Archive | April, 2011

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The Union overcome familiar adversity in ten man win over San Jose

Posted on 30 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Early afternoon Flyers and Phillies games didn’t dampen the support for the Union as PPL Park was rattling in anticipation of a showdown with a San Jose squad that was deep in the Western Conference doldrums. The Union faithful were treated to scrappy soccer, a rare ten-man shutout, and late heroics for their loyalty. A near sold-out crowd withstood a suspect red card call on Jordan Harvey to see their favorite Frenchman score his first goal of the season on a 77th minute penalty kick to retake the Eastern Conference lead.

San Jose’s Frank Yallop kept a promise after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Chivas USA last weekend, one he probably didn’t want to keep. He registered wholesale changes to the lineup starting against Philadelphia with numerous fringe players replacing the likes of Philadelphia native Bobby Convey, Ike Opara, Ramiro Corrales, and Sam Cronin. For the Union, a young midfield (save Sebastien Le Toux) earned the start in the Union’s eleven with Roger Torres, Amobi Okugo, and Keon Daniel. Starting lineup veterans Justin Mapp and Stefani Miglioranzi were set for bench duty.

The midfield pairing of Okugo and Torres and showed promise despite not yielding anything concrete. Unfortunately, Torres’ day was cut short after a questionable Mark Geiger call that conjured up flashbacks of 2010. Adversity returned with a vengeance in the 42nd minute after a Chris Leitch tackle on Jordan Harvey. The Union fullback, looking to evade Leitch as he laid at his feet, instead supposedly kicked out at the fallen San Jose defender. It didn’t matter that Leitch swung back with full force from the ground, Geiger threw the straight red and the Union were down a man. The Union’s response was to – contrary to last season – press onwards in attack and several chances came begging. The final pass was still missing despite great play from Ruiz and Daniel in the attack and the half ended a scrappy, albeit entertaining, 0-0.

Rookie Michael Farfan grabbed his first minutes of a young professional career after coming on for Roger Torres at the start of the second half. The Union, despite Harvey’s absence, created most of the chances and looked all in all the most dangerous team. No goal came…until of course, the penalty kick. After a great run by Amobi Okugo into the box, his cross was batted down by a sliding Daniel Hernandez. Le Toux, eagerly awaiting a first goal of the season, took the resulting spot kick and blasted high and down the center to give the Union a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute. A hard driven 25-yard blast from Brad Ring was the only chance San Jose that looked troublesome in the second half, a testament to the work of Carlos Valdes and the back four. Williams and Farfan, despite being a man down, invited involvement into the attack as the Union shape rarely wavered throughout.

The win puts the Union at 4-1-1 on the season with an important trip to Portland in the near future. The concern still lingers over lack of production but it was clear to see that, at least at home, the injection of Torres behind the two strikers forced the attacking mentality. One that, if given more time, could have yielded something concrete.

More to come!

Philadelphia Union Starting XI

—————————–Mondragon—————————–

Williams————Califf————Valdes—————Harvey

——————————-Okugo———————————-

Le Toux———————Torres————————–Daniel

———————-Ruiz————–Mwanga———————

San Jose Earthquakes Starting XI

——————————-Busch———————————-

Leitch——–Hernandez———Burling—————-Morrow

——–Wondolowski—–McDonald———Ring—————-

——————————-Sealy———————————–

—————————–Lenhart———————————-

Attendance: 18,279

Scoring Summary:

PHI — Sebastien Le Toux 1 (penalty kick) 77

San Jose Earthquakes — Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Bobby Burling, Brandon McDonald (Sam Cronin 64), Scott Sealy (Bobby Convey 58), Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Ryan Johnson 72), Chris Wondolowski, Brad Ring, Steven Lenhart.

Substitutes Not Used: Ramiro Corrales, Ike Opara, Khari Stephenson, Andrew Weber.

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Keon Daniel, Roger Torres (Michael Farfan 46), Amobi Okugo, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Kyle Nakazawa 83), Danny Mwanga (Stefani Miglioranzi 46).

Substitutes Not Used: Justin Mapp, Jack McInerney, Ryan Richter, Zac MacMath.

