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
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.
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..
oh yea i like this new segment this season. Hope you continue it Ives
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.
Skinn – thanks for saving me from answering those two comments.
Hurtado eats Movsisyan with Chips and Salsa.
Le Toux and Montero
RSL is going to win in Seattle.
Maybe Bradley will call in Cooper now.
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.
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
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.
Actually you don’t have Ben Olsen in your MLS Best-11. You have DeRo, Alonso, Nagamura, Amado, and Davy Arnaud in the midfield.
Most surprising performance: Kevin Harmse makes it all the way through a game for TFC without hurting anyone or earning a yellow card.
The economy is cratering. Why wouldn’t attendances drop (except in Seattle)?
Ives, just letting you know that No.3 is missing in the soccernet.com power rankings.
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….
Don’t worry Hopper. Toronto would easily break your attendance levels in a larger stadium.
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.
I think KC recorded a sellout as well.
By the way, GBS’s goal was not exactly a last-minute equalizer.
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.
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.
Arnaud’s long distant strikes were exceptional.
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.
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?
“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.
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.
Er, Brant, you’re aware that “es-schellotto” is how the man pronounces his own name, right?
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.