Zach Loyd

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 27

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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

MLS Snapshot: Sporting KC 4-0 FC Dallas

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One game in 100 words: Many will point to a critical juncture–the red card against Zach Loyd–as the event that propelled Sporting Kansas City to victory. However, for the majority of the first half, Sporting had clearly outplayed the Toros, and if this effort persisted into the second half, an SKC win would have been likely anyway. Once Dallas got down to 10 men, their hopes of winning vanished. KC didn’t look back and Peter Vermes watched his attack cruise with another top-notch performance from Krisztian Nemeth, among a host of other notables. At third place in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City is presently tied with FC Dallas on points (21), two points behind league leader Seattle Sounders.

 

Goals

KC: Krisztian Nemeth 19′, Benny Feilhaber 51′, Kevin Ellis 57′, Graham Zusi 63′

Dallas: None

 

Three moments that mattered

19’ — Nemeth opens it up — Off a set piece yards from the right side, midfielder Graham Zusi wound up and sent a swift curving ball to the far post for Kevin Ellis, who was caught off balance trying to meet the pass with his head. But in miraculous fashion, his attempt looped to the correct spot, at the other post for Krisztian Nemeth. The former Liverpool reserve team member, mere inches away from the goal line, buried it into the back of the net.

43’ — Red card to Loyd — FC Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy blasted a goal kick to the middle of the pitch, and you couldn’t sense the impending noteworthy sequence. Graham Zusi headed the ball to Nemeth approaching the sideline behind defender Zach Loyd, already on his first yellow card. Nemeth battled to corral the ball, and possibly sensing he got beat, Loyd dove into the forward’s legs. It was the right call in this case, even if the former North Carolina Tar Heel did it by mistake.

63’ — Fourth goal finalizes it — Benny Feilhaber and Kevin Ellis had notched the previous two goals for SKC up to this point, and Graham Zusi officially cemented the result with this goal. Rookie Connor Hallisey received a through ball that afforded him an expanse of open space down the right flank and cutting inside to his left foot, slipped a crafty back heel to Zusi running in from behind. The USMNT regular slotted it home. Down four goals and a man, Dallas was finished.

 

Lineups

KC: Graham Zusi (Saad Abdul-Salaam 83′), Krisztian Nemeth, Conor Hallisey (Marcel de Jong 65′); Tim Melia; Jalil Anibaba, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Amadou Dia; Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza (Servando Carrasco 71′)

Dallas: Blas Perez (Rolando Escobar HT); Dan Kennedy; Je-Vaughn Watson, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez; Victor Ulloa, Kyle Bekker, Tesho Akindele (David Texeira 74′), Mauro Diaz (Michel 72′), Ryan Hollingshead

 

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 2

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Week 2 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books. If you watched all the non-action of Week 1 and stuck around for the second weekend, you were handsomely rewarded.

Week 1: 16 goals in 10 games. Week 2: 25 goals in 8 games.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 2 MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

The massive upswing in goals and free-flowing play made picking the midfielders and forwards for this week’s Team of the Week significantly more difficult — and enjoyable.

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 ]

Week 1 — MLS Team of the Week

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution)

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Defenders: Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew SC), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas)

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Midfielders: Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)

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Forwards: David Villa (NYCFC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Blas Perez (FC Dallas)

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One man staying put FC Dallas – but a big one may be on the way out

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FC Dallas has re-signed one of its loyal soldiers – but concern surely is coming out of suburban Toyota Stadium today about some disquieting news on its All-Star backstopper.

The official news is that right back Zach Loyd has re-signed with FCD, a very solid move for the club.

Loyd is the consummate “backbone” guy in MLS, the kind that every successful club has scattered through its roster. The fifth-year pro, the No. 5 overall pick in 2010, is in the big lump of players who reside just this side of national team consideration. He had a little run with Jurgen Klinsmann two years back but did not quite catch.

So he’s a solid MLS man who doesn’t kill anyone on the cap. No, he’s never going to threaten to bump into DP territory. But given the tight salary restrictions of MLS, you need a few of these just to consider having DPs.

Think of guys like Sporting KC’s Chance Myers, New England’s Kevin Alston, Chicago’s Logan Pause (for years and years now) and on and on.

Now the club can concentrate on the personnel issue that may be creeping up on them … and it’s a potential biggie. Reports are circulating that goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who was such a revelation last year, may be heading back to his native Peru.

And, of course, the team has a little coaching issue to sort out.

But what’s the hurry? They’ve only been without a top man in charge for about two and a half months now.

Five overlooked defensive performances from MLS Week 21

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Chris Rolfe was named MLS Player of the Week for Round 21, and the Chicago Fire man certainly did lead the way at Toyota Park as his club became the latest to heap further woe onto bedraggled D.C. United.

Still, it’s hard to say Chicago would not have won (the final was 4-1) without Rolfe’s two goals. Plus, the tendency to always favor the attacker in these weekly awards is maddening. Not maddening like Toddlers and Tiaras (or anything on TLC for that matter), but maddening in our soccer fondness.

So, here are five defensive performances from the weekend that deserve mention (in alphabetical order):

  • Jose Goncalves

Physically dominant against Crew forwards Aaron Schoenfeld and Dominic Oduro, the Revs’ star center back then sneaked forward to nail the stoppage-time game-winner in Columbus. That’s a huge three points for the Revolution, who keep inching closer to a playoff spot.

  • Andrew Jean-Baptiste

Dealing with Philly striker Conor Casey has always been tough. But he’s been in wonderful form lately, so the Timbers’ center back needed to be tightly focused, confident, tenacious and well-positioned. Jean-Baptiste (pictured, from a previous match) was, and Casey looked clearly frustrated even before the half.

  • Zach Loyd

Sanna Nyassi had an absolute miserable evening at Stade Saputo, never able to round the corner against Dallas’ right back. Time and again Loyd prevailed in the one-on-one battles as FCD held the Impact level in a scoreless draw.

  • Drew Moor

The Rapids’ center back was a ball-winning, ball-clearing beast in the final minutes as his club clung to a 1-1 draw in Seattle. He was on the case all afternoon – just particularly dominant in the end. Plus, Moor broke free to nod in the team’s goal at the other end.

  • Jamison Olave

We cannot be surprised that the Red Bulls’ big Colombian center back would be so dominant (in the teams’ 0-0 draw in Canada), especially with TFC front-line strikers Danny Koevermans and Robert Earnshaw out injured. Still, whenever a Toronto man did break through, Olave almost always there to squash the threat.