Monday MLS Wrap

Yeah, I know it’s not exactly Monday, but I’m not changing the name based on that fact alone… By the way, my weekly Premier League Wrap is also live at The FA Daily.

Saturday, August 28 – FC Dallas 0, Columbus Crew 0

In a relatively even affair, two of the league’s best sides fought to a 0-0 draw at Crew Stadium. FCD is now undefeated over their last 12 games, and broke the record held by the Crew and the Fire for most consecutive road matches without a loss, sitting at 3-0-7 over their past 10 away games. Columbus held a 12-11 edge in shots, and both sides put two attempts on target.

Saturday, August 28 – Real Salt Lake 0, Toronto FC 0

In a much more entertaining scoreless draw, Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake were each thwarted by some outstanding saves and the ever-so-unkind woodwork. TFC, who have been extremely impressive in the friendly confines of BMO Field, failed to record a win for the second straight home match, and RSL has won or tied in 16 of their last 17 matches en route to looking like one of the true favorites for the MLS Cup.

Saturday, August 28 – San Jose Earthquakes 0, New York Red Bulls 2

Dane Richards was the true star of the night, but Thierry Henry generated the headlines with his first MLS score since joining the league. Richards opened up the scoring with an outstanding effort in the 46th minute, receiving the ball about 30 yards out, split through the defense and maneuvered around the goalkeeper for the opening tally. Henry found the net in 63rd, receiving a Richards pass into the box, settled and fired it into the back of the net to put the match out of reach.

Saturday, August 28 – Philadelphia Union 2, New England Revolution 1

Justin Mapp keyed a late Union rally over a man-down Revs squad at Gillette Stadium. Ilija Stolica scored in the 31st minute to grab an early lead. Ten minutes later, they were reduced to a 10-man side after a Cory Gibbs was sent off for a tackle on Eduardo Coudet.  Former Fire standout Mapp was inserted into the lineup in the 65th minute, and found fellow second half sub Jack McInerney in the 82nd minute to knot up the match. Two minutes into stoppage time, Mapp fired home the winner, giving Philly their first win in over a month.

Saturday, August 28 – Houston Dynamo 0, Colorado Rapids 3

After an impressive offensive performance last week, the Dynamo came back down to earth a bit, getting shutout at Colorado. The Rapids jumped out to a lead in the second minute thanks to Jamie Smith’s first goal with the club. Omar Cummings doubled the lead in the 16th, and Conor Casey sealed the deal with a score just seven minutes later in the 23rd.

Saturday, August 28 – Chicago Fire 1, Seattle Sounders 2

After not suiting up for the Fire in quite some time, John Thorrington earned his first start of the season and buried a 28th-minute penalty kick to take an early edge. Freddy Montero answered eight minutes later, and the Columbian headed home the winner in stoppage time to hand the Fire their second consecutive loss. Montero now has 10 goals and nine assists for the resurgent Sounders, perhaps grabbing a lead in this season’s MVP race.

Saturday, August 28 – Kansas City Wizards 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 0

At one point this season, it appeared the Galaxy were on the verge of setting a number of records as the league’s most dominant side. Now? Not so much, as L.A. fell once again, this time to K.C. Davy Arnaud opened up the scoring with a 12th minute, receiving a pass into the box from Kei Kamara and slotting home the score. Jimmy Conrad accounted for the match-sealing score when he got a touch on a 70th minute Davy Arnaud free kick.

Sunday, August 29 – D.C. United 0, Chivas USA 1

Justin Braun scored his eighth goal of the season to continue the misery for the D.C. faithful. In a match-up of two of the league’s worst teams, Braun got his head on a long ball into the penalty area, and lifted it over the head of keeper Troy Perkins for the lone score.

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My apologies…

While the plan is to keep up with the things I can, and still post the weekly wraps for the MLS and Premiership, the fact that my real job pays me to cover collegiate volleyball makes that a bit more difficult from this past weekend into December. It’s hard to imagine me writing 1,000 word rants about Everton and the Chicago Fire without getting a chance to watch the matches live. I’ll do what I can, but Fridays and Saturdays will be hectic for your humble editor.

