Radio Cascadia Episode 144: A tough week for Seattle, Vancouver prepare for LA Galaxy test

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.

Even a rather embarrassing CONCACAF Champions League exit, some red cards and a couple league defeats since Ep. 143 can’t put the RC crew in a bad mood. John Marshall, Michael McColl, Niko Moreno and Ari Liljenwall all stop by to talk about the most controversial decisions of the past week as well as to preview the coming weekend’s Cascadia contests. 

Portland travel to Dallas in search of a first positive result of the season — Ed Pham gives his take on a possible Timbers lineup as the group speculates on what game plan could take a result. Meanwhile in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host the only home game in the region this weekend as LA Galaxy stop by BC Place on Saturday night. Ola Kamara and a host of other starters are unavailable for Sigi Schmid, and we explore how Vancouver can take advantage of the situation with both Michael McColl and John Marshall. A review of the World Cup host situation also features in Ep. 144. 

Playlist:

02:00 – VWFC: Waston’s red, World Cup bid saga, LA Galaxy preview

21:00 – PTFC: FC Dallas preview + does Adi need to help press on defense? 

38:00 – SSFC: Niko Moreno on CCL exit & season aspirations, Ari Liljenwall on current level of worry in Seattle

Advertisements

Radio Cascadia Episode 143: Sounders dare to dream, while Timbers left with plenty to think about

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.

In a spicy hot Radio Cascadia, the gang takes a look at a pair of surprising weekend results including a historic victory in Houston and a shocking display in Harrison. In the Champions League, tune in for an in-depth breakdown of a gutsy Seattle home win over Chivas Guadalajara as well as a tactical preview of the second leg. 

Episode 143 Playlist:

10:45 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Brek-ing the Streak

25:00 – Portland Timbers: Well That Sucked

35:15 – Seattle Sounders: Dare to Dream?

Kei Kamara 100 MLS goals, 12 seasons, 6 clubs

Week two of the 2018 MLS season was another entertaining one. With 38 goals scored across the nine games there was plenty of exciting action to feast upon. One of those 38 goals was more important than the rest on a personal level for Kei Kamara, as it was his 100th regular season goal on his 300th overall MLS appearance.

Kei Kamara 100 MLS goals: Stats by club

In Kamara’s 288 regular season games he has played for six clubs. His MLS career started out in 2006 with Columbus Crew, where he spent two seasons before briefly moving on to San Jose and then to Houston Dynamo.

From there he settled for his longest spell in at one MLS club to date, five seasons with Sporting Kansas City. In the last four seasons Kamara has played for Crew again, New England Revolution and now Vancouver Whitecaps. Let’s take a look at how his goals are broken down by club.

Kei Kamara 100 MLS Goals

Given that Kamara has been on the move a considerable amount it is no surprise to see his goals spread out. He scored the majority of his 100 goals during his time at Sporting KC and Crew SC respectively. In his 288 appearances he has averaged 0.42 goals per 90 minutes.

Kamara’s best season total came in 2015, where he netted a haul of 22 for Columbus Crew. Despite his efforts that season, his firepower was only enough to finish a runner-up in the MLS Cup final.

Kei Kamara 100 MLS goals: All-time list

There are just nine players ahead of Kamara in the Major League Soccer all-time goalscoring list. Out of those nine, just one player (Chris Wondolowski) is still a current player. Wondo is gunning for the overall record, which he may achieve this season. Sitting top of the list is Landon Donovan, who hit 145 goals in 340 games.

It is a possibility that Kamara could end the 2018 season 5th in the all-time standings. He would need another 15 goals to surpass Ante Razov’s 114. Although Kamara has only managed to score more than 15 in a single season on one occasion with his second-best single-season tally standing at 12, which he achieved last year with New England.

In pictures: Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Montreal Impact – New faces on show as ‘Caps edge out Canadian rivals

The Vancouver Whitecaps got their 2018 MLS campaign off to the perfect start, beating Montreal Impact 2-1 thanks to goals from new signing Kei Kamara and teenage sensation Alphonso Davies.

Both sides had plenty of new faces on show following busy offseason work on restructuring their teams for the 2018 season. The game was scoreless at the half, with neither side able to stamp their authority down.

But the hosts took the initiative in the second-half, scoring twice in eight minutes to go 2-0 up. First, Alphonso Davies crossed for Kamara to head in brilliantly. Then, Davies himself got a goal, slotting in Cristian Techera’s low cross, despite Evan Bush seemingly doing enough to keep it out. It was Davies’ first MLS goal and the 17-year-old winger earned MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week accolade for his fine performance.

Montreal didn’t give up and managed to claw a goal back through Matteo Mancosu in the 81st minute, after a brilliant cross by Daniel Lovitz. But the ‘Caps were able to hold on to a valuable opening win in front of a record crowd at BC Place for a season opener.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of Simon Fearn and Hazel May.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MLS debutants run riot on opening weekend

The opening weekend of MLS has set the tone for the rest of the season. There was plenty of drama with goals, video assistant referees, red cards and shock results. However, one astonishing stat that has come from week one was from MLS debutants.

