MLS: Weekend 16 Review

I won't take the time to cover the news today - well, apart from passing on ESPN's power rankings (whoops. As yet unavailable). So, without further muss here's what happened, including how badly I blew my predictions for this weekend. And, as always, you can see highlight clips for all the games listed below by hitting MLS's Sights & Sounds.

New England Revolution 1 - 3 Real Salt Lake
No. No, no, no, NO! This is not what teams I like need to be doing with their home games - e.g. sucking rotten eggs against a team widely acknowledged to be league whipping boys. Fortunately, the problem here was pretty clear: the Revs' defense gave Real Salt Lake (RSL) - and not just anyone on the team, but their key players like Jeff Cunningham and Jason Kreis - WAY too much room in the attacking third; the marking was sloppier than shoddy and the precision in New England's attack somewhere in the ballpark of a drunk's driving with one opened eye. Horrible performance. One has to wonder if things haven't gone stale around Gillette Stadium.

Alternately, it could be that they're trying out the LA Galaxy's strategy from last season - lay low during the regular season and rally big in the playoffs....yeah....right....

Pick it up you assholes.

Red Bull New York 1 - 0 Colorado Rapids
From the looks of it, a game only a mother could love - and we're talking a heavily-medicated mother. Red Bull continued to look feeble, but they must love the win. Colorado...I dunno. Maybe they can only play a mile high.

Chicago Fire 2 - 3 FC Dallas
Given the appalling conditions (120-degree Midwest summer day, anyone?), this game was a beauty. Both sides pressed, fought, and ran further, harder and faster than I would have thought possible. And the score changed hands plenty of times: Dallas opened the scoring with a nice goal from Ramon Nunez; Chicago's Andy Herron first leveled the score, then put the Fire in the lead with two well-taken goals of his own; then, from somewhere deep up their butts, FC Dallas ripped an equalizer through Bobby Rhine, and, finallly, the winner from an inexcusably unmarked Kenny Cooper. A good advertisement for the U.S. game all 'round - well, apart from the defending.

The win came at a hell of a cost, though, as FC Dallas left players down all over the field. David Wagenfuhr, who seems (seemed?) fairly key with Ronnie O'Brien down, was run over by Chicago's Justin Mapp (no fault of the latter) and left with a concussion and, no doubt some bruises. New man, Dominic Oduro, also hobbled off with what looked like a boned knee. Finally, after working valiantly to set up Dallas' tying goal, left-sided defender Chris Gbandi went down in a heap on Chicago's end-line. As I said, depending on the duration of these injuries, plus others like Carlos Ruiz', this may count as a decidedly Pyrrhic victory.

And that's a shame because it was a hell of an effort for July.

DC United 3 - 2 Columbus Crew
If you've got time for the highlights, give this one a look. Apart from the first goal - and, OK, Columbus' first - the rest of the goals were things o' beauty. Bobby Carroll's 23-25 yard rocket, in particular, merits mention, as does Ben Olsen's clever pull-back across the grain. Since I only caught this one on the highlights, I can only say that it looked as even as the score suggests - something that augurs well for Columbus. Still, chalk up another win for DC, making #13 (the bastards). You've got to wonder how long they can keep pulling together one-goal wins. And it's worth wondering how important Brandon Prideaux' absence is on DC's defense; giving up two goals against the heretofore struggling Crew should at least receive mention.

Well, that's all the games I either saw or chose to see. MLS didn't produce a highlight reel for the Houston Dynamo's 3 - 2 away win over the Kansas City Wizards; I couldn't be bothered to watch the highlights for the goalless "Super Clasico" between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA, but do count myself pleased with the result. Go Goats.

And so another week goes in the books; here's where everyone is (e.g. here are the league standings). There's still plenty of time for the playoffs and shifts in positions among all the teams - except run-away Eastern Conference leaders DC United. They ain't gettin' knocked out of the playoffs by nobody.

Finally, the Portland Timbers (and I've really got to set aside one day a week to veg on them and the A-League, don't I? They seem a bit lost in the current format; I'm working on it), had a rough weekend. First, they lost Friday night (somewhat predictably) to the same Charleston Battery that ousted them from the U.S. Open Cup earlier in the week (and cost me a chance to see the Timbers play - and, oh yes - defeat FC Dallas in that competition) and completely frickin' collapsed against the Atlanta Silverbacks the following night. Leaving aside the complete madness of playing away games on back-to-back nights, this doesn't augur well for the Timbers' 2006.

The Timbers now rest uneasily in 8th place in the A-League standings. Time to pick it up, boys, or write this off as the infamous "season in transition."

Right. All for now. I've got to get this site up to shape, get it linked to the outside world, etc. etc. Talk at you tomorrow.

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