The Year in American Soccer, 2010

World Cup 2010 | MLS | WPS | USSF D2-Pro | USL-1st Division | USL-2nd Division | USL-PDL | WPSL | NPSL | W-League | MISL | CONCACAF Champions League | Men’s National Team | Women’s National Team | CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup | U-20 Women’s World Cup | U-17 Womens’ World Cup | U.S. Open Cup | International friendlies | The College Game | Awards & Tournaments

This was a very hectic year – both fulfilling and frustrating. It was highlighted by the World Cup, where the US saw new neights of fan interest, a stunning upset draw against England and edge-of-your-seat suspense, and ultimately a devastating defeat. Major League Soccer saw a major surge in interest and attendance, some excellent performances in the CONCACAF Champions League, numerous high-profile exhibition matches and an exciting US open Cup Finale. Turmoil continued with rival 2nd division leagues combining for the year while working out differences. Once again, the schedule in the summer was challenging with MLS clubs dividing time between league play, the Champions League, the Superliga and US Open Cup, and a long series of international friendlies. The women’s teams were busy as well with the Gold Cup/World Cup qualifying tournament, in which the team suffered a devastating semi-final loss while managing to qualify for WWC’11, and frustraing defeats in the U20 World Cup and U17 World Cup qualifications. Finally, the North Carolina women’s team finally came down to earth, losing in the Round of 16 of the NCAA tournament and finishing down at 6th place in the national polls.

One major area of contention was resolved with a great feeling of relief as a labor strike was averted with the signing of a 5-year MLS collective bargaining agreement. Another was delayed as the USSF bought time for the Division two combatants, (the NASL and USL First Division) by having their clubs play in USSF-run temporary league while they worked out their differences and secured sanctioning. Meanwhile, concerns mounted at the 3rd division as USL D-2 continued to shrink and the NPSL and WPSL operated more as amateur leagues. The top and amateur ranks were flourishing, but that critical area in between was very much in question. Late in the year, USL and NASL worked out their differences with the NASL receiving USSF Division 2 sanctioning, while USL merged their ailing top two divisions to create the new sanctioned Division 3 circuit, USL-Pro, while MLS announced the revival of their reserve division and progress continued in the development of team-run youth academies.

Although the men’s World Cup early exit was devastating after so much promise and suspense, Major League Soccer was looking stronger than ever, with a successful expansion to Philadelphia and two teams (Portland and Vancouver) with very strong fan bases and histories poised to join in 2011, and a critical resolution of the turmoil at the Division 2 and 3 levels. The overall picture looked good for the continued advancement of the game in the US.

World Cup 2010

The 2010 World Cup was the first to be held on the African continent, and its staging in South Africa was a triumph for that nation which had been ostracized from international competition until the demise of apartheid in 1994. The United States was one of only a handful of nations who had qualified for every World Cup since 1990, and the Nats were determined to improve on their lackluster 2006 performance. With the US roster finally settled, the US looked solid in goal, reasonably matched up on defense, with several core players (Landon, Dempsey, Bradley, Cherundolo) massed in midfield. There were still significant questions regarding the solidity of the defensive line, with Oguchi Oneywu still recovering from injury, and a massive overhaul of their midfield. Clearly, playmaking from the midfield would be critical to set up scoring opportunities for the potent if untested front line, led by the explosive youngster Jozy Altidore, but whether the line would jell, and the defense would hold was yet to be seen.

The group play draw had the US opening against England, a match that immediately became one of the anticipated highlights of the tournament. With memories of the legendary upset at the 1950 Cup, the game would be highly anticipated but the Americans would have an uphill battle. England was a powerhouse and top contender, stronger at all positions except possibly in goal. The rest of the draw was a good break, pitting the Nats against the relatively weak Slovenia and Algeria. This boded well for the Yanks, as victories against those two were certainly within their reach, ensuring them a passage to the Round of 16. But the opener against England would be a showcase event regardless of the outcome.

The US began their final training and exhibitions in earnest, giving themselves some reasonably good competition for final preparations. They got off to a flat start on May 25 against #33 Czech Republic, falling 4-2 in a game that should have been closer, but Mauricio Edu and Herculez Gomez availed themselves of good setups to find the net. The team finally began to pull things together four days later with a solid 2-1 victory over #29 Turkey, courtesy of goals by Altidore and Dempsey. Things got even better after arrival in South Africa. After more training regimens, players battled for starting spots in the final exhibition against #20 Australia at Roodesport. The US got right on the scoreboard board four minutes in when Edson Buddle found the net, and earned their second score less than 30 minutes later. A late goal by Gomez late in final stoppage time gave the Americans a 3-1 victory against a top-20 team, and they looked their best in some time. Finally there was hope the team had a chance to make a decent showing in the final tournament.

As the starting matches approached, the enormous growth of American soccer since the USA hosted the 1994 World Cup became clear. The public was showing interest and following events at a much higher level than in previous editions and the media coverage was unprecedented. In a fitting illustration of growing fan interest, more overseas ticket sales (150,000) went to American fans than those of any other nation, and doubled sales to England, despite the greater traveling distance. With the major growth of the internet, Twitter, Facebook, HD telecasts, I-phone apps, etc. the Cup reached a new level of accessibility and penetration into the public consciousness, and every game would be broadcast on English and Spanish based major networks.

All of this preparation was rewarded as the US took to the field in the highly anticipated opener against England, a rematch of the famous upset in Brazil in 1950. England, ranked #8 by FIFA, was clearly the better team, and rightly expected to win, but memories of 1950 and uncertainty in goal, and the loss of team captain Rio Ferdinand to injury, among other factors reminded people that anything was possible, and it was not a match England took lightly. For the US, ranked #14, the match provided an unequalled opportunity to play a match for the ages, and fan interest was unprecedented, even among mainstream Americans not part of the growing soccer culture.

The US got off to a disastrous start when acting English captain Stephen Gerard blew past Ricardo Clark in front of the US net and slammed home a shot in the 4th minute. This boded ill for the Yanks – no US team had ever won after giving up the 1st goal in World Cup competition, and it brought back terrifying memories of early opponent scores in past matches. But the US equalized on the “Play of the Match”, one that would go down in infamy – at least in England. It all happened in the 40th minute, with halftime quickly approaching, Clint Dempsey launched a driving run, spinning around Gerrard, and launched a weak bouncing shot towards goal. What should have been an easy save turned into the debacle of the decade as the ball smacked into the outstretched hands of GK Robert Green, then bounded past him towards goal. Green, out of position wheeled around and lunged desperately just in time to see the ball roll over the line.

This stunning turn of events gave the US squad a desperately needed boost of confidence and the team hunkered down. They still struggled to find their scoring touch, with only one real good scoring opportunity in the rest of the game, when Jozy Altidore made a great run down the left side, taking a hard shot to Green who deflected the shot off the left post. But the defensive line came together, frustrating many England scoring runs. The English did break through three more times with excellent scoring shots, but Tim Howard saved the day each time, and the US held England scoreless the rest of their match on their way to an amazing 1-1 draw, with Tim Howard being named Man of the Match. The US had been given their moment in the world spotlight and pulled through on a mix of a major lucky break followed by tenacious defense. But the US would take points any way they could, and this considerably improved their position for the remaining matches.

In the end, the US pulled off another miracle – perhaps not as stunning as the 1950 upset, but still one that did their nation proud. It must be said that the US was VERY lucky – they were given a huge gift when Robert Green’s major blunder in goal allowed a bouncing shot from Clint Dempsey to cross the line for a score. But the US defense held on, denying England any scoring chances after their shocking score 4 minutes into the 1st half. No victory this time, but a 1-1 draw was still enough to be considered a miracle, just when it counted, and with the whole world watching.

The draw was as important symbolically as a win for the US given their underdog status and it improved their outlook for the remainder of pool play; their draw gave them two relatively easy opponents in #25 ranked Slovenia and #30 ranked Algeria. No pushovers, to be sure, and this was no time to become complacent, especially after Slovenia won their opening match against Algeria and took top spot in Group C. A win against Slovenia in their 2nd match would be essential for the Amerks, and a loss would seriously compromise their ability to advance.

The United States hoped for an easier time of it in their match against Slovenia on June 18, but once again fell into the same old mistakes. As midfield lapses made a shambles of the US attack plan, Valter Birsa scored on the counterattack in the 13th, putting the Americans in the familiar hole. Rattled, the US became erratic and rough, earning several fouls, but not pressing the attack. Things got worse just seconds before stoppage time when Zaltan Ljubijankic slipped behind the disjointed American defensive line and found the net to extend Slovenia’s lead to 2-0.

At this point the US appeared to be in serious jeopardy, and the ineffective Francisco Torres and Robbie Findley were replaced. Rejuvenated, the team came to life after halftime, and their greatest World Cup comeback was underway. In one of the US’s first attack runs of the 2nd half, Steve Cherundolo lined a pass down the flank to Landon Donovan. Defender Bostjian Cesar slipped while attempting to intercept, clearing the way between Donovan and the goal. With no opportunity to cross, he shot high, right over the keeper to get the US on the scoreboard.

From that point, the comeback was on, with the US offense dominating, making run after run through the defenses. Several shots failed to connect (the US ultimately outshot Slovenia 15-7), but in the 82nd minute, a long shot from Donovan found its way to Jozy Altidore at the corner of the penalty area. Altidore headed the ball in front of a charging Michael Bradley, who shot it over the keeper to pull the US even. The Nats pressed the attack and three minutes later, Donovan sent a free kick into the feisty scrum in front of the goal, with Mauricio Edu breaking free and slammed it into the goal only to have the referee disallow the goal on a questionable call. To add insult to injury Edu was cited with a yellow card despite being practically held in a headlock during the scrum. With the lead denied, Slovenia made a couple last desperate attacking runs, but the US held on to earn a 2-2 draw in a critical game, the best comeback in their history

Although US players were fuming about the disputed call (the referee in question was dropped after the 2nd round of pool play matches) which denied them their first victory and advancement, their cause was helped by Algeria’s stunning 0-0 draw against England. This gave the US a goals earned advantage against England which could be critical in any tiebreaking situation. The team, and the nation, bided their time with baited breath as round 2 went through its courses.

The USA was in a good position heading into round 3. Slovenia led the table, the US had a two goal advantage over England, and they played the easiest team in their group, albeit one who had held mighty England scoreless. The audience included former president Bill Clinton along with a massive contingent of Sam’s Army members and other US fans who had made the trip across the Atlantic. The match was excruciating to say the least. The feisty Algerians made American lives miserable in their match up (first ever between the nations), frustrating the US attacks while mounting several of their own, with an early shot hitting the post. The US launched many attacks for naught. Clint Dempsey found the net in the 21st minute, tapping the ball by the final defender, but the goal was called back on a questionable offside call. Several more shots hit the post or went wide, but still no goal.

Things became dire after England pulled ahead of Slovenia late in the first half; a tie would no longer do, the Americans had to win. Dempsey again got off a great shot in the 57th minute, but it hit the post. He pounced in the rebound, but sent it wide. The four teams continued in scoring stasis through the second half, with US fans despairing as the clock wore down, regulation ended while England continued to roll over a lifeless Slovenia. Coach Bradley changed the positioning, sending three strikers up front, then withdrawing one, to no avail. As time wound down, desperation engulfed the US supporters. After being repeatedly chopped down by Algerian defenders, Dempsey was forced to the sideline in the 82nd minute for stitches. Nothing connected as the game time wound down into the four allotted minutes of stoppage time. Finally, at 90:33, the miracle happened. Tim Howard stopped a shot by Algeria’s Rafik Salfi, hurling the ball to Landon Donovan on the right flank. Donovan dribbled down the side, passing ahead to Jozy Altidore; Altidore crossed the ball to Dempsey in the penalty area; Dempsey shot it to goal. Rais M’Bolhi blocked the shot as Dempsey charged in, got a foot on it before tumbling over M’Bolhi, just as Landon Donovan charged in to slam the ball into the open net. Celebrations ensued, and the energized US held the defensive line until the final whistle to take the 1-0 victory.

