MLS Week 2 Roundup
– Fantastic debut on ESPN2 of the MLS Game of the Week. Aside from a very competitive match, the camera angles were well done, the commentary was less obtrusive than normal, and let's face it, it's just good to have Eric Wynalda back in the booth spewing his negative thoughts. Most impressive of the evening was the sky cam that gave simply the best view of a penalty kick seen in the history of MLS. Great stuff, especially in High Def.
– Speaking of Wynalda, I love that he pulls no strings but in all honesty, he seems to go too far at times. His constant whinging at Landon Donovan's less than stellar free kicks gets a bit redundant. We get it, he's not Beckham. Wynalda's downfall to me is his dealing too much in terms of black and white. There doesn't ever seem to be any grey area in criticism of players. If you're going to be hypercritical, try and leave some wiggle room for improvement.
– Much better effort from everyone at FSC in their second week of exclusive coverage. The mistakes were down (any coincidence that Christian Miles was left back in California?). The line of the week has to be Max Bretos' call after Christian Gomez' goal tied their match at 2-2. "Release the Kraken!" Good stuff Max.
– You ever wonder why Carlos Ruiz is the most hated player in MLS by a country mile? Exhibit A is his antics in stoppage time of FC Dallas' 2-1 win over the Galaxy. With LA pouring forward towards goal, the FC Dallas defense clears the ball to midfield where Ruiz lays a blockout that would make Charles Barkley proud. After finally going back to the ball 5 seconds later, Tyrone Marshall comes in with a hard but ultimately clean tackle of the ball at which point Ruiz hits that ground clutching his leg as if Sean Eckert had taken a baton to his leg (for those not getting the reference, Eckert is the upstanding citizen who wailed on Nancy Kerrigan's leg) and he rolled around in an obvious attempt to waste time. Of course a minute later he sprinted on to the field with no ill effects. This is what pisses me off about Ruiz. He has absolutely no class on the field whatsoever. Why he feels it's necessary to lie and cheat on the field is beyond me as he undoubtedly is the most talented goal scorer in the league. Taylor Twellman is very much similar in style and ability as Ruiz is but he goes about playing the game with much more class and integrity. Now, if you were to ask me if I wanted him on my team, I'd take him in a heartbeat. Let's hope MLS refs have the guts to card Ruiz and stop him from pulling these antics that make him so despised.
– How to win an MLS home opener
Schedule an expansion team. The NE Revs pounded hapless Toronto FC 4-0 in their opener at Gillette Stadium. No worries whatsoever for the Revs as Taylor Twellman scores twice early on to propel them to an easy victory.
– How not to win an MLS home opener
Play in horrific conditions for a third time in a month at home and have the pouring rain make a glacially slow back three even more impotent. The Kansas City Wizards looked like blurs running past slipping and sliding United defenders on their way to a 4-2 win at RFK. DC United is now standing in 12th place in MLS after two matches and if Toronto FC can simply manage a point next weekend, they'll be in dead last. Not exactly a good way to start off the season for the MLS Cup hopefuls. Tom Soehn has a lot of work to do to simply restore confidence in his side. Brian Carroll continues in his worst stretch of matches since becoming a professional player. Soehn already benched an ineffective Facundo Erpen at halftime of the Blitzkreig, can Simms for Carroll be far behind? DC United went until their 22nd match of the 2006 season before suffering their second loss of the season. That won't be happening this season as they can't even get halfway through April before losing their second match. United's atrocious start to the season pretty much also guarantees that Troy Perkins and Bobby Boswell won't be winning the Goalkeeper of the Year and Defender of the Year awards respectively. While it's tough to blame Perkins for any of the six goals flying by him, Boswell is another story entirely. Perhaps he should spend less time pimping his website and more time positioning himself a bit better.
– Columbus and Real Salt Lake play to a scoreless tie in Salt Lake City. Goalkeeping was the story in this one as both teams keepers made a number of fantastic saves to keep the honors even. Two points from two home games isn't a disaster for RSL, but it ain't great either. Columbus remains goaless on both ends of the scoresheet from two matches. Who would have thought that DC United would have allowed 6 goals in two matches and Columbus would have two clean sheets from their first two matches? Well done Crew. United could use your discipline on the back line right about now. Speaking of, United's next match is at Columbus on the 28th. Somethings gotta give.
– Houston Dynamo squeek out a professional 1-0 victory at home over Chivas USA in which the visiting team controlled most of the action. Brian Ching scores on the only shot on goal for Houston in the game while two more close chances whizzed wide of the post. Nothing really earthshattering about this game except for the constant droning and double talk coming from the mouth of HDNet "analyst" Marcelo Balboa. He must have nude pictures of someones significant other to still have a job in television.
– MLS parity rears it's ugly head once again as FC Dallas drops a 3-0 decision to Red Bull in rainy New York on Sunday afternoon. Favorite son Clint Mathis tallies a goal and an assist in his return to The Big Apple. Josmer Altidore and Dave Van Denh Berg also score for NYRB in miserable conditions as just over 8,800 people braved the heavy rain. It just goes to show that one day you can play very well and three days later you lay a turd. Or you could just be Toronto FC or DC United and play consecutive bad games. While the announced attendance was just over 8,800, it seemed clear from TV angles that about 1,500 fans might have been in attendance. Not to good, though who in their right minds would sit out in that crap.
– The last match of the MLS weekend takes us to The Big Dick in Commerce City, Colorado. Roberto Brown, who somehow managed to avoid a yellow card last week in spite of commiting 7 fouls, was deservedly sent off for a studs up tackle into the leg of CJ Brown in just the 6th minute of the game. Although Chicago now had an 84 minute man advantage, they rarely seemed bothered to press on and take control of the game. In fact Colorado got the first goal of the game on a counter attack started by the goalkeeper and ended up on the foot of Hercules Gomez who scored what will undoubtedly by the goal of the week to give the Rapids an inprobable lead in the 57th minute. However Chicago did eventually equalize through Chad Barrett in the 85th minute. Chicago in all honesty has not looked good through two games on the offensive side of things. Justin Mapp seems to be the only effective player for the Fire. Colorado now stands alone atop the MLS standings with 6 points from two home matches. Let's see how they do outside of The Big Dick. One thing to note though is the complete lack of atmosphere at TBD. I was there last weekend and aside from the goals being scored, it was wierdly quiet. My cousin who lives just outside of Denver was with me last weekend and came back East to go to United's opener this weekend and she said matter of factly "I wish I could record this atmosphere and take it back home and show the Rapids fans what it's supposed to be like". Good for United fans, not so good for Rapids fans.
|Unitedmania.com Player of the Week – Eddie Johnson|
|DC United may be the team to thank for restoring the long beleagured form of Johnson. Two assists and goal and setting up the fourth goal seemed a bit more impressive than Taylor Twellman's brace against expansion Toronto FC. The fact that Johnson did it on the road at RFK also gives him the nod as well. Let's hope he can carry this form into international competition this summer. Photo: Martin Fernandez: UnitedMania.com|