The Seattle Sounders secured their first hardware of the season this weekend with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The highlight of the match was a sublime left-footed strike by Fredy Montero (which is a goal-of-the-week nominee). Make sure to vote as the competition is fierce this week. The Sounders website also has highlights and photos. I highly recommend the gratuitous Cascadia Cup shots in Arlo White's game recap. Also, you can see plenty of fan videos of the Cup from the strong away support at the game.
On Tuesday the Seattle Sounders travel to Guatemala City for a must win game against Comunicaciones. A win or a draw will secure their slot in the quaterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). However, the Sounders and the rest of MLS will need to fight through late-season fatigue and some motivated foes to secure the spot.
Complaining With a Purpose: Former national team defender and MLS analyst Alexi Lalas has some interesting insight on our own Sigi Schmid. As Seattle Sounders fans we're quite familiar with Sigi's frequent criticism of the referees in MLS. He always manages to get his complaints in while preserving enough of a respectful tone that he doesn't bring down the league office on his head. Lalas sees a crafty ploy by Sigi in the latest criticism regarding Mauro Rosales injury. Our crafty coach may be laying the groundwork for the star mid-fielder's eventual return for the playoffs.
Houston Takes Lead in the East: The Houston Dynamo picked up their first road win of the season, and first place in the Eastern Conference, with a win over their rivals FC Dallas this weekend. Once again it was some incredible saves by keeper Tally Hall that helped the Dynamo secure the win. They were helped by a traveling supporter's contingent that out-numbed and out-cheered the home side. The Dynamo's new upswing in form has been aided by a new role for Geoff Cameron that has him playing a hybrid role between a center-back and an old-school sweeper.
DeRo Makes Strong Case for MVP: Mercurial midfielder Dwayne De Rosario bolstered his claim for league MVP with a hat-trick against one of the better teams in the league. In all fairness, Real Salt Lake was resting a number of key starters. However, if you look at the highlights, you'll see that all three goals were great individual efforts and showcase DeRo's amazing skill. Not bad for a player that was dumped by two teams this year. On a positive note for RSL was the presence on the bench of Javier Morales. It looks like the veteran play-maker will be available for a potential play-off match against the Sounders later this year.
Keane to Miss Big Game: Star striker Robbie Keane looks like he'll make plenty of MLS marketing executives very sad pandas. The Ireland international will miss the upcoming Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls match-up to join his national team ahead of Euro 2012 qualifiers. The match was billed as a 'battle-of-the-superstars' before it was cancelled by an inclement hurricane. The Galaxy should still paste the wall with the dysfunctional Red Bulls. Unless they continue the suspension of locker room cancer Rafa Marquez. Of course, then the marketing executives would be missing two superstars.
Awesome Promotion: The San Jose Earthquakes may be having a poor season, but their marketing team may have just come with an idea to save their bacon. The Earthquakes will be giving away NASL replica jerseys to new and renewing season ticket holders. Having fans pack their new stadium next season rocking the old jerseys will be a pretty cool sight. Even better is the nice little touch of including George Best's number from his time with the NASL Earthquakes on the jersey. I say make it happen for the Sounders!
Salgado Eyes Europe: One of the bright spots of a pretty dismal year for the Vancouver Whitecaps is the knowledge that they have some great young players. Unfortunately, it looks like one of the most promising is already eying a move to Europe. First round draft choice Omar Salgado secured his Spanish passport last week which removes one of the biggest barriers for a player looking to jump to a bigger league in Europe. His ability to skip directly past the visa line combined with his raw physical talents will put him firmly in the cross-hairs of some of the biggest clubs in Europe.