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MLS Week 11: A Look Back

DCPortland (Getty)

The 11th week of the MLS season brought us some major surprises, and also served to remind the league's 18 teams that there is no such thing as an un-winnable road trip.

Portland's Jeld-Wen Field and Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium were both considered impenetrable before last weekend, but both the Timbers and Real Salt Lake suffered shocking home defeats at the hands of D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders.

In fact, not a single home team won a match this past weekend, with road teams going 4-0-5.

No team was as impressive as the Philadelphia Union, which thrashed Toronto FC at BMO Field, though D.C. United's win against Portland, which came despite missing several starters, was also a standout performance

Here is a full look back at MLS Week 11:

New York Red Bulls 2, Colorado Rapids 2 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Jeff Larentowicz. Scored both goals for the Rapids and delivered an overall solid performance to help Colorado earn the road point.

Honorable Mention- Thierry Henry. Scored a goal and put in a ton of defensive work all night. He may have overdone it though, as he re-aggravated a knee injury that forced him to miss the team's next match.

A Night to Forget- Roy Miller. He committed the foul on Andre Akpan that gave the Rapids a questionable penalty and was largely invisible otherwise. To his credit, he did deliver the pass that Luke Rodgers turned into the equalizing goal for New York.

Quick thought– The Red Bulls now lose 5 key players and have daunting task of big games upcoming without them. The Rapids lose Omar Cummings for the Gold Cup but looked good without him, which is a great sign. Andre Akpan got the start up top and helped lead a Colorado attack that gave New York more trouble than we'd expect. The penalty call that helped Colorado open the scoring was a bad call. Miller fouled Akpan outside of the penalty area.

Seattle Sounders 0, FC DALLAS 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match – Kevin Hartman – Seattle saw firsthand why Kevin Hartman and the Dallas defense now has a shutout streak of 489 minutes, this most this season.  Formerly under Sounders coach Sigi Schmid at UCLA and the LA Galaxy, the FC Dallas keeper pulled off a string of quality saves to deny the home team's pressing play in what was easily a Man of the Match display.

Honorable Mention – Mike Fucito – Brek Shea could have gone here for taking FC Dallas' one clear-cut opportunity of the match and capitalizing on it, but Mike Fucito gets the nod simply because of what he brought to the game.  Despite being hit with several minor injuries in the start of the season, the Harvard product took his chance and was a handful for the Dallas back line all night.

A Night to Forget – Fredy Montero – Sigi Schmid said it best.  "He needs to score.  That's what he's paid to do," said the frustrated Sounders coach after the loss.  Montero was nearly invisible all night and couldn't impose his presence on the game in any significant way.  Credit to Dallas for playing him tough, but Montero is a much better player than evidenced at Qwest on Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, his next chance to prove it is against Jamison Olave and the Real Salt Lake defense.

Rookie Watch – FC Dallas defender Bobby Warshaw joined the fray just as Seattle was beginning to throw all it had at the visiting team goal, which was good timing for the rookie as he had some good physical moments to help his team pull out a big win away from home.  Servando Carrasco was dropped from the Seattle lineup after two straight starts and failed to make an appearance on the night.

Random Thoughts – Seattle out-shot Dallas 19-7, maintained 65.9% of possession and almost out-passed the visitors by 2x (475-244).  Registering that amount of pressure and shots on goal makes the scoreline that much harder to swallow.  For Schmid and the Sounders, this is a painful and dangerous loss.  It hurts even more knowing that the next task at hand is a trip to the fortress that is the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.  For Schellas Hyndman and his boys, the result is a great one.  Dallas hung on for a large portion of the match and ground out a win to make its unbeaten run seven.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1, Houston Dynamo 0 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Chris Birchall – With the Galaxy missing midfielder David Beckham, Birchall was thrust into action the flanks and proved clearly up to the task. Birchall was responsible for stopping Houston midfield catalyst Brad Davis with constant pressure and even fired the shot that led to Donovan's PK.

