Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 MLS Probable Starting Lineups (3/18 Update)

Final update before the season starts!

This is what I've been able to gather from the news, quotes from coaches, match reports, etc. Shape of the formations is definitely not going to be 100% accurate.


Western Conference

CD CHIVAS USA

...........Braun........Lillingston............
.....Bornstein......................Kljestan.......
.............Marsch.........Nagamura..................
...Jazic...Thomas...Curtin...Talley...
....................Thornton...........................

Razov's (latest) injury means that Chivas may have to rely on its other injury-prone forwards. Too bad they're all still hurt. Razov and Galindo probably both won't be ready when the season starts, so Braun should get the nod. I put Esky up there with him, but trialist Eduardo Lillingston has been scoring goals and could end up there instead. He's a 31 year old veteran from Mexico. The addition of Jazic should once again mean Bornstein in midfield. Jazic has gotten the most time at LB this preseason.

3/12 Update: Lillingston signed. Galindo made his preseason debut a few days ago, but he's unlikely to start without being fully fit. Rookie Michael Lahoud started at RB for one game recently, that's something to watch.

3/18 Update: Kennedy is injured so Thornton will start in goal. Jazic is listed as questionable in the injury report as well.


COLORADO RAPIDS

...........Casey......Cummings............
.....Clark.....Ballouchy.....Peterson......
...................Mastroeni................
...Harvey...Gibbs...Ihemelu...Kimura...
.................Pickens........................

Guerrero and Pickens are the new additions. It's a pretty big "meh" other than that. I assume Guerrero will start at LB since they already have Clark. He always could take the place of say, Mastroeni, too (when he inevitably gets banged up). New coach Gary Smith could pull a surprise or two, you never know.

3/12 Update: Scott Palguta (LB/CB from the Rochester Rhinos) has been signed, probably too late to challenge for a starting role. Two friendlies have been played since the last update. The same lineup has been used in both, so I've put Harvey/Ballouchy/Peterson in there for Guerrero/LaBrocca/Cooke. There's one final big friendly tonight, Rapids at Sounders, so watch that lineup.

3/13 Update: Same lineup was used last night.

3/18 Update: No changes.


FC DALLAS

...........Cunningham........Cooper...............
.......................Ferreira................
.....V.D.Bergh......................McCarty.......
......................Guarda...........................
...Wagner...Torres...Purdy...Moor...
......................Sala.............................

Ferreira and van den Bergh are the new stars. 3rddegree is reporting that Saragosa is moving to RB, which should be interesting. Word is that McCarty may get the first shot at RM over Avila and Rocha. Another battle here is the one to start alongside Moor, between returning YA Steve Purdy and former MLS player Daniel Torres. Given the latter's middling previous stints in this league, I have to think Purdy will win. Torres could also play LB.

3/12 Update: Saragosa's injury means that Torres should start at CB, with Moor moving to RB. Ricchetti will miss the opener due to a suspension, opening the door (temporarily) for Bruno Guarda.

3/18 Update: No changes. I've listed Guarda due to the suspension.


HOUSTON DYNAMO

............Ching........Wondolowski...............
....................Holden................
.....Davis......................Mullan.......
....................Clark...........................
...Barrett...James...Boswell...Mulrooney...
....................Onstad...........................

We've already seen what to expect in the CONCACAF Champions League, not that anyone should be surprised. Holden takes DeRo's spot.

3/12 Update: Robinson will now be out for a while with a knee injury. James should take his place.

3/18 Update: Kamara is suspended so Wondolowski should take his place.


LOS ANGELES GALAXY

.............Donovan........Buddle..............
.....Magee...........................Klein.......
...............Tudela.......Kovalenko..................
...DeLeGarza...Gonzalez...Sanneh...Franklin...
......................Saunders........................

Okay, so it appears pretty likely that Donovan will be back and Beckham won't. We'll know for sure in a week. Gonzalez has looked good and they don't have anyone else, so he should start from day one. His partner may be the 37 year old Tony Sanneh, but reportedly they're signing a Honduran defender (Chavez) so he should step in. Lewis played LB in the Pan Pacific final so he could start there; you know he'll be on the field one way or another. Looks like Dunivant won't be healthy for the season opener. Franklin moving to RB is alright since that's his natural position.

That's just the defense. There's plenty more to talk about. Donovan can start up top or in the midfield. Kovalenko and Buddle also figure to start for sure. Klein may move back to RM which would take care of that spot if Beckham leaves. You also have guys like Kirovski, Magee, and Miglioranzi who can each play multiple positions. Could Sanneh play a holding midfield role? Probably the team I'm most excited to see who they put on the field next month.

3/12 Update: Final preseason game on Saturday vs Fire should give us some clues. I put in Sanneh at CB since we haven't heard any progress on the Chavez front, and Magee for Kirovski also.

