Tag: MLS

Real Salt Lake pulls to 3-3 draw against Timbers

Real Salt Lake pulls to 3-3 draw against Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cole Grossman scored in stoppage time & Real Salt Lake played to a 3-3 draw against the Portland Timbers to remain in first place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.

Grossman’s goal in the 93rd minute came after Kalif Alhassan scored in the 86th minute to donate Portland the lead. With the tie, the Timbers pulled even with the Colorado Rapids for second place in the conference standings.

While the two teams hadn’t met in an MLS match this season, they played in a U.S. Open Cup match on Aug. 7 in Utah. Real Salt Lake won that contest 2-1 to advance to the final against D.C. United on Oct. 1.

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W Connection 0-0 Houston Dynamo: MLS side gets point in Trinidad

The Houston Dynamo stumbled at the first hurdle in the CONCACAF Champions League, drawing 0-0 with W Connection in Trinidad.The game, played in Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain instead of W Connection’s home ground in Marabella, was sparsely attended. Only a handful of onlookers kept the stadium from being empty. Houston, playing without a number of starters, struggled to bring any fluency to the proceedings. Both teams made their trade in brute force as clumsy, speculative long balls were prevalent.W Connection’s Neil Benjamin wasted the best chance of the match in the second half. Catching the Dynamo on the counterattack, the home side had two players through on goalkeeper Tally Hall with no defenders in support. But played through with the goal at his mercy from close range, Benjamin somehow managed to send his effort harmlessly into the side netting.If Houston is to make it out of the group stage, it will have to improve when it hosts group leader Arabe Unido of Panama on Aug. 27.

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Avi Creditor: Donovan in line for big reward, either in MLS or abroad

Avi Creditor: Donovan in line for huge reward, either in MLS or abroad

As the financial landscape & American makeup of Major League Soccer changed dramatically in the last few weeks, Landon Donovan had to be pleased with what he saw unfolding.In the last two weeks, Donovan has seen his USA counterpart Clint Dempsey become the highest-paid player in MLS & his teammate, Omar Gonzalez, obtain an unprecedented Designated Player deal for a young, American defender. With Donovan’s contract set to expire at the end of the season & the Galaxy star showing that he has plenty left in his tank — perhaps more than most would have anticipated — following a trying personal year & his well-publicized, self-imposed playing hiatus, the cards are falling Donovan’s way. After MLS & the Seattle Sounders “moved mountains,” in Dempsey’s words, to land the current U.S. national team captain, Donovan should expect nothing less if the Galaxy or another ambitious team in MLS is to step up & make a deal come contract time. In public comments regarding his looming next career move, he made it abundantly clear that he won’t accept anything less than full value for his services.In the immortal words of Teddy KGB: Pay that man his money.”As players we’re all very pleased that the league is stepping up & committing that kind of resources to American players that they want playing in the league,” Donovan told Fox Soccer Daily’s Julie Stewart-Binks. “Right now I’m enjoying myself. I want to continue enjoying myself. We have received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing. I am still going to speak with the Galaxy & see how they value me & see where they want to go going forward.”Committing that kind of resources to American players that they want playing in the league. See how they value me.The well-versed Donovan is not one to select words unwisely, & he knows very well where he stands — or should stand — on the MLS priority list. Because of his lofty resume, the league flag-bearing duties he has maintained for more than the last decade, & the genuine outside interest in his talents, Donovan has an inordinate amount of leverage with which to work. Age might be the only thing working against him, although one could argue that with the 30-year-old Dempsey getting his huge deal, that might not be as much of a factor. Considering Donovan is 31, perhaps the Galaxy do not want to commit that much money to an aging attacking player with an up-and-coming crew of attacking stars like Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean & Gyasi Zardes, & with the club’s two other DP spots currently occupied by Gonzalez & Robbie Keane. Fair enough. If LA fails to pay up or disrespects Donovan with a lowball offer, he will happily move on to one of his “intriguing” options while making the Galaxy & MLS truly consider whether they are OK with the thought of him playing elsewhere. A 13-time MLS All-Star on the verge of breaking the league’s all-time scoring record & the only player to crack 50 goals or 50 assists (and he’s done both) for the U.S. national team, there is no denying Donovan’s place in MLS & U.S. soccer history, & if anyone has earned a post-30 pay day, it is him. Not that he has been making chump alter (up until Dempsey’s deal, Donovan was the highest paid American in MLS by some margin, & he is on a $2.5 million salary in 2013 according to MLS Players’ Union documents), yet with Dempsey making more than two times that amount in guaranteed compensation, the notoriously thrifty MLS market has shifted generously in Donovan’s favor.There was a time not that long ago when it seemed like Donovan might bow out of the game sooner than after & that this winter would not be such a time of serious contention. The Donovan that sounded burnt out & on the verge of an abrupt retirement has gotten his second wind, though, & it is creating quite the stir.”I’m really open [to leave the Galaxy] in a way that I haven’t been before,” Donovan said. “In the past I was pretty content to stay in L.A., yet if it doesn’t work out, & we can’t come to an agreement here, then I’m ready for a different challenge, & we’ll see what happens.”Regadless of which direction it goes, Donovan is in the driver’s seat.

