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MLS Pre-season- A look around the Western Conference

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The 2009 MLS Season is now just two weeks away so it's time to start making the rounds in MLS for a sense of the happenings in MLS pre-season.

Here is a look at what the teams in the Western Conference have been up to in the past week:

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo received some awful news on Wednesday when veteran defender Eddie Robinson was sidelined indefinitely after having knee surgery. The injury, which could keep him out up six week, likely means that newly-acquired defender Julius James will have to be thrust into the starting lineup alongside Bobby Boswell.

Real Salt Lake

RSL has re-signed defender Chris Wingert to a contract extension, bringing him closer to the $100,000 mark and rewarding arguably the team's best defender in 2008. There were rumblings about Wingert being unhappy with his contract status, and with the club turning down a serious bid for Wingert from the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake had little choice but to sign Wingert to a new deal. In other news, RSL added Ned Grabavoy in the MLS waiver draft.

Chivas USA

Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling will miss the start of the season after having sports hernia surgery. Burling, who started 18 games at centerback for Chivas USA in 2008, is expected to miss six weeks. You can add right back to the list of positions rookie Michael Lahoud has been used at. The Wake Forest product started at right back in Chivas USA's 1-0 exhibition loss to San Jose on Wednesday.

FC Dallas

Three goals weren't enough to stop FC Dallas from dropping a 4-3 decision to Clube Atletico Paranaense on Wednesday. Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper and Aaron Pitchkolan provided the goals for the Texans. Newly-acquired playmaker David Ferreira did not play for FC Dallas.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Yes, the Beckham circus continues, but in other news, talks between the Galaxy and Honduran club Platense over defender Osman Chavez have reportedly broken down. Could the Galaxy really be ready to play two rookies in central defense in Omar Gonzalez and Yohance Marshall? Marshall has yet to make the team but word out of LA is that he has looked far more like the projected first-rounder he was expected to be before he absolute stunk up the joint at the MLS Combine. Yes, Tony Sanneh is still with the Galaxy but he, like Marshall, remains unsigned.

San Jose Earthquakes

The Earthquakes defeated Chivas USA, 1-0, in exhibition action in Carson, California on a goal from Cam Weaver. Earlier in the week, San Jose dropped a 2-1 decision to the Colorado Rapids. Lost in all the pre-season news is the disappointing development that the Earthquakes top draft pick, midfielder Brad Ring, will miss the 2009 season with a degenerative hip condition. The loss of Ring could pave the way for veteran free agent and New Zealand international Simon Elliott to sign with the Earthquakes.

Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle dropped a 1-0 decision to River Plate in exhibition action in Argentina on Thursday. The loss was just Seattle's second of the pre-season. The Sounders improved their pre-season record to 7-1-1 on Tuesday with a 5-1 drubbing of Tristan Suarez.

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids defeated the Los Angeles Galaxay, 5-2, on Wednesday behind two goals from Omar Cummings. The win came just two days after Colorado defeated San Jose, 2-1, behind goals from Conor Casey and Jacob Peterson. In other Rapids news, former assistant coach and recent director of player development John Murphy has resurfaced in Scotland, where he has taken over as goalkeeper coach for Scottish first division side Livingston.

What do you think of these stories? Think Houston is in trouble without Robinson? Still wondering what the Galaxy will do for a defense? Are you starting to believe the hype about Seattle?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Earlier in the week, San Jose dropped a 2-1 decision to the Colorado Rapids”

    Do you read these stories before you post? San Jose WON their game 2-1.

  2. West is wide open.

    I think FCD has made the biggest improvement. RSL kept their improving team largely intact, and SJ has also added some nice pieces (Convey). If healthy, Chivas will be a handful.

    Other than that, the mystery remains how much longer Houston can remain top dog. No DeRo. Barrett and Mulrooney at outside back.

    Seattle will be tough (for an expansion side). And I think Colorado will be improved as well.

    If I had to pick right now:
    1) Houston (until they prove they don’t have it).
    2) FCD. I like the DvdB & Ferreira moves.
    3) RSL.
    4) Chivas
    5) SJ
    6) Colorado
    7) LA
    8) Seattle

  3. I agree with alot of people houston have issues. But I’m not sold on seattle everyone hits the mid season wall and they don’t have enough depth at the positions that count to counteract that. I’m pretty sure this is the last season with confrences and it will be a single table like most want it, i personally don’t care. I can’t wait to see what the new cba is going to be, larger cap, larger rosters they bring the reserve div back and they let you sign up to 3 academy players a year, sounds like a plan.

  4. I hate this “latte sipping” stereotype we get out here. We’re lumped in with LA and San Francisco. Seattle’s got a nitty gritty DIY attitude and we applied that to our coffee. We roasted it dark to fight hangovers, you guys added the sugar.

    Look, we know we’re not taking it home this year, but we’re excited because we’ve been so hungry for a top flight local soccer team for so long. Go to the George & Dragon on a big match day at 6:30 am there’s a line around the block. We’ve got loud, starved fans with an acoustically amazing stadium smack in the middle of downtown surrounded by bars, banks and hotels on one end and a cement kiln and a train yard on the other. We’ve got what appears to be a relatively solid team with a couple holes in the defense. We can’t help but be a little proud of our city and the job our FO has done so far. If the FO and the fans didn’t get their hopes up a little too high, it just might feel like another season with the Sonics.

  5. I believe in the Sounders with three big ifs, all about older players.
    1. Will Keller be rusty?
    2. Will Ljunberg ever play a game?
    3. Will they drop the slow, injured Vagenas and get another DMid?

    If all three pan out, the Sounders get into the playoffs, their young squad is real.

