MLS Week 5: 20 Tanks to LIVESTRONG

If you build it, they will....throw bobbleheads...

John Nyen attempts go iambic pentameter, but goes off-beat.

Well good afternoon, morning and good night kiddos. Some of you may already know this, but I am in the process of moving my offices back to the motherland. As such, my recent ability to file timely reports and watch the game tape has been slightly impeded. However, never let it be said that lack of knowledge is something that should keep you from filing a report. As such, I present the wild, crazy and slighty guess filled MLS TSG prediction for Week 5. This week Gary Gygax would be proud as we roll our 8 sided dice and try to see if our level 8 paladin (Sporting KC) can cast a light of entrapment snare upon the wooly orcish LA Galaxy. <—- NERD!

Charles Bukowski...

If Week 4 proved anything in MLS it was that absolutely anyone can win anywhere at any time. MLS has been known for its parity for quite a while but nowhere was this more evident than in sunny… er… rather rainy Los Angeles as the New England Revolution stormed ahead (see what I did there?) to a win.

It has to be said that the beginning of my Week 4 column was correct. Week four was “The Reckoning” as up was down, left was right and San Jose turned into Barcelona. My record on the year moved to 16 – 11 with 4 exactas (none from last week)

This really does prove that anything can and WILL happen in MLS. CatDogs? BeaverRats? Brek Shea’s Haircut? ANYTHING.

A sidenote about Brek Shea’s haircut… it really is reminiscent of Massive Headwound Harry, which is a reference that will show your age rather severely.

Let’s get on to the picks this week. As always…All times are East coast, all hops are not created equal, and for the record Rogue brewery uses a lot of Cascade hops… I’m telling this to you so you don’t have to ask them (on the tour) 18 million times what kind of hops they use even though they told you before the first time you asked…. CASCADE. Thanks.

All music suggestions this week are now poems by Charles Bukowski: ENJOY.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

8:30PM – FC Dallas V New England – FC Dallas Stadium – Television: Local Only

I started writing this column as the game was coming on, but I pre-tweeted my prediction to ShinGuardian corporate offices and Star Destroyer (West Coast Division). Check my twitter feed if you don’t believe me.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: Another Day

Last Game for FC Dallas: L 1-4

Last Game for New England: W 3-1

My Prediction: Dallas 2-0 over the “end of road trip, time to get home and have a few extra days off” Revolution.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Canadian grass....oh wait, this isn't Vancouver.

12:00PM – Montreal v Toronto FC – Olympic Stadium – Television: TSN/RDS

Let’s be brutally honest here, these two cities don’t have a lot of love for each other in general. Habs v Leafs…. Argonauts v Alouettes… Expo…er…rather…. Impact v TFC… Quebecois v Canada.

The Quebecois are one of the only political organizations/regional areas in North America in recent history to actually attempt to seccede from their country. This was tenatively decided as recently as 1998, so we aren’t talking about ratified treaties of 1812. Political ramifications aside the two fanbases are as diverse and opposed/joined as many in Canada these days. However, I can guarantee that the supporters groups will be into this game.

Having said all that the problem of course is that neither of these teams is playing well in MLS at this point. Montreal has the only point in the league between these two teams, and as tough as they have looked (at times) they really don’t look like storming to the top any time soon. I am going to concur with the front office here, as I watched the Montreal v RSL game and found myself wondering what happened to Justin Mapp. He looked like the spritely, young, comb-overed, 10 head of old and was taking on defenders and slashing through the middle with aplomb. I was quite surprised. He certainly was hit or miss last year for the Union (mostly miss in my opinion) however he looked like a different player out there for Montreal. Perhaps it is the poutine. On the other hand… Toronto has been this years Jeckle and Hyde team as their play during the regular season has been relatively insipid but their play during the CONCACAF Champions League has been inspiring. I tend to think that with the strong run in the CCL this year that Aaron Winter may have been trying strategies for TFC during the first three MLS games. With the loss of Torsten Friings, Winter toyed with a higher line, pressing with the midfield and even substitutions. Either way, TFC will need to solidify their gutsy performances in the CCL with some wins during MLS for their not-quite-long suffering fans.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: A radio with guts

Last Game for Montreal: L 0-1

Last Game for Toronto: A complete shellacking in the second half against Santos.

