Week 22 MLS News & Notes

Welcome to Week 22 action of the Major League Soccer season. Let’s kick things off with MLS All-Star week news & notes, shall we?

Chipotle Homegrown Game
Tuesday night provided a ragtag group of MLS Homegrown players the chance to battle LigaMX side Club America’s U-20 team. Landon Donovan’s dipped his toes into the coaching waters for the first time, as he was head man for the MLS HG squad. Prior to entering the field, the U.S. mega star provided his boys a simple yet worthwhile message, “Have fun.”

MLS was without some of its top homegrown stars, Gyasi Zardes, Matt Miazga, and Will Trapp but did have the talents of Harry Shipp, Russel Teibert, and Bradford Jamieson IV. San Jose up and comer, Tommy Thompson, scored the game’s first goal with a low slotted far post strike in the 34th minute.  Club America followed up with a tally of their own in the 68th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick. Sergio Rodriguez converted the spot kick, which eventually forced the game to move to a penalty kick shootout.  Club America wound up the victor after six rounds of penalty kicks, winning 5-4.

All Star Games of the Future
With the 2015 MLS All-Star Game officially in the books, now is a good time to take a step back and reassess the state of the game. All throughout the week we heard soccer celebrities provide their opinion on the current format, should MLS keep it, should they scrap it for the old East versus West version of yesteryear, or maybe take it to an entirely new level. Clint Dempsey at one point stated he liked the idea of East versus West. All-Star coach, Pablo Mastroeni, followed suit but backtracked shortly after earning a victory versus Tottenham.

Major League Soccer commissioner, Don Garber, was open to the idea of change; “We have [considered a format change],” he said. “I think there was a time when we needed to show the world that we could play against them. Now the world is kind of looking at us and wondering how can [they] be a part of it. So doing an East vs. West with all the great players we have probably makes sense, and maybe it’s time for a change. But we’ll go through a process through the year where we’ll try to figure that out.”

Personally, I have gone back and forth over the years. I believe the league has the quality now to have an entertaining East versus West showdown. Yet, who doesn’t thoroughly enjoy the freshness of a new international opponent year after year? Maybe we could see the league alternate and have an international opponent one year, followed by an all league showdown the next? Another interesting concept could be a an All-Star Draft of sorts, where a pool of players are selected by team captains. Maybe have Team Kaka versus Team Dempsey?

Regardless, the possibilities are endless, and as long as the fans, players, and media are enjoying themselves let’s keep this spectacle going. One alteration I would like to see, regardless of the format being used, is make it an all-star break, where the players aren’t having to play a game just days prior or days after the event. Give the players a midseason break and the opportunity to relax a bit and fully enjoy the all-star game experience.

Montreal @ NYCFC – NYCFC WIN
RBNY @ Philadelphia – RBNY WIN
Columbus @ Orlando – TIE
Houston @ SKC – Sporting KC WIN
LAG @ Colorado – LAG WIN
Vancouver @ Seattle – Seattle WIN
Portland @ SJ – TIE
FCD @ Chicago – Chicago WIN

Fantasy Lineup
Lastly, as usual, below is my fantasy lineup for week 22. What do you think of the lineup? How is your fantasy squad doing? Good luck to all!

About Mike Crosky

A writer, podcaster, coach, player, and fan of the beautiful game! Former MLS employee and now contributor to TotalMLS and host of Crosky on Soccer Podcast. Lifelong USMNT and MLS supporter! I am making it my life goal to eradicate diving from soccer. Join me!