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Monday MLS Breakdown: What does Omar Gonzalez's Designated Player deal mean for MLS?

Monday MLS Breakdown: What does Omar Gonzalez's Designated Player deal mean for MLS?

Most of them were just approximately down anyways. MLS teams hand out DP deals to standout performers on a fairly regular basis these days. Just ask David Ferreira & Chris Wondolowski. Plenty of precedent now exists to transition one of the top players in the league – and, yes, Gonzalez certainly fits into that category – into a higher wage bracket.The extent of the move, however, creates a little bit of history. Gonzalez did not receive the typical salary bump – think maximum salary or lower to mid- to high-six figures – to extend his contract by another three years. He received a so-called market value deal – the sort of pact he could have procured from a suitor in Europe or Mexico to leave MLS in his rear-view mirror ahead of next summer’s World Cup – to stay with the Galaxy.The prospect of competing in the global marketplace for American talent does constitute a fairly significant shift. Most players take a pay cut to come home or stay here. Landon Donovan – even at $2.5 million a year, per MLS Players Union documents, & even with the increased sponsorship opportunities on home soil – did it. Many, many more followed suit.Clint Dempsey’s expensive arrival & Gonzalez’s prolonged stay provide the latest salvos to contradict the trend. The recent introduction of the retention fund – a mechanism designed to retain potential core players – created another means to keep the top players in the league without burdening teams on their salary budgets. The porous nature of the salary budget creates opportunities for teams to use their resources creativity to acquire young talent (through the Homegrown procedures) & retain top players (through the DP rule, the retention fund & the usual allocation money).Other members of the rank & file will hope that the Gonzalez deal creates an opportunity for them to climb the ladder & secure a lucrative contract at some point in the future. Los Angeles manager Bruce Arena noted Gonzalez’s progression from touted rookie to trusted mainstay in the wake of his deal. More than a few of his colleagues harbor similar ambitions somewhere down the line, yet the particular circumstances here might render their goals a bit misplaced.Gonzalez possessed a series of peculiar factors in his favor when he went to the negotiating table. He carried significant cachet at home (the best defender on the league’s two-time defending champions) & abroad (interest from other teams after breaking into the U.S. starting lineup). He ticked down his contract to the final six months of his deal to place additional pressure on the Galaxy & MLS to match potential offers from overseas. And he played for a club that knew his value on the open market & wanted to compensate him accordingly.Those circumstances do not arise on a regular basis, nor do they necessarily set a precedent for the future. Gonzalez benefited from a specific set of circumstances & wisely used them to his advantage. MLS will undoubtedly point the unique nature of his situation out to any ambitious agents or players seeking similar compensation. The prospect of allowing Juan Agudelo – a comparably located player with a higher ceiling & a slighter body of work – to join Stoke City on a free transfer reinforced the notion that matching European offers remains selective, not standard, practice.Gonzalez’s extended stay in southern California may not inspire a wave of similar deals at similar figures, yet it does reinforce the increasing trend of top MLS players receiving decent wage packets to stay in the league. The continued work on that front represents significant progress for a league that will need to retain more of its best players in the coming years to absorb four more teams & maintain the current standard of play. It moreover provides plenty of hope for a group of players still trying to break down barriers & pave the way for more & more stars to secure the sort of contract Gonzalez just received at some point in the future.Five Points – Week 251. Some players are always worth the money, part one: Gonzalez’s Galaxy teammate Robbie Keane once again proved his worth to the MLS Cup holders in the 4-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. Keane struck three times – & Gonzalez headed home the other goal after some spirited repartee with RSL defender Nat Borchers – to reignite the questions approximately where exactly he stands in the MLS MVP race at the moment.2. Some players are always worth the money, part two: Montreal striker Marco Di Vaio once again spared the Impact’s blushes with a pair of precise finishes in the 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night. Di Vaio continues to impress with his work along the line & his ability to separate from defenders inside the penalty area (poor Dejan Jakovic will have nightmares this week approximately his torrid evening at Stade Saputo). The former Italian international will need more service like the clever ball Patrice Bernier supplied for his second in order to lead the Impact to the playoffs.3. Tensions running high on the sidelines: Di Vaio & his teammates must cope without the direction of Marco Schällibaum once again after the Swiss manager managed to procure his third dismissal of the season for a touchline spat with United boss Ben Olsen (also ejected for his part in the technical area scrape). Chicago coach Frank Klopas made it a trio of early departures after he expressed his strident displeasure with an incident involving perceived time wasting in front of the Fire bench in the waning stages of a 2-0 defeat at New England.4. Pick a goal, any goal: Juan Agudelo notched the match winner at Gillette Stadium with an audacious flick with the outside of his right foot. In any other week, he would coast to Goal of the Week honors. Not this time. Columbus schemer Federico Higuain chipped yet another poor, unsuspecting goalkeeper in the 2-0 victory over Toronto FC. Houston forward Giles Barnes completed the trio of stunning strikes when he uncorked a drive from distance to assist the Dynamo collect a 3-1 home victory over Seattle on Saturday.5. Look elsewhere for clarity: The stretch run looks primed to deliver ample drama & plenty of uncertainty over the next couple of months. New York (0-0 home draw with Philadelphia) & Sporting Kansas City (1-0 defeat at San Jose) ensured the Eastern Conference table remained an indecipherable muddle with just six points separating the top six sides. RSL’s defeat in Carson left the margin between the top six teams in the Western Conference at a comparably roomy seven points.

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Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas: Timbers fell rotten Hoops

Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas: Timbers fell rotten Hoops

FC Dallas continued its plummeting MLS form with a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field.All three goals came in a furious seven-minute stretch in the first half. Ryan Johnson put Portland on the board in the 26th with a towering header on Diego Valeri’s high, looping corner kick. Dallas pulled one back two minutes later, Mauro Diaz finishing off a pinpoint passing move that involved Blas Perez & Fabian Castillo.The parity was short-lived. Portland won the ball in Dallas’ half & countered rapidly. Diego Valeri played a slickDallas, which once topped MLS in the early days of the season, has now failed to win a league game since June 1, a run of 10 matches without a victory.

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Barnes lifts Dynamo to 3-1 win over Sounders

Barnes lifts Dynamo to 3-1 win over Sounders

HOUSTON (AP) — Giles Barnes scored twice in the first half & Will Bruin added a goal in the second half to lead the Houston Dynamo to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night.

The win was the second in three games for the Dynamo (10-7-6), while Seattle (10-8-4) saw its four-game unbeaten streak end in U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey’s his first start for the Sounders.

Barnes had his first multi-goal game in the MLS, giving the Dynamo a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute & upped it to 2-0 five minutes after with a blast from 30 yards out.

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