Misconduct Summary:

PHI — Amobi Okugo (caution; Reckless Foul) 27

PHI — Faryd Mondragon (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 31

SJ — Brandon McDonald (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 32

PHI — Jordan Harvey (ejection; Violent Conduct) 41

SJ — Bobby Convey (caution; Delaying a Restart) 60

Referee: Mark Geiger

Referee’s Assistants: -Craig Lowry; Eric Boria

4th Official: Chris Penso

Time of Game: 1:52

Weather: Sunny-and-61-degrees

 

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Revs Beat DC 3-2 in Open Cup Play in

Posted on 30 April 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The Revolution traveled to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday night to face off against DC United in US Open Cup qualifying, and left with a resounding victory.

With a league game this Saturday, Head coach Steve Nicol left many of his starters behind in Foxboro, and featured a squad consisting of substitutes and reserve players.  Chris Tierney wore the captain’s armband for the team and was joined by former Revs starters Darrius Barnes, Kenny Mansally, Sainey Nyassi, and Kheli Dube.  Also on the field were newcomers Ryan Kinne, Otto Loewy, and French International Ousmane Dabo.  Of all the Revs’ starters on Tuesday night, only Stephen McCarthy had seen consistent first team action.

DC United also rested some key players, with Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius and Charlie Davies all on the bench to start the match.

The Revs’ had multiple chances in the first half thanks to Kheli Dube, who missed a chance in front of the goal in the 26th minute, and then sent a ball over the net from distance in the 31st.  But Dube would finally connect in the 34th, driving home a pass from Mansally into the left corner.

Dube would again find the back of the net in the second half, as he ran on to a nicely weighted looping pass from second half sub Alan Koger in the 47th minute, giving the Revs a 2-0 lead.

Koger himself would eventually win himself a space on the scoresheet in the 69th minute, after his first two attempts were blocked.  Koger pushed hard to win the rebound and with his third chance he finally converted, giving his team a 3 goal lead.

DC United would make it interesting however, as their designated player Branko Boskovic netted 2 goals in the final 20 minutes to pull the home team within one.  Time would run out on the Black and Red however, as the Revs were able to keep DC from mounting another successful attack.

Also of note: Diego Fagundez and Michael Augustine also came in as second half substitutions, both making their first appearances with the “first team”.

With the win, The Revolution will travel to face Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, May 25, in the final round of the MLS Play-In bracket of the U.S. Open Cup. The exact time and site of the May 25 match is still to be finalized, and will be announced at a later date.

New England will travel to Kansas City because the team lost a coin toss on Monday, Feb. 28, at the MLS offices in New York City. The winner of the New England-Sporting Kansas City match will enter the formal U.S. Open Cup bracket in the 16-team third round.

Scoring Summary:
NE – Kheli Dube (Kenny Mansally) 34
NE – Kheli Dube (Alan Koger) 47
NE – Alan Koger (unassisted) 69
DC – Branko Boskovic (Charlie Davies) 73
DC – Branko Boskovic (Andy Najar) 82

New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney ©, Ryan Cochrane, Otto Loewy (Michael Augustine (91+), Darrius Barnes, Ryan Kinne, Ousmane Dabo (Diego Fagundez 76), Stephen McCarthy, Sainey Nyassi, Kheli Dube, Kenny Mansally (Alan Koger 46)

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Zack Schilawski

STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 18

D.C. United: Pat Onstad, Daniel Woolard, Ethan White, Rodrigo Brasesco (Dax McCarty 79), Brandon Barklage, Santino Quaranta ©, Kurt Morsink, Branko Boskovic, Andy Najar, Joseph Ngwenya (Charlie Davies 68), Blake Brettschneider (Chris Pontius 64)

Substitutes Not Used: Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Stephen King, Conor Shanosky

STATS*: Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 11; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 7

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:
DC – Branko Boskovic (caution) 16
NE – Otto Loewy (caution) 50
NE – Kheli Dube (caution) 79
NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 85
NE – Alan Koger (caution) 86
DC – Kurt Morsink (caution) 88

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Weekly update: April 30, 2011

Posted on 30 April 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The Revolution have announced a partnership with Taylor Twellman and the Revolution Academy, offering summer programs led by the Revs’ all time leading goal scorer.

University of Mobile head coach and Sudbury native Peter Fuller has joined the Revolution coaching staff as the full time reserve team coach.

Revolution goalkeeper Tim Murray and striker Ilija Stolica have been loaned to USL PRO league club FC New York, based in Queens, New York.  Both players will be available for FC New York’s home opener this weekend.

 

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RSL looks to get back on track in Portland

Posted on 30 April 2011 by kali

To say that Saturday’s match against the Portland Timbers is a test of Real Salt Lake’s character is perhaps a massive understatement.

