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Climbing the Ladder: Hometown cooking, Parke's long goal wait

Not stuck in Parke

Jeff Parke was the hero for Seattle last Saturday, heading home in stoppage time to condemn Sporting Kansas City to yet another defeat.

By now it’s been reported countless times that the centerback hadn’t put the ball in the net since June 12, 2004, nearly seven years ago. That’s a total of 151 scoreless regular-season games since his last goal.

But that’s not a record. A former Chicago Fire defender can boast (or not) a longer streak. Charles James Brown, better known as C.J., scored his second MLS goal on June 24, 1998. He went on to score his third and final one on September 9, 2006, eight years and 201 games later. Brown did, however, score once each in the MLS Cup Playoffs and the Open Cup during that time.

Home Streak Home

Brown, now an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake, was surely excited to see his team get a draw at Pizza Hut Park this past Sunday. In their eight previous regular-season away games against Dallas, they lost each one, and were outscored 18-5. While they may have gained a first-ever point, they did extend their winless run in Frisco to nine games.

Dallas aren’t the only MLS team to dominate another at home. Five teams have current home unbeaten streaks of at least nine games against another team:

Home Away Games Record Start Next Meeting
NE NY 13 10-0-3 2002 August 20
SJ* KC 12 8-0-4 2001 October 1
SJ* DC 11 5-0-6 1999 July 30
KC COL 10 7-0-3 2003 July 6
COL NE 9 6-0-3 2003 July 23
DAL RSL 9 8-0-1 2005 2012

* Note: The San Jose franchise did not play in 2006 or 2007.

At 13 games, NE-NY is tied for the longest ever with another Dallas home streak. FCD didn’t lose at home to the Colorado Rapids from 2002-08, at least in the regular season. The MLS Cup Playoffs are another story, as former coach Colin Clarke might remember.

Meanwhile, the Revolution’s home domination of New York jumps to 16 games if three playoff games (2-0-1) are included.

Nine Lives

Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps meet on Wednesday at BMO Field for the second leg of the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship final.

For Toronto FC, this represents more than an opportunity to win the cup and qualify for the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. TFC have played eight straight games in the competition without defeat, starting with the dramatic 6-1 victory in Montreal to clinch the 2009 edition.

If they make it nine, they will become the first MLS team to have an undefeated streak that long in any domestic cup competition.

Three American MLS teams have had eight-game streaks in the US Open Cup, including the Seattle Sounders at the moment, who’ve won it in both years of their existence. That doesn’t include the two qualifying games they played in 2009, but it does include a draw against Portland last year where they advanced on the shootout. They’ll have a chance later this year to extend their run.

The other two eight-game streaks were by Chicago (2000-01) and LA (2001-02), who both fell short in their efforts to repeat as Open Cup champs.

Ordering a cosmopolitan in Vancouver

A milestone occurred in British Columbia last month. On April 16, Vancouver battled Chivas USA to a scoreless result at Empire Field. It’s not a match that will go down as an all time classic, but Vancouver’s lineup that night was something special:

Jay Nolly, Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat, Blake Wagner, Wes Knight (Omar Salgado 83), Jeb Brovsky, Kevin Harmse, Davide Chiumiento (Nizar Khalfan 68), Eric Hassli (Long Tan 80), Camilo.

Notice anything? After the substitutions of Nizar Khalfan and Long Tan, for the last 10 minutes Vancouver’s 11 men on the field represented all six FIFA confederations. There’s Camilo from Brazil, Tan from China, Boxall from New Zealand, Rochat from Switzerland, Khalfan from Tanzania, and the rest from North America.

No other MLS team has done it. There’s only been a small number of MLS players imported from Asia and Oceania, so those are the harder ones to cross off the list. If the LA Galaxy hadn’t traded New Zealand’s Simon Elliott before the 2004 season, then they might’ve accomplished this first. That year’s team had the other five confederations covered.