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MLS preseason recap: Davies scores twice, Texas derby gets intense and more



The optimism surrounding Charlie Davies’ trial with D.C. United seems to increase by the day.

In a development that is sure to please U.S. national team and United supporters alike, Davies notched two goals and an assist during the Black and Red’s 4-0 win over the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 national team Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A halftime substitute, Davies set up a Kurt Morsink tally with a cross in the 68th minute. He got on the scoresheet himself a minute later when he latched onto a Chris Pontius through ball and converted a near-post finish. Davies capped his performance with a shot into the upper-right corner in the 75th minute.

Joseph Ngwenya opened the scoring in the first half with his fourth goal in two preseason appearances.

Here is a roundup of the rest of Saturday’s preseason MLS action:


The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas may no longer share the same division now that the former has joined the Eastern Conference, but there is still no love lost between the Texas rivals.

That much was evident during Houston’s 4-0 win over Dallas in Corpus Christi, Texas, during which Dallas left back Jair Benitez spat at Houston’s Geoff Cameron. The action prompted a scuffle that ended with Cameron and teammate Brian Ching needing to be separated from Benitez.

Benitez told the Houston Chronicle his actions were in retaliation after Cameron spat at him. The Dynamo defender-midfielder denied the accusation.

An own goal from Dallas’ Alexis Pardie opened the scoring, and Cameron nodded home a Brad Davis corner kick to double the advantage. Davis curled in a free kick to make it 3-0 before halftime, and a second-half penalty kick from Danny Cruz wrapped up the scoring.


Three days after getting a penalty-kick shootout triumph over Mexican club Atlante’s first team, the New York Red Bulls picked up a 3-1 win over a side comprised of Atlante’s reserve team and Under-20 squad in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo combined for what Red Bulls fans hope will be the first of many times this year when Henry finished an Agudelo cross in the 30th minute.

Rookies took over for the Red Bulls in the second half, as homegrown signing Matt Kassel capitalized on a botched goalkeeper clearance to find net in the 80th minute, and first-round SuperDraft pick Corey Hertzog scored New York’s third five minutes later.


Second-year midfielder David Estrada finished an assist from 19-year-old Miguel Montano in the 75th minute to give the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 win against Western Conference foe Chivas USA in Casa Grande, Ariz.

Memo Torres, the younger brother of U.S. national team midfielder Jose Francisco Torres, is on trial with Chivas and entered as a 60th-minute substitute.


What do you think of Davies' performance? What else stood out for you from Saturday's results? Hope that Torres makes it with Chivas?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Exactly, Findley was there as a direct substitute for CD9’s skill set.
    That he is nowhere near as good is no one’s fault, it just shows that the USMNT still lacks depth.

  2. Supsam, we should expect to do better against Slovenia and Algeria. Slovenia has a population of 2 million people and has never made the world cup before. Yes, they edged out Russia in a two game series on a goal difference after playing two games of their lives, but that team overachieved just to make the world cup. And don’t forget that Russia was one man down after the ref gave a red card to Kerzhakov and no red cards to two Slovenian players who appeared to throw punches. Alegeria finished last in the group that we won and was the weakest of the CAF teams that made the world cup. A minnow can beat a superior team on any given day, but we struggled to maintain possession against inferior teams in South Africa.

    As for players not realizing their chances against Algeria, it is a part of the game. As you say, US could have won 3-0 if they realized more of their chances, but Algeria also had 19 shots in that game so you could argue the opposite. What you cannot argue against is that BB kept starting every game in a 4-4-2 formation, while not having enough quality strikers, and had to make tactical changes by bringing an extra midfielder as the games progressed. And when Algeria and Slovenia played 5 players in their midfield against our 4-4-2, the US players were at a numerical disadvantage in that part of the field and struggled to maintain possession and provide service to their two strikers. If BB had Suarez and Forlan, I would not have blamed him for sticking with 4-4-2, but BB should have adjusted his formation to have his best players on the field.

    There’s no shame in losing to Ghana, but Ghana is a beatable team and the US had one of the easiest brackets. In Ghana game BB made some tactical mistakes and had to use two of his subs too early. In the overtime, the team ran out of steam and he had no cards to play other than replacing Altidore with inefective Gomez. I am not BB’s hater, and hope that he does really well his second time around, but he made some critical mistakes at the WC2010.

