MLS Week 8: What I Think About ____

In another installment of my personal favorite parlor game - e.g. talking about the results before reading what anyone else had to say - below are some bulleted thoughts about Week 8 in Major League Soccer play. For the record, I certainly didn’t watch all the games (I’ve got a wife, some kids, and a bitchy cat), but I caught several in whole or pieces; I note below each score/link thingy how closely I observed the proceedings.

So, here goes: what I think about...

Red Bull New York 3 - 0 Chicago Fire
(highlights, mainly of the goals)
...more than anything else, that all the people predicting a good showing from Juan Pablo Angel had it right. What can I say? I take a while to impress.
...that Chicago really is in trouble. Based on reports, it sounds like they fought back fairly well, but fat lot of good that does them after going two goals down in only 3 minutes.
...the extent to which Red Bull had to scramble players to fill positions to cover for injury shows either, 1) that they have useful depth, 2) managerial genius of the “on-the-fly” sort, or 3) the depths of Chicago’s problems.
...all in all, it’s hard to dismiss Red Bull at this point in the season; Chicago, on the other hand...

New England Revolution 3 - 4 Kansas City Wizards
(Quick Kicks, plus a 45-minute view of archived footage)
...confirmed a personal suspicion that New England has been riding its luck; to use an almost dirty word in the sporting (OK, horse-racing), they were due.
...both outside backs - James Riley and Jay Heaps - got burned in this one, Heaps badly so. Riley has long struck me as suspect, which gets me wondering where Avery John is these days. Heaps, though, typically does pretty well.
...those two players’ defensive woes may have something to do with Eddie Johnson’s “superfreak” performance. The man was, simpy put, a force, not just notching his first hat-trick in, oh, forever, but doing so with menacing power.
...sure, New England scored three, but Taylor Twellman’s was lucky and, nice as it was the Shalrie Joseph both forced the penalty and scored on the kick, that’s still a half-lucky goal. Of New England’s three goals, only Ralston’s looked like much.
...simply put, New England got beat at home and the score flattered them. They constructed the pretty passing triangles and moved around quite a bit, but the movement took on this strange eddying quality - e.g. they ran a lot, but most of it in circles. In other words, they weren’t getting much for forward movement.
... Kansas City, meanwhile, looked pretty fluid out there. And that was without Carlos Marinelli pulling the strings till the 60th or so minute; Marinelli did come on, though, to provide the assist to Johnson’s third goal, which featured a perfectly-weighted twenty-yard pass into an incisive run by Johnson.

DC United 2 - 1 Houston Dynamo
(bastards kept this one under lock and key)
...going by the result alone - as I have to do under self-imposed circumstances - I’ll only say DC’s return to form still classes under “apparent.” Victories are indeed victories, but wins over Chivas USA, Toronto FC, and, now, Houston, means they haven’t downed one of the big boys.
...on the other hand, winning often begets winning; who’s to say these seeming warm-ups won’t help down the line?
...Hey! Houston scored! Didn’t think that would happen again. Still, the streak of essential futility so far puts the champs in a dim light.

Columbus Crew 2 - 2 Toronto FC
(Quick Kicks, plus a 40-minute view of archived footage) about not being able to win for losing: Columbus scores two for a second time this season, only to scrape another tie. Something about being snake-bit goes here.
...a brace sure seems a nice way for Andy Herron to come back from suspension. And both goals looked pretty nice. Shame about his leg taking him out of the game; Lord knows Columbus needs all the help it can get. Before leaving Herron be, is that a stupid way to pick up a yellow or what (goal celebration; yeah, it shouldn’t be bookable, but the rules are what they are till they’re changed).
...Jim Brennan’s free-kick for Toronto was one of those: one gets to wondering how that got past the ‘keeper even after it did. I’m guessing Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum just didn’t see the ball till it was too late. Great shot from range, though.
...Toronto has managed to become interesting. Not too shabby. sign of Eddie Gaven out there for Columbus; good to see Sigi bench a player for underperforming.

Colorado Rapids 1 - 0 Los Angeles Galaxy
(Quick Kicks)
...once LA went down to ten men, the highlights give a strong impression of one-way traffic. Speaking of the ejection, it’s hard to figure what Kyle Martino was thinking when he lashed out like he did.
...some profligate finishing from Colorado spared LA from a worse loss. Herculez Gomez, who scored the winner, missed several chances before converting - and a few of those were golden.

Chivas USA 2 - 0 FC Dallas
(Start to finish...though my mind wandered plenty by the end)
...neither team looked part of the league “elite.” Not so surprising from Chivas’ perspective, but Dallas didn’t show much.
...Ramon Nunez, especially, doesn’t seem the force he expected to be in the Dallas attack. In general, Dallas lacked a sense of coordination in their offensive approach.
...that said, Chivas’ performance shouldn’t have blown anyone away either. If it weren’t for the fight Maykel Galindo put in to score the first goal, this game had goalless draw written all over it. Chivas certainly wouldn’t have scored their easy second goal, because Dallas ‘keeper Dario Sala wouldn’t have wandered. say it again, Galindo was the difference in this game. When people get to reviewing the top finds of the ’06-’07 off-season, expect him to be in the mix.
...Dallas’ defense has improved - and that’s pretty big. Again, this loss grew from the offense failing to get started.

Real Salt Lake 0 - 0 Chicago Fire
(highlights and not bad ones at that) and up-for-grabs, as this game appeared, neither team can draw much happiness from the final result - not with both needing genuine positives so badly.
...if I had to pick a “winner,” though, it would be Chicago. After four straight losses, any kind of result has to feel better.
...though given the fact the Fire only managed to draw Real Salt Lake, the unquestioned worst in the league, this kind of feeling better likely passes in the time it takes to say, “Oh yeah...”
...on the other hand, Chicago at least shows decent aggression in the attack and with Cuauhtemoc Blanco coming from Mexico in, give or take, a month, they may yet get better.
...still without a win, it’s tempting to think Real Salt Lake might question the ability of new-coach/neophyte Jason Kreis to lead this team forward.
...on a related note, both teams might be well-advised to just suck up what look to be awful years ahead. Chicago has basically bet the house on Blanco; Real Salt Lake, for their part, has some flexibility, but...well, they’re still Real Salt Lake. Both teams should clean MAJOR house in the ’07-’08 off-season.

All for now. I’m off to do some reading to see if any of it changes my mind (trust me; it will).


Fullback said...

"it’s hard to figure what Kyle Martino was thinking when he lashed out like he did"

Well, I'm going on memory here, but wasn't it Herculez Gomez who was on the receiving end? If that was indeed the case - 'nuff said. That's one dirty player with a mouth to boot.

The Manly Ferry said...

Regarding Gomez's mouth, I'm guessing he said something like, "If potential never gets fulfilled, is it still potential?" On the other hand, that came after an ugly challenge from behind; the ref had no choice but to card Martino - then the dimwit had to go into spaz mode to paint the card red?

Gomez may be a punk (hadn't noticed, frankly, but will take it under advisement), but there's still that thing about keeping one's head.