Nonetheless, that’s exactly the situation that RSL is faced with in the wake of Wednesday’s tough CONCACAF Champions League loss to Monterrey.  With only a few days’ recovery, Real has to travel to Portland to face a Timbers squad that has featured well so far on the artificial surface at Jeld-Wen Field.

Because of the quick turnaround time between matches, RSL coach Jason Kreis has considered making some changes to his starting lineup.  The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, and Fabian Espindola remained in Salt Lake instead of making the trip with the team; Olave is often held out of games on turf, while Russell’s hamstring has been a concern.

Luckily for Kreis, Real has plenty of depth on the bench — Chris Schuler could replace Olave in the starting eleven, while Paulo Junior may start up front in place of Espindola.  In addition, Kyle Beckerman will be rested and available after being forced to sit out the CCL final through yellow card accumulation.

The mental challenge for RSL after the loss is likely to be the bigger obstacle, however.  Goalkeeper Nick Rimando said of the challenge that awaits Real, “These kinds of games can either break a team or make a team stronger, and I think our team is strong enough to know that this isn’t going to break us up.  We’re going to stay strong and keep on preaching about how we’re a good team and deep team, and how the team is the star.  Right now this is an account of when there’s a tough loss to rebound and forget about it and go on with our season.”

Portland will be looking to rebound from a difficult loss too — the Timbers lost 3-0 in Los Angeles to the Galaxy last week.  Coach John Spencer will have his team trying to limit RSL’s chances early on in the match and play off of the tremendous home advantage that the Portland supporters  have created at Jeld-Wen.

“We are winning games at home because we compete from the first whistle,” Spencer said.

The match will kick off at 8:30 pm MT and can be seen on KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 12 / DishNet 22) in Utah.

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Preview: New England @ Chivas USA

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Hank Alexandre

New England takes to the road for the second time this week as they head out to the left coast for the 3rd time this season to take on Chivas USA.  The Goats have been struggling this season, notching only one win so far out of 6 matches.  New England has played one more game than Chivas, but has managed only one more win this season.  Both teams are struggling to find goals, and have managed the same amount of draws, so it would appear on paper that it should be a fairly even match.  However, the Revolution have added some new players which could shake up the result.  On the other hand, Chivas are coming off their first win of the season, and could be looking to capitalize on their momentum.  Here’s the break down:

GOALKEEPERS: The Revolution will probably be starting veteran Matt Reis, who has only allowed 5 goals this season and three from the run of play (thanks to some favorable calls).  Two of those three goals, however, would have to be considered fairly soft (Jewsbury, Kamara).  On the flip side he has made 20 saves this season.  Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy has had the majority of starts this season, with veteran Zach Thornton having been relegated to the bench.  Kennedy is younger and more athletic than Reis, but does not have the experience of the New England netminder. ADVANTAGE: NEW ENGLAND – Slight edge to Matt Reis – experience matters.

DEFENDERS: New England’s back four have been playing fairly well, despite some spotty play from speedy Kevin Alston (although he was much more on the ball last week).  New center back signings Franco Coria and AJ Soares are both healthy and suspension free, and have formed a good partnership in front of Matt Reis.  Didier Domi at left back adds quality into the attack and links up well with the midfield and forwards. Chivas will more than likely be without the services of team captain Jimmy Conrad and Michael Lahoud, but will still have US International Heath Pearce at either right or left back, along with Andrew Boyens and veteran MLS and Canadian defender Ante Jazic. ADVANTAGE: NEW ENGLAND -Coria and Soares presence in the box, along with Alston’s Speed and Domi’s quality will outperform Jazic and Pearce.

MIDFIELDERS: With the addition of Benny Feilhaber, the Revolution’s midfield is now a force to be reckoned with.  However, with Marko Perovic sidelined with a knee sprain, look for coach Nicol to start Kenny Mansally in a more forward role on the left flank, with  Feilhaber playing in a central role backed by Joseph and McCarthy.  Zak Boggs will likely get the start on the right side, but speedster Sainey Nyassi may come on as a second half sub.  Chivas will have Simon Elliott in midfield with the dangerous Nicolas LaBrocca and youngsters Flores and Zemanski. Flores adds some flair and LaBrocca adds to the attack, but the production out of the midfield has been limited.  ADVANTAGE: NEW ENGLAND

FORWARDS: New England’s new signing Rajko Lekic will likely be the lone forward.  With only two games under his belt, Lekic is still struggling to gel with his teammates.  However, with the addititon of Feilhaber in the midfield and his first goal of the season, he will have more confidence coming into the game this Saturday.  Chivas however are incredibly deep at forward, with Alejandro Moreno and the Argentinian Marcos Mondaini likely to get the start.  But they also have super subs Justin Braun and Mariano Trujillo available. All of these options will be a threat to the New England back line. ADVANTAGE: CHIVAS USA – With a bench like that, Chivas can look to take advantage of a jet-lagged Revolution with speed and firepower.

