MLS, WPS, USL-1 Review


Another week of professional football in the US complete as this season begins to solidify itself.

The biggest storyline of the week were the late comebacks by two of MLS’ traditional best franchises, the Chicago Fire and DC United. The Fire stunned a national TV audience and a season high crowd at Crew Stadium with two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw while United scored twice late at Giants Stadium to defeat rival New York.

Chicago’s veteran leadership kept this match alive and salvaged a critical road point. With DC, it was the young guns, in rookies Chris Pontius, and Rodney Wallace along with USL veteran Thabiso Khumalo who made the difference.

Elsewhere, RSL pounded New England 6-0 at Rio Tinto in front of another disappointing early season crowd. Rice Eccles was a disaster of a playing pitch but I wonder if the location at the University of Utah was better for crowd building. It is however too early to make a judgement on Sandy. For now we’ll hold off on calling it Frisco Northwest.

The Earthquakes performance in Seattle was disappointing as the Heritage Cup first leg was all Sounders. We knew coming into the season that the Sounders would be potent going forward with Freddy Monetro, Freddie Ljunberg and two of the best attacking players recently in USL-1 in Osvaldo Alonso and Sebastian LeToux. But it was the defense that concerned many and prevented me from picking the Sounders higher than 3rd in the West. But Seattle’s backline has yet to wilt in six matches and with Kasey Keller one of the top internationals ever produced by the US organizing the defense, I expect the Sounders backline to continue this strong play.

The Galaxy salvaged a point in Colorado which effectively reduces the sour taste of the loss to the Rapids three weeks ago in Carson. Kansas City split their games this weekend, and Toronto FC won twice but lost John Carver. More on Carver in another column.

Here is the current MLS Table:


TFC   11

CHI   10

KC     10

DC     9

NE    8

NY   5

CLB  4


CHV   16

SEA    12

RSL    9

COL   8

SJ      5


LA    4

FCD  4

In USL-1 Miami FC defeated Montreal in an entertaining FSC televised game. The downside of this match was the artificial turf at Florida International University which will also be the site of  first round Gold Cup action this summer. With the grass pitch at Lockhart Stadium also being used by the Blues, it’s hard to justify the use of FIU other than simply to draw a Miami-Dade County crowd to matches. That’s a decent enough reason but American soccer and especially USL has enough teams on the plastic junk anyway and it’s not a good thing to have a team previously playing all its games on grass, playing some games on turf now.

Martin Rennie’s Carolina Railhawks continued their hot start with another win over the Minnesota Thunder, moving the team to the top of the table. The Austin Aztex won the first match in franchise history behind two goals from Eddie Johnson formerly of Manchester United and the Rochester Rhinos had a good weekend picking up four points on the road. The Rhinos looked solid in a win over Miami FC at Lockhart and Brent Sancho T&T World Cup veteran and former starter in the Football League and  SPL looked solid in his new role as a player/coach in Darren Tilley’s setup. (Steve Guppy another veteran of the English and Scottish leagues filled the same role for Tilley last season)

Here is the USL Table:

Carolina  9

Miami     6

Austin    5

Vancouver 4

Puerto Rico 4

Rochester    4

Charleston 3

Minnesota  2

Montreal    1

Portland    0

Cleveland  0

Unfortunately, I missed FSC’s WPS match of the week because USL-1 scheduled the Miami-Rochester match at the same time. Here is the WPS table.

LA   10

CHI   8

BOS   6



NJ  2

STL  1

15 thoughts on “MLS, WPS, USL-1 Review”

  1. Why don’t you just come out and admit you were jumping for joy when DC beat RBNY yesterday. Other writers/bloggers/talk show hosts admit they support certain teams. You admit you support Miami FC and Man City. Why not just admit you are a DC United fan that slams the rest of the league not to hurt MLS but to make DC United look like they are the only team that matters.

    You’ve never written a critical word about DC. If you have I sure haven’t seen it in three years of reading your stuff.

  2. The turf at FIU was cited by Garber as one of the secondary factors for the Barca/Miami bid failing.

    For USL, Lockhart even un renovated is a good venue. If MLS were to come back to Miami, i’d renovate Lockhart and play there. But I don’t think MLS is ever coming back to Miami. Orlando or Tampa will eventually be in the league, but Miami is going to have enough of a hard time keeping USL-1 especially with Tampa and a much larger fan base coming to that league next year.

  3. The crowd at RioTinto was pretty strong on Saturday night. There are some sections that are never full, but the North goal side was completely full, the whole east side was about 90 percent full, and the west side was about 75 percent full. The south side is reserved for the supporter groups. Overall, we were about 65 percent full. Not great, but still better than other games I have seen around the league

  4. Kartik something that you should know about the 14,000 plus attendance at Rio Tinto stadium is that the original and beloved Utah professional sports franchise the Jazz were in a playoff match against the Lakers thus making it a tough choice of which game to watch/attend as both games started at the same time. In addition all three home matches have been played in poor weather(the first two had rain and Saturday’s match was the first without rain but only had a high of 49). Utahns love their teams and RSL will be selling out matches as the season moves on. Location has nothing to do with it as you can still use the city’s light rail to get to the stadium and parking is about the same as it was at Rice Eccels. And despite the turnout not being overwhelming the crowd was still very loud and boisterous. Our next home match, a weekday affair against Dave Denholm’s cherished LA Galaxy should have a better turnout despite falling on a Wednesday night. It’s too early to make comparisons to Pizza Hut Park.

  5. FYI, the Sounders-Earthquakes game Saturday night was NOT the first leg of the Heritage Cup. The Sounders and Earthquakes play three times this year, so the next two are the only games that will count towards the Heritage Cup.

  6. “Chicago’s veteran leadership kept this match alive and salvaged a critical road point.”

    This sentence surely must be a joke. That was the single worst officiated game I have ever seen, and I was at the game. Both Fire goals came directly from clear fouls against Chicago not given, and the straight red against Padula was a farce. A linesman was literally in Moreno’s face after he was legitimately hit telling him to get up while Blanco is repeatedly treated like the princess that he is. MLS officiating is some of the worst I have ever seen in its lack of quality and inconsistency. The American game will be a lot better if the officiating could be at least mediocre.

  7. I agree with BC, and it’s a shame Carver got fined over his comments about the officiating. MLS should be ashamed of their officiating situation.

  8. Seattle looked solid again. You could see the confidence in the starting 11 with Keller back in goal. The focus was on pushing forward and setting up chances rather than protecting a young keeper.

  9. While I have not seen everyone play so far this year the sad things is this year is the number of terrible teams have seamed to increase. NY and Columbus look bad the Texas Twins and LAG are poor excuses for teams. Does SJ seem any better to anyone then last year. NE and DC are they any better then last year, a big NO.

    My Fire have shown that for 30 minutes a game that they can be the best club in the league by a mile. Problem is that it’s a 90 minute game. It will be June before they put 90 solid minutes in my view. Maybe that is intentional.
    On the other hand how in the world does KC do it. In my book right now the best teams in the MLS are the ones leading the West.

  10. the cheapest seats are $20 which was cheaper than the $24 i paid for giants stadium. i would imagine $20 is about the lowest price any team would have.

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