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MLS Match Week 4: SBI Live Commentary

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By IVES GALARCEP

U.S. Men’s National Team teammates Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman will face off in a clash of top teams as Toronto FC visits Real Salt Lake in one of the marquee match-ups of MLS Week 4.

The unbeaten Columbus Crew will look to improve to 3-0 when they visit CenturyLink Field to take on a Seattle Sounders side still missing suspended star Clint Dempsey.

USMNT goalkeepers Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson will square off in one of the day’s early matches as D.C. United takes on the Chicago Fire. Both teams are in search of their first victories of the season.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today’s action so please feel free to follow all of today’s action here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s SBI Live Commentary is after the jump):

141 comments
    • Bobert

      where do you live? Portland has a great fan base. Toronto seems an exciting team as well.

      Like

    • Timberquake

      Depends on what you’re looking for. Each team has a very unique identity, and I can’t really speak to them all, but I can give you an idea for some of them.

      San Jose are the blue-collar team. They will fight for all 90 minutes and more–they’ve built a reputation on scoring extremely late (think 80+ minutes and stoppage time). They get a lot of flack for their physical and direct style, but they are fiercely loyal to each other and to their fans. Wondolowski is the star attraction, and is both an excellent goalscorer and amazing person off the field.

      LA are in some respects the complete opposite. Not surprisingly for their location, they are a team based around a few superstars and a strong, if less applauded, ensemble cast. They also have one of the best youth systems (if not the best) in MLS, consistently producing some of the league’s brightest young talent. Donovan and Keane are their two biggest attractions, neither of whom I think I need to describe.

      Seattle are the giants of the Pacific Northwest–they regularly draw the highest attendances in the league while still maintaining their loud and proud supporter’s culture. Seattle have no shortage of stars themselves, including Dempsey, though they’ve had some trouble turning those stars into postseason success.

      Portland are smaller in scale than Seattle, but their supporters (including myself) will argue that their endlessly devoted fanbase and intricate style of play more than make up for it. The energy and environment at a Timbers home game is as good as many major European matches, especially when Seattle or Vancouver come to town. This is a team that is capable of special play, whether a wonderstrike from Nagbe or a perfect chip pass from Valeri. The Timbers are a team on the rise, and it will be very interesting to see the places they’ll go.

      Real Salt Lake are similar to Portland in that they don’t have any big name superstars on their team–“the team is the star,” as their motto goes. RSL have one of the more possession-based styles in MLS, which combined with their relatively stable roster has brought them repeated success both during the season and in the postseason.

      Kansas City are a high-tempo, high-pressure side that will look to take away the ball during the opposition’s buildup and hit them hard for allowing them to do so. KC don’t concede many goals, so if you’re looking for a defensively dominant team SKC are probably the way to go. Besler and Zusi are their two main stars, one on each end of the pitch and both regulars for the USMNT.

      Philadelphia are a young side that is looking to go places in the next few years. They have a devoted fanbase and exciting prospects like McInerney and Okugo. They are still finding their feet after being forced into a rebuild by a particularly bad manager, but of late they’ve seemed ready to make the league start to pay them some due again.

      Hope some of this helps. I’m sure you’d be welcomed by the supporters of any of these clubs, or by those of any of the other clubs that I haven’t mentioned. Good luck on finding the right fit in our league.

      Like

  • Bobert

    One of the pre-game hosts on NBCSN pretty much captured why most soccer fans are tuning out the MLS season. I’m paraphrasing but he said that what happens during the beginning of the season has very little to do with who ends up becoming champion. Oh? Okay,,,,I don’t bother watching then.

    Soccer is not the NFL. I don’t want to follow a soccer league where most of the games during the season (or where the beginning of the season) has very little importance.

    They need to start emphasizing the importance of winning the league aka the Supporters Shield. I like a post-season tournament too. But can we at least make the narrative during the season about who is going to content for and who is going to win the SS?

    Like

    • Increase0

      Ew, he said that? He really shouldn’t be pointing that out….It’s kinda true. But supporters shield gets CCL spot now. It totally does matter.

      Like

      • Bobert

        yup. I wish i recorded it. My buddy said the commentator said “we all know what happens this early in the season has very little consequence”

        I just wish that during the season the narrative by the broadcasters would be more about who would contending for the SS and not about all the bad teams that are gonna squeeze into the playoffs.

        Like

      • Bac

        They said it several times, in the booth and when they interviewed EJ pregame

        Like

      • Darwin

        Said it in the Dallas vs Portland game. Actually, they were quoting Porter…”It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you end it…”

        Like

      • SilverRey

        “we all know what happens this early in the season has very little consequence”

        Tell that to all of the teams that missed out on the playoffs by less than three points last year.

        Like

    • Chris

      Is this why fans “tune out” the beginning of the NHL, NBA, and MLB seasons too?

      Stupid comment from whoever said it, and stupid to discuss it here as well.

      Like

      • Bobert

        soccer is not the same as those sports. Regular seasons matter. SS matters. No one cares who wins the NBA regular season. There is no trophy for it. Just home field advantage.

        Like

    • Fredo

      I don’t understand why people would allow commentators decide which teams they choose to follow. That makes no sense to me.

      Like

    • ben

      If you see this bobert…. does KNOWING that 4-5 teams in the EPL, 2 teams in Spain (not counting atletico this year because that’s generally not the case), 2-3 teams in the bundesliga, and a few in Italy are the ONLY teams that will EVER win league titles make you to tune out? literally 90% of these league matches mean NOTHING. They will NEVER have a chance of winning the league. That to me is boring. You’re a Fulham supporter? Osasuna? Fiorentina? Villareal? Hoffenheim? you will NEVER have a chance to win ANYTHING. SUPER EXCITING TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! seriously could go for 100 years and you have ZERO HOPE OF EVER WINNING ANYTHING. it turns me off of European soccer. UEFA CL is the only thing somewhat interesting to me

      Like

  • NATO

    whats the salary comparison with MLS and The Championship and 2 Bundesliga and Eredivisie and Belgium?

    just curious. Hopefully starting next year the minimum salary will be 80-100 K and you see the salary cap rise to 4 million.

    Like

    • Bobert

      MLS salary wise is more comparable with League 1. The only difference is the DP’s. It’s hard to compare MLS with other leagues because of this.

      But the median salary in the Championship is like 3 times as much as the media in MLS.

      Like

    • Jack Del

      As Bobert said, MLS is about on par with mid-table League 1 (English 3rd Division) teams in terms of salary averages.

      Like

  • Ralph

    And that’s why MLS is a joke.

    Fire defender takes down Johnson from behind who is through on goal and it isn’t even a yellow card.

    Like

    • Darwin

      Why do people always resort to bashing the league whenever shiit happens? No ref/league is perfect.

      Like

      • SilverRey

        +1
        When has a bad ref/call ever determined the validity of a league? Were the calls made in El Classico spot on? I have a feeling that half of the world would tell you they weren’t.

        Like

  • Jack Del

    MLS has a serious officiating problem.

    Eddie Johnson beats the Chicago left back onto a through ball. He’s going toward goal behind the defense when he’s taken down from behind.

    Only the keeper to beat, the only aspect of the denial of a goal scoring opportunity that is up for debate is whether or not he was heading enough in the direction of the net.

    It’s blown dead as a foul… and the question we’re all asking ourselves here is, will he pull the red card out?

    Not even a yellow card. Pathetic. Ridiculous. Amateur.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Maybe go back to the Scab Refs. At least they seemed to give many cards and penalties even if they were kinda soft fouls.

      Like

      • Jack Del

        Right on.

        I’m just at a loss how not even a yellow came out. It’s like the officials are too afraid to use their cards or simply don’t know the rules.