3/18 Update: DeLaGarza in at LB due to Lewis' injury. Saunders in net because of Ricketts' injury. Tudela in based on last friendly. If Buddle can't start then expect Kirovski.


REAL SALT LAKE

............Movsisyan........Findley................
.......................Morales................
.....Mathis.........................Johnson.......
........................Beckerman.............................
.....Joy...Borchers...Olave...Wingert.....
........................Rimando...............................

Very little going on in RSL country. Dema Kovalenko's gone, meaning Williams has less competition. Is Robbie Findley going to start over Mathis this year? Can Robbie Russell get into the lineup?

3/12 Update: No changes.

3/18 Update: Mathis will be starting in the midfield with Findley up top.


SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

..............Johnson........Weaver..............
........................Convey................
.....Huckerby.........................Alvarez.......
.........................Corrales......................
...Denton...Garcia...Gray...Leitch...
........................Cannon........................

New addition Weaver looks set to pair with Johnson up top. That article also talks about Cochrane hurting; if he can't go look for Hernandez to move inside and the newly acquired Chris Leitch to play RB. The real fun is sorting out the midfield mess. The Quakes have added or will add Bobby Convey, Simon Elliot, and Finland international Aki Riihilahti (defensive midfielder). Even though Convey and Huckerby both like to play on the left, but they can't both do that unless Convey goes to LB which some fans are suggesting. Shea Salinas is an option on the right.

3/12 Update: Cochrane's injury woes are making it look like Hernandez will be starting at CB as mentioned. Elliot is still unsigned. Ramiro Corrales at DM may be a likely choice. Riihilahti failed a physical and won't be joining them.

3/18 Update: Corrales as DM, it seems. Gray in at CB, surprisingly.


SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

.................Jaqua........Montero................
.......................Evans................
.....Le Toux.........................Nyassi.......
........................Alonso.............................
...Sturgis...Kennedy...Marshall...Riley...
........................Keller...............................

Forwards are set. Actually, the whole lineup seems pretty much in place. Brad Evans will probably start the opener since Ljungberg's hurt, but other than that... Steve Zakuani, the top pick in this year's superdraft, has played on the left side and done well. So there's a chance Le Toux could switch sides and bump Nyassi to the bench, but Nyassi's reportedly been good too. Rookie Evan Brown could challenge at right back.

3/12 Update: Switched Le Toux and Nyassi's sides, and put Evans in since Freddie won't be ready to start. Zach Scott (formerly of the USL Sounders) has played with the first XI the last two games (1, 2) at LB. If he starts again tonight, then he's probably got the spot locked down.

3/13 Update: Sturgis started tonight, so he should end up as the starter...at RB, according to the article. I thought that Riley would be on the right, but apparently that's not the case.

3/18 Update: Alright, I think the sides were messed up after all. We'll see tomorrow. I think Sturgis is the least likely to start because he might not be fully recovered. Scott would replace him.


Eastern Conference


CHICAGO FIRE

........................McBride.......................
...........................Nyarko...........................
.......Mapp................................Pappa.......
.............Pause...........Thorrington...............
...Segares...Conde...Soumare...Ward...
..........................Busch.............................

It doesn't seem like there will be any changes from last year, unless somebody steps up and beats out one of the current starters (Nyarko or Pappa could make a case). Prideaux probably is the guy with the shakiest hold on his spot. He hasn't played in the last couple friendlies while the Fire have tested trialists Tim Ward and Paul Bebey.

3/12 Update: Nothing exciting going on. The Galaxy friendly Saturday should tell us if Prideaux is fully healthy and ready to go. Otherwise it looks like Ward could grab a roster spot and a starting berth.

3/18 Update: Prideaux is hurt so Ward should start. Also, the last friendly saw Patrick Nyarko up top with McBride, with Pappa starting for Rolfe (had a knock, I think?) and Conde in midfield. You could see some of those changes if Hamlett decides to switch things up.

3/18 EDIT: Blanco's hurt and likely won't start the opener. So I guess the last friendly lineup was pretty accurate.

COLUMBUS CREW

......................Moreno......................
.......................Schelotto..................
......Rogers.......Ekpo........Gaven....
........................Carroll....................
...Padula...Marshall...O'Rourke...Hejduk...
........................Hesmer...................

Brad Evans was lost to Seattle in the expansion draft, so Moffat should reclaim the spot he lost due to injury last season. That's what people expect, but he's yet to play this preseason. Ekpo has been starting in the first team as these lineups show, so I put him in there. Nice job by the Crew's site to list all the lineups in one place.

3/12 Update: No changes.

3/18 Update: No changes.


DC UNITED

.............Moreno.........Emilio.......
.....................Gomez.............
......Wallace..................Khumalo........
............Simms...McTavish...............
.........Burch.....Jakovic...Namoff...
.......................Crayton...............