PREDICTION: On paper, the Revs look to have a more complete team, but Chivas have more of an attacking presence and have yet to win at home.  The Goats will be looking to come out quickly and establish an early lead, and the Revolution will have their hands full for the first 25 minutes.  In the end, the Revolution defense and midfield will prove to be a match for Chivas, but the offense will still struggle.  RESULT: DRAW 0-0

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Flash Photo Contest: Attention Union fans running the Broad Street Run!

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

This is a shot in the dark and certainly cutting it close as the Broad Street Run kicks off at 8:30AM this Sunday. With 30,000 runners set to take Broad Street by storm, we ventured a guess that there could be a decent amount of Union fans ready to partake in the pain. Why not do it in the Blue and Gold?

You see, we have a “supporter scarf” from the 2010 inaugural season and it needs an owner. We also want to help fill out your Union supporting wardrobe by financially “supporting” your choice of threads. It just so happens that good ideas sometimes take too long to generate in our brains. That’s why you don’t have much time to prepare for this one but here goes…

The Contest: ASN Philly would like a picture of you either pre-race, during the race, supporting someone at the race, or post-race wearing your Union gear. Be as creative as you would like. Whatever you think it takes to win!

To Submit an Entry: E-mail bbonnette@americansoccernews.net and supply a valid e-mail address, name, and your entry.

Deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, May 2nd, 2011.

PRIZES

Winner: A $25 e-gift card to the PhiladelphiaUnionStore.com

2nd Place: A Union inaugural season Supporter Scarf

ULTERIOR MOTIVE: Follow us on Twitter at @phillyunionASN and Facebook (friend ASN Philly)

We need at least 7 entries to make this interesting so Tweet, Facebook, e-mail this on to any Union supporters you know running or supporting someone at Broad Street! Good luck to all those running on Sunday and hopefully taking three points from San Jose will help us all along the way.

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Game #6 Preview: San Jose at Philadelphia

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union return to action after a welcomed week off when a trip to Real Salt Lake was rescheduled due to the Royals participation in the CONCACAF Champions League (an unfortunate loss). Sebastien Le Toux and the rest of the squad that was around last season will be looking to one-up the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, a team that had their number last year. Fans will remember the late Arturo Alvarez heartbreaker at PPL Park and this weekend’s DOOP day will hopefully be a time for payback.

San Jose Earthquakes (1-3-2) at Philadelphia Union (3-1-1)
Saturday, April 30, 2011
PPL Park, Chester, PA, 4:00PM, 6abc

Philadelphia Union Projected Starting XI

—————————–Mondragon—————————-

Williams———–Califf—————–Valdes———-Harvey

——————-Miglioranzi————Okugo——————-

Mapp———————————————————-Daniel

———————-Le Toux————–Ruiz———————

DOUBTFUL: MF Gabe Farfan (R little toe dislocation); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (L hamstring strain), MF Brian Carroll (R hamstring strain), MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain)

San Jose Earthquakes Projected Starting XI

——————————–Busch———————————

Hernandez———Opara———-McDonald———-Corrales

——————————-Cronin———————————

Stephenson——-Dawkins——–Wondolowski——–Convey

——————————–Sealy———————————–

OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Tim Ward (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Joey Gjertsen (R groin strain), MF Matt Luzunaris (L hip flexor strain)

Game Notes:

The Union will remember Quakes forward Steven Lenhart. a [a part of the Columbus Crew last year, for his showing at PPL Park. The blonde-fro’ed target forward struck twice with his head to lead Columbus to a victory. The Earthquakes also shared similar success against the Union in 2010. At PPL Park, a last gasp Arturo Alvarez gamewinner stunned Union fans and in the return leg, in San Jose, the Union never really threatened in a 1-0 loss. The good news is – the Union are much improved – and Steven Lenhart will likely play the role of super sub or not play at all.