        Like

    • Increase0

      Watching Dallas/Portland.

      Dallas is hacking Portland dudes. Being rather physical. Pick up some yellow. Dallas finally gets the ball for a while. Portland body-checks someone. Apparently Portland has a guy with 8 more fouls than anyone else in the league. Violence=Defense.

      Like

    • RB

      SKC should also have lost Kronberg and played most of the day with 10 men, too, but for the ref.

      (Undoubtedly the KC faithful will deny this, of course.)

      Like

  • Dennis

    Actually, I thought the light touch on Johnson could just as easily have resulted in a card for EJ for diving. There was a bit of contact, but he made a lot out of it. So yeah the point about officiating may hold, but this case was a poor example.

    Sure if you think it was a foul, the choice about it being an OGSO is there and there might be some basis in that, except for the 2nd Chicago defender’s presence in a spot where he could have defended from, he was more central and about even north-to-south. There is nothing that says if it is close to an OGSO that it is a yellow card. A yellow would have required it to have been judged to be excessive force (it was not) or a cynical tactical foul (I don’t think so).

    So even if you think it was a foul, no card was the correct decision.

    Like

  • Dennis

    So far today Magee has looked very good playing as the attacking CM, other than when he drifts too wide and leaves a hole in the middle, he needs to stay central more of the time. Still he has looked dangerous and provided some good service.

    Like

  • Increase0

    Oh, I recently loaded this side up on my phone and got a message stating that “I could have a virus.”

    Does anyone know a way to email the webmaster? I don’t get virus attack ads on my computer but I have seen it 3 times now from my phone on this site. I don’t see a “contact us.”

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Thoughts on that game.

    Chicago Fire are a bad team. Yallop is an even worse coach.

    DC United has players on the field that I’m not sure would make some PDL clubs I’ve seen recently. How can you be a professional player and lack the ability to complete even a 20 yard pass into space?

    Eddie Johnson and Mike Magee have to be two of the biggest whiners I’ve ever seen. At least Magee runs around a lot. Eddie Johnson is just a joke. No wonder he’s called a locker room cancer.

    Like

  • Matt

    DC is terrible, what a mess on the attack. Are they shooting, crossing, or what? So bad. On top of it, the DC back gets nutmegged which leads to the 2nd Fire goal. Could the announcers be more dead?! Let’s gloat! How about a bit of zip in the commentary. Blah. So dull.

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Talked about this yesterday and it’s so relevant at the moment.

    Kyle Beckerman is schooling Michael Bradley. His positioning is better. His passing is better. His game-reading is better.

    Bradley looks like he thinks this sort of roaming play is acceptable. He’s leaving Hall out to dry and so much space in the middle.

    36% possession in the first half for Toronto.

    Like

    • Shawn

      bradley is better, i think RSL is just so much better than toronto right now. but becks has been better this season and i wouldnt mind him going to brazil though i prefer different players

      Like

      • Jack Del

        I realize I’m in the minority on this thought, but I would take Beckerman over Bradley in a defensive capacity sitting behind an attacking midfielder like Donovan.

        Like

      • Benjamin C.

        If you want to argue that Beckerman should start instead of Jones, I might could go for that. But Bradley has had too much success playing for the National Team to just say, ‘Yeah, bench him,’ or to even someone else should be the focal point of the midfield. As for the season, he played really well in the first two matches, and his team is getting schooled tonight on the road by a squad that has been together much longer than his. It happens, but one night does not undo his career or even his season.

        Like

      • Jack Del

        He stuck in well in the first couple matches, but Toronto still gave up nearly 70% possession in the midfield during the Seattle match.

        You won’t win like that against the better teams.

        Like

      • beachbum

        I’m a big Beckerman fan, hope to see him paired with MB vs. Mexico

        Like

    • atd

      I’m a big Beckerman fan, but to be fair, he has Gil, Grabavoy, Morales in the midfield with him and the two fullbacks on the wings for support. Bradley has Jeremy Hall. It looked the way it did in large part because Bradley was literally being forced to do two players’ jobs.

      Like

  • Jack Del

    Klinsmann is on local during half time, talking some real praise for Beckerman, Gil and Rimando after the first half.

    Like

  • Shimmzy

    Pretty easy to see that Bradley isn’t that good. Beckerman is clearly on his level or better.

    Like

    • beachbum

      you have got to be kidding me. watching this game and seeing that is impossible. RSL is the better team but MB is better than Beckerman and has kind of dogged him in this game

      Like

      • Shimmzy

        No, you’re pretty much wrong. Bradley is pretty average. Just because he played for an Italian club whose American owner wanted a token American, doesn’t make him good. Roma fans didn’t think he was very good. I think only USMNT think he’s really good.

        Like

      • beachbum

        back to talking about tonight, you’re wrong. whatever your opinion about Bradley, your analysis of what is happened at Rio Tinto so far tonight is wrong.

        cheers. go ahead and say whatever you want to

        Like

      • Jack Del

        I’m not going to argue the overall point outside this match between the two, but Bradley hasn’t done jacksh*t this game to anyone. Putting in a hard tackle once is meaningless.

        Is RSL a better team? Score line and performance so far would say yes, they probably are the better team. Beckerman and Saborio dictating the mid-field like there isn’t a Toronto midfield.

        Like

      • beachbum

        he’s stolen the ball from Beckerman alone a few times and served the ball into dangerous areas 5-6 times, just Michael

        RSL waaay better team

        Like

  • Gerard D.

    Bradley’s positioning has been… bad thus far this game. Going hard all the time is great and everything… but you’ve got a position you know?

    Like

    • beachbum

      what? see what you want to see. he’s broken up numerous RSL attacks by himself, stealing the ball in midfield repeatedly

      RSL is the much better squad, no doubts there

      Like

      • Gerard D.

        He was just caught out of position after being too far up field to get in the attack. It let Beckerman start the sequence leading to RSL’s third goal.

        RSL is doing whatever they want in the midfield.

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      • beachbum

        not because Michael playing poorly tho, and he isn’t out of position like you say or you just don’t get it Gerard

        Like

      • Jackson

        You seem to be in the minority. Perhaps for a reason. Bradley has lacked positional discipline and has a pretty poor showing compared to Beckerman.

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      • beachbum

        I’ll keep with my own eyes then Jackson and keep your observations in mind over time going forward

        Like

  • Jack Del

    3-0 RSL

    Saborio, Gil and Beckerman are getting whatever, whenever in the Toronto midfield.

    Like

  • Gerard D.

    Beckerman beats Bradley who fouls him. Morales was… ambitious to have a shot on target from that far. 35 yards maybe on the free kick?

    Like

  • Jack Del

    RSL is firing on all cylinders right now. Favorites for the Shield and Cup? Have to be.

    Like

    • beachbum

      it’s early but they look good. Morales needs to stay healthy but they aren’t as reliant on him as they used to be, other excellent weapons

      Like

      • Jack Del

        GIl has really taken Beckerman’s play behind him and used it to open play up with some aggressive movement. With Beckerman and Saborio manning the midfield, just no teams are really going to get the chance to do anything up the middle.

        Like

    • Benjamin C.

      Still really early in the season, but they are among the favorites. There are some other teams I like as well, particularly Kansas City, but they are very good. If Gil continues playing well and improving, they will be very hard to deal with.

      Like

  • ThompsonR

    Never got to see Bradley play much outside of USMNT. I thought he was supposed to boss MLS. He looks pretty average to me. Nothing special, really. Just a midfielder that runs a lot with a cantaloupe head.

    Like

    • Jack Del

      The head has been great for picking him out on bad feeds in away qualifiers for the USMNT.

      Like

    • Benjamin C.

