Eight on Pace for MLS Cup Playoffs
Most MLS clubs have completed one third of their 2010 regular season schedule. If teams were to finish on October 24 in the same order as the current standings, the opening matchups of the MLS Cup Playoffs would be:
— Columbus Crew vs. Colorado Rapids
— LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo
— Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls
— Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes
The good news for the eight clubs currently below the postseason line is that two-thirds of the season remains to be played. The League-wide, two-week break for the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins on June 10, after the D.C. United at Seattle Sounders FC match (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2/Deportes/ESPN3.com).
MLS Week 10 rewind
The Los Angeles Galaxy won the battle of the unbeatens, escaping Crew Stadium with a 2-0 victory and extending their season-opening undefeated run to 11 games. Real Salt Lake extended their winning streak to a club-record five games with a 4-1 win against Kansas City, Toronto FC stayed hot with an impressive win at San Jose, and Philadelphia Union were triumphant for the second time in club history, winning at Houston. D.C. United and the New England Revolution stopped lengthy skids with home victories. For all the highlights of Week 10, click here.
Big day for Philadelphia
Saturday was a day that denizens of the City of Brotherly Love will not soon forget. In the afternoon, a record crowd of 55,407 packed Lincoln Financial Field for the U.S. national team’s 2-1 victory against Turkey in its send-off game for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“It comes at a great time,” U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said. “Whenever a new team comes into the league – the Philadelphia Union – and when there’s such a good initial response from the fans in this area towards the team, I think it’s a great fit when we have a chance to come and show our appreciation for the soccer fans in this area. It was perfect in that regard.”
Later, Philadelphia Union won a road game for the first time in club history — at Houston. And Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history. All that was left was a win for the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals; alas, the Flyers lost 6-5 to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“The only thing we care about is the score. Take the three points and I’m out of town real fast. I’m not looking back. You can make whatever you want out of the rest of the stuff.”
— Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, after the 2-0 win against the Columbus Crew
“That was probably the most dominant game we’ve had since I’ve been here, except maybe that New England game a couple years ago. From the second minute of the game we rocked it, but we didn’t quite click. It happens.”
— Columbus Crew defender Andy Iro
“Unfortunately, there’s still a game to be played after that. So, we just spoke at halftime that, you know, ‘Let’s get out and make sure we’re doing this for Preston.’ And that’s what they did.”
— New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol, about goalkeeper Preston Burpo, whose leg was broken in a collision with Dane Richards during his team’s 3-2 victory against New York
“It’s amazing what a stadium can do, what new coaches can do, and really, what you can do with a whole makeup of players that want to win. I’ve seen it from the bad times, and now the good, so it’s good to see where we’re at and where we can be. Things are good for Real Salt Lake.”
— RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, to the Deseret News
“It was a phenomenal goal. I mean, Conor shouldn’t even have been here. He should have been with the U.S. team going to the World Cup.”
— Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, to the Seattle Times, after Casey’s chip was the lone goal in Colorado
Previewing Week 11: June 2-5, 2010 (all times ET)
Wednesday, June 2
Houston Dynamo at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* It’s now 10 games for the Dynamo following a victory with a loss, something the Dynamo consider “embarrassing.” They have not repeated results in any of their 11 games this season.
* After returning from the U.S. national team’s pre-World Cup camp, it took Brian Ching all of seven minutes to score a goal. He came on as a halftime substitute against Philadelphia, and scored’s Houston’s first in the 52nd minute.
* The Red Bulls have now lost four consecutive league games after five wins in their first six to open the season, but recently defeated Colorado in U.S. Open Cup play and Juventus of Italy in a friendly.
* The Red Bulls are unbeaten all-time at home against the Dynamo. New York has won twice and the teams have played to two draws in four league meetings; they also played to a draw in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
* The Dynamo have now lost three games at Robertson Stadium this season, after losing just two total over the last two seasons.
Columbus Crew at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The Crew saw their 10-game undefeated streak end in a 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy – who extended their season-opening unbeaten run to 13 games. The Crew outshot LA, 21-3 and had 15-0 advantage in corner kicks.
* Coming off four consecutive shutouts, the Earthquakes conceded three goals in a “flat” home loss to Toronto FC. It was already the third time this season they’ve allowed three goals.
* The Crew have won on their last two visits to take on San Jose. Last year’s 3-0 victory came in the first MLS game played at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
Saturday, June 5
Kansas City Wizards at Toronto FC, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* Toronto FC saw their shutout streak in all competitions snapped at 485 minutes when they conceded their lone goal at San Jose. But the Reds extended their unbeaten streak to six games (four in MLS, two in the Canadian Championship); the last TFC loss came May 1 at Real Salt Lake.
* Dwayne De Rosario scored two goals against San Jose, his first league goals since May 1. Named MLS Player of the Week, he now has eight goals this season, one behind LA’s Edson Buddle for the lead in the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot.
* The Wizards saw their winless streak extended to seven games in the loss to Real Salt Lake, all coming after back-to-back wins to start the season.
