Thursday, May 24, 2007

US Soccer Snob’s US Soccer Update – 5/24/07

MLS Week 7 – A step backwards
This weekend we were treated to some terrible soccer (and weather) almost across the board. Luckily there were a few moments of brilliance sprinkled between the hacking and incomplete passes.

Toronto v. Dynamo - Nothing can keep these fans away from the madhouse on the lake. Can 2,000 DeRo supporters be wrong? They were last Wednesday and Houston got outplayed and new acquisition Joseph Ngenyna made like his predecessor, Alejandro Moreno and squandered a couple of prime scoring opportunities. Andy Welsh slammed home a Ronnie O’Brien free kick to send the Torontonians into a frenzy. Most amazing stat of the day: Complaints by Mo: 0. More on this later.

FIRE v. Dallas – Another Brimstone Cup match, another Dallas win. Dallas outclasses the FIRE for 65 minutes and then managed to hang on for a 2-1 victory over the home team. Juan Toja was the man of the match in my book. His dominance across the field kept the 32 FIRE defenders fielded by mini-Coach “Defensive” Dave scrambling all evening. After Kenny Cooper almost broke the stage side Toyota Park crossbar in the 54th minute with a screamer from well outside the box, Toja doubled the Dallas advantage in the 60th with a rocket that would have scored without the slight deflection by Logan Pause. The FIRE with the fresh injection of Brian Plotkin, Thiago, and Chad Barrett besieged the Dallas goal for the remainder of the match and converted in the 73rd minute after Thiago won a ball from two Dallas defenders, split two more with a pass to Barrett, which was crossed to an on rushing Calen Carr. Carr poked the ball past Sala to halve the lead. The FIRE almost leveled in the match when Thiago slammed a Justin Mapp corner into the near post. This match revealed that the FIRE can no longer afford to play converted defenders such as Gonzalo Segares, Ivan Guererro and Robinson as midfielders and expect them to cover for an aging central defensive tandem of CJ Brown and Chris Armas. Armas in particular looks like he aged ten years in the off season.

Toronto v. DC United – Now here’s a game brought to you by Mo Johnston! UGLY! The first half lacked any cohesion whatsoever, but did bring the interesting footnote of Aleko Eskandarian scoring his first non-DC United goal vs. DC United. Aside from that, there was little to take away from the first half aside from the foul festival that is becoming commonplace at BMO field. I mean, we are talking about a team that is coached by a man who thought a red card was too harsh when one of his players tried to bite an opponent. DC was flat until the insertion of Guy-Roland Kpene in the 56th minute for walking yellow card Facundo Erpen who was on the verge of earning his second of the match. Shortly thereafter, DC tied the match off a Bobcat Goldthwaite own goal and continued pressing. In the 79th minute a great over the top ball found Luciano Emilio who was subsequently dragged down in the box by TFC’s Marvell Wynne. You guessed it, Mo didn’t agree with the call. That made no difference to Jamie Moreno, who tied Jason Kreis’ MLS all time goal record with a well struck penalty kick. Moreno who has only been able to score via the spot this season may well be running on fumes, despite his recent call-up to the Bolivian national side.

RBNY vs. Crew – I didn’t get to see too much of this game, but I did witness Dane Richards ROY campaign take another step forward with a great cross to ageless journeyman John Wolyniec for the opener. After that, Columbus pretty much got hammered into the ground by a merciless Red Bull side. The Red Bulls did very well considering they had to deal with the shock of Claudio Reyna not on the roster due to injury. Ronny Waterrus and Young Jozy were not on the pitch either with Waterrus nursing an injury and Jozy going to a Prom. Props to Bruce for letting Altidore attend an important event. There will be plenty of more games for him to take part in. I think Arena knows what he has on his hands in NYC and it should scare the hell out of anyone who loves MLS. I mean anyone, because it is clear to tell from attendance that no one in NY/NJ loves MLS.

Dynamo v. Revs – Shalrie Joseph fires a low liner past Pat Onstad early on to give the Revs all they needed against a tepid Dynamo attack. The Dynamo look very lost at the moment and might start to think about some serious changes. Rarely this year have Brian Ching, DeRo, Brad Davis and Joelajandro Dagrenya look close to being on the same page.

Colorado v. Wizards – Thank God for HDNet! That is so exclusive no one except Mark Cuban can watch the games! The draw here saw Carlos Marinelli back on the pitch, which is good news for KC’s fans. The fan base that has the distinction of putting up a “no rating” on their local TV game broadcasts according to the KC Star. That is sub 0.1 territory which means that less than 900 or so TV’s were tuned to the match. That’s got to hurt more than Jimmy Conrad’s jaw!

Chivas v. Galaxy – Superclassico and another “sell out”! Ever watch a match with no connection between either teams midfielders and their strikers? Watch this on MLS replay and you’ll be able to claim that distinction. Tough match for spectators and that includes those lying down on blanket on Lalas hill.

Dallas v. RSL – A great Sunday afternoon crowd witnessed yet another droll first half , which gave way to a RSL showcase (and Jeff Cunningham swan song) in the second half. But the RSL Williams/Adu show was stolen by Dallas’ finishing, including the no-look Goal of the Week stunner launched by Chris Gbandi in the 82nd minute. I was shocked to see that eight cautions were issued in this match. What is this? Toronto?

Friendly Notes:
This week LA fell to Rangers 1-0 at the Home Depot Center while Toronto held Benefica to a scoreless draw. Not to bad all things considered. What other conclusions are there to draw from this?

Sheva open to America
According to the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, Chelsea striker came away from last summers MLS All Star game impressed enough to move him to the following statements about the league. Shevchenko said: "I would like to play there, actually. Soccer is growing in the US and I'd like to be a part of that. I played there last summer against the MLS All-Stars and I saw myself that it's definitely improving.” Upon reading this, Alexi Lalas picked up the phone.

MLS Prediction Central
Last Week (2-6)
SEASON (12-23)

FIRE vs. RBNY – As much as it hurts, I’ve got to go with the Red Bulls on this one. Bruce has got the whole team playing up to (Richards) and beyond (Mathis) their potential. With Angel getting familiar with his surrounding, the FIRE’s terrible (there I said it) central defense will look stupid all night.

Wizards vs. Revs – The Revs keep winning, but something tells me that Marinelli and the Wizards will be able to get a draw out of this one.

TFC vs. Crew – The TFC UFC takes on the Crew (who’s logo is probably more appropriate for the visitors given their style of brawl ball). Toronto gets their first road win here in a shoot out.

Dynamo vs. DCU – Tommy’s boys are back on track as Dominic continues to look for answers and Saturday night at RFK is no place to search for those answers. I’ll take DCU comfortably.

Galaxy vs. Rapids – All Rapids all the way here. Jacob Peterson and Connor Casey got some much needed time in the Rapids mid-week Open Cup victory over RSL. Look for these players to have a role in this match.

FCD vs. Chivas – Steve Morrow figured something out over the last month and it is going to be trouble for any team in FCD’s path. Chivas’ midfield is having some difficulty in connecting to its attacking players and Pablo Ricchetti will ensure that remains the case.

RSL vs. FIRE – Woe is RSL. This team is too good to continue to struggle the way they are, but alas, their struggles will not end on the road. The FIRE win their first in four and Carr begins to make a name for himself.

New Soccer Basher Enemy: Norman Chad – It’s great when a nationally syndicated writer uses every opportunity to bash MLS. Find his articles your own! I mean this stuff is hold over anti-soccer junk from days begone.

Euro-Snobs of the Week

The AP ran an article about two twenty year old American college students, Dan Dahlin and Ian Smith, who won tickets to the Champions League final via a UEFA lottery. Good for them, until the last quote of the page came up. When asked about David Beckham’s move to the Galaxy Smith quipped, "He's obviously shifting away from soccer to the movies." Obviously!!! Bite me Ian!

Writer of the Week:
Brian Dohn for this nice piece.

The Dynamo Power Hour with Glenn Davis special guest Marcus Hahnemann.
(P.S. – Is Thomas Rongren the spokes person for Danish Inspirations?)

NEXT WEEK: Early Season MLS Awards

1 comment:

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