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Oct 252013

mls 300x281 MLS Week 33 Preview


After 32 weeks of close games, major transfers, and the drama of all things Chivas USA there is still much to decide in the last week of the Major League Soccer season.  Although there is not one clear top team in MLS, there are plenty of quality MLS squads throughout the league which makes for a compelling two days of soccer this weekend.

So if you are at a match this weekend or watching one at home, here are a couple of storylines to follow:

#1 The Supporter’s Shield









Real Salt Lake







New York Red Bulls







Sporting Kansas City







Portland Timbers







Four teams are still in the running for the Supporters Shield, a trophy awarded at the end of each MLS Season to the team with the most points. The Supporters Shield is more than just a trophy, as it awards the team the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Should the Supporters Shield make the MLS Cup then they would also host the match. In MLS History, the team that won the Supporters Shield has gone on to win the MLS Cup 6 times (D.C. United- 1997 and 1999, the Kansas City Wizards- 2000, the Los Angeles Galaxy-2002 and 2011, and the Columbus Crew- 2008).

Real Salt Lake took the top spot Wednesday night after defeating Chivas USA 2-1. However, that was the last game of their season so they will have to play the waiting game.  The Red Bulls will face the Chicago Fire (Sunday 5pm UNi Mas) with the Fire still in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Red Bulls Forward Tim Cahill has been on a tear recently, scoring three goals in his past three matches and leading the Red Bulls to an undefeated record in the past 7 matches (5-0-2).

Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City will travel to PPL Park and face the Philadelphia Union (Saturday 3pm NBC Sports Network).  SKC  comes into the match in good form having drawn points in 6 of their last matches (5-1-1).Their last loss actually was against the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in September. Union Forward Conor Casey notched in the decisive goal in the 38th minute. They did win their opening game against the Union at PPL Park 3-1, but the young Union team has grown since then and could still make it into the playoffs. Will get back to that later.

Despite being behind the other teams by two points, Portland looks like they have the best chance to take the Supporters Shield. With the other two teams playing opponents who are still in the Eastern Conference playoff mix, neither New York nor Sporting Kansas City will have themselves an easy match. Portland, on the other hand, will be playing Chivas USA (Saturday 10:30 MLS Live) who will be without their starting goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and his magic ability to make sure Chivas never gets blown out.

Portland has also shown in the past few weeks that they are able to put teams away and earn points in “must-win”circumstances. In previous seasons, Portland has been known as the team with the awesome fanbase and cool mascot, but would break down at the end of the season. They could not win the difficult game, which is why they were unable to make the playoffs last season.  Coach Caleb Porter, Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, and Midfielder Will Johnson have changed the identity of this team and made them a very difficult squad to plan against. Their poise and confidence was evident in the pair of 1-0 victories that they earned against the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders earlier in the month.

The 15 draws may be the deciding factor on whether or not the Timbers win the Supporters Shield. But they should get 3 easy points against Chivas, and if nothing else, gain the top spot in the Western Conference.

#2 Eastern Conference Chaos









Montreal Impact







Chicago Fire







New England Revolution







Houston Dynamo







Philadelphia Union








Although the bottleneck for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference was lessened last week when the New England Revolution eliminated the Columbus 3-2, there are still 5 teams playing for three spots. In addition to the previously mentioned Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union, the Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, and New England all still have a possibility of making the playoffs this weekend should results work in their favor.

The popular consensus seems to be that the Montreal Impact will defeat Toronto F.C. (Saturday 4pm Univision Deportes, MLS Live,) that the Houston Dynamo will defeat D.C. United (Sunday 1:30pm NBC Sports Network,) and that either the Chicago Fire or the New England Revolution will do enough to make it through.

Two things to keep in mind that is being lost in this narrative. One, Montreal has been terrible since July going 6-8-5. Toronto has already secured a draw in Montreal earlier this season and is coming off of two 1-0 losses against Philadelphia and Chicago where they showed they are still trying to win. Second, Houston needs one of the three teams above them to lose because they are so far behind in goals scored, which is the tie breaker should teams be level on points. For example, if both the New England Revolution and Dynamo win, then the Dynamo would need to make up a nine goal difference against D.C. United. D.C. United is terrible, but they are not bad (D.C. better not lost 9-0 because I am taking my nephew to his first game this weekend.) Houston has had great difficulty scoring this year when they need a goal, so they are really going to need Forward Will Bruin to step up and give them that push.

It should also be mentioned that the Crew may be very angry after the 3-2 result that was leveled against them last week by the Revolution. Referee Mark Geiger gave a rather interesting yellow card against the Crew which led to Revolution defender A.J. Soares goal in the 39th minute. I would suspect that the Crew would like to return the favor to New England from last week and knock them out of the playoff contention (4pm MLS Live.)

I think the Fire- Red Bulls match is a lot closer than many people seem to believe. Bear in mind that the Red Bulls have never won a major title in their entire history, and have quite a dubious track record in big games. The Fire have really hit their stride since they lost 3-0 Columbus in September and are a much different team than when they lost to the Red Bulls earlier in the season. They are currently on a 3 game unbeaten where they have outscored their opponents 9-0.  Perhaps New York can turn around their previous misfortunes, secure a playoff spot, and doom the Fire. But that seems like a tall task for a team that has only recently shown that they can consistently pull out quality performances.

#3 The Race for the Golden Boot is On







Mike Magee CHI




Marco di Vaio MON




Camilo Sanvezzo VAN





In addition to having so many teams still alive for the Supporters Shield and for playoff spots, there is a real battle being waged for the top goal scorer in MLS. The three-horse race between Montreal Forward Marco di Vaio, Chicago Fire Forward Mike Magee, and Vancouver Whitecaps Forward Camilo Sanvezzo has produced some truly amazing goals this season. Although I am not the biggest fan of saying the top goal scorer should always be the Most Valuable Player (Ricketts and Clint Irwin would have a few words about that,) it is true that all three of these players have kept their teams in contention because they were able to make miracles for their team.

