Seattle Sounders Archive

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Garber hints that Canadian-player rules in MLS may change: Why we need to look at minutes played, not roster spots

Don Garber

Don Garber

In a Facebook chat with fans held on Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was greeted with the thorny question about Canadian players in the league.

Francis Ghanimé asked him: “Will Canadian players ever stop counting as internationals for American clubs?”

And this was the answer from the commish.

“We are working on a new approach to our international player rules as they relate to Canada. Stay tuned.”

We have asked MLS for more clarification on the issue.

But, we do know the rules as they pertain to Canadians are on the radar. We also know the Canadian Soccer Association has lobbied MLS to changes the rules so Canadians are seen as domestic players, league wide. This would then put MLS on an equal footing with USL-PRO, which allows Canadians to be domestics on U.S. clubs.

Right now, the Canadian teams are required to each carry three Canadian players on their rosters. On the U.S. teams, Canadians are counted as international players and take up roster space that many American teams would prefer to give to players from, well, sexier parts of the soccer world. Meanwhile, on Canadian teams, Americans are seen as domestics.

The timing is interesting. We know CSA has been pushing for changes for a while. But, now, the CSA has gone public with its stated goal of having Canada’s own “Division 1A” (CLICK HERE or see issue 2 of Plastic Pitch), and reports continue that NASL, CFL owners and the CSA are discussing the formation of a Canadian division — something that NASL won’t deny, but says it simply can’t comment on… at this time.

So, pressure is no doubt building on MLS.
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Burt, Raudales make the trip to Edmonton

Cristian Raudales

Cristian Raudales

Trialists Chad Burt and Cristian Raudales have made the trip back to the Alberta capital with FC Edmonton, as the team has wrapped up its pre-fall season schedule.

While neither Burt or Raudales, who both hold American passports, have been confirmed as FCE signings, both will continue to try and impress coach Colin Miller after joining the team last week in British Columbia.

Raudales, who is a dual Honduran/American citizen, helped his cause by scoring the opening goal Sunday as the Eddies defeated a Seattle Sounders side featuring players who weren’t part of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Vancouver in MLS play.

Horace James also scored late in FCE’s 2-0 win over Seattle, which raised the Eddies’ record to 3-0-0 in preseason play. The Eddies also beat the PDL’s Victoria Highlanders and a team of all-stars from Kamloops.
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Manneh’s win marks the sixth time a Whitecap has been named POTW

Kekuta Manneh

Kekuta Manneh

If you only looked at the season-long list of MLS Players of the Week, you’d assume that the Vancouver Whitecaps were comfortably ahead of the pack in the Western Conference.

On Monday, the North American Soccer Reporters voted Whitecaps’ teenage forward Kekuta Manneh the Player of the Week. It’s the sixth time a Whitecap has got the honour this year — more than any other team in the league.

But the reality is that the Whitecaps go into their final two games of the season — both against the Colorado Rapids — three points adrift of the fifth and final playoff spot.

Manneh is an example of the Whitecaps season. When things go right, boy do they go right. Manneh became the first player in Whitecaps’ MLS history to score a hat trick. And he did so Wednesday in Seattle, during an oh-so-sweet 4-1 demolition of the rival Sounders.
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Hat trick is like Manneh from heaven for the Whitecaps

Kekuta Manneh

Kekuta Manneh

Three goals from rookie Kekuta Manneh kept the Vancouver Whitecaps in the hunt for a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs, as the visitors claimed a surprising 4-1 win over the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field Wednesday night.

Mauro Rosales gave the Sounders a bit of hope by bringing the score to 3-1 in the 69th minute, before Nigel Reo-Coker scored a stinker of a goal in the 82nd minute past Michael Gspurning in a play the goalkeeper will surely have nightmares about.

The hat-trick is the first such feat of a Whitecap in the Major League Soccer era and, more significantly, the 18-year-old Manneh is the youngest player in league history to score three times in a game.

The result propels Vancouver to 45 points, three back of the Los Angeles Galaxy, who sits in the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Manneh opened the scoring 12 minutes in, getting on the end of a headed pass from Daigo Kobayashi. Gspurning got a touch on the Gambian’s strike, but not enough, as the ball bounced into his goal.
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Martins named MLS Player of the Week for helping propel Sounders into first

Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins

Seattle Sounders’ forward Obafemi Martins was named the MLS Player of the Week for his one-goal, one-assist effort in Friday’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake.

Martins got the most first-place votes from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

He scored the opener in the third minute and then got the second assist on Lamar Neagle’s insurance goal. The win allowed Seattle to seize top spot in the MLS Western Conference, and first-place overall in the league. If MLS regular-season play ended today, Seattle would now be guaranteed home field advantage all the way to the Dec. 7 MLS Cup, if the Sounders make it that far. (Good thing the Seahawks are on the road that weekend)
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Super Poll results: Reaction to Dempsey deal is overwhelmingly negative; fans want MLS transparency

Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey

The signing of Clint Dempsey has accelerated the erosion of trust that North American soccer supporters have in MLS.

At least that’s what we can take from the results of a poll of The 11’s readership. We felt, as a Canadian site that mainly concerns itself with the state of the game north of the border, that it would be premature to pass judgment on the decision to bring Dempsey, an American soccer icon, back to the league. So, after the Dempsey deal was done, we took the pulse of our readers.

