Andrés Romero

MLS Team of the Week — Check out the stars of Week 14

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Week 14 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and it did not disappoint for the most part (the obvious exception being that whole business of a scoreless Sunday, but who’s really keeping track?).

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 14 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

This week’s MLS Team of the Week is full of gaudy goalscoring and assisting numbers. The midfield alone contributed 6 goals and 4 assists in Week 4, while the two forwards chosen each bagged a brace over the weekend.

Without further comment, I present to you my Week 14 MLS Team of the Week.

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 14

Goalkeeper: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)

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Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurelien Collin (Orlando City SC), Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers)

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Midfielders: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Thomas McNamara (New York City FC), Andres Romero (Montreal Impact), David Accam (Chicago Fire)

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Forwards: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers)

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MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

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The game in 100 words (or less): It’s a challenge to traverse Canada for a mid-week match in Montreal, and Vancouver looked sleepy for most of this one. Jack McInerney put the ‘Caps on the back foot early, and Montreal was able to overcome giving up a late penalty to pick up three points when Ignacio Piatti finished a chance with class. The Impact now have 11 points in 9 games, a better points-per-game than many of their Eastern Conference brethren. In the West’s second place now, Vancouver could be as low as fifth by the end of the weekend.

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Jack Mac cleans up a rebound, 1-0 Impact — Montreal’s American striker reaped the rewards of Laurent Ciman’s flashy rip off the crossbar, rocketing a second-chance ball into the Vancouver goal.

60′ — Romero’s cheeky chip tipped over by Ousted — The Impact almost doubled their lead when McInerney cut back to find Romero, who danced around a defender before truing to pop one over David Ousted, who kept his composure to tap the ball over the bar. Tip or tap… whatever!

83′ — Piatti restores order, 2-1 Impact — After Jordan Harvey won a PK that Pedro Morales converted with class, Montreal needed just four minutes to answer, as Romero had time to dribble and defer to Piatti, who’s too good to miss the opportunity.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact — Not a single player was standout for the duration, but Jack Mac’s fired goal and near set-up of a few others is enough to get our nod in a big 3-pointer for Montreal.

LINEUPS

Montreal Impact: Bush, Oyongo, Lefevre, Ciman, Toia, Mallace, Bernier (Jackson-Hamel, 81′), Romero, Piatti, Alexander (Tissot, 63′), McInerney (Reo-Coker, 78′)

Goal: McInerney (14′), Piatti (83′)

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted; Parker, Waston, Rodriguez, Harvey, Laba, Teibert (Morales, 74′), Mezquida (Techera, 63′), Rosales (Rivero, 70′), Manneh, Mattocks

Goal: Morales (79′)

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 11

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Week 11 of the 2015 MLS season is in the books, and it shall go down in history as the week of “Don’t Ever Bet On MLS Games,” because wow, the upsets were out of this world, in almost every single game.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 10 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

We’ve got a Philadelphia Union player, one from the Montreal Impact, one from Orlando City SC, a San Jose Earthquake, a pair from Toronto FC, one from the New England Revolution and one from the Houston Dynamo, to go along with three from the streaking Seattle Sounders.

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 11

Goalkeeper: Chris Konopka (Toronto FC)

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Defenders: Jordan Stewart (San Jose Earthquakes), London Woodberry (New England Revolution), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union)

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Midfielders: Andres Romero (Montreal Impact), Gonzalo Pineda (Seattle Sounders), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)

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Forwards: Chad Barrett (Seattle Sounders), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)

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CCL final: Montreal Impact fall, 4-2 (5-3 agg.), to Club America

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The latest heartbreak of a Major League Soccer side endeavoring to become the first to win the CONCACAF Champions League, in its current format, is now complete, as the Montreal Impact fell, and fell hard, 4-2 (5-3 on aggregate), to Liga MX side Club America in the second leg of the CCL final on Wednesday night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | CCL ]

Even the advantage of playing the second leg at home — as was also the case for Real Salt Lake in 2011 — wasn’t enough to push the team from salary cap- and roster-size-restricted league to CONCACAF glory. In truth, the Impact gave every last bit of effort they had, but ran out of gas — and belief — sometime around halftime.

The Impact started the game well enough, taking another early lead, just as they had in the first leg. Ignacio Piatti’s slaloming run along the end line, through three defenders, put the America defense into a scramble, which left the Argentine just enough space to slip Andres Romero through, where he dribbled sideways, past a pair of defenders of his own and fired a left-footed shot that beat Moises Munoz for a lead with just eight minutes on the clock.

