December 11th, 2014
New York Red Bulls will have to produce a fine performance next week if they are to win the Eastern Conference Championship finals after losing the first leg against New England Revolution 2-1. For long periods of the match, it looked like Bradley Wright-Phillips’ equaliser in the 27th minute would be enough to take the match level into the second leg. Bunbury had given New England the lead 10 minutes prior to Bradley’s goal. However, a late goal from Jermaine Jones meant that New York have to produce a fine performance away from home if they are to come back into the tie.
More importantly, the club will have to do without the services of Bradley. The striker, who has been prolific this season, will miss the match due to suspension. He picked up a yellow card in the 60th minute and it was the second of postseason. This results in an automatic suspension. After the match, Bradley said that he was not aware of this fact and that he is extremely angry that he will be unable to help his team get back into the tie. Midfielder Tim Cahill accepted that this was a disappointing way to lose one of the important members of the team, but he is confident that the players on the pitch will be able to do the job.
“I didn’t know the rules of the yellow card accumulation. I’m angry, obviously. I’m angry. Stupid yellow card and now I have to pay,” said the striker. “We’ve just got to believe. Bradley’s been the heart and soul of this team all season. It’s going to be tough [to replace him], but this tie is far [from] over,” said former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill about the suspension. Goalkeeper Luis Robles also expressed his belief that the team will be able to do well without Bradley.
November 6th, 2014
Portland Timbers just completed a difficult season in which they struggled for consistency throughout the campaign. They ultimately paid the price by missing out on the play-off spot in the last few weeks of the season. Vancouver Whitecaps secured the final play-off spot in the Western Conference by just one point. It was disappointing for Portland especially given that they put in a great run towards the end of the season. Club owner Merritt Paulson conceded that it was a difficult season for the club, but he has dismissed any notion that Portland have slipped off from the elite status.
The club are regarded as one of the top five teams in the Western Conference. Even though their league position does not denote the same status, Paulson says that the club have made progress from last season and remain one of the top dogs. Portland dropped only two points in the last four matches of the regular season, but it was not enough, as Vancouver almost matched them on form during this period.
In fact, Vancouver went one better by staying unbeaten in the last five matches. Some high profile defeats played a major role in Portland losing the play-off spots. One of them was the 3-2 defeat against Toronto FC, and Paulson struggled to find reasons for this defeat – at one point even saying it might have been something to do with the HFSG memorial.
“It was a strange year, to be sure. The adage of ‘it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish’ didn’t hold true for us this year. If you peel that back a little bit, this is a team that is very much a good team. In many ways it’s a progression from last year. There’s no question in my mind this is a top-five team in the West. Are we as good as LA or Seattle, this year? Probably not. But we’re as good as anybody else, at least,” said Paulson.
September 22nd, 2014
Columbus Crew are reportedly planning on bringing in another player before the end of the rooster window according to the club manager and sporting director, Gregg Berhalter. The rooster freeze comes into effect on Monday thus forcing a lot of clubs into panic purchases in the last few days. Berhalter says that there is the possibility of bringing in one more player, but he also confirmed that it will not be coming in the form of a trade. Contrary to rumours, Berhalter has dismissed suggestions that Columbus Crew are panicking in the window.
The club are fifth in the table but only because of a slightly superior goal difference compared to the sixth placed Philadelphia Union. Philadelphia are on a high after reaching the U.S. Open final. They will be given a major boost if they win this title and could potentially overtake Columbus in the table. Berhalter says that he is not reacting to the club’s current form or position in the table. Columbus have been actually good in the last few weeks after failing to win only two matches in the last five. They have also suffered only one defeat in this run.
An upcoming match against Philadelphia in the middle of October will be a crucial fixture for both teams. “It’s something that we’ve seen for a while in the last three weeks that we’ve been kind of working on. We’ve learned what later stages mean. Later stages could also be beginning stages. You don’t know. So until the signature is on paper, it’s not in the later stages. I think it’s going to be an interesting push toward the last six games and toward the playoffs. I think the group has come together nicely,” said Berhalter. Columbus’ next match is against New England at the Columbus Crew stadium.
August 11th, 2014
Chivas USA have been struggling with a number of injury problems to their start-ups in the last few weeks, but after the 1-0 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas, manager Wilmer Cabrera also satisfied man. This is because Chivas USA have managed to welcome a number of key players back into the team. Hence, things are looking on the up for the team that are bottom of the Western Conference. They have been pushed to this position after San Jose Earthquakes managed to win their match against Seattle Sounders. Despite having two matches in hand over San Jose Earthquakes, Chivas USA are level on points.
They could be cut adrift from the rest of the pack if they do not start taking points in the forthcoming matches. The defeat against Dallas was the third consecutive for the team. This run started after they had managed two back-to-back victories against Montréal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps. Ahead of the match with Portland Timbers away from home, Cabrera will be hoping for a reversal of fortune after his team brought back a number of first-team regulars from the injury table. Key players like Tony Lochhead, Oswaldo Minda, and Marvin Chavez have been missing from first-team action.
Even though they returned to the match against Dallas, they appeared at less than 100%.
“[The travel] was an overload for some of the guys we have. We had some possibilities to rest them and we lost two games in which we didn’t play well. … We tried to recover and rest everyone. We looked good [Sunday]; the team and everyone that stepped on the field, even the subs that came on, were fresh and live. That’s important. It’s important for us to get these guys back on the pitch,” said the Chivas USA manager after the encounter.
July 2nd, 2014
San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski has stated that the US national team will not be holding back against Belgium and will be going out to attack the Europeans. The US suffered a defeat against the Germans in the final group match. However, this defeat did not affect their chances at the World Cup since they had already qualified for the last 16 by the time the match completed. Portugal and Ghana were unable to take advantage of the defeat. Now, it is time for the US to wake up and think about reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2014.
They will be coming up against a Belgium team, which have been inconsistent in the group stages. Prior to the start of the tournament, Belgium were considered as potential dark horses for the title. However, lack of upfront from striker Romelu Lukaku has been a major reason towards the team not firing on all cylinders. They are expected to be pumped up for the last 16 match against United States. Unlike against the Germans, Wondolowski says that the US will be looking to attack from the first whistle.
A major problem for the US has been keeping clean sheets. They have kept none in the group matches. Wondolowski says that the US are concentrating on improving the defence.
“Going into that game, there were a lot of scenarios where, if we didn’t get a win, we could still advance. Sometimes that creeps into your mind. We know going in against Belgium, there is no other outcome that can happen. We have to win. Whether it takes 90 minutes, 120 or penalties, we have to win. And that’s all we’re concentrating on. It’s definitely tough for anyone to play 90 minutes, especially in this heat and humidity,” said the San Jose Earthquakes forward.