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MLS Week 8: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

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There were goals galore in Major League Soccer's Week Eight as we saw four games with four or more goals and a memorable 3-3 shootout between Toronto FC and D.C. United.

Not every defense was in a giving mood. Chivas USA and Houston continued to be the league's stingiest defenses in posting their own shutouts.

As for individual performances this week, Red Bulls striker Macoumba Kandji stole the show with his goal and two-assist effort in New York's rout of San Jose. The performance earned Kandji MLS player of the week honors in a match that earned three Red Bulls MLS Team of the Week honors.

Here are this week's MLS Best XI and Worst XI plays, performances, moments and scenes, as well as the SBI MLS Team of the Week. Enjoy:

MLS Week Eight Best XI

Mike Magee's late equalizer for LA vs. Real Salt Lake.

Paulo Nagamura's game-winner for Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake.

Dwayne DeRosario's brace, including his half-field run and blast.

Mac Kandji's virtuoso performance vs. San Jose.

Albert Celades' classy work in midfield in his first Red Bulls start.

Josh Wolff's streaking header goal vs. Columbus.

Matt Reis' last-second diving save to salvage New England's draw vs. Chicago.

Shalrie Joseph's inspired performance for New England.

Seattle's Sunday afternoon crowd at Qwest Field.

TFC fans marching with D.C. fans in support of a D.C. United stadium.

Philadelphia's new logo

MLS Week Eight Worst XI

James Riley's punch.

Referee Tim Weyland's less than stellar performance in the LA-Seattle match.

San Jose's first-half defending vs. New York.

Real Salt Lake's clock management vs. Los Angeles.

D.C. United's second-half defending vs. Toronto FC.

FC Dallas' anemic attack and one shot on goal vs. Houston.

Kansas City's marking on Eddie Gaven's game-winning goal.

Andy Greunebaum's whiff on Claudio Lopez's free kick goal.

Chicago's latest blown lead and tie.

The small crowds at Giants Stadium and Toyota Park.

Crew fans throwing things at KC midfielder Claudio Lopez, leading to a game delay.

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 8)

———-Dwayne DeRosario————–Mac Kandji————-

——————————-Mike Magee————————–

Emmanuel Ekpo———-Albert Celades———-Josh Wolff

——————————Shalrie Joseph———————–

–Kevin Goldthwaite—-Wilman Conde—–Shavar Thomas–

——————————Matt Reis————————


Honorable Mentions: Pat Onstad, Frankie Hejduk, Geoff Cameron, Adrian Serioux, Nat Borchers, Rodney Wallace, Jorge Rojas, Paulo Nagamura, Robbie Rogers, Seth Stammler, Guillermo Barros Schelotto


Some final thoughts on this week's picks. I had a hard time leaving Jorge Rojas off the list, but midfield was loaded this week. Schelotto is another player who just missed the cut, as did Nagamura. Nice work by Matt Reis to go from goat one week, to hero the next.

What do you think of this week's selections? What player or play or performance is missing from the lists? Who should have made Team of the Week that didn't? Who's inclusion were you happy to see?


  1. @Colin, you are proud of Magee for diving?
    does Galaxy employ acting coaches?

    Posted by: overmars | May 12, 2009 at 08:43 PM

    I think Magee did exactly what a veteran-type player would do. Magee didn’t dive, because the game was stopped. If you want to see diving, take a look at stubby-legged Ljungberg any time anyone challenges him with the ball.

    And no, the Galaxy don’t employ acting coaches. But that’s a really funny comment and I’m pretty sure no one ever anywhere has ever said that joke to anyone anywhere, so you’re pretty original and creative to come up with that all by yourself. You must be one of those “I’m smarter than everyone and boo hoo my NBA team left to OKC so now I’m stuck with this soccer team” Sounders fan.

    Magee’s Intelligence > Riley’s Intelligence.

    Simply put.

  2. Agreed about Riley. Riley only did to Magee exactly what Magee did to him first. Rewatch the video.

    And the only reason Magee should be on any Best XI list would be if it’s for Best XI embellishment. If Riley had hit the ground like Magee did, he was the one who would have stayed on the field.

  3. Zues –

    I totally agree with you, but my biggest problem is that there are many fans–not just CLB fans–that would love to see a 20-foot chain-link fence go up. There are too many people that think throwing (crap), starting fights, and being racist makes you a REAL soccer fan. I remember someone asking in a Q&A about when US fans will be a “force to be reckoned with” like CLB fans…lame. I’m all for passion and unwaivering support, but does anyone seriously want an American Nazio?

