MLS: A Look Back

MLS Week One: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

SoundersCelebrate (ISIphotos.com)

                                                                           Photo by ISIphotos.com 

Week one of the 2009 Major League Soccer season had all the drama, skill and excitement you could hope for from the first week of a season.

Yes, sure, there were some bad moments, and some sparse crowds, and some poor officiating in key spots, but there was far more positive to focus on. From the stellar performances of established MLS veterans like Landon Donovan and Amado Guevara, to the stunning showings of MLS newcomers such as Fredy Montero and the 2009 MLS Draft class, there was plenty to talk about (More on the MLS rookie class later today). Then there were the goals, with several Goal of the Year candidates already being delivered in the first week.

In what will become a weekly segment, SBI will take a look at the Best XI and Worst XI moments/scenes/performances/developments from Week 1, as well as providing an MLS Team of the Week.

Here are this week's Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week:

Week One Best XI

The performance of Seattle Sounders' fans

Fredy Montero's deadly finishing and passing

Osvaldo Alonso's stellar MLS debut

Davy Arnaud's two stunning goals

Amado Guevara's two clutch goals

Paulo Nagamura's unexpected brace

Guillermo Barros Schelotto's last-minute equalizer

Kenny Cooper's long-range blast from midfield over Jon Busch

Cuauhtemoc Blanco's last-minute free kick goal

Ben Olsen making the start for D.C. after his injury-plagued 2008 season

Landon Donovan's two goals, including a clutch equalizer, vs. D.C. United

Week One Worst XI

The Red Bulls' entire performance on Thursday

Zach Thornton's goal-mouth blunder

San Jose's (and specifically Darren Huckerby's) terrible finishing

Kelly Gray's poor clearance on New England's lone goal

Jon Busch's nightmare on Kenny Cooper's goal

The horrible field at Robertson Stadium

Dwayne DeRosario's shanked penalty kick (in an otherwise stellar game)

Kosuke Kimura's failed clearance turned pass to Paulo Nagamura

Jair Marrufo's penalty call in the DC-LA game

The nasty collision between D.C. defenders Greg Janicki and Devon McTavish

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 1)

————–Fredy Montero——-Landon Donovan———-

Dwayne DeRosario—–Amado Guevara——–Davy Arnaud

————–Paulo Nagamura—-Osvaldo Alonso————

Jim Brennan————–Wilman Conde——-Kevin Alston

——————————Kasey Keller———————–

Honorable Mentions: Jhon Kennedy, Brad Evans, Sebastien LeToux, Justin Mapp, Shalrie Joseph, Guillermo Barros Schelotto.


What were your Best XI and Worst XI moments/scenes/performances from Week One? Who made your MLS team of the week that didn't make ours? (And yes, I did change two of the Best XI to include Landon Donovan and Ben Olsen, who were clearly deserving.)

Share your thoughts below.

  • JB

    I think the attendance dropoff is due to MLS’s two smallest stadiums both having home games on the opening weekend. Kansas City and San Jose were only in the 10000 vicinity, the other crowds were a more normal 15-18K.


  • Matt Mathai

    Er, Brant, you’re aware that “es-schellotto” is how the man pronounces his own name, right?


  • jloome

    Agreed on DeRo, he was a monster all day. Totally lifted the team, as did Guevara, and Cronin looked like a real veteran, very cool.

    Serioux should’ve made this first XI (but hey, I’m biased). He had a dominating, dominating performance at centre half, cleared away just about every ball into the box, closed quickly and didn’t allow space, wasn’t beaten even once.


  • Kevin

    “Landon Donovan’s two goals, including a clutch equalizer, vs. D.C. United”

    Oh, that’s funny, because one was on a PK called because apparently Rodney Wallace’s hands extend to his crotch, and the other was offside by about 10 feet.

    Nah, the MLS doesn’t want LA to win or anything. That would never happen. I mean, Refs let the game continue all the time when one team loses 2 players due to nasty, bloody head wounds. Clearly, a Ref would NEVER allow a sub or allow one of those players back into the game while playing 9×11 , leading to a BS PK. That is definitely the most fair way to play a game.


