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El MLS Loco

A four-goal performance by Jeff Cunningham, six goals by lowly Dallas against usually stingy Kansas City, four by lowly San Jose against usually stingy Seattle, a combined seven goals by DCU and Houston, three goals in less than four minutes by the Dynamo, three goals by DCU against a team that had conceded four all year at home, Ali Gerba's facial assist for Toronto, four red cards (Barrett, Lopez, Ihemelu, Riley), 93,000 at an MLS match (er, sort of), and, most remarkably, the Red Bulls didn't lose.

What a weekend.

Some teams have played more games than others, but for argument's sake, if the playoffs were to begin tomorrow.....

Columbus and Chicago (Eastern) and Houston and Seattle (Western) would earn automatic berths. The final four slots would go to:

Los Angeles (28 points)
DCU (28)
Colorado (27, +4 goal difference)
Chivas (27, +4)
Toronto (27, -3)
New England (24)
Real Salt Lake (23)
Kansas City (21)
Dallas (20)
San Jose (17)
New York (10)

First-round matchups: Columbus vs. Chivas USA, Chicago vs. DCU, Houston vs. Colorado, Seattle vs. Los Angeles.

For a historical look at MLS's four-goal scorers and video of Gerba's "assist", keep going.....

New York's Clint Mathis (five) vs. Dallas in 2000
DCU's Raul Diaz Arce vs. Dallas in 1996
DCU's Raul Diaz Arce vs. Colorado in 1997
Miami's Diego Serna vs. New York in 2000
Tampa Bay's Mamadou Diallo vs. Los Angeles in 2001
DCU's Abdul Thompson Conteh vs. New England in 2001
New York's Mamadou Diallo vs. Los Angeles in 2002
Columbus's Edson Buddle vs. New York in 2004
Houston's Brian Ching vs. Colorado in 2006

By Steve Goff  |  August 2, 2009; 5:17 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , History , MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: Beckham's Goal vs. Barcelona
Next: Monday Kickaround


"and, most remarkably, the Red Bulls didn't lose."

Goff FTW!

Posted by: DCU_Rick | August 2, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

...still looking for the larger portion of his nose...

Posted by: daggar | August 2, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't sure what year it was when Cunningham got his third.

Where is Beckham in this post? MLS is nothing without him. We at least need to know the story behind him exchanging shirts at halftime and then going with a long sleeve shirt for the first time since his return to the Galaxy.

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I like Charleston ahead of New York well in Goff

Posted by: MOCker | August 2, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Real Maryland 0 Harrisburg City 0

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd put the Portland Timbers, Carolina RailHawks, and PR Islanders (hey to yankiboy) in between Charleston and New York, too. USL-1 table:

1. Charleston -- 10 wins, 3 losses, 8 ties; 38 points
2. Portland -- 9 wins, 1 loss, 9 ties; 36 points
3. Carolina -- 11 wins, 5 losses, 3 ties; 36 points
4. Puerto Rico -- 9 wins, 5 losses, 8 ties; 35 points

Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 2, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

to paraphrase Puppet Jose - Red Bull New York: they're mocking you senseless!

Posted by: diego_r | August 2, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I was looking at Jeff Cunningham's career statistics and despite having scored 10 or more goals in 5 seasons, he has only played in 1 all-star game.

Posted by: diego_r | August 2, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people have been railing on officiating all season. I've been trying not to jump on that bandwagon, just based on principle.

Somebody help pull me up, it's a bit crowded.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 2, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The match report of the W-League Freedom 3-1 PK victory over the visiting Ottawa Fury to reach the W-League Final is here.

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Chicago Red Stars just beat the LA Sol 3-1. LA Sol have gone winless since they beat the Freedom 1-0 four games ago. They have one more regular season match before they play in the WPS final.

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

San Jose whupped Seattle 4-0, proving that on any given Sunday....

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: totalfootballer | August 2, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

San Jose whupped Seattle 4-0, proving that on any given Sunday....

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 8:42 PM

Like I said, there's a conspiracy against the Sounders and every ref in MLS is in on it... seriously... I hear Mulder and Scully are on the case, hopefully they crack it before they steal the MLS Cup from "MLS 3.0"...

Posted by: DadRyan | August 2, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

110% off topic:This Homecoming with Rick Reilly thing on ESPN2 with Tony Hawk is really cool. If you ever skated, or liked it, look for a replay, it's worth watching for the recollections of many a legend in the audience alone! Wow!

Posted by: DadRyan | August 2, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that gets the urge to punch DeRo in the junk everytime he does that rediculous goal celebration "dance"?

Posted by: freeholdsouth | August 2, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

freeholdsouth: no. i so want to also.

Posted by: Konoha7 | August 2, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Off topic:

How should DC approach Tuesday's game? I think the vast majority of us agree that, without Simms, this team lacks a proven defense-first defensive midfielder to keep the 3412 as a better choice than the 442 we saw against Houston. I'd also put forward that this team needs a win right now, and the strong 2nd half performance against Houston combined with what should be anger at the 1st half can serve as the platform to a rare MLS victory in Central America.

