2007 Season: Good, Bad, and Ugly

2007 Season: Good, Bad, and Ugly

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 27, 2007
  • 6 Comments

I guess you could say I have had some time to let the 2007 season simmer on my plate here before I recapped everything. I thought about doing a team-by-team review like the guys over at the Center Holds It, but I didn’t feel like going that extra mile, hat tip to them for it. Mainly I don’t have the time and quite frankly the effort to really give the 2007 what it deserves.

Instead I will go for the ever so popular Good, Bad and Ugly that I have done many times before on here. Each club had plenty to review so this was a good way to recap each club in a decent manner that wouldn’t take a few days to finish like doing a team-by-team review.

So I will give my thoughts in each and maybe a little bit of my thoughts to finish each off…stay with me on this…its fairly long…

Chicago Fire

Good: I hate saying it but I have to give him credit, Blanco was definitely the good. No end of season fights or riffs with teammates, no stupid red cards when his team needed him most. None of that, Blanco showed up on the field and gave the Fire their money’s worth. Didn’t hurt that the Fire finally hired a manager that knew what he was doing in Juan Carlos Osorio. Aside from the arrival of Blanco, Osorio was the best move the Fire made all year. Now if they can only keep him for next year. And finally, beating DC in the playoffs was pretty sweet for the Fire.

Bad: Let’s face it, as ‘hot’ as the Fire were going into the playoffs, they weren’t that hot. Lots of draws did enough, and it showed that once they face a quality side like New England it wouldn’t be enough.

Ugly: From May until Osorio’s arrival. A stretch that really put the Fire out of reach in the east. Think of the rash of injuries and poor management how the Fire would have fared in the east. I still think they would have hit a wall somewhere, because they were definitely prone to do so in the back. Their defense was real ugly at times this season and during that stretch they showed it. I mean, come on, they gave up the first goal to a Toronto club that couldn’t hit the bright side of a barn, oh, and they gave that same Toronto club their first ever win.

What’s Next: Over all I think the Fire had an above average type of season considering where I thought they would be at the start of the year. I figured they would end up dead last in the league. They were the club that proved me right during May through June and then proved me wrong when they finally made the right moves. I think keeping Osorio to make Blanco happy will be the biggest thing this off-season. Not to mention finding a locker-room leader to replace the retiring Chris Armas.

Chivas USA:

Good: Once summer hit until about the time Ante Razov got hurt, what wasn’t good for this club. The best home record in the league and one of the best defenses in the league. Once they learned how to win on the road in early June, they became one of the best clubs in the league. Preki was coach of the year, Galindo was one of the best signings of the year, Ante Razov had a MVP type of season. Thing were definitely good in Chivas land…oh and they dominated their derby rivals the LA Galaxy.

Bad: Exiting early in the playoffs to Kansas City. They may have been uglier than I thought but no way can one of the best home sides not beat a club like KC in the playoffs. I know the injuries killed this club late in the year, but even with Preki being the coach of the year, I kind of wished we could have voted after the first round of the playoffs because his coaching wasn’t Coach of the Year quality in that series. He couldn’t find a way to get any sort of offense together without Razov and Galindo. Proving that the Goats were too relient on their speed up top than their midfield and defense. When things were good it was their defense and midfield that led them, not their offense.

Ugly: The attendance. I know LA is a Galaxy town but Chivas has to find a way to market their club better in LA to make people want to come and see them play. Their attendance figures were horrible unless they played a decent club. If LA can get 15 to 20k for a game with Columbus, so should Chivas in my mind.

What’s Next: I think keeping what was successful in 2007 together for 2008 and then adding some fresh young talent through the draft. Can’t get a DP still due to the Amado Guevera situation but that will eventually work itself out I think. Also figuring out how to finish strong will be key for the Goats in 08, the last few weeks of the season I thought they were lucky to be in the position that they were in, they can’t do that again next season because the same outcome will happen.

Columbus Crew:

Good: Landing a guy from Argentina named Guillermo Barros Schelotto. I really can’t say anything other than that for the Crew. I thought at the beginning of the season that they would sneak in the playoffs and they almost lived up to that. They had stretches of good play throughout the season but not enough to get in the post season dance.

Bad: Injuries, just like any other team learning to deal with rashes of injuries through the season can be tough. No different than with the Crew here. I think if they had been a tad bit healthier they would have been able to sneak in like I thought they would. Also, they have to know when to beat clubs that are below them. They could knock off the DC’s and New England’s but couldn’t always put away the Toronto’s or Colorado’s of the league.

Ugly: Offensively, this club still doesn’t know how to score. Thankfully for them there are clubs with cases that are worse than their’s. Even with the brilliant play-making from Schelotto, the Crew couldn’t get it done up top enough this year.

What’s Next: Keeping Schelotto for one is the biggest key, some say in Columbus that he will be heading back to Argentina. I don’t really buy into that until I see it for myself. I think Columbus treated him with loads of respect when they signed him and he would be a fool to turn back on them now. I think keeping him and then signing a quality striker to play along with Schelotto would be a big turn-around. Also drafting well, that will be key for building their future too; something they haven’t quite done in recent years.

