The West Coast teams no doubt have a great amount of talent and continued to add to it
throughout the offseason. Defending MLS Cup champions and Supporters' Shield winners LA Galaxy
enter the season on top, but the West is filled with teams ready to take the crown for themselves.
After the jump is the final installment of my off-season transaction review as we look at Chivas
USA, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, and Vancouver.
It's a good thing the Galaxy have wrapped up the Supporters' Shield, right, with two MLS games
remaining before the playoffs start in the first week of October because the word out of Europe
this morning is that striker Robbie Keane could be out four weeks, which would have him returning
for the Galaxy right around the time they open their playoff campaign.
Donning a substitute's bib, Javier Morales went through the motions. Medically cleared to return
to action for the first time in months, Morales paced up and down the sidelines at RFK Stadium,
staying warm in case he was called upon to try and light a spark under Real Salt Lake.
Fans who saw the scoreline of September 10th's 3-0 win by DC United over Chivas would assume that
DCU would win handily against the Goats at home and, with New York's loss, would move into the
driver's seat with their ...
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Few teams in Major League Soccer are as in-form as Real Salt Lake, which is on a four-game
winning streak and is within striking distance of catching the Los Angeles Galaxy and capturing the
Supporters' Shield. The club is also on the verge of getting its playmaker back.
I hate to admit it, but I was at a conference on Saturday and was left to follow the Seattle
Sounders-Chivas USA match via Twitter. I've now watched the highlights (and promise to watch the
full game) and can safely say that the frustration I felt while not watching the game would have
probably been even worse if I had watched.
In a back-and-forth encounter on Saturday night at PPL Park, a moment of brilliance from Danny
Mwanga was the difference as the Philadelphia Union beat Chivas USA 3-2. The result preserved the
Union's undefeated record at home and snapped a winless streak of five games.
Peter Nowak stuck to his guns with the strange formation that was used in the team's 0-0 loss to
Sporting Kansas City as Jack McInerney and Veljko Paunovic were once again part of the starting
Philadelphia Union will aim to end a miserable week with a win against a Chivas USA squad that
limps into Chester with one win in its last six matches.
Chivas (4-6-5), which plays in Los Angeles (for those unaware), dropped a tough 2-1 loss last
week against Dallas, thanks to two killer assists by former Union midfielder Andrew Jacobson,
including one in the 85th minute.
With Alvaro Saborio away on international duty, Real Salt Lake needed a striker to step in and
fill the void and Jean Alexandre did just that, registering a goal and assist in an RSL win. The
performance made Alexandre the clear choice for SBI MLS Player of the Week honors.
There is a great deal to prove in tonight's match between the Portland Timbers and Chivas
The Timbers are eager to improve a poor road record against a Chivas USA side that has MLS'
worst home record. The Rojiblancos will be boosted tonight by the return of Marcos Mondaini, who
returns from a four-game suspension after a tackle that injured Javier Morales.
Chivas USA may be looking to develop the best youth program in MLS, but plans for a potential
"All-Southern California" Chivas USA appear to be overblown.Â
Following a pair of recent reports that have come out in the last week stating that the
Rojiblancos are intending to field an "All-SoCal" team, General Manager Jose Domene clairified the
statements in an interview with MLSsoccer.
EQUILIBRIUM AT QUARTER MARK Justin Braun destroyed New York with a hat-trick.
Week nine marked the quarter mark of this 36-game MLS season. There's still a long way to go, but
what's the early analysis? This league is very, very close.
With no one team outright dominating and few falling too far behind, it's fair to say that
everything is still up for grabs.
Chivas USA's Justin Braun has accomplished what even New York's Thierry Henry could not.
The American forward became the first player to net a hat trick at Red Bull Arena on Sunday
night and the performance earned him his second career Player of the Week honors for Week 9 of the
MLS regular season as voted by the North American Soccer Reporters.
In one of the easier awards to select, Chivas USA's Justin Braun earned SBI's MLS Player of the
Week honors after scoring a hat-trick in the Goats' 3-2 victory against the New York Red Bulls at
Red Bull Arena on Sunday.
Braun beat out a strong field that included Landon Donovan and Fabian Castillo among others.
