Monday, August 30, 2010

Red Bulls Dominate, Galaxy Tumble: Weekly Roundup

I'm so blown away by how much LA has collapsed over the past 8 weeks that I may devote a separate post to really examining what's going on there. It's shocking that a team with that much more talent on the pitch and at coach is suddenly struggling for points.

Also, happy birthday to me today! To celebrate my 26th successful year of not dying, forward this link to someone who likes soccer.

Game Reports

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. LA lost at home to Kansas City 2-nil. An anemic Wizards attack put two goals past Donovan Ricketts and forced a couple more good saves. LA had some chances to score, they always will with the talent they can field, but again they couldn't find a way to get a goal. I'm not saying they're in freefall mode yet, but I certainly don't think they're the favorite for Supporter's Shield or MLS Cup anymore.

On the other side of the spectrum are the New York Red Bulls. Coming off a 4-1 thrashing of Toronto FC at BMO Field you had to wonder if there would be a let down game against a pretty damn good SJ squad. Well, no need to worry about that any more. Red Bulls dominated the game for 90 minutes, winning 2-0 and probably deserving more. Henry and Rafa have integrated with the team and Dane Richards is no longer just the really fast guy who can't play soccer that well (Marvell Wynne has a lock on that title now). Whatever they are doing to inspire his performance, keep doing that. Also Geovanni got in 35 more minutes for San Jose in this game. With the playoffs about 8 weeks away he should be in top form with plenty of time to help SJ in their push.

Philadelphia used a pair of late goals to grab a 2-1 win at New England. No goals for my man-crush Mwanga, but he played well and had an integral part on the second tally. On a selfish note, it's awesome to see Atlanta kid Jack McInerny get his second goal on a very nice one-touch effort. Don't look now, but you could put out a surprisingly good squad of Atlanta-bred players. Sean Johnson, Sam Cronin, Jack Mack, Rico Clark, Josh Wolff, get Clint Mathis to coach. It's no Southern California, but they can play.

Colorado used an early, and deserved, red card against Lovel Palmer to score 3 goals in the first 23 minutes and then coast to victory against Houston Dynamo. I'm pretty comfortable saying that ends Houston's playoff chances, so the only other thing worth noting here is Mehdi Ballouchy's cut that belongs in a video game to free himself for a shot that turned into Conor Casey's goal. Damn.

DC and Chivas showed why they are two of the bottom teams in MLS as Chivas got the 1-0 victory at home. It's never good for the league when the nationally televised match features two teams that can't hold possession, build up an attack, or feature much in the way of attractive play. At least two young guys showed up with Najar flashing his skill on the ball after being subbed in and Justin Braun notching his 8th goal of the season.

Freddy Montero beast mode is back in full effect. The Colombian scored twice, including one in stoppage time, to give Seattle the 2-1 win at home over Chicago. No blame for Sean Johnson though, the young keeper did what he could but there was no stopping Montero's two shots. It will be interesting to see what Seattle does with him after this season. Do they re-write his contract and pay him the DP money he's going to deserve or do they look to sell him abroad and invest that money elsewhere in the team? Selfishly I hope the former, but would 100% understand the latter.

Remember how I pointed out that Toronto, Columbus and RSL were all resting players for big league matches this weekend? Well I don't think any of those teams are going to be disappointed about earning 1 point a piece, but the total of 0 goals scored in 2 games did not make for the greatest viewing.

Toronto managed a nil-nil draw against Real Salt Lake at home that featured some serious chances by RSL late in the game. Stefan Frei should be pretty happy with his goalposts right now.

Meanwhile, Columbus held off a surging FC Dallas squad to also earn a point from the 0-0 result at home.

Random Thoughts

RSL has officially overtaken LA as the top team in the Elo Ratings, and they did it after LA had what may be the worst result of the year. It's the second biggest drop numbers-wise, but the other one came earlier in the year when New England lost 4-0 at home to Chivas. The ratings hadn't calibrated to just how bad NE was this year at that point so I think LA going down 2-0 at home wins.

Not really sure what's going on over there in LA-LA-land, but they can't find the net all of a sudden, scoring 10 goals in their last 10 games. Not to harp on this or anything but PUT LANDON BACK ON THE RIGHT SIDE!!!

Superliga finishes up this Wednesday as New England hosts Morelia in the finals. Given the state of the two clubs I would expect NE to go all out for a win (and the straight-cash-homey) and Morelia to put out a reserve squad and stay rested for league play. Hopefully New England can pull off the win.

Also on Wednesday are the semifinals for the US Open Cup. DC will host the Columbus Crew and Seattle will host Chivas USA. Not to step on teams already having bad seasons, but I hope for the sake of the Open Cup, which I love by the way, that a strong squad wins it. I just don't think it looks good when one of the 3 or 4 worst teams in MLS wins a national tournament.


MLS Elo Ratings
1,579.92 - Real Salt Lake
1,564.92 - Los Angeles Galaxy
1,561.10 - FC Dallas
1,553.34 - Columbus Crew
1,511.20 - Seattle Sounders
1,510.07 - Colorado Rapids
1,505.41 - New York Red Bulls
1,502.48 - Chicago Fire
1,483.51 - San Jose Earthquakes
1,482.08 - Kansas City Wizards
1,479.97 - Chivas USA
1,476.13 - Toronto FC
1,474.29 - Houston Dynamo
1,456.43 - Philadelphia Union
1,444.48 - New England Revolution
1,414.68 - DC United

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