Written by Will Parchman

The continuing saga of how the Impact are somehow squirreling their way to the CONCACAF Champions League final is one of the most bizarre stories of the tournament’s history. The Impact were terrible last year, and they haven’t won any of their first three MLS games of the season. And yet they managed to survive and advance again this week. A 4-2 loss to Alajuelense wasn’t enough to overturn the away goals they scored, and they’re now just the second MLS club to ever even make it this far. RSL couldn’t finish the job in 2011. The Impact somehow can.

This tremendous video is as good a look you’ll get at the experience of playing on the road in the CCL. It starts with the players being warned about not making eye contact with opposing fans. That should be all the enticement you need.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

Rais-M’Bolhi

The Union’s not-so-secret goalkeeper hoarding issue has gotten them into copious amounts of trouble in the past. For one, they used top picks on top young keeper prospects Zac MacMath and Andre Blake just a few years apart, and neither is currently playing for the Union. At some point they had to tell both of those players why they did what they did, and I can imagine both being incredibly uncomfortable. MacMath is on loan (or in exile, definition depending) in Colorado, while Blake rots on the bench despite being one of the most pro-ready keepers to emerge from the draft… ever. Solid. Damn solid.

So that the Union opted to purchase Algerian national team keeper Rais M’Bolhi last year in the thick of all this was no great surprise. The Union accumulate keepers like a 14-year-old accumulated Pogs in 1999: with vehement gusto and lack of regard for those already in your possession.

Cracks already began forming in the signing last year. This moment was the most troubling. This insane moment of terrible distribution against the Fire last year cost the Union two points and essentially ended their chase for the 2014 postseason. This cost $240,000.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales is the greatest out-and-out No. 10 in league history. This goal, incredible as it was, is just a symptom of its greatness. It isn’t the root. This is.

The consistency here defies description. It’s worth noting that his production of the last 3-and-change seasons has and will continue to outstrip that of his younger years. In a league sorely deficient in attacking creators willing to stay velcroed to the strikers, Morales stands defiantly apart. Cracking game-winning goals like these only add to his growing legend as the most stridently consistent central attacking midfielder in league history.

Look how many of Morales’ passes against a defensively resolute San Jose came in the attacking third on the road. Pay this man his money.

morales

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

mastro

Statistically, the 2010 D.C. United team that shuffled demurely through the MLS season was the worst attacking team in MLS history. They were shut out an astonishing 17 times, which shattered the previous record by two matches. Australian Danny Allsopp, who D.C. bought from Qatar, was the team’s leading scorer. After the season, the No. 9 immediately moved back to Australia.

Every now and then the wind shifts and an MLS team finds itself embedded in the thick of the tornado for an entire season, unable to find its way out and seek refuge. This is shaping up to be that kind of year for the hopeless Colorado Rapids.

Tags:  , | 3 Comments
Written by Will Parchman

lafc-ownership-group

The LAFC of right now is a headless ghost shuffling through the purgatory of professional soccer. It exists, but only by the loosest of definitions.

On its nascent site, LAFC begs future fans, which it calls “Originals,” to sign up for news currently dribbling out of the faucet at a trickle. The site directs all press inquiries through Karen Demarco, a “brand marketing and communications” VP with PMK-BNC, an independent Los Angeles ad agency. Even its earliest hiring attempts have been riddled with balky foresight. In a January ad for “club supporter relations” with the club, LAFC listed the screening of supporters group leaders as one of the job descriptions. They also listed something about hosting raves. The job ad was later amended for unclear language, and then amended again for intimating playing experience was required.

Tags:  , , | 3 Comments
Written by Will Parchman

Look at this insanity. Just look at it. We’re not worthy of Harry Shipp’s greatness. Neither are the Chicago Fire, who watched Shipp do this in the midst of their first win of the year against the Union over the weekend. Look what Michael Stephens did with the chance. He swallowed it undigested and then threw it back up all over the fans.