I think Magee is going to end up taking the award. It is important to note that if there is a tie then the tiebreaker will be given to the player who has the most assists. Di Vaio almost never passes the ball and I can see Toronto F.C. pushing their defense up to draw him offsides which will limit his scoring opportunities. The Impact have also had difficulties scoring recently, going without a goal in 3 of their past four matches.

So for me it comes down to Magee and Camilo. Both players have come up huge for their team this year, but with Magee playing against a Red Bulls team that have committed the fifth highest number of fouls in MLS (425) he should have more opportunities off of free kicks and penalties. Colorado has also only given up 15 goals on the road this season and will still be looking to climb up in the Western Conference playoff standings.


Sep 302013

images2 Know Your MLS Teams: Sporting Kansas City



There’s only onnnne Jimmy Nielsen

Only onnne Jimmy Nielsen.

He’s guarding the post, saving some goals,

walkin in a Jimmy wonderland!


Founded: 1996 (Originally called the Kansas City Wiz. The team changed their name to the Kansas City Wizards in 1997, and finally to Sporting Kansas City in 2010.)

Record: 13-9-6 (Second place in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Montreal Impact. They are also tied on points with the New York Red Bulls for First place.)

Pedigree: 2000 MLS Cup Champions, 2000 Supporters Shield, 2-Time Winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2004 and 2012.)

Rivals: Chicago Fire, F.C. Dallas

Supporters: The Cauldron (a nod to the team’s former nickname, the Wizards,) Fountain City Ultras, the Brookside Elite, Omaha Boys, King City Yardbirds, La Barra KC, Northland Noise.

Coach: Peter Vermes

Top Returning Players: GK Jimmy Nielsen, DEF Matt Besler, DEF Aurelien Collin, MID Graham Zusi, MID Paolo Nagamura, MID Oriol Rosell, and FWD Soony Said.

Key Additions: DEF Frederico Bessone (Oldham F.C.-England,) MID Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution,) MID Josh Gardner (Montreal Impact,) and FWD Claudio Beiler (LDU Quito.)

Key Departures:  DEF Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers,) DEF Yang Songo’o (Blackburn Rovers,) MID Roger Espinoza (Wigan-England,) MF Kei Kamara (Middlesborough F.C.-England,) FWD Bobby Convey (Toronto F.C.,)

Young Player to Watch: Saad



There is no team that embodies the spirit and evolution of Major League Soccer more than Sporting Kansas City. Starting out as the Kansas City Wiz, the team originally played at Arrowhead Stadium home to the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Through multiple name and stadium changes, the club struggled to find its identity. I remember watching a Wizards- D.C. United game back in 2008 and wondering why Kansas City was playing in a park that looked like a high school field (the park they were playing at was Community America Ballpark and is used for community college and minor league baseball games.) Although the team has played in some interesting stadiums, their play has always generally been good, making the playoffs 11 of the 16 years the club has been existence and of course winning the MLS Cup.

Much in the way MLS’ attendance and impact dipped in the middle 2000’s, it felt like Kansas City needed a boost. The club seemed to bottom out between 2005 and 2010, where they only made the playoffs twice and attendance dropped. In 2011, the club changed its name once again, this time to Sporting Kansas City and moved into their own park at Sporting Park (it used to be Livestrong Park, but the name was changed after the Lance Armstrong fiasco.) While I am skeptical that a new name and new pitch changes everything, the club’s play and attitude has certainly changed. With 19,000 people on average attending each home match and the club currently in second in the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City is a club that is on the rise.

When watching Sporting Kansas City, one of the first one things one comes away with is how physical they are. Of course the first name that catches any U.S. Soccer fans eyes on the Sporting backline is Matt Besler. Obviously Besler is a very good defender, but there is more to this defense than just Besler.  To me, the real key cogs to this defense are Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic, and Aurelien Collin. I remember watching SKC earlier this season play against D.C. United and just being impressed by how difficult they made it for other teams to enter into their defensive third. They just play a brutal, physically punishing brand of defense. The club has only given up 28 goals this season, which is tied for the lowest in MLS. At fortress Kansas City, they have only given up 14 goals which is the best in Major League Soccer.

They do have a few weaknesses though. In the Columbus match, the Crew were able to find some success in stretching out their defense and if it had been a better team they may have actually scored some goals. The Red Bulls did the same thing in their August 3rd victory over SKC. The club also looked very lackadaisical on the goal that Chicago Fire Defender Hunter Jumper scored against Kansas City on August the 23rd. Perhaps because it was only the 13th minute there was not much urgency, but in a game with playoff implications I am not sure if that is the correct approach.

The club is also going to have to lay off of the reckless challenges. While their team plays a very physical brand of soccer, they seem to make very poor challenges from time to time that could affect the game. The club has committed over 431 fouls which is the most in all of Major League Soccer. The club also has three of the top five league leaders in yellow cards in Aurelien Collin (First-11,) Midfielders Oriol Rosell (Third-8,) and Peterson Joseph (Fifth-6.) They do have a quality reserve in Chance Myers, who has shown that he is a serviceable when the club is short on players. But it would be wise for the club to exercise some control, especially in November.

Of course, the club also has one of the best goalkeepers in all of Major League Soccer in Jimmy Nielsen. I like to refer to Nielsen as the Mad Dane because he is one of the most vocal goalkeepers that I have ever seen. While it is customary for goalkeepers to be leaders on the pitch, due to their ability to control the ball and the flow of the game, Nielsen is by far one of the loudest. But he does it because he is an excellent leader. When you watch him orchestrate his defense, you can tell that each player leans on him for advice and to keep the team together.

He is also more than just bark: the man is incredibly effective with making diving saves and for reading what an opponent’s attackers are going to do. The save that he made against Chicago Fire Forward Juan Luis Anongano three weeks ago proves this. Throughout that entire play, Nielsen never loses sight of the ball, is able to make a jump at it, and makes an incredible save.  He has a Goals Against Average of .97, which is one of the lowest in all of Major League Soccer. So much of the playoffs is about having a keeper that is in form and right now Sporting Kansas City has one of the best in Jimmy Nielsen.

