Too Much Thursday MLS: Must Get Dinner

I’m not sure what to make of my new-found desire to flip on the tele and quickly tune in to MLS. What is happening?!

Watched both–freaking–games this evening. It’s tax season!

A few bullets from Thursday and a weekend preview…once again treading lightly.

SuperClassico (2-0 Galaxy over Chivas)

Bom, bom, bom, bom-bom-bom: Edson Buddle

• I’m back on the Edson Buddle bandwagon (one week after professing I wouldn’t jump back on). Buddle’s goal tonight against Chivas was sublime, from the well-timed run, to the lean in to the Chivas defender at the right time, to half-flick to direct it perfectly. Basically, he did everything you’d want Robbie Findley to do on the national team.

Beyond that I will concede it was only a  6 or 7 out of 10 game for the New Rochelle, NY native. (I’ve got to root for Buddle as he played for FC Westchester where two of my teenage friends played.)

So why do I believe he should get a glimpse (not a look yet, but a glimpse):

» He’s 6’1”, 185lbs…(imagine him paired with Jozy)

» He’s got decent, not shocking, but decent speed.

» He’s 28-years-old…he’s been around the block.

» He already plays with Landon Donovan and knows how and when to make runs off Donovan’s plays.

» He knows how to “make himself small”…that is, he knows how to move out-of-the-way when others are doing the offensive work.

» Negatives? When he’s got the ball sometimes he’s got to do too much. A glimpse at this point; that’s all I’m asking.

If you’re going to give a look-see to Herculez Gomez for his goals (most by headers) than you must concede, by the same logic, that Buddle is now 3-for-2.

I’ll likely regret this bullet point in a month, but I’m known to hang on to bandwagons for too long anywho. It’s something I’m trying to work on.

• Landon Donovan belongs in the EPL. He’s worlds ahead on the pitch; he’s playing a different game. It’s almost embarrassing. Continually, Bruce Arenas’ team, in the two games I’ve seen them, are well-organized for it being early in the season. Boring, but effective game plan for Arena’s squad on the evening.

Franklin: A rising career...

• Sean Franklin, TSG’s choice for Most Improved Player, plays with the confidence that you want Jonathan Bornstein too. He, combined with Omar Gonzalez, are probably the best right side defense in the league (that’s a bold statement from me because I cannot name all right side combinations…scold me in the comments.)

Question: If there is a better heading defender than Omar Gonzalez in the league, please let me know.

• Alexi Lalas complains that Sacha Kljestan is not getting the ball: Uh, he’s on a side with Donovan and Franklin. Kljestan is not a winger; for the second game he was ineffective.not as effective as he could have been. Mr. Fifa’s most effective plays were made inside the hash marks on the evening, a hitching-in shot that went right to the keeper and a chip pass that Chivas should be embarrassed they didn’t score on.

Kljestan’s positioning is the coach’s fault not his. And seriously, he’s up against Donovan on his flank. There is a reason in baseball why managers who know their ace is weaker than the opponents sometimes move their ace back a game in a series.

• Not sure why Jason Braun made USMNT camp in January based upon his performance tonight. He receives the ball likes it’s a hot potato. Kyle Martin made the point last night and he was spot on.

• Anyone else like Kyle Martino as a color man? Simple and effective.

Houston vs. RSL (2-1 Dynamo)

• I’ve read the complaints about Dominic Oduro in the TSG comment section…and now I know why. A very frustrating player on the evening for Houston.

• Geoff Cameron, as many of you have mentioned, is most certainly not a central midfielder, in MLS or elsewhere. I know Houston is lite there with Holden and Clark now overseas, but consider this. Why take a player who can be a genuine threat overlapping from a rear flank position and move him to the midfield where he is probably above average, but not natural. Doesn’t make sense.

Let's hope Ching's return is speedy.

• Let’s hope Brian Ching makes a swift return from what is being called a hamstring strain.

