Week 6: Games Seen and Unseen

I had grand plans about how I’d lay out this review of the past weekend’s super-duper action. Reports and reviews were browsed and bookmarked, commentary and quotes noted.

And then I ran out of time. So here for your (possible) edification and amusement, are some random, unsupported thoughts on Major League Soccer’s Week 6...except for that midweek freak of a game between...ah, I don’t even care. (Settle down with the scheduling, you MLS pogues.) I’ll start with stray thoughts on the two games I didn’t see.

Tomorrow, maybe the next day, I’ll work out that whole power-ranking thing to in the hopes of bringing some kind of coherence to these ramblings.

Kansas City Wizards 1 - 2 FC Dallas
I won’t lie: this result had me practicing my best whoops and hollers for use of mocking people who saw the Wizards as a bona fide contender; yeah, put me in the “but look at who they’ve played column.” But one article, citing as it did the breakdown on shots, etc. - not to mention the now-high probability that Juan Carlos Toja used his hand to control the ball just before scoring - has me thinking it’s wise to let opinions on the Wizards steep for another week or two. And, when you get right to it, the same applies to FC Dallas - though it’s worth noting that Dario Sala had a hell of a game.

I see a lot of Kansas City Wizards labels on my sitemeter, so here’s a personal note to them: I have nothing against your team; my life is simply easier when I don’t have to think about them.*

Red Bull New York 0 - 1 Colorado Rapids
Caught this one (as well as the one above) through highlights only - and not the good ones (Quick Kicks), mind you, but the crappy, truncated little buggers. What can I say? Colorado looks like they’re still unpredictable as a major loon off his/her meds. The more significant thing is what this does to Red Bull’s stellar, early-season rep.

Nice goal by Nico Hernandez, who, for some crazy reason, I really like.

Moving now to the games I did see...

Toronto FC 3 - 1 Chicago Fire
In no particular order...

- Holy crabcakes! Three goals? If the Columbus Crew hadn’t scored, TFC would have hauled them down on the goal count in just one game. Yikes. Speaking of....

- What the hell is wrong with Chicago? Until last week, every mention of the Fire usually included some phrase on their “solidity.” But for the second week straight, these cats got roasted when chasing the game. The first half was what it was, but the second looked a whole hell of a lot like the defensive collapse against the New England Revolution the week before. Toronto scored an appropriately scrappy first, but the second two? Kevin Goldthwaite and Maurice Edu (who played his balls off) could have held a friggin’ seminar in the space they had in the Chicago area.

- Seriously, Chicago’s defense was so bad the thought that the teams had switched uniforms at the half entered my mind.

- I mentioned the status of Maurice Edu’s balls, but would give Kevin Goldthwaite (of all people) man of the match. Ronnie O’Brien deserves honorable mention.

- The shouting match between Matt Pickens and Danny Dichio looked pretty intense - and small wonder with talk of biting (weird).

- Chicago...I dunno. Without “reviewing the tape” - and for both games - I’m not sure I can explain why they’re open to the counter like 7-11 is to stoners. My first guess is an aging midfield. But their defenders are dying under those even-number break-aways.

Columbus Crew 1 - 1 Chivas USA
(* Now, if I could stop thinking about this team...that'd be a relief)

I covered this for my day job - and have the psychic scars to show for it. Why, oh, why did I volunteer to follow the Crew? (No, I remember; I’m “from Ohio and thought they’d be interesting.” HA!). I think I’ve got enough over there to cover here, but want to add one delicious tease: as tentative/ineffectual Eddie Gaven has looked this season, was it just me or did Chivas look more comfortable AFTER he left the game? Sure, he mustered only the one shot - straight at Brad Guzan, but a hard shot all the same - but the paths to the goal dried up when he left just after the 60th minute till that last-minute flurry at the end of the game. Could this be a case of doing good while seeming bad?

Los Angeles Galaxy 2 - 3 New England Revolution
I think the LA Times put it best when they said that anyone who caught this game got their money’s worth. For me, this was the best game of the season and, heart-broken as LA fans and players might be (and pissed off to the point of making trades as their coach may be), LA nearly got a point from a game in which they were fairly roundly outplayed. I may be alone in this, but I think that ain't bad. They can turn this around (then again, I thought the same last year...)

Other notes...

- I intend to elaborate on this elsewhere, but I think New England finally showed as the First Good Team of 2007. I’ll give The DCenters their point - that this doesn’t quite make them the team to beat - and I know they’ll have off games, but they look like the real deal.

- Turning to LA, you know who looked great last night? Kyle Martino. That’s so nuts to me I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see the game myself. But that was a wonderfully taken goal and he was everywhere else besides. LA’s man-of-the-match, hands down.

- Cannon worked very hard and has every right to be pissed at the guys in front of him.

With those awards handed out, I can now indulge my urge to praise the Revs - at length.

- Adam Cristman: It wasn’t so much the goal as it was all the great work that preceded it - in this game and the game against Chicago. If he’s not the strongest player on the team this side of Shalrie Joseph, he’s close. That man wants this career like nobody’s business. And, so far, he’s earning it.

- Steve Ralston: I already posted on him, if only indirectly. He’s doing so friggin’ much for this team.

- Khano Smith: He’s made me a believer, at least in his ability to make one player’s life hell. Just ask Chris Albright, who had to cope with his tireless running.

- Michael Parkhurst: Best...damn...defender in MLS. I think I’m serious about this....wait...yeah, I am. How many pockets did this kid pick last night? How many times did he shield the ball from much, much bigger players? He’s like butter back there.

- Matt Reis: He succeeds when Parkhurst fails; just a hell of a one-two.

- Taylor Twellman: If I need to tell you, I’m guessing you’re not watching. Then again, there’s the whole thing about the gods smiling: how many times does the ball bounce off the crossbar straight back at the same player? When you’re hot you’re lucky (or is it “When you’re lucky, you’re hot”?)

- Shalrie Joseph: Like a gigantic blue-and-black, dreadlocked blur in the middle of the field; he’s more of an entity than a man, a spot on the field that reads “There be monsters here.” What I’m getting at is I don’t even notice the guy any more; I just see attacks breaking down in the center of the field just above the Revs’ defensive third.

- James Riley: I’m still not comfortable with Riley.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Thanks for taking notice of Martino. I'm loving Kyle Martino and feeling like the Lone Ranger. I think he's working to try to be a part of this team once you-know-who arrives, and if he keeps playing like this he'll deserve to be.

His save, standing in the goal behind Joe Cannon when the ball slipped past, made me laugh out loud because he looked so SHOCKED. But he came through. The kid has heart.