MLS West Notes: Trouble brewing for Rapids, Berhalter praised and more

Gary Smith (ISIPhotos.com)

BY ADAM SERRANO

Trouble is brewing in the front office of the Colorado Rapids.

In an interview with the Denver Post, head coach Gary Smith admitted that there is a "relationship issue" between himself and Rapids techincal director Paul Bravo that may see Smith decide not to re-sign with Colorado when his contract is finished at the end of the season.  

"If we can't find some common ground and work together, I'm not shutting the door on that, but if we can't and the ultimate answer is, 'No, it doesn't work,' then there has to be a decision on one or the other," Smith said. "It wouldn't be right for the club, it wouldn't work for me, the team wouldn't be and couldn't be as successful as possible. So that doesn't fit into my plans."

CHIVAS USA

Heath Pearce may make his return to the field on Sunday when Chivas USA take on the LA Galaxy. Pearce, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, re-injured his hamstring in the build up to the Goats match up against Toronto FC in late September. Although Pearce is unsure that he will return, he admits that he is improving. 

“I'm feeling pretty good and I've been getting lots of touches on the ball and I'm starting to open up my stride,” said Pearce. “It's a matter of how I feel. If I feel like I can play then I'm going to make the case to play, there's always important games, no matter what the situation. This is a team that pays me to play so if you're fit to play then you play.”

FC DALLAS

The dog days of September are over for FC Dallas.

With a victory over the Chicago Fire, FCD clinched a berth in the playoffs and head coach Schellas Hyndman believes that they have rebounded from a dismal stretch that saw the club go 400 minutes without a goal. 

“We had a really difficult month of September with all the traveling and the CONCACAF games and cards and injuries,” head coach Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the game. “And so for us to get the win here was huge because we know we’re in the playoffs and we can maybe start to focus on that.”

LA GALAXY

Omar Gonzalez has become one of the most feared defenders in MLS and he believes thats he owes a lot of that succcess to Gregg Berhalter. 

Berhalter announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring after an 18-year career at the end of the 2011 MLS season. Since Berhalter arrived in 2009, he has served as a mentor for Gonzalez, who is currently enjoying the finest season of his young career. 

"He's been instrumental to my growth and from the very beginning, he's been on my case and making it a mission to help me become one of the best center backs," said Gonzalez. "I really do thank him for that, he's been great with me…I've really looked up to him and it's great to have had him here." 

PORTLAND TIMBERS

Whether or not the Portland Timbers make the playoffs, the club is aware that they've made a number of shrewd acquisitions. 

With the lowest salary in the league, the Timbers remain in the thick of the playoff chase and face a must win game against the Houston Dynamo this weekend. With the highest paid acquisiton being the two million dollars spent to acquire Colombian midfielder Diego Chara, the Timbers are proud of their frugality. 

"You've got to treat that money like it's your own. You can't go spending willy-nilly, blowing someone's hard-earned money and just say, 'If it doesn't work out, it doesn't out,' " Spencer said. "It's not my money and I have to be careful with it."

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake may be out of the hunt for the Supporters Shield, but RSL can still lock down some silverware on Friday with a victory over the Colorado Rapids in their Rocky Mountain Cup clash. For an RSL team that is eager to lock down the third spot in the west, a victory against their arch-rivals is key. 

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, RSL defender Nat Borchers admitted that the team is looking forward to a result against Colorado. 

“It adds motivation, for sure,” Borchers said. “It's always a heated rivalry game. With the situation being what it is for us, we need points, we need to lock up third place and this a great opportunity for us.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The Earthquakes may not be in the playoff chase, but Chris Wondolowski has made it a mission to chase the club's highest record. Wondolowski recently moved into second place in the club's overall scoring list and sits just 26 goals behind Ronald Cerritos for the all-time club scoring title. Cerritos leads with 61 goals while Wondolowski has 35 for San Jose. 

Wondolowski understands that it's going to take some time, but it is a goal that is totally within his grasp. 

“It’s a goal,” said Wondolowski,  ”I think it’s realistic. I hope it’s realistic. I know it’s out there. … But it’s definitely going to take multiple years to catch him.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Kasey Keller will play his final regular season game of his illustrious career and Seattle promises to thank him for all of his service. According to the Sounders front office, 60,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's match against the San Jose Earthquakes. 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

The Whitecaps may be out of the playoff hunt, but one member of the club is playing for a title. Brazilian midfielder Camilo has kept pace in the race of the league scoring title and added to his total on Wednesday with one goal in Vancouver's victory over D.C United. With 12 goals in his first season in MLS, Camilo is just two goals behind leaders Chris Wondolowski, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario. 

After his third goal in two games, Camilo told The Province, that he could win the Golden Boot. 

“Yes, of course I have a chance,” he said. “I work hard for this. We have two more games and I try to score more.”

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29 Responses to MLS West Notes: Trouble brewing for Rapids, Berhalter praised and more

  1. epablo says:

    the galaxy hands down need Berhalter back to win it all. And Keane…..even though a sporadic of forwards (magee, cristman, and barret) have been scoring goals as of late. Especially Cristman, that guy has improved immensely this season.

  2. Egg Nogg says:

    Thierry Henry is also leading….but I see how it is.

  3. Good Jeremy says:

    60K is insane for a regular season game. Big props to Seattle.