      He played really well in the first two matches (at least in my opinion), which Toronto won. No particular reason to disregard him after his team (the entire team, it’s not a one man game like tennis) was beaten on the road by a very talented team whose core members have been together much longer. I have rarely come across a player (or a team, unless it is Bayern Munich) that does not struggle every once and a while.

      Like

  • ThompsonR

    Bradley is playing like a thug. He’s just hacking everyone. Dude headbutted someone last game.

    Like

  • Jack Del

    RSL fans are chanting ‘overrated’ at Michael Bradley. He’s not had a stellar night–especially in the second half.

    Like

    • Benjamin C.

      This is what makes soccer such a strange game. Many of the same fans would likely cheer for him if he scores against Mexico in the upcoming friendly. Plus, Bradley has been one of the more polarizing figures in American soccer over the past decade. Many fans have always been skeptical of him, yet he has had massive amounts of club and national team success and many soccer analysts and experts have been singing his praises for years. I am sure many were simply waiting for him to have a bad game this season to jump on him (which was bound to happen, Beckerman will have a tough night as well at some point, as will every other player in the league). I have always liked him as a player and think he holds the keys to any National Team success this summer, and for Toronto this season as well.

      Like

      • Jack Del

        He’s an important part of the national squad, no doubt. His athleticism has always been an advantage for the team.

        He’s been polarizing for me because when I see how man fans talk about him–it reminds me of the bigger perspective of the team and its place in the global game.

        He’s probably our best midfielder going forward. For me, Jones and Beckerman are better defensively. But his ability to set the tempo is obviously an asset.

        Yet, even with that being said–he was technically outclassed by his teammates on Roma–a mid-upper table club in the Serie A that he was benched on.

        Reality is a b(tch sometimes and he reminds me of where we are.

        Like

      • Benjamin C.

        Is Bradley world class? No, I am not that delusional. But Roma is in 2nd place in Serie A right now. There are a lot of really good players who spend a good deal of time on the bench and get spot starts and substitute minutes for top of the table teams in big European leagues. He took a massive payday (yes, he is overpaid, but he is almost a massive name in American soccer) and he wanted to get extremely consistent minutes leading up to the World Cup; it was the best move for his career. I would guess there were European teams who would have wanted him, but I for one am glad he came to MLS and still believe he will get better as the season goes along.

        Like

      • Benjamin C.

        Didn’t mean to say almost a massive name, he is one of the biggest names in American soccer. My bad.

        Like

      • Jack Del

        Sunderland (god, no) was apparently interested in his services and Roma turned them down I believe.

        And I know you didn’t claim he was world class. I was just going off on a tangent about how he personifies–for me personally–the real spot the USMNT is in on a global scale.

        Like

      • Benjamin C.

        For me, that guy is Dempsey. I literally NEVER expected him to play in MLS again unless it was right before he retired. I was completely shocked when I heard he was coming back. I was surprised about Bradley, but understood it a little more than Dempsey (though I should have seen both coming).

        Like

      • Jack Del

        I think your reaction is probably what most fans not living in Seattle felt for Dempsey.

        He was THE Yank to succeed in a major league. Fulham to Tottenham and…. Seattle Sounders?

        Like

      • John

        I don’t see how you can really down play Roma. That midfield trio of Strootman, Pjanic and De Rossi is one of the best in the world (when Strootman was healthy). The rest of the team is probably mid table but the fact they are in second really is due to them.

        Like

  • reignman

    Seattle have wasted a ton of chances and now they could pay big time after having Traore sent off and giving away a PK.

    Like

  • Griff

    The Bradley/Beckerman arguments are good for the league and USMNT.
    mlssoccer.com knew what they were doing when they started it.

    Like

    • Benjamin C.

      Maybe for the league, but as for the National Team, Beckerman will never start instead of Bradley; maybe they will start together at some point (as in against Mexico), but Bradley has come up big for the U.S. far too many times for there to be any argument between the two on the international level. That debate was over long ago.

      Like

      • Jack Del

        Not sure it’s even a fair comparison.

        Beckerman is a better six.
        Bradley is a better eight.

        Like

      • Griff

        Friendly competition between teammates can be good. They don’t really play the same type of MF anyway and Bradley is four or five years younger.

        Like

      • Fredo

        Really? To me, they play the same role. I was shocked that JK didn’t insert Beckerman when Jr. rolled his ankle in Costa Rica. That would have steadied the team and maybe, maybe seen us not get schooled down there.

        Like

    • John

      Everyone that wants to see Bradley paired with someone that allows him to get forward more, I think that Beckerman is the best option. He can drop back connect the simple passes and get the team moving forward the way Klinsmann wants to play. Bradley usually has to do this on the national team because Jones has no sense of when someone is on his back shoulder and turns it over far too often in dangerous spots.

      Like

      • Benjamin C.

        Best I have seen the U.S. midfield play in recent memory was when Bradley and Cameron were paired together, I think against Panama in the Hex last year.

        Like

      • John

        Yeah but a big reason for that was Panama just sat back and let Cameron get turned. He and Jones we awful when they got pressed in Costa Rica.

        Like

      • beachbum

        Agreed. Costa Rica plays that high tight line, squeezes the midfield, very organized, takes away time. always a great test

        Like

  • Jack Del

    Toronto is losing another player (Caldwell) to suspension I imagine. Inexcusable tackle.

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Okay, that was bad and deserves scorn by Bradley. What poor class and sportsmanship.

    He walked off the field the moment the whistle blew and shook hands with no RSL player or TOR teammate.

    Like

  • Gerard D.

    Seriously, Bradley? Say what you will about play between the whistles, but that kind of bullsh$t is classless.

    Like

      • Jack Del

        Think he’s referencing Bradley walking straight off the pitch and refusing to shake hands with the RSL players.

        Like

      • beachbum

        I didn’t see it, but even so, so what? I don’t get what is so crazy about that. are you telling me you’ve never done that? how long have you played and/or coached for?

        Like

      • Jack Del

        It’s just really poor form. It’s an unwritten part of the game.

        Even after World Cup losses, teams will congratulate and converse with players on the other team.

        It’s just poor form. I played in college.

        Like

      • beachbum

        over the decades it’s happened plenty in my experience. who knows why here.

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      • Jack Del

        Well I think we probably both know why.

        They were trounced. Real shot to the gut you’d imagine, no?

        Like

      • beachbum

        agreed. so again I really see no issue with it

        to each his own

        Like

      • Gerard D.

        As Jack Del mentioned above, Bradley left the field the moment the game ended and didn’t join his teammates to shake hands with salt lake.

        Like

  • beachbum

    all this attention and conversation about a TFC-RSL match…who’d have thunk that not too long ago

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Seattle fans are going to start rioting in the near future if Schmid isn’t sent packing.

    Like

  • Benjamin C.

    With all the Bradley-Beckerman talk, I would say the guy in this game I am most excited about going forward is Gil. I honestly have no rooting interest in a particular MLS team (I live in Mississippi, there isn’t a regional team to hitch an allegiance to), so I look more for (1) entertaining matches in general and (2) individual players, particularly young ones, that will help the National Team at some point. With his steady improvement and exciting play so far this year, I think Gil falls into that second point. Hope he keeps it up.

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Standings really can tell a different story.

    Sounders have taken only 1 of 6 points from their first two home matches.

    Like

  • reignman

    Seattle outplayed Columbus today but sometimes that is how the game goes, Meram with a really nice finish at the end to steal the 3 points. Seattle didn’t take advantage of their numerous chances and get nothing from the game.

    Like

  • atd

    Bradley’s stat line tonight: 7 key pa$$es (one more than the entire RSL midfield, though Morales did have one assist); 13 recoveries, 6 tackles won, 35/47 passes.

    Like

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