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Tuesday Kickoff: MLS clubs eye CCL quarters, Shea disciplined and more

The quest to bring respectable CONCACAF Champions League results to Major League Soccer will continue tonight when MLS clubs take on Mexican opponents yet again.

The Columbus Crew will take on Santos Laguna at Crew Stadium tonight (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel) in a vital match that could see Columbus claim first place in Group B with a victory. Toronto FC will try to ride the momentum of its last-second win against Houston by traveling to Mexico and facing Cruz Azul, led by red-hot Mexican striker Javier Orozco.

Columbus is coming off a 4-0 drubbing against Seattle, but a win tonight against Santos could put the Crew in prime position to qualify to the knockout rounds.

Toronto's task is much tougher. No MLS team has ever won a Champions League match in Mexico, and TFC will have to do so against a Cruz Azul team (10pm, Fox soccer Channel) that will be looking for revenge after its loss to the Canadians at BMO Field at the beginning of the group stage. Anything less than a win tonight and Toronto could see its Champions League quarterfinal dreams dashed.

Here are some other subjects to discuss on this Tuesday morning:


FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea is enjoying a stellar season, but he lost his cool and will pay the additional price.

Shea was given an additional one-game suspension to go along with the red card he was issued in last week's 2-2 tie vs. the New York Red Bulls. Shea earned the red for an ugly challenge on Chris Albright, but when he refused to leave the field in a timely manner, and made contact with an official as he got involved in a shoving match with some Red Bulls players, he assured himself of an added suspension.

It isn't the first sign of petulance from the fiery winger. I can recall a game last season when he yanked his arm away from FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman after Hyndman substituted him early in a match. Hyndman promptly grabbed up the former first-round pick and let him know the behavior was unacceptable.

While Shea's immaturity can't be completely ignored, we also can't forget that he is still just 20 years old and growing into being a professional. He isn't the first hot-tempered young player we'll see in MLS and he won't be the last. In fact, in some ways Shea reminds me of a young Clint Dempsey, who was known for his own petulance early in his career.

Shea has a bright future, but he's still growing up, so we shouldn't write him off as a head-case just yet. Now, if he's still pushing refs and losing his temper five years from now we might have to worry.


The independent soccer film Pelada will have its New York City premiere tonight, and if you haven't seen the movie yet, it's a must-see for all soccer fans.

The premiere is being held on Tuesday evening (8pm, doors open at 7pm) at Legends Bar & Restaurant in Manhattan (6 W. 33rd St.) and will feature an introduction by Ethan Zohn and a Q&A after the screening with the film's makers. You can buy tickets online here, or buy tickets at the event (the venue is small  so you should buy your tickets ahead of time to avoid missing out). I will be attending the premiere and look forward to meeting some SBI readers.


What do you think of tonight's Champions League matches? See Toronto winning in Mexico? Think Columbus can straighten itself out? Hoping Shea grows up fast? Will I see you in New York tonight at the Pelada premiere?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Second that recommendation! The Two Escobars — despite the somewhat puzzling complaints of the footballer Escobar’s family about it — is downright riveting.

  2. Seattle is going for broke to win even if they are all but done in the CCL. They even took another charter flight to Mexico. So they are taking it very serious.

  3. Shea, grow up kid.

    Don’t forget that AWFUL two-footed tackle in the U20 World Cup. If you thought this red card was bad, you need to look up the video for this tackle … dredful. Good luck Shea, we need to see some maturity quickly.

  4. Ha ha! I totally misread the heading of the second column. I read it and and thought why was “Shay” Given (Man City goalkeeper) suspended? Then I read kept reading the article and saw it was talking about Brek “Shea” from FC Dallas. Geez, I need to quit reading so many EPL articles!

  5. Agreed. Pelada was decent and I’m glad that I saw it, but it wasn’t anything outstanding. I thought it could have been better.

    If anyone has not yet seen ‘The Two Escobars’ that is the best soccer documentary ever made. I highly recommend checking it out.

  6. you are adorable tk. such firey apathy. ‘look all, i wrote yawn at the end, dont get tricked by the long opinionated message preceding the yawn, i’m nearly falling asleep with uncaring.’

  7. “I’m also not saying it shouldn’t have been a red. I am just arguing with additional suspensions.”

    The additional game suspension is not for the tackle, but is for not leaving the field promptly and for contact with an official.

  8. Just because you get the ball first doesn’t mean it’s not a foul. And how can you say “clean tackle no foul”, and then say “I’m not saying it shouldn’t have been a red”? That’s extremely contradictory.

    It’s a clear red card and his overall actions are clearly worthy of additional suspension. Pushing another player violently and pushing the AR should have meant an additional 2 games minimum, IMO. And Shea’s challenge was the definition of “using excessive force”. It was completely unnecessary and he could have easily destroyed Albright’s knees. I’m a bit disappointed that they only gave him one additional game.

