Saturday, April 7, 2007

US Soccer Snob's Weekly Update

MLS Predictions:
Order of Finish:East: DC United*, Revs*, Columbus*, Toronto*, Chicago Fire, KC, NYRB
West: Houston*, RSL*, LA Galaxy*, Dallas*, Colorado, Chivas
* - Playoff teams

Supporters Shield: DC United
Again, United builds an early lead and then starts going through a rough patch dealing with injuries and general from the extended season and extensive competitions. Tommy Soehn and company right the ship and start to cruise again before the playoffs. Houston looks to and almost closes the gap after signing Omar Bravo in the summer transfer window, but loses him for much of the season after Blanco breaks his leg in their MLS debuts at Toyota Park.

MLS Cup: United over RSL
Adu’s storybook season is denied its end by an overpowering DCU offense in front of a sellout hometown crowd. Huge Beckham poster hung in the south end is knocked from it’s mooring by an attempted volley by Ben Olsen. Addias is not pleased.

Open Cup: LA Galaxy
A-league teams are asked to foot the bill for “security charges” and forfeit the first two rounds to the Gals. LA plays all its remaining games at home to sell as many Beckham tickets as possible. Christopher Sullivan reminds us again that when he played in South America, they referred a home game as “en casa”.

All Star Game: MLS 2 - Celtic 1
In an amazing move, the entire MLS roster is populated by field players that have yet to make their MLS regular season debut. Claudio Reyna (injured since the first step he took on the Giant’s field turf coming out of the locker room), makes his MLS debut in a wheel chair and feeds a streaking David Beckham for the first goal in the 15th minute. Celtic fans react by drinking more beer. Halftime arrives and Tommy Soehn is forced to sub Reyna as his wheelchair suffered extensive damange heading into the locker room as it rolled over a piece of astroturf on the sidelines. Celtic tie immediately in the second half as a confused Maciej Zurawski (recently inked by RBNY) puts one in for his former teammates. Celtic fans miss the goal as the halftime beer and bathroom lines set North American records. The MLS all-stars win in stunning fashion as 85th minute sub, Zinadine Zidane (signed at halftime by Kansas City) charges, head first, through the Celtic defense and walks the ball into the back of the net. After the final whistle, Don Garber decrees that the entire MLS All-star team be transferred to RBNY via an special “Allstar Disburement Allocation”. Deposed US national team coach Bruce Arena, guides the re-named RedBull Gallacticos to exactly one point the rest of the season. At his firing, he notifies the nation that they just don’t understand the top level of football in this country, expectations were set too high and that Claudio Reyna’s wheelchair is now available via MLS Auctions. The wheelchair is eventually purchased by the Claudio Reyna Museum Foundation and added the it’s extensive collection which is currently located in Bruce Arena’s fourth bedroom.

MVP: Dwayne DeRosario
Mr. Excitement outshines all others and has a season for the ages. After the season new mega-star DeRosario is often seen hangin’ out with Dave Chappelle and Cypress Hill.ROTY: Robbie Rogers (if eligible)
Seriously, who the hell can tell what players are and are not eligible for this award.

CONCACAF Champions Cup
Disappointment follows US based squads on Mexican soil again. Despite having leads, both DC United and the Dynamo failed to protect their advantages on the road. United came into their match with Chivas level on aggregate(1-1). United jumped to a surprising lead on a spectacular goal by Jaime Moreno. As defenders began to close on Luciano Emilio in the Chivas box, Emilio poked a pass to Moreno who had his back to the goal. Moreno vertically one-touched the ball then bicycle kicked a lofting shot into the back of the net. The loft of the show was absolutely physics defying! Unfortunately the lead withered shortly after that as Aldofo Bautista put home a cross just before the half. Throughout the match Facundo Erpen again proved his worthlessness in defense getting torched by every available Chivas attacker. Chivas jumped ahead for good as some nice build-up in United area lead to a strong shot by Gonzalo Pineda right at Troy Perkins. The MLS goalkeeper of the year decided to attempt to catch the shot, but seemed to rethink that approach and opted to push it over the bar. The only problem with that is half way through Perkins’ though process his indecisive hand touched enough ball to slow it and allow it to hit the back of the net. United had other opportunities, but those too fell by the wayside and another American team slunk back from Mexico dejected. Certainly Houston and their 2-0 aggregate lead gave our league a taste of the glory you say!

Where do I begin?

The referee for this match was Mauricio Navarro. Mauricio Navarro was born in Santiago Chile on April 7th 1966. His hometown is Vancouver, Canada. The reason I’m telling you this is that Mr. Navarro made sure that he was a part of every single story about this match. Mr. Navarro and his crew missed an easy offside call in the third minute and allowed Pachuca to cut into Houston’s lead. Apparently seeking approval from the freeloading crowd, Mr. Navarro saw it fit to award the home team a penalty kick ten minutes later. This call was at the very least, debatable. Dynamo defender, Craig Waibel made an ill advised lunge at the ball as a Pachuca attacker was attempting to navigate a maze of defenders and then easily fell when Waibel caught some leg with the ball. Twenty minutes after the penalty, Houston keeper Zach Wells was given a yellow card by Navarro. Here's the laughable part:In the thirty fifth minute, the keeper for a team that is even was awarded a yellow card for time wasting. Please! Somehow, Houston got out of the half level on aggregate, although Navarro did ask the stadium staff to place all available balls in the Houston’s net during halftime for karma’s sake. Again, Houston coach Dominick Kinner seemed to make all the right halftime moves as a fired up Dynamo squad retook the aggregate lead off a goal by Brian Mullan in the 52nd minute. Enter Navarro, who took the next opportunity to blow the whistle. This time it was as a Pachucan attacker attempted to go around Brad Davis where the box meets the endline. Having been shut down, the attacker dives and Navarro promptly points to the spot, Christian Giminez converts and the tilt is level again. After this point, the teams were allowed to decided the match. Undeterred Houston again put themselves ahead on aggregate off a free kick that found the head of an unmarked Brian Ching in the 79th minute. Had there been six minutes left in the match, Houston would have advanced, however seven minutes later Pachuca’s Gabriel Caballero scored on a magical header goal to draw the series even again. High in the mountains of Mexico, the two sides headed to overtime. Late in the overtime’s first half , Giminez completed his hat trick for the home side by unleashing a vicious bending shot that started right and then tailed back left into the top left corner of the net. Stunned Houston keeper Zach Wells could only watch and admire Giminez’s piece of artistry. In the second overtime frame Houston had an opportunity to draw even again, but Ching’s head refused to come to Houston’s rescue again. A great cross was squandered as the ball eluded Ching’s head and connected with his shoulder. Five minutes later, Navarro blew his cruel whistle on the match.

The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis

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