Earlier in the season, one of the things that was apparent with this squad was how much they missed having Roger Espinoza in their midfield. Espinoza, who now plays for Wigan in England, was the type of midfielder who had a creative flair that could help SKC break down their opponent’s offense. He was also an excellent distributor and could post up really well in the box on set pieces. While one player has yet to take over his role entirely, the addition of Benny Feilhaber and the improvement of Paolo Nagamura and Oriol Rosell has helped this club maintain their form from last season.

In particular, Rosell has really stepped up this season. As a center midfielder, he orchestrates their play very well and is an asset on set pieces. In the Columbus match, he was able to push the ball down the field on the left-hand side on at least 4 or 5 occasions, opening the field up for Midfielders Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber, and Forwards Claudio Bieler and C.J. Sapong. His set-up of C.J. Sapong’s goal in the 55th minute against Columbus was just splendid.

Like many people, I have come to appreciate what Graham Zusi brings to the table. Although he plays in the midfield, he almost plays like a forward on the left hand side because he likes to make long runs on the flank. He does his best tossing crosses into the box. He leads the team with 7 assists and has 5 goals, which is third-best on the team. He needs to step up more now that the club has sold Forward Kei Kamara to Middlesborough. With one less attacking option, they will need their Designated Player to be more aggressive in making his own shot, and continue to set up chances on the inside.

Without Kei Kamara, who was sold to Middlesborough earlier this month, their second leading goal scorer, the club will need better performances out of their strikers. While Forward Claudio Bieler does lead the team in goals with 10, he has only scored 2 goals in his last 10 matches one of which was on a penalty kick. Earlier in the season, Bieler with a much greater pace, but seems to have slowed down as the season has carried on.

I also really like the strides that the Lebanese international Soony Saad has made this season. Although he has only scored 4 goals this season, he has shown himself to be a real spark plug for their attack. He seems like he is always open and is able to get excellent position for an outside pass. His confidence in his shot showed with this half- bicycle kick effort against Real Salt Lake, and in taking a shot from distance against Toronto F.C. “With the Kamara money we should sign up Saad long term like we did with Zusi,” says Global Football Today writer and Sporting Kansas City supporter Brian Sanders. “With him starting an international career there are thoughts that he needs to stay around because Lebanon is a long way away. He is a future star but unlike Besler he will eventually leave.” He could be a real difference-maker for this team in the playoffs, much in the same way that Will Bruin was for the Houston Dynamo during last year’s playoffs.

For this team to reclaim the Eastern Conference title, they are going to have to get more out of C.J. Sapong. A tall, bruising forward Sapong does his best work by crashing in the box and using his physical skills to create opportunities for others. He has had an up and down seasons this year, include spending multiple games with Sporting Kansas City’s USL  PRO affiliate, the Orlando City Pirates. In the Columbus match he proved his worth by being able to finish two excellent crosses from the outside for goals.

If and when Forward Teal Bunbury regains his form after having ACL surgery that SKC could be able to go with 2 forwards. This could allow Sapong to move back to his natural position. However, given Bunbury’s injury history, it may be a good idea for SKC to look to their bench for other options. “Teal..he isn’t match fit.  He hasn’t looked more than average in his appearances,” said Sanders. “Plus he hasn’t done anything to merit a spot. He should go on loan to a NASL team because he is just doing nothing.” Their other Forward, Dom Dwyer, has shown that he can score with Orlando City (13 goals in 15 matches,) but has only scored 1 goal in 8 matches for the senior squad.  He has also had limited minutes with the club, so perhaps in an enhanced role he might be more valuable. The aforementioned Mr. Saad can also play up front, when necessary.

Though Sporting has a fantastic defense and a very good midfield, success will depend on the club’s ability to score. At this point in the season, it would appear that they have not done enough to replace the losses of Espinoza and Kamara. While this is a club that will certainly make the playoffs, anything beyond that depends on Sapong’s ability to score goals and if the club can find a complement to his skills set up front.

Beer of Choice:

Tank 7, Boulevard Brewing Company

Whenever I think about Kansas City, I think of Preki, Barbeque, George Brett going apeshit, and of course Sporting Kansas City. Whether you are at the match, your home, or just traveling through the general area it would be a shame if you did not sample some of that smokey Kansas BBQ and have a good local brew. Boulevard Brewing Company, SKC’s official beer, provides multiple beers for your plate of rubs during the ninety minutes. The Tank 7 is particularly good. A farmhouse ale with a Belgian-style influence, it has a hint of grapefruit to it with a taste of pepper to at the end. When you are eating BBQ or watching an SKC match, you are not looking a beer that takes over the situation but enhances it.


Sep 242013

images1 Know Your MLS Teams: Colorado Rapids

We came to drink, we came to sing Whoa. Whoa

We came to drink, we came to sing Whoa… whoa

We came to drink, we came to sing, In The Terraces at DSG!

Colo … Rah… Dooooh


Mile High City we are here,

Whoa, Whoa

Mile High City we are here,

Whoa, Whoa

Mile High City we are here,

Supporting Rapids, and Drinking Beer

Colo … Rah… Dooooh


Founded: 1996

Pedigree: 2010 MLS Cup Champions, 1997 MLS Cup Runners- Up, finished Second in the 1999 U.S. Open Cup, and 3-Time Winners of the Rocky Mountain Cup (2005, 2006, and 2013.)

Record (W-D-L:) 12-9-9 (Fifth Place in the Western Conference. The club is tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy, who is in Fourth- Place on points but is behind by 4 goals in goal differential. They are ahead of Sixth- Place Vancouver Whitecaps by 4 points. )

Supporters: Centennial 38 . Centennial 38 is a mix of three older Rapids supporters groups (Class VI,  Pid Army, and the Bulldog Supporters Group ) who decided to unite in February 2013.

Rivals: Real Salt Lake (Rocky Mountain Cup,) and F.C. Dallas.

Coach: Oscar Pareja

Top Returning Players:  DEF Marvell Wynne, DEF Drew Moor, DEF Chris Klute, DEF Shane O’Neill,  MID Martin Riveiro ,  MID Jaime Smith, and DEF/MID Bryan Mullans.