Now here's a team in flux. Gomez is back and the foreign defenders are gone. Can they recapture the magic? Yeah, there are some major question marks here, especially at center back. You also have the potential return of Ben Olsen, as well as the rookie many pundits thought was best prepared to step into an MLS lineup, Chris Pontius.

EDIT: New defender signed today means that Janicki should hit the bench.

3/12 Update: It looks like McTavish will be hitting the bench, not Janicki. And there's some injury troubles. On the bright side, Olsen's started in the Carolina Challenge Cup. I put him in the lineup for the injured Quaranta. If Fred can't go for the opener, Pontius should start. And possibly Mediate in place of Namoff. DC's official blbog does an excellent job posting formations for each friendly match.

3/18 Update: Looks like they'll go with a 3-5-2 to start the year. Goff says Wallace and Khumalo may start per the last friendly, but I think there's a good chance we'll see either Pontius or Olsen instead.

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS

.............Gomez.........Wolff.......
....Lopez......Arnaud....Zusi........
...................Jewsbury..................
....Harrington.....Hohlbein...Conrad...Leathers...
.......................Hartman...............

Tyson Wahl's departure via the expansion draft means that Hohlbein should take his place. That's not a great option, but they don't have any other obvious choice. Rookie Matt Besler could make a run, though. Wolff should be ready to start for a full season after coming off the bench in the playoffs. New addition Santiago Hirsig should be a lock to start somewhere in midfield. It's just a matter of where. Supposedly he's more of a defensive midfielder. In the 2008 playoffs, the team started Arnaud, Jewsbury, Gomez, and Souter in midfield. You also have Espinoza who is highly regarded enough to get called up by Honduras. Despite the nice story, Souter probably won't be in the lineup.

The latest friendly had a midfield of Hirsig, Jewsbury, Arnaud, and Espinoza. That seems like a good bet to be the opening day foursome.

3/12 Update: Hirsig 'unlikely' to play in the opener. With that news in mind, I think rookie Graham Zusi could be a surprise starter. He's had an excellent preseason and came on at half time for Hirsig in the last friendly (link above). Meanwhile, Besler and Hohlbein still battling at CB.

3/18 Update: Changes based on the lineup in the last friendly.


NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

......................Dube...............
...................Videira..................
...Mansally.....................Nyassi.....
........Joseph........Larentowicz.......
...Tierney...Heaps.....Barnes.....Alston...
...........................Reis..................

Without Cristman, Parkhurst or Smith, there will certainly be some changes in the starting lineups, but they probably won't be new faces. Without any major additions, it appears Badilla will be in line to take Parkhurst's place.

Kyle McCarthy at goal.com mentions the possibility that Ralston could operate as a withdrawn forward this season. Indeed, he played up top in their recent scrimmage. If he does, then Sainey Nyassi would probably man the right. LB is another spot up for grabs.

3/12 Update: Ouch, Badilla and Twellman hurt. Looks like rookie Darius Barnes is impressing and could be in the lineup.

3/18 Update: Castro and Ralston are out too, yikes. And Albright's suspended. This lineup seems to be what the fans are expecting. I wonder if Igwe could start at LB.


RED BULL NEW YORK

.......................Angel...................
....Kandji.....Rojas.....Richards.........
...........Ubiparipovic......Stammler.........
....Goldthwaite...Petke...Mendes...Hall...
......................Cepero..................

It's no secret that Osorio is looking for a left back. Goldthwaite seems to be getting time at CB with various partners during the friendlies. There's also Petke and Mendes in the mix. Rojas and Pietravallo, since they're still around, will be given an opportunity to settle in and improve. Richards and Stammler are locks to start. Sassano's an option as well. Albert Celades (in camp) would be an exciting addition at DM or CB. If they can sign him, he'll certainly start.

NY has been using one forward this preseason, so Wolyniec should go back to his familiar spot on the bench after his playoff heroics. Michael Lewis says they used a 4-1-4-1 when they beat River Plate.

EDIT: With the trade of Chris Leitch, it looks as though rookie Jeremy Hall will start at right back.

3/12 Update: Lots of news here. Celades signed; Osorio says he's not just a DM but is good in the attack as well. Costa Rican Johnson signed for RB, El Salvadorian Pacheco almost signed for LB. Both of them should start if their paperwork is done in time. Petke is a more likely starter than Boyens so I've made that switch.

3/18 Update: Smith will be suspended for the opener. Pacheco won't be there. Celades? Dunno. So they've going to very shorthanded for the opener. I'm guessing Goldthwaite will move out left and that opens a spot for Mendes or Boyens. Sassano could replace Celades or even play CB.

3/18 EDIT: Looks like Ubiparipovic and Kandji in for the opener.