Honorable Mention- Sean Franklin – Franklin was instrumental along the left flank to shut down the Dynamo wide play. Working with Birchall, the Galaxy were able to prevent the Dynamo from sending in service to forwards Will Bruin and Koke. An honorable mention is also extended to Todd Dunivant, who made his 200 regular season MLS appearance in the match. 

Night to Forget- Brad Davis-  The league's assist leader struggled nightly against the Galaxy and their suffocating midfield. Frequently as Davis tried to get into the match, the Galaxy defenders were able to key in on him and prevent the midfielder from providing service from the flanks. Eventually leading to Davis being substituted with half an hour left in the match.

Rookie Watch: Will Bruin – The Dynamo forward struggled throughout the match as the Galaxy pressure defense stifled the Dynamo midfield and prevented them from providing service to Bruin.

Random Thoughts- Perhaps the quote of the night came from Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who called the match "Easy Work and Easy Money."…The Dynamo ended the match with only a single shot on goal…Mike Stephens excelled replacing David Beckham who did not play in the match after attending the Gary Neville testimonial last Tuesday. 

Toronto FC 2, PHILADELPHIA UNION 6 (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchJustin Mapp. Sometimes you have one of those days, and Mapp had a very good one. The wing scored twice and ran circles around Toronto FC's defense in the performance of the season to date as a team for the Union.

Honorable Mention- Danny Mwanga. The way Philadelphia was scoring, it was just a matter of time before Mwanga got his. And his were the last two goals of the day for the Union. Mwanga also added an assist that started with Mapp controlling a giveaway.

A Night to ForgetStefan Frei. This is not to say that every Philadelphia goal was the TFC goalkeeper's fault. But the way the Union moved around and through Frei's defenders in front of him, Frei must have had nightmares about waves of Union attackers roaring toward him with the ball. Frei was fortunate to have made a couple of big saves to bail out his backline, or else the Union would have won by even more.

Random thoughts– The Union went from one of the lowest-scoring teams in MLS to one of the highest and doubled its single-game record for most goals… Philadelphia ended the weekend in first place in the MLS Eastern Conference… Maicon Santos and Joao Plata can be a dangerous combination up top for TFC, but when the defense falters, no amount of goals can overcome so many mistakes even though Santos scored twice.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1, New York Red Bulls 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Luke Rodgers. Scored a vital and beautiful equalizing goal to help the short-handed Red Bull salvage a draw.

Honorable Mention- Stephen Keel. A very solid performance playing in place of Rafa Marquez for the journeyman defender.

A Night to Forget- Carlos Mendes. Deployed at right back, Mendes struggled badly to deal with Vancouver's wingers and was exposed as a questionable option on the flank. He was replaced in the 70th minute.

Rookie Watch– Maryland University product and New York Red Bulls Homegrown Player Matt Kassel made his pro debut, coming on as a 70th minute sub at right back. Red Bulls first-round pick Corey Hertzog came on for one minute of action. For Vancouver, No. 1 overall pick Omar Salgado played seven minutes.

Random Thoughts– Stephen Keel looks very much like a solid centerback option for New York while Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez are away on Gold Cup duty. Juan Agudelo didn't have a great game to leave for the Gold Cup on, though having to play out of position on the left flank probably didn't help him any. The Whitecaps fired head coach Teitur Thordarson later in the evening after the match. Saturday's draw was the 11th match without a win for the expansion side.

Chicago Fire 2, San Jose Earthquakes 2 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Ramiro Corrales. A goal was his main contributions to the game, but Corrales also helped out defensively from his midfield position. Corrales' cross on Chris Wondolowski's go-ahead goal was a beauty.

 Honorable MentionIke Opara. The athletic centerback started his second consecutive match, and he turned in a solid performance. Opara committed a few too many fouls (four, to be exact), but he was solid in the air and did well to hit the midfielders with passes from the back.

