Misfiring teams play to scoreless draw in inaugural MLS Homegrown Game

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By FRANCO PANIZO

PORTLAND, Ore. — There were chances aplenty, but the final bit of quality needed to put them away was nowhere to be found.

The MLS Homegrown team and Portland Timbers Under-23 squad misfired their ways to a goal-less draw in the inaugural MLS Homegrown Game at Providence Park on Monday night. Each team took 13 shots in the match, but neither was able to capitalize despite having some decent looks in good positions.

The Timbers came closest to finding the opener early in a match that expectedly lacked some sharpness given players’ unfamiliarity with one another. James Moberg found himself with some space in the penalty area in the ninth minute, only to see his hard effort carom off the near post.

San Jose Earthquakes player Tommy Thompson also had one of the game’s best looks in the 87th minute, but the MLS Homegrown substitute sent a buzzing effort over the crossbar from the top of the penalty area.

The failure to finish was contagious. Timbers forward Miguel Aguilar also missed a golden opportunity, pushing a low shot wide of the far post in the 61st minute after Moberg had picked off a poor pass from New York Red Bulls Matt Miazga.

Both goalkeepers did have to make saves in the match that expectedly lacked some sharpness given players’ unfamiliarity with one another.

Homegrown netminder Jon Kempin of Sporting Kansas City entered the game at halftime and made a pair of sure-handed stops during his 45-minute stint en route to being voted the Player of the Game. Portland’s Justin Luthy, meanwhile, did well to deny Thompson in the opening minutes of the second half.

The beginning of the match should have been a sign of things to come. A corner kick that bounced around the penalty area fell to Timbers striker Kharlton Belmar, who somehow sent his shot from 12 yards woefully wide.

Vancouver Whitecaps’ Russell Teibert was active in the early going for the MLS Homegrown team and had a swerving go from distance that Luthy grabbed out of the air confidently.

Teibert also whipped in a corner at the half-hour mark that LA Galaxy attacker Bradford Jamieson IV raced onto and frustratingly nodded outside of the near post.

The Timbers’ squad had another pair of chances a minute apart late in the first half, but Fatai Alsashe flashed a header wide of the frame in the 38th minute before Columbus Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson closed down the angle well on Belmar on a close-range chance from the right side of the penalty area.

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What do you think of the inaugural MLS Homegrown Game? Who impressed you? Think it would be better to have the Homegrowns face members of Generation adidas?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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26 Responses to Misfiring teams play to scoreless draw in inaugural MLS Homegrown Game

  1. Mike R says:

    Yawn. If these are the future of the US nats then I’m going to pray that Dempsey is able to play at 36

    • Joe says:

      Not the future of the us nats by any means. These are reserve team members.

    • Lost in Space says:

      The future of the US national team attack is mostly playing in Europe.
      Green, Rubin, Gyau, Wood, Agudelo, Boyd, Johannsson, Jozy, etc…. are the players who will be replacing Dempsey over the next 4 years.
      The players in this this match are likely those who’ll be replacing the likes of Davis and those who are on the fringe of the National Team.

      • mouf says:

        talented defenders and midfielders in this game, and if anyone is basing anything off a goofy friendly of a thrown together team, your wasting prayers in regard

  2. Cool Hand Luke says:

    The future is bright!

    • MLSsnob says:

      You mispelled blight.

      • AP says:

        No… the future is very bright.
        You can’t put players together over the weekend, and say … “go, be a mannschaft”
        As a young footballing nation, WE are without question, on the right path.

  3. Hanz says:

    Thank God for Germany.

  4. Beto says:

    Eh… Did they get free chipotle afterwards?..

    How about a real story either Philly or Dallas will host the USOC final.

    I’m rooting for Philly over Seattle

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    This is MLS’ attempt to imitate the Futures Games that precede NBA and MLB all star games. I’d say the problem is that when MLB has one of these games, it’s the biggest prospects down on the farm, who play every day there, not guys (save Yedlin, Trapp, and certain others) who due to our development approach are either sitting or yo-yo-ing on loans.

