Monday, September 27, 2010

And Then There Were 8: Weekly Update

Well damn. I was kinda hoping for at least one bit of an interesting playoff race down the stretch. However, with 4 games to go for most teams that's pretty much out the window since San Jose and Seattle handled their business while TFC, Kansas City, and Chicago Fire all choked.

Now it looks like our only fireworks will be who wins the individual titles. Scoring champ looked locked up when Buddle was on fire early in the year, but not much has happened for him since then and Juan Pablo Angel, Chris Wondolowski, Dwayne De Rosario and Sebastien Le Toux are all within 2 goals of him. Landon's still the clear MVP favorite, but Le Toux, Montero, and Ferreira are going to get votes. Andy Najar is making a late charge for Rookie of the Year but Danny Mwanga and Tim Ream are also playing well.

That's what we have to look forward to now.

Game Reports

The national FSC game this week saw Real Salt Lake tie Colorado Rapids 1-1 at home. Colorado was without Omar Cummings, their best attacking option, and RSL started with a couple of their big name players (Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, Will Johnson) on the bench after a big midweek game in Panama. However, RSL dominated this game; not that you could tell from the scoreline. They peppered the Colorado goal for the last 30 minutes, including have a penalty call reversed for reasons I haven't seen explained anywhere. RSL got the goal they deserved to earn a result in the 92nd minute, but I still think they came away shortchanged.

Now for the three games that pretty much locked up the playoff picture:

Oh Toronto, you're such a disaster right now. A Chris Wondolowski hat trick (goal 1, goal 2, goal 3) led San Jose Earthquakes to a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field. The only fun things worth pointing out here were Mista once again proving his worthlessness (word?) by missing an unmarked header and DeRo's check writing celebration that apparently came about because he feels underpaid. I'm not going to disagree with him, not when he's the best player on a team with Mista and de Guzman making $1 million and $1.7 million respectively. But this wasn't the right time to make a statement man, you're better than that.

Seattle Sounders at Chicago Fire may have seemed like a boring game, with Nkufo's deflected goal in the 88th minute being the only scoring as Seattle won 1-0. But there was actually great action and it took some acrobatic saves by Keller and Johnson to keep the score down. For anyone who wasn't quite sure how seriously Seattle was taking CCL, they changed all 11 starters between the midweek game in Monterrey and this MLS league match against a team making a run for the playoffs. Sean Johnson did have his first "OMG!!" mistake I can remember this game when he came out too far and almost gave up a goal to Steve Zakuani who pulled it just past a wide open goal.

FC Dallas looked like FC Dallas again, beating down a hot Kansas City Wizards team 3-1 in KC. They even pulled this off without king of the wing Brek Shea, who was serving the second game of his suspension after a terrible foul against New York. Jeff Cunningham tacked on the last goal in the 82nd minute, giving him 10 for the season and 131 for his career, just one shy of tying Jaime Moreno for the most all time. Dallas's next two games are at home, so hopefully he can meet and surpass that mark in front of friendly fans.

Other games:

In a match that used to be a lot more interesting the past few years, Houston Dynamo went on the road to DC United and came away 3-1 winners. The thing really worth talking about here in Andy Najar, who may have just played his best game as a professional. Najar was all over the place, making dangerous runs, taking on defenders, and basically supplying all of DC's offense. His goal was a thing of beauty from a 17 year old (minus the first touch). Alas, it never seems to be enough for a DC team that just leaks goals.

Ale Moreno, Fred, and Le Toux did the scoring as Philadelphia Union played host to Chivas USA and won 3-0. This team is closing out the season very strong (3-1-1 in their last 5) and looks ready to put together a very competitive 2011 campaign. And Brad Knighton. Damn, son. That slamming sound you heard is the door closing on Chris Seitz's hopes to regain his starter's spot. Chivas, on the other hand, has some serious issues that need fixing. Like figuring out what kind of team they are and how they're going to play.

Columbus Crew scored a pair on goals in the second half to come back and tie New England Revolution 2-2 in Foxborough. Even with the point, this Crew team still hasn't looked good lately, except in CCL games strangely enough. New York is only 1 point back for first place in the East right now, and I'd lean towards them taking over that spot before it's all said and done.

Random Thoughts

CCL games this week
9/28 8pm - Real Salt Lake @ Toronto FC
9/29 10pm - Columbus @ Municipal
9/29 10pm - Marathon @ Seattle

A big part of me wants to see TFC win at home so that RSL can then beat Cruz Azul at home next and two MLS teams can move on from Group A. I don't think it happens though. Toronto's a mess right now and RSL is playing as well as any team in MLS at the moment.

Columbus sits in first place right now with two road games left against Municipal and Joe Public. Winning this week puts them in great position to go through in 1st place from group B.

All Seattle can do at this point is play spoiler. Marathon and Saprissa tied at 6 points with games at Seattle and home vs Monterrey left. Let's see what happens.


MLS Elo Ratings
1,585.07 - Real Salt Lake
1,570.73 - FC Dallas
1,561.00 - Los Angeles Galaxy
1,531.94 - Columbus Crew
1,528.90 - New York Red Bulls
1,528.47 - Seattle Sounders
1,520.90 - Colorado Rapids
1,506.24 - San Jose Earthquakes
1,489.88 - Kansas City Wizards
1,480.32 - Chicago Fire
1,466.98 - Philadelphia Union
1,464.39 - Toronto FC
1,463.82 - Houston Dynamo
1,455.01 - Chivas USA
1,443.32 - New England Revolution
1,403.03 - DC United

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