The game and series were nearly leveled once again four minutes later, when Dario Benedetto nearly turned home a loose ball inside the penalty area, but could only put the ball onto the crossbar, mere inches from the whole of the ball crossing the line.

[ MORE: How they got here: Montreal, America draw 1-1 in the first leg ]

Piatti had a golden opportunity to doubled the Impact’s lead in the 24th minute, but his attempt to slide the ball under Munoz was thwarted after breaking in behind the America defense for a one-on-one chance.

America’s equalizer eventually came in the 50 minute, making Piatti and Montreal rue that golden chance missed 25 minutes earlier. Osvaldo Martinez’s cross found Bendetto all alone at the back post, where the Argentine forward unleashed a scissor kick from a tight angle that Kristian Nicht could do nothing to stop.

By the time the game (1-1) and series (2-2) were level, the wheels had fallen off for the Impact, who looked increasingly exhausted and second-best. Oribe Peralta headed home a loose ball from close range in the 64th minute, effectively giving America a two-goal series lead based on the away-goals tiebreaker, and Benedetto bagged his second of the game less than 90 seconds later, as he turned home Miguel Samudio’s cross to the near post. Just like that, 3-1 on the night and 4-2 in the series, with away goals on their side.

[ MORE: UEFA Champions League semifinals draw results ]

Benedetto completed his hat trick, and moved into a tie for the 2014-15 CCL Golden Boot in the process of doing so, in the 81st minute. Darwin Quintero played him through, Benedetto stopped on a dime to lose the closest defender and curled a left-footed beauty to the far post, past Nicht, to make it 4-1 on the night.

Jack McInerney played on and snagged a late goal, set up by Piatti, in the 88th minute, but it would prove to be nothing more than a consolation and an opportunity for the Impact faithful to rise to their feet and applaud and salute their side for their impressive, massively unlikely run.

The Impact return to MLS play next Saturday, for just their fifth game of the season, when they host the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo, three days after they host Toronto FC in the first leg of the two sides’ Canadian Championship series.

LINEUPS

Montreal Impact: Nicht, Toia (Tissot 70′), Ciman, Soumare, Reo-Coker, Donadel (McInerney 67′), Mallace (Bernier 79′), Duka, Piatti, Romero, Oduro

Goals: Romero (8′), McInerney (88′)

Club America: Munoz, Aguilar, Alvarado, Aguilar, Samudio, Guerrero, Martinez, Sambueza (Mares 87′), Quintero (Maduena 82′), Peralta (Arroyo 85′), Benedetto

Goals: Benedetto (50′, 66′, 81′), Perlate (64′)

MLS suspends Kinnear for Sunday playoff game; Di Vaio, Romero get extended bans

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Marco Di Vaio and Andrés Romero earned additional two-game suspensions for last night actions in Houston, but it’s a suspension to a non-player that was the bigger news out of New York on Friday. Late evening Eastern time, Major League Soccer announced that its Disciplinary Committee had handed a one-match suspension to Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, who will miss his team’s Sunday’s Eastern Conference semifinal opener against the New York Red Bulls.

Kinnear was handed the ban for leaving his technical area and entering the field of play in the 89th minute, a letter-of-the-law violation that overlooks the circumstances of his infraction. Kinnear’s entry onto the field came after Kofie Sarkodie was shoved to the ground by Romero, who was subsequently sent off for violent conduct. Kinnear appeared to be placating defender Corey Ashe as the melee wore down, a benevolent act that still violated the rules. On Sunday, he won’t be allowed on the sidelines or in the locker room as Houston hosts the Supporters’ Shield winners.

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Dom Kinnear left his technical area during Thursday’s confrontation. MLS has suspended the Dynamo boss for Sunday’s match against New York. (Photo: AP Photo.)

How much of an impact this has on the result will depend on Houston’s adjustments, but given the way Kinnear has steered his team through the last two postseasons, his absence could have a major impact, depending on how the game plays out. If everything goes to the team’s pre game plans, it may not matter. If New York jumps on Houston and the Dynamo need to adjust? They’ll have to do so without the two-time MLS Cup-winning coach.

On the other side, both Romero and Di Vaio had two games tacked on their their violent conduct, suspension they’ll start serving next March. After shoving Sarkodie to the ground, Romero violently kicked at the ball underneath the Dynamo defender. Di Vaio, Montréal’s first player on the seen, was also dismissed, multiple times appearing to scratch Ashe along the side of his face.

Nobody’s going to think twice about those bans, given how things ended last night in Houston. Kinnear’s absence, however, is sure to be discussed throughout the weekend. Houston will have to get by without him.