    Once again, I’m not trying to lump all CLB fans into this category. But the problem extends beyond the few who pull these stunts–too many excuse it; too many think it’s cool.

  4. I can tell you if you watch any European matches, you won’t see the final whistle blown when a team is on the attack. They’ll end the game on a stoppage, a clearance, or, of course, if the winning team is holding possession. Question the merits of this method, if you want, but it’s how things are done in top-level soccer.
    Posted by: Mike Caramba | May 12, 2009 at 10:46 PM

    I AM questioning the merits of this method because a) I don’t think it is a “method” (I don’t think it happens by rule in the way that you guys do) and b) because I think it contravenes FIFA’s Laws of the Game. I’m not sure about that, though, so until somebody with some actual refereeing knowledge chimes in, I’ll leave it at that.)


    Galaxy fans don’t need to chime in, because they just played for a draw.
    Posted by: Terry | May 13, 2009 at 12:57 AM

    Right, because the last thing you want in any discussion would be all these people with differing points of view contributing to it.

    That would take attention away from the One True Path to Enlightenment.

  5. Sure things don’t work out for any team on a weekly basis and the Sounders do need to show some nuts. but ….Sounders fans don’t need your belated support.. How can you have a 2nd favorite team? what a clown.

    Sounders get 6 on the road and beat Colorado at Starfire

    Posted by: Helmut | May 12, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    Really? Having another team in MLS that you enjoy watching makes me a clown? I guess Seattle doesn’t need my “belated” support (they’ve only been around for one year in MLS, dufus). Seattle fans are losing the respect that fans around the league had for them at the beginning of the season. I thought you guys showed a lot of passion and pride in your team… now I just see that it’s mostly stuck-up whiny yuppies who need to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around the space needle.

  6. First off, I think we all need to stop attacking each other’s “fan” cred. We’re clearly all fans of the sport to some degree because we’re reading Ives and posting. That said, a little friendly ribbing about the teams we support is totally cool.

    Second, the throwing of any sort of object on the field has to stop. In my opinion, that includes “harmless” streamers. We’ve had the occasional item thrown from Section 8, but we’ve really been working on putting a stop to it. I don’t want to pick on C-bus, but it does seem to be becoming a more persistant problem there. Two weeks ago, while aiming at Blanco, a C-bus fan hit a ref with a bottle. I hate being a snitch and hate stadium security, but it needs to stop. I personally don’t like the prospect of watching a match through a twenty foot high chainlink fence like other parts of the world. If this keeps up league wide, that will be a real possibility. It’ll be easier to nix it now than to try and have fences removed later on. The key is going to be self policing. If you see someone throw something, say something. Don’t assume someone else will. A little reprimand and negative reinforcement goes a long way. If it happens again, get security.

  7. Wilman Conde was marking Shalrie Joseph all match. Joseph scores the game-tying goal, and Conde gets Best XI again? He’s the third-best defender in the Fire’s backline AT BEST, maybe tied for second in this match because Sega was out.

    I don’t understand why everyone is so fascinated with him, unless you’re helping build up his value so Klopas can trade him.

  8. From a diehard Seattle fan and USSF referee…. Weyland lost control of the game based on his questionable calls/cards. Riley deserved the red for Violent Conduct, very easy (Almost as easy as Keller’s red). Magee also deserved a red but the referees missed it, which often happens. I’ve missed a keeper uppercut an attacker setting up next to him on a corner kick – BEFORE the kick was taken. Berhalter was doing what any player would do, and deserved a “Knock it off!” from the ref, nothing more. This all happened in less than 10 seconds, barely enough time for the ref to run over. Didn’t have a good angle on Jacua, but based on what I saw I wouldn’t of called a PK either. The extra time however was inexcusable. 3 minutes compared to the 7 or 8 minutes of actual time wasted? Makes me sick to my stomach…bleh.

    Mostly I’m disappointed in Hurtado & Riley, Riley is obvious, but Hurtado looked asleep back there. His terrible pass followed by a poor defensive effort on the lone goal. LA’s performance was pitiful and embarrassing, going for the draw while a man up? Gosh I’m glad the referee and my team’s lack of discipline made this stinker interesting, otherwise it would’ve been a borefest 🙂

  9. Oh, come on. Sure, Berhalter probably deserved a yellow for time-wasting. Sure, some refs might have shown Magee the red for grabbing Riley. But by the same token, Seattle was getting away with a whole lot. Ljungberg in particular. He got away with some really blatant dives. If Berhalter deserved a yellow for time-wasting, then Ljungberg deserved at least one for simulation – and that would have had him sent off. And if Jaqua was fouled, then so was Magee at another point in the game. One of Seattle’s center backs (don’t remember which) should have had a yellow card. Don’t act like the missed calls and the hacking only happened one way, because the ref was equally bad for both teams.