The US was through! Better than that, with their goal, they beat England for top spot in Group C, winning their first finish at the top since 1930. Later action settled Group D, leading to a US match up with Ghana (the only remaining African team) in the Final 16, and a possible quarterfinal match against Uruguay who went on to defeat South Korea in their Round of 16 match. By this time, unprecedented attention was being paid to the USA team by domestic audiences and major celebrities were proudly wearing the colors and cheering the team on.

In the Round of 16, the US was pitted against a familiar foe, Ghana, who had eliminated the Americans in the 2006 Cup. Ghana was the last remaining African team in the tournament and with the hopes of an entire continent resting on their shoulders, the Ghanaians had the crowd solidly on their side. Unfortunately, the Nats got off to a familiar bad start, conceding the first goal. Five minutes into the match, a hesitant Ricardo Clark allowed Kevin-Prince Boateng to strip the ball from him and launched a furious counterattack towards the US goal with Clark chasing hopelessly behind, and scored on a long, hard shot just outside the penalty area. By the start of the 2nd period, the US began to fight with some urgency and began to launch some good scoring runs. Landon Donovan evened the score in the 62nd minute on a penalty kick. Then it was back to the familiar grind right into extra time, with Ghana gradually gaining the upper hand. Their perseverance paid off as they found the net in the 93rd minute. The US tried desperately to equalize, but to no avail. Ghana won the game 2-1, sending the US home.

The US performance as a whole was considered a success; they had met their objective of getting out of pool play, but there was much disappointment, as their potential opponents created a relatively easy road to the semi-finals, had the US not derailed themselves. Ghana would go on to lose to Uruguay in the quarterfinals. The Cup final featured a first time World Cup match up between the Netherlands and Spain, each gunning for their first Cup title. In a rough and penalty filled game, Spain finally found the net late in extra time for a 1-0 victory.

Major League Soccer (Division 1)

MLS launched a new team in Philadelphia, opened new stadiums in New Jersey and Philadelphia, signed a bevy of untested foreign players, and for the first time scheduled a two-week summer break for the first half of the World Cup. A greater sense of parity gave many teams the opportunity to advance into post-season play. Toronto replaced their artificial turf with grass. Teams missing the playoffs received $400,000 in allocation money to assist the rebuilding process, and expansion Philadelphia received $1,200,000. Allocation money could be used in trades as long as at least $75,000 is involved. ESPN moved the bulk of the televised matches back to Thursday nights to maintain consistency, while Fox maintained its weekend three-hour weekend telecasts. Seattle looked good to equal their impressive debut season performance, but questions remained whether New York would ever enjoy the sweet taste of success, despite opening their new stadium. In an appropriate honor, the Seattle Sounders were named Professional Sports Team of the Year by Sports Business Journal.

Perhaps the most important development was the signing of a new five-year collective bargaining agreement whose completion was uncertain until the last minute, raising fears of a strike or lockout that could have been devastating. The new contract, running through 2014, raised the team salary cap to $2,550,000 with a 5% increase per year through 2014, and raised the minimum salary for senior players from $34,000 to $40,000 with 5% annual increases thereafter. It also guaranteed the contracts for all players 24 and older with 3 years of MLS service (The majority of active players). The league also established a re-entry draft for out-of-contract players with different procedures for those with expired contracts, terminated contracts and with options not exercised. Options were limited to two or three, depending on age and length of service; incentives included guaranteed salary raises for players making less than $125,000 depending on % games played, as well as bonuses for wins and exhibitions. They also renewed the Group License through 2015, and expanded their benefits package including appearance fees, per diem for travel, relocation expense reimbursement, full family health care coverage, and increases in 401K contributions.

New England waived longtime stalwarts Steve Ralston and Jay Heaps, and Taylor Twellman was off on extended recovery from spinal and neck injuries and Chris Albright left for the New York Red Bulls. Among the newcomers were Preston Burpo and Cory Gills from Colorado, and Senegalese Niouky Desire, and prospects looked good for at least a playoff appearance. The New York Red Bulls went through another major renovation to rebuild after their worst season in history, hoping that the new stadium would stabilize the financial situation, with no more massive rental payments to the Meadowlands complex. Hans Backe was hired as the new coach. Among the newcomers were Joel Lindpere and Roy Miller from the Norwegian League and Chris Albright from New England. Many players were dropped, and few of the remaining players were highly ranked, leaving the 2010 prospects rather dim.

Carlos de los Cobos was hired by Chicago as the first Mexican coach in MLS. The Fire made up for the loss of Chris Rolfe, Segares (to Europe) and Brandon Pridoux (retired) with Krzysztof Krol (on loan from Poland), Julio Martinez (on loan from Leon), Corban Bone (Wake Forest) and Sean Johnson (UCF); they expected to do well in 2010. The Columbus Crew looked to recover from last year’s playoff collapse after winning the Supporter’s Shield, still boasting one of the best attackers (Warzycha) and strongest defensive lines in the league; hence few changes for 2010, only major loss being Alejandro Moreno, to Philadelphia in the expansion draft.

After barely missing the playoffs, DC United tabbed Curt Onalfo as their 6th head coach. Jaime Moreno returned, but gone were Emilio Luciano, Fred, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, and many others. Troy Perkins arrived from Norway, Adam Christman was signed from the Wizards, and Christian Castilo from Leon, Mexico, but even then, making the playoffs would be a major accomplishment. Kansas City saw extensive roster turnover during the off-season, leaving their prospects for 2010 uncertain, but it was hoped that the fresh blood would improve the Wizards’ 2nd-worst-in the-league offense, and improve their dismal home won/loss record. On a positive note, ground was broken for their soccer-specific stadium.

Philadelphia Union was founded by Keystone Sports Entertainment, headed by Jay Sugarman, CEO of iStar Financial, who hired former MetroStar Nick Sakiewicz as general manager, and former Chicago Fire helmsman Peter Nowak as head coach. Major players drafted and allocated included Danny Cailiff, Michael Orozco (on loan from San Luis), left back Jordan Harvey (Colorado), Fred (DCU), Alejandro Moreno (Galaxy), Sebastian Le Toux, former Olympian Chris Reitz and Brad Knighton from the Revs. In contrast to other recent expansions, the Union roster was not filled with well known individual players but rather people who were expected to work well together as a group.

Toronto made few changes despite their 4th year sans postseason, and some significant holes to fill at midfield, hoping for continued improvement from their young roster. Chivas USA hired their first coach of Mexican heritage, yet only had two Mexican players on their roster. Again expecting to be a top defensive team, Chivas’s prospects depended largely on getting some life into its scoring attack. In a major trade, Colorado got Jeff Laurentowicz and Wells Thompson from the Revolution, giving some needed support to aging Pablo Mastroeni on the midfield line. FC Dallas suffered a major blow when striker Kenny Cooper left for Europe after 4 productive seasons. They acquired veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman from K.C, but the team was depending heavily on 34-year old Jeff Cunningham to keep the goals coming, and had attendance problems to worry about as well. Houston Dynamo lost Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark, but still boasted one of the stronger rosters in the league with depth at all positions.

Once again, David Beckham would be on loan until August, leaving him only half a season with the Galaxy. Tony Sanneh was let go, and Clint Mathis was brought in from Real Salt Lake, and they signed three young Brazilians – Alex, Juninho and Leonardo. With Landon Donovan secure in his spot, the midfield was the major question, as well as prospects for making a good playoff run. Real Salt Lake had challenges in their quest to repeat as Cup champion, getting a late start to preseason and having several holes to fill after losing the likes of Clint Mathis, Yura Movsisyan and Chris Seitz, but Robbie Findley scored a career high 12 goals in 2009 to give the team some scoring punch and it was hoped his prowess would continue. San Jose was coming off two frustrating last-place finishes, but made relatively few rosters changes outside of Eduardo, Joey Gjertson and Javier Robles adding a little depth. Seattle Sounders kept their roster largely intact from their successful debut season and had to cut off season ticket sales at an amazing 32,000, and prospects looked good for their sophomore season.

For the MLS business managers, the early 2010 season was a delightful occurrence. Both the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls got off to rousing starts, helping to grow attendance in the two largest TV markets. Seattle Sounders struggled in their sophomore season, but continued to draw in excess of 35,000 per game, and Philadelphia Union, while playing like an expansion club, proved popular with their fans. In fact, they set a new precedent in the annals of US soccer history. Their new soccer-specific stadium, scheduled to open in late June held 18,000 fans. Their first few games, held at Lincoln Financial field averaged 25,000 fans per game. Never before had a U.S. stadium been rendered obsolete due to size before holding its first match!

For the first time, MLS suspended its season for the World Cup, returning to action after the group stage. Teams got right back into the thick of it, with the New York Red Bulls staging a coup by signing Thierry Henry, the biggest player signing since Beckham. New York continued to hold on to 2nd place in the standings while fighting Columbus for top spot. Late July saw a busy schedule for teams with league matches interspersed by SuperLiga matches, US Open Cup games, the CONCACAF Champions League, the Barclay’s New York Challenge, the All-Star Game and numerous friendlies against touring teams. With the signing of Thierry Henry, MLS boasted two of the top 20 top earning soccer players worldwide. Beckham came in 3rd at $40.5 million (including bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees), and Henry at 5th with $24 million.

Thierry Henry made an immediate impact, assisting on two goals in his debut on July 31. Buoyed by his success, the Red Bulls continued to fight a tooth and nail battle with the Columbus Crew for primacy in the Eastern Division, winning the divisional title by one point, with Kansas City finishing a distant third, out of the playoffs. In the much stronger Western division, Los Angeles had an easier time winning the division title although it was still a close race, with the Galaxy earning 59 points to win over Real Salt Lake by 3 points, also taking the Supporter’s Shield. With most eastern teams out of playoff contention, the Western division had a free-for-all for bragging rights in a four-way battle for third place that meant little by the fact that all four teams easily clinched a playoff berth. Second year Seattle had the best record for the second half of the season and finished a respectable 14-10-6 for 4th, and expansion Philadelphia Union finished 8-15-7 for 7th; not bad for an expansion club.

The conference semifinals saw a quick exit for the two eastern teams with San Jose coming back from a tough opening 1-0 shutout to thrash the Red Bulls 3-1, and Colorado beating Columbus 1-0 and 2-1. Los Angeles dispatched Seattle 1-0 and 2-1, and in a close series, FC Dallas beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the opener and held on for a 1-1 draw in the second leg to pass through. The Rapids continued their winning ways in the semifinals, winning a 1-0 shutout over the Earthquakes in a match that was not as close as the scoreboard would indicate; the score could have been much higher if not for some fantastic saves by GK Jon Busch. Meanwhile, FC Dallas caught fire against the slumping Los Angeles Galaxy with a steady drumbeat of attacking runs. Ferreira opened the scoring for Dallas in the 26th minute, followed by George John in the 54th and Marvin Chavez in the 73rd. The Galaxy never could find the net and were beaten soundly.

