26 MLS Players Could Be Headed To 2014 World Cup
Major League Soccer barely had a presence at the 2010 World Cup, but things are looking up this summer. Also: an outrageous goal from Obafemi Martins, and Eddie Johnson opens his account.
May 19, 2014
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Major League Soccer in Brazil
Last week the folks at MLSsoccer.com tallied up all the names and so far 26 MLS players have been selected to provisional squads for this summer’s World Cup, with an additional five standing by as alternates. The league stands to greatly improve on its showing in 2010, when just six players participated in the tournament in South Africa.
Costa Rica and Honduras both have four MLS players holding provisional squad spots; Jurgen Klinsmann's American side currently features 15 MLS players.
Columbus, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Seattle could suffer from a case of the summertime blues, as each stands to lose three players to the tournament.
Just two days before he was due at his national team’s pre-World Cup camp, Oscar Boniek Garcia had a small injury scare in the Houston Dynamo’s 1-0 victory against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Eighteen minutes into the match the Honduran international went down clutching his leg and had to be subbed out. Fortunately it was only a “minor injury strain,” which both Garcia and Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear stated will not ruin the midfielder’s summer plans. Here’s the sequence that temporarily traumatized Honduran fans.
The Match You Missed
Do you like back-and-forth action, over-the-top passion, and lots of goals? Then you would have loved this 3-3 tilt between a 10-men Portland Timbers side and the Columbus Crew.
Portland opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Maximiliano Urruti turned in the box and slid his shot past Steve Clark.
Columbus equalized in the 14th minute with a beautiful long-range chip from Federico Higuain that caught Donovan Ricketts off his line. The Argentine then put the visitors ahead in injury time of the first half with a penalty kick.
Portland found itself a man down before halftime when Alvas Powell was shown a straight red for a late, heavy challenge on Chad Barson. Will Johnson put the Timbers level in the 80th minute but the team’s celebrations were cut short when the Crew went ahead again barely one minute later from Ethan Finlay’s deflected shot.
An 85th-minute set piece left Gaston Fernandez with a tap in to tie up a hard fought match for both sides. The result put Portland’s undefeated streak at four games as Providence Park remains a fortress for the Timbers, with no losses in 22 games.
Goals of the Week
Obafemi Martins’ inspired chip in the Seattle Sounders’ 1-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes is hands down this week’s best goal. After running onto Gonzalo Pineda’s long pass, the Nigerian forward seemed completely covered by both his marker Jordan Stewart and well-positioned keeper Jon Busch. What Martins did next was simply undefendable.
This week’s special mentions come courtesy of the New England Revolution’s 5-3 road win over the Philadelphia Union. Chris Tierney’s left-footed free kick embodied the clinical precision of the Rev’s attack.
And Vincent Nogueira’s well-aimed smash from outside the box helped to spark the Union’s attempt at a comeback.
Standings and Stats
Sporting KC’s two losses this week—2-1 defeats to Philadelphia and Chicago—dropped them behind New England in the Eastern Conference standings. Nothing changed at the top of the Western Conference, as the Sounders remain first in the Supporters Shield Race.
One silver lining out of SKC’s poor run was Dom Dwyer’s consolation goal in each of the games. Dwyer has scored four goals in his last three games, raising his season total to eight. He is now second overall in the league, tied with Clint Dempsey and Chivas USA’s Erik Torres. All three players trail New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips, who should have scored his 10th goal on this play.
The Revs now have four wins in their last four contests and are riding a six-match undefeated streak.
Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday raised its unbeaten stretch to 11 games. One more and the club ties the LA Galaxy’s 2010 record for an unbeaten start to a season.
SKC’s highly touted defender Erik Palmer-Brown made his professional debut in Sunday's loss, and it was a match to forget. With Matt Besler away on international duty, the 17-year-old conceded a penalty to Chicago's Benji Joya and then was sent off after receiving two yellows after hard tackles on Quincy Amarikwa.
Eddie Johnson opened his account for D.C. United in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against the Montreal Impact. Check it out below.
Nick Kariuki is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.