Davy Arnaud

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Dynamo fire head coach Wilmer Cabrera after 2.5 seasons

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HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Dynamo have fired coach Wilmer Cabrera after two and a half seasons.

[ MORE: Sounders add Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore to ownership group ]

Assistant coach Davy Arnaud on Tuesday was named interim coach for the remainder of the season.

The Dynamo are 9-13-3, good for ninth place in the Western Conference.

Houston opened the season 7-2-2, the best start in team history. In their last 14 MLS games, the Dynamo are 2-11-1. In all matches, they are 3-12-2 since their fast start.

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In a statement, Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan thanked Cabrera for his hard work and dedication and said the team would benefit from a “fresh perspective” as it makes a push to qualify for the playoffs.

Cabrera was the third head coach in club history and had a 32-39-22 record in the MLS regular season since taking over before the 2017 season. He led the Dynamo to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship last year.

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 1

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Week 1 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books. It wasn’t the most exciting week slate of games by any measure, but it sure was nice to have our old friend, MLS, taking up our entire weekend from Friday evening until late Sunday night.

Oh, that was just me? OK, then.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 1 MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Quality of some of the games aside, a number of players’s Week 1 performances stood out head and shoulders above the rest, and they’re the ones making up PST’s first MLS Team of the Week of the 2015 season.

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

[ READ: PST’s 2015 team-by-team MLS previews ]

Week 1 — MLS Team of the Week

Goalkeeper: Tyler Deric (Houston Dynamo)

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Defenders: Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas)

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Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (RSL), Davy Arnaud (D.C. United), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC)

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Forwards: Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle)

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Toronto FC 1-0 DC United: Jermain Defoe strikes again in home-opening win

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Jermain Defoe’s third goal in two MLS matches broke a scoreless deadlock and brought the BMO Field crowd to life as Toronto FC improved to 2-0 on the season with a 1-0 win over DC United.

The match was played on a sloppy pitch not quite ready for the season, and the play largely matched the surface. Defoe was one of several players to impress in creation but not finish before his goal, which came in combination with fellow TFC DPs Gilberto and Michael Bradley.

Bradley found his form in the final half-hour, perhaps further-awakened by having to play with a bandage on the back of his head after a tete-a-tete with Davy Arnaud that sent the latter player to the bench for a substitution.

The game’s beginning was met by much applause from an enthusiastic sell-out crowd of 22,591. DC United won a corner kick as the clock struck 1:00 after both teams took turns with a rough pitch, even for this part in the season. The short corner led to nothing and Defoe met an MLS-style rough foul as he attempted to break up the right side with the ball.

TFC then controlled the flow, finding danger through Alvaro Rey. A neat move by Doneil Henry sprung a chance inside the 18, but Defoe’s header failed wide (due in large part to the outside-shoulder rub he was receiving in the box).

Unfortunately, the field was the story for much of the early goings-on. Fabian Espindola’s long free kick even met trouble with footing, as he flashed the high drive into Cesar’s hands. Another chance was muddled, this time for TFC, when a bit of individual magic from Rey ended up slogging between Bradley’s feet before Gilberto shot wild from outside the 18.

Bit of humor in the 18th minute, as a Bradley’s path with the ball went through head referee Silviu Petrescu and Bradley chose to plow through the man in yellow, knocking him into the slop. The collision allowed a defender to catch up to and foul Bradley, but the free kick went to DCU keeper Bill Hamid.

Defoe looked set to find goal No. 3 on the season 20 minutes in, but his right-footed shot was blocked by Hamid before Bradley put the rebound wide. Henry darted forward to feed Defoe three minutes later, but Hamid was able to thwart the Englishman.

As the half passed 30 minutes, DC United began to find possession and offense, with Espindola and Nick DeLeon carrying the threat.

TFC found a great chance in the 35th minute, but Rey’s open, curling effort from the right of Hamid sailed wide and over.

Defoe didn’t find much more luck in the 42nd minute as his left-footed flick from just outside the six beat Hamid but not the goal post. Defoe followed the ball to the post but couldn’t stop it from going out for a goal kick.

Halftime had the eggs on the scoreboard, but the chances were firmly in Toronto’s favor. It made it all the more maddening for the home crowd, who could’ve easily been up a pair of goals were it not for missed chances and Hamid.

And Defoe nearly broke the deadlock (again) in the 48th minute when he found a loose ball in the box but his low shot bounded wide.

Bradley really struggled with his restarts, which were scattershot and, at times, head-scratching, until Defoe’s relentless effort led to a free kick in the 57th minute. This time, Bradley’s laser forced Hamid to punch clear, but the rebound found no Reds in the area.

That was the appetizer, as Bradley found a piece of brilliant passing in the 60th minute, looping the ball into the box where Gilberto fought for the ball, which was cleared into the path of Defoe. He found his third of the year with a no-doubted from just left of the spot and it was 1-0 Toronto FC.