  3. Serious coaching mistakes?

    I tend to view it as the players made the mistakes:

    Here’s an account from the Algeria game:

    “In the second half, the U.S. had as many as five great scoring chances, before finally breaking through in the 91st minute. Included in those chances was a shot by Dempsey that hit the right post after he was sprung with a long cross from Altidore. Dempsey then had a chance to sweep his rebound into the net as it bounced behind M’Bohli, but he could not turn the attempt on net. In the 65th minute, second-half substitute Benny Feilhaber snuck into the right side of the penalty area, took the ball tight along the end line and tried to guide a cross in front of the goal behind the diving M’Bohli, but the Algerian goalkeeper knocked the ball out for a corner with his legs. Buddle had a headed attempt on goal in the 68th minute on a cross from Steve Cherundolo, but was not able get squeeze it past M’Bohli, and just two minutes later a cross from Altidore from the right wing was almost knocked into his own goal by Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra.

    The last definitive U.S. threat before the goal came in the 79th minute on a free kick from Michael Bradley that he drove straight on goal for M’Bohli to punch away.

    I read that as he put in two subs who should have scored. That’s not a coaching mistake, that’s players that fail to execute.

    As for the Ghana moan all you want about Clark ( if you watch the replay, Demerit and Howard were far more at fault for that first goal) but the fact is the US had plenty of chances to win the game in the seocnd half but failed to execute.

  4. He mentioned the 5th of your list so it’s pretty much useless. Altidore was getting playing time, plenty of it, yes he had a bit of a spat in the last 2 months of the season with the manager at Hull but he played plenty, and while he did not score a lot of the times, he was crucial in building up play and drew at least 5 PK’s that he never got the chance to take.

    Davies not being healthy sort of is the reason why Robbie Findley got a chance, Bob relied to much on the 4-4-2 and wanted to die by the tandem of Joze who is pretty fast but match him up with a quicker and faster guy like Charlie expect Findley couldn’t finish or create. Jozy, LD and Deuce set Findley up tons of times, didn’t do a thing.

    Clark is your only valid one, and I have to say if we don’t see him get all that PT not sure your 4th one even matters. And also the one Brian mentioned which you REPEATED sort of helps to address the 4th one as well.

    Charlie Davies would of made a difference.
    But then again we don’t get the magical Landon goal and the profile doesn’t get raised as much. I think the key mistake was starting Clark which lead to the early goal vs Ghana and wasted a sub we really needed in the 2nd half or OT. Could of brought in Gomez as a super sub and Buddle for fresh legs, could of used Torres late too to keep possession and even Holden or Beasley for wing play

  5. another thing about Bob Bradley haters that im perplexed by: why do we think that we “should” be better than teams that arent considered powerhouses? This inferiority complex with the likes of Ghana, Algeria, Slovenia, etc…is only shared by US fans. Last time i checked, those countries had just as much or more players playing minutes in the top leagues than we do (see Algeria for example). Why do some people on this site think that almost drawing to a country that always competes for the title of best of Africa is an embarrassment? Or, why do people think that our midfield should easily manage Slovenia’s when Russia could not (even after two playoff matches to prove Slovenia is no fluke). I guess Guus Hiddink’s international pedigree pales in comparison to you Bob Bradley haters. You know how to easily beat Slovenia’s midfield while Hiddink does not.

    As for algeria, its funny how you cite that we needed a last minute goal to go to the next round. Why dont you talk about how if we converted our chances, we should have easily have won 3-0 at least (oh that must be Bradley’s fault right?)! I guess selectively choosing which points suits your argument the best is what makes Bob Bradley haters so easy to argue with.

  6. You make some valid points, but Bob Bradley is not blamed for failing to win the world cup. The United States should not be losing possession battle to the likes of Slovenia and Algeria, but they did. The possession battle was lost because Bob Bradley played one less player at the midfield than the opposition while not having enough capable strikers to fill in 2 spots in his tactical alignment. When he changed a scheme to pull one of the strikers to add a midfielder, the US would start controlling possession and would score. Yes, they won the group, but they were also within 1 minute from being eliminated at the group stage, until Donovan scored against Algeria. BB is a good coach, but he made some serious coaching mistakes at the WC.

  7. They should take the ‘show’ to Austin and San Antonio. If anything, they’d be sure to make some money.

    Now if only the Aztex were still around…

  8. gee, let’s see if I can come up with a few:

    1) Altidore coming in with little form or playing time
    2) a guy named Ricardo Clark getting substantial minutes in the US midfield
    3) Robby Findley looking like a lost little boy on the pitch
    4) lack of preparation and/or aggressiveness in giving up early leads in nearly every match
    5) Gooch being barely fit enough to play

    those all strike me as pressing problems for the Us at the cup. No?

