Just to give you an idea, with a 0-0 draw the second half had at least 6 mins of extra time. 6 MINUTES. Most of this time came from a little kerfuffle in the 83rd minute, involving most, if not all, of both sides. It was a heated game with added frustration of playoffs. The ref wasn’t consistent, Seattle is defending the Cup, and these two teams have been rivals for a while now. Emotions were being felt.

Near the end of the game, we made some offensive changes bringing in Yordy Reyna and Nico Mezquida. Expect to see a more offensive lineup for Thursday, the 2nd game. Though, word on the street is that Reyna and Techera are still “touch and go’ according to the Whitecaps website. Seattle will also see the return of Clint Dempsey coming off a red card suspension.

Whitecaps lost 3-0 on their last visit to their rivals. Seattle is a hometown team who set a “franchise record this year for the fewest home losses in a season” according to the Sounder’s website.

One away goal from the Whitecaps could curtail the Sounders and pressure them to produce 2 goals. There are many scenarios that could play out in the second game, but one thing is certain, there will be only one team moving on. We need to, more now than ever, to #Riseupraincity

Christa Cassa - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale

Featured images courtesy: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nkstar9

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2017 MLS Playoff Preview

A collaboration by official reporters of MLSFemale @MLSFemale

With Major League Soccer, there is no greater prize than the MLS Cup. Twelve teams, 6 from each conference, are vying for the chance to lift the ultimate prize of the league’s 22nd season. Here’s a quick rundown from our MLSFemale squad:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale 

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Toronto FC: AND NOW YOU’RE GUNNA BELIEVE US, we’ve gone and won the league! Suffice it to say the city of Toronto is over the moon with our accomplishments this season and we are looking forward to what we hope is a great playoff run. Michael Bradley succinctly put our season in summation by saying “…we went after every game from 1 to 34 like it was the only thing that mattered.” (source)

I think they can be proud that they never really wavered on that goal and it paid off. As a member of the Kings in the North, one of the official protectors of the Supporters’ Shield during it’s stay in Toronto, I look forward to spending some time up close and personal with it.

Our playoff future looks bright; one is left hoping that we take that same winning mentality into the playoffs and consider every opponent and every game with care. Finishing off the regular season at Atlanta was also a good test for us to end on. Fresh to the league, they were the one team I felt we hadn’t had a proper chance to sound out back in April. Having seen their house and how they feel about our players (your hate makes them strong, our love makes them unstoppable), I now feel confident that Toronto FC has the arsenal to make a successful playoff run. And as Giovinco has shown, this team is ready for whatever is thrown at them. So bring on our second (okay fine, third) go at it, we’re here to win it all!

*NYCFC: Not gonna lie: this team gets measurably better every year. With head coach Patrick Vieira, the Pigeons have made it to their 1st MLS post season in style, with a bye for the knockout round. Legend David Villa and newcomer Jack Harrison, as well as the rest of the squad, are going to face their first opponents well rested and ready for a run. Just how far can the boys in blue go their first time out?

Nicole - Chicago head

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Chicago Fire: Nine months ago Fire fans were excited for the club’s new signings  – with Dax McCarty, Juninho, Niko, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, certainly the Men in Red wouldn’t finish last place again – would they?

By early June, fans knew that not only were the Chicago Fire going to dig themselves out from the bottom of the table, but the likelihood that they would be playoff contenders looked promising.

David Accam, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Juninho, amongst others have been battling injuries, just returned from injury, or will return from injury for the playoffs. Is the squad recovering at the appropriate time? With key players on the bench over the last couple of months, other players gained experience – this will certainly help strengthen roster options when Veljko Paunovic looks to his bench for substitution options.

Who will get the nod for the goalkeeper position? Matt Lampson, who has been with the team since February of 2016 and a total of 34 games played for the Fire? Or will Richard Sanchez start in net after only recently signing with the Fire?

We supporters are excited for the playoffs, for the opportunities that lie ahead, and for a home game, but we’re also realistic, especially after the last two unfortunate seasons.

¡Vamos, Chicago!

Robyn Saghini - Atlanta United FC/mlsfemale

By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini

Atlanta United: Well, here we are…The new kids in the league are in the playoffs. A 4th place finish to the regular season is better than where I thought we’d be at the beginning of the season. This gives us home field advantage for Thursday’s knockout round game – and home field advantage in Mercedes-Benz Stadium could be significant. We’ve also won both games against Columbus (#SaveTheCrew!) earlier this season – although we did lose to them in the preseason Carolina Challenge Cup in February.