My Prediction: I think Toronto can find their feet here, but the fans propel Montreal to a score as well. 2-1 to TFC.

3:00PM – Columbus v New York – Crew Stadium – Television: Univision

Buenos Dias folks, I'm Chad Marshall.

The New York “Rafa Marquez is still terrible” Red Bull’s travel to Columbus to take on the suddenly turgid Crew. It has to be said that the Crew are one trade for Chris Wondowloski away from being San Jose East. Not that this is necessarily a problem for them, but the similarities (once pointed out) are quite amazing.

Soler/Backe is now less reliable than Perot/Stockdale was during the 90′s as they somehow have managed to run the good ship Red Bull straight over Metro waterfalls and back into the New Jersey turnpike. With Luke Rodgers not coming back, New York is now slower than an Edsel being pushed by Jay Leno while he describes (in detail) the inner workings of an engine that runs on steam. This of course, isn’t to say that New York isn’t going to win any games, but that they also aren’t going to be setting any track meet records either.

Of course speed is one thing but New York is, as well, one Thierry accident away from being a less defensively solid Montreal with Kenny Cooper as Justin Braun.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: About My Very Tortured Friend, Peter

Last Game for Columbus: W 2-0

Last Game for New York: W 5-2

My Prediction: Columbus get this game 2-1

—–

4:00PM – Sporting KC v Los Angeles – Livestrong Sporting Park – Television: ESPN ESPN Deportes

We miss ya Beas!

I BELIEVE…

I BELIEVE THIS MIGHT BE…

I BELIEVE THIS MIGHT BE 2006 WORLD CUP ALL OVER AGAIN.

I don’t think the above chant will catch on but the “Bruce Arena has run out of time and good will” clock is starting to tick, ever so slowly. Despite telling most columnists that they don’t know what they are doing on a near weekly basis, somehow the LA Galaxy are sitting in the basement of the Western Conference with their cousins, Chivas. The only reason LA aren’t dead last is because they have only played 3 games. Robbie Keane can’t hit the net, Landon Donovan isn’t playing, Omar Gonzales (more and more the retroactive MVP of last year) is on the shelf, and LA look limp and disinterested.

Meanwhile in a Bar-B-Q far far away, the thick tomato and molasses based sauce are dripping slowly off the slow cooked rib that is Kansas City’s season. To take a food analogy way past its prime, Sporting are currently those non-overcooked, delicious, slightly fatty ribs that you dream about. Or if you are a vegetarian, the perfect amount of vegetable tabbouleh with small cut tofu soaked in mesquite drippings. Sporting has just been that good this season. The only team that has only wins, looks to take on a team that is attempting to still wake up now that the season has started.

For all you history kids, it became apparent during the 2006 World Cup (and post World Cup) that the USA team was clearly very done with Bruce Arena. The 2006 team was one of the most promising and disappointing USA teams in recent history and they played so poorly during the tournament that the ensuing Arena firing resulted in the Bob Bradley era.

Of course this being MLS, LA is going to come out on fire, dismantle KC and proceed to let everyone know that they aren’t out of this season by a long shot.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: The trash men

Last Game for LA: L 1-3

Last Game for Kansas City: W 1-0

My Prediction: 2-2 Draw

—-

7:00PM – San Jose v Vancouver – Buck Shaw Stadium – Television: Local Only

The man of the moment in MLS offices...

It’s Columbus versus Philly! Or wait… it’s San Jose v Vancouver. As my wonderful editor pointed out… did you know that Vancouver has only scored 3 goals on the season this year? And that out of those three goals, two came in one game and that Vancouver hasn’t scored a goal in two games against two supposedly defensively suspect teams such as DC United and the Union? While the acquisition of all the forwards in Vancouver was supposed to drive a scoring binge, it has been the defense that has propelled the Whitecaps this season. Meanwhile San Jose has appeared to find its verve early this year. Going up to Seattle and knocking off the Sounders is a major feather in the cap of Frank Yallop, despite the fact that …….. hasn’t panned out.

I think that Vancouver finds it tough going in San Jose this time around as San Jose locks down the interior defense.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: 16-bit Intel 8088 chip

Last game for San Jose: W 1-0

Last game for Vancouver: T 0-0

My Prediction: San Jose smothers Vancouver with defense and gets a win 1-0

—-

7:30PM – D.C. United v Seattle – RFK Stadium – Television: Local Only

Just had to....

Well, finally… FINALLY DC United’s offense gets back on track in the week I pick them to draw their game. With Nick DeLeon looking impressive out of the gate, DC has managed to pull themselves up from their Loss-Loss beginning to the season and right some wrongs. Meanwhile Seattle does the exact opposite of DC and manages to lose the game I picked them to win. One cannot underestimate the power of San Jose this season, FYI. Velveeta on high in them microwave smothering.

Things that we know: DC should have good/decent offense and poor defense, and Seattle should have good/decent offense and an exploitable defense although not poor.

HOWEVER… Seattle is flying coast to coast and DC is at home…

HOWEVER… DC didn’t have a sterling home record last year

HOWEVER… The left side of Seattle’s defense is untrustworthy

DCU's smooth operator

HOWEVER… DC can’t generate any offense

EXCEPT…. For lat week…

ALTHOUGH…. Depending on your rookie floppy-haired somewhat Terrence howard-look-a-like midfielder who attempts to generate things for you is recipe for disaster

Bukowski Poem for this Game: Let It Enfold you

Last Game for DC: W 4-1

Last Game for Seattle: L 0-1

My Prediction: GOALS…. I am going with a 2-2 tie here. Last year the home team won both games. I could see that happening this year, but I still question the defense of DC.

—–

9:00PM – Real Salt Lake v Colorado – Rio Tinto Stadium – Television: Local Only

It’s the first of three meetings this year between rivals Salt Lake and Colorado. It’s hard to describe this rivalry appropriately because while quite a few fans on both sides passionately dislike each other, Salt Lake has been very dominant recently in the head to head matchups. Certainly there is bad blood, but there is also an ideal amongst certain Salt Lake fans to define their main rivalries outside of Colorado. Whether true or not, the passion is there even if beautiful play hasn’t always been. With Colorado implementing a new system of play and RSL coming off a recent win over Montreal it remains anyone’s guess as to the nature of this game. Will Salt Lake be leggy coming off their game three days ago? Will Colorado’s new system allow them to adapt to RSL’s quick exploitation of the flanks? Who will keep the level heads in this one?

From a fan perspective, I will be interested to see how many supporters from Colorado actually travel to Salt Lake for the game. I know that some of the supporters groups actually cancelled busses due to lack of interest, but I also know that the rumor is most people (for whatever reason) are going by car. Hopefully there is a good showing and a peaceful showing in Salt Lake.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: Be Kind

Last Game for Real Salt Lake: W 1-0

Last Game for Colorado: W 2-0

My Prediction: Three of the last four games between these teams in Rio Tinto have been 1-0, 1-1, 1-1, and I see no reason for that to change. I am going with the Rapids being able to pull it out on the road against a leggy SLC side 1-0 Where is the fun in writing these things if you don’t go against the grain every once in awhile?

 —

10:30PM – Portland v Chivas USA – JELD-WEN Field – Television: Local Only

Well, I personally had the pleasure of experiencing the deathknell of the Timbers game via twitter as I was in the middle of the move in a location that was without television. Imagine my surprise as nothing updated for a few minutes after receiving a message from the 88th minute with Portland winning 2-1.

No, you the man TSG!

Really the thing to take away from that game is the tantalizing play of Darlington Nagbe. The Akron product certainly is starting to look like the real deal and put a shine upon the otherwise horrid final few minutes. The game ending was so bad that a realtor showing me a house during my move actually proceeded to relive the experience for me, something that was less than pleseant for her to recount.

Anyhoo, moving on to greener pastures…. Chivas REALLY likes games that finish 1-0. Every single meaningful game that they have played this year has finished with that scoreline. That means two things: #1 That they are relatively defensively sound and #2 That they are unable of scoring more than one goal.

