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Teams look for bright spots
by Ridge Mahoney, March 29th, 2010 2:18AM

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TAGS:  chicago fire, d.c. united, houston dynamo, mls, toronto fc

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[MLS] It won't be easy for D.C. United's new coach Curt Onalfo to point to positives after United was routed by his former team, and Philadelphia's most surprising pick of the expansion draft disappointed, but Chicago and Toronto could find reason for optimism after their losses. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney looks back at the first week of MLS play ...

D.C. DEBACLE. Coach Curt Onalfo, dismissed by the Wizards last August, absorbed a 4-0 beating in a rainy return to CommunityAmerica Ballpark. On the second of four Kansas City goals, three defenders clustered around -- but did not tackle -- Ryan Smith, who slipped a ball to a wide-open Davy Arnaud to score easily. Keeper Troy Perkins didn't help the cause by bobbling a soft Kei Kamara centering ball for Smith to knock home the third.

BRIGHT FIRE. Of the teams that lost during Week One of MLS 2010, Chicago put up the best fight, losing 1-0 to the Red Bulls in their new digs. Brian McBride bounced a shot off the post with a bicycle kick that men his age (37) shouldn't even think of attempting; yet a year and a half after he finished his international career at the 2008 Olympics, if he's anything close to what he was during his Crew days, he'll be trouble for the rest of MLS.

MYRIE MANHANDLED. The most surprising pick of the Philadelphia Union’s expansion draft last November, young Costa Rican defender Dave Myrie, ran up against the Rave Green Buzzsaw – a.k.a Steve Zakuani – in the Thursday night opener at Qwest Field. Myrie is lithe and quick enough, yet Zakuani outmuscled him several times, and blew right past him to cut back a ball that Brad Evans drove into the net for the first Seattle goal in a 2-0 win. If Myrie is to wear the Union label, he needs better.

WHITE LIGHTNING.
In his Toronto FC coaching debut, Preki complained about the officiating as well as the result, but he had to be somewhat pleased with second-year striker O’Brian White, who confidently belted a pair of long-range shots, one with each foot, amid several threatening runs. The left-sided strike skimmed low and forced the best save of the night by Crew keeper Will Hesmer. True, White failed to impede Andy Iro as the massive defender headed the Crew’s first goal in its 2-0 win, but there’s reasons to like a White-Dwayne De Rosario pairing.

MOVE FOR MARVELL. Colorado coach Gary Smith swung a last-minute trade that sent midfielder Nick LaBrocca to TFC in exchange for right back Marvell Wynne, who not only got the start Friday night against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center but played center back alongside Drew Moor. Thanks to Maykel Galindo squandering a few opportunities, a quiet night for Justin Braun, and virtually nothing out of Sacha Kljestan, the Rapids came out of the match pretty solid and 1-0 winners. A tougher test should come Saturday when the fast, fluid Fire comes to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

BACK TO THE PRESENT. For his third pro season, Geoff Cameron – a Defender of the Year Finalist in 2009 – is playing center mid for the Dynamo, as he did at the University of Rhode Island. Against Dallas in a 1-1 tie on Saturday, he hit a few clever balls over the top that a stiff wind at Pizza Hut Park either held up or blew out of range, smacked a couple of long-range shots goalie Dario Sala scurried to deal with, and on one occasion smoothly escaped a pair of aggressive challenges without letting opponents so much as nick the ball. Next up: a marquee home date with champion Real Salt Lake, and a heavyweight showdown against RSL captain and resident gladiator Kyle Beckerman.



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