This team is much stronger now. They’ve now had an entire season to get to know each other. We have a solid starting lineup – even with a few subs because of injuries. And with over 70,000 people expected at the game on Thursday to cheer them on, I think Atlanta United has a really good chance at hoisting that cup in December.

The boys are ready for this. Atlanta is ready for this.

Atlanta wants the Cup.

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Columbus Crew:  In the middle of the season, the Crew was struggling and looked unlikely to make the playoffs, but Berhalter seems to have the magic touch with his team at the end of the season.  The tie against NYCFC took the Crew’s unbeaten streak to 10.  It kept the team in the 5th spot while a win could’ve put them in 2nd place. 

The team is dealing with a lot of distractions with a fan base who passionately loves them and is distraught that an owner would take them away.  (#savethecrew)  However, if the team can keep their form and absorb the passion the fans are showing them, they actually have a chance against Atlanta.  Although, it will be a tough away game.  The fans really need them to win, so we have a home playoff game to show how much we love the players. 

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

New York Red Bulls: Whew! Just made it in under the wire. But RBNY is in the playoffs for the 8th season in a row. Always the bridesmaid, RBNY is the only MLS 1.0 team (originally the NY/NJ Metrostars) never to lift the MLS Cup. Coach Jesse Marsch has said that the team has been the favorite during the playoffs to no avail and that it’s time to be underdog.

I’m expecting a solid performance from Tyler Adams and the rest of the back line as well as more attacking from Daniel Royer. Defender Aurelien Collin has been working his way back to full health, and Jesse hopes to be able to bring him back into the 18. Dax McCarty and the Chicago Fire are the first obstacle in the knockout round, and another edition of the Hudson River Derby is practically guaranteed after that. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. Fight Together.

#knockoutround
Image courtesy: @MLS

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Sheba Rawson - Portland Timbers/mlsfemale

By Sheba Rawson // @shebainpdx

Portland Timbers: It is not an overstatement to say that for the Timbers this Sunday’s game was the most important game of the year up to this point. The Cascadia Cup was on the line, as was the chance to win the conference and a first round bye.

With a Portland win, they have won the West and a first round bye. They also take back the Cascadia Cup, the coveted supporter-owned trophy awarded to whichever northwest team has the best finish among the three Cascadia-area squads. If Portland had tied or lost, Seattle would have taken the Cup, and Portland would almost certainly have dropped to third or fourth place, hosting a midweek knockout round game.

As I expected, Attinella remained in goal, with Vytas and Powell on the wings, and Mattocks up top as we wait for Fanendo Adi to be match fit. And with PTFC’s Mattocks being a former Whitecaps player there was plenty of opportunity for a knife-twisting match finish as he gave us the go-ahead goal to seal the deal. Now we wait to see who makes it out of the knockout round.

Jennifer Denton - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale

By Jennifer Denton // @darkwynds

Seattle Sounders: It is finally time to defend our cup.  This year has been such an up and down year.  There are days where we look like the team from last year’s run.  And then there are games where we look like a team that hasn’t even played together before. 

The game against FC Dallas gives me hope that maybe we are turning a corner.  With a win on Sunday gives us a much needed bye.  This will give the team time to heal up.  I can’t wait for this run at the MLS cup.  I really hope the top team in the East loses so we can host the cup this year!!

Christy Casas - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale

By Christy Casas // @nkstar9

Vancouver Whitecaps: The Whitecaps were able to pull themselves above the red line in a very decisive way, landing themselves in 3rd place in the Western conference after flirting with the top spot for a hot minute. They will meet the San Jose Earthquakes in the knockout round at home in Vancouver. This is a decided advantage for the Whitecaps, as BC Place has been a fortress for the team this season.

*Houston Dynamo: The Dynamo played VERY well at home this year, giving up only one game at home at BBVA during the regular season. And they have to be looking forward to the opportunity to take on Sporting KC again, having just beaten them at home less than two weeks ago and drawing them in Kansas City shortly thereafter. If they manage to pull it off, their next opponent will be one of the top two finishers in the West, Portland or Seattle.

kirsten-sporting-or

By Kirsten Arpin // @Kirsten_Hoogs

Sporting KC: I am not pleased with how this season ended, and I am not pleased that Sporting fell from 1st to 5th in the West over the last third of the season. If we’re going to make it anywhere in the playoffs we have to do one thing…score goals. It seems like that should be pretty easy, but obviously it’s not since SKC scored just 3 goals in their last 5 games.

