MLS Update: More Toronto misery, an Ianni wonderstrike, and Vancouver moves up
It’s been a busy week for all five teams, since most of them have played twice since the last update. Toronto stays on top of the roundup, because even though the team is terrible, it’s just so interesting. And this week is no exception. Let’s get started.
Toronto FC (W1-D1-L10) 4 pts.
Squad report: This wasn’t exactly the start new Toronto coach Paul Mariner was looking for. On Saturday, a combination of lack of possession (30%), missed chances and poor defending allowed Kansas City to stroll to an easy 2-0 win. Then on Monday, Miguel Aceval, Nick Soolsma and Luis Silva were arrested following an altercation outside a Houston nightclub, leaving all three out for Wednesday’s game against the Dynamo. And when Wednesday finally rolled around, Toronto jumped out to a 3-1 lead, only to blow it in the last 20 minutes. The three goals in one game was enough for Mariner to heap praise on his attacking players, but forward Danny Koevermans felt otherwise, saying, “I’d rather not score and have three points.” Long story short, not much has changed in Toronto, at least not yet.
Up next: Another two games awaits Toronto this week, as the Reds take on Montreal on Saturday (away) and New York on Wednesday (home). Koevermans was fantastic on Wednesday, and his current run of form will be helpful, but it’s the defense that’s killing Toronto right now.
Seattle Sounders (W7-D4-L4) 25 pts.
Squad report: It was also a week to forget for the Sounders. On Saturday Seattle was thrashed, 4-1, by Montreal, a team that hasn’t exactly been up there with the big dogs this season. The Sounders conceded early, then got into foul trouble (four cards, including a straight red for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the 56th,) and just couldn’t pull the game back. Wednesday was a little better, with a 1-1 draw with Kansas City and the return of defender Patrick Ianni from injury, who, in his first game back, proceeded to do this. Osvaldo Alonso also return after his lengthy suspension, so Seattle is building up its depth again. But they need results.
Up next: Two big games await the Sounders. On Sunday, the Sounders head to Portland for what will likely be a loud and tense game against their closest American rivals. Then on Tuesday, Seattle has a neutral-field clash against San Jose for the next round of the US Open Cup. Both games should be hard-fought.
Vancouver Whitecaps (W7-D5-L3) 26 pts.
Squad report: Another solid week from the Whitecaps saw them leapfrog Seattle in the Western Conference standings into third. A 1-0 win over Colorado on Saturday was almost, almost followed by a second 1-0 win over New York, until a goal by the Red Bulls’ Heath Pearce silenced the crowd in the 86th minute. Martin Bonjour was the Whitecaps’ star of the weekend, after a crucial block on Saturday and the first goal of his career on Wednesday. In all, everyone in Vancouver has to be happy.
Up next: Vancouver may face an unexpected test on Saturday when the Whitecaps take on Los Angeles. The Galaxy have won their last two, and are finally starting to look a little like the team it’s supposed to be. Vancouver can’t let off the gas.
Columbus Crew (W5-D4-L4) 19 pts.
Squad report: There’s a sense of mystery around Columbus at the moment. On Tuesday, coach Robert Warzycha said the club is close to securing a designated player. The deal can’t be official until the transfer window opens, however, and so far, only one player has been sort-of identified (he’s only known as a “goal-scorer” from Argentina.) In other news, defender and team capitian Chad Marshall will soon be back from injury, although midfielder Milovan Mirosevic and defender Carlos both picked up knocks over the last week. Oh yeah, and on Saturday, the Crew fought to a 0-0 draw against the Revolution.
Up next: Columbus for some reason has been able to dodge the Wednesday games so far, and will hopefully be rested for this Saturday’s clash against Chicago. I’ve got a feeling, however, that it’ll be another draw.
Portland Timbers (W3-D4-L6) 13 pts.
Squad update: Portland just can’t catch a break. The Timbers went into Saturday looking for a win, and instead hit a wall against a suddenly rejuvenated LA Galaxy. The 1-0 win was LA’s first shutout of the season, and snapped a seven-game winless streak for. New forward Danny Mwanga looked solid, but as fellow forward Kris Boyd said, the Timbers just haven’t been finishing. It’s possible Portland was a little rusty (they hadn’t played and MLS game for 22 days,” but it’s still disappointing. On the plus side, the defense still looks good, and the LA Galaxy’s goal was the first goal from a corner allowed by Portland this season.
Up next: The emotionally-charged home matchup with Seattle looms on Saturday, and, on paper, it looks like it’ll be a hard fought game. Look for the Portland crowd to play a role.