MLS Cup 2010 featured two original MLS teams: FC Dallas, making their first ever cup appearance, and the Colorado Rapids, making their first appearance since 1997. Whichever team won would be bringing the first cup title to their city. This was also the first cup to be held outside of the United States, taking place at MBO Field in Toronto on November 21. This would be no blowout. The teams were closely matched, and the game began as a tough battle. David Ferreira opened scoring in the 35th minute, giving Dallas a 1-0 lead. The Rapids battled back after halftime, and Conor Casey equalized in the 64th minute. The stalemate then ensued, with Conor nearly scoring again in the 84th minute, but to no avail. The teams battled well into added extra time, but the match was finally decided in the 108th minute when George John botched a deflection attempt against Macoumba Kandji’s chip shot from within the penalty box. The deflected ball landed in the net for an own goal, giving the Colorado Rapids their first MLS Cup title. The MLS Cup victory gave Colorado a direct Group Stage berth in the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League as MLS Cup Champion, while Dallas earned a berth in the qualifying round as runner-up. MLS Supporters’ Shield winner Los Angeles won a berth as well, as did Seattle, the US Open Cup champion. Television ratings were down significantly to a 0.5 rating for 1.1 million viewers, but the game had everything going against it audience-wise. Colorado and Dallas were two of the least-supported teams in the league, the game was in prime-time, on a Sunday night pitted against a major NFL match up and the American Music Awards, and was on ESPN rather than ABC.

David Ferreira of FC Dallas was the league MVP, and Chris Wondolowski was the top goals corer with 18 goals. MLS attendance for 2010 topped the 4 million mark for the first time, totaling 4,002,053, for an average of 16,675 per game. Although this was helped by the successful expansion Philadelphia Union (who averaged 19,254 per game), many teams showed strong gains, led by Seattle at 36,173 per game, and the overall average was substantially better than 2009’s figure of 16,037. The gate was expected to benefit further in 2011 with the addition of Portland and Vancouver, two teams with a long history of popularity in the USL. Teams did well outside of league play, with Seattle winning the U. S. Open Cup, and Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC advancing to the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League. MLS also aquitted itself in friendly competition against touring world teams, highlighted by Kansas City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United, expansion Philadelphia’s wins over Reading and Celtic, and San Jose’s draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Overall, it was a very successful year for MLS with the substantial increase in attendance and the addition of several major international stars to team rosters. The league announced that it would re-establish the Reserve Division in 2011, and add a 19th team (Montreal Impact) in 2012, with a 20th team to be announced at a later date.

Official 2010 MLS Season Stats
Official MLS History Archives

              Final 2010 Major League Soccer Standings

Before the season, Philadelphia was added.

                           GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts    Att
     Eastern Division
New York Red Bulls         30  15   9   6   38  29   51  18,441
Columbus Crew              30  14   8   8   40  34   50  14,642
Kansas City Wizards        30  11  13   6   36  35   39  10,287 
Chicago Fire               30   9  12   9   37  38   36  15,814
Toronto FC                 30   9  13   8   33  41   35  20,453
New England Revolution     30   9  16   5   32  50   32  12,987
Philadelphia Union         30   8  15   7   35  49   31  19,254
D. C. United               30   6  20   4   21  47   22  14,532

     Western Division
Los Angeles Galaxy         30  18   7   5   44  26   59  21,437
Real Salt Lake             30  15   4  11   45  20   56  17,095
FC Dallas                  30  12   4  14   42  28   50  10,815
Seattle Sounders FC        30  14  10   6   39  35   48  36,173
Colorado Rapids            30  12   8  10   44  32   46  13,329
San Jose Earthquakes       30  13  10   7   34  33   46   9,659
Houston Dynamo             30   9  15   6   40  49   33  17,310
Chivas USA                 30   8  18   4   31  45   28  14,576

Conference Semi-Finals:  San Jose defeated New York 0-1, 3-1
                         Colorado defeated Columbus 1-0, 2-1
                         Los Angeles defeated Seattle 1-0, 2-1
                         FC Dallas defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1, 1-1
Conference Finals:       Colorado defeated San Jose 1-0
                         FC Dallas defeated Los Angeles 3-0
MLS CUP 2010:            Colorado defeated Dallas 2-1

Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps will join the league in 2011.


Chris Wondolowski, San Jose           28  18
Edson Buddle, Los Angeles             25  17
Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto            27  15
Omar Cummings, Columbus               29  14
Sebastian Le Toux, Philadelphia       28  14
Juan Pablo Angel, New York            30  13
Conor Casey, Columbus                 27  13
Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake        27  12
Jeff Cunningham, Dallas               27  11
Kei Kamara, Kansas City               29  10
Fredy Montero, Seattle                29  10
Steve Zakuani, Seattle                29  10

GOALKEEPING LEADERS  (Minimum 1000 minutes)
                                  GP   MIN SHTS SVS  GA   GAA  SO

Kevin Hartman, Dallas             20  1755   68  56  12  0.62   9
Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake      27  2430   96  78  18  0.67  14
Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles     29  2610  105  79  26  0.90  11
Bouna Coundoul, New York          27  2430  133 105  28  1.04  11
Jon Busch, San Jose               18  1620  100  81  19  1.06   7
William Hesmer, Columbus          30  2695  117  84  33  1.18  11
Matt Pickens, Columbus            29  2610  120  88  32  1.10   7
Kasey Keller, Seattle             30  2655  116  82  34  1.15  11
Joe Cannon, San Jose              12  1080   52  38  14  1.17   6
Jimmy Nielsen, Kansas City        29  2610  114  80  34  1.17  10
Andrew Dykstra, Chicago           17  1530   76  55  21  1.24   5
Sean Johnson, Chicago             13  1170   69  52  17  1.31   3
Stefan Frei, Toronto              28  2520  145 108  37  1.32   8
Zach Thornton, Chivas USA         23  2015   96  63  33  1.47   6
Troy Perkins, DC United           22  1980  109  72  37  1.68   5
Pat Onstead, Houston              23  2070   89  49  40  1.74   4
Matt Reis, New England            14  1260   76  51  25  1.79   3
Chris Seitz, Philadelphia         23  2047  109  68  41  1.80   0

All-Star Game: Manchester United defeated the MLS All-Stars 5-2 at Reliant Stadium, Houston,. TX on July 28, 2010. Goal scorers Machedo (ManU 1′, 13′), Ching (MLS 64′), Gibson (ManU 70′), Cleverley (ManU 73′), Hernandez (ManU 84′), De Rosario (90′). Attendance was 70,728). Frederico Machedo (ManU) was Match MVP.

MLS Award Winners:

Most Valuable Player: David Ferreira, FC Dallas
Coach of the Year: Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas
Goalkeeper of the Year: Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles Galaxy
Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake
Rookie of the Year: Andy Najar, Rookie of the Year
Golden Boot Award (Top goal scorer) : Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes
Referee of the Year: Kevin Stott
Supporters' Shield Award: Los Angeles Galaxy
Fair Play Award: Sebastian Le Toux, Philadelphia Union

MLS Best 11 (TBA):
G - Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles Galaxy
D - Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake
D - Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake
D - Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy
M - Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy
M - David Ferreira, FC Dallas
M - Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union
M - Javier Morales, Real Salt lake
M - Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC
F - Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes
F - Edson Buddle, Los Angeles Galaxy

SuperLiga 2010

The 4th annual SuperLiga consisted of the four top MLS clubs that had not qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League, and the top four overall (combining Apertura and Clausera) Mexican Football League teams not qualified for the Champions League. MLS was represented by the Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire, New England Revolution and Chivas USA.

            Final Pool Play Standings, 2010 SuperLiga

                        G  W  D  L GF GA Pt
     Group A
Houston Dynamo          3  2  1  0  2  1  7
Puebla                  3  2  0  1  5  3  6
Chivas USA              3  1  1  1  3  3  4
Pachuca                 3  0  0  3  2  6  0

     Group B
New England Revolution  3  3  0  0  3  0  9
Morelia                 3  1  1  1  7  4  4
Chicago Fire            3  1  0  2  2  6  3
UNAM                    3  0  1  2  2  4  1

Semi-finals:   New England defeated Puebla 1-1 (5-3-PK)
               Morelia defeated Houston 1-0
FINAL:         Morelia defeated New England 2-1

Women’s Professional Soccer

WPS added two expansion teams – the Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence, which partly offset the loss of the Los Angeles Sol from the previous year. The league suffered through a sophomore slump with declining attendance and franchises folding – despite the apparently good prospects seen at the start of the season. Despite losses averaging two million per team, the league weathered the economic meltdown of 2009, kept their television contract with Fox Soccer Channel. Puma and the US Coast Guard were joined by Citigroup as major sponsors, and a number of local sponsors also joined. Atlanta boasted a new 8,300 seat soccer-specific stadium built in partnership with Kennesaw College. Demographics indicated a third of fans averaged $150,000 in annual salary.

The season was expanded from, 20 to 24 games. Rosters were set at 18 players plus up to 4 developmental players, with an international limit of five. Season ticket sales were up slightly to just over 1,000 per team. Like the WUSA before it, WPS in its first year established itself as the world’s women’s league of choice, quickly attracting the cream of the international talent pool. This year the number of nations represented jumped from 13 to 19, including the league’s first signings from Norway, Germany, Mexico and Spain. The league extended their grassroots outreach via WPS camps in the franchise cities. Tentative plans were in place for two additional teams in 2011. There was also the possibility that WPS teams, beginning in 2010 would take part in the Women’s US Open Cup.

The Atlanta Beat assembled a fairly young team, void of major names, or starting National players, but a group that was expected to be cohesive. Major names included defenders Koa McNeill, and Leighann Robinson, midfielder Stacy Bishop, and Tobin Heath. Philadelphia built the spine of their new team around Jennifer Buczkowski, Nikki Krzysik, Sarah Senty, Danesha Adams and Lori Lindsey, also adding Allison Falk and National team veteran Heather Mitts to the back line with Val Henderson and Katrina LeBlanc in goal.

The Washington Freedom kept their squad largely intact with changes to shore up their one weak spot-defense. To that end, Nikki Marshall was their first draft pick, and they picked up Brittany Brock in the Sol dispersal draft, and Cat Reddick was at full strength, recovered from her ACL injury. St. Louis Athletica traded Kia McNeill, Angie Kerr and Amanda Poach to Atlanta for the 1st pick in the dispersal draft, landing them Shannon Boxx. They also fleshed out their midfield with the acquisition of Elaine (Brazil), Daniela (Brazil), Aya Miyama (Japan), Tina DiMartino and Lori Chalupny. They also welcomed Daniela back from injury, boosting their attack.

The Boston Breakers worked on their finishing after several late season losses ruined their season, signing Tiffany Weimer from Gold Pride, and Laura Rio, the first Spanish player in WPS. Stephanie Cox was picked to shore up defense and Osborne was signed as a free agent for midfield. FC Gold Pride lost Brazilian midfielder Formiga to free agency, and traded Tina DiMartino to Los Angeles for Frenchwoman Carmine Abily, but filled an international slot with the top Norwegian midfielder Solveig Gilbrandsen, and another with Canadian defender Candace Chapman. When the Sol folded, Gold pride was able to land the league’s top player, Marta of Brazil. Despite going through three coaches on its way to the league title, Sky Blue kept their team mostly intact, their most important signing being head coach Paullina Miettinen from Finland. Dutch National team captain Daphne Koster was a top candidate for the starting backline along with Brittany Taylor, a draftee from UConn.