It’s been a barely contained secret for a while now, but let’s just put this out into the atmosphere now: Harry Shipp is too good for the Fire. They need to deal him to Barcelona or maybe the New York Yankees. Because this was a hit job (rimshot until the drum kit breaks here).

Tags:  , , | 1 Comment
Written by Will Parchman

sites_league_files_image_nodes_2015_01_SCHEDULE_15_ENG_DL

On Saturday, FC Dallas and Seattle played the most statistically dead game from an attacking perspective in league history. Kellyn Acosta’s red in the 18th minute forced FC Dallas back, but the Sounders couldn’t take heed. The Sounders managed to chalk up six chances. FCD put up two. But for the first time in league history, neither team registered a shot on target in an MLS match. Twenty years. One new record for attacking futility.

The extenuating circumstances at hand are persuasive. The Sounders were missing five of their top six players through both injury and international duty, including call-ups Marco Pappa and Clint Dempsey, whose hamstring injury came in a U.S. National Team camp. For its part, FC Dallas didn’t have Moises Hernandez, Blas Perez, Kyle Bekker or Je-Vaughn Watson thanks to the international break. The game progressed accordingly.

Why the game even had to happen in the first place is hard to understand. The Sounders, for instance, had a bye the weekend before, opting to fill the cavernous space on the schedule with a friendly against Tijuana on a Tuesday (the cosmic significance of a truck turning over on the 99 outside the stadium before the match, snarling traffic and making the game commute prohibitively terrible, was notably present). Inexplicably, the Columbus Crew wrap two bye weeks around last weekend’s FIFA international break.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

MLS is getting another Ireland striker this summer. Wolves man Kevin Doyle is joining up with the Colorado Rapids July 1, apparently because he’s never heard of the Colorado Rapids. In any case, he’s not worried MLS will ruin his hopes for future national team call-ups. He should probably be more worried that he’s 31 and played 59 minutes in the Championship this year. But I digress.

Sky took the opportunity to quiz Doyle on some Americanisms. Like wall pass. And douchebag. Which coincidentally are the only two words he’ll need to know when he gets to Denver.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

It happened again. The Impact won another CONCACAF Champions League match.

After brushing aside Pachuca in the quarters thanks to the Thrust Heard ‘Round The World (and a goal or something from rookie Cameron Porter), the Impact smashed Alajuelense 2-0 at home on Wednesday night in the first leg of the semifinals. It should’ve been even more. As you’ll notice from the highlights, Montreal wasted a couple prime opportunities to make it 3-0 (or even 4-0) and put the tie to sleep. Because the Impact still have to play in Costa Rica. And nobody wants to play in Costa Rica. It’s the MLS/USMNT Thunderdome.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing about all this is that the Impact gave absolutely no indication they’d be even half this good in a spot where MLS teams have been historically terrible. Only one MLS side has ever made it to the CCL final, Real Salt Lake in 2011. And it didn’t win.

If suddenly in-form Ignacio Piatti manages to lead Impact into the final at all, let alone to a title, it’ll rank as the most surprising championship run in the tournament’s history after the Great Montreal Dumpster Fire of 2014. I speak for all neutrals, Montreal, when I say: “Wreck this damn thing.”

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

rbnywins

NYCFC are relatively newcomers to a block RBNY’s dominated on the youth level for years. With NYCFC’s new affiliate system setting the table for academy sides down the line, the Red Bulls have to confront a major metro challenger to their hegemony. But that’s a bit down the road.

The Red Bulls have a fairly deep academy system that utilizes what they call a Regional Development School below the U14 level in the DA. While it isn’t quite DA level in terms of training, it allows the Red Bulls vital time with a key development group before they reach the competitive stage.

Jump cut to this week. NYCFC hosted the inaugural 5v5 Coliseum Cup at Teaneck Armory, one of the first (if not the first) area tournaments hosted by the new MLS club. The Red Bulls’ U11 team won.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment