Howler of the week I: Leonardo‘s poor back pass and Carlo Cudicini‘s panicky stroll out of the box led to Robert Earnshaw’s goal into a vacant net.
Howler of the week II: The Sporting News’ staff reduction included Brian Straus, who, in the past two years, had become one of the strongest voices on the national soccer writing scene. As a friend, former colleague at The Post, competitor and admirer, I was sickened by the news. The decision came less than two weeks after Straus pulled back the curtain on the U.S. national team program under Juergen Klinsmann with this powerful story. Staying with media for a moment, we also direct a hearty boo at MLS godfather Phil Anschutz, whose media company has decided to turn the Washington Examiner into a politics-only publication this summer. Consequently, Craig Stouffer’s fine local soccer work for the free tabloid will disappear.
Injury watch: D.C. United’s Nick DeLeon will miss about six weeks with a hamstring ailment, suffered March 23 against Columbus. … Real Salt Lake’s Robbie Findley (groin) departed in the first half, shortly after scoring against Seattle.
Stat of the week: In its first two home matches, the New England Revolution has not scored, generated just five shots on target (12 overall) and, in cool weather, drawn 22,499 combined.
Landon Donovan’s return: A few days after resuming full-time workouts with the Galaxy, the American star entered in the second half at Toronto.
“It was a lot of fun. I haven’t felt that way playing in a very long time. That was the desired goal when I stepped away and it was nice to be back.”
CONCACAF watch: Los Angeles and Seattle will begin the Champions League semifinals at home this week. The Sounders welcome Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna on Tuesday night, while the Galaxy host two-time defending champion Monterrey the next evening. Fox Soccer will carry both matches, starting at 10 p.m. ET. The second legs are next week in Mexico.
MLS Cup watch: With Montreal falling for the first time this season, we turn our attention to the possibility of Home Depot Center (soon to be StubHub Center) hosting the championship game for the third consecutive year. Not involving the Galaxy, mind you, but Chivas USA! Yes, the Goats are no lambs, and although few care in L.A., the club is finding a way after a tumultuous preseason.
New York 15,824
New England 10,284
Kansas City 18,609
Real Salt Lake 20,359
Chivas USA 8,354
Chelis quote of the week:
“Surprise or no surprise, Chivas exists.”