The season got off to a good start, with a strong showing by the expansion Philadelphia Independence, and a strong early lead by FC Gold Pride, but the league suffered a major blow when St. Louis Athletica folded after six games due to financial problems. FC Gold Pride was unstoppable as it dominated all opponents, winning the regular season title by a comfortable margin with 53 points. The Boston Breakers battled Washington and the expansion Philadelphia Independence for 2nd place, winning the spot in the final matches.

The WPS Playoffs were rather unusual, with the top team receiving a bye to the championship match, the 2nd team receiving a bye to the Super Semi-Final and the remaining teams pitted in a first-round qualifier. Philadelphia made the most of their inaugural season, shutting out Washington in the qualifier, and beating Boston 2-1 in a close match. The WPS championship match was held at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, CA on September 26 before a crowd of 5,228. FC Gold Pride was unstoppable, completely dominating Philadelphia on their way to a 4-0 rout. Christine Sinclair opened the scoring in the 18th minute, and finding the net again in the 53rd. Candace Wilson scored in the 28th, and Marta got a last-minute goal in the 90th. giving the Gold Price a convincing victory.

The Gold Pride’s Marta won the league Most Valuable Player award and was the league’s top scorer, with 19 goals and 43 points. The WPS suffered a big sophomore slump at the gate, with total attendance declining to 313,272, with per game average showing an alarming drop from 4,684 to 3,601. To make matters worse, two teams (league champion FC Gold Pride and Chicago) folded, leaving the league with no teams west of the east coast. A new team was formed in Rochester the West New York Flash, to bring 2011’s contingent up to 6 teams.

                     Final WPS Standings, 2010

Before the season, Atlanta and Philadelphia were added.

                           GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
FC Gold Pride              24  16   3   5   46  19   53
Boston Breakers            24  10   8   6   36  28   36
Philadelphia Independence  24  10  10   4   37  36   34
Washington Freedom         24   8   9   7   33  33   31
Sky Blue F. C.             24   7  10   7   20  31   28
Chicago Red Stars          24   7  11   6   21  27   27
Atlanta Beat               24   5  13   6   20  40   21
St. Louis Athletica         6   2   1   3    9   8    9

First Round:       Philadelphia defeated Washington 1-0
Super Semi-final:  Philadelphia defeated Boston 2-1
WPS CHAMPIONSHIP:  FC Gold Pride defeated Philadelphia 4-0.

St. Louis Athletica folded during the season.  FC Gold Pride and 
Chicago folded at the end of the season.

Leading Scorers:
                                  GP   G  A Pts
Marta, FC Gold Pride              24  19  5  43
Abby Wambach, Washington          22  13  8  34
Amy Rodriguez, Philadelphia       23  12  6  30
Christine Sinclair, FC Gold Pride 23  10  9  28
Kelly Smith, Boston               21  11  5  27
Eniola Aluko, Atlanta             20   9  0  18
Jordan Angeli, Boston             21   7  3  17
Elia Masar, Chicago               22   8  0  16
Kelly O'Hara, FC Gold Pride       18   6  4  16
Tiffeny Milbrett, FC Gold Pride   22   6  2  14

Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 60 Min. per game average)
                                    GP   MIN SHTS SVS  GA   GAA  SO
Nicole Barnhart, FC Gold Pride      18  1880   92  73  16  0.77   8
Jillian Loyden, Chicago             23  2070   99  72  27  1.17   6
Hope Solo, St. Louis/Atlanta        22  1980  139 104  36  1.64   6

All-Star Game: The All-Star game was held June 30 in Kennesaw, Georgia,
where, before a crowd of 4,610, Marta's XI defeated Abby's XI 5-2.
Marta, Sinclair, Miyama and Rodriguez scored for Marta's side, while
Aluko and Cheney scored for Abby's side.

WPS Award Winners:
Michelle Akers Player of the Year: Marta FC Gold Pride
Golden Boot Award: Marta, FC Gold Pride
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Nicole Barnhart, FC Gold Pride
Defender of the Year: Amy LePeilbet, Boston Breakers
Coach of the Year: Paul Riley, Philadelphia Independence
Rookie of the Year: Ali Riley, FC Gold Pride
Sportswoman of the Year: Natalie Spilger, Chicago Red Stars

USSF D2-Pro League

The year 2010 began with USL at odds with the newly formed North American Soccer League which had been formed by a majority of USL First Division teams who had broken away from the league. Because neither the NASL (with only six teams not contractually committed to play in USL in 2010) and USL (with only three teams remaining in First Division) had enough teams to function, the USSF declined to sanction either league at the division 2 level. Instead they decided to operate a temporary league for 2010, the USSF D2-Pro League which would encompass all USL First Division and NASL clubs; play would continue while the leagues worked out their off-field differences to allow a workable solution for 2011.

The D2-Pro League included three new franchises, A. C. St. Louis, FC Tampa Bay, and the NSC Minnesota Stars, replacing the Minnesota Thunder, who folded in 2009. Vancouver got off to the early lead in the NASL Conference, holding off Carolina and Montreal, while the Austin Aztex took a commanding lead in the USL Conference over Tampa Bay which made a surprisingly strong start for an expansion team.

Carolina narrowly beat Vancouver for the NASL Conference title, while Rochester held on to win the USL conference title over Austin, with Portland and Montreal settling for third place finishes. In the quarterfinals, Puerto Rico, Vancouver, Montreal and Carolina prevailed. Puerto Rico battled Vancouver to a scoreless draw in the first half of their semi-final match up, while Carolina lost to Montreal 1-0. The Islanders found the net twice in their 2nd leg to send Vancouver packing, while Carolina scored two of their own to advance past Montreal. The Islanders took the first game in the title match 2-0, and held on for a 1-1 draw in the rejoinder to earn the championship.

Overall the season was quite successful considering the unfortunate circumstances of the league’s existence. Attendance totaled 800,200 for average of 4,449 per game. Total was slightly higher due to the addition of a 12th team, but average was slightly lower than USL-1’s last season. Ultimately, the USL-NASL fight was settled when USL decided to merge their top two divisions into a new 3rd division circuit (USL-Pro) while NASL earned provisional Division 2 sanctioning from USSF and prepared for their 2011 debut.

                      2010 D2-Pro League Standings

Austin, Portland, and Puerto Rico joined from USL Division 1. 
Carolina, Crystal Palace, Miami F. C., Montreal, Rochester, St. Louis, 
F. C. Tampa Bay and Vancouver joined from the NASL.  Minnesota was added as
an expansion team

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts    Att
     NASL Conference
Carolina Railhawks          30  13   9   8   44  32   47   2,247
Vancouver Whitecaps         30  10   5  15   32  22   45   5,098
Montreal Impact             30  12  11   7   36  30   43  12,397
Miami FC                    30   7  11  12   37  49   33   1,271
A. C. St. Louis             29   7  15   8   32  48   29   2,753
Crystal Palace Baltimore    30   6  18   6   24  55   24   1,069

     USL Conference
Rochester Rhinos            30  16   8   6   38  24   54   6,952
Austin Aztex                30  15   7   8   53  40   53   3,707
Portland Timbers            30  13   7  10   34  23   49  10,727
NSC Minnesota Stars         30  11  12   7   32  36   40   1,294
Puerto Rico Islanders       30   9  11  10   37  35   37   2,441
FC Tampa Bay                30   7  12  11   41  46   32   3,866

Quarterfinals:    Puerto Rico defeated Rochester 2-0, 1-2
                  Vancouver defeated Portland 2-0, 0-1
                  Montreal defeated Austin 2-0, 3-2
                  Carolina defeated NSC Minnesota 0-0, 4-0
Semi-Finals:      Puerto Rico defeated Vancouver 0-0, 2-0
                  Carolina defeated Montreal 0-1, 2-0
FINAL:            Puerto Rico defeated Carolina 2-0, 1-1

After the season, Vancouver and Portland joined Major 
League Soccer.  Austin moved to Orlando, and (along with Rochester)
moved to the new USL-Pro League (a merger of USL-1 and USL-2).
Baltimore and St. Louis went on hiatus, and Minnesota,
Puerto Rico, Tampa Bay, Miami and Montreal went to the NASL II.

LEADING GOALSCORERS                GP   G  A  Pts
Ryan Pore, Portland                   29  15  5   35
Edward Johnson, Austin                26  14  4   32
Aaron King, Tampa Bay                 28  12  1   25
Maxwell Griffin, Austin               29  10  5   25
Chinedu (Bright) Dike, Portland       23          21
Jamie Watson, Austin                  27   7  7   21
Paulo Araujo Jr., Miami               23   8  4   20
Abraham (Abe) Thompson, Miami         26   9  2   20
Ali Gerba, Montreal                   13          19
Etienne Barbara, Carolina             21   8  2   18

GOALKEEPING LEADERS  (Minimum 270 Minutes)
                                  GP     GAA
Jay Nolly, Vancouver              30   0.735
Neal Kitson, Rochester            18   0.787
Steven Cronin, Portland           28   0.789
Scott Vallow, Rochester           13   0.815
Eric Reed, Carolina               20   0.900
Matthew Jordan, Montreal          16   0.937
Joseph Warren, Minnesota          25   0.990
Srdjan Djekanovic, Montreal       14   1.071
William Gaudette, Puerto Rico     26   1.196
Miguel Gallardo, Austin           29   1.310

Most Valuable Player: Ryan Pore, Portland Timbers
Top Scorer: Ryan Pore, Portland Timbers
Defender of the Year: Greg Janicki, Vancouver Whitecaps
Rookie of the Year: Maxwell Griffin, Austin Aztex
Goalkeeper of the Year: Jay Nolly, Vancouver Whitecaps

Best XI:
G - Jay Nolly, Vancouver Whitecaps
D - Greg Janicki, Vancouver Whitecaps
D - Aaron Pitchkolan, Rochester Rhinos
D - Troy Roberts, Rochester Rhinos
M - Ryan Pore, Portland Timbers
M - Martin Nash, Vancouver Whitecaps
M - Jamie Watson, Austin Aztex
M - Paulo Araujo Jr., Miami FC
M - Daniel Paladini, Carolina Railhawks
F - Eddie Johnson, Austin Aztex
F - Ali Gerba, Montreal Impact

United Soccer Leagues

There was turmoil at the top in 2010 – USL was locked in a struggle with the nascent NASL which consisted primarily of teams who had broken away after the disputed sale of the league in 2009. With lawsuits under way, and the USSF’s refusal to sanction either USL First Division or NASL as Division 2 circuits, USL First Division was inactive in 2010 as its remaining teams played in the temporary USSF-run D2-Pro league (see above). Meanwhile, USL Second Division retained its USSF Division 3 sanction, and the parent USL worked with the NASL to reach a resolution to their differences in time for 2011. However, play continued unabated at USL Second Division, PDL and W-League. When the season concluded, the USL decided to merge Division 1 and Division 2 together into USL-Pro, a new league which earned USSF Sanctioning at the 3rd division level.

Final 2010 USL standings and playoff results

Final 2010 W-League standings and playoff results

USL Second Division

USL Second Division shrank again this year as two teams were relegated to the PDL, one left for the NASL and long-time franchise Wilmington folded. Charleston was relegated down from USL First Division, as the sixth franchise. They were expected to do well against the always challenging Charlotte Eagles and Richmond Kickers in the fight for top spot, and did not disappoint, easily winning the regular season title. Richmond defeated Pittsburgh in the semi-final, but Charleston was too much for them, and the Battery prevailed in the title match, 2-1. Lamar Neagle was the league’s top scorer, with 12 goals and 25 points.

