Major League Soccer Western Conference
The Western Conference is lead by Real Salt Lake, 37 points. They joined the league in 2005 and their one success came in 2009 when they defeated the LA Galaxy on penalties. Javier Morales is their key supplier and has contributed 7 assists this season.
In second place 3 pts behind is the Portland Timbers. Having joined the league in 2011 they were coached by former Scottish international John Spencer from the outset, but like most expansion sides struggled early on and he was let go mid way through their second season. This term is showing more promise. Colombian midfielder Diego Valeri makes them tick and has contributed with 6 assists so far this campaign.
Sitting menacingly in third and 1 point further back is the Wests glamour team the LA Galaxy. Despite David Beckham leaving last year after their back-to-back championship seasons and their fourth in total, after triumphs in 02 and 05, which ties them for the most all-time with DC United they still have a roster that includes Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan and are coached by the Legendary Bruce Arena, so anything less than a championship is seen as a disappointment.
The Vancouver Whitecaps sit fourth on 32 pts. Another team that is in it’s third campaign and is yet to dig up any trees. This term though they possess the leading goal soccer in Camilo Sanvezzo who has hit the back of the net 13 times so far. Russell Teibert is their main assist man with 7 helpers. Englishmen Nigel Reo-Coker and Matt Watson are also on the roster, coached by Scotsman Martin Rennie, so success could not be that far away.
Taking up the final playoff birth at the moment and level on points with the Whitecaps is FC Dallas. One of the originals but used to be called the Dallas Burn until the 2005 season. The closes they have ever got to winning it all was in 2010 when they lost the final to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 AET. Captain and play-maker David Ferreira leads the team in assists with 6.
Just 1 pt outside the playoffs is the Colorado Rapids. Another who lined-up from the start, some may remember that their first Goalkeeper was Ex England International Chris Woods and after leaving Hull City, had to get my hometown team in somehow! Caleb Folan went there the year after they had their one and only success in 2010. On their current roster is Scot Jamie Smith.
With a little work to do on 25 pts is the Seattle Sounders. Coming to the party in 2009 the fans in Seattle took their team to heart and possess some of the most fanatical supporters around. The team also responded as they won the US Open Cup each of their first three years and were runners-up to Sporting Kansas City last year, so on their day they are capable of beating anyone. Englishmen Andy Rose also calls Seattle home and they are coached by the well respected German-American Sigi Schmid.
In 8th and 1pt behind Seattle is the San Jose Earthquakes. Now a bit of concentration is needed for this team as questions will be asked at the end!! A team did start MLS in San Jose in 1996 but they were called the Clash, well at least to 1999. In 2000 they changed their name to the Earthquakes and in 2006 they changed again, this time the city they played in as they moved to Houston and became the 1836 and then later the Dynamo, still keeping up? Meanwhile back in San Jose the Earthquakes formed again and started the 2008 season as a expansion team, only in America I hear you say. Followers of other American sports will know that this quite common, but is no less confusing. The former Earthquakes did win the championship twice in 01 and 03 but nothing yet for the new San Jose team to celebrate. Englishman Jordan Stewart and Ireland’s Peter McGlynn ply their trade there but are probable blissfully unaware of the previous history.
Bring up the rear at this time is Chevas USA. They started playing in the 2005 season and are what is described as the ‘little brother’ club to it’s parent club C.D.Guadalajara of the Mexican league. In Spanish Chevas means female goat and that is C.D. Guadalajara nickname. They share the Home Depot Center with the LA Galaxy and the game between the two is called the SuperClasico. Much of Chivas’s success was early on as their parent club seem to want to make a point. They reached the conference Semi Finals from 2006-09 but have missed the playoffs every other year. Looking at the fact they only have 17 points so far making the second season this term will be a tall order.
So there you are, that is the teams introduced. So as we start to get towards the meaningful end of the season how will the cards fall? I will keep you updated with the battles on the field, as well as the ones off it, as we count it down to crowning the 2013 MLS Champions.
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