Monday, October 18, 2010

RSL Rolls and Goalie Goals: Weekly Wrapup

This is definitely the hardest time of year to be an MLS fan. BCS standings are just starting to come out, NFL teams are really rounding in to form, MLB playoffs are going strong, the NHL season is starting, and MLS is in its final weeks of the regular season with legitimately nothing to play for. We've only got one more week though, and then the playoffs start, which hopefully picks up the interest a bit.

Game Reports

Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Chivas USA
Seattle actually beat TWO Chivas teams this week. First they dispatched the Mexican club on Tuesday with a roster of reserves, and then defeated their American counterpart on Saturday with the starters. Not a bad week for Sounders fans who are lucky enough to watch one of the hottest teams in MLS right now.

Chicago Fire 0 - 0 DC United
This game was kinda boring, so instead let's use this space to honor Brian McBride who just played his last home game. McBride was honored pre-game, at half, and post-game, which was well deserved.

McBride has performed everywhere he's played. He was so beloved by Fulham fans that they renamed the pub at Craven Cottage to McBride's after he left and put out this tribute video. It's rare that you'll find a more professional player, who someone who deserves the respect that McBride does.

62 goals in 161 games with Columbus Crew
40 goals in 153 appearances with Fulham
17 goals in 57 games with Chicago Fire
96 caps and 30 goals as an American International

Here's McBride's final farewell to the Chicago faithful.

Toronto FC 2 - 2 Columbus Crew
Columbus still failed to impress, much as they've done the entire second half of the season, but they managed to pull out a point in Toronto thanks to a goal by goalie Will Hesmer off a last second set piece. It was terrible defense by TFC failing to close out a guy who is clearly not comfortable with the ball at his feet, but that kinda typifies their season. Maicon Santos looked VERY good in attack though (including this blast for a goal and this one that was barely saved) and hopefully plays in to TFC plans for the future.

Philadelphia Union 2 - 1 New York Red Bulls
In a game that could have clinched the Eastern Conference championship for them, New York Red Bulls could not get past local rival Philadelphia Union. For the first half New York looked like they may as well have not even shown up. Their attack was poor, their defense was poor, it was just not the performance you'd expect from a team this talented. They went into half time down 2-0 and deserved every bit of that scoreline.

New York tried to play a 4-4-1-1 with Ballouchy behind Angel (Henry was out injured) and it was a disaster. JPA needs another forward to play off and the flow just wasn't there with him alone up top. For a guy about to leave the team though, he showed that he's not dogging his final days in New York, calling the team together before half time and giving a rousing speech to try and spark the under-performing team. It seemed to work temporarily as NY pulled one back 3 minutes in to the second half, but they couldn't find an equalizer the rest of the game. US U-20 forward Juan Agudelo almost tied it in the 94th minute with a great header off a corner kick, but Fred was manning the near post to clear the shot off the line.

New England Revolution 1 - 0 Kansas City Wizards
This result knocked Kansas City out of the playoff race. It wasn't for a lack of trying, as the Wizards took 22 shots, but only 4 of those were on frame. Not much else to say here honestly, better luck to both these teams next season.

Real Salt Lake 2 - 0 FC Dallas
One streak is over; Dallas finally lost a game. Another still lives, as RSL is unbeaten in their last 25 home games. In what looks more and more like a preview of the first round of the playoffs, RSL outplayed FC Dallas all over the field. It wasn't a dominating performance by any means, but for this day at least RSL was clearly a better team.

I was a little surprised that Brek Shea didn't see any time in this game. Despite well Marvin Chavez has played recently, Shea is a better player and will need to contribute for FCD to make a run in the playoffs.

San Jose Earthquakes 0 - 1 Houston Dynamo
The Dynamo used to be the Earthquakes, and they also used to be an MLS powerhouse. That didn't matter a whole bunch here though, as the Dynamo rode a shutout from Tyler Deric in his debut. A classy squad came to play despite their disappointing season and managed a win. Andrew Hainault's diving header was the only goal of the game, but it's worth watching.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1 - 3 Colorado Rapids
In the final game of the week LA got off to a quick start with a goal by Edson Buddle in the opening minutes of the game. That was as good as it got though, as Buddle gave back an own goal less than 10 minutes later (although it was really Sean Franklin's fault as he kicked it off the forward's chest into the net) and Colorado's prolific striker pair of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings assisted on goals to each other.

I'm still not convinced that LA has their offense figured out with all their players healthy. Bruce needs to stop trying to just play his best 6 front players and actually put a team out there that can play together and work as a unit. It's not like there's a huge dropoff between the guys he starts and the first choice bench players. Also, not the best game from Omar Gonzalez this week. He's gonna need to step it up again for LA to succeed in the playoffs.

Random Thoughts

The final round of CCL group stage is this week. RSL is guaranteed to go through, but will be facing off with Cruz Azul to see who wins the group. Columbus is in great position to go through, but will need a result at Joe Public or a loss by Marathon. Seattle and TFC are already out of it, but will attempt to end on their respective high notes at home.

10/19 8pm: Toronto FC v. Arabe Unido
10/19 10pm: Real Salt Lake v. Cruz Azul
10/19 10pm: Seattle Sounders v. Saprissa
10/21 8pm: Columbus Crew @ Joe Public

On a side note, how does CCL not start the final round of group games at the same time? You don't think teams will alter their lineups and strategies now based on what happens? You don't think that this makes it way too possible for teams to collude? Really CONCACAF, sometimes you baffle me.


MLS Elo Ratings
1,600.00 - Real Salt Lake
1,567.24 - FC Dallas
1,559.45 - Los Angeles Galaxy
1,545.36 - Seattle Sounders
1,535.98 - Colorado Rapids
1,525.78 - New York Red Bulls
1,519.84 - Columbus Crew
1,492.98 - San Jose Earthquakes
1,484.67 - Kansas City Wizards
1,481.76 - Chicago Fire
1,465.88 - Houston Dynamo
1,457.66 - Philadelphia Union
1,454.23 - Chivas USA
1,453.53 - New England Revolution
1,449.19 - Toronto FC
1,406.44 - DC United

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