A Night to Forget- Bratislav Ristic. Starting in his second consecutive match over rookie Jalil Anibaba, Ristic was beaten on a few occasions by Ramiro Corrales. Ristic also didn't add much offensively for the Fire.

Rookie Watch- Anthony Ampaipitakwong. The Akron product came off the bench at halftime and helped San Jose pick things up offensively. Ampaipitakwong was involved in both of the Earthquakes' goals, sending in a great ball off a corner kick for Corrales to head home and sending in a perfect cross on Wondolowski's headed finish.

Random Thoughts– Cory Gibbs scored his first goal of the season with a header in the 80th minute that prevented Chicago from dropping a second consecutive result. … That goal did not save head coach Carlos de los Cobos' job, as he was fired after leading the team to a 1-4-6 record this season. … Wondolowski's goal now gives him six on the season, making him tied for second with Thierry Henry and Charlie Davies in the goal-scoring category. 

Houston Dynamo 2, FC Dallas 2 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match: Brad Davis. Davis didn’t register either of Houston’s goals but the 29-year-old was the driving force behind the Dynamo’s offense. He provided both assists for Houston’s goals and was an emotional leader when tempers flared between the two teams.

Honorable Mention: Zach Loyd. The Dallas defender was all over the field on Saturday night, providing good defensive cover while making a few nice runs forward. He was beaten by the substitute Colin Clark but that can be chalked up to fatigue so late in the game.

Night to forget: Kofi Sarkodie. The rookie out of Akron has had a nice debut season so far but was repeatedly exposed against Dallas. It was also a lack of discipline that led to his second yellow card while Houston still trailed 2-1 in the second half.

Rookie Watch: Will Bruin was dangerous in attack and forced a good save out of Kevin Hartman early in the game….Bobby Warshaw performed well in his debut but could have done better preventing Weaver’s goal.

Random thoughts:  Brad Davis now leads the MLS in assists with eight…..FC Dallas had its scoreless streak snapped at 531 minutes with Weaver’s goal…..The draw moves Dallas to 22 points on the season, seven ahead of its Texas rivals and expect an emotional affair when the two teams meet again later in the year.

Colorado Rapids 1, Sporting Kansas City 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match- Ryan Smith. Author of the game-winning goal, Smith came off the bench at halftime and immediately provided a spark for a Sporting Kansas City offense that looked lethargic in the first half. Smith was involved in most of Kansas City's opportunities in the second half, and it was his powerful finish that gave the visitors their first point since April 2. 

Honorable MentionConor Casey. The Rapids forward scored his first goal of the season due to a defensive blunder, but he also was a handful for Sporting Kansas City defenders. Casey nearly gave Colorado a two-goal cushion when he set up Jeff Larentowicz with a well-timed pass, but the latter's shot went wide.

A Night to Forget- Aurelien Collin. Along with gifting Colorado with an early goal, Collin struggled throughout the game, especially in his battles against Conor Casey. Collin also nearly made a costly blunder in the second half.

Rookie Watch- C.J. Sapong. The Sporting Kansas City forward was largely invisible during his 54 minutes on the field. Sapong didn't see much of the ball, but when he did receive it he struggled to do anything dangerous.

Random Thoughts– Colorado may be unbeaten in its last seven games, but the 1-1 result also means the Rapids tied a fifth consecutive match, leaving the reigning MLS Cup winners in fourth place in the Western Conference. … After starting every game since fully recovering from his elbow injury at the start of the season, Teal Bunbury began the game on the bench. He assisted on Smith's equalizer, but the U.S. national team forward didn't shine in his cameo as a substitute. … Smith's goal was his first of the season and it snapped Sporting Kansas City's five-game losing streak.

Real Salt Lake 1, SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match – Lamar Neagle – His first MLS goal was a beauty; it was also the game-winner.  Neagle has come in as a substitute for two straight games and looked sharp, whether it be taking on a defender, putting in a good cross or sending in a shot off the underside of Nick Rimando's crossbar.  Sigi Schmid will be hoping for more of the same from the local Washington product.

