Wednesday, May 16, 2007

US Soccer Snob’s US Soccer Update – 5/16/07

MLS Week 6 – A Week of Firsts

The week kicked off with the Rocky Mountain Cup, in a game that featured great pace and a strong step-up on national TV from the leagues tarnished golden boy. Young Freddy was on a mission as his work in the first half kept Colorado under constant pressure. His blast in the 15th minute deflected off the bottom of Pablo Mastroeni’s outstretched boot and went into onion bag past my player of the week Bouna Coudoul. RSL managed to give up another embarrassing goal as former Fireman Jack Stewart positioned his shoulder perfectly to allow the ball to deflect off it, into the back of his own net early on. The second half featured some great football, but failed to product a goal. The game ended as the first ever draw that featured only own goals in league history and the sixth time that each team scored an own goal. The Colorado crowd of 13K+ looked and sounded great! Another tribute to the soccer specific stadium agenda.

FSC came out to cover the FIRE vs. Toronto FC match. Two hundred brave FIRE fans made the trek and witnessed the worst game their team had played all season. The FIRE offense was a shambles all match as Toronto controlled the tempo of the game and the FIRE were kept on their heels all afternoon. Toronto got on the board First when Jan Koellers uglier brother Danny Diccio put in the first in franchise history off an Edson Buddle feed. This also set off the first mass seat cushion toss in TFC history. (P.S. Dave Sarachan stole my joke about this incident, so The half of firsts wasn’t over for Diccio yet as his rugby style of play led him to crash into keeper Matt Perkins during a cross. After the ball was cleared, half the FIRE team went after Diccio and the melee sparked more flying seat cushions. Because of the intensity of the scrum, the referee decided to award the first red card in TFC history to Diccio. The FIRE’s Diego Gutierrez was also sent off. Upon review of the play, Mr. Diccio might find his vacation from the MLS pitch last a bit longer than just one match. Diccio completed the rare hat trick of firsts with a club and league first: First attempted Mike Tyson v. Evander Holyfield impersonation. No joke! The ogre attempted to bite Gutierrez! The change in the number of team representatives seemed to favor Chicago. Hell, Brentos even thought so. The opposite turned out to be true as CJ Brown decided to take a vacation from the back post during the second half and TFC put in the second and third goals of their inaugural campaign to walk away with their first win. Brown and Curtain’s weaknesses were on full display as their tortoise–like reactions and lack of cohesion allowed the FIRE to be doused for the second week in a row. This game became a perfect example of what the Chicagoans have given up to obtain Sr. Blanco. Now Andy Herrons’ elbows will be filled by Temo, but the defense sorely misses Tony Sanneh’s poise and organization skills, particularly with Matt Pickens embarking on his first full season as a starter. Brown and Curtain’s play may force Sarachan’s hand to put in first round draft pick The Big Baker, opting for talent over experience. Either way, it looks to be a shaky two months for a team that can’t seem to put up more than one a game.

Columbus vs. Chivas/KC vs. Dallas
OK, first Ante Razov is a freak of nature and one of the most underrated players in the league. For all the gushing about Jamie Moreno, Razov is doing it in less game and with less penalty kicks! Not that Moreno, is going Romario on us, but he is just not the opportunist that Razov is! Schelotto set up Ned Grabavoy (move over Eddie) for the tying goal and that is how the match ended. Ali Moreno did nothing again. Not all that much else happened, although I was flipping between the cosmopolitan hubs of Columbus and Kansas City during the games so I may have missed Eddie Gaven sulk off the pitch.

KC and Dallas proved that it is possible to lose A LOT of money betting on soccer. Dallas comes in struggling, but is boosted from the reappearance of Dario Sala between the pipes. KC’s flying high, but wunderkind Carlos Marinelli is on the bench. Result? A convincing 2-1 win for the visitors. The non-Dave Dir Dallas announcer was so beside himself that he dismissed Kenny Coopers opening headed as “not a thing of beauty.” A backtracking Cooper, back-nods (its a word now) the ball into the far corner, beating a slightly off his line Kevin Hartman and its not a thing of beauty? I must be watching the wrong game! The Wizards conceded another goal to Dallas late in the first half and couldn’t take advantage of a blinder of a game by Davey Arnaud until the end of regulation when rookie of the year candidate Michael Harrington convincingly headed in his second of the season.