                    Final 2010 USL Second Division Standings

Before the season, Charleston was relegated from USL Division 1.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
Charleston Battery          20  11   4   5   35  26   38
Richmond Kickers            20   9   5   6   25  20   33
Pittsburgh Riverhounds      20   7   5   8   27  20   29
Charlotte Eagles            20   5   8   7   23  30   22
Harrisburg City Islanders   20   4   9   7   21  30   19
Real Maryland Monarchs      20   3   8   9   16  22   18

Semi-Final:      Richmond defeated Pittsburgh 2-0
FINAL:           Charleston defeated Richmond 2-1

After the season, the USL Second Division was renamed USL-Pro.
Real Maryland was relegated to the USL-PDL.

Leading Scorers:
                                     GP   G  A  Pts
Lamar Neagle, Charleston Battery     19  12  1   25
Matthew Delicate, Richmond Kickers   19  11  2   24
Tommy Heinemann, Charleston Battery  20   7  5   19
Jorge Herrera, Charlotte Eagles      18   6  2   14
Chad Severs, Pittsburgh Riverhounds  18   6  2   14
Jason Hotchkin, Harrisburg City      18   5  2   12
Edison Ekock, Richmond Kickers       18   5  1   11
Debola Ogunseye, Charlotte Eagles    11   5  0   10
Jeremy Deighton, Pittsburgh Riverh.  13   5  0   10
Pierre R. Maynard, Charleston        16   5  0   10
Alex Weekes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds  18          10
Thomas J. Gray, Real Maryland Monar. 20   3  4   10

Leading Goalkeepers:  (Min 1000 minutes)
                                 GP   MIN  SVS    GAA   SO
Ronnie Pascale, Richmond Kickers    16  1530   52  0.882    6
Richard H. Gilstrap, Pittsburgh Rv. 18  1620   74  1.000    6
Brian Levey, Real Maryland Monarchs 18  1620   80  1.055    6
Timothy Melia, Charleston Battery   15  1170   32  1.307    3

Most Valuable Player: 
Top Scorer: 
Defender of the Year: 
Rookie of the Year: 
Goalkeeper of the Year: 
Coach of the Year: 

Premier Development League

The PDL shrank for the first time in recent memory, but only slightly, losing eight teams, adding three and receiving two relegated from USL Second Division. The Portland Timbers U-23’s were the best team in the regular season finishing with 48 points, easily enough for the Northwest Division crown. Thunder Bay continued their winning ways, finishing second with 38 points while Ottawa and Mississippi also did well. Only Portland and Thunder Bay persevered to the playoff semi-finals however. There Portland defeated Reading 2-1, while Thunder Bay defeated Baton Rouge by the same score. Baton Rouge and Reading battled to a 2-2 draw in the 3rd place match with Baton Rouge prevailing 4-2 on penalty kicks. Portland defeated Thunder Bay 4-1 in a lopsided championship match.

Final 2010 PDL standings and playoff results

Most Valuable Player:  Brent Richards, Portland Timbers U23's 
Top Scorer:  
Rookie of the Year: Brent Richards, Portland Timbers U23's
Defender of the Year: Joe Tait, Baton Rouge Capitals
Goalkeeper of the Year: Ryan Meara, Newark Ironbound Express 
Coach of the Year: Jim Rilatt, Portland Timbers U23's

Women’s Premier Soccer League

There was considerable franchise turnover in the WPSL as the league, which has experienced significant growth in recent years, continued to consolidate its roots and shake out the weaklings. Seventeen new clubs joined to replace 18 that were dropped.

As usual, California Storm did well, finishing with 33 points for the league’s best regular season record. The closest competitor was Pacific North rival North Bay who finished with 27. Boston Aztec and Boston 23 finished tied atop the East-Northeast division with 25 points, while Ajax America, LAFC Chelsea and San Diego finished in a three-way tie atop the Pacific South. Of these, Boston and Ajax America joined the Oklahoma Alliance and FC Milwaukee Nationals in the playoff semi-finals, with Ajax advancing over the Alliance 2-0 and Boston defeating Milwaukee 2-1. Milwaukee and Oklahoma drew 2-2 in the 3rd place game while Boston Aztec defeated Ajax America 2-1 in the final.

WPSL Final 2010 Standings

 Leading Scorers:
                                       GP   G   A   Pt
Anessa Patton, Clovis Sidekicks         7  10   4   24
Leah Blayney, Boston Aztec             10  10   3   23
Fiona O'Sullivan                       10   7   4   18
Rachelle Snouffer, Classics Hammer FC   6   9   0   18
Nicole Wilcox, BSC Portland Rain        8   8   2   18
Ann Marie Tangorra, LAFC Chelsea       10   5   7   17
Sarah Hagen, FC Milwaukee Nationals     6   8   1   17
Ida Rodriguez, Clovis Sidekicks         9   5   5   15
Leah Gallegos, Ajax America Women      11   6   3   15
Sabrina Demonte, Ajax America Women    11   5   4   14

WPSL 1st All-Star Team:

F  Leah Blayney, Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves
F  Sarah Hagen, FC Milwaukee Nationals
MF Dria Hampton, Oklahoma Alliance F.C.
MF Keri Sanchez, Ajax America
MF Sarah Talbert, F.C. Milwaukee Nationals
MF Ann Marie Tangorra, LAFC Chelsea
D  Anna Caniglia, Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves 
D  Melinda Mercado, Oklahoma Alliance F.C. 
D  Dani Bosio, Ajax America 
D  Alyssa Pember, Long Island Fury
GK Cori Alexander, California Storm

National Premier Soccer League

Like its sister league (The WPSL), the NPSL continued to consolidate after much recent growth, dropping eight teams and adding 11. Franchise changes were scattered throughout the country, with particular growth in the northeast, as the league cemented its national footprint. The NPSL played its first all-star game in July (score not available) as the All-Stars played Rocket City United in Madison, AL.

The New York Red Bull NPSL squad tied with the Brooklyn Italians for the Northeast Atlantic title and along with the Keystone champion Lehigh Valley for the best regular season record (31 points) in the league. In the playoff semi-finals, Sacramento defeated Lehigh Valley 4-1 and Chattanooga defeated Madison 2-0. The championship game was played on August 1 in Madison, Alabama before 1,080 fans. Chattanooga FC opened the scoring when Fynn Glover sent a Thomas Clark Header into the net in the 13th minute. The Sacramento Gold did not respond until the 41st minute when Carranza parried away a cross and kicked home the volley from 24 yards out. Less than a minute later, Utodi Madu put the Gold ahead courtesy of a good save of a poor corner kick. Carranza got the final goal in the 83rd minute to give the Gold a 3-1 victory.

The NPSL announced the launch of a Winter League, but later in the year, postponed it until 2011.

2010 NPSL Final League standings

2010 NPSL Final League standingsThe W-League

2010 NPSL Final League standings

2010 NPSL Final League standingsPerhaps as a result of the launching of WPS and consequent loss of players, the W-League shrank somewhat in 2010, losing 11 teams and only adding three.

The top two teams in the regular season were the long-named Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues, who won the northeast division with 33 points and the Buffalo Flash, who won the Midwest division with 32.The Washington Freedom Futures game Hudson Valley a good run for their divisional title, finishing with 31 points. Hudson Valley fell in the playoff semifinals to Vancouver 4-2 while Buffalo easily defeated Atlanta 3-1. The Flash continued their run, taking the league title in an exciting 3-1 victory over Vancouver 3-1, while Hudson Valley defeated Atlanta 3-0 for the 3rd place honor. Kelly Parker of Buffalo was the league MVP and leading scorer (11 goals, 27 points).

Final 2010 W-League standings and playoff results

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G   A  Pts
Kelly Parker, Buffalo             7  11   5   27
Rashidah Sherman, New York       10  10   1   21
Jodie Taylor, Ottawa             10   8   3   19
Katie Ryan, New Jersey           11   9   1   19
Gabriela Demoner, Hudson Valley  12   8   2   18
Veronica Boquette, Buffalo        5   5   7   17
Ann-Marie Heatherson, Buffalo     9   7   3   17
Omolyn Davis, Washington         12   7   3   17
Mele French, Buffalo              9   7   4   18
Sara Campbell, Chicago Red Eleven11   7   2   16

Leading Goalkeepers: (min 550 minutes played) 
                                    GP  GA    GAA SO
Alyssa Whitehead, Charlotte         10   4  0.410  6
Jasmine Phillips, Ottawa            12   5  0.420  5
Justine Bernier, Toronto             8   4  0.444  5
Jacqueline Weiss, Washington         8   5  0.651  5
Pamela Tajonar-Akonso, Buffalo       9   5  0.692
Michelle Betos, Atlanta             10   7  0.700  4
Ashley Thompson, Hudson Valley       7   5  0.769  4
Erin H. Kane, Chicago               10   8  0.800  6
Cynthia LeBlanc, Laval              11      0.818  6
Siobhan Chamberlain, Vancouver       8   8  1.000

W-League Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player: Kelly Parker, Buffalo Flash
Goalkeeper of the Year: Alyssa Whitehead, Charlotte Lady Eagles
Defender of the Year: Sue Weber, Long Island Rough Riders
Rookie of the Year: Rashidah Sherman, New York Magic
Coach of the Year: Hubert Bentley Jr., Vancouver Whitecaps

Major Indoor Soccer League

After the demise of the XSL last year, the MISL (which had recently bought the intellectual property of the former league and adopted its name) attempted to entice the XSL’s teams. Ultimately only the venerable Milwaukee Wave joined with two other teams going on hiatus while they reorganized.

The Wave lost no time in making their presence felt, as they stayed close in the race for the season title, finally pulling ahead of Baltimore to win by three games. In the playoffs, Monterrey La Raza, which had lead the standings earlier in the season, defeated Baltimore 22-14 and 10-8 to earn a spot in the championship. They continued on their roll, defeating the season champion Wave 12-6 to win the league crown. Their own Genoni Martinez was named league MVP while Philadelphia’s Aduato Neto was the leading scorer with 18 total goals and 65 points.

Final 2009-2010 MISL standings and playoff results

Before the season, Milwaukee joined from the defunct XSL.

                           GP   W   L   PCT.   GB   GF   GA
Milwaukee Wave             20  14   6   .700   --  242  201
Baltimore Blast            20  11   9   .550 3.00  221  205
Monterrey La Raza          20  10  10   .500 4.00  252  232
Philadelphia Kixx          20   8  12   .400 6.00  255  315
Rockford Raptors           20   7  13   .350 7.00  203  220

Semi-Finals:  Monterrey defeated Baltimore 22-14, 10-8 (OT)
Final:        Monterrey defeated Milwaukee 12-6.

After the season, Monterrey and Philadelphia went on hiatus,
and Rockford folded.