Key Additions:   Goalkeeper Clint Irwin (Free transfer,) DEF Diego Calderon (Liga de Quito-Ecuador;) MID Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo,) MID Nick LaBrocca (Chivas U.S.A.,) MID Dillon Powers (Austin Aztex-PDL,) FWD Danny Mwanga (Portland Timbers,) FWD Gabriel Torres (Zamora F.C.-Venezuela,) FWD DeShorn Brown (MLS Superdraft,) and FWD Atiba Harris (Vancouver Whitecaps.)

Key Departures: DEF Tyrone Marshall (Released,) MID Eric Avila (Chivas U.S.A.,) MID Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire,) FWD Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union,) and FWD Omar Cummings (Houston Dynamo,)

Young Players to Watch:  Brown, O’Neill, and Powers.


One of the great things about Major League Soccer is that it is one of the few leagues where every team at the start of the season has a shot to win it all. Unlike the “superior” leagues of Europe, every fan of every team in Major League Soccer should expect their team to compete for at least a playoff spot. It happened in 1997 when the expansion Chicago Fire defied the odds to win the MLS Cup. It happened last season when D.C. United made it all of the way to the Eastern Conference Finals after 4 years of ignominy. And it is happening this season with the Colorado Rapids.

While there have been many teams that have had a one-season turnaround, what makes the Rapids situation so unique is that it was unexpected. A club that had hit rock bottom last season, they essentially spent their offseason unloading veteran players, stockpiling younger players, and adding quality. By dropping the likes of Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, and Jeff Larentowicz and losing FWD Jaime Castrillion to a right knee injury the club dropped 19 goals from last season, or about 43% of their goals.

But as of today the club sits in second place in the Western Conference with a realistic shot at the Supporter’s Shield and home-field advantage in the playoffs.  Young players like Dillon Powers, DeShorn Brown, and Shane O’Neill have all stepped up this season, while veteran additions like Nick LaBrocca and Nathan Sturgis have provided solid veteran leadership and acted as the glue for a team that is punching above its weight at this point.

Oddly enough, it is the free transfer of Goalkeeper Clint Irwin which has proven to be the biggest, cost-friendly addition of all. When you watch Irwin behind the nets the first thing you notice is how confident he is. He reminds me more of Tim Howard than he does of a guy who spent his entire career playing with the Charlotte Eagles in the USL Professional Division. He actually was cut from the team, and thought of leaving the game to work on an internet startup company. But Irwin was signed by the Rapids at the start of the season and gained the starting position after the incumbent keeper, Matt Pickens, broke his arm.

Although he looked very green in his first few matches he has shown a much greater command of his box and in leading his teammates as the season has progressed. When I watched him two weeks ago playing against the Los Angeles Galaxy, I saw a man who was not afraid of playing against the likes of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. The stat line shows it too: 6 saves and 0 goals allowed against a squad that has scored 38 goals at home. He is also tied for second in the league in shutouts, and has the fourth-highest Goals Against Average (1.00) among starting keepers.

By the way if you ever get the chance, I strongly suggest that you read his opinion editorial in the Pacific Standard Magazine. You learn a lot about the struggles that the average MLS player faces and about the man himself.

While Irwin deserves a ton of credit for the team’s success, their defense has also stepped up this year. The club is tied for 2nd in Major League Soccer in goals allowed (31) and has only allowed 9 goals in the past 12 games. In comparison, their defense last season allowed in 50 goals, which was fifth-worst in the league last year. Their backline of Marvell Wynne, Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill, and Drew Moor have each started over 20 of their team’s games this season which has provided consistency for a young inexperienced keeper like Irwin. Each of them is able to make difficult clean challenges and able to move forward when necessary.

I have really been impressed with the work of their Right Back Marvell Wynne. Wynne, who for years was thought of as a starter for the U.S. Men’s National Team, seems to finally have the maturity and the discipline that he lacked earlier in his career. In both the Portland match and the match against the Whitecaps three weeks ago, he would often shadow Klute or O’Neill when an attacker like Portland Forward Diego Valeri or Vancouver Forward Camilo would have them in a difficult position. He is also a very strong defender and uses his size to create distance between the attacker and the ball.

The other defender that is worth paying attention to is Shane O’Neill. The 20-year old from Ireland has really come on the scene this year for the Rapids as a defender who can box out the other teams Forward (like he did for 70 minutes against Miguel Urriarte on Friday night,) and is able to move forward. Since O’ Neill took over the starting position in defense for Bryan Mullan, the club has had a record of 10-1-8. Before that, the club was 2-7-1.

The one thing that the club needs to be careful about is getting stretched out. Portland was able to breakdown the Colorado defense by forcing them to move off of their line and defend. This exposes them to an attacker running down the left or right and gives them an open shot. Portland Forward Diego Valeri exposed this weakness in the game’s only goal and showed the rest of the league how to beat the Rapids.

In the midfield, the club usually plays with two defensive midfielders and three attacking midfielders. Coach Oscar Pereira likes to play a 4-2-3-1 which allows for the defense to receive some assistance and for their lone attacking option (either Edson Buddle or Gabriel Torres) receive crosses in from the left and right sides. Colorado has two fast Midfielders/Forwards in Atiba Harris on the right and DeShorn Brown and the left, who are able to whip in crosses to the player in the box. In general, the club is excellent on set pieces having scored the second-most goals (8) in MLS off of set plays.

They also have a very good distributor in Dillon Powers. Powers, who was the 11th pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, has proven himself to be one of the best young midfielders in all of Major League Soccer. When I was watching him on Friday against the Timbers, I was impressed with his vision and his decision-making. You could see that he was picking his head up, surveying his options, and making passes that were precise and allowing Colorado to push the ball down the field. So many times you see young midfielders wanting to just drive the ball down the field without paying attention to better options around the pitch. Powers does not do this. He has the second most assists among rookies in MLS and has not shown a bit of regression as the season has gone on.