    For the record, I thought Riley’s red card was deserved, and I didn’t even notice what he did to Berhalter! In that case, doubly deserved.

  10. Punch? Ives, in what world is that a punch? Give me a break. If that is a punch, then the effemination of my favorite sport is underway.

    Am I the only one that wants my athletes, yes even soccer players, to be tough?

  11. Jon E,

    We can debate about the Keller Red, but the amount of stoppage time was ridiculous and the Galaxy was on it’s heals those last seconds. Seattle had numbers and space. Maybe, they would not have scored, but isn’t this what happens in soccer? Team scores in the waning seconds of extra time. Never, do you see a ref blow the wistle on an attack, or a corner, or free kick. It is just part of the way it is. Obviously not with this ref. I am sure that Seattle is not the only team to have legitimate complaints this year, however we all feel that we were robbed of 2 points. Or the chance at two points. Galaxy fans don’t need to chime in, because they just played for a draw. Good for them and lucky for them that they had a 12th man on their side. Bad for the league image though.

  12. Jon E,

    What Seattle BG said is correct. While I didn’t see the end of the Seattle game in question, I can tell you if you watch any European matches, you won’t see the final whistle blown when a team is on the attack. They’ll end the game on a stoppage, a clearance, or, of course, if the winning team is holding possession. Question the merits of this method, if you want, but it’s how things are done in top-level soccer.

  13. … while you are absolutely correct that the ref has final say as to the “game clock”, it is generally customary to wait for a stopage (out of bounds) or a clear (ball to midfield), and certainly *not* when a team is making a run towards goal. This isn’t basketball.
    Posted by: Seattle BG | May 12, 2009 at 07:17 PM
    I really don’t think that’s true. I’m pretty sure that the ref is supposed to stop time at the instant his watch says time is up, regardless of what’s happening on the field. (At any rate, that’s how they taught it to me a long time ago when I did low-level ref training.) Mostly the final whistle happens to come when there’s no direct threat on goal, but that’s only because in soccer the odds are pretty good that there when time is up there isn’t a direct threat on goal.

    Frankly, I hope I’m right–it would be much better for the refs to simply call time. It doesn’t make sense to have them judging the seriousness of an attack and adding time to the game to give one last chance to whichever team happens to have the ball.

    Also, FWIW, the Sounders weren’t in the middle of shooting or anything when the final whistle blew. They were 40m or so from goal with the LA defense in place. Not too much different from how, say, the KC-Columbus game ended this week.

  14. I’m a columbus fan and I’m all about the nordecke getting rowdy, but I agree that throwing beer at opposition players crosses the line. In defense, I’ve never seen any dangerous objects thrown. However, the 2 minute delay caused by the beer throwing lead to 5 minutes of stoppage time. It’s gotta stop.

  15. I’m with Herbie H

    What do sounders fans think went wrong on the goal we conceded? I couldn’t see it well from my seat but it looked like our back line was out of position because we had given up the ball coming out of the back. The strange thing was it looked like whoever was marking Gordon didn’t even go up with him, did he just not see the cross?

    On a side now I can’t find decent highlights of the game online espn, mls, or the sounders site. Every clip cuts in half a second before the thing they’re showing happened so it’s impossible to see how that thing developed.

    Lastly at the risk of stirring up another shouting match I’ve got to chuckle at the fact that Ives is called a homer for ranking his team 12th out of a possible 16 teams 🙂 Maybe we all just need to take a deep long breath and relax.

  16. Herbie H I like the idea.

    I agree with Seattle BG on the last post,if you consider the red card altercation and the amount of subs made, there should have been ATLEAST 5 minutes

  17. Jon e — “The ref blow the final whistle when his watch says time has expired. That happens in all countries. Sometimes the home fans wish that they’d had another few minutes. But very rarely does it provoke a pitch invasion. Which is as it should be.”

    I could be wrong as well, but while you are absolutely correct that the ref has final say as to the “game clock”, it is generally customary to wait for a stopage (out of bounds) or a clear (ball to midfield), and certainly *not* when a team is making a run towards goal. This isn’t basketball.

    Some people were a bit upset that only 3 minutes stoppage time was added when just the Riley scrum alone took more than 4 minutes. Funny thing there, it was originally stated as 4 minutes, and then about a minute into stoppage time it was changed to 3.

  18. if having all 11 guys inside the 18 is a great stratagy then the LA galaxy have one of the best, LA will tie almost every game they play in.

  19. To add to what I just posted, it might also encourage a higher level of debate. More structured, thought out, well supported arguments.

    Does anyone else think this would be interesting?

  20. Wanna know what I’d like to see on this site? Debate. Actual debate. Not this back-and-forth stuff in the comments section.

    Instead of a “Let’s pick Ives’ brain!” Q&A, I think it would be cool if readers with contrary opinions (every so often) were given the opportunity to have an email exchange with Ives that would later be posted. For instance, Ives is a known supporter of players like Brian Ching and Frankie Hejduk–perhaps one reader who sits opposite his position could debate him…maybe they can even reach some understanding.

    How would this be done? Perhaps instead of (or in addition to) a Q&A post, readers could submit their desired topic of debate and a 1-2 sentence overview of their position. For instance:

    “Brian Ching:

    While he is a successful MLS striker, he should be no higher than 3rd-choice for the USMNT. His inability to capitalize on good chances makes him a detriment to the team, especially when played as a lone striker.”

    Ives could choose the most interesting topic(s) of the bunch, write the authors, and exchange points/counter-points. It’d be a fun way for readers to interact with Ives and provide a decent overview of both sides of our country’s most hotly contested (soccer) issues.

    Just a thought.

  21. “Lost in the red-card discussion is the fact that the ref ended play with the Sounders carrying play, with numbers, into the Gals end.

    It was a total F-you from the ref, and in any other country, it would have lead to a pitch invasion.”

    Thank you bud for bringing this up. I was furious at the time and in all the reading that I have done on this game not a single person has mentioned the way it ended. Total crap!!!!!

    Posted by: SNX | May 12, 2009 at 02:47 PM

    I’m sorry. I don’t understand this. The ref is the sole keeper of time on the field, and it’s his job to blow the final whistle precisely when his watch says that time has expired. Are you suggesting that he should instead have waited to let the Sounders take another shot or two on goal?

    If the situation were reversed, and the Galaxy had the ball and were moving into the Sounders’ defensive end, would you still advocate this?

    The ref blow the final whistle when his watch says time has expired. That happens in all countries. Sometimes the home fans wish that they’d had another few minutes. But very rarely does it provoke a pitch invasion. Which is as it should be.

  22. Yeah, I’ll take the corporate boards where people at least talk about soccer rather than in Salt Lake where most of the posts with the newspaper is how much soccer sucks compared to college football or the Jazz.

  23. What I should have written was Seattle fans (“discussing” the outcome of the game vs LA) are reminding me of Chelsea fans (“discussing” the outcome of the Barca game).

    I like the Sounders a lot. I have no MLS team in Miami and am still searching for that ONE team to follow. I’m just saying you guys sound reminiscent of Chelsea fans. There is a positive side to that, right?

  24. [1] Just watched it and I know that it could have been called a red and was. His hands are going up in front of his face, not out.

    [2] That is my point. That call is not made most of the time.
    Posted by: Terry | May 12, 2009 at 01:40 PM
    I’m sorry, but what you say above is inaccurate.

    [1] If you watch the low-angle replay, it’s clear that the ball would not have hit him in the face. It would have gone over his shoulder, very possibly into the goal. That’s why his left hand was over his shoulder: to stop the ball from going into the goal.

    For what it’s worth, as you can see in that same highlight package, Keller’s own actions afterward strongly suggest that he was aware of handling the ball deliberately. Right after he handles the ball, he rolls over as if to hide his hand. And then after the ref blows the whistle he points at his torso to claim that the ball hit him there rather than the hand. If he’d had some protest to make about reflexively protecting his face, he would have pointed to his face. Instead he claimed–untruly–that it hit his stomach.

    [2] That card should be issued EVERY time if the referee has good reason to think that the player deliberately handled the ball in order to prevent a goal. The FIFA Laws of the Game REQUIRE that the referee send of any player who does so: “A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored” (FIFA Laws of the Game 2008/9 112).

    Or as Seattle’s own announcers put it as they narrate the replay, “You’re gonna get a red card every time.”


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