The Taylor Twellman show came to LA and didn’t fail to disappoint. TnT beat Joe Cannon twice in the second half as the Revs came from behind to beat the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center. Kyle Martio showed up for the game and notched the opening goal in the 14th minute. The score stood at that point until just after the half, where Adam Cristman circled around and snuck a shot past a frozen Cannon. Ralston on the assist, in case that isn’t implied at this point. Five minutes later Twellman put one off the crossbar, but followed his shot and headed into the back of the net. The home team though they had secured at least a tie in the 84th minute when Tyron Marshall deftly headed Captain Donovan’s corner kick past Matt Reis to set off a wild celebration (well wild for this side of the Canadian border). The revelry was short lived though as Twellman scored on a Pat Noonan pass on the next possession. Thus ended Saturday’s Major League Soccer action.

Sunday witnessed the grand welcome to the Red Bull Home Faithful to NY/NJ for Juan Pablo Angel. I think I briefly spotted a Columbian flag at midfield. Just a terrible showing of support for a Designated Player, but none the less, an appropriate welcome. Captain Wheelchair was on the bench and Ronny Waterreus was still ailing. Colorado took it to the Bulls all match and went ahead on a nice Herculez Gonzales, Nico Hernandez connection midway through the first half. Props to Nico and Herculez for the Bull inspired celebration. Toro! Toro! The Red Bulls looked slow all game, but did manage to direct some shots at net, but Condoul was equal to the task and had his second seven save game of the year. Mike Petke and Mastroeni were also very important to the strong Colorado defense all afternoon.

BB is the King!
Congratulations to former FIRE, Flagship and Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley who will have the interim removed from his name by US Soccer Wednesday. Bobby, you earned it! Now go out there and show the country why we will never need a foreign coach at the helm of our team!

Xavier in LA

No, it is not this nation’s classiest college basketball program doing a movie, it is well traveled Portuguese defender Abel Xavier who will join the Galaxy June 15th on a free transfer from EPL side Middlesboro. Word is also that Mr. Ruiz, another “bargain” attraction is plotting his return to LA. How the f%*k does this league claim to have a salary cap? Please let me know! This is growing beyond the smoke and mirror typically employed by MLS front offices. This is just straight up ignorance of the rules.

Basher Alert

It is rare these days that a young sports columnist churns out an idiotic piece of crap like this. Of course, I could keep my fingers off the keyboard. And yes, I decided against a constructive e-mail, after all, he said that he knows everything already while saying he doesn’t understand the game! I’m not kidding!

My Response:
Mr. Robinson,

If you willingly admit you know nothing about the beautiful game, why do you write about it? Since when do American’s care about tennis? Check the attendance for tennis events vs. soccer events in this country and you will be surprised. Sorry about the lack of cohesion in my response, but I thought you’d enjoy it given the caliber of drivel that seeped from your pen when you wrote “looking for a tie.” No, it doesn’t deserve to be capitalized.

Adios Hack,
US Soccer Snob

Sorry for putting you readers through that! To reassure your faith in humanity, please read this great Bob Hunter piece from the Columbus Dispatch.

MLS Prediction Central
Last Week (2-4)
SEASON (10-17)

Toronto v. Dynamo - The locals are raging soccer lunatics! But that won’t stop DeRo form showing them what they’ll get in a year or two when he joins TFC. Houston send Toronto back to earth.

FIRE v. Dallas – I don’t know what the hell to make of either of these teams! The Fire have given up six goals in the last two games while Dallas put together just an awesome performance at KC last Saturday. The FIRE should be able to draw this team because Dallas team speed isn’t too much for Chicago’s snail like central back tandem of Brown and Curtain.

Toronto v. DC United – United still are trying to work out the bugs and have to settle for a draw at the Madhouse on the Lake.

RBNY vs. Crew – Boca! River! Schelotto! Angel! Someone get Chris Sullivan’s hand out of his pants! Red Bulls bounce back with Jozy and Angel showing the RedBulls largest crowd of the season why there is hope this season.

Dynamo v. Revs – You wanna mess with the Revs? I don’t wanna mess with them! He don’t wanna mess with them? Take the Revs as the Twellman show rolls on.

Colorado v. Wizards – No Conrad, No Marinelli, No Win. Maybe even a Connor Casey sighting! Funny that Connor is on the same team as Jovan Kirovski. I think they got the identical career path from their high school guidance counselors.

Chivas v. Galaxy – Watch out now its HONDA SUPERCLASSICO TIME. The Gals take out their recent frustration on their building squatters.

Dallas v. RSL – Holy Kreis! Checkett’s favorite Jason remains undefeated and notches his first win and fresh RSL legs prevail in the Dallas heat.

Sorry, but Glenn hasn’t posted his podcast yet.

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