If the Sporting team from the beginning of the season comes back then we could be in good shape, but the run will be hard since we have no home field advantage. Hopefully, with this being the third game against Houston in a two week span we’ll have them figured out. Sporting, don’t make this city regret all the energy you put into the US Open Cup. We need some of that magic for the playoffs.

*San Jose Earthquakes: The Quakes had a wild finish to the regular season, with the winning goal coming three minutes into stoppage time against expansion side Minnesota United. Now they travel to Canada on only three days rest for a single game elimination round. They may still manage the upset against a Whitecaps squad that is struggling to put games away at precisely the wrong time in the season.

If San Jose can pull it off, they will face Portland in a conference semifinal, a team they’ve beaten at home twice during the regular season.

(Teams marked with a * do not have an official reporter from MLSFemale. If you support any of these teams, find your inner reporter and contact us!)

Featured image courtesy: @MLS

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @Kirsten_Hoogs

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Rapids Spoiler Alert

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Sunday, October 15: 1-0 Win

Do you know what part of the reason why Real Salt Lake isn’t in the playoffs is? Us. The Colorado Rapids. We spoiled their post season hopes with a 1-0 win. The last home game of the season was on a beautiful, sunny day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The opposing team’s supporters section was more packed than I have seen it all year and was the loudest that I have heard it all year as well.

The half opened with a quick goal when Josh Gatt put in his second goal in his MLS career at the three minute mark. (A record, by the way, as the fastest goal that the Rapids scored this season.) He quickly ran to the corner flag in front of the away supporter’s section and rode it like a horse in celebration.

Stefan Aigner drew a free kick just two minutes later off of what was a dive. (Watching the footage a few times over showed that he wasn’t actually touched by the RSL player.) This would be Aigner’s theme of the night. Tim Howard seemed to be back in the form we’re used to seeing from him that night as he made save after save look effortless.

Marlon Hairston reminded me why he’s one of my favorites as he backed up Howard in the 23rd minute to stop an attempt on goal by Plata. Unfortunately, just after that Badji got carded after turning into RSL’s Tony Beltran with his hip. Beltran had to leave the game with an injury at this point.

Let’s talk about these refs for a second. They were awful. Right after the Rapids got their first corner kick of the game, Alan Gordon gets fouled. Albert Rusnák came in with his studs up and stomped on Gordon’s foot. Gordon hobbled back on to the field and continued playing for another ten minutes before he was finally subbed out.

The center ref, Armando Villareal, never called it. His line judges could not seem to figure out what off side really meant either. The fourth referee stopped Mohammed Saied from taking a throw in during the 87th minute and had Mike DaFonte take the throw instead. Nana Boateng picked up a yellow card in the fourth minute of extra time for kicking the ball away out of frustration.

The Colorado Rapids ended their season at home with an at home record of 7-5-4. Their final game comes on October 22, 2017 against the Seattle Sounders in Seattle.

3’ – GOAL: Joshua Gatt (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

24’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

28’ – SUBSTITUTION: RSL (1/3) – Tony Beltran replaced by Demar Phillips

43’ – CARD: David Horst (RSL) – yellow

68’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Dominique Badji replaced by Mike DaFonte

72’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Alan Gordon replaced by Dillon Serna

78’ – SUBSTITUTION: RSL (2/3) – Danilo Acosta replaced by Sebastián Saucedo

83’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Marlon Hairston replaced by Bobby Burling

94’ – CARD: Nana Boateng (COL) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Alex Lin

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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Vancouver Whitecaps are Rising Up Rain City

Christy Casas - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Christy Casas // @nkstar9

Sunday, October 15: 1-1 Draw

As the season closes in, the Vancouver Whitecaps have wound their way through almost every spot in the standings. Considering this, their play has also represented all of these standings. We have seen them go toe-to-toe with New York City FC, summoning a fire within that brought even the harshest winds to their adversaries. We have also seen them struggle with chemistry, an ever changing starting lineup, and missing PKs that should have been meticulously placed in one of the four corners of the net.

