MLS Week 8: (Still) Filling in the Blanks

Yeah, ideally I get to this Monday, but I've got a wife, two kids, and a bitchy cat to support and help, etc.

Anyway, I've spent the past couple days reviewing the chatter on the action from Major League Soccer's (MLS) Week 8, mainly to build on the first impressions I had from the games. I did learn a thing or two to be sure - and that's what appears below. So, in no particular order (and don't let the fact I start with Thursday's game throw ya)...

Red Bull New York 3 - 0 Chicago Fire
The Red Card's Luis Arroyave threw out some analysis of the crisis on everything from Matt Pickens apparently wavering confidence (he's getting shelled; can you blame the man?), to Dave "The Man" Sarachan's dubious tactical decisions...suffice to say, if you read this, you'll get smarter. Elsewhere, Chris, who took over the Red Bull Offside blog, takes a tidy front-to-back look at what makes the East's most-talked-about team tick (for the record, it ain't the back).

Chicago Fire 0 - 0 Real Salt Lake
Given the score, it's not surprising that's write-up says something about a "'keeper's duel"; and, speaking across the board, nearly everyone liked what they saw out of RSL 'keep, Nick Rimando (which makes it a minor shame he may get bumped for Kasey Keller...which, in turn, makes me wonder what the hell Keller is doing signing up to get shelled). As a couple Chicago-based outlets note, Fire fans have turned on coach Dave Sarachan with a freakin', banner-waving vengeance and line-up changes ain't enough to placate 'em.

Writing from the other side of the game, Real Salt Lake's people seem relatively happy with the draw. And, is it just me or does Jason Kreis make a lot of sense when he talks about the game. Oh, and that same link gives some quotes on what new-signing Alecko Eskandarian and his new coach thought of his first game in, Salt Lake.

Colorado Rapids 1 - 0 Los Angeles Galaxy
A look at the box score info at the bottom of the write-up proves that, once in a while, stats can meet reality when it comes to soccer. Naturally, a big part of making those numbers came with Kyle Martino's sorta-silly sending off: the Denver Post's report was good enough to let Joe Cannon vent some (un-fineable) frustration about the call (or maybe they were just being nice to an old source), while the FC Rocky blog (good one, by the way) essentially saw the call as the correct one (like me). The same source also has an interesting bit questioning Colorado's "killer instinct" - the author(s) write a powerful passage on that - and it's fair to wonder about that; they're also stoked about the crowd, and rightly so.

On the other side, the LA Times' report did little more than get me wondering about how many assists Terry Cooke - who assisted on Herculez Gomez' goal - has on the season. The fairly modest number may have disappointed, but the horror-movie-esque photo of the "poor Man's Beckham" showing on his profile page...well, that's the face (and complexion) of a man with bodies in his basement. Think I'll blow it up and hang it on my kids' bedroom wall...just for a laugh...

Chivas USA 2 - 0 FC Dallas
While both and the Dallas Morning News basically saw what I saw in this game - namely, a seemingly baffled Dallas team getting pushed around in midfield - not all Chivas fans see much to celebrate in the game. At the risk of sounding like I'm making fun (I'm not), I have to confess my complete admiration for David, the guy who runs the Chivas Offside blog. You can search far and wide in the blogoverse, but you'll have to walk a fair patch before you find anyone as capable of finding every grey cloud behind the silver lining. And in Dave's world, those clouds are all named Preki. (In all honesty, I'm in awe of people who can get as riled as Dave; it's just not in me.)

Returning to the report, though, they mention something I neglected - e.g. that the Shavar Thomas/Claudio Suarez pairing seems to be gelling after a somewhat shaky start. And, for the stats-fanatics out there, FC Dallas Updates pulled together some cool stats about home and away records - just the regular numbers data dump for all y'all obsessives out there.

DC United 2 - 1 Houston Dynamo
If the stats don't lie on's report for this one, I'm a little mystified: twice the shots for Houston? Steve Davis, writing for ESPN looks a bit beyond the numbers to explain the seeming nuttiness...but's almost enough to make me want to watch the Dynamo. Maybe it's DC's "mystique" noted by Christian felt silly just reading that let's ignore that and read all the wonderful, wonderful things that appeared in The DCenters' debriefing - and I'll give a special shout-out to their crack at "Gomez Theory."

Still, there's no doubting Houston knows about their, um, issues, as evidenced by their attempt to lock out the world. But I think the Houston Chronicle's Bernardo Fallas framed Houston's situation the best with this lead:

"The Dynamo's start to the season so far has been progressively downgraded from slow to lackluster to disappointing. After Saturday's 2-1 loss to D.C. United, 'free-falling' has made its way into the list of terms used to describe the situation. 'Horrible' is warming up and ready to sub in, just in case."

Columbus Crew 2 - 2 Toronto FC
Speaking of leads, I've got to start this one with what the Columbus Offside wrote about the Crew offense: "But when Andy Herron limped off the field in the 38th minute with strained quadriceps, our offense limped off the field too." Ah, magic.

And, truth be told, whatever happened on the field, Crew-related outlets did bang-up analysis on this match. Whether it was the Columbus Dispatch slowing the "Schelotto Will Solve All!" parade by noting he's having some trouble gelling with the team or smartly capturing the Crew's disappointment with the draw, they did good. With regard to Schelotto, though, I think the general feeling is that the problem lies in part with the team he's joining...

That's not to say the Toronto papers totally dropped the ball; after all, it was the Toronto Star who answered my earlier question about how Crew 'keeper, Andy Gruenebaum, got beat by Jim Brennan's long-range bomb.


New England Revolution 3 - 4 Kansas City Wizards
Was this the game of the week, or who? (And that's why I buried it.) I think the crucial thing I missed - or of which I was ignorant - was a lingering injury to Shalrie Joseph, picked up last week against Houston; the Boston Globe's Frank Dell 'Appa mulls that one quite a bit in explaining the loss. The Revolution Offside throws in another facet by pointing out an obvious, but too often overlooked truth about the 3-5-2: "it’s a strong formation with little room for error." Those are both swell, but they lose out in my personal "Analysis Stakes" to Blue Blood Journo's dispatch from the Jersey shore. What can I say? So far as I'm concerned, the man nailed his analysis of New England.

Not to be outdone, the Kansas City contigent weighed in with some beauties. For instance, Down the Byline credited defending high upfield for KC's success against the Revs. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Offside, well, it's just hard to beat Michael's post for dissecting the way KC beat the Revolution; #5 is a masterpiece.


1 comment:

D said...