  4. Pez says:

    60k < 0 blades of grass.

  5. Miki says:

    Sounders haven’t opened the Hawk’s Nest (yet, although this close to the game it’s somewhat unlikely, as there are still some tickets available, and X-Box/Microsoft pays a pretty penny for that advertising space), so the max at this point would be around 63-64K. Can’t wait to watch that one.

  6. etj says:

    60l > Pez not really making a point.

  7. etj says:

    You’re not really making a point. Playing on fieldturf does not diminish the immensity of that attendance number for a game against SJ.

  8. Travis says:

    baby sheep follows the herd well

  9. Jealous Much? says:

    Who’s your team?

  10. Travis says:

    sounders, i was implying that guy is just repeating what all sounders haters say…

  11. Brian says:

    This made me laugh, but in no way does it diminish their crowd support. I’m sure Seattle fans want grass as bad as everyone else wants them to have it. Hopefully no more MLS Cups hosted in Seattle tho, because that 09 Final was ugly as hell to watch.

  12. sciroccer says:

    Im actually surprised that in this day and age, people from other states are still to stupid to check things before they speak! There’s a large number of Utahns who don’t believe in the religion you are refering to. That religion does not have multiple wifes either. Im not a member of that church, and I am offended by you comments! I will give you one fact- We here in Utah (regardless of faith) understand that the game of soccer is meant to be played on real grass! When the turf looks that bad on TV- the MLS still looks minor league- BAN THE TURF DON!!!

  13. Rory says:

    Rapids fan here… and it’s hard to pick a side in this arguement. Neither are very loved despite Bravo probably making the move for Jeff Larentowicz and Mullans and Wynne the year before… moves that probably won us the MLSCUP… of course coach Smith deserves a huge bit of credit too. Hard to pick… but all Rapids fans remember the horrible letters Bravo used to send out promising they’d try better then next year.

    My gut says to side with the coach. But if they were both ran out of town I wouldn’t be crying.

  14. JJ says:

    Yikes, Mormons are touchy …

  15. As an outsider looking in, who would be the candidates to replace both of them? It always seemed as bravo kind of got lucky with the Mullen and wynne trades.

  16. Mark says:

    cristman and Barrett blow…they are done without Keane and Donovan. They should have kept Buddle or Angel

  17. Jose says:

    Colorado Thug Ball is not going to work this year…MLS teams have become too strong

  18. RB says:

    You need to direct your earlier “offended” comments to fischy, not to me. I merely remarked that he was being clever, which I think is accurate from any objective perspective (whatever you may think about the appropriateness of what he said).

    On the turf point, however, I completely agree with you, and have said as much here before.

  19. Gnarls says:

    “They should have kept Buddle or Angel”

    From that statement, I assume you don’t pay close attention to LAG. Buddle was out the door as soon as 2010 ended. He had dollar signs in his eyes and his contract was up. Nothing LA could do. And Angel was simply not scoring goals. He’s found new chemistry with the Goats, and Galaxy fans are happy about that. But the fact remains, he was wasting LA’s roster space.

  20. Gnarls says:

    But tib-fibs remain weak.

  21. RB says:

    Talk about “baby sheep follows the herd well”, here’s more of that same popular myth. MLS stats show Colorado having committed the 2nd fewest fouls in the entire league (with the season of course about 95% finished, now), having perpetrated less than every other team out there except for Portland. Here’s the ranking, but you can check for yourself at link to mlssoccer.com. I mean unless you’d prefer to remain in that herd of folks who are faithfully oblivious to such pesky facts.

    1. Chicago
    2. Vancouver
    3. RSL
    4. KC
    5. Seattle
    6. Dallas
    7. Toronto
    8. NY
    9. NE
    10. Columbus
    11. Philadelphia
    12. SJ
    13. LA
    14. Chivas
    15. Houston
    16. DC
    17. Colorado
    18. Portland

    And btw, there’s no out by referring to differential with fouls suffered, either, as the Rapids are the 6th most fouled team in the league:

    link to mlssoccer.com

  22. Kevin_Amold says:

    Clever? That was very lazy humor.

  23. RB says:

    Nah. Not the way he tied it in.

  24. Kevin_amold says:

    Trust me, I saw it. Lazy.

  25. RB says:

    Trust me, I saw it, too. That’s why I commented.

    But of course YMMV when it comes to humor. The point remains that the if sciroccer has a bone to pick, it’s with fischy rather than me.

  26. RB says:

    Indeed, take the differential between fouls committed and fouls suffered, and Chicago and NY appear to be the real thugs of the league, at +64 and +53, respectively. SJ and RSL then follow, at +37 and +23, respectively.

    Looking at the situation this way, the Rapids are again among the cleanest teams in the league, at an impressive –45. Only Portland and LA are better, at –74 and –56, respectively.

  27. fischy says:

    Lazy, true…but decent enough for the internet.

  28. Daggius says:

    nothing they could do?? Dumbass they could have given buddle a dp contract and pay him as much as they want instead of giving one to worthless angel, he sure would have done a lot more for them

  29. RB says:

    Oops, my bad — Seattle is actually 4th worst, ahead of RSL at +25.

    Oh, the irony: in reality, the Seattle Sounders, not the Colorado Rapids, are among the worst teams in the league in terms of fouling.