As the San Jose Earthquakes came to town, we once again saw the on again, off again Whitecaps. With a rather slow and unenthusiastic beginning to the game, we saw a goal from Yordy Reyna (Rayna Terror we call them) in the 29th minute that catalysed the entire team. The effect was immediate, the goal was a team effort touching almost all positions on the pitch.

Most of the game was mediocre by the Whitecaps, though we saw some great attacking plays that just didn’t fall. For me, someone who loves to see some playmaking, I felt like we put more pressure on their back end with runs and finding space rather than our usual long ball over the top that gets sent right back. Honestly, I like the way the attacking half was playing.

The Quakes came back with a goal in the 77th min by Valeri Qazaishvili. A devastating blow to the ‘Caps ability to clinch first place in the West.

Most of what we talk about happens to be goals, so I wanted to give a shout out to Andrew Tarbell and Stefan Marinović who were both magnificent in goal. It really was a delight to watch them both.

Now we work to defeat the Portland Timbers who are going to go in strong in this last game of the regular season. So much rides on this last game. Pride in rival games, first place, and home field advantage going into the playoffs. We need the mids to be stronger, faster, and more accurate with their ball skills.  We need the forwards to continue firing at the net. We need to defeat the Timbers! It’s time to #riseupraincity

Featured image courtesy: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nkstar9

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Colorado Rapids v FC Dallas

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, October 7:1-1 Draw

With Tim Howard (USA) and Mekeil Williams (Trinidad & Tobago) called away for international duty and Michael Azira still out with a questionable ankle, the Colorado Rapids had a new lineup this past weekend against FC Dallas. They played their standard 4-2-3-1 formation with Alan Gordon starting up top for the first time since May. Nana Boateng started the game as a center midfielder, and I have to say that I really liked him there. He was decently physical, though he does still need to learn a little restraint.

 

From the first whistle, both teams played fairly lackluster which was surprising considering Dallas needed points to move into playoff contention. The Rapids struck first with Stefan Aigner getting his second goal of the season in the fifteenth minute. Nana Boateng drew the first card of the match when he slid in hard and late on Dallas’ number 37, Maximiliano Urruti. Atiba Harris got the first yellow for Dallas when it looked like he had a late tackle on Stefan Aigner. The card was overturned once it was evident that Aigner dove and Harris never touched him. Aigner lucked out here because he didn’t get carded for simulation. Several attempts and a minute of stoppage time later, the first half ended.

Jesse Gonzalez proved himself vital to FC Dallas’ defense during the second half by making some incredible saves. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’s going to be in the MLS much longer with his talent.

At the 53rd minute, Atiba Harris headed in the equalizer off of a corner kick and that would be the score for the rest of the game. Dallas uses their first sub, and Badji gets the second card of the game in the 67th minute. (It should be noted that this is the third game in a row that Badji has started an argument of some sort with the opposing team. With his contract being renewed for another two years, I wonder if this is something that will be addressed or not.)

Atiba Harris gets his true first yellow of the game when he elbowed the Rapids keeper, Zach MacMath, in the face while going up for a header. The contact was truly accidental as neither man saw the other coming because they were so focused on the ball. Once again, Nana Boateng shows just how much power he has when he kicked the ball from the halfway line into the 18 yard box. The tie would stand though, and move Dallas just above the line, while keeping Colorado ahead of L.A. Galaxy.

The Rapids face Real Salt Lake on Decision Day 2017 (Sunday, October 15, 2017) for their last home game of the season.

15’ – GOAL: Stefan Aigner (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

21’ – CARD: Nana Boateng (COL) – yellow

53’ – GOAL: Atiba Harris (FCD) 1-1

66’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (1/3) – Roland Lamah replaced by Tesho Akindele

67’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

69’ – CARD: Atiba Harris (FCD) – yellow

70’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Alan Gordon replaced by Mike DaFonte

82’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (2/3) – Maximiliano Urruti replaced by Cristian Colmán

83’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Stefan Aigner replaced by Shkelzen Gashi

88’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (3/3) – Mauro Diaz replaced by Victor Ulloa

Featured image courtesy: Colorado Rapids facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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Colorado Rapids – We Got Three!!!

