The matches faded into the background just a bit in Round 23 as Clint Dempsey’s arrival into Seattle absolutely dominated the news. But, they did play the games just the same. So …
The Big News
Clint Dempsey’s arrival became the big fire that sucked every bit of oxygen from the MLS room. We’ll be peeling back the layers on this talker for days or weeks going forward. For now, we’ve talked about how this might impact the U.S. national team, where this ranks in MLS signings, whether Deuce dropping into CenturyLink makes the Sounders an MLS contender and why this move makes sense personally for Dempsey.
Some other big news
If the weekend had not been all about Dempsey, chatter around MLS grounds would have been about the other big news of MLS last week: that the league would grow to 24 teams by 2020. So said commissioner Don Garber, speaking during halftime of last week’s MLS All-Star game in Kansas City.
Rocky Mountain Cup moves to Denver
The Rocky Mountain Cup may not match the marketing push and the pub of some other rivalry trophies, but it sure matters the world to Colorado and Real Salt Lake. That’s why the Rapids looked quite pleased with a draw at home (usually not much to celebrate) Saturday against RSL.
After a 2-2 draw at DSG Park, the Rapids hold the cup for the first time in seven years.
The returning U.S. national team men
No team benefitted more than Real Salt Lake as several U.S. national team men got back into their teams following CONCACAF Gold Cup success. Yes, Jason Kreis’ team had to hand over the Rocky Mountain Cup, and that was surely a bummer. But they did pull a point out of stormy DSG Park (where the match was suspended for an hour by lightning). And that would not have happened without midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Beckerman had an early assist in addition to his usual solid body of midfield work, and a couple of Rimando’s eight saves were real blinders, right at the end Saturday.
Seattle’s other strikers aren’t done yet
Dempsey’s arrival won’t necessarily squeeze one of the current starting strikers from Seattle’s lineup; the Texas native’s famous versatility gives manager Sigi Schmid several tactical options and the ability to get all three men on the field together.
Still, who could blame Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson for having a point to prove? Both scored early Saturday as the Sounders won comfortably over down-and-out Dallas, 3-0 at a CenturyLink Field that had even more buzz-buzz than usual.
Clarence Goodson returns to MLS
Goodson made his professional bones at FC Dallas before moving to Europe for five years. Back into MLS, Goodson debuted for San Jose in a 2-0 win over Chivas USA, partnering with Victor Bernardez and forming the kind of defensive shield you would expect. Chivas put just one shot on target all night.
Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra, now with Chivas, was shown a straight red in this one. You can watch it here.
Mike Magee scores. Again.
If that looks familiar, well, it is. We’ll just cut and paste each week as the Chicago Fire striker keeps making his team look absolutely brilliant for the May trade that has changed the season fortunes around Toyota Park. His second half strike Saturday at PPL Park was the game-winner over Philadelphia as Chicago won for only the second time away from home this year, creeping a little closer still to a playoff position.
Magee has a league-leading 14 goals.
The weekend’s big upset:
D.C. United won its third this year, beating Montreal as Luis Silva scored a third goal in three game for his new team. Uh, remind us why Toronto gave this exciting young man away?
The weekend’s top goals
There were several good goals, although maybe not some great one. But these two counter attack goals were important in close matches, both demonstrating good work back to front. The first is from New York’s 3-2 upset win at Kansas City, where early, aggressive decisions from goalkeeper Luis Robles (who picked up the rare goalkeeper assist!) and Jonny Steele made this goal happen:
And this one is from Portland, where Ryan Johnson clinically takes advantage of Vancouver’s shoddy marking as he finishes Diego Valeri’s skillful set-up: