MLS Week 2: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

Freddie Ljungberg (ISIphotos.com)

                                                Photo by ISIphotos.com

Great goals, memorable individual performances and disappointing crowd turnouts were the highlights and lowlights of Week Two of the MLS season. The Seattle Sounders continued to impress while FC Dallas continued to do the exact opposite, both on and off the field.

A fan of great goals? There were some of those? Love a good comeback and a last-minute goal? There were those as well. There was a little bit of everything for the MLS fan.

Here is a look back at what we think were the Best XI and Worst XI moments/plays/performances/scenes of the second week of the 2009 MLS Season, as well as the Week 2 MLS Team of the Week.

See if you agree with our picks. Enjoy:


Week Two Best XI

Fredy Montero's curling long-range blast.

The crowd at Qwest Field…..Again.

Kasey Keller showing that he's still got it.

Freddie Ljungberg making his Seattle debut and not getting hurt (yet).

Terry Cooke's Free Kick Goal and super sub performance.

Kenny Mansally's last-minute equalizer.

Shalrie Joseph becoming a playmaker while dominating midfield as usual.

The San Jose Earthquakes pouring in the goals after so many misses in week one.

Chivas USAgetting goals from its two new forwards, Eduardo Lillingston and Bojan Stepanovic.

Rookies(Steve Zakuani, Kevin Alston, Jeremy Hall, Sam Cronin, Stefan Frei) continuing to impress.

More than 1,500 Toronto FC fans making the trip to Columbus.

Week Two Worst XI

The attendance at the FC Dallas-Chivas USA game (6,524).

The attendance at the New York Red Bulls home opener, second-lowest in team history. (12,462)

The modest attendance at Crew Stadium(14,686) for the Crew's first home match since winning MLS Cup (ten percent of those fans were visiting from Toronto).

The teams missing players due to international duty (Toronto, Chicago, etc.)

FC Dallas still looking for its first goal from inside 60-yards out.

Houston's defense in the first half vs. San Jose.

The Red Bulls defense blowing a 90th-minute lead.

Columbus' own goal involving Gino Padula, Wil Hesmer and the crossbar.

Josh Wicks and his adventures in the D.C. goal.

Kansas City falling to 0-2 on the day Kevin Hartman breaks the league record for saves.

Some of the 1,500 traveling Toronto FC fans clashing with police and damaging Crew Stadium.

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 2)

—————–Cam Weaver———Fredy Montero————-

Arturo Alvarez—–Guillermo Barros Schelotto—Terry Cooke

—————–Shalrie Joseph—-Osvaldo Alonso————–

Chad Marshall———–Tyrone Marshall————-Tim Ward

——————————Kasey Keller————————–

Honorable Mentions: Joe Cannon, Jeremy Hall, Kevin Alston, Wilman Conde, Brad Evans, Logan Pause, Kenny Mansally, Bojan Stepanovic, Mac Kandji

————————-

What were your Best XI and Worst XI moments/scenes/performances from Week Two? Who made your MLS team of the week that didn't make ours? We are open to suggestions so feel free to offer up your own candidates.

Share your thoughts below.

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80 Responses to MLS Week 2: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

  1. brandon says:

    ives – can you shed some light on fredy montero’s contract situation? is this a carlos tevez with west ham type of loan deal, where mls pretty much has no rights to the player. (this may have been addressed somewhere else, if so, can someone help me out with a link.) thanks.

  2. jloome says:

    Fairly handled on the final TFC point Ives, but I’d point out there were as many people from Columbus arrested as Toronto, and the damage is highly overblown.

  3. fenel says:

    Good looking team. I think Osvaldo Alonso was the best player of week two. He was solid in the midfield doing the all the hard work defensively. Plus, he had two assists.

  4. Paul says:

    1 Toronto arrest out of 1600+ fans, yeah give me a break Ives…..

  5. g-loff says:

    Had the chance to watch Osvaldo Alonso all last year with Charleston, and was sad to see him go. Seattle got a steal with him, and he’s young too. I could see him becoming the next Sharlie Joseph type midfielder in the league.

