Kleberson

Kleberson as next failed DP; other notes from Monday’s Major League Soccer waiver activity

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A couple of names who came into Major League Soccer with a bit of a roar will apparently tumble out rather quietly.

By definition, waiver drafts aren’t going to be incredibly meaningful in building a roster. After all, some team is waving their rights … so these guys are clearly not the difference-makers that various team officials once believed they would be.

Still, some interesting names popped up when the list was made available today, and when teams were subsequently allowed opportunity to claim these men in a Monday afternoon waiver draft.

In the end, only two, rather low-profile players were selected in Monday;s draft, held via national conference call.

Here are the most intriguing names from Monday’s waiver list:

Kleberson, Philadelphia Union: Union manager John Hackworth kept insisting that the club’s DP acquisition (DP on the cheap, that is) was coming along, getting fit, soon to serve a purpose. Kept saying it, even though the guy was scarcely seen around PPL Park on game day. Some of us kept doubting it would ever happen, insisting that Philadelphia should just cop to the mistake and move on. Not to say I told you so, but …

Either way, add Kleberson to the list of fabulous failed DP flops.

Marcus Tracy, San Jose: The 2008 Hermann Trophy winner (best player in college) signed with Denmark’s Aalborg, but injuries derailed the promising career. San Jose won his rights 15 months ago when Tracy signed with MLS and went through a weighted lottery.

Danny Koevermans, Toronto FC: The Dutch striker hit 17 goals in 30 games over two seasons after signing with Toronto in late 2011 – a seriously impressive rate. The Dutch veteran just could not recover from a serious knee injury suffered late last year, however; he made just one start this year. At 35, his playing days seem most likely done.

MLS Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City

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• For Sporting Kansas City to win the Supporters’ Shield, it has to defeat the Philadelphia Union on Saturday and hope that the New York Red Bulls tie or lose to the Chicago Fire on Sunday.

• The Philadelphia Union must win to give itself a chance to make the playoffs. In addition, the Houston Dynamo must lose to D.C. United on Sunday or tie without scoring more than one goal. Also, the New England Revolution must lose to the Columbus Crew on Sunday (a tie would also do, as long as Philadelphia scores eight more goals than the Revs on the weekend).

• Kansas City and Philadelphia have split two meetings this season, with Kansas City winning 3-1 on opening day and Philadelphia winning 1-0 on Sept. 27. On both occasions, the away team has been victorious.

Having won five of its last seven league games, Sporting Kansas City is one of a handful of teams at the top of the Major League Soccer standings that heads into the final day of the season with a chance to win the Supporters’ Shield. Nothing less than a win (and some help elsewhere) on Saturday at the Philadelphia Union (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN or streaming online on NBC Live Extra) will do.

The Union finds itself in a similar must-win situation, but Philadelphia is fighting for its playoff life, not the first-place trophy. It needs even more help if it is to come through an up-and-down season with a playoff berth. Captain Brian Carroll will be suspended for the match through yellow-card accumulation, making the task more difficult.

On the other side of the ball, the Union has scored just four goals in the last nine games, with Designated Player signing Kléberson (pictured) having a hand in three of them. Without his game-winning goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time against Toronto FC on Oct. 5, his team would not have a chance at the playoffs right now.

Scoring just two goals in its last five games in all competitions, Kansas City is in the same spot offensively. That stretch includes the 1-0 loss to the Union last month, as well as scoreless draws with the Houston Dynamo and Olimpia, in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday.

What they’re saying

Union head coach John Hackworth on his team’s playoff chances: “We need a little help from people on Sunday, but we have to take care of business on Saturday. We have to get three points. We have to beat a very good Sporting Kansas City team. So that allows to us to focus in, if you will, and just take care of what we can. We can’t worry about anybody else.”

Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg on Wednesday’s Champions League match and the quick turnaround: “It’s a quick turnaround. We have a game this weekend. But we’ll be happy about it tonight, but tomorrow it’s right back to work and we’re thrilled to be through to the knockout round. I feel like we expected to be through, and it’s good to accomplish that goal.”

Philadelphia defender Sheanon Williams on the mentality of a must-win game: “The only way for us to even think about playoffs is winning the game, so we’ll definitely do our best, I guess, trying to gamble safely, which sounds stupid, but we can’t throw all caution to the wind and go down two goals. That’s not going to help us. We’ll have to do it smartly.”

Prediction

With the attacking troubles both teams have had recently, Saturday’s matchup doesn’t look to be a high-scoring, entertaining clash, despite its importance to both teams. It may not be the most attractive of results, but perhaps predicting a scoreless tie would ensure that the opposite happens.

Major League Soccer weekend review: Round 32

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Landon Donovan sets a big record

Galaxy superstar Landon Donovan matched Jeff Cunningham’s all-time Major League Soccer scoring mark of 134 league goals. Donovan had two goals in Los Angeles’ 5-0 win over Chivas USA, and will share the all-time mark for now, and will have one or two matches (depending on availability around U.S. national team matches) to pull ahead and own the achievement by himself.

Here is the historic goal by Donovan, who may own every important scoring record in the land (MLS and for the national team) before it’s over.