All that said, my daily irritability will still be prevalent on my Twitter feed. From complaining about the fact that Everton can’t score to the indisputable notion that Aston Villa is a stupid club with a stupid name, my sometimes coherent ranting is available here.

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Mwanga interested in playing for U.S.

With eyes looking toward 2014, American fans have been drawn to some of the young MLS standouts this season, with perhaps none drawing the same amount of attention as the 19-year old Danny Mwanga of the Philadelphia Union.

As one of the leading contenders for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, Mwanga leads all first-year players with seven goals, which is even more impressive considering that he’s only played 15 matches. The former Oregon State star has also chipped in three assists and a real flair for the dramatic with three goals this season coming in stoppage time.

The forward has made his intentions of playing for the United States known, but as a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he’s still waiting on the necessary paperwork to become a full-fledged U.S. citizen, a process that can take a significant amount of time.

Considering the relative lack of depth at forward when compared to other positions, bringing in talent like Mwanga could pay off significant benefits in the future.

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Everton holding steady in transfer window

With the closing of the transfer window approaching, it’s beginning to appear that Everton will stand pat with their current squad, which is something that I really don’t mind, even with a pair of mediocre performances to open Premier League play.

Due to Everton’s well-known lack of cash, the only way to bring in talent is to get rid of talent, and talks have centered around Yakubu, Joseph Yobo and Steven Pienaar in recent weeks. Without a slam dunk type of player coming in return, I’d much rather hold off a bit, and see what might happen in the winter transfer window, especially considering the injury issues of our not-so-distant past.

I think that’s especially true when it comes to the case of Steven Pienaar, a man who can play where he’s needed in the midfield should the dreaded injury bug return. Even though a long-term deal hasn’t been worked out, it just doesn’t seem like a bright idea to let him go right now, he’s clearly a step up (if not two or three) from his likely replacements in Diniyar Bilyletdinov and Leon Osman, and dropping him could hurt our chances for Europe next season.

Given Pienaar’s comments over the past year, I have a feeling that they’ll get everything worked out eventually. He’s said repeatedly that he loves playing for Everton (etc., etc.) whenever the transfer rumors would arise. Looking at the long-term deals that Jack Rodwell and Mikel Arteta signed this summer, and remembering how long it took to secure the latter, I’ll exercise some patience in the matter.

As far as Yakubu and Yobo are concerned, I’m a bit more ambivalent. I think Yakubu brings some scoring to the table obviously, but much like Yobo, each has experienced rather inconsistent form, so I’m not going to be upset if either hit the road. However, a recent report has both staying at Goodison for the time being.

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Everton outmuscles Huddersfield Town, 5-1

After two thoroughly depressing performances in the first two matches of Premiership play, Everton let loose on decidedly overmatched League One side Huddersfield Town, 5-1. The match kicked off the the third round of the Carling Cup for the Toffees.

Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell, Louis Saha, Leon Osman and Jermaine Beckford each found the back of the net for the Blues and a John Heitinga own goal accounted for the lone Huddersfield score.

Fellaini opened up the scoring in the sixth minute with a header off a beautiful pass from first-year Everton player Magaye Gueye.

Seven minutes later, Rodwell unleashed one of his now trademark distance strikes with a 25+ yard effort to double the lead.

Heitinga put the game somewhat in doubt with six minutes remaining in the opening half. The Dutch international inadvertently scored off a rebound from the crossbar, cutting the deficit in half going into the break.

However, Rodwell earned a penalty four minutes out of halftime, and Beckford calmly finished for his first senior tally for Everton, effectively putting the match on ice.

Saha stretched the lead after subbing in with a nice strike in the 78th minute, a score set up by a Beckford pass.

Osman put the finishing touches on the victory with an 84th minute header.

The Toffees will now prepare to take on the enigma that is Aston Villa on Sunday.