A total of 26 goals were scored across the ten games with nine of those coming from debutants – which equates to 35% of the goals scored on opening weekend.

What makes it all the more impressive is that all nine goal scorers came from different clubs, adding to the excitement.

WATCH 📹 – Take a look at all nine debutant goals from week one

MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 1 – Whitecaps winger steals the show

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

The Vancouver Whitecaps made a perfect start to the 2018 season, beating Montreal Impact 2-1 at BC Place in front of the largest opening-day crowd in Whitecaps history. And the 27,837 fans in attendance were treated to an outstanding performance by 17-year-old winger Alphonso Davies. The young Canadian is MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week for the opening weekend of the 2018 season after picking up a goal and an assist to fire Vancouver to three points.

Davies linked up well with Whitecaps winter signing Kei Kamara throughout the game and assisted the MLS veteran in the 63rd minute to give Vancouver the lead.

Then, seven minutes later and Davies netted the first MLS goal of his young career, slotting in Cristian Techera’s cross. Evan Bush got a hand to the shot but couldn’t stop it from rolling over the line. Davies wheeled away in celebration, becoming the 10th youngest scorer in league history.

He deserved his goal and showed great attacking intent throughout Sunday’s contest. He completed six of his eight dribbles on the night, emphasising his confidence on the ball as well as the confidence his teammates have in finding him.

Don’t miss – MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 1

Davies is already playing in his third MLS season since making his debut for the Whitecaps as a 15-year-old back in July 2016. He has now made 35 regular season appearances (12 starts), with one goal and two assists to his name. The early signs suggest he could be one of the league’s most dangerous stars in 2018…

Crystal Palace midfielder Jordon Mutch completes Vancouver Whitecaps move

The Vancouver Whitecaps have completed the signing of Jordon Mutch from English Premier League side Crystal Palace on a one-year loan, with the option to buy. Mutch becomes Vancouver’s 10th signing of the winter and leaves Palace after failing to make an appearance this season.

The 26-year-old English midfielder has only appeared on the Eagles’ bench three times over the course of the 2017/18 campaign and will be hoping the move to Major League Soccer can help reignite his career.

The former Cardiff City and QPR man has recorded a total of 17 goals and added 26 assists in 206 club matches in all competitions over the course of his career so far. He is a box-to-box midfielder, who replaces the outgoing Tony Tchani for Vancouver.

“Jordon is a top midfielder who has played at the highest level,” Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said. “He’s played against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United and now he wants to prove himself again in a new environment.

“He likes to get forward, he’s full of energy, and he’s in the prime of his career. We’re delighted to have him here.”

Mutch will spend the entire 2018 season with the Whitecaps, with the club having the option to purchase him if his time in MLS is a success.

The Vancouver Whitecaps kick off the 2018 season this weekend, taking on Montreal Impact on Sunday evening at BC Place Stadium. It’s unlikely that Mutch will be included in the lineup, given that he lacks match practice and will not have had enough time to prepare for the game.

2018 Key Transfers: Vancouver Whitecaps

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we finish the serie by looking at Vancouver Whitecaps and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

Key Signings

Anthony Blondell: Blondell is a 23-year-old striker hailing from Venezuela. He will be unknown to many so he will have the element of surprise on many defenders. He’ll be coming off the back of a prolific season playing for Monagas where he scored 24 goals in 39 appearances. He’s had an impressive preseason campaign with the Whitecaps and will be hoping to make a real impact.

Kei Kamara: Vancouver becomes the sixth MLS club to take on Kei Kamara. After two seasons with New England Revolution in which he scored 19 goals he makes his way north. We expect him to partner Blondell up front this year in what could prove to be a great partnership. Again, their preseason form suggests they will score plenty of goals.

Doneil Henry: After having to cope with various loan spells across Europe while with West Ham United, Henry has returned back to his native Canada with the Whitecaps in permanent move. A Toronto academy graduate defender, Henry at the ripe age of 24 already has over 20 caps for Canada and a return home will hopefully get his career back on track.

Notable Departures

David Ousted: Long standing ‘keeper Ousted has left for DC United after five seasons in Vancouver. He is expected to start in DC after the departure of Bill Hamid to Europe. Vancouver fans will be sad to see him go as he has been a stalwart and a reliable leader for them for half a decade.

Mauro Rosales: Vancouver decided to decline Rosales’ option after he only had five appearances last term. Rosales has been in MLS for the past seven seasons, after stints at Ajax and Newell’s Old Boys. The winger leaves Canada after his second stint, and the jury is still out whether he will return to MLS in a playing capacity.

Sam Adekugbe: Pacey fullback Adekugbe has left for Valerenga in Norway. A Vancouver academy graduate, Adekugbe has flirted with European football for the past few years with loan spells at Brighton and IFK Goteborg, he has finally made the permanent move to Europe.

Radio Cascadia Episode 140: A busy week in Portland and is Kei Kamara ready to lead the Whitecaps?