  9. I like the ‘traveling show’ idea for the Texas rivalry and building popularity across the state. It looks like Whataburger Field was close to capacity.

  10. I don’t think anyone is critical of DC United for playing U-20’s in pre-season. It’s pre-season after all and the idea is to ramp up slowly.

    What would DC get from playing a full strength Barca side and getting demolished in pre-season?

    What I believe people are critical of is anyone who makes too much of CD scoring a couple of goals on a bunch of teenagers in a pre-season scrimmage. It’s good he is scoring but one shouldn’t make too much of it.

  11. From what I read he wasn’t exactly tearing up the reserves.

    This loan move would free up some money and maybe give Charlie the boost a change in scenery sometimes gives.

  12. DC United have long played college teams in pre-season. A long time ago Stoikchov nearly killed some American U. player who got in his way.

    Maybe they can arange to play them and Boston college so Charlie can fatten up on more easy pickings.

  13. Now that’s just silly.

    1. Finances are a factor with EVERY team in MLS.

    2. Teams routinely schedule games against sides that they find it useful to scout or learn the talent about. Like local college teams or nearby USL sides. In my book, that’s smart.

    3. Are you saying that coaches shouldn’t be involved in scouting talent?

    4. Toumba said nothing of the sort and you obviously seem to know little about how most MLS teams are organized (including DCU). DCU has a GM (who scouts talent). They have a Technical Director (who scouts talent). They have a youth academy full of guys who focus on amateur talent. DCU was also the first team in MLS to video satellite games from Central and South America to create a video library searchable by player (I know a couple of years ago, they had several thousand hours of tape/CD records of current S. American players). In short, I’m not aware of ANY team in MLS that doesn’t have some kind of GM/TD/personnel scout.

  14. I don’t think we are close to good enough to win the world cup and don’t fault Bradley for our inability to do so.

    My biggest problems with Bradley are twofold:

    1.) the team consistently gives up early goals to go down 1-0. To me that means the team is not mentally prepared to start games. That is the coach’s responsibility. Good teams consistently punish you if you give them the lead. See Brazil, Italy.

    2.) there are certain players whose inclusion baffles me. See Bornstein. Also I think he needs to explore midfield combinations that don’t always include his son. While Michael Bradley should be in the conversation, he is not a penciled in player to me.

  15. Couldn´t cut it with the reserves? I think sochaux probably just wants him to get first team minutes as opposed to not playing. I sincerely doubt it´s because he ´couldn´t cut it´ with the reserves.

  16. So what are you saying, they are too cheap to seperate their scouting department from coaching/preperation?

    Sounds like a great organization.

  17. I think it’s kind of funny that degree of hate about playing the U20 sides. I don’t know how good those teams were…maybe they were fit, cohesive and good tests. Or maybe they were thrown-together, amateurish and just mobile cones. Maybe it’s a good way to scout talent.

    But almost everyone is playing some matches against weak sides at this point (didn’t LAG play some USL teams–they’re probably in worse shape than MLS sides at this point)? Others have played college teams (yep, that’s a real test). Or games against Scandanavian teams coming here after the break for conditioning?

    The point is to play teams that fit your preseason objectives. If you’re trying to get sharp than you play teams at a high level who will take your match seriously. If it’s conditioning than you play a team that is in-season. Or if you want to test a particular scheme or role that you pick teams that will play that style (ie: don’t schedule a match against a lower UK division side unless you want to play direct soccer). You don’t play matches to just play matches, you play matches to work on specific objectives. That’s why some coaches play 3 30 minute segments (to add in opportunities to do coaching). That’s why, during the Carolina Cup a couple of years back, when an opposition player got a red card, at half time Soehn approached the ref to ask that the other team be allowed to play with 11 for the half–they wanted to test tactics and roles against 11 players, not a team that was bunkering b/c they were reduced to 10.

    And FWIW, DCU plays in the Carolina Cup at the end of the preseason.

  18. But minutes given in the WC is deceptive. If you go by “minutes given” than we’d have dropped one of our GKs–and you know that isn’t going to happen. Robbie Findley made the WC team for one reason only: speed…he was there to stretch the defense. And we ended up in a lot of situations where BB felt he needed that speed. So Findley got starts and got minutes. If there had been any player healthy and in-form with comparable speed, Findlay doesn’t make the WC team. Instead, it would have been CD getting those minutes that Findley got.

