Tag Archive | "Javier Morales"

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RSL Hold Sounders 0-0 in Seattle

Posted on 03 November 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake all but wrapped up the #2 seed in the Western Conference when they held Sounders to a 0-0. Zach Scott had been sent off early in the match and Sounders were able to hold off for a 0-0 draw. Salt Lake and Seattle have had a burgeoning rivalry that is comparable to either of their Cascadia Cup opponents, the largest difference being that RSL and Seattle have played more meaningful matches against each other rather than geographic proximity.

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Michael Gspurning came off of his line to make a sliding tackle on Ned Grabavoy right at the edge of the box on a through ball from midfield. Nick Rimando was also active early making a save on Brad Evans, after the Sounders midfielder made a clever timed run to get in behind the defense. Rimando came up big twice to keep his sheet clean in the 33rd minute on consecutive. Sammy Ochoa worked very hard to get his header, pushing on Chris Wingert with both hands to get into position. Ochoa’s header was saved for a corner that Jhon Kennedy Hurtado would put on frame with a ducking header was met by a more spectacular save by Rimando than the last moments before.

Jeff Parke was issued a yellow card for a foul on Espindola right before the halftime whistle blew. Espindola would not return for the second half with a hamstring injury.

Sammy Ochoa, filling in for Eddie Johnson as Fredy Montero’s strike partner, had his best opportunity to score on a cross from Brad Evans in the 57th minute. Ochoa sent the ball sailing, and Sigi Schmid called immediately for his replacement, David Estrada.

The most dramatic moment of the match came in the 67th minute when Christiam Tiffert and Nick Rimando collided in the penalty area when Rimando was coming out for the ball. The RSL goalkeeper covered his face and kicking at the ground in agony. The match would be suspended for no less than 8 minutes while Rimando received treatment to stop the bleeding above his eye. There was a confused group of fans who were heckling Rimando during this time although he was clearly receiving necessary treatment.

Sounders attack in the second half was predictable, speculative, and ultimately impotent against Nick Rimando, who continued his brilliant performance despite his injury and swelling around his eye. Rimando read and picked out crosses and continued to show excellent reflexes and reaction saves. In addition to David Estrada, Mario Martinez (82nd minute for Tiffert) and Steve Zakuani (90th+4 for Mauro Rosales) were brought on to bolster the Sounders attack, with little to no effect.

RSL did not show much offensive firepower either, and Gspurning didn’t have nearly as much to do as his counterpart. Alvaro Saborio, recently returned from injury, did not appear himself tonight. Kyle Beckerman did not appear in the stat sheet much, but was effective in controlling the midfield and distributing the ball to keep his side organized. Javier Morales also had a relatively quiet night.

There was some extra time scuffling involving Osvaldo Alonso and some RSL players and even some staff from the look of things. If this is a burgeoning rivalry it blossomed tonight, the return leg, with so much at stake should be quite an exciting affair. Eddie Johnson should be back from his hamstring injury. Fabian Espindola’s hamstring is a question mark as of post-match, his availability is unknown at this point.

The way these two sides have played against each other, and other teams, have not yielded many goals for either side. Although RSL have shown several times that they can come to Seattle and get results, the advantage of playing at home for the return leg, and potential shootout, is clear.

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RSL Cements Second Place in Seattle

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake came to Seattle three points ahead of Sounders in the Western Conference standings. Sounders, with a game in hand, were looking to usurp their rivals with a win and draw even in the standings.

© Jane Gershovich & American Soccer News

A day removed from a return stint with the US Men’s National Team, Eddie Johnson found himself on a private charter with Nick Rimando & Kyle Beckerman on the way to Seattle. Eddie Johnson played 90 minutes in both World Cup Qualifying matches and was quite productive offensively, scoring 2 goals against Antigua Barbados & getting an assist against Guatemala. Rimando and Beckerman did not see time on the pitch for the US and although it was unlikely that Johnson would play, it was a much appreciated gesture between these two rival sides.

Zach Scott would pick up a seemingly inocuous yellow card in the 10th minute for a foul on Fabian Espindola. Scott, filling in at center back for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, has a bit of a reputation as a rough defender, getting a caution is not out of the ordinary for him. Scott would only remain on the pitch for another 20 minutes. Javier Morales was fouled by the Sounder stalwart and promptly sent off by Ricardo Salazar for his second caution.

Sounders had started a duo of Fredy Montero & Sammy Ochoa at forward, Eddie Johnson was not available after his stint with the US Men’s National Team. Ochoa was the player who made way for an additional defender after Scott had been sent off. Sounders already had a makeshift lineup to start the match; Zach Scott was an outside back playing in, Brad Evans was filling in for Scott on the outside, Marc Burch & Jeff Parke were the only defenders in their usual positions. Andy Rose dropped into the center back role until the substition for Ochoa was made. Michael Seamon would finish the match at outside back.

At the end of the first half Montero hit a shot that looked like it hit the outstretched arm of Tony Beltran. Replays would later show that Beltran had his arm next to the body and that Salazar had gotten the call correct. RSL head coach Jason Kreis had this to say about appeals for a penalty, “what lead to that play was Montero pushing on Olave, I don’t think Seattle is the only one that can make complaints about the calls tonight.”

It is certainly a truism that a team with 10 men is likely to lose to an 11 man team and on an extended timeline keeping possession and creating scoring chances will lead to goals in a probabilistic view. In reality it is still not easy to break a team down defensively. On paper you can see that RSL did dominate possession and scoring chances and had chances late to take all three points in Seattle were it not for the herculean efforts of Michael Gspurning. Two of those saves coming in impressive fashion in stoppage time.

For RSL getting a point on the road in Seattle is no smalll feat, especially considering the place in the table. However in the end they recognize that it was a match they had the upper hand throughout and still failed to win.

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 2: Meet the Javiers

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It might be a curse to have been named a striker on ASN’s Best XI last week. Both Omar Bravo and Vancouver’s Eric Hassli saw red after contributing two goals a piece in their Major League Soccer debuts. Some old heads filled the gap however as the 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner found his form in a big San Jose win.

This week, the Javiers rule the attackers’ roost after playing huge parts in their respective teams dominant wins. Only one Javier, however, could walk away with ASN’s Player of the Week honors and it was pretty clear who deserved it in the end. Real Salt Lake is 2-0 in Player of the Week honors for ASN, something to go nicely with their 2-0-0 record.

ASN’s Best XI, Week 2

GK: Tally Hall (Houston)

Houston’s defense is shaky to say the least but who would have that with the loss of veteran All-Star Pat Onstad, their last line of defense would be their strongest? That’s two solid weeks for so far for Hall but his performance in Friday’s 1-1 tie with Seattle earned him a spot on the Best XI. Six big saves allowed the Dynamo to come away from Qwest Field with at least one point, despite Seattle’s domination.

DEF: Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

Two things so far are clear regarding Valdes: (1) He is still not sure of his positioning with his new club; and (2) He is athletic, skilled and aware enough to more than hold his own regardless.  On at least three occasions, it appeared as though Carlos was out of place and sure to be beat, but in each instance he was able to recover, once by craning his neck to just nudge a ball in the air enough to change its path.  Valdes did take a couple of badly judged fouls, but nothing that hurt the team.  Ultimately, the defender made the necessary plays that kept danger away.  Through his first two games with the Union, he has shown that he is willing to make the high-risk, high-reward play that a team needs to win.  Mondragon has gotten the lion’s share of the attention and press, and deservedly so, but Valdes has been every inch as important a signing and, over the run of 90 minutes, has even more of an impact when he plays as he did against the Whitecaps. –  Sam Toma, ASN Philly

DEF: Drew Moor (Colorado)

There were a couple Colorado defenders up for a spot on this Best XI but Drew Moor was close to flawless in the center of defense. Thanks to a clinical defensive performance, the Rapids secured their first ever  2-0-0 start (in a 16-year history). Real Salt Lake was an 8 seed when they won the MLS Cup a couple years ago, they came back as powerhouses. Could Colorado be next?

DEF: Alain Rochat (Vancouver)

The Swiss defender kept Sebastien Le Toux, for the most part, in check. He might not have commanding size but his ability to make the right tackle, positioning, and composure should make him a vital part of the Vancouver backline for seasons to come.

MID: Shalrie Joseph (New England)

A typical hardworking and tireless performance from Joseph. He was the engine for a New England team still trying to find a common footing with each other. His PK conversion (9th in his career) put him into a tie with Steve Ralston, now an assistant coach in Houston, at the top of the New England charts for goals from the spot.

MID: Brian Carroll (Philadelphia)

With Justin Mapp out, the team looked to Carroll to maintain some possession and link the attack.  Unfortunately, Carroll did not answer the call in the 1st half, instead providing sloppy touches, tentative passes backwards and timing that was a beat slow.  In the 2nd half, however, the game changed, and Carroll was a big reason why.   Following the red card, he pressed up and played the point position on what amounted to a prolonged power play for the Union, with the ball in Whitecaps territory for the vast majority of the time.  He initiated several productive forays towards the goal and disrupted any attempt at counterattacks. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

Javier Morales, Player of the Week, Week 2

MID: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) *PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Winner of Major League Soccer’s player of the week award. Surprisingly, it’s only his fourth time being named it. Morales wore two hats in a 4-1 drubbing of Los Angeles, a contender for the Western Conference crown. He was both architect (1 assist) and artist (2 goals) matching and possibly even exceeding  last year’s early form. There’s no way to argue it really, Morales gets Week 2’s ASN Player of the Week honors. (Go to RSL ASN’s gallery page for more great shots of RSL’s 4-1 win over Los Angeles)

MID: Marco Pappa (Chicago)

Pappa is close solidifying the label of “go-to guy” in Chicago. Had a goal and an assist and seems to be combining well with the new strike pairing of Puerari and Chaves. As Pappa continues to mature, this Chicago team should settle in around him.

FWD: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)

Wondo more than made up for a shoddy first game of missed sitters. Last year’s Golden Boot winner struck for a brace to right the wrongs of Week 1 and give the Earthquakes their first points of the young season. What makes it more impressive is that fact that he did at Pizza Hut Park and during a game in which Dallas dominated the game in shots produced (19 to San Jose’s 6).

FWD: Javier Martina (Toronto FC)

The former Ajax product scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Portland and was a constant hassle all throughout the match. His second strike was pure beauty. He took on a volley a 70-yard pass from Toronto’s keeper Stefan Frei, beating Portland’s keeper and essentially sealing Toronto’s first win of the season.

FWD: Paulo Jr. (Real Salt Lake)

The young Brazilian assisted Morales in his architect role before capping off a brilliant attacking display with the fourth and final goal of the day. He was all over the field, disrupting any organization the Galaxy’s defense thought they had. Let’s also not forget that he took the foul from Josh Saunders that led a penalty kick and a 2-0 lead early in the match.

Bench: Jon Busch (San Jose), Alex Horwath (RBNY), Danny Califf (Philadelphia), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado), Gustavo Puerari (Chicago), Chad Marshall (Columbus), Jason Hernandez (San Jose), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)

Archives:

WEEK 1

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Nineteen

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

A quartet of squads put in fantastic performances this week and rightfully dominated the Best XI. Real Salt Lake beat up on Will Hesmer and Columbus after grabbing a point from Philadelphia with a solid ‘B’ squad. Regardless, in a show of depth, it was Javier Morales and veteran defender Nat Borchers that made sure they didn’t drop form this week as a crowded schedule persists. Los Angeles found huge points inside Red Bull Arena as David Beckham inches closer to his return. It was a familiar face that inflicted the damage upon Rafa Marquez and the Red Bulls. Last but not least, the Earthquakes pre-empted their first DP’s arrival with a huge contribution from another, lesser known signing in Khari Stephenson. Is anybody hotter than FC Dallas right now though? Probably not when at 6-0-4 in their last 10 games, David Ferreira continues to press these guys into the Western Conference championship picture. If Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles slip up, it looks like Ferreira’s boys will be there to clean things up. 

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Nineteen

GK: Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake, 7.5

The scoreline of Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win over the Crew doesn’t point out how dangerous the Crew were on the offensive end. That’s mostly because of the play of RSL’s back four and Nick Rimando. After getting a much deserved, midweek rest vs. Philadelphia, Rimando returned in style turning away several late opportunities and beating out back-up Kyle Reynish for the keeper slot in this week’s Best XI. 

DEF: Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles, 8

The big second-year centreback found his way back into the ASN Best XI mix after enduring two of the biggest challenges so far in his nascent career. First up – which has no bearing on his inclusion in this XI – was his first international cap for the USMNT, one of the few bright spots of a 2-0 loss to Brazil. Fast forward to this past weekend and Gonzalez found himself up against the formidable duo of Juan Pablo Angel and Thierry Henry. Gonzalez helped spearhead a premier caliber defensive performance against the star-studded Red Bulls, leaving the Arena with three vital points.

DEF: Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake, 7.5

It’s clear Jason Kreis highly values what Borchers brings to the Real Salt Lake defense. He publicly stated that over this busy stretch of fixtures, it would only be Borchers that starts them all. There are still several games left to go but that says a lot about what Kreis thinks of the veteran. He has performed incredibly well – along with the rest of the Real Salt Lake defense. Though Jamison Olave provides the most dominating performances out of the back, Borchers and under-the-radar Tony Beltran have been the most consistent.

DEF: Tim Ream, New York Red Bulls, 7

It’s in down to Tim Ream vs. Danny Mwanga in my book for Rookie of the Year. Ream has had a couple of shaky performances this season but he never lets it become a nasty habit. In two incredibly important match-ups, the St. Louis rookie performed admirably and with poise. Who else thinks a Rafa Marquez (once fit)/Tim Ream would be a good idea? We do.

Javier Morales ©ASN/Julie Harper

©ASN/Julie Harper

MID: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake, 8.5 ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Morales capped off a busy week with a stunning brace in only 60 minutes of field time against the Eastern Conference leaders on Saturday. His two goals gave RSL fans a little retribution after Columbus – especially keeper Will Hesmer – said some things about the RSL organization a little while back. Just as impressive, however, was his performance in captaining a ‘B’ team vs. the Philadelphia Union midweek and leaving Philly with a point.

MID: Eric Alexander, FC Dallas, 8

It was only his second start of the season but rookie Alexander made the most of his addition in Dallas’ starting XI vs. DC United, scoring a potential goal of the week and assisting on the goal that got everything started. His night didn’t start as hot it finished but he didn’t let the early gaffes get to him. It’s a lot easier to bounce back when you have a guy like Kevin Hartman in net. Regardless, Alexander made up for his turnovers with the game-winning goal. I’d say that warrants another go.

MID: Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia, 7.5

His 8th assist of the season puts him at an even point per match average, puts him in the top 3 for assists in the league and puts him staunchly in the race for most points in the MLS this season with 13 games to go.  And all that is without mentioning how pretty the assist on the Danny Mwanga goal was: receiving a long Jordan Harvey throw and knowing he had Mwanga streaking on a timing pattern, he quickly turned away and flicked the ball with exquisite touch directly into Mwanga’s path, putting him clear in on goal.  The rest of the way, Le Toux more or less created or was on the end of every chance the Union had, unfortunately coming up short.  Still more evidence, however, that he is the engine that makes this team run. Sam Toma, ASN Philly, post 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake

A center back’s absolute nightmare, the best thing about Seba is that every time he touches the ball, no matter where he is, he is looking to produce a goal.  No effort or touch is wasted in this pursuit.  This puts immense pressure on the opposing defense, forcing the action and, as the results of this season have borne out, produces eye-popping statistics.  Le Toux found Danny Mwanga several times this match, obviously garnering his 9th assist after using his speed to beat the defense down the field and get into the left corner before finding Mwanga streaking into the penalty area.  However, Seba also authored several near misses from Mwanga, nearly finding the rookie’s head on a cross in the 3rd minute and narrowly missing on another cross in the 20th.  Unfortunately, the pressure Le Toux puts on the referees does not seem to be producing just results lately, as for the second time in four games, an extra time takedown in the box is not called in Seba’s favor. Sam Toma, ASN Philly, post 1-1 tie with Coloradohowing once again why he is a viable MLS MVP candidate, Seba continues to do it all for this team. 

MID: Khari Stephenson, San Jose, 7.5

San Jose’s newest signing – that is, until yesterday’s announcement of the Quakes first Designated Player in Geovanni – was the Man of the Match in a crucial 1-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards this past weekend. It was the Jamaican international’s expertly delivered 30-yard cross onto Chris Wondolowski’s boot that did the trick and Khari’s return to Major League Soccer started off on the right foot. If Stephenson’s first performance is indicative of what’s to come, Geovanni and Khari might push this team over the top in its quest for a playoff bid.

FWD: Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia, 7

Back after missing three games due to injury, the frontrunner for MLS Rookie of the Year continued to bolster his case with his 6th goal of the season , a calm finish off a beautiful Le Toux flick-on to give the Union an early 1-0 lead.  In addition, he showed off his developing interior touch with a slotted ground pass from the endline out to the top of the area for Kyle Nakazawa, who had his blast saved by Kyle Reynish.  Not a perfect game, as he certainly let a couple of chances go by the wayside, most notably a clear chance to take on the keeper 1 v. 1 in the 62nd minute that was erased after a heavy first touch put the ball into Kyle Reynish’s clutches.  However, his strength continues to improve, as a couple of hard turns on defenders playing him close followed by ignition of the burners forced hard fouls from the defense and free kicks from dangerous position.  Mwanga is really beginning to show how he can effect a game in ways other than his scoring. He has Nowak impressed at his development over the past three months. Sam Toma, ASN Philly, post 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake

Another calm finish indicative of a savvy veteran, not of a rookie not even two-thirds of the way into his first season.  At this point, it’s fair to call the kid can’t miss.  Barring injury, he is going to have a fantastic career, both at the club level and, eventually, at the international level.  Now we have to hope that the US Federation does what they need to do to get him eligible for the U.S. team. Sam Toma, ASN Philly, post 1-1 with Colorado

FWD: Edson Buddle, Los Angeles, 8

As if to re-announce himself, Buddle stole the show vs. Henry, Angel, and Marquez, scoring his league-leading 13th goal of the season after finding his way behind the Red Bull defense. It’s funny we talk about him slowing down – mainly because he has still hit for four goals since his return from South Africa, a great number in any respect. Buddle and Donovan’s leadership will be the key in the last third of the season as Real Salt Lake makes a charge for the Western Conference championship.

FWD: David Ferreira, FC Dallas, 7.5

Ferreira had kind of a low key day in the 3-1 win over DC United but the funny thing is, a low key day for Ferreira still means a goal and an assist. He had plenty of help this time around with stellar performances from rookies Zach Loyd and Eric Alexander as well as Brek Shea, a true candidate for breakout of the year (if there was such a reward). Ferreira’s consistency makes this team dangerous everytime he steps out on the pitch. Could this be the year the Hoops actually test the late rounds of the MLS Cup playoffs?

Archives:

Week 18, Best XI

Week 17, Best XI

Week 16, Best XI

Midseason, Best XI

Week 15, Best XI

Week 14, Best XI

Week 13, Best XI

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

Week 1, Best XI

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Thirteen

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

A whirlwind start to post-World Cup 2010 life produced goals galore for some and continued heartbreak for many. Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles continue to show that their the cream of the crop while D.C. United and New England – once virtual locks for the top of the Eastern Conference – fall to the bottom of the league table. Week Thirteen’s player of the week is a maestro that has followed up a down 2009 season with a 2010 season that warrants all of the MVP talk surrounding him.

GK: Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas – 8

How about that? A clean sheet against the team that cast you aside for a Danish guy named Jimmy. Kevin Hartman came into the FC Dallas set-up, which already had its starting keeper in Dario Sala, and made his presence known. He has now put in several Man of the Match performances this season and his shutout of the Kansas City is no deviation from the norm. There were two saves in particular that may have made the Wizards regret their decision to let the vet go. The Hoops are now on a three game winning streak.

DEF: Robbie Russell, Real Salt Lake – 8.5

Fantastic match for Russell defensively and offensively. His two-assist production is just what RSL is looking for from the wings and his speedy defense to cover for Olave when he roams is a perfect compliment in the back. – Patrick McShane, ASN Real Salt Lake

DEF: Carlos Mendes, Red Bull New York – 7.5

Did a good job tracking Conor Casey and stepping in to space to pick off passes intended for the forward. Settled down nicely after the first goal, supplying much-needed stability to the team’s back line. – Nat Baker, ASN New York

DEF: Daniel Hernandez, FC Dallas – 7.5

The whole Dallas defense deserves Player of the Week honors – especially over the last three games. Hernandez, however, stands out as one that has truly stepped up his game. Coming off a relatively shoddy performance vs. Chivas USA, the veteran centreback shut down the middle to Kansas City and kept everything heading the other way. When Dallas gets rolling, it’s normally because that backline clicks and Hernandez seems to be the glue.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles – 8

What more can you ask from a guy? Sure, he missed some opportunities. Sure, he looked spaced out at times but he was still running at people, distributing, and just plain looking dangerous. He found Buddle for his 10th assist of the season as the Galaxy continue to run this league. They did it without Donovan and Buddle but now, they are hands-down favorites to win the Cup.

MID: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake – 10 – ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Magnificent all evening. It could have easily been one of the best performances I have ever personally witnessed from Javi during his tenure with RSL. He was involved in every bit of positive offensive play and was a one-man wrecking crew. Can he keep this up all season? – Patrick McShane, ASN Real Salt Lake

MID: Juninho, Los Angeles – 8

A true workhorse, Juninho was everywhere for the Galaxy. His strike may have rivaled Giovanni Van Bronckhort’s rocket from 35-yards out but that wasn’t the only thing the young Brazilian was doing right vs. Seattle. He made some timely tackles and along with Stephens and Donovan dominated the midfield on the night.

MID: Dane Richards, Red Bull New York –  8

Perfectly-weighted pass to Angel really should have resulted in a goal had the captain’s first touch not deserted him. The tying goal came on the ensuing corner though. Was also good to see him have a shot in the second half in a situation where he normally might have tried to dribble himself into a better position. Very few “Dane being Dane” moments and these were largely limited to the early stages of the match. Overall a very positive performance. Welcome back. – Nat Baker, ASN New York

FWD: Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake – 9

When asked after the match about his backheel goal, Sabo simply said “It was no fluke.” Suffice to say, Sabo’s success in the league this season has also not been a fluke as he continues to impress and play with composure and style. I’m struggling to think of a past MLS Championship team that has made such a significant player upgrade the season after they won the cup. – Patrick McShane, ASN Real Salt Lake

FWD: Edson Buddle, Los Angeles – 8.5

He didn’t get as much time as he would have liked in South Africa but Buddle didn’t let it bother him upon return to Los Angeles. He was dangerous all night and picked up right where he left off before the World Cup, scoring his 9th goal and having shots at 10th and even an 11th. In 60 minutes of work, there was fatigue but you could tell that Buddle will be a force the rest of the season.

