Nigel Reo-Coker

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 27

Leave a comment

It’s been quite some time since we’ve discussed the New England Revolution in this space, and with pretty good reason, to be fair: a five-game losing streak from late-June to mid-July had Jay Heaps’ side looking like a team destined to miss the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. In true MLS fashion, the Revs have followed up their month-long losing skid with a six-game unbeaten run, which includes five wins and four in a row.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 27 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Their latest, a 3-0 hammering of a Kaka-, Larin- and Ceren-less Orlando City SC side Saturday night, was enough to earn four places in this week’s MLS Team of the Week (granted, only half the league’s teams played last week). Four saves and a clean sheet? Bobby Shuttleworth is there. Eight interceptions, three tackles and a clean sheet? Andrew Farrell is there.

[ MORE: Drogba’s first MLS goal, hat trick in his first start for Montreal Impact ]

Three assists on three goals scored? Lee Nguyen is there. One of those three goals and an assist of his own? Diego Fagundez is there as well. It was this time last year that the Revs got hot, finished the regular season strong and made their run all the way to MLS Cup. Given their recent form and the return of Jermaine Jones, would you bet against them to do exactly that again this year? I wouldn’t.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 27

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution)

MLS Goalkeeper

Defenders: Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Atiba Harris (FC Dallas), Nigel Reo-Coker (Montreal Impact)

MLS Defenders

Midfielders: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact)

MLS Midfielders

Forwards: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union)

MLS Forwards

Vancouver sends Nigel Reo-Coker to Chivas USA for Mauro Rosales

Leave a comment

Because Vancouver needed more attackers, right? The team is embarrassingly deep, with the likes of Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado, Sebastian Fernández, and Kekuta Manneh benefitting from the playmaking of Pedro Morales. Add in talents like Russell Teibert, Omar Salgado, and Nicolas Mezquida in reserve, and the Whitecaps may not need any more firepower, even if that firepower is Mauro Rosales.

Then again, Vancouver didn’t need Nigel Reo-Coker anymore, either, which is why the opportunity to swap the former Premier League destroyer for one of the league’s most creative wide players may have been too enticing to refused. The Whitecaps may not have a need for Rosales, but from their point of view, the swap’s like giving up nothing for something.

That something is a 33-year-old right winger who had eight assists in 21 appearances for Chivas, who became the newest Whitecaps with the announcement of this afternoon’s trade. In 107 career MLS appearance, the Argentine midfielder has scored 12 goals and set up 42 others – the second-most assists in the league during that time.

Hard-working, experienced, and capable of delivering some of the league’s best crosses, Rosales could pile into that assist total while playing beside Mattocks and Morales. He could also find a talented team difficult to break into.

“If you look at Mauro’s history, he’s constantly creating goals,” head coach Carl Robinson said, via a statement released by the club. “He’s experienced, bright, and has a super football brain. His delivery on crosses is fantastic, and I know he’s a good guy. That’s important in this locker room.”

That presence will be particularly important as playing time gets sorted out. Robinson may see Rosales as somebody who can slot into the starting XI, bumping one of Mattocks, Hurtado, or Fernández to the bench. He may also view him as a complementary piece, one whose ankles need to be monitored on BC Place’s turf.

That’s a significant problem with this trade. During his three seasons in Seattle, Rosales would become worn down by the end of the campaign, with life on CenturyLink’s turf forcing the veteran to don some of the more heavily-taped ankles in Major League Soccer. Come the postseason, Rosales’s health seemed to be a constant issue, something that limited his value to the club.

Given what Vancouver had to give up, however, that fit is worth the risk. Though Rosales takes up the team’s final Designated Player spot, he does so at the expense of only Reo-Coker, a touted import who has had trouble wrestling a spot in midfield away from Matías Laba and Gershon Koffie. At times pressed into service in defense, the 30-year-old Reo-Coker made eight starts this season, albeit only one since June 28.

With Teibert capable of playing a deeper role and Mehdi Ballouchy providing depth, Vancouver has four  other players capable of manning their double pivot. Reo-Coker was expendable. While it’s unclear how much of an impact Rosales will have with the Whitecaps, the dice roll alone makes him more valuable than Reo-Coker.

Nigel Reo-Coker questionable for weekend after shock tackle from bike rack

Leave a comment

Nigel Reo-Coker has been through plenty a mid-air challenge, questionable slide and off-putting tackle, so it’s more than a little bizarre to see the Englishman felled by a bike rack.

You read that right.

Vancouver’s midfielder was walking the streets of his adopted town when a bike rack snuck up on him. Down he went, and now he’s questionable for this weekend’s home match against Houston.