The Quakes are on a four game winless streak (0-2-2) with their last two games being losses to New York and Chivas USA respectively. A players-only meeting was held as coach Frank Yallop threatened to shake up the line-up. Union fans must remember, however that they’re also a team that came only one win away from reaching the MLS Cup final in 2010 so bad form or not, the Union need to take it to them. 2011’s Earthquakes have conceded the most shots in Major League Soccer so far (91) but it’ll mean nothing if the Union can’t create.

Philadelphia native Bobby Convey is coming off of his best season in Major League Soccer since his return State-side after a spell with Reading in England. He has to regain that 2010 form but you can expect, part of a team hungry to right their wrongs, that he’ll be a big part of things on Saturday. It’s hard to believe the Penn Charter product has worked almost 250 competitive matches over a career spanning 11 years now. He was drafted by DC United in 2000, then becoming the youngest player ever signed by Major League Soccer.

The Flyers will be starting their series with the Boston Bruins at 3:00PM on game day. It shouldn’t affect game day attendance too much but you never know.

Brian Carroll, out the last several games with a right hamstring strain, could see time against San Jose but there is no reason to believe that he will start. Amobi Okugo has played well filling in for the vet and as long as he continues to do so, Carroll can make sure he’s 100% ready to return. There’s also the possibility – though not listed in the injury report – that Stefani Miglioranzi may miss the match with a knock taken in the Union’s draw vs. Seattle.

Kerith Gabriel, over at Philly.com, takes an in-depth look at the Union’s league-leading defense and it’s transformation from leaky to impenetrable in just a season.

In case you missed it, Timmy Howard and Everton FC will be visiting PPL Park in late July. Part of the season ticket package!

YSC Sports and the Philadelphia Union recently hosted the last leg of Sueno MLS and the finalists will be announced on Sunday, May 1st on Republica Deportiva. Over 400 youngsters took part in tryouts, assessed by coaches including Reading United AC and Union Reserve coach Brendan Burke, as they fought for one of five spots to earn a trial and a ticket to the “Final Event” held in Dallas.

Just as the Union were surprised by their week off, affiliate club Harrisburg will have to wait a little while before their 2011 home debut. They were scheduled to take on the Rochester Rhinos but flooding has forced the city of Harrisburg to close down City Island. Rescheduled date to be announced.

Predictions for the scoreline this weekend? If both Miglioranzi and Carroll have to sit this weekend or at least come in off the bench, who would you have start?

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Photo gallery: CONCACAF Final

Posted on 28 April 2011 by juliana64

no images were found

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Union schedule summer face-off with Tim Howard and Everton

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Toffees will visit PPL Park on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 in the first of several international friendlies the Union are likely to play this summer. Everton will face DC United only 3 days later at RFK Stadium.

A couple quotes from Everton’s American netminder, Tim Howard (a North Brunswick, NJ native) on the Philadelphia Union:

“Philadelphia Union is a fantastic Club and I’m really looking forward to playing against them. Nick Sakiewicz brought me through the ranks when I was younger, I’m friends with members of their coaching staff and one of my best friends, Danny Califf, plays for them. It’s a Club whose results I look out for and hope they do well. It will be a tough game for us. They will be in the mould of their manager Piotr Novak. He’s a tough, hard-nosed former Polish international who doesn’t back down. I know for a fact from being very close to him that he expects nothing less from his team as well.” – from Everton’s website.

This WILL BE part of the Union season ticket holder package and all holders are invited to attend Everton FC’s pre-game training session on July 19th. Currently sitting 7th in the English Premier League tables, the Toffees have gone on one of their trademark tears working their way up into competition for a spot in Europe next year. Led by Howard and Australian international Tim Cahill, Everton boasts some impressive youngsters as well – namely Jack Rodwell, Seamus Coleman, and Jose Baxter (many of whom you’ll probably see on the 20th).

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 6: Henry and Donovan awake from slumber

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The season rolls on even after a weekend marred by the loss of two of Major League Soccer’s most exciting attacking talents in Steve Zakuani and David Ferreira. Zakuani suffered a broken fibula and tibia after a rash challenge from Colorado’s Brian Mullan while reigning MLS MVP Ferreira fell victim to a broken ankle after a Jonathan Leathers tackle. The news dampened the announcement of New York and Los Angeles respectively as rejuvenated and dangerous attacking squads. Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry were the catalysts as both sides put up dominant performances over Portland and DC United.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Six

GK: Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles

The scoreline might have been heavily tilted in the Galaxy’s direction but that does not mean that Ricketts had nothing to do. Quite the opposite actually. Ricketts was tested on several occasions by the Timbers offense and fortunately for the Galaxy’s defense, he was up to the task. Late in the game, especially, it was Ricketts who kept Portland star Kenny Cooper from generating any momentum.