And the reaction to the Dempsey deal? Overwhelmingly negative. Dempsey was brought back to the league by MLS two weeks ago. To get Dempsey to Seattle, which wasn’t at the top of the allocation order, the league invoked a rule that isn’t printed. It said that Designated Players could skip the allocation process. The league was reported (CLICK HERE) to have spent the $9 million needed to satisfy Tottenham’s transfer-fee requirements.

According to the poll, fans feel that the Dempsey deal is an example of a league that doesn’t allow a level playing field for its member teams.

What should be concerning for MLS is that only 16 per cent of the respondents felt that the Dempsey deal was something that was palatable. Ten per cent chose the “MLS has to do whatever it can to attract marquee players option” while just six per cent thought “the deal was fair to all parties.”

What MLS needs to be concerned about is the growing perception that the league’s teams are part of a single entity but, to bastardize George Orwell, “all teams are equal, but some teams are more equal than others.”

Thirty-six per cent responded that they “don’t feel that MLS is fair to all teams,” and a significant 21 per cent checked off the “MLS=WWE option.” That means, in The 11’s readership community, one in five see Major League Soccer as a league that is rigged from headquarters down. The numbers of naysayers far outweigh the positives.
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Defensive errors sabotage TFC’s effort against Dempsey and the Sounders

Doneil Henry

Doneil Henry

The eyes of the MLS world were on BMO Field Saturday for Clint Dempsey’s return to North American soccer, and while Toronto FC did its best to steal the spotlight, a critical own goal proved to be the difference in the 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC.

The question going into the match was how TFC’s back line would fare against the high-powered Sounders attack of Obafemi Martins, Eddie Johnson and Dempsey, yet for the most part, the Reds’ defenders acquitted themselves well against the Seattle forwards. What ultimately doomed Toronto, however, was a pair of first-half mistakes, the second of which was an own goal from centre back Doneil Henry.

Sounders midfielder Lamar Neagle took the ball down the left side in the 40th minute and attempted a cross into the box. The cross bounced off of Henry’s back heel and was re-directed into the net, a touch that was half a lack of awareness from the young defender and half just flat-out bad fortune.

“It is pretty simple and unlucky as there wasn’t much I could have done about that situation,” Henry said. “Overall I thought we played a very good game. I just kept my head up and continued playing my game.”
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SUPER POLL: MLS, Dempsey, allocations, central control; do you trust the league to do what’s best, or is it playing favourites?

mls-logoMajor League’s Soccer decision to repatriate American national-team star Clint Dempsey has certainly played to mixed reviews.

There are those who will say MLS did what it had to do in reportedly paying a US$9 million transfer fee (CLICK HERE) to bring Dempsey to the Sounders, where he becomes the league’s newest Designated Player.

But, to do so, MLS had to invoke a non-publicized rule that allows players earmarked for DP status to skip the allocation line. And, there’s no denying the resentment felt in other markets. For argument’s sake, would MLS spend $9 million to repatriate a Canadian player to either Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal (not that there’s one on the radar right now who would garner that high a fee)?

And, while central control of contracts allows MLS to makes moves that are in the best interest of the league, do the fans of the other franchises, especially those outside of New York or Los Angeles, feel that the league owes them big moves, too? And how do fans feel about money they spend to support MLS as a whole going to help one team get stronger — and beat the team they support?

What the Dempsey deal does is give us that watershed moment to discuss where MLS is at as a league. We have prepared the following questions; the poll will close at noon MT next Wednesday (August 8). What we want to know is how you feel about the way MLS does business as a league. Is it time for a change? Do you trust MLS is ensuring a level playing field with a salary cap, or that constant rule changes are giving certain teams unfair advantages that defy the cap model? How do you feel about allocation money, secretive contracts and allocation orders?

Please take time to tell us how you feel, and spread the word to fellow MLS fans. We want to capture the pulse of our community. (Questions after the break; don’t worry if it the vote doesn’t show up as soon as you make it; they’re visible once you refresh the page. You will know your vote has been registered when the “vote” icon disappears.)
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Four Canadians named to the W-League all-star squad

Alyscha Mottershead

Alyscha Mottershead

Four Canadians were named to the W-League’s All-League team on Wednesday.

The league announced that Laval Cometes goalkeeper Genevieve Richard and her teammate, defender Kathryn Acton, made the squad. Laval is one of the four surviving teams that will contest the W-League championship this weekend in Bradenton, Fla. The Cometes enter the tourney as the No. 1 seed, and have allowed just seven goals in 12 matches — that’s all the reason you need for a goalkeeper and a defender to make the All-League squad. But Laval’s title hopes will suffer due to call-ups made by the U-20 national side, which is currently holding an evaluation camp in Denmark. (CLICK HERE)

Also on the team were Melissa Busque, the Seattle Sounders midfielder who just got a look by senior women’s-national team coach John Herdman; and Ottawa Fury midfielder Alyscha Mottershead, the 22-year-old who has made two appearances so far for the Canadian national side.
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Knighton the third Whitecap to be named POTW in last four weeks

Brad Knighton

Brad Knighton

So, your club hasn’t exactly given you a vote of confidence — it has given a hotshot Danish keeper a contract, and pretty well every follower of the team expects him to replace you in goal.

How do you respond?

If you’re Brad Knighton, you turn the arrival of Danish keeper David Ousted into a motivational tool, and put together some of the best performances of your MLS career. Knighton did his part to thicken the Vancouver Whitecaps’ goalkeeping controversy this week, as his performances earned him MLS Player of the Week honours, He becomes the third Whitecap in four weeks to be voted the Player of the Week by the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters. Forwards Kenny Miller and Camilo preceded Knighton as award winners.
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