Honorable Mention – Kasey Keller – The Sounders captain put in another solid performance in goal, and his final season in Seattle is proving to be a great one.  Keller came up with a few big saves, notably while the score was still knotted at 0-0, to keep his team in the game.  The red card was the big turning point in the match, and after Real Salt Lake went down to 10 men, his goal wasn't nearly as busy as it was before.  RSL did slip a consolation goal past him, but it's hard to blame the keeper when the ball is being shot from that sort of distance.

A Night to Forget – Jamison Olave – This nomination really speaks for itself.  The big Colombian's dismissal turned the tides in the game, and after Salt Lake went down a man, Seattle continued to push higher up the field and put pressure on Rimando's goal.  Eventually that pressure paid off, and Seattle brought an end to the home side's 29-game unbeaten run at home.  Had Olave been on the field, who knows what the final scoreline could have been?

Rookie Watch – No rookie made the Starting XI for either side, but RSL's Luis Gil made a late appearance in the 87th minute after fellow substitute Nelson Gonzalez brought a goal back for Salt Lake.  Seattle's Servando Carrasco failed to make the bench.

Random Thoughts – The big story is obviously Seattle breaking Salt Lake's home record after most probably had it tagged as the underdog in the clash.  RSL looked the more likely to break the deadlock prior to the red card but still defended well having been reduced a man.  The Sounders are now 2-1-1 in the last four games, which isn't too shabby for the Rave Green that currently sits 3rd place in the conference.  Salt Lake will no doubt be looking to bounce back after the disappointing defeat, but it has a great chance to start that home record again when it plays host to the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend. 

New England Revolution 0, LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match – Miguel Lopez. The Argentine performed well in place of the resting Juan Pablo Angel, scoring the game's only goal and creating some of the Galaxy's better chances on the night.

Honorable Mention – Landon Donovan. It was a quiet night offensively for the U.S. international, but he made the save of the game in stoppage time to preserve the Galaxy's victory when he cleared Zack Schilawski's shot off the line.

A Night to Forget – Rajko Lekic. The Revs' Danish striker once again seemed a step behind every play: called offside when he got to his teammates' crosses, and unable to get to them when he stayed onside.

Rookie Watch. A.J. Soares put in another solid 90 minutes for the Revs, and thought he should have earned a freekick when he went streaking toward the penalty area in the second half. Stephen McCarthy started for New England, but made way for Schilawski as the Revs pushed for an equalizer.

Random thoughts. New England hasn't scored from the run of play since its 3-2 win over Sporting KC on April 23 and has scored just two goals in five matches since then … The result extended the Galaxy's win streak to four games, including three 1-0 wins in eight days … After the match, a Spanish-language television reporter asked Lopez whether MLS was more difficult than the Argentine Primera Division. His answer was yes. It's faster and slightly more physical, he said.

Columbus Crew 3 Chivas USA 3 (The Highlights)

Man of the Match: Andres Mendoza – The Peruvian DP has been criticized for a lack of production this season, but broke through in a big way against Chivas USA. Two goals, which perhaps could have been three after being involved in Ante Jazic's first goal line clearance. With the absence of Robbie Rogers to international duty, it appears likely that Mendoza will be charged with adding to the scoring punch.

Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Ekpo – Ekpo excelled in midfield against a Chivas USA midfield that is quickly building a formidable reputation. Playing in a defensive midfield role, Ekpo stifled the Chivas attackers and eventually even added a goal of his own to seal the draw. An Honorable Mention also goes to Ante Jazic for his two goalline clearances. 

Night to Forget: Simon Elliott – The New Zealand international has always managed to make an impact on the Rojiblancos matches, but this time it was a negative one as he was responsible for a disastrous backpass to Mendoza that led to the Crew's second goal of the match. This moment clearly stuck in the back of the minds of a developing Chivas side that is still looking to find consistency. 