Colorado Rapids:

Good: They opened up a new soccer stadium. They hosted a good All-Star game. And uh….gosh, what else was good for the Rapid’s this year? Anyone? Oh, their reserves won the reserve league again…

Bad: Their play at home was probably one of the biggest reasons why they missed the playoffs this year and…

Ugly: Coaching and management was the other reason. We all knew this is how I would write up the season for the Rapids. Fernando Clavijo still has a job somehow after losing the rival series with Real Salt Lake, missing the playoffs, and stinking it up all over the place. On the field was a very unattractive style of soccer and off the field showed the the owners could really care less.

What’s Next: Biggest would be a coaching change but that won’t happen. Mainly, the Rapids need a big time player at the striker position. They didn’t have that this year, but more importantly they need a strong central midfielder who can be a two-way player up top and controlling the midfield. Someone who can control the pace, even the way they like it there in Colorado. Second, they have to find a way to make their home field more of an advantage. Lastly, drafting some good, young defenders will go a long way for them.

FC Dallas:

Good: Signing players like Pablo Ricchetti and Juan Carlos Toja. Getting guys like Clarence Goodson to step up their play from previous years. And even playing fairly consistent from throughout the year…well almost throughout the year, the end is another story.

Bad: Still can’t finish strong at all can the Hoops. It seems like once August hits, the Hoops hit a wall and never look the same. They slumped their way into the playoffs yet again and it all mainly was because of one man..

Ugly: Denilson. Yes I am putting the blame mostly on this guy. Why? He was a total waste of money for the Hoops this year. Sure he was a name that should have raised the profile of the club but he did nothing but a couple fancy tricks and wasted space on the pitch. It seemed as though once he arrived the club never looked the same on the field. Sure injuries happened and you can’t blame him for those but the play on the field never took off like it should have. Dallas will definitely think again before they land another DP I think.

What’s Next: Very interesting really. Signing Toja will be key I think. And getting rid of Carlos Ruiz if he doesn’t take a pay cut. Yes, I think getting rid of the Fish is something Dallas will consider very much this off season. Will they do it will be another story though. Word is, he is un-happy (big shocker!).

DC United:

Good: Winning the Supporter’s Shield for the second straight season. Finding a way out of their early season slump to win the Supporter’s Shield. Signing guys like Lucianio Emilio and Fred, getting young guys like Mark Burch and Devon McTavish to step up in the back and make an impact. Jamie Moreno passing Jason Kreis on the all-time scoring list.

Bad: The on-again-off-again play of the 2006 MVP Christain Gomez. He did end up with good numbers but there were too many times that he was distant on the field and looked very dis-interested in what he was doing.

Ugly: Winning the Supporter’s Shield yet lowing again in the first round to Chicago. They still can’t figure out the Fire in the post-season either.

What’s Next: Keeping the core that was successful. Emilio should return but keep an eye out on whether or not Gomez and Moreno stay or go. I wouldn’t be shocked to see both of those guys leave this winter. DC will need a good draft if that is the case but expect them to sign a DP real soon. Word is they are still going after Argentine play-maker Juan Sebastian Veron.

Houston Dynamo:

Good: Won the MLS Cup for the second straight season. Had record crowds in the playoffs. And were just scary good at times on defense.

Bad: Sometimes the play of their big guy Dwayne De Rosario was just bad. That was during his contract negociation time too, I think he was happy with the way things turned out though.

Ugly: Maybe the loss in the US Open Cup or the loss in SuperLiga…I dunno, you take your pick.

What’s Next: Simple, keep doing what they are doing now. Get that stadium situation worked out. Draft smart again, keep DeRo happy. And find a suitable replacement for Brian Ching (can’t see him in Houston too many more years).

Kansas City Wizards:

Good: Making the playoffs and not blowing it for a third straight season on the final game of the year. Eddie Johnson played alright from April until July, like 15 goals or something during that time.

Bad: Their marketing deparment and the people not attending the games. The Wizards weren’t that bad this year folks, they did deserve better crowds. Too many sub-10k games were ugly. At least they will be in a stadium next year that will suit that and make them look like they are getting sell-outs.

Ugly: For someone who likes defense, this club was tough to watch sometimes. They could score but they couldn’t defense even with guys like Jimmy Conrad controlling the back-line and Kevin Hartman between the pipes. Ah, gives me a headache just thinking about them.

What’s Next: Probably will have to sign a replacement for Johnson. I really see him leaving this off season. If not they still need another striker to go along with him. Also, figuring out how to get a quality defense on the field. Their midfield is better than they play but maybe they need a decent play-maker to handle things.

LA Galaxy:

Good: Uh, they got David Beckham??

Bad: The schedule was poorly laid out because they got David Beckham.

Ugly: Their GM is Alexi Lalas.

What’s Next: All jokes aside, the Galaxy were a reck this season and Lalas didn’t help much either. He did make some decent deals but let’s face it, it wasn’t enough. LA is a player away from being really good or still really bad.

