Wednesday, August 1, 2007

US Soccer Snob’s US Soccer Update – 08/01/07


SuperLiga – Solo un Partido
Let’s face it, there is only one game that anyone will talk about when the first round of Superliga is brought up in discussion. That would be the 6-5 goal fest between FC Dallas and LA Galaxy that put the Gals through to the Semi-finals. Dallas fans were already on edge after hearing that Becks wasn’t allowed on the Galaxy Cruiser headed to the Big D. To add insult to injury, Dallas allowed four goals in the first 18 minutes. Arturo Alverez pulled one back before the half for the Hoops, but they were still staring a significant deficit in the face at halftime and the frustration showed as Juan Toja and Alvarez were issued yellow cards in first half extra time. Dallas came back on the pitch with a mission and it almost paid immediate dividends with Carlos Ruiz drilling a bicycle kick into the back of the net two minutes into the half. Unfortunately, the linesman correctly judged Ruiz to be in an offside position. LA’s defenses held due to some stellar keeping from Joe Cannon until the 78th minute when all hell broke loose. First Dallas narrowed the gap to two goals thanks to Toja. Four minutes later, Alvarez got his second narrowing the score line to 4-3. Apparently this didn’t sit well with Landon Donovan who put together a Maradona-style ¾ of the pitch run, darting through the Dallas defense, juking Dario Sala and finishing calmly before making the throat slash celebration, which earned him a yellow. This match was still far from over.
Extra time, was plenty of time for Dallas to slip another past Cannon narrowing the gap to one again. In the 95th minute the Gals answered with a counter attack in which Donovan found Carlos Pavon wide open at the far post, who blasted the ball past Sala for a 6-4 score line. With a last gasp Dallas AGAIN narrowed the deficit to one goal with an Abe Thompson header off a Dax McCarthy corner. The game had to end at that point to the disappointment of the fans who saw nothing short of an amazing game and had no reasonable gripes with management despite the absence of Becks. Although you can’t tell that to Dave Thomas of the Star-Telegram, who don’t even have an FC Dallas section on their sports page.

Check out these statistics:
Donovan – 1 goal, 3 assists
Gordon – 2 goal, 1 assist
Alvarez – 2 goals
Toja – goal, assist

The great thing about Superliga is what many of us US Soccer supporters have hoped for has been the case, MLS teams and FMF teams seem to be on equal footing. Only Chivas has managed a win over a MLS side to this point. DC has been aided by a couple of red cards, while Houston left their foot off the gas against Morelia to put both DC and Houston on the bubble tonight.

MLS Week 16 – Meanwhile in Non-Border War Action
LA Goats v. The Flagship – Something tells me that MLS defenses have figured out JPA. Chivas did a great job of shutting down a flat Flagship and sent them off into a long break on a down note.
MOTM: Ante Razov

Revs v. RSL – Those RSL boys can’t seem to keep their frustrations to themselves! Beckerman was a lynchpin for the tea, but RSL, yet again, gave up a late goal to fall at home against the Revs. Again, I believe that this match was a positive step for RSL. Falling to a late goal, while playing a man down against one of the best in the league isn’t as shameful as some of RSL previous losses.
MOTM: No position to judge

FIRE v. UFC – The revamped FIRE managed to take down a bruised UFC in convincing fashion on Sunday. Blanco was every bit the field general he was expected to be when he was signed. His presence has been what was missing from this team since the departure of Peter Nowak. Yeah, it’s been a while. This fixture was also an audition of sorts for Calen Carr and Chad Barrett to play opposite new signing Paulo Wanchope. Barrett may have played himself off the team with his uneven performance, while Carr was arguably the best player on it. Carr played with an extra gear all match and should be starting with Wanchope up top come Saturday.
MOTM: Calen Carr

LA Goats v. KC – Another thriller in KC, but this time Yura Movsisyian was actually on target! His late goal sends the Wiz to win following last weeks disappointing draw with the Rapids. Kerry Zavagnain, who hadn’t scored since 2003 now has three goals this season, two of which might be up for Goal of the Year discussion.

Friendly Action
Aston Villa swash buckled through North America last week and diced up UFC and the Crew in what were entertaining, but disappointing matches for MLS fans. Neither side took the games too seriously and it showed in the goal tallies, but made for fun watching.

Transfer of the Week
Paulo Wanchope joined the FIRE this week and John Guppy has managed to completely remake this team midyear. The Wanchope move is massive no matter which way you look at it. The FIRE instantly have one of the regions most recognized players, a great finisher and a leader for an aimless group of forwards. Blanco has a quality player to pass to and the Costa Rican fans have another FIRE player to root for. Great news all around!

I couldn’t use another Adu, Adieu, etc. reference that has been used in every single paper in the country. As expected on the heels of an amazing U-20 World Cup performance, Freddy Adu is off to Euroland to play for Benefica. An excellent choice by Adu and his agent! The Portuguese league is great for Freddy’s development, but if he though it was tough getting off the bench in DC, wait until he arrives in the land of Port and Cork. Here’s hoping Adu can make it work for the sake of our national team.

MLS Prediction Central
Last Week (1-3)
SEASON (36-61)
KC v. Revs – A rematch of an early season classic, in which EJ scored a hat trick. Don’t expect the same. KC’s defense has been shaky as of late and the Revs play tough at home. Revs take the three points.

Crew v. FIRE – A resurgent FIRE tops the Crew as Blanco and Wanchope have their home coming out party.

Rapids v. Dallas – A rested Rapids manage a draw versus a depleted Dallas.

Dynamo v. Salt Lake – Just RSL’s luck that once they start putting together some promising play, they have the hottest teams in the league lining up on their schedule. Dynamo in a tight one.

United v. Revs – Another Eastern super battle. I’ll take the Revs to topple a road weary DC United.

Galaxy v. UFC – Will he or won’t he? If you were Frank Yallop, would you let David Beckhams’ fragile ankle near a Mo Johnston team. Mo might just stomp on it in the Friday presser! Look for the Galaxy to build on the Superliga momentum over a gutted UFC.


The Soccer/Dynamo Power Hour – Glenn talks about Becks.
(NOTE: If you know a Podcast that needs to be added please let me know and post a link.)

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