At 12 and counting, DPs make mark during busy summer of acquisitions
In what is already the busiest summer signing period in MLS history, Thierry Henry immediately showed his worth to the New York Red Bulls in his MLS debut, combining with fellow Designated Player Juan Pablo Angel for both goals in a 2-2 draw at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. Henry was not the only Designated Player making headlines over the weekend – Landon Donovan scored goals No. 100 and 101 of his league career in the LA Galaxy’s 3-2 home loss to the Chicago Fire.
Here’s a look at the MLS career marks of the league’s current Designated Players:
Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls (signed 2007): 90 GP, 88 GS, 56 G, 12 A
David Beckham, LA Galaxy (signed 2007): 41 GP, 38 GS, 7 G, 15 A
Julian de Guzman, Toronto FC (signed 2009): 19 GP, 15 GS, 0 G, 2 A
Freddie Ljungberg, Chicago Fire (signed 2009): 38 GP, 35 GS, 2 G, 12 A
Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy (since 2010): 221 GS, 205 GP, 101 G, 86 A
Branko Boskovic, D.C. United (signed 2010): 3 GP, 1 GS
Mista [Miguel Angel Ferrer Martinez], Toronto FC (signed 2010): 2 GP, 1 GS
Blaise Nkufo, Seattle Sounders (signed 2010): 2 GP, 2 GS
Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls (signed 2010): 1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 2 A
Nery Castillo, Chicago Fire (signed 2010): yet to make debut
Alvaro Fernandez, Seattle Sounders (signed 2010): 1 GP, 0 GS
Rafael Marquez, New York Red Bulls (signed 2010): yet to make debut
The number of Designated Players on the rosters of MLS clubs has increased dramatically in 2010:
Year: Total DPs
* As of 8/3/10, 13 DPs had appeared on MLS rosters this season, 12 of which are active (Luis Angel Landin is no longer in MLS).
MLS Week 18 rewind
After a brief interlude for the 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, league play resumed with a full schedule. Thierry Henry made a notable debut, but the Houston Dynamo scored a late goal for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls. Real Salt Lake extended their home unbeaten streak to 20 games with a 3-0 win against D.C. United. The Chicago Fire defeated the league-leading LA Galaxy, 3-2 at The Home Depot Center. The Kansas City Wizards and Chivas USA both continued recent turnarounds with wins against Toronto FC and Columbus Crew, respectively. For all the highlights of Week 18, click here.
SuperLiga semifinals set for midweek
The New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo continue on their collision course for a second SuperLiga final appearance in three years – but with big tests in the way in this week’s semifinals.
The Revolution – who have never lost to a Mexican club in SuperLiga competition and have reached the SuperLiga semifinals three years running – will play host to Puebla FC on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. The Dynamo meet Monarcas Morelia on Thursday at Robertson Stadium.
The Revolution defeated the Dynamo in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes in the 2008 SuperLiga final, the only time an MLS team has won the competition in three tries. This year’s final is set for the week of Aug. 23.
CONCACAF Champions League second legs
Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC put their slim margins on the line with tricky trips to face Central American competition in the second legs of their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series this week.
Toronto FC will try and make their one-goal margin stand up when they face CD Motagua of Honduras in Tegucigalpa on Tuesday. Sounders FC will also try and protect a one-goal when they play at AD Isidro Metapan in El Salvador on Wednesday. The LA Galaxy will have a three-goal deficit to try and overturn when they meet Puerto Rico Islanders in Bayamon on Tuesday.
FC Dallas hosts Inter Milan; LA Galaxy take on Real Madrid
This week MLS teams face some of the world’s best players in two of the highest-profile friendly matches of the summer. On Thursday, FC Dallas will meet European champions Inter Milan at Pizza Hut Park, then on Saturday, the LA Galaxy will take on Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl.
Under new boss Rafael Benitez, Inter started their North American tour with a win against Manchester City in Baltimore last weekend. They play Panathinaikos of Greece on Tuesday in Toronto.
Former Inter boss Jose Mourinho moved to Real Madrid during the summer, and he will have three of Spain’s World Cup winners — Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso — in his squad for the game against the Galaxy.
“The result was a bit bad for us because of the late goal. I think I played well with Juan Pablo.”
— Thierry Henry, after setting up both goals in New York’s 2-2 draw with Houston
“I’m certainly proud of it because not a lot of players do that. But I wish that it would have come in a better manner.”
— LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, after scoring his 100th and 101st MLS regular-season goals.
“The thing about this league is that you have so much parity. You get yourselves on a good run, you shoot up the table, regardless of where your position is.”
— Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller after his team’s third consecutive win, 1-0 at San Jose
“It was a massive game for us, and we just lay down and died, to be honest.”
— San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop
Previewing Week 19: August 5-8, 2010 (all times PT)
Thursday, August 5
Columbus Crew at Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. (ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / ESPN360.com)
* The Crew saw their two-game winning streak (both by shutout) come to a sudden end in the 3-1 loss to Chivas USA, as an injury to Eddie Gaven after just 13 minutes sent the Crew into a hole from which they could not recover.
* Both of Union’s two newest reinforcements saw action against New England. Eduardo Coudet started and played 83 minutes, while Justin Mapp was a second-half substitute.
* The game concludes a four-game homestand at PPL Park for Philadelphia. Union recorded a win, a draw and a loss in the first three.
Saturday, August 7
Chivas USA at Toronto FC, 1 p.m. (TeleFutura)
* All three goalscorers in the 3-1 victory against Columbus are 23 years of age or younger: Justin Braun (23), Blair Gavin (21) and Carlos Borja (22).
