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MLS Week 9: A Look Back

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After a terrible start to the season the San Jose Earthquakes were quickly forgotten in the stacked Western Conference, but a second straight win has the 'Quakes' looking more like a team ready to go on a winning run when the club needs to make up for its bad start.

Ellis McLoughlin's well-taken header opened the scoring against New England, while Bobby Convey's beautiful free kick was arguably the best goal of the week and sealed the points for Frank Yallop.

The Earthquakes weren't the only good story of the previous week. The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders both saw defenders score late winners to keep them both near the top of the West. In the East, the Philadelphia Union moved back into first place with its win.

With the next week set to kick off early on Wednesday night, here is A Look Back at MLS Week Nine:

PHILADELPHIA UNION 2, Chicago Fire 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchCarlos Ruiz. Talk of his 75th-minute golazo, the one that won the match for Philadelphia, as one of best if not the best goal in years in MLS seems overblown, but the strike was an impressive one for sure. It was like a perfect golf chip shot that was on target. 

Honorable Mention- Dominic Oduro. The Fire foward has pace, and some nice moves to go with it. He schooled rookie Michael Farfan in getting around him and put a difficult shot on target from a tough angle for Chicago's lone goal. 

A Night to ForgetGaston Puerari. With the score tied at 1 in the 72nd minute, Puerari, a Fire sub, had nothing but real estate and an open net in front of him as he neared the goal. More oomph on his shot might have kept Union defender Sheanon Williams from getting to the ball and clearing it off the line, and might have earned Chicago at least a point from the match. 

Rookie Watch Michael Farfan. What a game for the rookie. He was very involved offensively and scored his first career MLS goal in the 64th minute to give Philly a 1-0 lead. Farfan was close to a goal in the 21st minute but shot just wide, and would have had an assist if Ruiz had converted in the 38th minute.

Random thoughts– The Union continues its solid second campaign as a franchise, while the Fire can only keep trying to break through. Marco Pappa looks to be fairly consistent game after game with his efforts, but needs to convert more chances to give his struggling team a better chance to win. 


Houston Dynamo 2, New York Red Bulls 2 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Brad Davis - Davis was again the best player on the field for the Dynamo. His PK conversion knotted up the game at one in the 12th minute. But, that was just a small part of what the former Saint Louis Billiken contributed on the pitch; Davis set the pace of the game with his precision passing and his service gave New York trouble all night. It was another superb match for Davis, who has arguably been the best player in MLS this season. 

Honorable Mention- Mehdi Ballouchy - The Moroccan is often criticized for his passive play and lack of defense, but Ballouchy was the savior for New York in this one. The former All-American at Santa Clara headed home a Joel Lindpere corner in stoppage time to clinch a road point for the Red Bulls. This goal could be a huge confidence boost for Ballouchy as he aims to fill the hole left by Dewayne De Rosario during the Gold Cup. 

A Night to Forget-Rafa Marquez  – The former Barcelona star be will disappointed for his performance in front of many Mexican supporters in Houston. Marquez conceded a PK after a late challenge on rookie Will Bruin. He was also in the middle the mess that led to the Dynamo go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute. Then the Red Bulls finally score off a corner kick after the Mexican International stopped taking them. 

Rookie Watch- Will Bruin- The early favorite for MLS Rookie of the Year was at again. In the 12th minute his cut back in the box earned a penalty from the Marquez tackle. Bruin was a handful in the box on set pieces giving New York's defense a run for their money.  

Random thoughts– New York is going to have to play a lot differently with the five missing from the Gold Cup. Stephen Keel and Carlos Mendes are solid defenders, but are not the passers that Ream and Marquez are out of the back…Corey Ashe has turned into a solid LB option for Houston. He can take away any winger's speed in MLS and hasn't made many glaring mistakes. His speed going forward can develop into a big weapon for the Dynamo…Houston doesn't get a break in their next game as they visit league leading Galaxy on Wednesday, while New York hosts the defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids on the same day. 


LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1, Chivas USA 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchLandon Donovan. Frequently the Galaxy's lead attacker, it was on the defensive end where the Galaxy captain was most successful. Donovan was able to assist in the Galaxy's high pressure that suffocated the Chivas USA midfield throughout the night while also providing a key link between the midfield and the forwards. 

Honorable MentionHeath Pearce. The outside back turned central defender was the finest player for Chivas USA on a night that the team struggled to create offense. Pearce came up with several timely tackles as the Galaxy countered in the second half and was also unlucky not to have an assist at outset when his free kick was nearly punched in by Justin Braun. 

A Night to ForgetJustin Braun. Less than a week removed scoring a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls, Braun struggled against the Galaxy defense. Throughout the match, Braun and Alejandro Moreno were unable to find service with the Galaxy midfield cutting off the passing lanes for the Rojiblancos. Only five days from scoring his hat trick, Braun was removed unceremoniously at the 66th minute.  

Rookie watchZarek Valentin. The former Akron Zip turned in a fair performance returning to his natural right full back position for the injured Mike Lahoud. With Lahoud out indefinitely, it appears that the right back position belongs to Valentin. 

Of Note – The Galaxy granted David Beckham permission to miss Wednesday's match with Houston to attend Gary Neville's testimonial on Tuesday…Chivas USA have failed to defeat the Galaxy in their last ten matches in all competitions with their last victory coming in September of 2007…Beckham earned his sixth assist off Barrett's goal which ties him with Brad Davis for the league lead. 


SEATTLE SOUNDERS 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match – Jeff Parke - The Sounders defender was a rock at the back for Seattle and also found the net in the closing seconds of the match to give his team the win.  He had a tricky task of keeping Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo quiet, but he did so all match as well as find the crucial goal at the other end for the second time in his seven-year stint in the MLS.

Honorable Mention – Osvaldo Alonso - Alonso quietly had one of his better games of the season against Sporting.  He broke up play, started new ones and was everywhere for Seattle in midfield.  While he didn't have a great outing the week prior against Portland, the Cuban bounced back with a solid performance in his holding midfield position and shut down the Kansas City attack.  It's unfortunate that the scoreline didn't better reflect his play in the match.  James Riley was a good shout here as well.

A Night to Forget – Teal Bunbury - Regarded by many as one of the next big things in American soccer, the striker had a torrid night at Qwest Field.  He didn't receive great service, if any, from his team (mainly due to Alonso's patrolling of the midfield) and Jeff Parke was right there to shepherd him away from goal when he did.  Bunbury will very much be looking to put this last game in the past.

Rookie Watch – Seattle midfielder Servando Carrasco started and played 54 minutes for the Sounders while Sporting KC striker C.J. Sapong came off the bench and played 17 minutes.

Random Thoughts - The result was a bit more crucial for Seattle simply for the fact that Sigi Schmid has been under the microscope as of late.  Playoffs are on the line for Seattle, and any serious slip-up could be critical in landing them a spot in the post season. SKC's loss can be dismissed as just another away result until its new stadium opens and they can finally play a home game, which is this week against the New England Revolution.


SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 2, New England Revolution 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match – Steven Lenhart. No, he didn't get on the score sheet, but his relentless ball-hawking plagued the Revs back line all night. Revs defender Kevin Alston left his man for Lenhart on the 'Quakes first goal.

Honorable Mention – Chris Tierney. One of the best attacking games this journeyman midfielder has ever played. He got himself into good positions all night, and while his free-kick goal wasn't as pretty as Convey's, it required just as much skill.

A Night to Forget – Ryan Johnson. The Jamaican's quiet night was magnified by the fact that his replacement (Ellis McLoughlin) scored San Jose's opener.

Rookie Watch. Revs' rookies A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy each put in another 90 minutes. Soares is a more integral part of the Revs lineup than McCarthy. For San Jose, Anthony Ampaipitakwong came on in the 64th minute for his fourth appearance of the year.

Random thoughts. McLoughlin's first MLS goal came in just his third league appearance, and his first since March … The goal snapped the Revs' 283-minute shutout streak … Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made no changes from the lineup that beat Vancouver on May 14, the first time he's done so all year.


PORTLAND TIMBERS 1, Columbus Crew 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchEric Brunner. The 6-foot-4 defender from just outside Columbus who spent the past two seasons with the Crew stuck it to his hometown team, getting wide for a header off a set piece moments after the start of the second half at Jeld-Wen Field. Brunner was left unprotected by the Crew in the expansion draft. 

Honorable Mention- Troy Perkins. The Timbers goalkeeper turned in a clean sheet, and in so doing made the save of the night. He stopped Tommy Heinemann's header that seemed sure to be a goal in the 42nd minute.

A Night to ForgetEmilio Renteria. The Crew striker might have made an impact on the match were it not for an injury that forced the Crew to remove him for a substitute.

Rookie Watch Rich Balchan and Darlington Nagbe. Both started the match for their respective clubs but had little impact. Nagbe was replaced at halftime with Sal Zizzo in the midfield.

Random thoughts– One question that came out of the match was whether Brunner was offside when he scored. It wasn't called… Columbus was held scoreless in the first half for the 10th straight match to start the season, an MLS record…Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers on playing in the Pacific Northwest after taking in the atmosphere at sold-out Jeld-Wen Field: "It's pretty amazing. It's somewhere any soccer player would love to play."


Colorado Rapids 0, Toronto FC 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match Mikael Yourassowksy. The Belgian defender was all over the pitch Saturday night, providing most of Toronto's offensive threat.  Yourassowksy blasted a shot onto the crossbar in the best chance for either team in the 62nd minute. He also managed to lock down Colorado's offense, allowing only two shots on goal.

Honorable MentionMatt Pickens. The Rapids' goalkeeper was called upon several times and produced a couple of class saves to secure his first home shutout of the season. The third-year keeper's best save came in the 45th minute with a scrambling block of Nick Soolsma from close range.

Night to forgetConor Casey. Last season's MLS Cup MVP is still trying to shake off a hamstring injury that has kept him out since early April. Casey looked slow and out of place while failing to register a shot on goal. He was subbed off after 60 minutes.

Random Thoughts: Colorado had 64% possession on the night but was never much of a threat in front of goal. … This was the first home game in nearly three weeks for the Rapids, who are now unbeaten in their last five matches. …Toronto seemed dangerous on the counter attack and managed to stay organized while soaking up Colorado's pressure.


FC Dallas 0, Real Salt Lake 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchNick Rimando. The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper is on the U.S. Gold Cup team for a reason — he's good. Rimando was the more often-challenged keeper in the match, and made a key save in the 24th minute of an on-target shot from FCD's George John.

Honorable Mention- Brek Shea. The FC Dallas midfielder made some impressive runs and had some fancy touches on the ball, and was part of at least four plays in which he could have been credited with an assist.  

A Night to ForgetThe fans. Seriously. It's not like Pizza Hut Park packs them in for FCD matches. There were plenty of empty seats, but major props to those who waited out a one hour, 40-minute weather delay to see the final 10 minutes of the match. 

Rookie Watch Bobby Warshaw. Rookie defender from Stanford came on after the delay and finished out the match, helping preserve scoreless draw. 

Random thoughts– Even without David Ferreira, FC Dallas has some depth and talented players that should allow that team to be a contender… Real Salt Lake's "Victory Gold" kits aren't bad-looking, but have only been worn four times… Daniel Hernandez is great to watch because he plays with such emotion. And how many other guys in the league are willing to get in Jamison Olave's grill and not back down? It happened Sunday night.


What stood out for you in Week 9? Think the Earthquakes are back on track for real?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would not count on it. Daniel Hernandez looks like he might do some serious damage in a fight.

    Since Ives is an MMA fan maybe he should through out some good fight match ups in MLS.

  2. J. hernandez only got in Olave’s face because he knew Olave was to smart to bite. Olave kicks his a$$ any time any day.


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