Last night, the best players the MLS had to offer took on Bayern Munich at Providence Park in Portland. The result was a 2-1 win by the All-Stars, taking down one of the best German club teams. Bayern scored the first goal when Robert Lewandowski scored a curving beauty from 20 yards out. But from there, the All-Stars took over the game. The MLS’ defense held strong and allowed their offense to score their first goal in the 51st minute. The league’s leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips made it level at 1-1 with a 20-yard strike of his own. Then, U.S. legend Landon Donovan scored a goal in the 70th minute to take the lead for the All-Stars. It was Donovan’s sixth MLS All-Star goal and his 14th straight All-Star appearance. His six goals are now most by any MLS player in an All-Star game. He also plans to retire from the world of soccer at the end of the MLS season. He had a tremendous career and will be known as one of the greatest American soccer players to ever play the game.
The ending of the All-Star game had everyone talking. After the MLS All-Stars had won, Bayern Munich’s manager, Pep Guardiola refused to shake hands with the MLS All-Star coach Caleb Porter. Instead, Coach Pep gave Coach Porter a little finger wag and that was the end of it. Apparently, Guardiola was mad about how physical the All-Stars were playing in the game and making hard, unnecessary tackles. Oh well, I know a sore loser when I see one. Just learn to accept how the game played out and move on. That’s all I have to say about that.
The MLS regular season picks up this Friday when Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy take on the San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m. Five more games will be played on Saturday and an additional three on Sunday. Week 24 of the MLS season is underway and teams are still fighting for that final playoff spot.
The MLS regular season is a little more than halfway through, and there has been some great soccer as of late. The MLS All-Stars have already been announced and the best the MLS has to offer will play Bayern Munich on August 6 at Providence Park, the home of the Portland Timbers. Here is a list of the MLS All-Stars that will be competing in the big game: GK Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), GK Bill Hamid (DC United), CB Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), CB Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DEF DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC), DEF Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), DEF Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), DEF Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), MF Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), MF Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), MF Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), MF Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), MF Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), MF Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), MF Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), F Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), F Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), F Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC), F Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC), F Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), F Erick Torres (Chivas USA), and F Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls).
Most of the players listed above played for the U.S. Men’s National Team during the FIFA World Cup. Twelve Americans made the list for the MLS All-Star team and eleven are international. Now, here’s how each team has been doing so far:
Kansas City has a one point lead over DC United for the Eastern Conference. United has shocked a lot of people by playing this well after finishing dead last in the entire league last year with only 16 points (3 wins, 7 draws and 24 losses). Now, they are 10-4-5 and have a goal differential of 9, the third best in the entire league. Their surprising efforts have come in due to the play of their All-Star goalkeeper Bill Hamid and their ability to play as one unit. Fabian Espindola deserves a little bit of credit for leading his team with seven goals this year. The 29-year-old forward from Argentina has been a huge help since joining the club earlier this year. His seven assists also leads the team and is tied for second in the entire league!
Back to Sporting Kansas City, they have three All-Stars on their team, but their best player didn’t even make the roster this year and that is Dom Dwyer. He is tied for second in the league with 14 goals with All-Star Erick Torres. The 23-year-old forward from England definitely has a bright future ahead and could open the eyes of some Premier League scouts.
The team to beat right now is the Seattle Sounders. They have dominated their opposition, landing a 12-2-4 record and lead the league with 35 goals scored for them. They also lead the league with the most All-Star players with five. One of those five is National Team Captain Clint Dempsey. He has nine goals accredited to his name and fellow All-Star teammate Obafemi Martins is having one of the best years of his career. The 29-year-old Nigerian forward has eight goals and six assists in 16 appearances with the team this year. This one-two-punch combination has been deadly all year and will continue Seattle’s winning ways unless someone stops them.
Speaking of great seasons, Thierry Henry is continuing to defy his limits has he now leads the MLS in assists with eight and has scored four goals this year. The French Forward has been able to produce for New York even at the well-experienced age of 36. He has now made four straight All-Star appearances and will look to continue his amazing career after scoring 45 goals in 108 appearances for the Red Bulls.
Henry’s teammate, Bradley Wright-Phillips, is having one of his best seasons ever as well. The 29-year-old forward from England is leading the league right now with 17 goals in 19 appearances. It seems as if he’s bound to score at least one goal in every game he plays in! He will have to play just as hard for the rest of the season in order to catch up with Toronto FC just two points ahead of New York.
The next MLS game will be played this Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. and it will pit San Jose against Chicago. Stay tuned for the rest of the MLS season as everything starts to get more interesting with playoff pushes in focus.
We are almost halfway through the MLS regular season and teams are starting to show their worth in the league. On top of the Eastern Conference is the New England Revolution and then Sporting Kansas City right on their tails. In the West, there is the Seattle Sounders dominating the competition and the entire league with 10 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties. They are the only team in the league with double-digit wins. They are also the only team in the league averaging more than 2 goals a game.
Leading the Sounders are Obafemi Martins and U.S.A. superstar Clint Dempsey. Martins has played and started in all 15 games and has 8 goals with 6 assists. Dempsey has only started 8 games, but yet he has 8 goals also as well as 3 assists credited to his name. This one-two punch of Martins and Dempsey is the reason why Seattle is dominating the league in scoring goals. For defense, goalkeeper Stefan Frel is 7th in the league in saves, 7th in shutouts and 12th in goals allowed. They might not be incredible stats, but Seattle’s offense is the main reason why they have been winning so many games.
As far as the best striker in the game, Bradley Wright-Phillips of New York is tied with Dom Dwyer of Kansas City for the most goals with 11. Diego Valeri of Portland leads the league in assists with 8. The midfielder from Argentina also has two goals to his name.
The Eastern Conference still looks to be the weaker region in the league. Six teams have losing records while the West only has three teams that are below .500. Toronto F.C. has the best defense in the league, allowing only 13 goals scored against them. The problem is that their offense has not very productive as they are second to last in goals scored. That has given them the result of a 6-4-1 record.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls leads the league in saves with 53 and Jon Busch of San Jose looks to be a dominant keeper as well with 49 saves and only 14 goals scored against him. He also has four shutouts to his name. The only problem for Busch is his Earthquakes’ offense. They have only scored 15 goals this entire season which has put them at second-to-last in the Western Conference standings.
The player to watch out for is Obafemi Martins. When Dempsey is not on the field, Martins becomes the ultimate play-maker for Seattle. If he keeps playing like he is now, the Sounders could go as far as the championship game. Keep your eyes peeled on teams like D.C. United, New York and Portland who are right on the cusp of making the playoffs. The rest of this season will definitely be fun to watch for these reasons listed above.
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