If I was Soehn, this would be my team:

----------- Moreno - Emilio
Fred - Szetela - Jacobson - Quaranta
Wallace -- Burch --- Jakovic -- Namoff
------------------ Wicks

The key up front is Emilio. If Emilio can bring the same sense of urgency to his play that he had against Houston, I see Firpo giving away multiple goals. Moreno will offer us the calming influence that we're going to need faced with a hostile atmosphere, CONCACAF officiating, and likely a poor playing surface. That said, I'm torn between him or Gomez in that spot, since Gomez played less Saturday. In either case, we will need our leaders to step up and lead if we're going through.

Fred has always looked better in a 442 when he's wide, so I think we should try to build off what had to be a confidence-boosting goal. Quaranta stays on the right, unless he's feeling worn out still (in which case Pontius comes in, hopefully having forgotten his finishing problems). Szetela had looked good centrally in each of the last 2 games, so I figure you give him the more attacking role out of midfield (without pushing up up as high as a traditional playmaker). Alongside him, I feel like Jacobson's strong 2nd half Saturday needs to be rewarded with a return to the same position. Olsen seems in a bit of a rut right now, so I'd try to save him for a midfield-clogging substitute role.

In the back, I'd go with Burch in the middle over Janicki. Firpo's game is based on speed and keeping the ball on the ground; Burch is more mobile and, frankly, is in decent form. As for the speed I mentioned, Wallace can probably keep up with anyone Firpo has, so I'd go with him over John.

Firpo's best bets were playing long to the flanks (which would have more cover in a 442) and isolating Leguizamon (normally their playmaker) against McTavish by going to a 343 with Leguizamon as the left forward. That option isn't there faced with a 442, unless they want Leguizamon to be too far away from the other forwards to make an impact (while also being marked by a better player in Namoff). I'd expect Leguizamon to stay central as a result, so Jacobson and Szetela will have to be on their game. However, this 442 is a good way to take Firpo's strengths away while also hiding the fact that Simms, our hardest-to-replace player, is out.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 2, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse


the MLS regular season is finally becoming more meaningful since expansion means 7 teams won't make the playoffs. And allowing more "wildcard" teams instead of guaranteeing 4 slots for each conference keeps it more honest, too (although the conferences are fairly balanced now so we'd be unlikely to see a very weak 4th place team sneak in like Pando Ramirez' Galaxy).

I just figured out the current playoff standings on a points earned per game basis. Teams have played between 17 and 20 games and prorating their points per game alllows them to be compared more fairly. DC dropped out of the playoff positions this weekend but the gap between 5th place and 10th place is pretty tight:

1st place: Houston 1.75 ppg 35/20 games
2nd: Chicago 1.684
3rd: Columbus 1.65
4th: Chivas USA 1.588
5th: Seattle 1.526
6th: LA Galaxy 1.474
7th: Colorado 1.421
8th: New England 1.412 (last playoff spot)

Currently would finish out of playoffs:
9th: DC United 1.40 ppg
10th: Toronto 1.35
11th: Real Salt Lake 1.211
12th: Kansas City 1.167
13th: Dallas 1.053
14th: San Jose 0.895
15th: NY Deadbulls 0.476

If the season ended today 3 teams from the East would qualify along with 5 teams from the West. But Toronto and DC could jump up to 5th with a win and some other favorable results.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 2, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

So do the LA Galaxy/Chivas get a brand new pitch now that the Xgames is over? Or is the pitch underneath all that dirt and then they just suck it all up with a shop vac? ;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | August 2, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen Seattle's record on natural grass, fischy?

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Raul Diaz Arce is a god in my book.

Always enjoy reading Chest's posts, very much the thinking man's POV. I'm an analyst, I like.

Posted by: KireDCU | August 2, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

That's a wild stat there sitruc. Too modern to win on a natural surface I guess...;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | August 2, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

as for Firpo, i'd like to see


so it's like the dc of last year . . . wait. didn't that turn out bad?

Posted by: Konoha7 | August 3, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Natural grass is a conspiracy against the Sounders and the greater Seattle metropolitan area in general.

Posted by: ashleybone | August 3, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

1. Shaq calls out Becky and says he can't score on him
2. Becky responds that he should be going after Kobe and not him.
3. ???
4. Profit

Posted by: sitruc | August 3, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The match report of the W-League Freedom 3-1 PK victory over the visiting Ottawa Fury to reach the W-League Final is here.

Posted by: sitruc | August 2, 2009 7:50 PM

I don't see Nairn mentioned in the boxscore. Where was she? And when and where will the final be played?

Posted by: universityandpark | August 3, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't head-to-head be the first tiebreaker for your playoff list, not goal difference?

Posted by: StanShmenge | August 3, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The question is, how long can Moreno go having played serious minutes on Saturday?

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | August 3, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Chest's lineup is appealing, but starting Moreno two matches in a row just isn't Soehn's MO. I also don't trust Wallace at LB, where he's only made one appearance as a professional. But I do like the fact that someone is finally agreeing with me on Burch being a decent CB! The hardest spot for me to reconcile is CM. I definitely like what I've seen from Szetela, but I'm not sure Jacobson is the answer, and I'm also fading on Olsen. How about...


Posted by: DCUMD | August 3, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Red Bulls need to re-sign this guy. He's a Colombian who's more than a meter in height, he's nicknamed the Smurf, and he scored goals for the team in it's "heyday" (supposedly dedicated one performance to Pablo Escobar).

Antony de Avila:

And he's only 46.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 3, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Cunningham scores a lot, but he's reportedly a locker-room cancer; hence why he's played for nearly half the teams in MLS.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 3, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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