TORONTO FC

...........Vitti.........Barrett.........
..................DeRosario..............
....Ricketts................Guevara....
..................Robinson..............
....Brennan....Harmse...Serioux...Wynne....
....................Sutton...............

Serioux's addition means that Harmse and Velez should be competing to partner him. There was some noise about Robinson moving to the back line, but that now appears to be unnecessary. Pablo Vitti's arrival may mean the bench for Danny Dichio. He's been doing well so far.

3/12 Update: No changes.

3/18 Update: No changes. Sutton is not a lock to start though.

Labels:

Comments on "2009 MLS Probable Starting Lineups (3/18 Update)"

 

Blogger Jonathan Geissler said ... (1:45 PM, February 27, 2009) : 

Great post!
FYI, Petke will start over Boyens for NY.

 

Anonymous JimDownsFrowns said ... (1:59 PM, February 27, 2009) : 

look about right, give or take some positioning and some trialists

for west

LAG
LD Buddle
Lewis Kova Becks Klein
Dunnivant Sanneh Gonzalez Franklin
Ricketts

(O. Chavez in backline if he signs)

CHV
Razov (injured?) Esky
Bornstein Nagamura Kljestan Marsch
Jazic Curtin Thomas Vaughn
Thornton

HOU

Ching Kamara
Davis Clark Holden Mullan
Barrett Boswell ERob Mulrooney
Onstad

(Cameron or J. James might start)

DAL

Cooper Cunningham
VDB Richetti Ferreira Rocha
Wagner Moor Torres Saragosa
Sala

(McCarty? Maybe Purdy or Pitch for Torres)

COL

Cummings Casey
Clark Mastro Ballouchy Cooke
Guerrero Ihemelu Gibbs Kimura
Pickens

RSL

Movsyssian Escalada
Johnson Beckerman Morales Williams
Joy Borchers Olave Wingert
Rimando

(Beltran over Joy? Findley if Escy doesn't sign)

SJE

Johnson Weaver
Huckerby Riihilahti Convey Alvarez
Corrales Hernandez Garcia Gray
Cannon

(Hernandez to RB? Campos at F? Zotinca to sign and play RB?)

SEA

Montero Jaqua
Le Toux Alonso Evans Nyassi
Sturgis Marshall Wahl Riley
Keller

(Ljungberg and Graham when healthy. MaybeHurtado or Ianni over Wahl.)

 

Anonymous Sounder at Heart said ... (10:07 AM, February 28, 2009) : 

Le Toux has only been used as a Right Winger and Forward so far in preseason.

Zakuani has only been used as a Left Winger (his natural position) this preseason.

Nyassi is trying to crack the starting lineup and has been used as a RW, LW, CAM and SecondStriker. He's likely 1 of 2 offensive supersubs.

Sturgis and Evan Brown are in a batttle for the starting job as Left Wing Back.

Any two of the following could start at CB for the Sounders - Wahl, Marshall, Graham, Hurtado and Ianni. I don't think even Schmid knows right now.

 

Anonymous Sounder at Heart said ... (8:16 AM, March 02, 2009) : 

Again, Le Toux has yet to appear on the left side in 8 preseason matches.

The contest for Left Wing CERTAINLY goes Zakuani, King, Evans, Fucito.

Also, while Brown has been used at Left Back, he has more appearences on the Left side. The battle is on the left, not right.

Here's a breakdown of the time in Cali.

http://sounderatheart.com/2009/02/lessons-from-california-training-camp/

That was four of the 8 matches played so far. I will have one up after Argentina, because they have 25 healthy and 3 not competing for the 20/4 now.

Nyassi by the way has been used at LW, RW, CAM and even as a SS so far.

 

Blogger Graham said ... (12:09 PM, March 02, 2009) : 

I think you are wrong about Souter not being in KC's starting lineup. He started all of the last games and into the playoffs. He was a major force for KC and will continue to be so.

 

Blogger Tim Froh said ... (5:50 PM, March 07, 2009) : 

Aki failed his physical and is no longer with the team. Elliott's signing is not yet official, but it's a good bet that he will be signed since SJ appears to have both the cap room and the need.

That said, I'm not sure which lineup Yallop is going to run out on opening day. However, given his history, I suspect you'll see something resembling this:

Weaver Johnson
Huckerby Convey Corrales Alvarez
Denton Garcia Hernandez Leitch
Cannon

Elliott will likely be cover, and much needed cover at that. It's not clear that Convey will pan out in central midfield. If he doesn't, Elliott will partner Corrales, Convey will move to the left, and Huckerby will either switch sides or move up top. In the event that the team needs more offense from the left back spot, Corrales will take Denton's spot and Elliott will take Corrales's in midfield.

 

Blogger Jason Maxwell said ... (6:56 PM, March 12, 2009) : 

Palguta has not yet been signed according to the Rapids yesterday, the Rochester news article is in error. And Cooke will probably start on the right.

 

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