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G   A  Pts
Aduato Neto, Philadelphia        20  18  28   65
Genoni Martinez, Monterrey       20  20  13   62
Carlos Farias, Monterrey         20  16  17   53
Pat Morris, Philadelphia         19  20   3   47
Semir Mesanovic, Rockford        22  17   9   45
Lucio Gonzaga, Baltimore         19  17   6   43
Machel Millwood, Baltimore       16  15   9   40
Giulano Olivero, Milwaukee       19  13  10   37
Max Ferdinand, Baltimore         18  14   5   35
Denison Cabral, Baltimore        19  13   8   35
Marco Terminesi, Milwaukee        9  13   6   35
Matthew Stewart, Rockford        20  12   9   35
Kyt Selaidopoulos, Milwaukee     18  11  12   35
Mark Ughy, Monterrey             19  14   6   34

Note- Goals includes 3-point and 2-point goals.
Leading Goalkeepers: (min 480 minutes played) 
                             GP    Min    SA  SV    GAA
Nick Vorberg, Milwaukee      12  721:12  229 175   9.48
Ante Cop, Rockford            9  540:00  136  95   9.56
Jose Bontti, Monterrey       16  943:24  254 179  10.05
Sagu, Baltimore              14  819:16  265 199  10.40
Marcel Fenestra, Milwaukee    8  476:38  140 101  10.57
Danny Waltman, Rockford       8  482:01  146 104  11.20
Sandaldo, Philadelphia       15  879:09  368 263  15.22
MISL Award Winners:

Most Valuable Player: Genoni Martinez, Monterrey La Raza
Goalkeeper of the Year: Nick Vorberg, Milwaukee Wave
Defensive Player of the Year: Genoni Martinez, Monterrey la Raza
Coach of the Year: Keith Tozer, Milwaukee Wave
Rookie of the Year: Max Ferdinand, Baltimore Blast

All-MISL Team: 
G - Nick Vorberg, Milwaukee Wave
D - Genoni Martinez, Monterrey la Raza
D - Pat Morris, Philadelphia Kixx
F - Aduato Neto, Philadelphia Kixx
F - Machel Millwood, Baltimore Blast
F - Carlos Farias, Monterrey La Raza

CONCACAF Champions League

US & Canadian teams had not done well in the pool play in the 2009-2010 CONCACAF League; by the end of 2009, only the Columbus Crew remained in contention. In the quarterfinals, on March 9, Columbus was eliminated by Pachuca 2-2 and 3-2, leaving all the North American clubs eliminated. Pachuca defeated Cruz Azul 1-2, 1-0 (2-2 aggregate) on away goals to win the championship

In the 2010-2011 Champions League, two MLS teams received a bye to the Group Stage – Real Salt Lake (MLS Cup champion) and Columbus Crew (Supporters Shield winner). Three teams entered in the preliminary round: Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS Cup Runner-up), Seattle Sounders (U. S. Open Cup winner), and Toronto FC (Canadian National Championship champion). USL First Division was represented in the preliminaries by the Puerto Rico Islanders, winners of the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship.

In the preliminary round, Seattle defeated Isidro Metapan (El Salvador – Clausura 2010 champion) 1-0, 2-1; Toronto FC defeated Montagua (Honduras – Clausura 2010 tournament runner-up); and the Puerto Rico Islanders defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1, 1-2.

In the Group Stage, Group A consisted of Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC of MLS, Cruz Azul (Mexico – 2009 Apertura runner-up), and Aribe Unido (Panama – 2009 Apertura and 2010 Clausura champion). Group B included the Columbus Crew of MLS along with Santos Laguna (Mexico – 2010 Bicentenario runner-up), Municipal (Guatemala – 2009 Apertura and Clausura 2010 champion) and Joe Public (Trinidad & Tobago – 2010 CFU Club Championship runner-up). The Seattle Sounders were assigned to Group C along with Monterrey (Mexico – 2009 Apertura champion), Saprissa (Costa Rica – 2010 Verano champion) and Marathon (Honduras – Apertura 2009 champion). The Puerto Rico Islanders were in Group D with Olimpia (Honduras – 2010 Clausura champion), Toluca (Mexico – 2010 Bicentenario champion) and FAS (El Salvador – Apertura 2009 champion).

Real Salt Lake won Group A, but Toronto FC was eliminated with a third place finish. Salt Lake defeated Arabe Unido 2-1 and 3-2, split with to Cruz Azul 4-5 and 3-1, and split with Toronto 4-1 and 1-1. Toronto won and drew against Cruz Azul 2-1, 0-0, and split with Arabe Unido 0-1 and 1-0. In Group B, Columbus Crew nearly took Group B, trouncing Joe Public 3-0 and 4-1, while splitting with Municipal 1-0 and 1-2 and Santos Laguna 0-1, 1-0. In Group C, the expansion Seattle Sounders struggled to a last place finish. They were swept by Monterrey 0-2 and 2-3, Saprissa 0-2 and 1-2, and split with Marathon 1-2 and 2-0. The Puerto Rico Islanders fared somewhat better, earning a 4-1 win and 0-0 draw against FAS, splitting with heavily favored Toluca 0-3 and 3-2, and earning a draw and loss against Olimpia 1-1, 0-3. This earned them third place and unfortunately, elimination.

For the championship round, the two surviving MLS squads, Real Salt Lake and Toronto were pitted against each other in the quarterfinals, guaranteeing MLS their first team in the League semi-finals. Fans eagerly looked forward to those later rounds, scheduled for early 2011. Even though MLS was still challenged in the knockout levels, they won hands-down at the gate – the US drew 143,639 fans per home game during group play, averaging 11,970 per game, while 2nd place Mexico only managed 86,975 for an average of 6,690. The other nations were far behind.

Complete results at RSSSF

Men’s National Team

The US Men’s National Team prepared for the 2010 World Cup with a sense of uncertainty. The team had done well in qualifying – they had won the Hexagonal, but often had a poor transitional game against weaker opponents, struggling to break through massed defenses, and allowing opponents to string together runs through the midfield. Injuries and inconsistent performance lead to major questions about players at certain positions, particularly on defense. Unsettled would be a good description of the overall situation. Charlie Davies had been serious injured in a car crash and would not be healed in time for the games. A day after Davies’ accident, Oguchi Oneywu ruptured a patellar tendon on an awkward landing after a header in the final Hexagonal match against Costa Rica, by which time the US had already qualified. To make matters worse, Brian Ching later suffered a hamstring injury.

With several spots up for grabs, the US began their final preparations in late 2009 on a sour note, looking flat in consecutive losses to Slovakia, Denmark and Honduras, fielding players still fighting for a spot on the final squad. The best that could be said is these matches gave a clearer picture of who was not making the grade. The US finally pulled off a 2-1 win over El Salvador in February, but the player picture remained as muddled as ever. Finally, Bradley put his men up against top competition in a grueling away match at the #4 ranked Netherlands. Although the Nats lost 2-1, they looked much better, with Edson Buddle getting the USA on the scoreboard near the end of regulation time. Finally the pieces were falling into place.

The final USA squad was anchored by Tim Howard, getting his first chance as a World Cup starter, and Landon Donovan, the team’s all-time scorer with 42 goals. In the end, Bradley chose to take a chance with Ogeywu, who anchored the line with team captain Carlos Bocanegra and veteran Steve Cherundolo. Midfield had been a major problem as the team’s penchant for relying on counterattacks rather than assembling coherent scoring runs made clear. Landon Donovan (vice-captain) anchored the midfield line, teaming with 2006 World Cup and 2009 Confederations Cup veteran Clint Dempsey and veteran Steven Cherundolo. Jose Francisco Torres was selected for his potential to bring some flash to the US offense, and versatile DaMarcus Beasley was pulled back to boost the line’s playmaking abilities. The front line was turned over largely to promising newcomers, a major gamble, given the team’s struggles with finishing. Nevertheless, Jozy Altidore had power, strength and an explosive shorting shot, and Edson Buddle was a consistent (if injury-prone) scorer for the Los Angeles Galaxy. The biggest surprise was the selection of Robbie Findley, who was not well known but clearly showed promise at training and an ability to fill a key gap in the scoring infrastructure (see World Cup Section above for further details.)

The team returned disappointed from their World Cup performance – having met their basic goal of advancing out of pool play, but bitter about having blown a fairly easy route to the semifinals. They closed out the year with an exciting (albeit losing) friendly against Brazil on August 10 which marked the second athletic sporting event at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Over 77,000 fans turned out to watch a valiant, if overmatched US team who at least kept things exciting on their way to a 2-0 defeat.

The team took it easy for the rest of the year, but did play four major friendlies. They played the first soccer game at the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on August 10. The crowd of 77,223 was treated to the 2010 US Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony, performed on the field. The crowd was primarily Brazilian (this being the first USA-Brazil match ever held in the eastern USA), but the US contingent made its voice heard, and the Americans remained competitive – at times even dominant – through much of the first half. Brazil eventually wore them down though and took home a 2-0 victory. The US drew with Poland 2-2 in Chicago in October; this was quickly followed by the team’s debut at Philadelphia Union’s home field where they drew 0-0 in a sleepy game with Colombia. They wrapped up the year disappointing the sellout home crowd in Cape town, defeating South Africa 1-0.

2010 USA Men’s National Team results

     2010 results:   5W, 5D, 4L
Nov 17 10  W 1-0  South Africa       52,000  Cape Town, South Africa
               Agudelo (65)
Oct 12 10  D 0-0  Columbia            8,823  Chester, PA, USA
Oct 09 10  D 2-2  Poland             31,696  Chicago, IL, USA
               Altidore (13), Onyewu (52)
Aug 10 10  L 0-2  Brazil             77,223  East Rutherford, NJ, USA
Jun 26 10  L 1-2  Ghana              34,976  Rustenburg, South Africa (WC’10)
               Donovan (62)
Jun 23 10  W 1-0  Algeria            35,827  Pretoria, South Africa (WC’10)
               Donovan (91)
Jun 18 10  D 2-2  Slovenia           45,573  Johannesburg, South Africa (WC’10)
               Donovan (48), Bradley (82)
Jun 12 10  D 1-1  England            38,646  Rustenburg, South Africa (WC’10)
               Dempsey (40)
Jun 05 10  W 3-1  Australia           6,000  Roodespoort, South Africa
               Buddle (4, 31), Gomez (93)
May 29 10  W 2-1  Turkey             55,407  Philadelphia, PA, USA
               Altidore (58), Dempsey (75)
May 25 10  L 4-2  Czech Republic     36,218  East Hartford, CT, USA
               Edu (17), Gomez (65)
Mar 03 10  L 1-2  Netherlands        46,630  Amsterdam, Neth.
               Bocanegra (88)
Feb 24 10  W 2-1  El Salvador        21,737  Tampa, FL, USA
               Ching (75), Cljestan (92)
Jan 23 10  L 1-3  Honduras           18,626  Carson, CA, USA
               Goodson (70)

Women’s National Team

The Women’s team as usual opened their year at the Algarve Cup, and again as usual, cruised through the opposition, opening with a 2-0 shutout of Iceland, a close 2-1 win over Norway (both goals by Wambach) and a 2-0 shutout over Sweden (both goals by Cheney). The final against Germany was a close match, but Cheney landed the game winner in the 72nd minute to give the US another trophy.

Algarve was followed by two friendlies against Mexico in late March, both of them shutouts, albeit the 2nd game was kept scoreless until the 60th minute, and only Wambach found the net for the lone goal of the match. The team then took a break until a late May match against Germany, another easy 4-0 shutout. At that point, the team began intensive summer training in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, followed by two friendlies against China in October, a 2-1 win and a 1-1 draw.

With the team all prepped, the team headed down to Cancun Mexico in late October for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which also served as qualifying for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Italy (see separate article below). Although the Nats were stunned with their third place finish, it was enough to get the team qualified for the Cup. The team finished its year in late November with a home and away series against Italy, winning both games 1-0. The final news item of the year was the retirement of Kristine Lilly, the last of the old guard of the glory years, and the most capped soccer player in world history.