  6. Man says:

    Man you Toronto fans sure are defensive; own up for what you did and move on.

  7. soccerroo says:

    loved “FC Dallas still looking for its first goal from inside 60-yards out.” but also hate that we have only scored one goal so far. Too many missed opportunities for FC Dallas.

  8. DC fan says:

    Josh Wicks did ok for most of the game against Chicago. He just made two bad mistakes. One of those mistakes forced DC to settle for a point. Wicks isn’t awful by any stretch though.

  9. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Why is it that nobody is willing to give Chivas USA’s Zach Thornton any credit for his performance Sunday? Thornton, who played poorly the previous week, made two great reaction saves on Kenny Cooper that kept the game scoreless until Chivas USA scored. He made more and better saves than Keller, yet gets ignored.

  10. TO says:

    The behaviour of the Toronto fans was inappropriate and anybody who defends it based on some quantitative criteria like 5 out of 1,500 is an idiot. If the supporter groups want to exist and keep their priviliges they have to police their own and blaming the local cops is not acceptable either. I love TFC and the fan support but this behaviour needs to be stamped out immediately for the sake of the game.

  11. rednow.red4ever says:

    I was excited to see Wicks, figuring he’d hand us a goal or two, but aside from one or two blunders, he actually played quite well; made a few solid stops i thought.

  12. sread says:

    Everywhere I look, it says that Fredy’s contract is nothing more than a season loan to Sounders. This is very unfortunate for the league, but hopefully there is some bright spot in all of this (besides the fact that he is tearing it up and drawing lots of international attention to the league).

    Ives, I’m surprised that there’s nothing on RSL’s inability to finish category of worsts. I watched most of every game except Sunday’s and I thoought the Seattle v RSL match was so much faster and more technical than any other MLS match of the weekend. It just looked so smooth and it looked much more professional than any of the others. Great crowds might be playing tricks on me though.

    P.S. Freddie Ljundberg has still got it.

  13. rednow.red4ever says:

    P.S. I think the Fire may have lucked out in grabbing Tim Ward, the dude is looking impressive.

  14. Trent says:

    Toronto FC “supporters” are the scum of the earth.

  15. Steve T. says:

    Shalrie Joseph hardly dominated the midfield. He was up against Sinisa and sassano in the middle and looked the least of the 3 imho.

  16. nico says:

    ives- would like to see an article talking to teams (eg Dallas, Colorado, etc) ownership about their poor attendance figures. It seems part of it is due to stadium location/access. Anyway, would be nice to hear from the league and/or owners about these problems…as things seem to be getting worse not better for some teams…yet the league is expanding.

  17. Matt says:

    Mac Kandji deserves a mention for second team Best XI. He was a real handful for New England.

  18. jrnail23 says:

    Gotta give some props to Chris Pontius… no outrageous curling strikes or anything this week, but the kid just continues to impress.
    He really knows what to do with the ball at his feet, and we DC fans are really excited with him.

  19. Chase says:

    Uh oh Ives, don’t you know you can’t say anything bad about TFC or their glorious supporters?!?!?!

    I agree on Wicks, though he did make a brilliant reaction save to deny Rolfe late. Ultimately, his decision to go walkabout on the Nyarko goal costs DCU 3 points and he should have been punished for a couple of other blunders (especially the one where he let a weak Nyarko shot wiggle into the goal). I’d throw Ben Olsen for at least a place on the bench of the team of the week, he was excellent in the first half, though lost a bit of steam in the 2nd.

  20. John q says:

    I disagree steve t. I was at the game and Shalrie Joseph was far and away better than both sassano and sinisa. He was bullying the midfield most of the night (I’m a red bull fan btw).

  21. Gilby says:

    I would have added Steve Zakuani in my list of rookies that are impressing. He had the assist on the first goal and made Tony Beltran look silly while doing it.

  22. Alex says:

    If you guys don’t stop crying like babies and women than this league will continue to decline in attendance!

    Get passionate like the TFC fans!! Grow some balls for once! and maybe, ..Just maybe we can have a half decent league instead of the laughing stock of the world!!

    Footy is serious business, SO GET SERIOUS!!

    Grab a flag, grab your balls, grab a beer, grab your singing voice, grab a couple of swear words and get the F out there!!!

  23. Joe says:

    Here is a link to some questions answered by Hitchcock and Hyndman regarding the state of FCD. Take it as you will.

    link to worldcupway.blogspot.com

  24. Ives says:

    Listen guys, I didn’t say TFC fans were rioting in Columbus, but a few fans did get out of control. I’m sure the security and police in Columbus didn’t help matters, but to pretend that TFC fans did nothing wrong and were all saints in Columbus is a bit much. Most were well-behaved, but some got out of control.

    What I will say is that any group of fans in MLS would probably have issues with a traveling party that size so people trying to make it as if Toronto fans are some special breed of troublemaker are reaching badly.

  25. Justin O says:

    I’m a Seattle fan but agree that Thorton had the best match among the keepers.

    As for player of the week, MLS did at least get the right team, but they gave the award to the wrong player. It should have gone to Alonso.

  26. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Yes sread, the league has Montero on a one year loan. I thought that most loans that MLS have usually have options to buy after the loan deal ends, but I’ve heard nothing about this refering to Montero.

  27. daisy says:

    The attendance at the New York Red Bulls home opener, second-lowest in team history. (12,462)

    There is no way there was that many people at that game. Maybe 3k at best.

  28. MVK says:

    Can we have the MLS as a whole as the worst for simply having games during international dates… another grand idea would be to not start the season during march madness…

  29. Ess Eff says:

    A write the caption pic if there ever was one:

    link to sportsillustrated.cnn.com

  30. gonzo says:

    @Gilby

    Ditto on Steve Zakuani, that was a sick move, not to mention the lightning outside of the foot flick to Jaqua, threading the needle between two defenders.

  31. sean monaghan says:

    “josh wicks isnt terrible by any stretch”

    Im an La fan,I wouldnt call him decent,but thats just me.

    Omar Cummings should be one of the best of the week,another goal (game winner),thank you omar!

  32. RK says:

    Alex, while MLS needs passionate fans, we don’t need drunk, beer-throwing, cursing, smoke-bombing fans that scare away other fans. I don’t like hearing that a 4-year-old girl had a beer thrown on her.

    I think Nick Rimando made Montero look good.

  33. Paul says:

    TO:

    Um, wow, you obviously don’t get it, there are stupid people all around the world, if I tell you 1 arrest out of 1500 that means there was no concerted effort to cause problems, it was one person who went to far as to get himself arrest, stop trying to live in a perfect world in your head, there is more crap that happens at NFL games.

  34. Tom says:

    Chase,

    Do the math. It was two points.

  35. jloome says:

    IVES said: Listen guys, I didn’t say TFC fans were rioting in Columbus, but a few fans did get out of control. I’m sure the security and police in Columbus didn’t help matters, but to pretend that TFC fans did nothing wrong and were all saints in Columbus is a bit much. Most were well-behaved, but some got out of control.

    What I will say is that any group of fans in MLS would probably have issues with a traveling party that size so people trying to make it as if Toronto fans are some special breed of troublemaker are reaching badly.
    —————————
    Thanks bud, you just summed up my entire 650-word column for tomorrow in two graphs, when it took me an hour to cut it down ;)

  36. Isaac says:

    Zakuani looked dangerous and comfortable. Nice to know our college players are doing well. I know College can never compare to Youth Academies but in combination with that it we’ll have better young talent.

  37. Chase says:

    Tom/teacher,

    I’m sorry. I’ll do my best to correct your arithmetic and issue snarky remarks in the future.

  38. J says:

    I don’t care what Toronto fans did or did not do in Columbus this week, I lost all respect for them when they booed the US national anthem at the All Star game last summer.No excuse for it. Just shows what kind of disrespectful fans they really are.Just from that experience last summer , I am sure they were just as disrespectful in Columbus.

  39. fieldsy says:

    alex,

    mls is the laughing stock of the world? give me a break. it’s not the best league in the world, but it’s not the worst either.

  40. JWM says:

    I would add Revolution center back Darius Barnes as another rookie who is quietly making an impact.

  41. Tom P says:

    The worst:

    I am very disappointed at the attendance outside Seattle. I know Toronto will be 23,000 plus but other than them RSL, DC and Chicago everyone else is really abysmal.

    (KC and SJ get a pass until they get their stadiums-although i have my doubts about KC.

    Most disappointing? Dallas and the Rapids. Beautiful soccer specific stadiums and they are empty. Christ- we drew a little more than them in the Fusions 3 years here in the nation’s worst sports market for everything except the Haitian National team- South Florida

    I really welcome and encourage all comments about the attendance issue because it really bugs me that every team can’t average 15 to 16k a game because this how hockey makes its money and so can the MLS with a lot less overhead tied up in salaries.

    The Best? The impression I get that Seattle will be another Toronto in terms of passion and following. I also believe that Portland and Vancouver will also follow Toronto’s lead in this area.

    Philly- the jury’s out and this is from a native son of City of Brotherly Shove.

  42. brant says:

    I’d like to add for a worst “playing without all the national team call-ups” as it doesn’t help the game here.

    I do think this year’s rookie class might be one of the best in the short history of the league. You don’t have to look far on most rosters to find 1-2 making significant contributions.

  43. jloome says:

    I don’t care what Toronto fans did or did not do in Columbus this week, I lost all respect for them when they booed the US national anthem at the All Star game last summer.No excuse for it. Just shows what kind of disrespectful fans they really are.Just from that experience last summer , I am sure they were just as disrespectful in Columbus.

    Posted by: J | March 31, 2009 at 04:14 PM
    ————————————-
    Again, Buddy, think before you post: The Toronto fans last summer weren’t booing the U.S. national anthem, they were booing because they weren’t told the Canadian national anthem was still to be sung, and thought it had been replaced by the Star Spangled Banner. When was the last time you heard three anthems at an event? Not everything in life as simple as “Grog Smell. Grog bad.” Looking into the issue for two minutes would have allowed you to put the prejudice aside.

    And even if some people HAD booed the anthem deliberately, do you think that would include most — or even a significnat percentage — of TFC fans? Of course not.

  44. Kosta says:

    J…the american anthem was bood due to bad planning

    God save the queen and star spangled banner were both sung, and everyone thought someone pulled a fast one to skip over the canadian anthem..you’d probably boo if you were in their shoes to

    maybe they can get some of your respect back now ey bud?

  45. JesseMT says:

    Re: Montero loan situation

    Montero is here on a loan, and although I’ve also not heard anything regarding an option to buy, Montero himself has said that he is enjoying his time in Seattle enough that he would consider another season with the Sounders after this one. That seems to indicate some sort of mutual option for Year 2.

  46. Aquaman says:

    I didn’t get to see the Sounders game but was wondering how Ljungberg looked in the game? I hope he still showed some skill out there.

  47. TFCJim says:

    “I don’t care what Toronto fans did or did not do in Columbus this week, I lost all respect for them when they booed the US national anthem at the All Star game last summer.No excuse for it. Just shows what kind of disrespectful fans they really are.Just from that experience last summer , I am sure they were just as disrespectful in Columbus.”

    You’re an idiot…it’s been said that TFC fans we’re clearly booing the fact that the Canadian anthem had been omitted to that point and no mention was made as to when it was going to be played.

    And the Canadian anthem is booed all the time in the States at hockey games…New Jersey fans did it for years in the playoffs so get your arrogant patriotic head out of your ass. Boo hoo they’d booed your anthem.

    And the rest of TFC fans, don’t any of you have lives? I mean wow the Columbus thing happened what Saturday? It’s now Tuesday and it’s still all you can talk about? I can only imagine what kind of losers some of you were in high school. Get over it and move one we have Seattle on Saturday.

    And credit to Ives you hit the nail on the head about the Columbus affair.

  48. MiamiAl says:

    Wicks looks a heck of a lot better than the guy they DC last year…Thankfully, I have forgotten his name already…Time really does heal all wounds!

  49. Marc T says:

    Jimmy B is that you?

  50. firefan06 says:

    Thanks for giving Pause the honorable mention. He’s a player whose work on the field too often gets overlooked.

  51. TFC_4_Life says:

    Its funny how an imaginary line can divide people so much. We all love the game of soccer and we should all support it together. I’m sick of reading comments about how disrespectful Canadian or American fans are to one another. We share a continent and we share a soccer league, lets leave nationalism out of if. If TFC fans don’t like columbus fans its because they are a rival team, not because they are from the U.S. Just look at how TFC and Montreal Impact fans clashed last year in an all canadian affair. Rivalries are a great thing for sports, the positives of 1500+ TFC fans traveling to support their team are far greater then the negatives of one arrest.

  52. Timbers Army PVT says:

    I love Toronto fans. They’re almost as cool as Portland fans.

  53. Sterlinho says:

    If you think Toronto fans are bad, then wait until you have to deal with Portland’s Timbers Army. As seen in the comment above.

  54. Skinn says:

    Well put TFC_4_Life, and well put Ives.

  55. J says:

    I don’t care what excuse you use nor what spin you put on it, it’s still disrespectful! You think it was easy for me to explain it to my kid? I don’t care what the reason was, I would never disrespect some other countries national anthem.

  56. RK says:

    J: had you explained to your kid the real reason, perhaps you both wouldn’t be so ignorant.

  57. J says:

    There is no reason that CAN justify it.

  58. Chico says:

    Bro I saw the video of the TFC incident. These guys were chanting against each other like girl scouts. This is a non issue man, plus Columbus loves it when the Reds come down it helps out the local economy.

  59. CSD says:

    Ess Eff | March 31, 2009 at 03:43 PM

    Well done, great link.

  60. Joe says:

    Booing the anthem is booing the anthem. If someone told me that they were playing the Canadian and English anthems I wouldnt boo during the anthems. I would sure as hell boo after but not during. Maybe that is because I have some class.

  61. J says:

    Amen, Joe ! My exact point.

  62. Ian says:

    “I didn’t get to see the Sounders game but was wondering how Ljungberg looked in the game? I hope he still showed some skill out there.”

    the few times I saw him with the ball, he made some good looking passes that just didn’t get finished. There was one inside the box that either got poked away or saved, can’t remember, but it should’ve been a beautiful assist.

  63. Skinn says:

    Some people just can’t be reasoned with. J and Joe are those people. It’s always useful to understand contexts and motivations for people’s actions before deciding to label them as classless, or even worse.

    Now, back to soccer. What a start to the MLS season.

  64. BrianK says:

    Ives,

    Can you expand a little on Aturo Alveres. What do you make of this guy? Is he going to have a break-out season?

  65. Justin says:

    Best – Seattle. The team, the fans, the front office. How exciting will this weekend’s game be…I can’t wait.

    Worst – Not MLS related but it has to be ESPN. The worldwide leader in every sport but the one loved by the most people in this world.

  66. hortonhearsahoo says:

    I’d have picked rookie Allston over Hall for HM based on NEvNY game.

  67. Tom P says:

    I request that no one ever again mention the booing in Canada again. It is just a stupid waste of time.

    It is over and done and no one sane cares anymore.(canadian or american)

    Congrats Canada on firing your coach. I hope we do the same before WC 10 or we are going 3 and out yet again. I like the guy. He seems like a very decent man.But he is a product of the culture at the USSF and it is that culture that keeps us from improving in our ability to play the game at a higher level and produce game changing players instead of semi competent robots.

  68. Mark H says:

    2 people arrested in Columbus…Both American.

    You can draw your own conclusions.

    Both of the major support groups (which only accounted for 1000 of the supporters sitting in the Visiting section) have condemned the behavior…not sure what else people need.

  69. tyson says:

    seriously, ESPN is crap. their non coverage is crap.

  70. sucram89 says:

    anyone know what the numbers are like for the game in Nashville?

  71. Luis says:

    The details of the Montero loan are that there are no concrete details. Neither the League or Sounders have released any details, and all we know right now is rumor and speculation based on some very rough statements Fredy made.

  72. sread says:

    In my opinion Ljungberg looked good. He is very quick on the ball and he pushed Seattle forward and helped set up Montero’s goal. I think that within a month he will be lightning quick compared to most MLS defenses.

    I am an RSL fan and I am not trying to make anyone look good. Seattle are what they are. They beat us up and down the pitch and I think our defense is pretty tough…or at they were last season. Look out Reds, they play on turf and are hungry just like your guys. Can’t wait for the match!

  73. thc says:

    Zakuani looked dangerous and comfortable. Nice to know our college players are doing well. I know College can never compare to Youth Academies but in combination with that it we’ll have better young talent.

    —-

    Zakuani was in Arsenal’s Academy up to age 14.

  74. Mike says:

    TFC fans damaged another teams SSS on purpose, pulling off railings throwing them onto the field and breaking the seats. Yeah real classy, this followed by idiocy after the match really shows the caliber of the “best fans in MLS”. Or maybe it was the “racism” crew logo or Jesus giving us the finger banner that offended all the casual fans with children that we should be mad at. I may not have been ticked at that, but the families pay for tickets too. To say this is an isolated incident is ridiculous too, remember how they tried to jump the crew away fans last year. Truely the class of the league, nice work Toronto!

  75. Scott says:

    Joseph was a beast against NYR on Sat., and that last pass was as exquisite as it was timely.

  76. Brant says:

    I was at last year’s (’08) Toronto-Columbus opener, and the two things I remember most about the Toronto fans were them drowning out the anthem singers with their own rendition of “O Canada” and the streamers they threw at GBS when he lined up for the first corner kick. That was the day the streamer insanity started that lasted for about 3 months but was thankfully pretty much gone by the All-Star break.

    I wasn’t at this year’s opener in Columbus, but I was told by some people that were that the Toronto fans were much more verbally aggressive this year; they also took out their frustrations on a few trash/recycle cans. And because their section is right where the main exits are, a lot more people saw their bad behavior. Even if no punches are thrown, it’s still unnecessary.

    It’s good to see the development of a traveling rivalry. It would be nice if it drew more headlines for what happened on the field than off it. Right now, I’m not convinced I could take my 6-year-old to a game in Toronto wearing our Crew kit without someone saying something completely inappropriate in front of him, if not trying to get outright physical with me.

  77. pettyfog says:

    Look RedFans, the bloom is off your FanWow Rose. Now you have to grow up like Chicago and DC fans, then Crew fans had to.

    ‘only a few’.. doesnt get it. The whole LOT got the blame for bad actors in the above past examples, they handled it.

    And dont say it’s the Columbus security and Cops that werent prepared.. what, you need hall monitors? What happened there was ‘authority gave space’ then of course, overreacted.

    OF COURSE THE VAST MAJORITY of your fans are fun to have around and talk to. I’ve done it. It applies across the board in this league. None of that churlish attitude I hear of in UK crowds.
    But STILL take responsibility for your own and we’ll stifle ours.

  78. Horatio says:

    Seems to me the MLS schedule/International schedule conflict issue and the poor attendance issue are related: wouldn’t most soccer fans prefer to be home watching their national team than out (in March weather, no less) watching their local MLS team that’s been depleted by international call-ups (probably their best players)? MLS needs to re-think their policy of scheduling their games when international games (especially WC quals!) are scheduled.

  79. stephen says:

    “Shalrie Joseph hardly dominated the midfield. He was up against Sinisa and sassano in the middle and looked the least of the 3 imho.”

    WOW, which game were you watching (through your red bull colored glasses)?

  80. BadgerB says:

    Week Two Worst XI:
    MLS for not just playing on a FIA date,
    not just playing home openers on FIA dates,
    but playing home openers AT THE SAME TIME as the Nats game on a FIA dates

    D’oh! Way to start the season right guys.