Week 7: Quick Hits

Here are some quick, undiluted first impressions left by Week 7’s action, talking team by team as they come to me - I’ll fill ‘em in later with some reading. Anything with an asterisk means I caught at least one of a given team’s game in full.

Toronto FC - I don’t know what I would have written had Toronto managed to knock off DC United over the weekend; three straight wins, no matter the circumstances, makes more an impressive streak. They didn’t win that third game, of course, but, judging by the highlights, Toronto both looks and seems like a real team all of a sudden. That could be function of having two more wins than Real Salt Lake...

DC United - Still not sold. Sure, in beating Toronto on the road, they succeeded where two teams once perceived as competent - the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo - failed. Moreno looks older than dirt. I like the guy plenty, but, my word....

New England Revolution* - Yeah, they won, but I hate them for making me watch that pile of shit. Awful, ugly performance the quality of which was best described by the exasperated raspberry coach Steve Nicol blew when asked to assess his team’s performance in a sideline interview. A performance that distasteful warrants dropping the Revs in my power rankings on aesthetic grounds at the very least.

Red Bull New York - The match report (which I cheated and read) showed an even game, statistically speaking. The highlights, however, showed Dane Richards rip past Rusty Pierce like a rusty gate, a defense that contained the Crew’s “attack”* fairly well and an offense that punished mistakes. Given the Crew’s defense over the past few weeks, the four goals scored might say something; but this could also be an aberration, a la the Crew’s performance against New England a ways back. So, good game, but count Red Bull another team on which I’m reserving judgment.

Houston Dynamo* - Wow. That’s all I’ve got, really. Wow. Why the hell can’t these guys score? I’ll confess to nodding off/finding the hairs on my stomach more interesting than the action on the field, but dubbing the Houston attack anemic does a disservice to the adjective.

Columbus Crew - *I’ve got a theory on the Crew’s offense: they’re not pulling the same direction. Put another way, different players have different ideas about the way to get their team scoring goals and that plays out on the field with errant passing, mistimed runs - just a general grabasstic mess with too many generals freelancing it. Mmmm....”generals” doesn’t correctly communicate the level: let’ go with corporals.

FC Dallas* - Maybe it was RSL, maybe it was the late night and serial Pabst-swilling, but I liked what I saw last night out of FC Dallas. Most impressive were signs the defense might be gelling and maturing, as well as how quickly this team turns around and transitions from defense to offense; they literally get the ball and - POW! - the team as a whole faces forward with their heads up. Two wins in as many games also tell a happy story. A couple other random observations: as the commentator said after Chris Gbandi scored, that’s the goal of the week - see if you don't agree (thanks, as always, to Climbing the Ladder)...

...continuing, tough-ish call on the PK, though I see how it happened, but that’s the only significant blemish I caught in an otherwise composed performance; between his awareness and ability to ride tackles and play out of trouble, Juan Toja looks like the real deal. In spite of years of bitter, bitter experience and the bias that grows therefrom, I like what I see in Dallas...again.

Real Salt Lake* - Worst team in the league, no question in my mind. They’re USL Division 1 material at this point. As such, I really want them to play the Portland Timbers in the U.S. Open Cup...

Chicago Fire - While I didn’t see all of Thursday’s game between Chicago and Dallas, the last 20 minutes showed a Fire team ALL OVER the visitors from Dallas. Mapp, especially looked dangerous. Still, they didn’t win, never mind draw this game and that’s just got to feel like a shot to the pills. Put another way, whatever is wrong with these guys, it’s sort of fer reals. If I had to name the problem, I’d say they’re missing a blunt-instrument kind of player like Nate Jaqua, e.g. someone who can make good on goal-mouth scrums.

Colorado Rapids - Didn’t watch them play, but they do seem to be settling into the erratic profile so familiar from seasons past.

Kansas City Wizards - This is the team I forget about most often this year; used to be Colorado, but they became interesting starting in 2006. I think we’re still a few weeks from having the data to make a decision on this bunch.

LA Galaxy - Didn’t see it, but I’m definitely surprised by this past weekend’s draw with Chivas, who I rate about as highly as “Oh Boy” Alberto Gonzales.

Chivas USA - Honestly, between these guys, RSL, and even Houston, the West looks no better than half-good right now.

All righty. I’m off to see what else I can learn about all this stuff; if all goes according to plan, I’ll wrap up that by the end of the day.

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