A Surly MLS Week 12 Review

For the record, I did all my Major League Soccer (MLS) viewing on Sunday morning before the U.S./Mexico final. And, let me tell you, the two games I saw just paled in comparison: the play was slow, stilted, and, at times, uninterested. In one game in particular (first mentioned below), the players for both teams positively lumbered around as if high on cough medicine. Is this a function of the dog-days having arrived or does MLS always suffer against a direct comparison against national team games with everything on the line?

If it's the former - and I think it could be, 'cause I've seen some great MLS games in my day - the league's competition committee really needs to get this in hand. The two products I, ahem, enjoyed yesterday morning didn't hold up well.

Getting on to the games I saw and the ones for which I merely reviewed the highlights (noted in each instance)....

Colorado Rapids 0 - 1 FC Dallas
(Endured every minute of this pig...when I could help fast forwarding...ugh)
- Perhaps the rumors are true: perhaps Colorado really, really sucks. FC Dallas hardly shined either. And their defense looked almost amateur at times. This one made for a spectacle on par with watching necrophiliac porn...without the "creepy factor" to render the proceedings interesting. That both sides showed CPA-esque levels of creativity didn't help.
- Was it hot in Denver on Saturday? I can think of no other reason for a game involing professionals to suck that horribly hard.
- Is Fernando Clavijo's seat getting hot yet? If not, it should be.
- Badly as Dallas played, they at least manufactured a chance or two. One of these - the one that sent in Carlos Ruiz alone on goal - stands as an exemplar for the game as a whole: Ruiz hesitated to the point of paralysis, while Rapids 'keeper Bouna Coundoul pretty much sat down and fell on top of the ball. So...fucking...ugly...

New England Revolution 3 - 0 Toronto FC
(took in all of this affair...in spite of the periodic fit)
- Sure, I'm happy New England won and all, but this one wasn't much to look at either. New England won this duel of wayward balls over the top courtesy of a slight edge in quality of personnel, but choppy play and sloppy give-aways predominated.
- Toronto, for their part, looked downright feeble. Reis had a save or two to make (six? they credit him with six?), but Toronto offered nothing that stood out.
- Well, New England's third goal was pretty nice...and good to see Dorman get back on the goal-scoring pony. On a related note, Adam Cristman showed savvy beyond his years with the set-up to this one; anyone know where he is with Rookie-of-the-Year honors?
- And, OK, Noonan turned in a smart headed goal as well. Anyone know where Adam Cristman is in the rookie-So, yeah, the had its moments - and I have to confess that, every time I resorted to fast-forwarding the archived online video, something happened that required me to stop and go back.
- But I also remember being so achingly bored, and so often, that I continually resorted to fast-forwarding.
- The only player who really stood out for Toronto did so for all the wrong reasons: Kevin Goldthwaite had a rough night.
- All in all, this was a good, timely win for New England. But they looked far from polished, let alone interesting.

Moving on, now, to the highly impressionistic results-based reviews - I'll state I watched the highlights when I did and acknowledge it when I didn't. Taking things chronologically, I already posted something quick (and possibly useless) on the Houston Dynamo's rout of Chivas USA (and finally saw Brad Davis' hat trick - the second goal was a beaut), but never got to....

Columbus Crew 2 - 1 Kansas City Wizards
(Caught the highlights...fun stuff)
- Hindsight being 20/20 and all that, this was the beginning of a very good week for the Crew; how's 5th in the East sound Mr. Schmid?
- And get this: Eddie Gaven scored.
- As (ridiculously) proud as I am to have seen the Crew's streak coming (I'm not going to find it, but it's down in the archives), the Wizards' issues on defense strikes me as the more newsworthy item. The KC team definitely has some things to figure out.

Real Salt Lake 2 - 1 DC United
(highlights....and sweet, sweet ones at that)
- Could any individual from this country and associated with soccer be happier than Jason Kreis right now?
- Possibly: it may or may not be Robbie Findley; the rookie picked up both goals, the last of which (I think) was wonderfully taken off a break-away.
- Credit DC fans for seeing this one coming...at least I think they did. It looks like they have a West Brom Albion of their very own in RSL.
- Regarding DC's goal...shit...damn near unwatchable, that one. Hide the children....
- I don't think this unexpected result does much to my opinion of either team - but the hiccup for both is duly noted.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2 - 3 Columbus Crew
(Delicious, heart-breaking highlights...I laughed and laughed)
- For my money, this week's Result of Note.
- And quelle embarrassing for LA: Columbus played them evenly - e.g. goal-for-goal - with a man down for 60 minutes. Those new recruits just can't come soon enough.
- To make things worse, it's only a lousier goal-differential that makes them better than 2007 whipping boys Real Salt Lake. Do we have a new whipee?
- Turning to Columbus, it'll be interesting to see where self-belief meets talent with this team. Seven points from a possible nine over the last three games should take care of the belief side.
- On the talent side, what to make of the Alejandro Moreno trade? Why does that look like the piece that brought everything together?
- Whatever it was, I'm guessing Red Bull New York - who sat idle this week - is looking at Columbus differently after this past weekend.
- The $64,000 question: how will the rest of LA respond to the arrival/return of Beckham, Carlos Pavon, and Landon Donovan? That's a lot of talent, too much, I'm thinking, for a turn-around to not happen. Then again, what if it doesn't?

Kansas City Wizards 0 - 1 Houston Dynamo
(Didn't catch a single sight of this one....hope it was OK)
- Yes...it's going to be very interesting to see how people view Kansas City after Week 12.
- Ditto with the Dynamo. At least one team in the West is waking up.

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