Wednesday, April 18, 2007

US Soccer Snob's Bi-Weekly Update - 4/18

MLS Week 2
Spectacular entertainment burst from RFK stadium as the KC Wizards started the season in grand fashion and everybody’s championship pick, DC United, again was doubled up by their opposition again. Although the great crowd of 22K plus didn’t go home happy they were treated to high quality soccer by two very talented teams. The train wreck that is Facundo Erpen proved his worth to the opposition getting torched throughout the match. I really think Erpen went downhill after the All-Star game last year where he was a Man of the Match candidate. His play in CONCACAF was horrific and now is approaching hackish levels during the early season. The flip side of United is the continued great play of Luciano Emilio. This guy is going to be torching nets all season and based on United’s backline play, they are going to need all the goals they can get.

From a presentation and fan comfort standpoint, the RBNY home opener lived up to what we’ve come to expect from a NY franchise: Massive embarrassment on some sort of scale. A Nor’easter that blew through the upper Atlantic states and cancelled every baseball game scheduled, did nothing to deter the Telemundo game of the week from kicking off on time. Next time someone want to rip on soccer just show them a video of this match and let them know that while the baseball players were warming their feet by the fire, MLS players were out earning a living at the expense of their health. That’s right, Ronald Watterus and Clarence Goodson had to be subbed out due to experiencing hypothermia type symptoms! All that to entertain perhaps the 2,000 or so fans that showed up. Anyone who was in that building should be commended!
In other game related news, who had Claudio Reyna and Marvelle Wynne (more on this later) out for the RBNY’s home opener? Reyna was almost a given, but Wynne made that an exacta that was hard to pick! Although all went well for the Flagship on the pitch as they plastered (K)FCD 3-0. The colonel’s men looked depleted from their road odyssey and bewildered by the weather. Almost as shocking as the weather was the performance delivered by Clint Mathis. Mathis was the lynchpin of the RBNY offense, setting up the first goal with at wicked corner kick that was well finished by Josemer Altidore. Shortly after that, Mathis was the recipient of a lovely backheel from Altidore, which he slammed in to the back of the net to put the Flagship up 2-0. Dane Richards and Hunter Freeman filled the shoes of Reyna and Wynne quite admirably by flying up and down the field, RBNY ran a tired KFCD into the ground. Too bad for RBNY that once, Reyna plays, he’ll slow up that attack and play some of that possession that his proponent seem to love so much.

Then there was the Fire in windy Colorado. The Fire are handed a great opportunity early in the match and then proceed to do their best to squander that opportunity throughout the rest of the game. The Fire were again anemic when the offense was being run by Chris Armas. I’m convinced that something has to give with Armas and Diego Gutierrez in the midfield. I can’t see the Fire offense generating more than one goal with both of these defensive minded midst in the game. Following his red card, Colorado’s Roberto Brown found himself locked out of the home locker room and had to wait for a team rep to buzz him in. Mad ups to the Fire fans who made it out to DSG park. I think they each brought a ten foot banner with them! There has been a great trend this year in decent road support for visiting teams, however, it will be hard to top the Houston 12 that represented their team and the league in Pachuca.

Only in MLS Observation of the Week
The Designated Player Rule is passed! Beckham is signed! Captain America is coming home! Arriba Blanco! Hype, love, hysteria!! Major League Soccer has finally arrived! Exactly ZERO DP signees played in their home opener. Viva la Revolution!

Other DP News: Send me an Angel

Sorry about the title, but at least I didn’t use something with the term “gets wings” like every other media outlet in the world.
The Flagship signed Juan Pablo Angel for and undisclosed sum that was immediately disclosed through sources. Strange to see a signing in NY that might actually have a positive effect on the box office. During Angel’s press conference he sounded very confident and seemed to know more about the league than Becks did at his presser. RBNY needed an established striker and they got one. It doesn’t hurt that he’s Columbian too. The drawback is that Angel had trouble making the Aston Villa bench during the new year and has not been in form for quite a while.
Meanwhile Guillermo Barros Schelotto, signed a two year pact with the Columbus Crew. Can he fill the shoes of Sebastian Rosenthal? I’m trying not to laugh too. Somebody get the Discovery Channel on the line, because this will be a hell of a more interesting geographical switch story than what the Beckham’s have going. From Buenos Aries to Columbus! How long until Schelotto tries to order a Malbec and gets a Becks? Nice to see a flood of passionate futbol players from south of our borders continue make their way over here. There really has been a great tradition being established from Valderrama to Etch to Moreno to Gomez.
Anybody else notice that the most maligned DP signing, Cuauctemoc Blanco, is the only DP that has been consistently in his former/current club’s starting line-up over the past year?

Under the Radar
Il Bruce has been a busy man! In the fog of all these DP signings, star-to-be, Wynne, was shipped to Toronto to help them shore up a defense that has given up six goals in two games. Funny that both the pre-season champion and surprise team picks have given up six goals in two games, while C-Bus has yet to be scored upon. The defending champs have one goal, Colorado, Chicago, KC, and NYRB are undefeated, and a team that has never played a home game leads the league in season tickets sold.

COMING UP: It will be the “Two for the Money” MLS style. I’ll start embarrassing myself on a weekly basis with result predictions!

The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis

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