The one area where the club has needed some assistance is in the Forward position. The presumptive starting forward at the beginning of the season, Edson Buddle, has had difficulty staying on the field. He has played in 21 matches this season, but only started in 17 and only scored 5 goals this season. Colorado does not have problem scoring per se because before Friday’s match, the last time the Rapids had been held scoreless was in the July 7th match against D.C. United. But if you look at their results you see a lot of 2-1, 1-0, and 2-0 scorelines. But I wonder what will happen in the playoffs when they play against a team like the Los Angeles Galaxy or the Houston Dynamo who are built for the playoffs and can score at will?

The club has tried to address this problem by signing Panamanian Forward Gabriel Torres as their first Designated Player. Having watched him play this summer for Panama during World Cup  Qualifying and for the Gold Cup, he is precisely the type of player that this club needs come playoff time. Torres, the leading goal scorer in the Venezuelan Premier League last season,  and the top scorer in the Gold Cup has shown both at a club and international level that he can make his own shot, is good on set pieces, and can break down defenses with relative ease. He has yet to score a goal this season, which is understandable given that he is on a new team and chemistry takes time for strikers.  But even in the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, he was able to take the ball on the right side, drive through the defense, and take a pretty good shot. That being said, this may be a move more for the long-term. He is coming in very late in the season and it always takes time for forwards to get acclimated to the physical play in MLS If Torres can get his scoring touch back, and Buddle can move to supersub role, the Rapids will be very dangerous come playoff time.

The Rapids enter the playoff stretch  with absolutely no pressure. Very few people inside and outside of Colorado expected this team to be contending for a playoff spot, let alone the Supporter’s Shield and the MLS Cup. Playing in Denver in November will be a huge advantage for this club, and even if Torres does not pan out, they have enough attacking midfielders to keep games close.  This is a very dangerous team and could shock a few sides come November

Beer of Choice:

The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, Avery Brewing Company

On the Avery Brewing Company website there is a really amazing quote attributed to the Kaiser (not the roll, but the former leader of Germany:) “Give me a woman who loves a beer and I will conquer the world.” I would like to think that this statement also applies to one’s soccer team as well. Although I enjoy many different types of beers, fall beers are by far my favorite and Avery Brewing Company makes one of the best in their Imperial Oktoberfest. A Marzen-style beer with a bit of a malty finish, it has an incredibly crisp taste to it and a reddish color that looks quite beautiful in a pint glass. If you are drinking a beer in Colorado, you need something that is strong and that keep throughout the entire. And I am sorry but the silver bullet (a.k.a. Coors) does not cut it. At 10.4% ABV this is certainly not a wimpy beer and will keep you nice and warm if you are watching a match in 20 degree weather at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in November.


Sep 062012

It was not an easy night to be a Timbers supporter. After two victories in a row, it looked like Wednesday’s match would be an opportunity for the Timbers to get their first three match winning streak and their first road win of the season. It took one minute to see this was not going to be the Timbers night when Kosuke Kimura got absolutely torched on the wing by Tony Cascio, whose shot clanged off the post. Five minutes later, the Rapids scored when Andre Akpan got to a loose ball in the box and slammed the ball in the goal. The Rapids never looked back and the Timbers rarely threatened to even make a comeback in taking another 3-0 loss at Dick Sporting Goods Park.

Here’s a few thoughts on the match:

* Timbers defender Kosuke Kimura

This was Kimura’s worst game as a member of the Portland Timbers. To be honest, he’s played pretty poorly since joining the team and fans are getting quite a few looks at why the Colorado Rapids were willing to unload him. I’ve always liked Kimura’s pace and hustle, and I love his passion for the Timbers, but he makes too many mistakes to be an automatic write-in on the lineup card. Tonight those mistakes played a hand in all three Rapids goals. It’s time to give Ryan Kawulok at look at right back.

Check out the post-match comments from Kimura. I appreciate his candor, but am I wrong in thinking he wasn’t really mentally prepared to play tonight?

- On the return to Colorado: “The first 10 minutes I wasn’t on it. [Tony] Cascio had a chance to score a goal; he had an assist on one goal. It was an individual mistake I think. I thought we played good enough to create chances to get some points, but like I said an individual mistake let the team down. We played well in the second half; everyone came out with a really good mentality. I thought we kept the ball, and created good chances. When those chances come, we have to finish it. Otherwise, the momentum doesn’t go our way. It was a little emotional game for me. That’s how it is as a professional, so I’ve got to suck it up and I’ve got to keep moving forward.”

- On if there was any extra pressure on him tonight: “I wanted to play well. Coach told me not to be too emotional, but I got caught up in the moment a little bit. I can’t let that happen in a game. It’s just 90 minutes, but if for just one minute you lose focus, it’s just going to kill you at the professional level. I put pressure on my shoulders today, but it didn’t come out well. Like I said, it’s a professional game and you can’t fix the past, but you’ve got to try to fix the future. I think if we keep the ball like we did in the second half we can get more points the rest of the season.”

* Upgrades

I said it on Twitter earlier tonight, but I think it’s worth mentioning here as well:

rickettstweet Timbers loss puts them back where they belong; in last place

Full disclosure: I was a big Troy Perkins guy. I know he wasn’t Petr Cech and sure, he had his faults (distribution mainly), but Perkins made huge saves for this club. In 2011, I’m convinced Perkins’ play, especially the save he made to preserve the win in Chicago, was the main reason there was any talk of making the playoffs.

All that said, it’s a business and trades happen, but Wilkinson saying what he said about the trade really set up Donovan Ricketts in a bad way. Has Ricketts performed well? At times, yes. Has he made fantastic saves? Yes to that well. Is his distribution better than Perkins? Probably. Ricketts did have that 50 yard throw against Vancouver. But he’s also booted the ball from his box to the other team’s box and kicked four balls out of bounds last Friday so color me unimpressed. Have some of the things we heard from Impact fans, such as poor hands and positioning, appear to be true? Yes, I definitely think so. Does all of this add up to an upgrade? Definitely not and because Gavin Wilkinson made the statement he made, this is something that’s going to come up again and again as long as Ricketts is with the team.