* Justin Braun has five goals in his last eight games after scoring against Columbus, and seven goals for the season.
* Since the start of June, Toronto FC have scored just four goals in eight games in all competitions, and haven’t scored more than one. TFC has scored more than one goal just once in their past 13 games overall, a 3-1 victory against San Jose at BMO Field on May 29.
* The game marks the first appearance of Toronto FC head coach Preki against his former club. Preki guided Chivas USA to a 40-29-21 regular season record and three MLS Cup Playoffs appearances from 2007-09.
D.C. United at New England Revolution, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* Revolution midfielder Marko Perovic scored for the second consecutive league game directly from a free kick and for the third time this season. The Revolution have scored five goals in their last five games in all competitions – Perovic has four. “It’s difficult for the goalkeeper,” Perovic said. “The Jabulani ball, it’s difficult.”
* The Revolution conceded their first goal in 390 minutes in the 1-1 draw vs. Philadelphia, their first goal allowed in any game since July 2, when they lost 5-0 to Real Salt Lake.
* Since winning their only road game of the season – a 3-2 win at Seattle on June 10 – United have gone winless in six league games and have now lost three in a row. D.C. has scored just twice in that six-game stretch and has scored a league-low 12 goals in 18 MLS games.
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season. New England won 2-0 at RFK Stadium on April 3, their first league win in the nation’s capital since 2006.
* United have not won in Foxborough in three years. Their last victory at Gillette Stadium came Aug. 5, 2007, a 3-0 victory.
Real Salt Lake at Kansas City Wizards, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The Wizards now have two wins and a draw in their last three regular-season games – with a friendly win against Manchester United also in the stretch. “I think we’ve figured out what was wrong and we’ve kind of steadied the ship,” Jimmy Conrad said. “We have some momentum. To be honest, I think we’ve deserved a little bit of good luck.”
* Nelson Gonzalez made his MLS debut, coming on in the 88th minute, and scored his first MLS goal in stoppage time. “It was an amazing goal,” Will Johnson said. “The finish is just world class. We see it all the time in practice. He has a wicked left foot.”
* Gonzalez officially became the fifth player in MLS history to score within two minutes of coming on for his league debut – the fastest in MLS history – and the second this season, after Leandre Griffit did it for Columbus a week earlier.
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season, after RSL claimed a 4-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29.
San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* The Earthquakes saw their four-game unbeaten run since the World Cup break come to an end in the 1-0 home loss to Seattle.
* The Rapids have now gone winless in seven games after the 1-1 draw with FC Dallas and scored a total of just four goals in five games in July. Their last win concluded a stretch of three consecutive victories by shutout, May 15-June 5.
* Striker Conor Casey missed his first minutes of the season for the Rapids last weekend, unable to play after suffering lingering symptoms from a blow to the head that occurred the week before in Seattle.
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A Chris Wondolowski goal in the 33rd minute was the only goal in an Earthquakes win May 1. Colorado last defeated San Jose on April 24, 2004; the Earthquakes are unbeaten in their 12 meetings all-time with the Rapids, including all five (2-0-3) since the club’s return to the league in 2008.
Sunday, August 8
Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas, 4 p.m. (FSC / FSE)
* FC Dallas extended their unbeaten run to seven games – with their league-leading ninth draw of the season – in the 1-1 tie with Colorado.
* Before putting the regular-season streak back on the line, FCD will take on European champions Inter Milan at Pizza Hut Park on Thursday evening.
* It’s the first road game for Union since a 1-1 draw at Chivas USA on July 3. That was the second time they took points away from home in nine games this season, the first a 3-2 win at Houston on May 29.
* Philadelphia Union midfielder Shea Salinas returns to his home state. Salinas attended nearby Grapevine High School and played for PDL team Dallas-Fort Worth Tornados during his college years.
New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire, 6 p.m. (ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / ESPN360.com)
* With the signing of Rafael Marquez by the Red Bulls as their third Designated Player, there could be five DPs on the field together for the New York-Chicago match: Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry and Marquez (New York) and Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg (Chicago).
* Angel scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season against Houston – set up for both by Henry. Angel has scored in double-digits now in each of his four seasons in the league, with 56 goals in 89 career MLS games.
* Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made his MLS debut in the 3-2 win against the LA Galaxy and made four saves, including a game-saving stop on Alan Gordon late in the contest. He made his professional debut during SuperLiga.
* The teams faced off in the season opener in the first MLS game at Red Bull Arena, Joel Lindpere’s 40th-minute goal giving New York a 1-0 victory on March 27.
Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick package)
* Both teams will be coming off international tests at midweek, with the Dynamo playing host to Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia in a SuperLiga semifinal, and Sounders FC traveling to El Salvador to face Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League.
* Fredy Montero continued his strong form, getting the only goal in the weekend win at San Jose. Montero has four goals and five assists in the past eight league games, and also scored Sounders FC’s lone goal in their Champions League win against Metapan.
* Freddie Ljungberg, dealt to Chicago before the weekend, had played his last game for the club on July 4 in a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. Sounders FC have won three of the four MLS games since, with one draw.
* It will be a homecoming of sorts for three Houston Dynamo players, returning to where they spent their collegiate years. Defender Mike Chabala attended the University of Washington in Seattle, striker Cam Weaver played two years at Seattle University, and forward Brian Ching played college soccer at Gonzaga University in Spokane.