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era. Since 2011 (the first year all three clubs had made the switch over to the top flight from the USL), Cascadian MLS sides have won a combined total of five major trophies. Additional honours in that time frame include two CONCACAF Champions League semifinal appearances, three consecutive MLS Cup berths, and six consecutive Western Conference Championship appearances.

The latter two statistics above are active streaks, and clubs in Cascadia have just over a month of preseason left to prepare for their chance to continue these streaks on the stage of the 2018 MLS campaign.

In this week’s episode, host Jackson Felts of Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR is joined by Sounders 2 announcer Andrew Harvey, MLSsoccer.com’s Ari Liljenwall and Radio Cascadia founder Steven Agen as they dissect the busiest week of 2018 so far. Five new players have joined Cascadian rosters since the last release, and there’s even a first preseason match to review!

Michael McColl of AFTN.ca calls in to give his take on the leadership situation in the Whitecaps’ locker room, and the extent to which Kei Kamara can fill the void. We spotlight Vancouver’s other new striker as well; Venezuelan Anthony Blondell as he looks poised for a breakout season. A group analysis of Whitecaps boss Carl Robinson’s ambitions for the season closes out the segment.

Matt Hoffman of Stumptown Footy reveals his favourite Timbers kit design as they released their new away strip for 2018 this week. The group pays due respect to the sweet gold accents on the new shirt, but most of the segment is devoted to analysis of the four new signings by the club in the span of only a few days.

Sounders have finally made a splash with their brand new chunk of discretionary Targeted Allocation Money, bringing in versatile Norwegian midfielder Magnus Eikrom on a free transfer. The news broke just in time for the group to develop opinions on where he’ll fit in Seattle’s attacking scheme in 2018. Elsewhere in the segment, Andrew Harvey gives his scouting report on new Homegrown Player Handwalla Bwana, who recorded a goal and an assist in Sounders’ preseason victory over Club Tijuana’s U-20 side on Sunday.

Find the latest RC show every Tuesday at radiocascadia.libsyn.com and follow the guys on Twitter @Radio_Cascadia.

Episode 140 Playlist:

00:00 – Introduction: Miami MLS expansion, Crew update

07:45 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Robbo’s ambition, Kei Kamara’s leadership, Anthony Blondell’s journey

27:45 – Portland Timbers: Four new faces, away kit revealed, 2018 Captain picks

47:05 – Seattle Sounders: First look at new TAM midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Bwana stars in 3-1 preseason win

Vancouver Whitecaps can build upon their hugely successful campaign

The Vancouver Whitecaps enjoyed a hugely successful year in MLS but Carl Robinson’s side unfortunately ran out of steam during the playoffs at the end of the season. It may seem baffling to label their failure to make the Conference Finals as a ‘success’ but the Caps were written off by many ahead of the campaign and their significant progress can be seen as an overachievement, which gives them plenty to build upon ahead of 2018.

The Caps were pipped to the Western Conference title by the Portland Timbers, leaving the Canadian outfit to negotiate their way through the knockout round of the MLS Playoffs. After a long season, this was far from ideal for Robinson’s side and fatigue began to set in. Fredy Montero missed the game against the Timbers on the final day of the regular season and his absence was evident throughout, as a lack of potency in the final third hindered the Caps.

Injuries also prevented them from making a fast start with key midfielder Yordy Reyna missing the first few games of the campaign. However, their consistency soon shone through and they ended the season having been defeated in back-to-back matches on just one occasion.

Vancouver Whitecaps cruised through the knockout stage but were undone by MLS Cup finalists and near-neighbours Seattle Sounders. They also progressed to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Despite an underwhelming couple of performances when it mattered, there were plenty of reasons to be positive and the men from BC Place can now look ahead to the 2018 campaign with optimism.

There is a lack of star quality in the Caps’ starting lineup but Robinson has stressed the importance of hard work, and the players also clearly enjoy one another’s company away from the pitch. There is a team spirit within the camp that appears hard to break and, with a few savvy additions during the off-season, they should exceed expectations once again in 2018.

Robinson’s side must continue their upward momentum and anyone who is thinking of backing them to bounce back and finish top of the Western Conference next season can use one of the many free bets detailed by Oddschecker, including a free £30 from William Hill, who price up over 150 different markets on each MLS game throughout the campaign.

Robinson has told reporters that he expects plenty of changes at the club throughout the off-season, suggesting the team “need to evolve”. David Ousted has already departed the club with the hierarchy deciding not to take up the option to re-sign the 32-year-old goalkeeper. However, Russell Teibert has agreed a new three-year deal to stay on the west coast of Canada until 2020, with the 24-year-old now the Caps’ longest-serving player.

The team will travel to Nevada, California, and Hawaii during the off-season as they prepare for another potentially energy-sapping campaign. Robinson wants to make pre-season as competitive as possible, which should help avoid another sluggish start in March. The Whitecaps are not amongst the favourites for the 2018 MLS Cup but they are a team who relish the chance to over-perform and exceed all expectations. They will once again go into the new campaign amongst the outsiders but there is plenty to build upon and it’ll be tough to write them off.