* Put away the optimism

It’s time to be honest with ourselves: the Timbers stink. Cue up the Jim Mora video. This is not a playoff team and hasn’t been even close to a playoff team this entire season. The Timbers got themselves out of the Western Conference basement for a grand total of five days, only to play a stinker on Wednesday night and drop right back down. The Timbers belong in last place. Everything that has plagued the team this season (poor first touch, easy giveaways, playing kickball, man-marking in the box, set piece defense… I can go on) happened tonight. It was a terrible performance. In a league with as much parity as MLS, it’s hard to believe that the Timbers can’t even get a fluke win on the road.

Game Stats:

Goals by Half                 1          2          F
Portland Timbers            0          0          0
Colorado Rapids            2          1          3

Scoring Summary
COL: Akpan (Cascio, Moor), 6
COL: Cascio (Castrillón), 27
COL: Castrillón (Moor, Hill), 86

Misconduct Summary
COL: Zapata (Caution), 14
POR: Chara (Caution), 42
COL: Thomas (Caution), 46
POR: Smith (Caution), 74
POR: Jewsbury (Caution), 83

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Kimura, D Mosquera, D Horst, D Smith, M Nagbe, M Jewsbury ©, M Chara, F Zizzo (Mwanga, 77), F Dike (Boyd, 67), F Songo’o (Fucito, 82)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Brunner, D Kawulok, M Alexander

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Dike, Zizzo, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Chara, 1); FOULS: 14 (Horst, Jewsbury, 3) OFFSIDES: 7; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3

COL: GK Pickens, D Moor ©, D Wynne, D Marshall, D Zapata, M Thomas, M Larentowicz (O’Neill, 86), M Castrillón, M Cascio (Mullan, 81), M Rivero (Hill, 73), F Akpan

Substitutes Not Used: GK Ceus, D Wahl, M Smith, F Casey

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Cascio, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Cascio, 2); FOULS: 12 (Akpan, Castrillón, Rivero, Zapata, 2) OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 1

Checking off the next box: A win on the road

 Posted by on September 5, 2012 at 1:42 am  MLS, Portland Timbers
Sep 052012

timbersvrapidssept5 300x173 Checking off the next box: A win on the road

No, this isn’t the Portland Timbers version of Groundhog Day. Thanks to the unbalanced schedule format, we get a third and thankfully final match of the season between the Portland Timbers (7-13-6, 27 points) and Colorado Rapids (8-17-2, 26 points).

The Timbers hope to extend their two game winning streak as well as “check off another box” by getting their first road win of the season on Wednesday against the Rapids.

Here’s a few thoughts on Wednesday’s match:

* Going with the hot hands

No matter what your feelings on Gavin Wilkinson are, there’s no denying the Timbers are playing much better over the last 3-4 weeks. Part of that improvement can definitely be attributed to some consistency in the Timbers starting XI. Sal Zizzo and Franck Songo’o have put their injury issues behind them and are playing their best soccer as a Timbers player. Bright Dike finally got a shot in the lineup and has rewarded Wilkinson’s trust with 2 goals in 3 matches. David Horst and Hanyer Mosquera played their best match as a centerback pairing on Saturday as well. Steven Smith has performed better as late as well and even won MLS Save of the Week. Most of all, Darlington Nagbe has begun to show signs of becoming an MLS star and one of the league’s most dominant players. His recent form even inspired an article on the MLS website about his potential as the #8 on the U.S Men’s National Team.

Because of all of this, I certainly expect we’ll see the same lineup again on Wednesday:

probablestartingxivcolorado Checking off the next box: A win on the road

* A Tale of Two Teams

Usually a subtitle like the one above would indicate that I’m going to write about the Timbers road woes. However, while the Timbers are still the only team this season winless on the road, I’m actually thinking more about how the Timbers and the Rapids seem to be heading in different directions.

Since defeating the Timbers 3-0 on June 30th, the Colorado Rapids have gone 1-9-1. Over that same period, the Timbers have gone 3-6-2 and 2-4-2 under Gavin Wilkinson. While it’s not much better, the Timbers have shown improvement since going to a more possession style of play. This may be the Timbers best chance to win an away match this season. If recent form holds true, it may just happen.

Pre-match notes:

INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kamani Hill (L quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle soreness) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Kalif Alhassan (L patellar tendinitis); GK Jake Gleeson (R groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Omar Cummings (Jamaica) … POR: Lovel Palmer (Jamaica); Steve Purdy (El Salvador); Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica)


SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Kosuke Kimura … COL: Jaime Castrillon, Jeff Larentowicz, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Martin Rivero

Match Preview:

My prediction:

I think the Timbers check off more boxes on Wednesday night by getting their first road win and their first three match winning streak with a 2-1 victory over the Rapids.

Sep 012012

The Portland Timbers (7-13-6, 27 points) got a rare clean sheet as well as their first ever win over the Colorado Rapids (8-17-2, 26 points) to get themselves out of the Western Conference basement.

Here’s my three quick thoughts about Friday night’s match:

* Bright Dike

 Three thoughts on the Timbers 1 0 victory over the Rapids

(August 30, 2012 – Source: Tom Hauck/Getty Images North America)

Dike continues to legitimize his place in the starting eleven with not only his second goal in three starts but with all around solid play. In the preseason, owner Merritt Paulson said there were big plans for Dike this season. However, those plans didn’t really come to fruition as Dike couldn’t even crack the 18 for months. When Dike was loaned out to the Los Angeles Blues, count me as one person who was disappointed but also a bit worried that might be the last of Dike we’d see in the Rose City. But Dike tore up the USL Pro (3rd division) winning player of the week honors twice as well as scoring six goals.

A lot of credit should go to the Timbers Front Office on making the decision to loan out Dike. As Shawn Francis from @theoffsiderules tweeted last night:

I’d like to go on record: Bright Dike’s recent form makes a case for loaning out young #MLS players to lower divisions

Now back with the first team, Dike is making the most of his opportunity.

* Hanyer Mosquera

Mosquera was an absolute beast last night and his play represented a key moment in the season. Mosquera played like he was on a mission to will the defense to that clean sheet last night. There was a moment in the closing minutes last night where Mosquera sprinted 25 yards to get to a ball to head it out of bounds. For me, that was one of those moments in a season, where you see a player’s drive and will to win. For me, it’s a statement as well that Mosquera is easily captain material. Mosquera was not going to let the defense allow a late goal last night. Four weeks ago, I think the Timbers might have found a way to give up a call and we’d be talking today about just getting a point. Mosquera represented the progress this team has made in the last month.

* Tweet of the night

@jrodius from the Best Soccer Show tweeted this last night:

“Porter is inheriting a hell of a piece of coal that just needs pressure and time. Could be the diamond of MLS soon.”

Pretty interesting right? I sure hope that plays out to be true.


Gavin Wilkinson on the play of the back four:

“[Colorado] had some chances, but we had some phenomenal chances we should have capitalized on. [David] Horst and [Hanyer] Mosquera, I thought were first class. I think they challenged for everything, their understanding was fantastic, they played with urgency. They played with a lot of maturity. I think the second half, for me, was definitely not the way we wanted to play. It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win, and we’ve kept challenging the group to play with maturity and find a way to win. It was a good second half in many, many ways, and those two, I think, led by example.”


Portland Timbers (7-13-6, 27pts) vs. Colorado Rapids (8-17-2, 26pts)
Aug. 31, 2012 – JELD-WEN Field

Goals by Half 1 2 F
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
Portland Timbers 1 0 1

Scoring Summary
POR: Dike (Zizzo, Nagbe), 45

Misconduct Summary
POR: Smith (Caution), 30
COL: Larentowicz (Caution), 70
COL: Wahl (Caution), 87

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Kimura, D Mosquera, D Horst, D Smith, M Nagbe (Alexander, 75), M Jewsbury ©, M Chara, F Zizzo, F Dike (Boyd, 88), F Songo’o (Wallace, 78)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Danso, F Fucito, F Mwanga

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Songo’o, Zizzo, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Dike, Jewsbury, Songo’o, 1); FOULS: 9 (Chara, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4

COL: GK Pickens, D Moor ©, D Wahl, D Wynne, D Marshall, M Larentowicz, M Thomas, M Cascio (Castrillon, 77), M Mullan (Cummings, 46), M Rivero, F Casey (Akpan, 67)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Ceus, D Palguta, M Nane, M Thompson

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Rivero, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Rivero, 2); FOULS: 10 (Thomas, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 2

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Daniel Radford
Attendance: 20, 438
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees


Aug 312012

The Portland Timbers (6-13-6, 24 points) are looking for payback against the Colorado Rapids (8-16-2, 26 points), a team they’ve never defeated since joining MLS and a team which pummeled them 3-0 back in late June. A win Friday could also catapult the Timbers out of last place in the Western Conference and put the Rapids into the basement.

 Portland looks for revenge at home against the Rapids

Credit: Oregon Live (

- Diego Chara will be back after missing Saturday’s match with a yellow card accumulation suspension. This is excellent news but where does it leave Eric Alexander? It’s disappointing to see Alexander continue to be the odd man out in this lineup. With a team-leading six assists on the year, it’s pretty clear he needs to be out on the pitch. I thought he played one of his best matches of the season on Saturday. I think it’d be tough to sit him down after playing so well. So the question has to be asked: if Alexander starts who sits? For me it would have to be Jack Jewsbury. Ironically, Jewsbury has played pretty well over the last three matches so he’s made a case to stay in the lineup as well. I’d love to see Gavin Wilkinson have the guts to sit Jewsbury and start Alexander. It’s the one lineup tweak we haven’t seen, and it would be very interesting to see how that lineup would play out.

- As I mentioned in the introduction, the Timbers haven’t beaten Colorado since coming into MLS. Not only that, but the Timbers have only scored  one goal in those three matches, while the Rapids have scored seven. The Rapids are reeling right now while the Timbers actually look to be playing with confidence. We’ll see if that confidence can turn into a second straight victory for the Timbers.

- Speaking of confidence, is there any player in MLS right now playing with more confidence than Darlington Nagbe? After his goal on Saturday, I saw Nagbe walk towards the center circle. As he got close to the center, he turned around and raised his arms and clapped and pumped his fists in the direction of the Timbers Army. I’m not sure I ever saw anything like that from Nagbe before. Sure, he’s celebrated after goals before, but this seemed different in a way. There was almost a bit of a swagger to Nagbe, and I liked it. Earlier this season, I thought Nagbe had truly arrived. Then he went 19 matches without scoring a goal, and I was as critical of Nagbe as anybody. Now, I hope his recent resurgence marks a true coming out party into MLS.

Pre-Game Notes:

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 140 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 32; pens: 44

INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Kalif Alhassan (L patellar tendinitis); GK Jake Gleeson (R groin strain) … COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kamani Hill (L quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle soreness)

- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Steven Smith, Kosuke Kimura … COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Martin Rivero, Tyson Wahl

ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Rapids 3 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT PORTLAND (1 meeting): Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Rapids 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/5: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT (NBC SN)

Video Preview:

My prediction:

Timbers get their 2nd victory in a row. 3-1 over the Rapids.

Jul 022012
timbersrapids Three quick thoughts on the Timbers Rapids debacle
A Game of Moans (credit: @xanderkale for the title
and Marc Piscotty/Getty Images North America for the photo)

So yeah, that really did happen last night. It feels like a hangover this morning to just think about the Timbers 3-0 loss to the Rapids on Saturday night.

For me, the Colorado match was as big as the Seattle one. It presented the Timbers a real opportunity to kick off a positive streak in a seriously difficult stage of the schedule.

My three quick thoughts on the match inspired by last night’s meme of Timbers movies…

1.) Nagbe, Where Art Thou? - Earlier this season, I wrote and tweeted about believing Darlington Nagbe could be the answer for the Timbers as an attacking center mid. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Since moving to that position, Nagbe has literally disappeared from the attack and what looked to be a promising sophomore season for Nagbe has turned into bitter disappointment.

