Monday Morning Free Kicks: Moving On; Yallop To San Jose

Monday Morning Free Kicks: Moving On; Yallop To San Jose

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 5, 2007

Round one of the playoffs is in the books. Both conference champions are out, more and more it looks like MLS Cup 2007 could be a repeat of MLS Cup 2006.

I don’t brag too much, but doing a blog that people can connect with and read daily and talk about sometimes I feel like I did when I was doing radio for a few years. When people think you are wrong they let you know about it. Then the case comes when you predict something and it doesn’t come true, they let you know about it even more. But when you get things right or pretty close to what actually happened, you get nothing from them.

That was the case this weekend, even though I didn’t 100% get every game correct, I was pretty darn close and no one let me know about it. Last week, I was totally wrong and I had plenty emails and comments letting me know what a moron I was for saying certain clubs wouldn’t win and how I didn’t know a thing about the playoffs in the MLS. Believe me, I have followed the MLS since day one, I, like every other writer in soccer know nothing about playoffs in the MLS. Upsets happen more times than they really should.

Just a little venting there, I don’t always get to be right about things but that’s the way things go sometimes. And please spare me the emails and comments about how I wasn’t totally accurate this past weekend, I know I wasn’t, I can just tell when I was close to being it though.

Anyways, the playoffs are half over now. Really, half over? Yeah and two conference champions are out and both two seeds will host in the conference finals. Weird but not totally unexpected looking at it all. Kansas City was able to beat out a injured Chivas club, while Chicago beat out DC at United’s weakest point of the season and probably the most injury-hurt too.

This is a theme we are seeing more times than not in the MLS Playoffs anymore. The higher seeds get beat and the teams that stumble into the playoffs reap the benefits of a shitty season-turned playoff success. More reason to do away with the opening round being a home-and-home, I think the conference finals should be a home-and-home rather, that way we can probably see the top two clubs from each conference battle it out. Just another suggestion I guess for the playoff format, something that I have looked and complained about a bit too much recently. I will save you all from that here today though.

So how about Houston and New England. Both moved on and look like they will probably meet again in the MLS Cup. Though, I think Chicago could say something about that against New England but really, looks like another pre-season prediction could be coming true yet again, the New England – Houston rematch in the MLS Cup.

But a lot of credit does go out to Kansas City, they go to Chivas-land and get a 0-0 draw to move on to battle the Dynamo this week. Sure it was a defensive battle they had on their hands but they pulled through, something most wouldn’t have believed to start the season in Kansas City.

Friday night’s game with Houston and Dallas was probably the best playoff-type game we’ve seen in the MLS in a long, long time. Great crowd, something I totally under-estimated, made for a lively playoff game. A real battle between two rivals, and it really looked like a spirited affair. In the end, too many cards for Dallas and too little gas in the tank was the Hoops problem, not to mention Brian Ching was money. Not a bad time for Ching to start getting hot again for Houston.

Four clubs saw a season come to an end, all very disappointing as the next. Probably the biggest are DC and really New York. Dallas was more expected and Chivas was surprising to some but after the injuries that they got late in the season, they really had a battle to win their series.

So on to the conference finals, first in New England on Thursday and the on Saturday in Houston. I still like my prediction of Houston going all the way here. New England should be the home favorite but the Fire have done enough to prove their worthiness lately. Either way we still got three games left and they should all be good.


In other news around the league, it looks like LA coach Frank Yallop will indeed be coaching the new expansion club in San Jose next season. A formal announcement is expected for Tuesday.

Yallop returns to the place that started his coaching career in 2001, when he led to the original Earthquakes to two MLS championships in 2001 and 2003. After leading San Jose to its second title, Yallop left the Earthquakes to take charge of the Canadian national team, coaching them for 2 years before taking charge of Los Angeles in June of 2006.

Success didn’t follow Yallop to the Galaxy however, arriving on scene to a disasterous club that failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in club history. This season was no better due to the media circus of David Beckham, along with a wacky schedule that forced the Galaxy to go weeks without games, thus leading to little chemistry between players.

The move will come at a price, the Galaxy will get more draft picks from the deal, getting either a third or fourth-round pick.

Yallop will move on to build a club from scratch with the Expansion Draft this month followed by the league draft in January.

A real predicted move by Yallop. He was either gonna get canned or leave on his own and really he did the right thing. He was never on the right page with GM Alexi Lalas, and probably never was able to get the club in the mold that he wanted to in the first place because of Lalas. San Jose fits Yallop better anyways and he should be able to find success yet again in the future.