The former Aston Villa and West Ham United man, 29, cut his face and hit his head. From MLSSoccer.com:

“That’s unsure at the moment,” assistant coach Martyn Pert told reporters when asked if the injury would keep him out of this weekend’s game. “He’s had a scrape on his face and the medics will assess whether he has a concussion.

“The initial thing was rest today, and that he does the best things for him.”

The injury was enough to keep Reo-Coker out of Tuesday’s training session, and the club’s medical staff is attempting to determine whether the player suffered a concussion when he hit his head.

The report points out that Reo-Coker’s injury is far from the first bizarre occurrence to strike the Whitecaps over their first years in MLS. Darren Mattocks missed a good deal of his rookie year after being burned in cooking mishap, while Russell Teibert was hurt “riding a bicycle in flip flops.”

Darn British Columbian bike racks.

Scrappy 10-man Chivas USA still unbeaten after 1-1 tie with Vancouver

1 Comment

Agustin Pelletieri’s foul on Vancouver midfielder Pedro Morales put a serious crimp in Chivas USA’s plans for a 2-0 start, as a red card inside of the first 13 minutes put the home side down to 10 men on Sunday night, but the Goats scored before managing a 1-1 tie.

It wasn’t a clear-cut red, as Pelletieri came in nearly side-footed. Yet his foot ended up on top of Morales, who crumpled to the grass. Referee Ramon Hernandez did not hesitate a moment to take the red out of his pocket.

Erick Torres scored for Chivas USA, while Kekuta Manneh found the late equalizer for the Whitecaps.

Even with only 21 men on the field, there was little to nothing of danger in the first half. The two teams were set to walk to the dressing room 0-0 when Nigel Reo-Coker made an awful giveaway.

Morales picked up the ball and raced up the middle of the pitch, passing left to Erick Torres. The striker took a touch to the middle of the field and fired on net from just outside the 18, with the ball hitting Jay DeMerit in the rear end and crossing the goal line.

And just like that, despite being down to 10-men for 33 minutes, Chivas USA was a half away from a — could you believe it? — 2-0 start.

The Goats nearly doubled their advantage after an uncalled foul on DeMerit sprung a 3v2 break. Torres left the ball for Barrera, whose shot was saved by David Ousted.

Darren Mattocks caught a long ball near the penalty spot, but barely nudged the ball through the legs of Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy, giving the Goats defense time to rescue the ball before it crossed the line.

But dynamic sub Manneh finally broke through for Vancouver. An industrious Mattocks worked the ball down the left side of the field before cutting back to Manneh, who finished low and hard to tie the score in the 81st minute.

Both teams joined FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake as Western Conference teams with four points through two matches.

Vancouver is in New England next Saturday for a 2p.m. ET kickoff against the Revs, while Chivas USA heads to Dallas for a first-place matchup at 8:30p.m. ET on the same day.

MLS Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

1 Comment

These two clubs are going to get to know each other really well over the course of the next week.

With the playoffs nearly in the clutches of the Colorado Rapids, they have to negotiate a home-and-home series with Vancouver to make it to the promised land.

Colorado sits in fifth place, just a point ahead of the infamous red line, where Whitecaps lurk along with San Jose.

The Rapids are reeling after a tough 1-0 loss at San Jose, but they’ll be happy to return home for such an important game.  They haven’t lost at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since June 15.

“If we lose, we’re out of the playoffs,” said Vancouver’s Jordan Harvey. “If we win, we live to fight another day.”

Colorado’s in a better position, but for Vancouver, that is the reality. Lose and it’s over for the Whitecaps.  Three points back of Colorado, they would be mathematically eliminated with a loss Saturday.

Last week’s 4-1 victory over Seattle was monstrous for not only their playoff chances, but their confidence as well.  Coming off the bench for much of the season, 18-year-old Kekuta Manneh’s hat-trick was from as out-of-nowhere as it gets, but just as impressive – and promising – was the play of secondary striker Diago Kobayashi.

“Daigo is a No. 10” said Nigel Reo-Coker. “I’ve always been a big Daigo fan. Technically he’s such a great player. He’s one of the best technical players I think in the league and a lot of people just haven’t had the opportunity to see that yet consistently. But he can see a pass, he can make a pass and he’s the perfect No. 10. He’s one of the best ones in the league, and hopefully he’ll get a bit more credit for his ability.”

The 30-year-old assisted two of Manneh’s goals last Saturday, and will be vastly important for Vancouver as they try to unlock the Colorado defense.

There’s goals in this match, and with so many playoff scenarios hinging on this result, it will be one of the most exciting matchups of the weekend.