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The Red Bulls qualify for playoffs

Mike Petke’s team became the first officially book a post-season berth – and what a wild way to get there. Tim Cahill’s dramatic header in the seventh minute of stoppage time was the punctuation mark on a match that went all kinds of crazy over the last quarter hour or so. Details of the wild 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena are here.

The teams that are eliminated … or practically eliminated, at least

Columbus, Dallas, Vancouver and New England all left themselves on the brink of elimination by failing to pick up maximum weekend wins. None are officially eliminated, but all would need to win their remaining matches and, in some case, look for an improbable series of events to provide assistance. The current standings are here.

The big routs

An unusual number of unusually lopsided matches marked a weekend (in a league driven by parity). The rout was on early outside of Denver, where the Colorado Rapids owned a 4-0 lead after just 40 minutes against the Seattle Sounders. Seattle did find enough team pride to make a better second half of it, but the damage was done in a 5-1 clobbering. That was the Sounders’ worst MLS loss since joining the league.

A day later, just west of there, Los Angeles made similarly quick work of Chivas USA, pulling away early in a 5-0 win. Rookie Gyasi Zardes and Irish international Robbie Keane joined Donovan in creating all the offensive destruction.

Back on Friday night, Chicago began the weekend with a 3-0 win over D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Three-goal wins are exactly rare in MLS – but three goal margins on the road are pretty uncommon.

Another scoring record almost set

Speaking of the big whuppin’ at Dicks Sporting Goods Park outside Denver: Rapids rookie Deshorn Brown scored 14 seconds into the contest. That was the second fastest goal in league history; only Dwayne De Rosario, back in 2003, found goal faster. Is this the moment that gets Brown over the Rookie of the Year hump for good? He looks like the clear favorite now. Here is that goal:

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The unlikely hero in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Union attacker Kleberson had done absolutely nothing since joining the team early in the summer to justify his Designated Player status. But the Brazilian World Cup veteran did finally rise and score a huge goal Saturday, a precision free kick in stoppage time as John Hackworth’s team kept its playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Toronto. The Union still has work ahead, but now has an inside track to the fifth and final spot out of the East.

The weekend’s top performance

Chicago’s big win over D.C. United may have looked all lopsided … but that’s only because Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned in such an impressive performance. The visitors needed his nine saves, including some real gems, to eventually pull away from United.

Summing up a crazy night in Major League Soccer

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What happened in Harrison, N.J., just outside New York: Things went all kind of crazy in the last 10 or so minutes, which featured three goals, including a controversial penalty kick and a 97th minute equalizer that qualifies as “ridiculously late.” There was also an ejection during that time, leaving New England a man down. Tim Cahill’s RLG (ridiculously late goal) in stoppage time put New York into the playoffs, officially, in a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena.

What happened in Chester, Penn., just outside Philadelphia:  Kleberson, a Brazilian World Cup veteran who has been an absolute bust for the Union, finally got his first MLS goal. And what timing!  His stoppage time free kick might – just might – get Philadelphia into the playoffs. It was the late, late, late game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Toronto at PPL Park (pictured above).

What happened in Sandy, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City: FC Dallas had a man advantage for more than 70 minutes at Real Salt Lake, a virtual lifeline for Dallas when three points was a near-must to retain realistic playoff hopes. But 10-man RSL actually scored first; Dallas got an equalizer, but an eventual 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto will probably see Dallas out of this epic league-wide playoff chase.

What happened in Commerce City, Colorado, just outside Denver: Talk about your mountain ambushes! The Rapids put four past Seattle in the first 40 minutes – and almost had more than that but for the crossbar and some fast hands from Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. The barrage included Deshorn Brown’s goal just 14 seconds into the match, the second fastest goal in MLS history. Seattle rallied a bit after the break, but a side that had been undefeated in seven matches fell in suburban Denver, 5-1.

Here are highlights of the dominant Rapids performance:

Kleberson, all but labeled a bust for Philly, scores a dramatic 95th-minute game-winner

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Brazilian World Cup veteran Kleberson has been pretty much a bust for Philadelphia this year. There really is no other way to spin it – even though manager John Hackworth kept doing just that.

Kleberson just could not get on the field. He wasn’t fit. Or he wasn’t healthy. Or he just wasn’t agile enough at his advanced age (relatively speaking, of course) to get the job done. A Designated Player in Major League Soccer who cannot get on the field is a fiasco for any club.

Or, he was a fiasco. Now we can all debate about whether one moment, just one massive goal, is enough to justify what the Union is paying him this year. Because it really was powerfully meaningful and dramatic goal.

Kleberson’s free kick in stoppage time Saturday was the difference in a 1-0 win over Toronto – and it was the goal that just may get Philadelphia into the playoffs.

We’re pretty safe in saying this if Hackworth’s men can, in fact, fight their way into the post-season: they wouldn’t have gotten their without his right-footed beauty at PPL Park.

Oh, Kleberson’s 95th minute strike came with his team a man down. Fabinho had been ejected in the 77th minute.

Here is Kleberson’s goal:

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