2.) Flatliners (credit to: @PDXwilly for the movie title). I can’t say it any plainer than this. The Timbers showed no heart, no pulse and no signs of life. I honestly thought the Timbers turned a corner last Sunday and proved to all the fans they had all of the above. It’s time to just flat out admit that this team is simply poor quality.

3.) Groundhog Day (credit to: @MattMakara, @SeanWeiss for the movie title). Here’s a few quotes from Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury below. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard this all before. Pick any of his quotes after a loss. It’s pretty much verbatim, and in my opinion, it’s not good enough from a team’s captain.

On the opening 30 minutes:
“I thought that we came out slow from the get-go. We were second to everything tonight. Bottom line, it wasn’t good enough. Now we’ve got to pick our heads up, we’ve got a quick turnaround, which for us I think is a good thing. Look back on this one; it’s not a good memory. It’s one of those things where now we’ve got to get back against a tough team on Tuesday, in San Jose and pick our heads up and move on.”

On struggling to get goals on the road:
“We’ve been trying to put our finger on it for a while, what exactly it is to get us going. We’ve tried a lot of different things. I think it’s just a matter of us, as a group, coming together and saying hey, it’s not good enough. We’re a better team than we are playing on the road. It can’t just be at home when the crowd is behind us, and it is easy in that sense. We’ve got to be able to create our own energy on the field whether it’s home or away.”

More tomorrow with a preview of Tuesday’s home match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Timbers-Rapids: Pre-Game Thoughts

 Posted by on July 1, 2012 at 12:28 am  MLS, Portland Timbers
Jul 012012

The Portland Timbers (4-6-4, 16 points) travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids (6-8-1, 19 points) for a Saturday evening matchup (6 p.m. PST) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

3 Quick Thoughts:
1.) This is not your usual road test. It’s no secret that the Timbers have struggles on the road, but tonight’s match presents even more than its usual challenges. Game time temperature is expected to be in the mid-90s and as always, there’s the mile high altitude to contend with as well.

2.) Can the Timbers build on last week’s win? Last week’s win over the neighbors to the north was huge in terms of confidence. A positive result today can help set the Timbers up for a good run in possibly the most difficult stretch of schedule of the season.

3.) Real talk. Timbers fans had an entire week to savor last Sunday’s monumental victory, but it’s time to get back to work. The win over their northern neighbors didn’t erase the issues the Timbers still have to address: man marking in the box, 2nd half tactics, Nagbe’s disappearing act and more. Tonight’s match will tell us whether Sunday’s victory was an aberration or if there’s a chance the Timbers can get back into the Western Conference playoff race.

GK Troy Perkins
DEF Jack Jewsbury (RB), Futty Danso (CB), David Horst (CB), Steven Smith (LB)
MF Sal Zizzo (LM), Diego Chara (DCM), Darlington Nagbe (CM), Franck Songo’o (RM)
FW Mike Fucito, Kris Boyd

GK Joe Bendik
DEF Steve Purdy, Mike Chabala
D/M Rodney Wallace
MF Eric Alexander, Brent Richards
FW Danny Mwanga


COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); PROBABLE: DF Kosuke Kimura (L foot contusion); MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain)
PORTLAND TIMBERS — OUT: DF Eric Brunner (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Kalif Alhassan (L hamstring soreness)


SUSPENDED: POR: Lovel Palmer (through June 30); Hanyer Mosquera (through July 3)

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Jeff Larentowicz, Tyrone Marshall … POR: Kris Boyd, Lovel Palmer, Jack Jewsbury

Prediction: I honestly don’t know what to expect tonight. The Timbers have been dreadful on the road, but the Rapids haven’t exactly been tearing it up at home either. Still, the Timbers are facing multiple foes tonight and will have to play a fantastic match just to come away with a point. I’m going to believe beyond reason and think the Timbers come away with a point in a 1-1 draw.

May 272012

Just when we thought we figured out the ideal attacking formation on the field the defensive back-line, which we are very proud of, decided to have a reckless night.

Besides the score, I am pleased of our overall performance last night. I am pleased to see how effective can this midfield be when Felipe does not have to be a box-to-box midfielder and Bernier is on the field complementing. It reminded us the first 5 games of the season when the only good thing was midfield transition.

The best combination is having Warner as a staying-home midfielder, Felipe as a trequartista and Bernier free on the field filling the holes of these two. It just gave the best results showcasing the Montrealer at his best. I’m very happy of Patrice performance last night.

The magic 4-2-3-1 makes ball possession and creative attacking easier and it is even more effective when you have the players to make it happen, it has been more than a month since I have been proposing this formation. It took us 13 games to find the right players for the right positions, I honestly loved the starter eleven last night, but since they are humans many things can go wrong besides the tactics.

Matteo Ferrari decided to play a very poor game in Denver. He was caught out of position many times, being the second goal a good example. The Italian wasn’t bight with the ball on his feet either turning the ball over several occasions. I realized I was right when he was the first substitution.

AkpanFerrariMoor Many things can go wrong besides tactics. Colorado 3 Montreal 2.
Matteo Ferrari. Courtesy of

Greg Sutton on the 3rd goal. Simple, he looked like he was at Claude Robillard warming up before the start of the training. Shameful.

On the other hand, Sanna Nyassi decided to shine all night on the right flank, with his limitations specially finishing but even then his shots did not go very wide. He was quick and created spaces making what Justin Mapp has been doing so far and moreover what Lamar Neagle has been incapable of doing previous matches.

Last but not least, I am not a big fan of blame the referees for our losses but these guys in grey didn’t do a good job last night. Their bad decisions week in and week out are the real downside of the MLS and need to be addressed ASAP.

Another frustrating night for Impact fans, but the future still looks bright having more games left at home than away, with Marco Di Vaio arriving tonight and a Saputo Stadium ready to fit the right crowd to rock the road to the playoffs.

See you guys later.