Fantastic weekend of footie:
• MLS Playoff Odds
Big changes in the little schematic we put together last week:
• Seattle Sounders (now: 12 to 1) vs. Real Salt Lake (remains 6 to 1)
Mauro Rosales are no Mauro Rosales, Seattle now looks dusted. While the Sounders are capable of offensive explosions (the Sounders’ 56 goals led in the regular season), hard to imagine they are going to hang at least a three-spot on the visitors from Rio Tinto on Wednesday.
For one thing, pushing for three goals creates more of an up-down game, one where RSL can be just as lethal on the counter to Seattle’s foray; for another, you have Real Salt Lake able to play a possession game and limit Seattle’s time on the ball.
With a three-goal home lead in aggregate, you would think that RSL’s Cup chances go up. But that all depends on the health of their starting centerbacks, Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers who both left with injuries.
Knock, knock, that’s just Kyle Beckerman rattling the cages of all the naysayers who said he was a weak link on the US. Without Olave and later, briefly, without Borchers, Beckerman provided the cover over the back to preserve the shutout at home.
• New York Red Bulls (remains at 20 to 1) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (remains 4 to 1)
Los Angeles now the favorite–for now–on The Shin Guardian. They basically did what they had to in New York. The Galaxy–as is Bruce Arena’s perennial game plan–played for the draw on the road (Los Angeles concedes almost 50% less shots on goal when away from the Home Depot Center) and the tandem of Omar Gonzalez and AJ De La Garza sealed the central defense while Castrol Index Best XVIII’s Mike Magee tallied the lone goal.
This isn’t over for New York heading out to mid-week game in HDC. The Red Bulls appear more comfortable and commanding on the road and has of course that “nothing-to-lose” thing going for them. The loss of Rafa Marquez only stokes the fire more for the Red Bulls younger guard to prove themselves.
A dangerous position for Los Angeles, but they should still see their way through.
• Houston Dynamo (was 14 to 1, not 8 to 1) vs. Philadelphia Union (was 7 to 1, now 15 to 1)
Whoa is TSG….flip-flopping the odds here.
How in the world do you test out a new defense–of all things–at home in Game 1 of the playoffs.
Peter Nowak–who TSG is now casually humming and walking away from as their Coach of the Year candidate–did the unthinkable. Whether the strategy to employ a five-man (or three is you prefer with wingbacks) defense may be defensible at some level–which I don’t understand because the Dynamo’s team set-up doesn’t exactly scream, “Don’t come through the middle!”–what’s not defensible is attempting to employ it on the fly in the playoff.
Philadelphia looked flummoxed in the first half on what to do and it’s their coache’s fault alone.
I find it hard to see how the Dynamo won’t defend the series at home, especially since Philadelphia made their strikers even seem dangerous.
• Sporting KC (remains 8 to 1), vs. Colorado Rapids (was 10 to 1, now 20 to 1)
I’m not sure what bothers me more: pretty everything about Colorado or Sporting KC’s playoff mantra “I believe that we will win.”
Addressing the latter, what is this….Notre Dame or something. There’s no crusade for respect going on in Kansas City. What happens if they don’t win this year, what’s their motto for next year, “I believe last year; this year I know”….c’mon now.
As for the former, from Gary Smith leaving to Omar Cummings ability to turn it on or turn it off to the overrated Marvell Wynne and Jeff Larentowicz, I just want the Rapids to go away now.
They’ve got no shot in Kansas City on Thursday, but if they somehow eek the playoff series out, I’ll say, “Both time that team acted like defending champions.” (And yes, I know they have injuries.)
• The Golazo Czar
…couldn’t agree more…
Last week on Twitter, CBS Sports Reporter Dana Wessel and our friends over The Yanks Are Coming suggested that before we start calling every Kei Kamara or Fernando Torres sitter a “Golazo” that someone, perhaps TSG, rules on it over Twitter or elsewhere.