Good afternoon to the folks on the West side of the country (and the MLS standings). Here are some news items and notes for you to peruse as your day winds to a close:
FC Dallas signs Sikora
FC Dallas said goodbye to Colombian midfielder Juan Toja over the weekend, but have already replaced him. The Hoops agreed to terms with forward/midfielder Victor Sikora on Monday, and should have the former Dutch national team player on the roster soon.
Sikora last played for Dutch club NAC Breda (whose general manager is none other than former U.S. national team star Earnie Stewart), and also had stints at Ajax and Vitesse Arnhem. Sikora is expected to play on the wings for FC Dallas.
Sikora joins recently acquired midfielder Bruno Guarda, who made his FC Dallas debut in the team’s 2-0 win against Toronto FC on Sunday.
Cooper earns MLS player of the week
FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper was named MLS player of the week for his two-goal performance in helping the Hoops beat Toronto FC, 2-0, on Sunday. The brace was Cooper’s second in two matches and moved him into a tie with LA’s Landon Donovan for the MLS lead in goals with 13.
Rapids loan O’Brien to Seattle Sounders
This news went down in the middle of last week but for those of you who may have missed it, Colorado Rapids rookie Ciaran O’Brien was loaned to USL side Seattle Sounders for the remainder of the season.
The loan comes on the heels of Seattle losing playmaker Leighton O’Brien to a broken arm that could sideline him up to eight weeks. Yes, Ciaran is Leighton’s brother.
The No. 5 pick in the 2008 MLS Draft, Ciaran O’Brien has been limited to one appearance this season for the Rapids. You might remember it for O’Brien’s clumsy challenge on Carlos Ruiz that sidelined the LA Galaxy forward for months. O’Brien earned a red card that day, giving him a red card-per-game average that not Dema Kovalenko and Amado Guevara could only dream of.
The loan was a classy move by Clavijo, who wasn’t getting O’Brien minutes with the first team in Colorado and saw a chance to help out former teammate and current Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer.
Earthquakes clawing back into the West race
I know I said a few weeks ago that San Jose had no chance of making the playoffs. Well, I still think the mountain is too steep to climb, but the Earthquakes are making it interesting.
Unbeaten in four matches (1-0-3) San Jose’s revamped squad won’t have it easy, but the push for a post-season berth has a glimmer of hope as the Earthquakes sit five points behind the Galaxy for the final playoff spot with 11 matches to play (it should also be noted that Chivas USA would qualify for the playoffs ahead of LA if the season ended today based on points-per-game. Chivas USA has two games in hand on LA but just one fewer point).
Here are the team’s San Jose must try to pass to reach that final playoff spot:
- Los Angeles Galaxy 23 points (19 games)
- Chivas USA 22 points (17)
- Toronto FC 22 points (18)
- Kansas City Wizards 22 points (18)
- New York Red Bulls 22 points (18)
- Colorado Rapids 21 points (18)
- San Jose Earthquakes 18 points (19)
Here is San Jose’s remaining schedule
- vs. New England (8/16)
- at Chivas USA (8/23)
- vs. Kansas City (8/30)
- vs. D.C. United (9/6)
- vs. Houston Dynamo (9/13)
- at Houston Dynamo (9/20)
- vs. Real Salt Lake (9/27)
- at FC Dallas (10/2)
- vs. Chivas USA (10/11)
- at Kansas City (10/18)
- vs. Toronto FC (10/25)
That isn’t exactly an easy schedule, but seven home games in the final 11 matches has to give San Jose some hope. With six matches against teams in the race for that final playoff spot, the Earthquakes will have an outside chance of clawing their way into the playoffs. At the very least, San Jose is going to be a major thorn in the sides of teams trying to qualify.
What do you think of Sikora’s signing? How about Kenny Cooper’s goal-scoring streak? Do you think San Jose still has a realistic chance of making the playoffs, or are the Earthquakes confined to the spoiler role?
Share your thoughts below.