* Toronto FC won both meetings between the teams a year ago. The Reds have won three of the last five meetings all-time, with one draw.
Real Salt Lake at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The teams will meet Wednesday night at RFK Stadium in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game, with the winner receiving the final available MLS berth in the third round of the tournament proper.
* Real are now riding a club-record five-game winning streak in league play. The win against Kansas City also extended their Rio Tinto Stadium undefeated streak to 15 games in league and cup play.
* United pointed to their midweek friendly victory against AC Milan as a jumping-off point toward the second league win of the season. Andy Najar’s opening goal – the first MLS goal for the youth academy product – stopped United’s goalless drought at 352 minutes, six shy of the club record.
* Real Salt Lake have never won at RFK Stadium. In five all-time meetings with United, D.C. has won three with two draws, including a scoreless battle in Washington last season.
Chivas USA at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. (FSC / FSE)
* Chivas USA have now given up last-minute game-winning goals in three consecutive matches, and two have come on penalty kicks. After Guillermo Barros Schelotto converted a 90th-minute penalty in a 1-0 loss to Columbus on May 15, Real Salt Lake scored a late winner the following weekend at The Home Depot Center.
* Goalkeeper Zach Thornton was not credited with the loss on Saturday – his foul and subsequent red card set up the winning penalty kick. As Chivas had used all three available substitutes, defender Dario Delgado took the gloves and was beaten for the game-winning spot kick.
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season, after Chivas USA defeated New York 2-0 on April 10 at The Home Depot Center.
Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. (Galavision)
* The Galaxy extended their shutout streak to 456 minutes, the longest in MLS this season, and the second-longest in club history. The club record is within their sights: 521 minutes, set June 17-July 22, 2006.
* The trip to LA concludes a difficult travel week for the Dynamo, which will see them play on both coasts in a four-day span.
* Rookie Michael Stephens scored his first professional goal to send the Galaxy on their way in the win against previously unbeaten Columbus. Stephens has made eight consecutive starts, playing the entire match in each contest in midfield for the Galaxy, who have had the MLS Rookie of the Year each of the last two seasons.
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A pair of goals from Edson Buddle gave the Galaxy a 2-0 win April 10 at Robertson Stadium.
Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* Danny Mwanga was once again the hero for Philadelphia Union, scoring the goal that gave the club its second win ever. It’s the second consecutive week the 2010 No. 1 overall pick scored in stoppage time; his goal the week before gave Union a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
* With two more road games ahead before the opening of PPL Park, the win in Houston gave Union the first road points in club history. They had lost all five previous away matches.
* Union team manager Peter Nowak will be returning to the club where he first made his mark in MLS – captaining the Fire to the MLS Cup title in their inaugural season in 1998. While in charge of D.C. United, Nowak had a 4-6-2 record against his former team.
San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The Earthquakes have not defeated Dallas since Sept. 3, 2005, a 2-0 victory at Pizza Hut Park. The teams they played to four consecutive draws before FCD won 2-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium last Oct. 7.
* Coming off of what coach Schellas Hyndman called the “worst performance” in his time with the club, FC Dallas played to a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire – their sixth draw in 10 outings this season.
* Arturo Alvarez came on as a halftime substitute against Toronto FC on Saturday, his first MLS appearance since April 10. It’s just in time to face his former team: Alvarez spent 2005-08 with Dallas, making 86 appearances.
New England Revolution at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The Revolution went into the New York match without any of their three central defenders available. Pat Phelan and Joseph Niouky – both of whom began the season as starting central midfielders – filled the center of Steve Nicol’s back four.
* The Revolution’s injury woes got even worse when goalkeeper Preston Burpo suffered a fractured right leg in a collision late in the first half. Substitute Bobby Shuttlesworth was credited with the victory against New York in his MLS debut.
* Sounders FC were shut out for the fourth time in the last six games in the loss at Colorado. Their nine goals on the season are tied for second-fewest in MLS, along with Kansas City ahead of only D.C. United (7).
* With Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the disabled list, Jeff Parke took his place in central defense for Sounders FC. It was his first MLS game since October 2008, when he played for the New York Red Bulls.
* Brothers Sainey (New England) and Sanna (Seattle) Nyassi will face each other for just the third time when the teams meet at Qwest Field – but the Gambian twins have yet to be on the field at the same time. Sainey started for the Revolution in both meetings against Sounders FC (both New England victories) while Sanna came on as a substitute – after Sainey had left the field.
Columbus Crew at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* In his first match after not being included in the U.S. national team’s pre-World Cup camp, Conor Casey scored the game’s lone goal in Colorado’s win against Seattle. It was Casey’s fourth goal of the season, his first since April 18 and his first this season from open play.
* The Rapids last defeated Columbus on April 8, 2006, a 3-1 win at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Crew have won four of the seven meetings since – including the last two at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – with three draws.
* The game in Colorado concludes a two-game Western road swing for the Crew, beginning with the Wednesday contest at San Jose. The Crew began the season with draws in their first two games away from Crew Stadium, then won twice in four days on the road at New York and Kansas City, May 20-23.