Memo Rodriguez

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

Three things from MLS Saturday

Leave a comment

Chris Wondolowski’s 4-goal haul helped him set a new career standard in Major League Soccer, while Ethan Finlay haunted former club Columbus.

Aside from those wins for San Jose and Minnesota, what else did we find out on Saturday?

Houston stays hot while preparing for road-heavy stretch

Wilmer Cabrera’s Houston Dynamo have been sizzling at home — even for host-happy MLS — with a 6W-2T record to start the season boosting the club into fourth out West.

On Saturday, it was two-goal burst in two minutes that pushed Houston past Wayne Rooney‘s opener for DC United (Only Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have more goals this season than Rooney).

USMNT-hopeful Memo Rodriguez scored the first of the two goals, while Tommy McNamara came off the bench for the second.

Houston plays four of its next five away from Texas, though the matches are forgiving enough. The lone home match is versus Sporting KC. Where will they sit come the start of July and a visit from the New York Red Bulls.

Croizet, Nemeth tomfoolery costs 10-man Sporting KC in stoppage time

Vancouver got a wild winner deep into stoppage time thanks to Derek Cornelius, but the match probably should’ve never gotten to that point.

Krisztian Nemeth took a red card for a studs-up tackle, but Sporting KC nearly navigated that mess.

Yohan Croizet is just as much at fault for the loss as Nemeth, as the midfielder tried to chip the keeper from 60 yards when he could’ve headed for the corner or just kept possession.

Instead, Vancouver’s Maxime Crepeau handled the effort and the ‘Caps broke the other way to pick up a point at Children’s Mercy Park.

Tired Seattle collects gritty point in possible Cup preview

Away and on a half-week’s rest as opposed to their hosts, Seattle earned a deserved point in its meeting with East-leading Philadelphia.

The Union out-attempted Seattle 20-6 and had goalkeeper Andre Blake back in the fold, but Stefan Frei and the Sounders held firm to pick up their 26th point. That’s second-best in MLS.

Might there be a surprise name in Berhalter’s Gold Cup USMNT?

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Gregg Berhalter is fully aware that this summer’s Gold Cup is his first true showcase tournament, and so it won’t be a surprise if there are no real surprises on his roster.

That will be announced soon, but of course there’s a chance Berhalter does elect to bring a new name into the fold.

He may not use that player in a meaningful situation, but taking a hopeful along for the ride is not unusual (It happens at World Cups all the time).

It would make the most sense if such a call-up were to come from MLS, which will be in full flow when the Gold Cup arrives on our shores.

As usual, the best performers in MLS this young season have mostly not been American. While kids are playing more often, the influx of money into the league has clubs buying known entities or sexy foreign prospects rather than showing love to its youth (Paxton Pomykal and Djordje Mihailovic not withstanding).

Not only that, but the leading American goal scorer so far is 30-year-old CJ Sapong (4), while Benny Feilhaber and Chris Pontius are the only Yanks with a pair of primary assists.

Which brings us back to a name we mentioned earlier: Pomykal. The 19-year-old was one of FC Dallas’ next big things and through nine appearances is their current pretty big thing.

With attacking midfield having some supply but needing depth, Berhalter could well consider a call-up for the teenager. Pomykal has two goals and an assist, and is the second-rated American in MLS according to advanced stats site WhoScored. He could also be called up to the U-20 side as a key piece, so keep that in mind.

Two more names to look at are DC United center back Steve Birnbaum and Houston Dynamo creator Memo Rodriguez. Birnbaum is 28 and has been capped before, and could be an “older” piece for Berhalter’s back line currently led by John Brooks and Matt Miazga, but the center backs do appear set.

Rodriguez is pretty interesting, too, with four goals and an assist in 538 minutes. He’s also posted decent numbers in dribbling and key passes for Wilmer Cabrera’s revitalized Dynamo.