FWD: Omar Cummings, Colorado – 8

The Red Bulls couldn’t pin down Cummings all night. His speed and strength gave real trouble to the Red Bulls centrebacks. His goal in the 15th minute ensured at least a point from the contest extending their unbeaten streak to 6 games. The one-two punch of Casey and Cummings has been tough for opposing defenders to counter. Casey, this time around, was handled well by Carlos Mendes but Cummings proved a terror all match. It was his 4th goal of the year. Could this be a jumpstart for the Jamaican who last year had 8g, 12a?

We’re only two weeks away from the season’s halfway point and it looks like there are two or three in the race for midseason MVP. Who would be your selection? Los Angeles’ Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan form an almost unstoppable duo in attack while Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales has sprung to life as the talismanic figure coach Jason Kreis had always hoped he would be.

Archives:

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

Week 1, Best XI

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ASN’s MLS Best XI: Week One

Posted on 29 March 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Since we have all of these great player ratings and post-match recaps here at ASN, I took the liberty of assembling a Best XI for Week One. The selections without player ratings were taken from match recaps and an astute viewing of all of the highlights. Please let us know if you disagree or agree, make a case in the comments section for an players left off and help us fill in the bench!

GK: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Mopped up whatever San Jose threw at them. Aside from a slip on a pass (which he could do little about), Rimando kept the Earthquakes from breaking through in the second half when they were most dangerous.

DF: Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)

Olave was a huge presence in the back as usual. Helped keep Ryan Johnson and Cornell Glen to very few open looks. His permanent signature could be the reason RSL makes yet another run for the Championship again this season.

DC: Mike Petke (RBNY) – 8

Didn’t spot any mistakes from this guy. Played with poise and leadership; particularly strong in the air though one or two of those headers might have been better off placed elsewhere. But that’s hard to do in the heat of battle and anyway a minor critique. Appears to be playing a full decade younger than his actual age (34). To think a lot of people had given up on this guy at the end of last year?

DC: Andy Iro (Columbus Crew) – 8 

Played flawlessly.  Appears to be in better form than Brunner, will be interesting to see who gets the start in the back with Marshall when he returns. Scored the crucial first goal that gave the team confidence.

MR/ML: Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders) – 7.5

The most dangerous man on offense when he was on the pitch. Raced past defenders on the wing, and was much improved (compared to last year) at picking out players on crosses.

MR/ML: Ryan Smith (Kansas City Wizards)

Despite a night that was cut short, the former Arsenal trainee was able to grab his first MLS goal and assist to help fuel the Wizards to a dominant 4-0 win over D.C. United.  

MC: Joel Lindpere (RBNY) – 8

The goal, which ended up as the game winner, was superb. Also had some nice runs and a few quality passes into space. Need to see more of this. As he gets more comfortable with MLS’ style (which by the way seems to suit a physical player like him perfectly) we will.

Javier Morales ©ASN/Julie Harper

Player of the Week Javier Morales ©ASN/Julie Harper

MC: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) – ASN PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Morales was easily the Player of the Week (2 goals, 1 assist) in week one and sent a clear message to Major League Soccer – RSL wants the repeat. His two goals could end up as nominees for the Goal of the Year and it’s only week one…

MC: Stephane Auvray (Kansas City Wizards)

Was simply all over the pitch. Winning possession, tackling hard, and dominating a sub-par DC United midfield. If he can perform consistently, the Wizards might surprise everyone this season.

FC: Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy) 

Still wasteful on many chances but he executed when he needed to…in the 6th minute. It was Buddle’s goal that was the decider in the Galaxy’s 1-0 win over a new-look New England squad.

FC: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC) – 7

An outstanding first half, where he hustled, won balls away from bigger players, found spaces to create his own shots, and scored the second goal on a fantastic reactionary diving header. Lost focus and/or effort a bit up 2 goals in the second half.

That’s Week One for you. No Union players unfortunately but something tells me Roger Torres is going to make a couple of these this season. Help us fill out the bench – who else showed well in Week One?

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