DEF: Heath Pearce, Chivas USA

Pearce won’t be leaving the center of defense anytime soon after his performance in the Goats 2-1 win in San Jose. It was the American international’s dangerous 35 yard free kick that was ever so slightly touched by Alejandro Moreno that equalized after San Jose pressured early. He was the key to neutralizing last year’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski after he tasted goal in the 16th minute.

DEF: Alain Rochat, Vancouver

We’re not too far into the season and Rochat has already established himself as one of the best defenders in all of Major League Soccer. Both Rochat and Chiumiento have provided a consistency to the Whitecaps, something much coveted for an expansion club. The Swiss defender’s composure and keen positioning will be something the Whitecaps can build around and expand on as the season progresses. It’s Rochat’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: Jan Gunnar Solli, New York

Probably the easiest selection on here and along with teammate Thierry Henry, deserves Player of the Week honors. Working from right back, Solli’s forays into the attack yielded a trio of assists, two to Henry and one to wunderkid Juan Agudelo. United’s left flank had absolutely no answer for the Norwegian veteran. It’s Solli’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

Things are coming together for George John in a big way. He has solidified his spot in Schellas Hyndman’s starting XI and made quite the name for himself on the field even as Dallas struggled to start the season. The Hoops, dealt a blow recently with the loss of David Ferreira to injury, are still starting to hit their stride and on defense, it has a lot to do with the second year former Washington Husky. Against Vancouver, John dabbled in the offense as well – powering home the equalizer before a late Avila gamewinner sealed a three point deal.

MID: Julian De Guzman, Toronto FC

An extended glimpse of Designated Player-like play from De Guzman, something Toronto FC fans have been looking for over the past couple seasons. Showed poise in the midfield and creativity that had rarely been seen before as a Red. It was De Guzman that supplied the through ball that found Tony Tchani as Toronto settled for a tie. Aron Winter’s XI, however, looked more like a team this week and De Guzman was the glue that held them together against the Crew.

MID: Eric Avila, FC Dallas

The young Avila replaced 2010’s MVP David Ferreira and supplied the gamewinner. He plays the role of super sub as well as any in Major League Soccer but with Ferreira out recovering from a broken ankle, can Avila develop into the consistent attacking threat that the Hoops need in replacement? He will get his chance to show that he can and Hoops fans are certainly hoping he takes that chance and runs with it.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Two giants awoke this past weekend. Donovan, coming back from a knee injury, looked his old self and brought an expansion team to its knees in the spoiling of Portland’s good run of form. More importantly for the Galaxy, Donovan was consistent in his effect on the game at hand. He asserted himself early – assisting Chad Barrett’s first goal before drawing the penalty (which he then converted) – all in the first 8 minutes. Juan Pablo Angel then delivered an amazing 67th minute cross across the danger area right onto a streaking Donovan’s head. A combination that Galaxy fans would surely pay to see more often.

FWD: Diego Chaves, Chicago

At times, he almost doesn’t fit in with the Fire offense – a step too fast or ahead of the rest of the Fire attack. That hasn’t hindered him in production, however, grabbing four goals already in 2011 including the opener against a revitalized Houston Dynamo squad. His goal vs. Houston wasn’t the product of impressive flair or creativity but instead sheer determination. Chaves is the kind of opportunistic goalscorer the Fire need – if only three points came with it when all was said and done.

FWD: Thierry Henry, New York *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Henry is starting to put away the chances – one against San Jose, two against DC United away from home. The key is that he has the supporting cast to keep the chances coming for the French striker and it’s pretty apparent – at least in the last couple games – that he does. The Solli/Henry combination is definitely not one that will fizzle out anytime soon. This is Henry’s second selection of the season – two in a row to be exact.

FWD: Kei Kamara, Kansas City

A brace from Kei should normally win it for a team but defensive questions linger for Sporting Kansas City as New England bested them 3-2. Kamara did his part, taking his chances well and putting up what should have been the game winner for Kansas City before New England battled back for the win. Replacing Omar Bravo is tough but Kamara is doing what he can, scoring the last three goals for Sporting.

Bench: Teemu Tainio (New York), Joel Lindpere (New York), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado), Patrick Ianni (Seattle), Benny Feilhaber (New England), Bobby Boswell (Houston), Marco Pappa (Chicago), Fredy Montero (Seattle), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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