  • Srose

    Donavan had a terrible game! He got a horrible call for a PK then a confused DC defense after the ref gave no time to recover from that collision. The rest of the game, he was nowhere to be seen! Arena said Landon will get better once he gets in shape! Hasn’t he been in Germany getting game ready?


  • elmatador

    Bakare Soumare should be in the best XI, I went to the game and sat right in front of him, he’s a beast!! great player, nothing goes pass him…too bad he passed on the US.


  • Martin Blank

    I’m glad Le Toux is starting to get some cred. I don’t think it’s just a matter of him being new and not getting enough respect from the other team. He will continue to impress and give the fullbacks in MLS fits. With Montero up top, Nyassi on the other side and Ljungberg pulling the strings in the middle, there won’t be enough cover to deal with them all. Get used to seeing his name on the team of the week sheet.

    Also, for all the abuse Rossi and Neven have taken for not joining the MNT, Le Toux is a foreign-born player who I remember saying would love to don the US jersey one day. More performances like this (and a passport) and he may get his chance.


  • SW

    Hopper, KC was announced as a sell out and so was San Jose. You can’t sell more than you have even if it is a pitiful amount to begin with. Enjoy your first year when everything you do is better than what others can.


  • Frank

    I think KC recorded a sellout as well.

    By the way, GBS’s goal was not exactly a last-minute equalizer.


  • RonS

    Re Keller in the GK spot, one thing that stands out in the video is Keller right after his second big save at 61′. He was shouting instructions and gesturing to one side of his defense, then the other side. After that, NY never threatened Keller’s goal again during the final half hour. Give Keller points for veteran leadership at that critical moment.


  • joe momma

    Don’t worry Hopper. Toronto would easily break your attendance levels in a larger stadium.


  • DGinLA

    Mike Magee looked like crap. No wonder Bruce Arena took him out. DC should’ve won that game though. To be honest both teams looked crappy….


  • Darkman

    Ives, just letting you know that No.3 is missing in the soccernet.com power rankings.


  • art

    Most surprising performance: Kevin Harmse makes it all the way through a game for TFC without hurting anyone or earning a yellow card.


  • JP

    Actually you don’t have Ben Olsen in your MLS Best-11. You have DeRo, Alonso, Nagamura, Amado, and Davy Arnaud in the midfield.


  • Andre`

    Gotta call you out on something Ives.

    I wouldn’t call Cooper goal from midfield a chip at all. It was a blast that beat Busch from 55-yards. ridiculously amazing. That’s a shot, no chip. you don’t put that much force behind a chip, and chip’s do not go that fast. they usually go over a goalkeeper. Busch got beat to the upper left corner. he wasnt even caught off his line really. he was there. he got beat by the sickest shot i’ve ever seen in general. That was a shot.


  • CrispyST3

    Will you guys quit complaining, my boy landon would have probably made two goals anyways, i can already see a 20+ goal season, him and Fredy Montero, and Kooper right behind them


  • Kevin

    Funny joke, CrispyST3. There is no way in hell Landon Donovan should have scored 2 goals yesterday. Maybe he’ll get 20 this year; I really don’t care. But he did not deserve EITHER goal yesterday, especially the first.


  • sammysounder

    2-0 Seattle

    Hurtado eats Movsisyan with Chips and Salsa.

    Le Toux and Montero


  • Supsam

    I thinks its more like “specifically Cam Weaver” rather than Darren Huckerby. Oh man did Weaver miss a sitter that would have hella changed the game.


  • Bolivar

    seattle looked soundly.
    Tfc did the dero. guevara finished them off
    Kc .. Arnaud has a laser of a kick
    Redbulls continue to look for an identity, with so many new players it might take awhile to figure them out.
    Columbus .. schelotto is your saviour
    LA.. well they are just LA and without pretty boy.
    Chicago. I think they have found the promised land.
    Chivas.. stay healthy or eigtherwise
    N.E .. again we can always find inspiration in them, seem to dig deep and win.
    RSL. a must wait and see approach. but on paper they look good.
    the rest were average if not subpar to what was expected..


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