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Premier League Wrap (Week Two)

My recap of this past weekend’s events is up at The FA Daily.

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Monday MLS Wrap

Wednesday, August 18 – New England Revolution 1, Chicago Fire 2

Sean Johnson had another outstanding day in net as Chicago rallied from an early deficit behind goals from Baggio Husidic and Calen Carr. It marked Husidic’s first goal since before the World Cup break. Carr returned to action after spending more than 10 months out injured. Marko Perovic scored for the Revs.

Saturday, August 21 – New York Red Bulls 4, Toronto FC 1

The Red Bulls ended the impressive home streak that Toronto FC has put together, handing them their first loss of the year. Rafa Marquez made his first appearance on the scoresheet for RBNY with a 30+ yard rocket in 35th minute. Nane scored an unfortunate own goal in the 41st minute. Dwayne De Rosario cut the deficit in half with a 49th minute goal. Juan Pablo Angel slotted home his 12th goal of the season with a 61st minute PK. Former TFC player Carl Robinson entered the fold in the 74th minute to replace Marquez and scored his first goal of the season with a 77th minute header.

Saturday, August 21 – Los Angeles Galaxy 0, San Jose Earthquakes 1

After jumping out to an early lead last month only to see a late equalizer, the San Jose ‘Quakes managed to hold on after a fourth-minute Chris Wondolowski strike. The woes of the second half of the MLS season have continued for the Galaxy, who have looked like a completely different side than the one who started off the season at a blistering pace.

Saturday, August 21 – Colorado Rapids 1, Columbus Crew 3

The Columbus Crew continue to look like one of the best teams in the league after dismantling the Rapids. Guillermo Barros Schelotto opened the scoring in the sixth minute after Eddie Gaven earned a penalty kick. Pablo Mastroeni evened in stoppage time before the half. Jason Garey scored the eventual game-winner in the 53rd, and his sub Steven Lenhart put the match on ice with an 80th minute header.

Saturday, August 21 – Chivas USA 0, FC Dallas 1

Despite being depressingly empty on most days, Pizza Hut Park has turned into a stronghold for one of the league’s top sides, FC Dallas. A Brek Shea header in the 71st minute provided the lone tally to extend FCD’s unbeaten streak to an impressive 11 matches.

Saturday, August 21 – New England Revolution 1, Kansas City Wizards 4

Due to a suspension of regular starter Teal Bunbury, Birahim Diop made his first start since 2002 and scored a brace, knocking in 16th- and 27th-minute scores. The Revs cut the deficit in half in the 37th minute with a Kenny Mansally volley that took a deflection to get past Jimmy Nielsen in net. Kei Kamara put the game out of reach in the 65th with Diop earning his first assist of the season and Ryan Smith picking up his eighth. Jack Jewsbury would replace Diop in the 66th minute only to score three minutes later.

Saturday, August 21 – Chicago Fire 3, Houston Dynamo 4

In what is easily a candidate for the best match of the year, Houston’s Brian Ching tallied a remarkable hat trick (which included a score off a bicycle kick) to hold off a torrid Freddie Ljungberg-led Fire comeback. Ching and Lovel Palmer opened the scoring with 31st and 50th minute scores. Calen Carr scored his second goal of the week off a remarkable Ljungberg pass in the 55th, only to be matched by Ching’s bicycle effort in the 59th. An own goal by defender Bobby Boswell cut the lead to one in the 70th, and Wilman Conde scored off a Ljungberg corner to equalize in the 81st. Brian Ching would score the game winner with a free header off a Mulrooney corner.

Sunday, August 22 – Philadelphia Union 0, D.C. United 2

As one may expect with a team so young, the Philadelphia Union continues to battle bouts of inconsistency as was the case Sunday, falling to Danny Allsopp and lowly D.C. United. Allsopp’s brace gave United their first victory since xx. The Australian opened up the scoring in 22nd minute and put the game out of reach with a deadly counter in the 63rd.

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