  19. New England sign Ousmane Dabo and supposedly a defender and striker who are at a high level. The other two players havent been revealed since they are supposedly “waiting on paperwork”. Glad to see a team who needs to rebuilld actually putting forth an effort. Goodluck to the likes of Chivas USA, Toronto FC, & Chicago Fire who continue to not sign anyone or bring in players that are not at all a step above your current team (like Boyens and Elliot to Chivas).

  20. There were other reasons cd wasnt making the bench at sochaux not the least of which was because he wasnt good enough. Could be the fact that he threw them under the bus when he didn’t make the wc squad. Whether you like MLS or not its getting better and better every year.

  21. ga-gone….you don’t see the benefit of being able to scout U-20 talent from other areas in a live action environment all the while your team develops chemistry, fitness and develops its own young talent? Are you sure that you are a football fan?

  22. I suspect DCU also put friendlies against U-20 national teams, because DCU is rebuilding the club with young players. So they get a 1st look at potential future MLS stars. Not going to get that facing KC or Philly.

    Also, if Davies scores 8 goals this year, as a DCU fan I’ll be pleased. Anything more than 3 goals will be better than DCU had last season. And more than 8 goals will be gravy.

    MLS is a good league but what no one says, MLS players excel in GK, Defense, Def-midfield. Overall the quality is strongest in those positions from US players. Once quality improves league – wide for the FWs + Off. Midfield, than you’ll see a league where retired or aging players won’t be able to retire here.

  23. So Charlie Davies has scored in scrimmages vs. Canada’s U-20s and Trinidad & Tobao’s U-20s. That really doesn’t say much. Ben Olsen has said that he’s made progress considering his injury but has kept hush over him coming on loan. He couldn’t cut with Sochaux’s reserves. He still hasn’t shown he’s anywhere near where he was before his accident.

  24. Im not saying Bob Bradley is a Jose Mourinho or a Sir Alex Ferguson or even a Guus Hiddink , but Bradley is a decent coach. The national has progressed to a much greater level from the Bruce Arena era. For once, powerhouse countries respect our national team.

    As for on the field impact, a coach is only as good as his players. With Bradley at the helm, we can compete (i didnt say beat) with any nation in the world. Some Bob Bradley haters need to be realistic here. If we are still starting players that are: A) partially injured, B) Not getting any decent minutes for their club team or C) Have zero players getting minutes with powerhouse clubs…then what chance do we have at winning the darn world cup? It seems thats the only way to silence the bob bradley haters.

  25. Main problem with the national team is the coach – Bob Bradley. Davies would have helped, but at the end of the day coach is a huge problem.

  26. I’m pretty sure people are excited because he was the most popular young NT player 2 years ago and is now healing up, not because of some hoped-for impact on MLS.

  27. Based on minutes given in the WC…I think Findley would have been relegated to the bench, not off the team, if Davies was healthy. Gomez or Buddle would have been left off the team. It’s not what I (or seemingly the majority of know it alls) would have done but this likely what B. Bradley would have done.

  28. wow dude. Fans are happy to see a rising usmnt hopeful recover from a serious injury. At has nothing to do with mls. But if you want to go there… Its impressive the the young league has developed enough that a top european league team would trust the mls with development (or rehab) of one of it young talents.

  29. Good luck to Charlie but all MLS fans ought to be asking themselves why they are excited about a player that could not even regularly make the reserves for a mid-table french team. I want the MLS to be good but what 3rd rate league it is.

  30. Does it bother anyone else that DC United made mincemeat out of a group of Caribbean teenagers? If anything, they should have scored many many more goals.

  31. Yep, scoring two goals doesn’t mean he’s the next Messi or C. Rinanldo. But 2 goals in 45 minutes is nice, especially when there were doubts if he was even physically capable of being on the field.

    And while I won’t argue with Davies the US would have been in the semis or finals, here’s the way to look at it: if Davies was healthy and in-form, Robbie Findlay isn’t on the WC team, Findlay isn’t getting starts or major minutes. That alone is a pretty decent upgrade. Additionally, the US frontline contributed no scores–we got our goals from elsewhere on the team. So ANY player who shows a nose for goal with a little speed would have been a HUGE addition to our 2010 WC side.

  32. Puuulease. Dude scores twice against some teenagers from an island of 1.3M people and he’s the greatest striker since Romario. I hope he plays well and makes the DC squad, but with four international goals to his credit, there were much more pressing problems with the USMNT in SA than CD9 not being there.

  33. Seriously. I try not to think about it 🙂 Just so glad to see him doing well here. I really hope he gets to stay with DC. Will be great to see him play and get stronger.


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