Gilberto came off moments later for TFC hero Dwayne De Rosario.

The heads of Bradley and Davy Arnaud when the TFC midfielder missed the ball and found Arnaud’s face, delaying the match in the 65th minute.

Defoe turned playmaker with a tidy little-look turn for De Rosario in the 76th minute, who fought some rough bounces before forcing Hamid to push the ball out for a corner. It was cleared by DeLeon.

A young pitch invader nearly invalidated a late Defoe breakaway (put over the bar anyway).

Match ball: Captain Steven Caldwell was quite steady in the back for the home side.

Match fall: Eddie Johnson was mostly invisible, but that comes chicken-and-egg with very little effective service from his DC United midfield.

Keep it here for reaction from the locker rooms after the match.

LINEUPS

Toronto FC: Cesar; Caldwell (c), Henry, Morrow, Bloom; Bradley, Osorio, Goncalves, Rey (Orr, 83′); Gilberto (De Rosario, 63′), Defoe

Goals: Defoe (60)

DC United: Hamid; Parke, Fernandez (Doyle, 83′), Franklin, Boswell (c); Arnaud (Porter, 66′), DeLeon, Silva, Kitchen; Johnson, Espindola

Montreal’s Matteo Ferrari backtracks on critical comments – but wasn’t he right?

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According to the Montreal Impact, veteran defender Matteo Ferrari and Impact sporting director Nick De Santis have had a little conversation and things are all patched up and dandy.

But, honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what he said that was so bad. Here’s what the Italian veteran told reporters: “Right now, when I think about last year’s team, I think we’re a little bit – how can I say – not as good as before. We lost key players. We haven’t replaced anybody until now. I don’t know, maybe it’s early to say something because the market is still open. But I would like to say that because I don’t want people to think that we have to do what we did last year – of course, we won – but like this, it would be more difficult.”

It seems pretty clear that Ferrari (pictured) wasn’t dogging the Impacts younger players. He was, however, speaking of the two classy veterans who have yet to be replaced. One was Alessandro Nesta, who had certainly lost a step. But, my heavens, that guy is one the best Italian defenders of all time, and that’s saying something. He has forgotten more about the art of “conquering the ball,” as one Italian defender once said to me, than plenty of MLS defenders will ever know.

Davy Arnaud s the other Impact man who has yet to be replaced. He was the heart and soul of the team, not to mention a crowd favorite.

So, again, what was Ferrari’s sin here?

De Santis was apparently bothered at suggestions that younger players are quite ready to fill voids left by older, experienced types? Honestly, I don’t get that. Of course they aren’t. Or, at very least, it’s OK to wonder if they are ready for bigger tests.

At any rate, all seems well again.  Frank Klopas is a players’ coach and he’ll have a solid handle on how to deal with any residual effect. If there is any to deal with – and there probably will not be, since the players probably don’t believe what Ferrari said was a big deal, either.

Assessing the Davy Arnaud trade in D.C. United’s massive reconstruction bid

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Davy Arnaud has been such a great soldier in Major League Soccer for so very long.

He was a fixture forever around Kansas City, a workaday midfielder who had enough pop in his attacking game – especially when it came to fierce shooting form the 20-25 yard range – that opponents respected it, or else.

He has been a solid man in the central third for Montreal, too, a versatile crowd favorite and a leader.

Alas, Arnaud has reached a point in any professional athlete’s career when the spring in the legs gives way; he is 33, set to turn 34 mid-season of next year.

So it’s hard to see what D.C. United is doing trading for Arnaud, which happened Tuesday morning. In exchange, United sent an international roster spot to the Impact for 2014 and 2015.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff said the club has already come to contract terms with Arnaud, surely for less than the $275,000 he made in 2013. Arnaud can add a little bite that was sometimes missing from United’s midfield, and he certainly provides some depth and cover for what promises to be a busy season. (In addition to U.S. Open Cup, which United always prizes, the team will appear in CONCACAF Champions League this coming year, all in addition to 34 regular season MLS matches.)

Still, this is not game-changer around RFK Stadium. Truth is, if there are big, sweeping roster moves afoot, and if Arnaud is being brought in to show a bunch of young bucks how to be a pro, then the move may look OK.

But if this is a central element (or anything in the vicinity) in the enormous reconstruction project required of a team that just endured the worst season in MLS history, then it’s a case of “same old, same old” around RFK.

Here’s the other thing that must be said upon every D.C. United player transaction: the club has long since forfeited all benefit of the doubt. So many personnel moves have not just gone wrong for United, but spectacularly so. Too many to begin listing, really.

It makes having faith in any move the longstanding United personnel brain trust a pretty tough haul.