Two broken bones in his left ankle.
It has been a rough season thus far to be on the MLS Dsciplinary Committee. Thus far in the league
we've had several brutal tackles that resulted in snapped bones. However, this latest instance
brings up a frustrating look at the difficulties of sending a message to the league.
*Chivas USA midfielder Marcos Mondaini learned today he will be suspended for a total of four
games - so that's three additional games in addition to the automatic one-game ban for being
ejected - for his tackle last Saturday that left Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales with two
broken bones and torn ligaments in his left ankle.
Javier Morales will be out until Octobor, Marcos Mondaini will return after four games. (Getty
It should come to no surprise that Chivas USA striker Marcos Mondaini would be suspended for his
reckless tackle on Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales. The question was always going to be
Javier Morales is the latest victim of MLS's rough play.
Chivas USA's Marcos Mondaini slid into Morales from behind and took out the RSL star. Mondaini
broke Morales' ankle and the injury required surgery and will knock him out of action for at least
four months, possibly the rest of the season.
For the third team in the two plus month old 2011 MLS Season a player has suffered a broken bone as
a result of a tackle. This weekend it was Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake who broke his ankle
during this tackle by Chivas USA's Marcos Mondaini:
This tackle induced injury comes on the heels of two other high profile incidents where tackles
resulted in broken bones.
ZAKUANI, FERREIRA... NOW MORALES Sadly Javier Morales has little to celebrate right now.
Bad luck comes in threes, and this has certainly proven true. Major League Soccer has lost three
top players in just a few weeks to terrible injuries which could rule them out for the remainder of
the 2011 campaign.
It wasn't picture perfect, there were some mistakes, but the Dynamo got the goals they needed
(with some help from Heath Pearce) and defeated Chivas 2-1 at Robertson Stadium tonight.
The first half got off to a frantic start as the Dynamo looked to have scored in the third minute.
Bobby Boswell headed home an early Brad Davis corner, but the goal was waived off on an
interference call on Cam Weaver.
After losing to Monterrey at home in the final leg of the CONCACAF Champion's League Final on
April 27 Real Salt Lake has not looked like the same team that was considered to be the class of
MLS by many observers at the beginning of the season, myself included. A bit of a let down could be
expected after the loss to Monterrey and it did come in the form of a 1-0 loss to the Portland
Timbers on the road.
After a midweek tease, the MLS slate is full this weekend with all but two teams playing on
Saturday. Â For those looking forward to a little Friday night soccer, there will be none so you'll
just have to wait for Saturday night's glamorous TV lineup, which includes the renewal of the
The loss of Javier Morales will be a tough one for RSL to overcome. (Getty Images)
Week eight in Major League Soccer can probably be best described in a couple words. Ho-hum.
After Wednesday's interesting clashes and Friday's debut of Soccer Night in America, the weekend
bill brought loads of draws and yet another star player with a broken bone.
So the season MLS wanted to stop thuggish play has become the season where talented players get
their legs and ankles broken. Last night Javier Morales of Fake Salt Lake joined Dallas's David
Ferreira and our own Steve Zakuani on the inactive-for-months list with a broken ankle. The
challenge on Morales was cynically issued by a well-beaten Marcos Mondaini, who showed zero
interest in going after the ball.
Last week the MLS Disciplinary Committee added on just four games to Marcos Mondaini's red card
suspension, which he received for breaking Javier Morales' ankle. The suspension is half of what
Brian Mullan received for breaking Steve Zakuani's leg. The rational:
"During its discussions, the committee characterized Mondaini's tackle as late, clumsy,
and from behind," Rodriguez said.
Boy, the Union are perfectly named. They're as dull as McClellan, bloodthirsty as Grant, and it's
going to be three years or so before they can win away from home. I'm really sorry I told you to
watch them play Portland. At least we saw the chainsaw once.
You were much better off watching, of all things, the Galaxy-Red Bulls game.
The equation in Group 2 going into the last group games was simple. LanÃºs were already through as
the top team in the group. The winner of the game between Olimpia and Emelec in Paraguay would join
theÂ ArgentineansÂ in the knockout rounds.