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Sunday, October 1: 2-1 Win

Y’all. We did it. We finally got three points this weekend against the Montreal Impact. I don’t think I’ve held my breath that much since the USA/Honduras World Cup Qualifier last month. I walked out of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with a huge smile on my face, taking deep breaths, and telling my dad how good it felt to have a win. The truth is, this was easily the weirdest soccer game I have ever witnessed.

The first half saw Stefan Aigner getting his first home start of the season as the 10 alongside Marlon Hairston’s 7 and Joshua Gatt’s 11 with Dominique Badji up top. At 9 minutes in, Jared Watts got the first red card of the game thanks to the VAR. It was the right call. He slid into Chris Duvall’s ankle, studs up, in attempt on the ball. It was a bad decision on Watts’ part.

At this point in the game, the Colorado Rapids formation had to change from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-1 to accommodate for the now missing 8. Duvall was subbed out and the game restarted with 10 Rapids players to Montreal’s 11. Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz got the second red card of the game thanks to a stupid decision. Rapids defender, Mike Da Fonte went up for a header against Lovitz and ended up on the ground. As he was getting up, Lovitz stepped through and kneed him in the ribs. From my understanding of FIFA rules, the ref probably considered this a use of excessive force which would be why he was sent off.

As if two red cards in the first half weren’t weird enough, the ref whistled play dead and restarted with a drop ball when he lost track of the ball in the 41st minute. The fourth official indicated that there would be four minutes of stoppage time and in the second minute of that stoppage time, Aigner found the back of the net for his first career MLS goal. From the review of the play, Aigner moved from an offside to an onside position with a little stutter step which put him right in line with Mekeil Williams’ pass.

At the 46th minute, the Rapids used their first sub of the game and replaced Mike Da Fonte with Nana Boateng. Kort Ford got his first yellow in the 47th minute, followed by VAR coming to the Rapids rescue in the 51st minute. Hairston takes down Ignacio Piatti in the box and the ref called a PK. The play went to VAR which showed that Hairston made contact with the ball and the PK is overturned.

That relief was short lived as Mateo Mancosu got the equalizer in the 61st minute. Axel Sjöberg missed his opportunity to stop the goal when he turned to the side and let Mancosu go right past him. The shot was unsaveable because it went into the top corner of the net, just over Tim Howard’s fingertips. At this point in the game, both teams were playing with ten men on the field, Montreal used all of their subs, and Colorado used 2 of their 3.

Michael Azira caught his ankle on the grass just wrong and it folded underneath of him. Mohammed Saeid came in as the Rapids third and final substitution. Two minutes later, Alan Gordon scored the game winner and got a yellow card for excessive celebration.

Shortly thereafter, Boateng saw an incredible attempt on Montreal’s goal, from the top of the Rapids’ box, go just wide by a couple of feet at most. The weirdness continued when Montreal went down to 9 men after Piatti twisted his knee and dropped to the ground with no players around him. After playing 89 minutes, Deian Bolder was shown off the field by the center referee because he forgot his shin guards. Mekeil Williams went down on the opposite side of the field with an ankle injury and had to leave in stoppage time.

Both teams ended the game with 9 players, but the Rapids came away with the win and 3 points. We finally moved ahead of LA Galaxy in the league standings thanks to a late goal by Kyle Beckerman to cause a draw between Real Salt Lake and L. A. The Rapids will face FC Dallas at DSG Park on Saturday, October 7th.

9’ – CARD: Jared Watts (COL) – red

13’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (1/3) – Chris Duvall replaced by Hassoun Camara

32’ – CARD: Daniel Lovitz (MON) – red

45’+2 – GOAL: Stefan Aigner (COL) 1-0 Colorado

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Mike Da Fonte replaced by Bismark “Nana” Adjei-Boateng

47’ – CARD: Kortne Ford (COL) – yellow

62’ – GOAL: Mateo Mancosu (MON) 1-1

67’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (2/3) – Dominic Oduro replaced by Anthony Jackson-Hamel

72’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Stefan Aigner replaced by Alan Gordon

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (3/3) – Patrice Bernier replaced by Michael Salazar

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Michael Azira replaced by Mohammed Saeid

81’ – GOAL: Alan Gordon (COL) 2-1 Colorado

82’ – CARD: Alan Gordon (COL) – yellow

85’ – PLAYER OUT: Ignacio Piatti (MON) out for an injury

90’+3 – PLAYER OUT: Mekeil Williams (COL) out for an injury

Featured image of Stefan Aigner courtesy: @stevecookeworld@ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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