Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Week in the Bag

Before I get in to the MLS action, indulge me for a second. What the eff is going on in True Blood?! My head is going to explode. Eric vs. Russell!! Bill vs. Eric!! Jason vs. Tara!! Sam vs. his whisky-fueled memories!! Hoyt vs. Tommy!! Only two more episodes this season makes me :(

Also, how should I take the fact that SBI is jacking my style now?

Game Reports

Oh. My. Goodness. 4 to 1? On the road!?! In Toronto!?!?! Don't look now, but New York may be putting it all together. After all, if you're going to be the only away team to get a result this week, you may as well do it in a convincing way. Of course, it may have just been a case of a tired team who played out of their minds to earn 3 points against Cruz Azul a few days earlier, but New York basically told TFC, "You eat like that." The scariest part for other teams is that Henry still doesn't look settled yet. Marquez is only starting to connect, Tchani is a revelation in central mid, Lindpere is much more comfortable out wide left. When Henry gets clicking, this is going to be a VERY dangerous team.

Geovanni's debut was a good one as the Earthquakes beat LA Galaxy 1-0 in San Jose. MLS's newest DP only got 18 minutes and a huge round of applause, but his team got the win thanks to some great goal keeping by Jon Busch. On another day LA probably puts home 2 or 3 goals given the chances Donovan and Buddle missed (and oh was Buddle's miss terribad). Still, I'm not going to go agreeing with Landon and say that LA deserved the victory. They were just as lucky that Cornell Glen hit the post after sneaking one past Donovan Ricketts. And don't look now, but RSL is closing in on the best team in the league.

Brek gonna Brek, and FC Dallas is gonna keep winning. A single tally by Brek Shea was enough to give Dallas the 1-nil win at home over Chivas USA. I think they would've hoped for a more convincing win over a lesser team, but they earned 3 points and got over 10k people to attend so that's wins all around for them.

Someone forgot to tell the goalies there was a game going on in Houston, where the Dynamo put away the Fire 4-3. All of Houston's 4 goals came on set pieces, which has to be worrying for the Fire defense. They've got to find those tall guys and put a body on them. In a nice display by someone left of the plane to South Africa, 3 of those goals contributed to a Brian Ching hat trick including a bicycle that I didn't know the 32 year old had in him. Also, can Houston please stop wasting Geoff Cameron as a defender?

Kansas City pounded New England 4-1, behind 2 goals from a guy who hadn't started an MLS game in 8 seasons. Well done, Birahim Diop. I can't find anything that tells me he's related to fellow Senegalese athlete DeSagana Diop, but I can't find anything that says he isn't so I'm starting that rumor.

Columbus saw no drop off from the midweek game, dispatching Colorado 3-1.

Random Thoughts

This time of the season is when I really like the MLS Elo ratings. There are a lot of power rankings out there, but I love how the Elo ratings really show the gaps between groups of teams. Right now there is a top-2 (LA and RSL), a next two (Dallas and Columbus), and then a smattering of teams who are fighting for the last 4 playoff spots. Also, the worst 3 teams in the league are clearly the non-NY Atlantic seaboard folk.

Chicago had 3 to 5 games in hand on it's competition coming in to this week. I don't know why that's how the schedule worked out, but that was the situation. Earning 6 points would have been huge for them, but while they took care of business at home against New England they did not play well in Houston and only got 3 this week. Now they're 4 points out of the final playoff spot with 2 games in hand. Not as great a position as when they were 7 out with 4 games in hand.

CCL Games this week:
8/24 - 10pm - Toronto FC @ Arabe Unido
8/24 - 10pm - Columbus Crew @ Santos Laguna
8/25 - 8pm - Real Salt Lake @ Cruz Azul
8/25 - 10pm - Seattle v. Monterrey

This week's slate of games is much tougher than last week. Added to that, all of these teams have tough games coming up this weekend (Columbus v. FC Dallas, Toronto FC v. Real Salt Lake, Seattle v. Chicago) so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Toronto has a great chance to get 3 road points given Arabe Unido's two defender suspensions. That could nearly guarantee them passage through to the knock out stage. RSL and Columbus will each be trying to be the first MLS team to win in Mexico during CCL. Crew will be going up against the Mexican team in the best form at the moment and RSL will be up against a Cruz Azul team fighting for their CCL lives. Meanwhile, in the one home game, Seattle will be riding their home fans to try and earn 3 points and stay in the tournament.


MLS Elo Ratings
1,582.06 - Los Angeles Galaxy
1,580.34 - Real Salt Lake
1,559.39 - FC Dallas
1,555.06 - Columbus Crew
1,508.24 - Chicago Fire
1,505.44 - Seattle Sounders
1,500.69 - Colorado Rapids
1,497.01 - New York Red Bulls
1,491.91 - San Jose Earthquakes
1,483.67 - Houston Dynamo
1,475.71 - Toronto FC
1,475.35 - Chivas USA
1,464.93 - Kansas City Wizards
1,453.92 - New England Revolution
1,447.00 - Philadelphia Union
1,419.29 - DC United

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