Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This past weekend's Major League Soccer
action saw the continuation of some impressive -- and some not-so-impressive --
streaks as the Portland Timbers are on cruise control, while D.C. United keeps
struggling as we look back on Week 12 in MLS.
TIMBERS ON A ROLL
The Portland Timbers got off to a bit of a slow start, going winless in their
first four matches, but Caleb Porter has his club playing excellent football
Saturday's wild 2-2 draw with Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC
extended the club's unbeaten streak in league play to nine consecutive
matches, vaulting the Timbers up to third place in the ultra-competitive
The Vancouver match at BC Place certainly tested the Timbers' resolve. They
fell behind in the 24th minute after Camilo found the back of the net for the
Portland equalized in the 52nd minute when Will Johnson converted a spot kick,
but Gershon Koffie scored for Vancouver just two minutes later to put the home
side ahead, 2-1.
It appeared the Timbers' unbeaten run would almost certainly come to an end
after defender Mamadou "Futty" Danso was sent off with nine minutes remaining
in regulation, but Portland kept coming and Jose Valencia picked up an unlikely
equalizer six minutes from time.
Porter praised his team's bounce-back ability following a hard-fought result.
"This team just seems to have that 'never quit, refuse to lose' (attitude) and
you hope you can kind of harness it in a team and some teams just never have
it, but this team has it," Porter said. "We've seen that and its not just the
first game we've shown that, but in several games our backs are against the
wall and we somehow find a way to get a result.
This is a good result. It's a point on the road, especially considering how
the game played out. For us to get a point, I think is positive, but we also
leave the game a little bit grounded, and remain hungry because we didn't get
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO DC UNITED?
What on earth has happened to D.C. United?
Through 11 matches this season, United has managed just one victory and is
firmly entrenched in the basement of the Eastern Conference with just five
So it's safe to ask what has happened to the team that made it to the Eastern
Conference finals last term with largely the same roster as this season's
Sure, there are a few notable names missing this season, including Andy Najar,
Hamdi Salihi and Maicon Santos, but talisman Dwayne De Rosario still sports a
United kit, and there's talented young goalkeeper Bill Hamid and midfield
general Perry Kitchen.
Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Sporting Kansas City lengthened the club's
winless run to nine consecutive matches, and while getting a point could be
considered a success, this team should be far better than they are.
United hasn't taken a full three points since a March 9 victory over Real Salt
"It beats losing," D.C. head coach said. "You've got to dig in and find a way
to get results. That starts to steamroll into confidence, and that is how you
get out of this stuff. Unfortunately, I've been through these before when I
first started my coaching career and I watched it from an assistant coach's
standpoint. You have to have everyone committed. You need a bounce here and
United will have an opportunity to put their winless run to bed when they face
Portland at home this weekend.
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM: A FORTRESS NO LONGER?
The Houston Dynamo put together one of the most incredible streaks in
professional sports over the past year-plus by going an impressive 36
consecutive matches without a loss at home.
But could that cloak of invincibility in the Texas heat be coming apart?
After 36 straight matches at home without a loss, Sporting Kansas City finally
put an end to that streak on May 12 courtesy of an Aurelien Collin goal and a
1-0 victory over the Dynamo.
Houston had an opportunity on Saturday to get back to their winning ways at
home against New England, but suffered a surprising 2-0 loss to the Revs. It
was the first time the Dynamo have lost two straight at home since a three-
game slide back in 2010.
And while dropping a pair of games at home does not quite qualify them as
"struggling" with their home form, the Dynamo will need to get back to their
winning ways quickly if they want to stay near the top of the East.
NEW YORK RED BULLS - New York keeps rolling along after Sunday's last-minute
strike by Tim Cahill lifted the club to a 1-0 win over the road-weary Los
Angeles Galaxy at Red Bull Arena. New York got off to a shaky start, but they
have found their form as of late, winning five of their last six games to
claim first place in the Eastern Conference. Cahill also has gotten on a roll
by scoring in three of the team's last five matches.
PHILADELPHIA UNION - It's been a tough eight days for the Philadelphia Union
as the club was away to Chicago Fire last Saturday before hosting the Galaxy
on Wednesday and the Fire again on Saturday. Jack McInerney scored the only
goal of the match in both contests against Chicago as the Union took both
games by a 1-0 score. Philadelphia fell to the Galaxy, 4-1, during the week,
but beating a team twice in just over a week is a difficult task. McInerney has
rapidly become MLS's hottest goal scorer and has the Union in a playoff
CHICAGO FIRE - Chicago Fire reached the postseason last year, and the
prevailing wisdom entering this season was that they should be able to make it
back this season. But it's been a massive struggle for the Fire this season.
Chicago has won just twice and has scored just six goals while conceding 16
through 10 matches. Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald has underperformed and
the club is missing its best defender in Arne Friedrich due to injury. It's
still relatively early in the season, but Chicago is only averaging 0.7 points
per match and need to find a way to turn it around quickly.
TORONTO FC - There was an air of optimism surrounding Toronto FC at the start
of the season, and it picked up a bit after the club stunned Sporting Kansas
City, 2-1, in its home opener. But the squad hasn't won a match since then and
is in ninth place in the East with seven points. Manager Ryan Nelsen and
president Kevin Payne have brought in several players to strengthen the team,
but the unit never really seems to get better. Saturday's 1-0 loss to the
Columbus Crew was the team's ninth straight without a win. Toronto is
definitely a better club than last season as each of its loses has only been by
one goal, but the squad needs to start getting three points if it has any hope
of making the postseason.
THE CHIVAS USA CONUNDRUM
Since its inception into MLS in 2005, Chivas USA has been a puzzling team.
The club has made the playoffs several times, but the past few years have
certainly not been kind to the Goats.
They are at a considerable disadvantage in Southern California having to share
the Home Depot Center with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The team is poor and the
attendance figures show the local population is not interested in watching it.
The club made waves before the season. As a subsidiary of Mexican side Chivas
de Guadalajara, the squad had an approach of exclusively signing players of
Latin American heritage.
After their latest loss, a 4-1 setback at home against Real Salt Lake, manager
Jose Luis Sanchez Sola or "El Chelis" as he is known, lamented that he
believed his side wasn't good enough to compete in the league.
"We don't have the weapons to win. This is just what we have right now,"
Chelis said. "The lineup is limited, very limited."
There also has been speculation that the club is set to be put under league
control and relocated, but MLS issued a statement on Friday regarding that
"Major League Soccer is aware of recent media speculation concerning Chivas
USA," the statement said. "Such speculation is completely unfounded and untrue.
MLS is fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never
considered taking over the club or moving it."
All right, so the league doesn't want to move the club, but the question is,
MLS has grown rapidly over the past several years and there are untapped
markets around the country that are anxious for a franchise.
St. Louis, Detroit, Orlando, Miami as well as the Carolinas would all be
acceptable places to put the team.
Chivas USA has the lowest attendance in the league by a wide margin and it
could be in the best interest of the league to move the team.
The Sports Network