MLSPR: Shea gets just rewards
Brek Shea deserves his place in the national squad
FC Dallas has been the surprise story of this MLS season and Brek Shea has played a huge part in their success.
His form has rightfully been rewarded with a place in Bob Bob Bradley’s latest U.S. squad.
Shea is a player that elected to skip college and turn professional straight out of high school and so far that decision has been justified with some superb displays this season for Schellas Hyndman.
Shea has recovered form his knee surgery well and has developed into a player capable of contributing at international level faster than most people would have thought, and now the U.S. coaching staff needs to take an extended look at him and figure out what position he can best help the national team moving forward.
Shea is only 20-years old, but by the time the next World Cup comes around, he will be in the prime of his career. If he continues to develop the way he has over the last 12 months, he will be a valuable member of the national team that plays in Brazil.
Attacking Options simply not there for Bradley
Bob Bradley is set to take charge of his first games since signing his new contract with the U.S. national team.
The main talking point after the World Cup exit was the team’s lack of a true goal-scorer and despite the current squad’s lack of any new attacking blood, it is unfair to criticize Bradley for his selections.
Eddie Johnson has fought his way back into the Fulham squad, while Clint Dempsey has started the season well at Craven Cottage despite being in and out of the side.
Jozy Altidore may not get as much playing time as he would like but at 20-years old he is still the most talented young option we have up front.
Bradley’s decision to resist the temptation for change is mainly because the attacking talent is simply not out there. Some people have talked about a call up for players like Justin Braun, but the Chivas USA striker is simply not ready for international play.
A call-up to the national team is the ultimate reward for any player, but caps should not be handed out to just anyone, and Bradley is right to stick with what he has for now.
There is a lack of attacking talent in this country and Bradley can’t just manufacture international quality players that can contribute to the national team. MLS stars like Edson Buddle, Conor Casey and Landon Donovan will return to the squad when the season is over, but until then the current squad of players should be backed by the media and fans because it represents the best attacking talent at Bradley’s disposal.
Chivas USA needs a home of its own
Chivas USA’s match against the Galaxy last weekend may have been marked down as a home fixture, but the reality is that everyone knows that the HDC is the home of the Galaxy.
Chivas may play their matches there, but this struggling franchise needs a home of its own if it is to move forward and be successful in MLS.
The location of the HDC makes it difficult for many potential Chivas USA fans to attend games and a move to a stadium would help reinvigorate this club and make it a more marketable franchise.
The academy teams have already moved locations and receive great support at their home in Bell, California. A move to a new location would help the Chivas organization tap into a new fan base and create an identity of their own in MLS.
A move would also help them attract bigger named players to the club and that is a must if this club is to be successful long term in MLS.
San Diego is not a viable option but there are plenty of locations in and around Los Angeles that could provide Chivas USA with a home that would help them step out of the shadow of the L.A. Galaxy.
Seattle a worthy U.S. Open Cup champion
Some people say that the U.S. Open Cup is not an important trophy, but try telling that to the 31,311 fans who showed up at Qwest Field to cheer their Sounders on to their second consecutive Open Cup win.
It is the largest crowd that has witnessed an Open Cup final and it inspired Seattle to a come from behind victory over Columbus.
In truth, Seattle were unlucky to go behind and fully deserved to power on to victory on the back of two Sanna Nyassi strikes. Steve Zakuani’s pace gave the Crew backline trouble all night, while Fredy Montero oozed class every time he touched the ball.
Other clubs don’t seem to take the competition as seriously, but the Sounders do and because of that they have won silverware for the second consecutive year in their short existence. The victory will now give Seattle some momentum going into the playoffs and they will fancy their chances against anyone in front of the best fans in the league at Qwest Field.
On to this week’s MLS Power Rankings …
1. Real Salt Lake: RSL faces a real test of its championship credentials as it takes on the Red Bulls in New York this weekend. If they win that one then they truly are the best team in MLS.
2. FC Dallas: The ease at which Dallas dispatched a talented Chicago squad shows just how good a squad Schellas Hyndman has assembled.
3. New York Red Bulls: Bouna Coundoul may not get much publicity but the Red Bulls ‘keeper has played a huge part in New York’s success this season.
4. Seattle Sounders: Seattle followed up its win over Toronto by winning the U.S. Open Cup for the second straight year. Not a bad week for Sounders fans.
5. Los Angeles Galaxy: The Galaxy returned to winning ways but still look well short of their early season form.
6. Colorado Rapids: Are the Rapids going to choke just when a playoff spot seemed within touching distance? Probably not, but the loss to D.C. is a nice reality check to Gary Smith and his players.
7. Columbus Crew: The Crew look way short of confidence and their recent poor run has seen them knocked off top spot in the Eastern Conference.
8. San Jose Earthquakes: San Jose looked awful in its loss to the Fire but rebounded nicely to pick up a hard fought point at Columbus.
9. Kansas City Wizards: The Wizards were unlucky in their loss to the Red Bulls and will now need to remain perfect for the rest of the season to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
10. Philadelphia Union: Sebastien Le Toux showed all his quality with a superb goal against Houston and his partnership with Danny Mwanga gives the Union something to build on for next season.
11. Toronto FC: With quality attacking players like Dwayne DeRosario and Chad Barrett at their disposal it is hard to understand why this team has underachieved again in MLS play.
12. Chicago Fire: The Fire finally showed some attacking flair against San Jose but returned to their misfiring ways in their shocking loss at Dallas.
13. D.C. United: D.C. fans have endured a season from hell but at least their win at Colorado gave their supporters something to cheer about.
14. New England Revolution: The Revs have some talented young players but need to add at least six players to this squad if they are to be a contender next year.
15. Houston Dynamo: Houston has a squad that has aged over the last few years and is in need of a fresh injection of talent to make them a competitive team again.
16. Chivas USA: This team needs a home of its own if it is to be a long-term success in MLS. Some quality additions to the squad would help, too.
Keith Costigan is a writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer.