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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Written by Will Parchman

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Written by Will Parchman

sounders

Now that the MLS season is officially underway, lets take a brief look back at all the nationally televised games in 2015 and see what we can find.

National channel families included in the tally: ESPN, Fox, Univision and UniMas. All regional broadcasts are stricken from the discussion. I’ve left out the three Canadian clubs for obvious compatibility reasons. The Impact, Whitecaps and TFC are on their own scale entirely with TSN.

Perhaps most shocking (to me anyway), is that TV schedules don’t always reflect the league’s aesthetic realities. The Fire may improve after their dumpster fire of an opener on UniMas against the Galaxy. But they were given nearly twice the national exposure than were the defending Eastern Conference champion Revolution, an entertaining team that returns just about everybody. The Crew, a popular pick to win the entire league, has the smallest number of nationally televised games in the country.

There is a kind of method knitted into the fabric, here. Of the Timbers’ 12 nationally televised matches, for instance, seven are at home. Given Portland’s propensity for over-the-top tifos and rabid home support, not a surprise. Of their five away matches, two are at CenturyLink and one is at Yankee Stadium. Further, UniMas is clearly catering to the more Hispanic-rich southern belt. FC Dallas (6) Orlando City (5) and the Houston Dynamo (5) lead the way in network appearances this season.

As for the top clubs on each network this season: ESPN2 (Portland Timbers – 6); Fox Sports 1 (Seattle Sounders – 6); UniMas (FC Dallas – 6); Univision (Colorado Rapids/RBNY – 4); Univision Deportes (Chicago Fire/Houston Dynamo – 3). Should also note that Galaxy-Timbers is currently the lone game on Fox’s main network, while Galaxy/Sounders and Rapids/RSL (!) are the lone games on ESPN’s main network. I’m beginning to think Univision was stuck with the chewed end of the stick. Seven total Rapids and Fire games beamed cross country? Godspeed.

What do these numbers mean? That’s up to interpretation. MLS diehards will get their games regardless. MLS Live delivers all of them for around $75. But it’s dismaying that a national audience, ripe for swaying, has a far better chance to see a Fire-D.C. match than Revs-Crew. C’est la vie.

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Written by Will Parchman

NYCFC played its first ever home game on Sunday and, coincidentally, also picked up its first ever victory. Goals from David Villa and Patrick Mullins (off a beautiful heel click-to-assist from the aforementioned Villa) set up NYCFC for a 2-0 win over the sliding New England Revolution.

The game was fairly well received on TV. Audiences in the UK actually watched at a clip of 55K, which outperformed the Barcelona game in the same weekend. Disappointingly, it only drew a 0.2 rating in the U.S. thanks to competition from the March Madness selection show.

But the match itself at Yankee Stadium was rocking, despite the wonky sight-lines and the converted baseball field. At 44K, the attendance outstripped any Yankees game from last season. Which is not nothing. But the establishment of a bonafide home fan base from the jump via flagship supporter’s group The 3rd Rail was perhaps the best bit of news. After the match, fans spilled into the New York City night to celebrate and climb lamp posts, which is an NYC tradition. For every occasion.

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