  9. Yep, Red Bulls just issued a press release. Apperently the GM wants him to sit, because he has a MCL injury…..

    Maybe now the whining can stop.

  10. I think Shea is an excellent young player and will be moving on to Europe eventually. He’s definitely a joy to watch. However, I really think he should be out for a total of 5 games, not 3. IMO, the challenge itself was worthy of an additional game, and his behavior afterward was worthy of two more with violently shoving another player and shoving the AR. That’s not the kind of behavior that players should be exhibiting.

  11. I’d absolutely love to see one of our MLS teams in the World Club Cup (or whatever terrible name it’s called).

    Prestige abroad means more players will take the league seriously which would warm them up to the idea of playing here. The likes of Beckham, Marquez, and Henry have opened the door to that possibility but we need to earn the respect.

    And the tournament will never be thought of as great until the fans really take hold of it. How can you not get excited to play in the CL of North America?

  12. He’s a very gifted and athletic player who needs to move abroad to improve the skills he has already acquired and developed in MLS.

    Expect to see him in the US camp and maybe a few rumors during the European winter transfer period.

  13. Ball cleared before contact with player = clean tackle no foul.
    Those are the rules, I don’t make them up.
    I’m also not saying it shouldn’t have been a red. I am just arguing with additional suspensions.
    Albright was trying to move to the front of the ball to play it back and before he retouched it, Shea knocked it loose. No contact was made with Albright until he was already falling (diving or anticipating contact)
    I know I’m in the minority here too. I’m a Fire supporter don’t care about FCD.

  14. Umm…maybe you should watch it without FCD bias. Just because he got a bit of the ball doesn’t make his tackle legal. His follow-through was quite malicious.

    If, for example, a player got all ball while elbowing a guy in the face, you wouldn’t say “oh, he got the ball, why the red card?” The fact is that he got a bit of the ball, then continued to “scissor” Albright to the ground. Dive or no dive, that kind of tackle collapses the leg from the back and has no place in the game.

  15. I agree with you on Shea. Dempsey played the same way for the Revs and everyone hated on him just like Brek. Don’t worry they will all love him when he makes that European transfer.

    Can’t wait to see Pelada.

  16. I’ll stand by it ’til the day I die.
    That Brek Shea challenge was clean. Slow motion replay shows Shea get all ball with his left foot and make no contact with Albright and only after Albright was already falling (from anticipating the challenge) did Shea’s right foot contact him. It was an excellent challenge and neither stud was up and it was a one-footed not two-footed challenge.
    This kid is gonna be a star if he ever gets out of this league full of horrible reffing.
    (I challenge you to watch the replay on without a RBNY bias)

  17. To me, Brek Shea is one of the brightest young stars in this league. I’m a Wizards fan and Shea has been one of the top 5 players on my wishlist for several seasons. He’s both a natural athlete and a natural footballer, something that we don’t often get in american players. At the very least I think that he has a role to play with the nats in the build up to 2014. I’m not saying he’s the future of USMNT, but he has to be in the picture if he keeps developing.
    I like players who get upset after getting sent off, especially when they’re young. No, he doesn’t need to hove the ref, but passion can’t be a bad thing. It’s nice to see an american player with a bit of a swagger.

    And also, I saw Pelada in KC last month. It a wonderful film, and I encourage everyone, from the oldest soccer snob to the youngest youth league player to see it. It’s a wonderfully put together film, and no matter what sport you play, you can relate to the emotions that the two narrators/filmmakers travel through on their global journey.

    But most importantly, my Wizards are HOT right now. Did anybody see Ryan Smith embarrass those two goat defenders on Sunday? He’s the new Wizard of dribble.

  18. Tough task for a team whose coach and GM just got canned. Sometimes though, something like that can get the players to rally around each other and put out a great effort. I will be rooting for Toronto and Columbus. Like the Crew’s chances better tho.

  19. Until teams can actually spend over 3 Million on a squad there’s no reason to even pretend we will be competitive in the CCL. I for one, liked having midweek games on tv back when I had FSC. However, I don’t really miss it now.

  20. Looks like a pastey, langy, blonde American C. Ronaldo with worse hair, you mean. Or perhaps we could say he looks like a blonde Peter Crouch with teeth that fit his mouth.

  21. Respect from who? Outside of a few net geeks a win here or there is going to matter zero to the league or bring in new fans.

    The NY challenge friendlies brought more respect to the league than anything the CCL can or will. It’s not going to change anyone’s mind who doesn’t like MLS, and most MLS fans couldn’t care less in the first place with regards to an overlong, corrupt, second class Warnar money grab attempt. People can preach about the “real tourney” it is as much as they want. A piece of crap is a piece of crap, no matter how you dress it up.

    Then again, that what a site like this thrives on, the few dozen purist geeks that know it all and who can get their panties in a twist. Yawn.

  22. Shea looks and acts like a blonde American C. Ronaldo. Now he is nowhere near half the player, but that is who I see when I watch him play. Lets hope he tempers it a bit but continues to rapidly improve.


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