• Unimpressed with the play of World Cup hopeful Robbie Findley, subbed in after the half and John Harkes called this one right, Findley needed to “find the game more.” Findley reception tonight was completely off as well.

• I hate comparing Jude Law (Brad Davis) to Bobby Convey, but he reminds me more and more of him as I watch him. Davis’s impact on the Dynamo though reminds me of Joe Dumars on the Pistons: always solid, occasionally the star, the glue that keeps a team together.


Seattle Sounders vs. Red Bull
I’m going to try to catch this one.
A lot of buzz about Seattle after they did a little number on expansion-side Philly Union last weekend. From our MLS roundtable, Seattle seems like everyone’s Cup favorites.
I will say this about Seattle. The team is built the right way, as in the players are extremely complementary to each other with their skillsets.
Meanwhile, some buzz around Red Bull as the surprise team. I don’t know much about the Red Bull beyond the Dane Richards that folks are talking about, but let’s see how the Sounders fare against slightly better competition.

26 responses to this post.

  1. Columbus should be the MLS Cup favorites but that’s a comment for another time. Buddle is an excellent player. Good in the air and good with both feet. A few years ago his career sort of got derailed because of alcohol abuse problems, but the man can still play. He is amazing in tight spaces; always finding a way out of them. The only problem is that he is a very streaky player, but most strikers are. I have always liked and respected Edson, but I don’t think he is the right player for the national team.

    The Galaxy didn’t find Landon as much as they could have. He was one of their only players who created much of anything and they weren’t looking to get him involved as much as they could have. I also thought Sean Franklin was good. Possibly even the player of the game. I was just amazed that in the dying minutes of the game he still had enough energy to take the ball to the corner and then get by 3 Chivas defenders. Galaxy go top of the table deservedly. They need all the points they can get before Landon leaves


  2. Yup, that was pretty typical Oduro, Shows just enough with that burst of pace to get you excited and then…yeah. With Ching out the desperate need for another solid option at striker becomes very apparent.

    The penalties weren’t the prettiest way to win but both looked pretty deserved (assuming Olavo did get a piece of Landin after getting juked out of his socks on the second), well taken by Davis in any case. Landin is slower than dirt but technically he’s very solid, if he could get into shape and acquire just average pace I think he could be a decent MLS striker. Will he be around that long? Don’t know. The newly announced extra Designated Player spots also make some more options potentially available.

    I was watching the Galaxy match and thinking “When will we hear the first calls for Buddle to get a run out with the Nats?”:) That being said I don’t think it’s a totally unreasonable suggestion, Findley certainly hasn’t looked the part and with the injury to Ching tonight I can see Buddle, Gomez, and a handful of others suddenly on the short list.


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/01 at 10:35 PM

    Great comments guys.

    I think on Buddle, who I believe was on the bench during qualifying in 2008 for a game (I’ll have to check that), is that if you ARE going to bring in a new player at this point, like many are saying about Gomez, then Buddle is just as obvious a look.

    At the very least you need to take two true strikers to South Africa. Jozy and….

    …still thinking, but your best bets at this point are Ching and Casey. I continue to think that Robbie Findley will not be effective on the world’s stage.

    I’ll update our Davies striker series shortly too…

    As for Houston, good escape tonight. I thought it was a clear foul on Landin, no question in my book.

    Houston’s midfield is going to need some work, RSL dominated them in the center of the pitch.


  4. I also thought that Kljestan was very good today. Whenever he got the ball he did something well with it, he just didn’t get the ball that much until the later stages of the 2nd half. I think it is a testament to how bad Chivas is that their best player had a great game and they still lost 2-0. Expect their season to go like this


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/01 at 10:41 PM

      I’m not sure Kljestan had a “great game” but he was good when he got the ball.

      He had two unlocking passes, but consider this:

      Last year, Bruce Arena against Chivas in the playoffs was having trouble using Beckham effectively so he moved him all over the pitch until he found an advantage.

      It took until the 2nd part of the 2nd half for Kljestan to begin drifting into better spots. He’s arguably your most creative offensive player…find a way to get him working!

      He’s clearly not going to get it done on the Donovan-Franklin side without a lot of help.

      I don’t know much about Martin Vasquez, but I know he got outcoached tonight.

      It also took Vasquez until late in the game to realize he wasn’t getting anything done on that side at all…nearly all of Chivas’s chances game from attacking the left side of LA’s defense–which looked a little leaky on the evening….why did it take that long.

      Attack on the left earlier and you’ll force Arena to adjust and maybe open up Kljestan on the right.


      • I agree with this. Why was Braun in the game for so long? Galindo was the only forward on Chivas that looked like doing something.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/01 at 10:45 PM

          I don’t know enough about Chivas on that one…hopefully someone else will weigh in…


        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/04/02 at 10:32 AM

          normally braun is pretty solid. I didn’t watch the game, but I haven’t seen a chivas game where braun does bad.


  5. I have been super impressed with Edson Buddle this season, and if Ching’s injury is serious, Edson should seriously be considered for South Africa. The thing I liked especially about Buddle tonight was how comfortable he was with the ball at his feet. While guys like Casey and Findley may be better pure strikers, I think Buddle is much better in the run of play in attack. It’s not the most exciting comparison, but I think he could be useful in an Emile Heskey role for the USMNT.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/01 at 11:20 PM

      See B-Mac — I see him as the runner off Jozy…less the Heskey role if you don’t mind me disagreeing

      His game actually reminds me a lot of Caseys…Buddle is better in the air, they are both average at best on receiving service, Casey might be the better passer. Who’s faster, likely Buddle,

      I’ll reiterate in that if Bob Bradley is still considering “other options” and Gomez is in consideration, then why not Buddle.

      I think if you look at how Bradley is playing the strikers in Davies absence, he’s really has them focused on doing one or two things right on offense BUT (and here is a key point) making sure they understand the defensive schema. I need to look at how Buddle does on defense next time the Galaxy plays….

      Anyone want to weigh in on Buddle’s defense…


      • Who’s faster? Likely Buddle? Its not even close. Buddle has above average speed. Connor Casey and the word speed don’t belong in the same sentence.


      • Buddle tracks back well. He is no Jozy in that sense, but he doesn’t ignore his defensive responsibilities and isn’t a liability on defense like others might be. AaaaaMRCLEANaaCHOOOOOOOOOO

        sorry, had to sneeze.


      • I totally agree with Edson running off Jozy, I think I mean the analogy just as more of Edson being a forward who can hold possession and make a positive impact without necessarily scoring. I think the combo would be very interesting, because it wouldn’t really play into the sort of standard combo of a target man/speedy striker that has become so popular in two forward formations. I’d really like this combo could do on crosses and setting up possession in the offensive end. The main thing I think you would lose would be some counter-attacking threat, as neither of them have the burning speed that will gash defenses.

        For me at least, when I’m looking at all the second tier American forwards, I’ll take the one who is most confident on the ball with a little bit of speed than the burner whose not comfortable holding the ball or the unathletic guy with a nose for goal.


        • Agreed, the thing I like about Buddle is that he’s willing to take a guy on 1v1 and has enough (but not blazing) pace to beat a defender. Casey just doesn’t have the pace to do that except on rare occasions, Ching will occasionally beat someone but is more of a target forward type, and Findley just doesn’t have the touch or technique (at least not at the international level). Cunningham would seem to have the right qualities with more pace than Buddle but he seems to just disappear for the Nats while doing well in MLS play.


        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/04/03 at 8:05 AM

          While in the confed cup, we relied on the counter-attacking, but with the midfield we’ve developed and continue to develop, I don’t think we need the counter-attacking. It just depends on how Bradley chooses to play his cards


  6. man i hate when dinner gets in the way of soccer. not only did i miss the second pk while cooking pasta for three that i ate all of, but then i spilled rushing back to the tv. I guess I’m gonna have to either sacrifice food or MLS, quite a tough choice. however more mls thursday night is great, at least from a hardcore fan perspective, cuz i can catch it after work on a night when not a whole lot is going on.

    Pretty impressed by Gonzalez, i think he will be a force in 2014. Franklin also impressed me greatly. That ball to Buddle was spector-esque. love the passion between the galaxy and chivasusa even the handbags. you can feel it just watching, and the more the league moves towards that, the better. i still dont think everything is clicking for the galaxy, but I do think when it does they could be a step above the rest of the league, esp if Leonardo and Gonzalez bond and the back. I thought Franklin was playing right mid for more then half the game, which bodes incredibly well for Galaxys offense overall.

    Landon…..well he is currently existing in his own little world right now. his pass to buddle was just perfectly weighted. he needs to work on those corners though, they were less then stellar. ahahahahaha i just criticized landon, awesome. Galaxy seems to be national teamesque on set pieces. if landon sticks around, i think they will win the league.


  7. Posted by Bob on 2010/04/02 at 8:11 AM

    Matthew you better be careful bc MLS games can be addicting, esp. if you attend a few live. Pretty soon you will be repeating the mantra of CSRN for this year: “MLS is AWESOME … MLS is AWESOME … MLS is AWESOME!” LOL!


  8. Posted by fropa98 on 2010/04/02 at 9:37 AM

    Great atmosphere in Houston last night! Oduro off the ball great threat, on the ball he brings to mind the Italian invasion of Greece in 1940. I can’t believe the stupidity of the RSL defender on the second foul. It was if he was daring the ref to call another penalty in the box within two minutes of the first one as though he had a license to do whatever he wanted.

    Ching will be out at least the rest of the month with that hamstring and frankly the national team needs to take another direction there anyway.

    To me we were watching Geoff Cameron grow as a center midfielder and a professional in the second half. I can no longer accept him as being out of position there with the way he led the attack in the second half. Let’s see how it look about eight to ten games in the season before we rest final judgement on that.

    The biggest problems I saw last night for the Dynamo were Oduro and the lousy crosses into the box from Mullan and others. Ashe was another player who really changed the tempo of the game when he got in. He made Cameron and everyone else out there better.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/02 at 9:44 AM

      @fropa98: Question: You don’t think Cameron would be a better weapon at wingback or even, I’ll concede, in a CD9 role?

      To me, Houston suffered from last of effective passing in the interior last evening and needed someone to alternately possess and pass the ball. Do you think Cameron can get there?

      I saw a player who made great runs in the middle of the field, a la maybe a Ricardo Clark, but I didn’t see a Stu Holden

      *Caveat: I am an MLS novice. :>


      • Cameron was a great central defender last year and he is known for his versatility but many high level coaches including Dominick Kinnear have said that his future lies on the right side of midfield. He has great speed which he isn’t getting to utilize in the middle, but Houston just doesn’t have the depth right now to justify moving him out wide. I believe he can turn into a great all around threat, but I don’t think it will be in the center of the field.


      • Posted by fropa98 on 2010/04/02 at 11:55 PM

        I really think Cameron is versatile enough to play anywhere on right side or center. Davis spent a lot of time in the middle last night when things finally loosened up on the offensive side and it was obvious that Oduro was going to be useless on the ball. Whether Cameron is better on one side or the middle really isn’t the question right now. It’s how well he can grow in the central midfield until some roster additions are forthcoming. This experience will grow his knowledge of the game and make him that much better wherever he is on the pitch. Another player who really needs to play smarter is Hainault. He has some skill but no instinct sometimes. Dom spends a good portion of the game screaming at him (and yes you can hear that in Section 104).


  9. […] Buddle as we mentioned in our camp preview, he’s the guy we’ve been watching. As we wrote way back at the end of March, the Donovan pairing is there. Now we just need to see the […]


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