(Our first–sort of–MLS preview. I’ve buried it below two Friday columns so you hopefully won’t see it!)
Enjoyable game for the most part last evening between Philadelphia and Toronto.
Even if Philadelphia lost, for an expansion side playing in their third game Philadelphia did two things superbly: a) keep composure through the half when they went a man down b) press the game instead of laying back.
Were in not for two very green blunders by Union keeper Chris Selz, the Union might have escaped with their second straight victory.
I’ve seen two Union games and the fans there certainly should be content with the job that Bob Bradley disciple Piotr Nowak is doing. Great player movement in the 1st half after Danny Califf’s sending off and calculated risks in allowing balls over the top that were lower percentage to score.
I thought the broadcasters were off when they faulted Philly for allowing a counter attack that almost netted DeWayne DeRosario his 3rd of the evening.
First, Toronto was called for offsides, so in essence it was “well-played.” Secondly, Philly is chasing the game at this point, at least they’re going for it. Again, calculated risks by the Union. Big future there.
Into the MLS weekend we go: (and once again the disclaimer …. we’re novices here…all of the following preview from here could go horribly wrong, but I will say this: I’ve already watched more MLS regular season in 2010 than all of 2009. Did I win something?)
What? No Friday action. C’mon guys….and someone fill me in why there is no Columbus Crew game for two weeks.
Sounders vs. Wizards
I’m starting to like what Peter Vermes is doing in Kansas City here. By adding yet another offender in Indian national Sunil Chhetri, Vermes is effectively taking a page out of Manchester City’s book (albeit it a much lower skill level) by amassing attackers of all different shapes and sizes.
Into the squad this year are Ryan Smith–candidate for new guy of the year–Kei Kamara and now Chhetri.
The Sounders are very much the inverse of Vermes crew. Having a pardon-the-pun, sound complementary keeper, defense and midfield while lacking the dynamic scoring punch that Kansas City seems to have mustered.
Once again, I look to the Sounders midfield here. If they dominate possession–and the defense puts in just a little better game them over at the Salt Lake during the week–the games is theirs.
Oh, and those Freddie Montero to CSKA Moscow rumors? C’mon, even Landon Donovan didn’t just from MLS to a Champion’s League side.
Houston vs. Chivas USA
Look I hear a ton about Dominic Kinnear being a phenomenal coach. I liked his game-planning last year.
This year…and I’ve now watched two Dynamo games. I see a porous defense–yes, I know it will get better–and a front-six that doesn’t quite work well together. Is it growing pains earlier in the season for a team that lost two stars, not enough pitch firepower, or a coach cramming pieces into the wrong places?
For Chivas, did TSG err on calling Sasha Kljestan out in national team camp this year? Kljestan seems to have lowered the decibel level on his pitch antics, but in parallel his play has dropped a notch as well. Mr. Victoria’s Secret is sporting the captain’s armband, but has seldom displayed the skill that had him among MLS elite less than two years ago.
How Kljestan rises from this opening trough will say a lot about his character and his potential this year.
Quakes vs. Revolution
I might try to make it down to the Buck to take this game in…then again I really don’t want my first MLS game since last year’s Galaxy-Earthquake game to feature one Mr. Bobby Convey.
Then again I really do like that Ryan Johnson guy. Can’t we just make Jamaica the 51st state, add Omar Cummings, Johnson and Ricardo Fuller to the USMNT for South Africa and pencil in a semi-finals birth. Think about it. What other national team would be more open to this idea and more complementary?
I’d take Grenada just for Joseph also.
DC United vs. Chicago Fire
Someone help me with this preview. All I know is that the midfield for both teams are an injured mess.
That….and Philly and DC should have reversed that Fred-Perkins trade for this week. Perkins would have at least made one if not both of the critical keeper plays Thursday night and United need someone to move the ball in that lackluster midfield.
New York Red Bull vs. FC Dallas
A USMNT fan and a budding MLS watcher, I want to see one thing in this match: a ball played over the top that of Dallas defense that puts Heath Pearce in a foot race with Dane Richards.
That will tell me all I need to know about how serious a candidate Pearce is for that left back spot against–starting or backing up–against Theo Walcott.
Galaxy vs. RSL
I’m not going to lie. I might slowly be turning into, gulp, an LA Galaxy fan. While I would like to them to play with a little bit more, say, personality (c’mon Arena, lighten up), I just about like every person in their 11. Huge Sean Franklin fan. Omar Gonzalez we all recognize is Europe-bound. Buddle looks to have dropped the injuries and the demons.
I like how Kovalenko is such a little Mascherano-like nuisance in the middle. I’m even excited for when Tristan Bowen enters in the 80th min of some game over the next few weeks, scores a goal on a Donovan feed and message boards light-up with “Cap Him!” for the youngster.
Okay, before you throw-up….
Want to impress Robbie Findley knock one down this week again Ricketts and Gonzalez with Buddle on the pitch. I don’t see it happening. In fact, I’m guessing Espindola and Saborio start this one.
Toronto vs. Colorado
How’d I do? Don’t answer….I’ll be along shortly with some overseas previews….