USA Women’s National Team 2010 Results

    2010 Totals:  15W, 2D, 2L
Nov 27 10  W 1-0  Italy               8,500  Bridgeview, IL, USA 
               Rodriguez (40)
Nov 20 10  W 1-0  Italy               5,000  Padova, Italy
               Morgan (94+)
Nov 08 10  W 3-0  Costa Rica          2,500  Port-au-Prince, Haiti (WCQ'11)
               Cheney (17), Wambach (33, 50)
Nov 05 10  L 1-2  Mexico              8,500  Port-au-Prince, Haiti (WCQ'11)
               Lloyd (25)
Nov 01 10  W 4-0  Costa Rica          1,050  Port-au-Prince, Haiti (WCQ'11)
               Wambach (32), Cheney (68), Averbuch (73), Morgan (81)
Oct 30 10  W 9-0  Guatemala           2,500  Port-au-Prince, Haiti (WCQ'11)
               Rodriguez (21, 45+, 88), Wambach (29, 31), Rapinoe (22, 40), Morgan (49), Lloyd (55) (WCQ'11)
Oct 28 10  W 5-0  Haiti               2,500  Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (WCQ'11)
               Beuhler (8), Wambach (15, 45+, 62), Rodgriguez (40)
Oct 06 10  D 1-1  China               2,505  Chester, PA
               Morgan (83)
Oct 02 10  W 2-1  China               4,759  Kennesaw, GA, USA
               Rapinoe (21), O'Reilly (39)
Jul 17 10  W 3-0  Sweden              5,087  East Hartford, CT, USA
               Rapinoe(33), Wambach (45, 72)
Jul 13 10  D 1-1  Sweden              6,439  Omaha, NE, USA
               Rodriguez (44)
May 22 10  W 4-0  Germany            10,321  Cleveland, OH, USA
               Wambach (23, 63), O'Reilly (35), Lilly (62)
Mar 31 10  W 1-0  Mexico              3,732  Sandy, UT, USA
               Wambach (60)
Mar 28 10  W 3-0  Mexico              3,069  San Diego, CA, USA
               Rodriguez (12), Boxx (43), Cheney (72)
Mar 03 10  W 3-2  Germany             1,200  Faro, Portugal (AC’10)
               Lloyd (12), Wambach (22), Cheney (69)
Mar 01 10  W 2-0  Sweden                500  Ferreiras, Portugal (AC’10)
               Cheney (56,87)
Feb 26 10  W 2-1  Norway                300  Olhao, Portugal (AC’10)
               Wambach (13,92)
Feb 24 10  W 2-0  Iceland               250 San Antonio, Port. (AC’10)
               (o.g.), Cheney (61)

CONACAF Women’s Gold Cup

The 2010 Gold cup also served as CONCACAF qualifying for World Cup 2011, so the stakes were high. But the US was well-prepared, with a new group of young players supplementing the established veterans to form a strong squad. Haiti did a magnificent job of hosting the tournament despite the devastation of the earthquake which had left the country in ruins a few months earlier.

The US earned a berth in Group Play as defending champion and had no problem sweeping Group B with three consecutive shutouts, defeating Haiti 5-0 (with Rodriguez scoring a hat trick), Guatemala 9-0 and Costa Rica 4-0. But then they were stunned by Mexico in the quarterfinals, losing 1-2. They rallied and trounced Costa Rica 3-0 in the 3rd place game to earn qualification to the World Cup finals. A disappointing finish, but enough to earn a spot at the big dance.

U-20 Women’s World Cup

As usual, the U-20 women cruised through the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the qualifying vehicle for the U-20 World Cup. Their run started with a convincing 6-0 thrashing of Jamaica, followed by a 4-0 shutout of Trinidad & Tobago. Their only real challenge in pool play came from Mexico which held them to a 2-1 victory. In the semi-finals, they defeated Costa Rica in a close 2-1 match, and then again beat Mexico in a close 1-0 match in the final.

The finals were held in Germany July 13 – August 1. US opened with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Ghana (whose men’s team had just eliminated the US from the Men’s World Cup three weeks earlier), but rallied with a 5-0 rout of Switzerland and a 1-0 win over South Korea to take Group A. The team was stunned however, in the quarterfinals when Nigeria held them to a 1-1 draw, and then won 4-2 on penalty kicks to send the team home. Nigeria would then go on to lose to Germany 2-0 in the final.

U-17 Womens’ World Cup

The United States failed to qualify for the 2010 U-17 World Cup. They had cruised through pool play in the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship. The team opened with a 9-0 route of Haiti in the opener, which culminated after the game in a group hug for the Haitian goalkeeper who had broken down in tears at the conclusion of the match; with the recent earthquake on everybody’s mind, the US players made a nice show of support. This was followed by a 13-0 shutout of the Cayman Islands and a 10-0 thrashing of Costa Rica to take the Group A title.

But it all slammed to a halt as the Americans were held scoreless in the semi-final by Canada who then prevailed on penalty kicks. This eliminated the US from the tournament, and from qualification to the World Cup, the first time any women’s US team had failed to qualify for a World Cup event at any level. They saved some face in the consolation match, taking 3rd place with a 6-0 pasting of Costa Rica. Overall they scored their opponents 38-0 while only allowing 7 shots on goal.

U. S. Open Cup

As in previous editions of the US Open Cup, MLS teams entered into the tournament in the Round of 16. Once again there were some early upsets. USL Division 2 did itself proud with the Charleston Battery defeating the Chicago Fire in a shootout after a scoreless draw, and the Harrisburg City Islanders held New York Red Bulls to a scoreless draw before landing the winning goal in extra time. Elsewhere, it was MLS all the way. D. C. United shut out the USL’s Richmond Kickers 2-0, and the D2Pro League’s contingent was completely wiped out, although the Portland Timbers held their erstwhile league competitors, the Seattle Sounders, to a 1-1 draw, falling only in the shootout. Of the rest, only Rochester managed to find the net, losing to the Columbus Crew 2-1, while the L.A. Galaxy defeated AC St. Louis 1-0, Houston dynamo beat Miami FC 1-0 and Chivas USA beat the Austin Aztex 1-0.

In the quarterfinals, the remaining non-MLS competition was eliminated easily – D. C. United shut out Harrisburg City 2-0 and Columbus defeated Charleston 3-0. Seattle continued their surge, defeating the Galaxy 2-0, while Chivas USA advanced over Houston 3-1. Columbus advanced through the semifinals beating D. C. United 2-1 and Seattle dispatched Chivas 3-1. Seattle fans celebrated when the Sounders captured their second cup title, defeating Columbus 2-1 for the championship. The final match was held in Seattle before a hometown crowd of 31,311, the largest crowd ever to watch a U. S. Open Cup final, breaking a record set in 1929.

Seattle held control of the field for much of the first half. Fredy Montero had two scoring opportunities just two minutes into the match, with a close range header saved by Crew keeper Andy Gruenham, followed seconds later by a distant shot that went over the net. His third shot 14 minutes later was also saved. Eddie Gaven had the Crew’s first shot in the 12th, also going high. Zakuani and Nkufo both had opportunities for Seattle in the 18th, both of them saved. The Crew got the first score in the 24th minute when Frankie Hedjuk got ahead of the Seattle defense and passed the ball to Steven Lenhert who passed it to a wide-open Kevin Burns who launched a low shot past Kasey Keller into the net. The Sounders equalized in the 38th minute in a complicated series of passes, crosses, shots and even a nutmeg which culminated in Sanna Nyassi shooting the ball past Guenenbaum who was out of position following the prior chaos. The game was fairly evenly matched in the second half with numerous scoring opportunities, but only one registered as Seattle players completed 18 consecutive passes when an open Montero took the ball on the flank, and crossed it into an unguarded area. Steve Zakuani ran inside of the defender, and Zakuani headed a bouncer off the crossbar with Nyassi beating the defenders to send an easy shot into the goal, giving Seattle the 2-1 victory over Columbus.

International Friendlies

2010 was the year that the institution of the international friendly finally regained the prominence it had enjoyed in the golden era of early to mid 20th century. Numerous teams toured the United States, including such world-class sides as Manchester United, A. C. Milan, Boca Juniors, Manchester City, Celtic, Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Unlike the heavily sponsored “World Series” and other International Challenge programs of recent years, this was an extensive series of independent tours undertaken by individual clubs, mixed in with charity tournaments, and the New York Football Challenge held at New York Red Bulls’s new stadium. Fans were treated to match-ups between world-class teams, as well as games between those clubs and MLS teams. Many were televised nationally, and many drew large crowds, something not seen during the legendary tours of the 20th century. Boston’s legendary Fenway Park hosted its first soccer match since 1969, a 1-1 draw between Celtic and Sporting Lisbon. Several major cities without a pro team were treated to well attended matches, including Detroit which had rarely if ever held an international friendly. The large crowds in these virgin territories demonstrated the fan potential of these cities to potential franchise investors.

Tours of the MLS & USL:

5/15/10  Kansas City Wizards 1, Mexico U-21 National team 1 (at Sandy, UT)
5/19/10  SL Benfica 4, New England Revolution 0 (at Foxboro, att: 12,375)
5/23/10  SL Benfica 0, Panathinaikos 0 (at Toronto; att: c. 8,000) 
5/23/10  Fiorentina 1, Montreal Impact 1 (at Montreal Stade Saputo, att: 8,094)
5/23/10  New York Red Bulls 3, Juventus 1 (at Harrison, NJ., att: 18,735)
5/23/10  Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Boca Juniors 0 (at Carson, CA., att: 18,000)
5/25/10  Juventus vs Fiorentina (at Toronto; att: 21,222)
5/26/10  D. C. United 3, A. C. Milan 2 (at Washington DC, att:  30,367)
5/26/10  Seattle Sounders 3, Boca Jrs 0 (at Seattle, att: 40,122)
5/29/10  Portland Timbers 3, Boca Jrs 2 (at Portland; att: 14,106)
5/30/10  A. C. Milan 1, Chicago Fire 0 (at Bridgeview, IL, attendance: 20,356)
6/2/10   A. C. Milan 4, Montreal Impact 1 (at Olympic Stadium, Montreal, att: 47,861)
6/13/10  Cruzeiro (Brazil) 3, New England Revolution 0 (at Foxboro, MA, att:  12,160)
6/18/10  Cruzeiro (Brazil) 4, New York Red Bulls 2 (at Harrison, NJ; att:  7,680)
6/19/10  D. C. United 1, El Salvador National team 0 (Charity match, at Washington, att: 10,240)
6/19/10  Dynamo Charities Cup:  Houston Dynamo 4, CD Aguila (El Salvador) 0 (at Houston; att: 11,843)
6/19/10  Real Salt Lake 2, Puntarenas FC 0 (at Sandy, UT)
6/23/10  Philadelphia Union 2, Reading United 0 (at Philadelphia)  
7/10/10  El Clasico Joven (At Rose Bowl, Pasadena):  Club America 2, Cruz Azul 1 (att: 22,395)
7/11/10  Portland Timbers 1, Atlas 1 (att: 7,113)
7/12/10  Portsmouth 2, Club America 1 (at San Diego)
7/14/10  Philadelphia Union 1, Celtic 0 (at Chester, PA.)
7/14/10  Bolton Wanderers 3, Charlotte Eagles 0
7/16/10  Manchester United 3, Celtic 1 (at Toronto; att:  39,193)
7/17/10  Bolton Wanderers 2, Charleston Battery 0 (att: 5,249)
7/17/10  San Jose Earthquakes 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0 (at San Jose, att: 10,712)
7/17/10  Manchester City 3, Portland Timbers 0 (at Portland, att:  5,018)
7/17/10  Portsmouth 2, Ventura County Fusion 1 
7/18/10  Celtic 2, Seattle Sounders 1 (at Seattle; att:  45,631)
7/18/10  San Luis 3, Club America 0 (at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX, att: 27,061)
7/21/10  Manchester United 1, Philadelphia Union 0 (at Philadelphia, att:  44,213)
7/21/10  Carlsberg Cup:  Bolton Wanderers 1 (4-3 PK), FC Toronto 1 (at Toronto, att: 19,507)
7/21/10  Celtic 1, Sporting Lisbon 1 (at Fenway Park, Boston, att: 32,162)
7/21/10  Edmonton FC 1, Portsmouth 1 (at Edmonton, att: 8,792)
7/24/10  D. C. United 4, Portsmouth 0 (at Washington, att: 8,987) 
7/25/10  Kansas City Wizards 2, Manchester United 1 (at Kansas City, MO: att:  52,424)
7/28/10  Manchester United 5, MLS All-Stars 2 (at Houston, TX: att:  70,728)
7/28/10  Manchester City 1, Club America 1(at Atlanta; att:  33,721)
7/31/10  Inter Milan 3, Manchester City 0 (at Baltimore, att:  36,569)
8/3/10   Parthanaikos 3, Inter Milan 2 (at Toronto, att:  17,169)
8/4/10   Real Madrid 3, Club America (at San Francisco, att: 47,338)
8/5/10   FC Dallas 2, Inter Milan 2 (at Frisco, TX; att: 19,435)
8/7/10   Real Madrid 3, Los Angeles 2 (at Pasadena, att: 89,134)
8/8/10   Parthanaikos vs. A. C. Milan (at Detroit, MI, att: 35,000+)