Other than the aberration of knocking off Salt Lake in Salt Lake (which until the Revolution beat LA in LA was my “that really happened?” win of the MLS season), Chivas has lost their other three games. Of course, we must not forget that the other three games they played were against Houston, Vancouver, and Sporting.

I tend to think that the Timbers are smarting after the loss against Salt Lake. I tend to think that they will come out fired up at home. I also think that they still have yet to resolve their issues with fullback play and the problem with the midfield not disrupting play enough to prevent the ball from making it to the back line quickly.

Bukowski Poem for this Game: My computer/Are you Drinking?

Last Game for Portland: L 2-3

Last Game for Chivas: L 0-1

My Prediction: I’m going with another 1-0 game and Portland pulling it out at home.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dth on 2012/04/06 at 10:54 AM

    Actually, in terms of “vintage strange Arena blowups”, I’d go with the latter-half of 2010 implosion as the most appropriate analogy, with Toronto FC playing the role of the Puerto Rico Islanders.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Crow on 2012/04/06 at 11:08 AM

    I love how Livestrong puts the fans so close to the field- I wish more American stadiums did this.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Crow on 2012/04/06 at 1:35 PM

    I’m feeling so good after that Vancouver game that I predict that the Union WILL NOT LOSE this week!

    Reply

  4. Posted by dth on 2012/04/06 at 6:35 PM

    Can’t. Stop. Making. Fun.

    From Montreal’s fan previews at the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/apr/06/sporting-kc-la-galaxy-fan-preview):

    “Our main problem is still in the final third, where we’re just not creating anything meaningful. One shot square on the net in the whole game tells its own story. A lot of shots, passes and crosses into what would normally be dangerous areas, but nothing that came out of it.”

    Wow. I wonder how such a thing could’ve occurred.

    Reply

  5. Posted by crow on 2012/04/06 at 8:16 PM

    Gotta love how emotionally distraught the Portland real estate broker was. Maybe I should move to Portland

    Reply

  6. Posted by John on 2012/04/06 at 9:13 PM

    There is, in that little corner of us, a small portion of that tense anxiety that builds slowly as the time slips towards game day. Ever a piece of ourselves that is the kid receiving gifts, we slowly become nervous, sweaty, angst ridden and yet passionate in ever growing stages. Then with a quick sleep it becomes that day and suddenly we are bursting into a quick flame of sudden exuberance. The passion for the team and city coalesce into a quick fire that booms out of control with the touch of a ball. For 90 minutes there is nothing but that steely attention and with the crescendo of your like minded friends you find the mindless release and body exhaustion that comes with finally releasing pent up energy.

    Then off into the cool night, with maybe a sprinkle of rain on the ground, the crowd will disperse into the distance to drink and talk about all those things that just happened.

    And that is what makes sports great, and that is what makes soccer great.

    It is beauty and harmony and pain balanced together in a place that should offer no tangible relief, and yet does in a way that brings bankers, lawyers, delivery boys, pizza makers and baristas together.

    Imperious ideals are juxtaposed against democratic dispositions as players give everything to run towards a play that they know will not work and will give them absolutely no benefit….. and yet they try.

    And yet, we try as well… in our rec leagues, on our video games, in our own lives we are Luke Rodgers chasing down a hopeless ball, we are Stephen Lenhart doing anything to win and we are David Beckham floating that perfect ball into the night just waiting for the right person to make perfect and sweet contact with it.

    Then finally, when your head hits the pillow once more, with chants and cheers echoing in your ears and your cloths smelling like smoke bombs, you can take solace in knowing that it happens again…. the buildup…. the payoff.. and in that there is comfort and dreaming forthcoming.

    Tomorrow is gameday, evermore.

    Reply

    • Posted by Crow on 2012/04/07 at 5:07 PM

      Is this read at a wedding between two Portland Timbers fans? If it isn’t it should be!

      Reply

  7. This Montreal/Toronto game is hilarious. It is EXACTLY the opposite of what I called down to the scoreline…. well done Montreal…. Well done….

    Reply

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