Week 7 Wrap: More Than You Should Want to Read

Well, I've read all I've got time for - espeically on a day when I abandoned my position over on the Columbus Crew Offside (an decision that still prompts deep, deep feelings of guilt). Below you'll find links to articles and posts about all of Week 7's games (unless I forgot one or two...I do this sometimes) that either caught something I didn't mention earlier (plenty, by the way) or missed entirely.

To start with a couple general points:

1) Did anyone else catch Dwayne DeRosario chatting with Shalrie Joseph after the game? Think they talked contract negotiations? (I sure do.)

2) If you're looking for one-stop reading, Steve Davis' big Week 7 Wrap for MLSnet.com contains plenty of good stuff, notably: his comments on FC Dallas' Juan Toja (which I wholly endorsed earlier today), as well as the "bigger picture" section on FC Dallas; Ricardo Clark standing above his peers in Houston's loss to New England; Andy Williams' impact on RSL in their loss to FC Dallas.

Moving on to the rest, I'll assuage my guilt at dropping the Columbus beat by starting with the Crew's meltdown against Red Bull New York...not that they'll thank me for this...

Red Bull New York 4 - 0 Columbus Crew
The perspective from the Crew camp is pretty damned harsh: for instance, the Columbus Dispatch's bullet-point write-up includes this handy mental footnote:

"Turning point: Crew midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi's mis-hit of an attempted clearance in the 13th minute caromed off the crossbar of his own goal. It set the tone for an evening in which the Crew bumbled and stumbled its way to a demoralizing loss."

Curiously, an absence of due enthusiasm appears in some Red Bull fan spaces; for instance, Grant from Injury Time dubbed the Bulls' performance "a bit off." Against that, Red Bull Rising put the game in useful context by first noting where Red Bull sits in the standings and then noting who isn't suiting up for them due to injury. Good point.

Finally, I engaged in a little pop-psychology in what I believe will be my final post (sniff!) for the Crew Offside

Chivas USA 1 - 1 Los Angeles Galaxy
I didn't get much on this, though that could have been a function of the fact this wasn't the most exciting game - at least that's the impression I get from the LA Times' report. No disrespect to Grahame Jones (the LAT's guy), but Luis Bueno's report for LA Soccer News not only made for a better read, but it seemed to provide a clearer picture of the game.

Even so, it seems the less we all see of this one, the better.

Toronto FC 1 - 2 DC United
Not only can one not beat The DCenters' debriefing for providing links to reports (saves me the work, if nothing else), they also chucked in some top-notch analysis, not least some commenably non-homer comments on the PK DC used to win the game (for the record, I think he got it right; that looked like a PK to me). Toronto's Globe and Mail digs a little deeper into the penalty controversy by running the call past TFC players, who, not surprisingly, didn't see the call the same way. Finally, the Washington Post's write-up catches something most observers did: the tactical switches DC made to get back into the game - something to watch for on a number of levels.

Colorado Rapids 1 - 1 Kansas City Wizards
With the reports coming out about this one, I'm somewhat sad I missed it. Both the Denver Post and Kansas City Star liked what they saw, even if their emphases differed a bit. For instance, the Post noted the missing persons in Colorado's backline (Greg Vanney, Brandon Prideaux, and, till the 60th minute, Ugo Ihemelu); count me among those who see those absences as a big deal. Meanwhile, the Star noted the Wizards' preparations for The Richard's big, open field, as well as deconstructing the goal - by the way, check out who got the assist and keep praying for more.

The FC Rocky blog, which I believe is part of the Rocky Mountain News (and somewhat excuses that paper's otherwise thin coverage), turned in an interesting post about the Rapids disappointing the respectable crowd that showed up by tying a game they could have won.

FC Dallas 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake
I commented earlier about how much better Dallas' defense appeared yesterday, but neglected to mention something else: good gravy, does Dario Sala look fantastic in goal or who? This actually came to me before the Salt Lake Tribune's report reminded me of the save he made off a screened shot by Freddy Adu (though given the totality of that situation, I'd also argue that straight at Sala was Adu's only option).

Sticking to the Dallas side of things, they've got to be feeling a bit jiggy these days. It's easy, for instance, to forget they've won three in a row - thankfully, the Dallas Soccer News reminds one of this; it's not all sunshine, though, as the same piece looks at Carlos Ruiz's ongoing struggles. The Dallas Morning News covers similar ground, not least with regard to form, but they also turn in some good copy on Arturo Alvarez and that purty goal he added to the proceedings.

On the Salt Lake side of things, it's not so surprising that things look less hot: the Real Salt Lake Offside turned in a glum post that dubbed the loss what is was: well-deserved. On a personal level, I continue to be fascinated by the Jason Kreis Experiment and, with quotes like the one that follows (from the Deseret News) it's a no wonder:

"'I'm just going to keep looking around the room and find the guys who believe in it as much as I do,' said Kreis. 'If any of them look me in the eye, they will see that I believe. I guess I'm going to have to look around and see who else believes.'"

Gets one wondering whether he's building a team or a cult; I'm pulling for the latter...

Chicago Fire 1 - 2 FC Dallas
Turning the clock back a ways now, I'm still catching up on Thursday's game (did I even post on it? Nope). On one level, what I'm reading confirms my suspicion that Chicago had the better of the game generally (especially Windy City Soccer's report, though the theme holds well enough). The Chicago Tribune's report adds an interesting twist on this by quoting Fire midfielder Chris Armas as hinting that the "Brimstone" rivalry ain't what it used to be. Rounding out the Chicago media angle, Chicagoland Soccer puts the Fire's three-game slide in context against the Eastern Conference standings (long story short: it's not panic time, but they're certainly making their job harder) and the Chicago Fire Offside shows how much better local fans can cover the game by posting some photos from the evening.

As for the Dallas media's contribution (as much as I read anyway), I'm only going to try to keep a straight face against the temptation to giggle at this sentence from Dallas Soccer News' report:

"The Fire was a threat all evening because of the shifty, smooth penetrations by Justin Mapp."

And now, a word from our sponsors, KY Jelly...(OK, there's good stuff in there on the "Kenneth" Cooper/Abe Thompson pairing as well; and, to the reporter, sorry, parts of my brain are still 12.)

Houston Dynamo 0 - 1 New England Revolution
Finally, what I'm doing to this game in this space, I'm trying to mimic in my conscious mind: bury it, bury it deep and pray to God it gets forgotten. Fortunately, I'm not the only one who rightly turned up his nose: a fan blog run by the Houston Chronicle begs New England to do the right thing and give the three points they won to a more deserving team - though not, it should be stressed, the Dynamo. And, as reported in the Boston Herald Revolution Steve Nicol didn't think much of his team's performance either. Moving onto the blogoverse, Blue Blooded Journo asked a question very much on my mind: how long can New England keep up their streak turning in stinkers?

Boston's "high-brow" paper picked up on something that had my undies in a bunch as I watched the game: Eddie Robinson is a dirty, dirty son-of-a-bitch. Worse, the man doesn't get called on it. A quote in one article tells me that, if no one else, Shalrie Joseph concurs with my opinion, while another piece records gripes from the Revs players about Dynamo fans throwing crap at them and, again, Robinson - who really, really needs to pick up some cards 'cause he's got no motivation to straighten up otherwise.

Regarding the Houston fans, though, I'll only say this: can you blame someone for throwing crap at a team cursing them with such awful, awful play?

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