Rookie Watch: Justin Meram – The former Michigan star made his MLS debut in the 3-3 match, but struggled to make an impact on the match in his 14 minutes of action.

Random Thoughts: Ante Jazic was the man of the match for Chivas USA after making two goalline clearances the first coming in the first half and the second just before the end of the match…The Crew were able to break a 220 minute streak without a goal and remain undefeated at Columbus Crew Stadium…Chivas USA finished the month of May with a 1-2-1 record and are a formidable 2-1-2 away from the Home Depot Center. 

Portland TImbers 2, DC UNITED 3, (The Highlights)

Man of the MatchBlake Brettschneider. The rookie was difficult to contain and often in the mix when it came to scoring chances for visiting United. He recorded a pair of assists.  

Honorable Mention- Chris Pontius. Scored a PK goal and added an assist for DC United. 

A Night to ForgetKenny Cooper. The Timbers target forward had BOTH of his PK attempts saved by DCU keeper Bill Hamid, even though both saves were disallowed and the Timbers got a third crack at a PK. Cooper, whistled for offsides four times, was yanked from the spot by coach John Spencer and came off for a sub a minute later. 

Rookie Watch Perry Kitchen and Ethan White - Kitchen scored the first goal of the game — his first as a pro — and White, a defender, played the full 90 minutes in victory for DCU.

Random thoughts– The Timbers lost their first MLS match at home this season… Portland's Jack Jewsbury has either scored or assisted on seven of the Timbers' last nine goals…According to Elias Sports Bureau, DCU became the first Eastern time zone team to win in the Pacific time zone since the New York Red Bulls topped the L.A. Galaxy on Sept. 24, 2010.


  1. As a Union fan, can we face Toronto for every away game? Did TFC even field a back four? That was some HORRENDOUS defending.

  2. Cardozo should be on Rookie Watch for LA…Hopefully he’ll get some playing time over the talentless hack Birchall…

  3. Valentin and Kitchen have started 8 and 9 games respectively, Ampai only has about 216 minutes, and Nagbe 332. They show potential. I think it’s a little tougher for Nagbe to adjust as a forward (especially when his team has trouble with scoring from the flow of play). Sarkodie a red card. Korb has 5 games started, and nanchoff has been injured.

    Pretty impressive for all being from the same team.
    Nagbe (4), Valentine (8), Kitchen(9), and Korb(5) have all started at least 4 games. Ampai (1), Sardokie(2) have limited time filling in for players and Nanchoff hasn’t had the luck to get into a game yet.

  4. Yup, Ampai had both assists… plz correct this Ives. Kid is a baller… 2 assists in only 45 minutes of PT.

  5. I have been watching them pretty closely when they play and so far I’d porbably say Ampai slightly over Kitchen because hes doing very well in his limited time. Valentin and Kitchen are really starting to play well, both of their team’s defense are coming on stronger probably because the new teammates are gelling better.

    Nagbe has also look pretty good in his limited time.

  6. Seeing that Ampai is doing well in limited time, Who is the best Akron rookie so far this season out of the bunch who got drafted?

  7. Ampai had the primary assist on both Quakes goals. Corrales did the back heal. But it was Ampai’s assist that was the beauty. Maybe mistaken identity is why Ampai didn’t get the rookie of the week nod he should have gotten.

    (SBI-No, it wasn’t mistaken identity. Ampai came close and finished second to Brettschneider for Rookie of the Week. The writer who wrote the capsule for this game obviously mistook Ampai for Corrales on the Wondolowski goal. We’ve made the correction.)

  8. May has been kind of a shocker. RSL, NY, and Houston are in trouble, Seattle and Philly are on the rise, and lots of teams seem to be searching for an identity. June will only exacerbate these issues with the Gold Cup decimating rosters. Who knows what the standings will look like come July?


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