New York Football Challenge (at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ)
7/22/10  Tottenham Hotspur 2, New York Red Bulls 1 (att: 20,312)
7/23/10  Sporting Lisbon 2, Manchester City 0 (att: 13,586)
7/25/10  Sporting Lisbon 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2 (att: 23,228)
7/25/10  New York Red Bulls 2, Manchester City 1 (att: 23,228)

Chicago Sister Cities International Cup (at Bridgeview, IL):
5/19/10  Paris St. Germain 1, Chicago Fire 0 (att: 9,254)
5/19 10  Red Star Belgrade 1, Legia Warsaw 0 (att: 9,254)
5/22/10  Legia Warzaw 3, Chicago Fire 0 (att: 12,234)
5/22/10  Paris St. Germain vs. Red Star Belgrade (att: 12,234)

Some International Friendlies (probably incomplete)
2/24/10  Mexico vs. Bolivia (at Candlestick Park, San Francisco)
3/3/10   Mexico vs. New Zealand (at Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA att: 90,526) 
3/24/10  Mexico vs. Iceland (at Charlotte, NC, att: 63,277)
5/7/10   Mexico vs. Ecuador (at New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ att: 77,507)
5/10/10  Mexico vs. Senegal (at Soldier Field, Chicago, IL, att: 60,610)
5/13/10  Mexico vs Angola (at Houston, TX, att: 70,099)

The College Game

NCAA Division I Men’s tournament: In the quarterfinals, Louisville defeated UCLA 5-4, North Carolina defeated SMU 101 (4-2-PK), Akron defeated California 3-3 (3-2-PK), and Michigan defeated Maryland 3-2. In the semi-finals, Louisville defeated North Carolina 2-1 and Akron defeated Michigan 2-1. The Final was held before 9,672 fans in Santa Barbara, CA where Akron defeated Louisville 1-0.
NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament: North Carolina finally came down to earth this year, falling to Notre Dame 4-1 in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Stanford defeated Florida State 5-0, Ohio State defeated Georgetown 2-0, Notre Dame defeated Oklahoma State 2-0 and Boston College defeated Washington 1-0. In the semi-finals, Notre Dame defeated Oklahoma State 1-0 and Stanford defeated Boston College 2-0. In the final, held 12/5 in Cary, NC, Notre Dame defeated Stanford 1-0 for their third title.
NCAA Men’s Division II Tournament: In the quarterfinals, Dowling defeated Franklin Pierce 1-0, Northern Kentucky defeated West Virginia Wesleyan 3-0, Rollins defeated Clayton State 3-2 (2 OT), and Midwestern State defeated Cal State Chico 5-0. In the semi-finals, Northern Kentucky defeated Dowling 4-1 and Rollins defeated Midwestern State 2-1. In the final, held in Louisville, KY on 12/4, Northern Kentucky defeated Rollins 3-2.
NCAA Division II Women’s Tournament: In the quarterfinals, Grand Valley State defeated Fort Lewis 5-0, Florida Tech defeated Lenior-Rhyne 1-1 (5-4-PK), UC San Diego defeated St. Edward’s 1-0 and St. Rose defeated West Chester 1-1 (3-1-PK). In the semi-finals, Grand Valley State defeated Florida Tech 2-0 and UC San Diego defeated St. Rose 1-0. In the final, held in Louisville on 12/4, Grand Valley State defeated UC San Diego 4-0.
NCAA Division III Men’s Tournament: In the quarterfinals, Bowdoin defeated Middlebury 2-1 (OT), Lynchburg defeated Ohio Wesleyan 2-1, Messiah defeated Merchant Marine 3-0 and Wisconsin-Oskhosh defeated Calvin 1-0. In the semi-finals, Lynchburg defeated Bowdoin 2-1 (OT) and Messiah defeated Wisconsin-Oshkosh 4-1. In the final, held in San Antonio on 12/4, Messiah defeated Lynchburg 2-1 in overtime.
NCAA Division III Women’s Tournament: In the quarterfinals, Hardin-Simmons defeated Emery 2-1, Otterbein defeated Denilon 2-1 (3-1-PK), William Smith defeated Williams 1-0 and Messiah defeated Johns Hopkins 2-1. In the semifinals, Hardin-Simmons defeated Otterbein 0-0 (4-2-PK) and Messiah defeated William Smith 4-1. In the final, held in San Antonio on 12/4, Hardin-Simmons defeated Messiah 2-1.
NAIA Men’s Champion:Hastings defeated Notre Dame (Ohio) 5-3.
NAIA Women’s Champion:Lee defeated Hastings 3-0.
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship: Tyler defeated Cincinnati State 5-1.
NJCAA Division III Men’s Champion: Suffolk defeated Herkimer 2-1.
NJCAA Division I Women’s Champion: Paradise Valley defeated Tyler 1-0.
NJCAA Division III Women’s Champion: Clinton defeated Genesee 3-2.
NCCAA Division 1 Men’s Champion: Palm Beach Atlantic defeated Cedarville 2-0.
NCCAA Division 2 Men’s Champion: Clearwater Christian defeated Ohio Christian 3-0.
NCCAA Division 1 Women’s Champion: Spring Arbor defeated Palm Beach Atlantic 1-1 (4-2-PK).
NCCAA Division 2 Women’s Champion: Manhattan Christian defeated Maranatha Baptist Bible 3-0.

Final Men's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

1.  Akron
2.  Louisville
3.  North Carolina
4.  Michigan
5.  California
6.  Maryland
7.  UCLA
8.  Southern Methodist
9.  William & Mary
10. Brown

Final Women's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

1.  Notre Dame
2.  Stanford
3.  Boston College
4.  Ohio State
5.  Oklahoma State
6.  North Carolina
7.  Florida State
8.  Portland
9.  Virginia
10. Maryland

Men's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team):

K - Zac MacMath, Jr., Maryland
D - Kofi Sarkodie, Jr., Akron
D - A.J. Soares, Sr., California
D - Andrew Wenger, So., Duke
M - Michael Farfan, Sr., North Carolina
M - Matt Kassel, Jr., Maryland
M - Ryan Kinne, Sr., Monmouth
M - Ben Sippola, Sr., Butler
F - Will Bruin, Jr., Indiana
F - Tony Cascio, Jr., Connecticut
F - Darlington Nagbe, Jr., Akron
F - Colin Rolfe, Jr., Louisville

Women's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team):

G - Bianca Henninger, Jr., Santa Clara
D - Cassie Dickerson, So., Ohio State
D - Crystal Dunn, Fr., North Carolina
D - CoCo Goodson, Jr., UC Irvine
M - Sinead Farrelly, Sr., Virginia
M - Kristen Mewis, So., Boston College
M - Teresa Noyola, Jr., Stanford
M - Ingrid Wells, Jr., Georgetown
F - Sarah Hagen, Jr., Wisconsin-Milwaukee
F - Melissa Henderson, Jr., Notre Dame
F - Alex Morgan, Sr., California
F - Christen Press, Sr., Stanford

Men's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Darlington Nagbe, Akron
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Ken Lolla, Louisville

Women's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Christen Press, Stanford
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Randy Waldrum, Notre Dame

Awards & Tournaments

US Open Cup Championship:Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) defeated Columbus Crew (MLS) 2-1.
National Amateur Cup:Boston Olympiakos defeated Carpathian Kickers.
USASA National Open Cup:TBA.
USASA Women’s Cup:TBA.

Interliga: Tournament was held in Houston TX, Frisco TX and Carson CA. Participating teams were America, Estudiantes Tecos, Santos Laguna, Atlante, Puebla, Monterrey, Jaguares, and UANL. The top two teams from each group advanced to the two final matches, where Tecos defeated Pueblo 3-2, and Monterrey defeated Atlante 0-0 (3-1-PK) to earn spots in the Copa Liberatores. The Interliga was cancelled after this season.

James P. McGuire Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-19): Crew Juniors
Andy Stone Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-18): EastSide FC 91 Liverpool Red
Don Greer Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-17): Alpharetta Ambush
D.J. Niotis Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-16): Slammers FC
ADIDAS Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-15): Baltimore Bays Chelsea
William J. “Billy” Goaziou Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-14): Eclipse Select
J. Ross Stewart Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-19): Lonestars 91 Red
Frank Kelly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-18): Laguna Hills Eclipse White
Laura Moynihan Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-17): So. Cal Blues Dodge
Patricia Masotto Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-16): Solar 94 Red
Kristine Lilly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-15): Sting 95
Elmer Ehlers Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-14): Foothill MVLA Lightning

Hall of Fame: In 2010, the US Soccer Hall of Fame inducted Thomas Dooley and Preki. Bruce Arena was inducted as a builder, and Kyle Rote, Jr. as a veteran. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Hall of Fame inducted Joe Borosh and Terry Jackson. The National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) Hall of Fame inducted Todd Abraham and Grier Cooper. The American Youth Soccer Organization inducted (TBA). The United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) inducted Eric Beck, Frank Giancroce, F. Patrick Healey, Jim Hamilton, Brooks McCormick, Abner Rogers, Jerry Zanelli.

Player of the Year (Fulbol de Primera, formerly the Honda Award):Landon Donovan
USSF Players of the Year:Landon Donovan (record 4th win), Abby Wambach (4th win)
USSF Young Players of the Year:Gale Agbossoumonde, Bianca Henninger
NSCAA Honor Award: Anson Dorrance
NSCAA Honorary All-American Award: Joe Gaetjins
NSCAA Walt Czychowicz Lifetime Achievement Award: Sigi Schmid