  6. Well its obvious that we have an expansion team this year. Every year their fans think that they are going to compete and suddenly get a rude awakening. Keller is your reasoning to make the playoffs huh?

    Good luck with that. Seriously thought, they have a good foundation, but are a couple years away.

  7. Seattle? really? Havnt we all realized that international players are mostly flops? And what is it that Seattle has that other teams dont? Oh yeah, more international players.

    Coaching staff? It took Sigi 3 seasons before the Crew were good and now hes got a few players eating his entire cap space.

    Fans? Ok.. LA and TFC have alot of fans too.

    So you have a new coach who is hindered by the large salaries of its international players and huge fan base mostly full of latte sipping yuppies? Yep, sounds like the last 2 years of the LA Galaxy.

  8. LA is joking if they are going to start two rookie centerbacks. If I was a LA season ticket holder, I would start asking for my money back now.

    Yohance Marshall couldn’t handle the pressure of the combine! Who cares how he is doing in training, this is not a kid that’s ready for primetime.

  9. They don’t believe us. Every friggin, stinkin, expansion team arrives with so much fanfair — they all are going to win MLS cup their first year.

    Well, only chicago has done this feat. Now, this isn’t your dad’s MLS now. Things are different and much more difficult than a decade ago.

    No playoffs for Seattle.

  10. “Kasey Keller (clap, clap, clap clap clap)!!!

    Kasey Keller (clap, clap, clap clap clap)!!!

    We all know what he brings to the table…And that will be more than enough to get them into the playoffs…”

    Your kidding right?

  11. I think Chivas, RSL and Seattle look like the West’s best bets right now. Chivas didn’t lose much from a playoff unit, and gained a healthy Galindo back. RSL was really gelling w a balanced roster & improving players like Yura, Findley, Beltran & W.Johnson. And I agree w others that the stars are aligning for a Seattle run: between the assembled talent, the coaching and the fan base, they will be legit. All that said, the East is MUCH stronger.

  12. Kasey Keller (clap, clap, clap clap clap)!!!
    Kasey Keller (clap, clap, clap clap clap)!!!

    We all know what he brings to the table…And that will be more than enough to get them into the playoffs…

  13. By the time Robinson gets back to full health, he will no longer have a starting spot. James is going to make it his own. As far as the West, it looks terrible. Could the East actually get 6 teams in the playoffs?

  14. “I think Seattle will make the playoffs. There is just this air about them”

    I am guess in the back 4 will indeed have an “error” about them

  15. Robinson missed a good chunk of 08 as well, as I seem to recall seeing an awful lot of Patrick Ianni. Boswell is the man, James will fit in nicely in the Houston defense. It’s the age of Barret and Mulrooney that worries me as Coach Dom has been reluctant to give Chabala any time, though new signing Hainult will likely see time at RB while Clark is with the Nats (and Mulrooney moves to d-mid).

  16. seattle will make the playoffs with montero leading them in. they also have le toux, nyassi, zakauni, and if freddy ljunberg stays healthy they will compete for the conference title you heard it hear first. dallas has gotten alot better as well with ferria and vdb but if cooper is sold that will hurt also if klejtan is sold from chivas that will crush them. seattle also at title contender i will brag on here for days maybe even weeks so you heard it here first.

  17. “I think Seattle will make the playoffs. There is just this air about them”

    unh yeah, it’s leaking from your head

  18. joe w, how do you reckon that fcd is weaker? they picked up vdb and ferreira and a better defense overall. and ROB helped us only after the second half player pick-ups. he’ll be missed but we have overall way more depth. hey ives also you missed the part that the finnish player riihilatti(spl?) didn’t pass his medical, so he’s gone.

  19. I think Seattle will make the playoffs. There is just this air about them, their coaching, their fans, and the culture they have created in such a short period of time. I know it seems like a crazy bet, but it seems like they might have pulled a pretty decent product off if their defense plays well.

  20. I think you will see Houston and RSL in the playoffs for sure with any of the other spots up for grabs with the most likely teams being San Jose or Dallas.

  21. You have to feel bad for Brad Ring and San Jose, that’s really depressing. I hope Ring can recover and play next year.

    Odds on Seattle making the playoffs this year? We aren’t supposed to read anything into preseason success, but they certainly don’t seem to be the typical expansion team destined to finish in last place.

  22. My first thought is that if they aren’t going to single table next year, they’d better redesign these conference logos.

  23. it’ll be interesting to see how the west shakes out–that’s why they play the games! i do believe seattle will of course struggle, SJ, FCD, and RSL will each have improved enough that the conference title is wide open this year.

  24. FCD, RSL, and Chivas or SJ in the playoffs, not in any particular order.

    I have to think DVDB provides enough to get FCD into the post season. RSL, well, they are my team. Chivas or SJ, going to be tough in the west, tough mediocrity (sp?).. East gets 5 slots in playoffs, it is still set up that way, because I cannot keep up with the rule change and post-facto decisions from the MLS Brass…

  25. Is Houston supposed to be getting another attacking player? They really looked like they could use one against Atlante.

  26. It looks to me like the West will again be the significantly weaker Conference. LAG is better (how can they not be?) but are still bad. Houston is weaker. FCD is weaker. RSL might be better. Seattle won’t be a bad expansion team but they still won’t make the playoffs. People underestimate how much ROB helped SJ last year and unless Huckerby duplicates his phenomenal performance, they won’t be better this year. Colorado–who knows? Weaker on paper but a full season of better coaching–they might improve despite being less talented.

    To me, Houston, RSL and Chivas make the playoffs (in that order).


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