Well, there goes the unbeaten streak. The Seattle Sounders lost to the Houston Dynamo 3-1 in game characterized by high heat, humidity and thuggish play. The referee, Niko Bratsis, is a new referee this year with only 7 games under his belt as the head referee. The inexperienced showed as he quickly lost control of the match and the subsequent physical play clearly benefited the Dynamo. However, unlike the last match against Houston, this game was never one in which the Sounders looked like the better side. The travel and tough conditions clearly took their strain on the team. You can see match highlights here.
Around the League: The results around the rest of the league were mostly poor ones for the Sounders. Unsurprisingly, the LA Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 in a game where Landon Donovan repeatedly abused the Whitecaps defense. The Galaxy move further ahead in the standing making it difficult for any team to catch them in the Supporter's Shield race. In a couple less one-sided games Kevin Hartman and FC Dallas shutout Chivas USA 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park and the Colorado Rapids shocked the Philadelphia Union 2-1 at home. On the positive side of the ledger, Real Salt Lake were upset 2-0 at Rio Tinto which will help the Sounders catch up to RSL on a points-per-match basis.
More news and links after the jump.
Saborio Suspended for Diving: Salt Lake's first designated player and leading scorer Alvario Saborio was fined and suspended one game for diving during their most recent win over the San Jose Earthquakes. He was forced to watch on the sidelines as RSL lost to 2-0 to the Columbus Crew. Video replays of the incident clearly show Saborio grandly embellishing the lightest of contact from defender Bobby Burling. Unfortunately, the red card for Burling wasn't rescinded because FIFA policies only allow the reversal of red cards in cases of mistaken identity. Burling was forced to sit-out during the 2-0 loss by the Earthquakes to DC United at home.
Whom May Benefit from Klinsmann: As you may have heard, Bob Bradley is out and Jurgen Klinsmann is in as the newest coach of the USMNT. A new coach means new opportunities for many players on the fringe of the USMNT player pool. Steve Davis, one of the more insightful analysts of soccer on the national level, has a list of players who stand to benefit and lose from the change. Some of the winners include young players like Freddy Adu, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream and Brek Shea. As an added bonus from Davis he has a post on all things Klinsmann with great links on his training methods, his time at Bayern Munich and a conversation with Grant Wahl from a year ago.
USA Draws Jamaica: The preliminary drawings for World Cup qualifying occurred this weekend with the USA drawing Jamaica in their group. The winners of groups E and F from round 2 will determine the other two teams in the USA's group. Make no mistake, the Reggae Boyz are no pushovers with plenty of MLS talent in Donovan Ricketts, Dane Richards, Omar Cummings, Ryan Johnson, Shavar Thomas and Tyrone Marshall. The question for Jamaica (as it is for the US) will be their ability to supplement an older core of players with younger talent.
Zakuani is Doing Well: This last week Steve Zakuani updated his blog with some of his summer activities. It sounds like the recovery is going well and he's taken the opportunity to do some work for his charity Kingdom Hope and work on his music. He's also been traveling a lot lately to keep busy and keep his spirits high. Of note, he'll be at Golazo HQ for a viewing party of the Sporks game this Saturday. Sounds like it might be an open event so check out Zakuani's facebook page for more details.
Pumas Take Conference Crown: The Kitsap Pumas relied on some late game scoring by defender Dan Scott (brother of Zack Scott) against the Fresno Fuego in the PDL Western Conference Final. In most games a 1-0 lead in the 90th is a sure win. However, that wasn't the end of it. A handball in the box gave Fresno a PK opportunity. However, Bryan Meredith made a diving save and the Pumas defense cleared the ball off the line. The Pumas now travel back to Bremerton this weekend where they will host the PDL finals.
Sounders Women Fall in Semi-Finals: The Sounders Women weren't able to seal the deal at home in the W-League semi-finals on Friday. The Ottawa Fury came out of the gate swinging to score an early goal against the Sounders. They tallied another two goals in the second to push the Sounders to an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Despite the scoreline the Sounders fought back with two late goals before the final whistle.
Bryant Has Skillz: Kobe Bryant showed off his soccer skills this weekend during the halftime of much hyped Barcelona and Manchester United friendly at Fed Ex field (United won 2-1). He has a good rec league shot, but he's better served staying on the hardwood. Although I'm sure Sporting Kansas City would invite him for trial if he asked really nicely.
Be Merry, and Rejoice: The New York Red Bulls have won the Emirates Cup. I'd say more, but I'm too ecstatic about the storied New York franchise finally winning a much deserved trophy. /sarcasm.