    My two cents right now we have a system for recruiting players and allocating rights, not a good system for developing them.

    • beto says:

      January camp is all we need…

      This is just some marketing gimik btw MLS & Chipotle

      • AcidBurn says:

        They all ate a big Chipotle burrito before the game, thus the “misfires”. Chipotle is good but have you seen the size of those burritos?

      • timothy says:

        But a marketing gimmick that provides soccer for us to watch. I’m also down with the Red Bull marketing gimmick of giving away lots of free product

    • Josh D says:

      MLB is also a sport that needs zero teamwork to play. Soccer is the number one support that needs players gelling together and understanding each other.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Zero? They’re getting increasingly sophisticated about team positioning based on hitting tendencies (eg, shifts), double plays and such require coordination, as does the hit and run or squeeze bunt, and such.

        I grant your argument, up to a point. I think the issue more likely would be getting coordination out of rusty players, not that the homegrown team couldn’t gel. I think the sharper players are, the more they can quickly blend. But these guys would generally not be sharp.

        • slowleftarm says:

          There may be some teamwork required in the field in baseball but it’s nothing compared to soccer. No one is doing defensive shifts in the MLB futures game or even the MLB all-star game for example.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Like I was saying, I think the issue would be more general rust than gelling. I always felt like when I was fit and playing well, if I played with a new team, we’ll figure it out. You might play it behind me once and I might not be where you want me another time, but it’s not going to destroy all cohesion. But if you have a lot of people in search of playing time and sharpness, with less than game fitness, thrown in together, then I think you might look like you need work.

  6. "The TX 2-Stepper" An SBI Original c/o 2008 says:

    How did you guys watch the game? I couldn’t find it anywhere on my tube.

    • Increase0 says:

      It was streamed on the MLS website.

      • "The TX 2-Stepper" An SBI Original c/o 2008 says:

        Man, they did a GREAT job of advertising this game … said no one ever.

        • Increase0 says:

          Really you would only know if you looked at their website. I think the All star game gets the marketing budget.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Geez, guess it doesn’t matter if it was a poor game since virtually no one watched it who isn’t already a huge MLS fan. Come on MLS, what’s the point of doing this if no one is going to see it?

      • Jack says:

        I think it was just a bit of a test run. The second half Taylor and Alexi barely even talked about the match, were mostly just answering twitter questions haha.

  7. RBNYFanatic says:

    This concept totally has potential, however the execution leaves something to be desired. First, I think there needs to be a better package to all of this… Probably starting with the opposition… I think this competition should be opened up to NASL or USL Pro teams rather than an MLS U23. A USL Pro team should serve as adequate competition. I’d even much rather see the NCAA Champs take on our Homegrown players… really make a case for the academy system over college (or the reverse).

    Second, the game truly needs to be televised, not just available on the MLS website or WatchESPN. For years people have been discussing the popularity of soccer in the US and how it is at a tipping point… for a moment consider this (hang in with me for a second and I think you’ll get my point)… ESPN began televising the World Series of Poker, not because of an incredible demand, but rather because it was cheap to produce and it filled otherwise dead air. People watched because it was televised (again, not because of demand) and poker grew in popularity at an exponential rate. All I’m saying is this… if we want this “World Cup High” to continue, there needs to be more access to the game… This would be the perfect opportunity to showcase young talent to a much larger demographic than otherwise hardcore soccer fans, like those of us reading and posting these comments. If marketed correctly I’m sure that this would have had more viewers than the Little League game on ESPN2… and if it were MLS Homegrown v. NCAA Champs it totally could air on ESPNU (rather than a repeat of a college bowl game from 1998).

    Third, the slogan used was “Cultivating Youth Soccer”… so, really commit to that concept and have that be the focal point of the festivities leading up to the MLS All Star Game… Hand out the Gatorade Player of the Year Award at halftime of the game, run segments on Human Interest stories surrounding the game in this country… Honor a High School Coach of the Year… induct people into the Soccer Hall of Fame (even though there is no museum any longer – but that’s a discussion for a different time). Do something more with this!!!