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MLS East Notes: D.C. playoff hopes take hit, Bravo defends MLS and more

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 Photo by Jose L. Argueta/


Much has been made in recent weeks of the games in hand at D.C. United's disposal. But as the club has learned, those extra matches aren't particularly helpful if you lose them.

In what coach Ben Olsen called an "unacceptable performance," United fell 2-1 Wednesday at the Vancouver Whitecaps, dropping crucial points against the league's worst team. With the loss, D.C. is now five points behind Houston and New York for the final playoff spot with just one game in hand.

But not all is lost in the nation's capital. United closes the season with three home games in eight days — a scheduling quirk crafted when Hurricane Irene postponed a match in August — starting with Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire. United then faces Portland on Wednesday and Kansas City three days later.

"We're going home, we're playing teams that are certainly beatable, and it’s a big task," Olsen said. "But it's one we can certainly do."

As captain Josh Wolff said, "You're not in the playoffs until you're completely in and you're not out until you're completely out. We're not in, so we have to be doing anything and everything we can."

Here are some more notes from around the Eastern Conference:


Although Chicago made an unlikely late-season surge into playoff contention, the Fire's postseason hopes are likely over after Wednesday's 2-1 loss to FC Dallas. The blow was particularly tough considering Chicago also saw its U.S. Open Cup dreams crushed just eight days ago when it lost to Seattle in the tournament final.

"I don't want to use any excuses, but I think it's probably obvious that [the Open Cup loss was] a bit of a letdown that kind of burst our bubble a little bit," defender Dan Gargan told "But we still needed … to come out and play a game at home that we needed to get three points from and we didn't come out strong enough, we didn't come out fast enough, and that's nobody's fault but our own."


When it comes to getting over the injury bug, it's looking like the Crew certainly has good timing. With the playoffs just around the corner, midfielder Tony Tchani (knee surgery) is the only player on the roster not training because of injury.

"It's a good sign," defender Chad Marshall said to "It's a good time of the year to have that."


Although Houston currently has its hands full trying to secure a playoff berth, a few players took some time this week to look ahead to next year by touring the site of the team's under-construction stadium.

"It's a big statement for the team and the direction of where the team is going," midfielder Adam Moffat said to the Houston Chronicle. "For us as players, you love to see that. You want to play in a brand-new stadium, and the fans will love it as well. It's great to come out here and actually see progress. I look forward to coming back in a few months again to see how much progress is made."


With the Revolution wrapping up another losing campaign, captain Shalrie Joseph has grown frustrated with the organization's struggles of late and could very well be on his way out of New England at season's end.

"This is a championship town," Joseph said to ESPN Boston. "This franchise deserves better. If we can't be one of those sports teams people talk about, there's no point for me to be here."


While Juan Agudelo has been called into every U.S. national team camp since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach, the young striker's minutes have been sporadic. So to play the entire second half against Ecuador on Tuesday was an opportunity Agudelo was ready to embrace.

"Any time I get to go in the game, it gives me a lot of experience," Agudelo said to "And all I try to do is improve myself every time I step on the pitch."


Striker Danny Mwanga, out since Sept. 17 with a hip flexor strain, was included on Philadelphia's travel roster to Seattle this past weekend and seems poised to play a role in the Union's final two matches as the club hopes to clinch a playoff berth.

"Obviously I'm glad the team is doing well but, at the same time, it's tough because you want to be out there," Mwanga told "You want to be a part of it. But I know I still have a couple of games, and then we'll hopefully make the playoffs. So I'm working hard to be fit by then and be able to help my team."


Kansas City and Chivas de Guadalajara may have played to a 2-2 friendly draw Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park, but Omar Bravo, a longtime Chivas striker who found himself playing against his former club, felt the MLS side played well enough to earn the victory.

"With all due respect, we were superior as a team tonight," Bravo said. "I said it before, sometimes there is a lot of ignorance that MLS is inferior soccer, but games like this show that the level of the league is actually higher than people think it is."


The 2011 campaign has turned out to be a lost cause for Toronto from a competitive standpoint, but the club has to be happy with the development of some of its youthful talent, including defenders Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan and midfielder Matt Stinson.

"It's kind of sad because we have a great team now and the season is ending," Henry said to "But we know for sure next year, if we have the same players and the same mentality about winning, we should be doing well. I'm really looking forward to next season."


  1. Of course! It’s a great location and should be a nice stadium — huge upgrade over Robertson. It will look good on TV, an interesting design, and you’ll be able to see the downtown skyline from most of the seats. Seems like the Houston organization are doing all the right things. Vamos Dynamo!

  2. I’m a NY Metros fan and I’m always psyched to see other MLS teams open nice new stadiums. If I’m ever in the neighborhood, I want to catch an away game at Houston’s new stadium.

  3. As a Houstonian, I’m pumped. They currently play at the U. Houston stadium which is in a spotty neighborhood. The new stadium is closer to my place and is downtown, right new to Toyota Center (where the Rockets play), MinuteMaid Park (where the godawful Astros play) and a lot of other cool stuff.

  4. and it’s downtown.

    Memo to MLS/Ownership Groups: It pays off in the long run…quit being cheap.

    Having stadiums 65 miles away from major cites and between some random farm and an abandoned highway isn’t helping your cause.

  5. Really miss John’s experience, tenacity and toughness.

    Always deemed it a big mistake for Chicago to leave Thorrington unprotected. Logan Pause is a joke in the center of the pitch.

  6. Bravo is hugely popular in KC–American and Mexican fans adore him. He was on the front page of the paper the other day. I bet in LA he would kill. He says he likes the slightly quieter life in KC compared to Guadalajara, though (where he was Beckham-esque).

  7. And Bravo is the type of DP teams need to bring to MLS. He is professional and can still play. We all know there are still some issues about quality of play in MLS, but think back ten years and the league has taken several big steps forward.

  8. OT, but is anybody else excited about the new Houston Dynamo stadium? I’ve never been to Houston, and don’t really care one way or another for the team, but I swear I’m on their stadium webcam at least once a day. Really exciting to watch it all come together.

  9. Watched the entire Chivas vs. SKC match, and aside from (1) the wimpy but silly penalty foul by Collin that the Chivas player used perfectly, and (2) the keeper miscue at the end that allowed the equalizer… yep, SKC was clearly the superior team.

    With Nielsen instead of the Kron-meister, I’d call it a solid victory. A fun match nonetheless, and the universal love for Bravo from all fans was great.

  10. As I said in another entry….

    Second game in a row that Thorrington is healthy… second straight win for the Whitecaps. It ain’t no coincidence, friends. If he stays healthy, the Caps will surprise some teams next year….

    And,….”Budweiser Man of the Match: John Thorrington”

    Well done, Thorr!


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