New York Red Bulls:

Good: Signing Juan Angel as a DP and getting all their money’s worth from him. Landing a kid like Dane Richards in the draft. Thanks to David Beckham, they nearly sold-out Giant’s Stadium for a regular season match. It was definitely an exciting game for the league and the Red Bulls.

Bad: Don’t blame Bruce but the injuries killed this club.

Ugly: Reyna may have been another horrible DP but it wasn’t the worst. This club couldn’t defense to save their life. They coasted their way into the playoffs and just looked average most of the time.

What’s Next: First is a new coach, word has it they want Preki or Osonio. I think they need to look elsewhere and get a top assistant from a New England or Houston. Someone who knows how to win, scout, and draft in this league. Second, they gotta get Reyna’s deal off of being a DP so they can sign another Angel type guy as a DP. And lastly, sure up that defense for next year.

New England Revolution:

Good: Won the US Open Cup, made it to another MLS Cup but…

Bad: Lost another MLS Cup.

Ugly: Lost another MLS Cup…really though they are now the MLS version of the Buffalo Bills. They won on the US Open Cup stage but they still can’t get it done on the MLS Cup stage.

What’s Next: Finding someone to compliment Taylor Twellman up top. Let’s face it, this club is rock solid from top to bottom but they have to get someone else to carry the load with Twellman. Maybe signing a DP would help but I think another strong striker, someone to take the attention off Twellman would be key for them in 2008. Also, getting some depth at defense would be smart. The Revs always draft well, so my worries won’t stay too long in their defensive problems.

Real Salt Lake:

Good: Firing John Ellinger. Seriously though, the best move they made all season was dumping him all together. Once Jason Kreis took over and got things the way he wanted it this club really started to show life for once. They beat their rivals for their first Rocky Mountain Cup and really played well to finish the season.

Bad: Before that though, they couldn’t score, couldn’t defend, couldn’t do a damn thing. Not to mention they didn’t draft well at all for 2007 (or 2006 for that matter).

Ugly: Scoring was still an issue in Salt Lake.  They had a defense that could actually hold teams and a midfield (once moves were done by Kreis) to actually keep the ball but other than Robbie Findley they had no one who could put the ball in the back of the net. Let’s face it, Findley isn’t a top striker in this league yet, but they need someone else to carry the load with him and help him develop more.

What’s Next: Continuing to grow where they finished the season at. Findley was starting to look good up top and the signings of Espindola, Mantilla, and Morales really paid off for Real. Not to mention those deals to get Findley, Sturgis, Beckerman, and Movsisyan. If Real can finally figure out the SuperDraft and actually get some solid picks then they will be on the right track in the west.

Toronto FC:

Good: The fans. Even with the poor soccer on the field the fans still showed up and showed the rest of the league how to act I think. Toronto brought a new level of a MLS fan to the table. It made fans in DC, LA, and Chicago really step up their game. And that is a great thing for the league. Toronto was a total success for the league in 2007 even with…

Bad: …the play on the field. Couldn’t score at all most of the season. Spent a third of the season without a goal but when they did the Reds were able to make it count and make things interesting.

Ugly: Yeah, its the scoreless streaks and injuries. If this club had been half as healthy they would have not been nearly this bad at offense this year.

What’s Next: Another draft for Mo to make deals with. I love how Mo built this club. Critizie all you want here about it, Mo built for next year more than he did this past year. Once this club is fully healthy they will be a very, very tough club to deal with. Getting a good keeper will be huge but they are on the right track. Keeping Edu will be tough though.  Sure getting another quality striker is one thing, but this club needs a play-maker in the middle.

  • Bonji

    In other words, the Rapids need a Juan Carlos Toja and Juan Pablo Angel…I agree. Will we find them? Not when the current coach has signed people like Brown and Hernandez.

  • Martek

    It is perhaps my homer bias here, but I really don;t think Chingaling is going anywhere. He and DeRo are the faces of the franchise down here, but Ching more than DeRo. Brian's face and image are plastered about the city, showing up on TV ads for hospitals, etc. etc. It's hard to see how he could be happier, with the possible exception that I heard his wife still lives in San Jose and he might just want to cut down on the travel away from her. Actually, I don't know if this is true or not, just a rumor, but it worries me some. I also don;t know his contract status other than his salary. Ching loves playing for Kinnear and the team has great chemistry, so while leaving for his wife or more money abroad might be in the offing, leaving for any other reason seems far-fetched.

  • In other words, the Rapids need a Juan Carlos Toja and Juan Pablo Angel…I agree. Will we find them? Not when the current coach has signed people like Brown and Hernandez.

  • Martek

    It is perhaps my homer bias here, but I really don;t think Chingaling is going anywhere. He and DeRo are the faces of the franchise down here, but Ching more than DeRo. Brian’s face and image are plastered about the city, showing up on TV ads for hospitals, etc. etc. It’s hard to see how he could be happier, with the possible exception that I heard his wife still lives in San Jose and he might just want to cut down on the travel away from her. Actually, I don’t know if this is true or not, just a rumor, but it worries me some. I also don;t know his contract status other than his salary. Ching loves playing for Kinnear and the team has great chemistry, so while leaving for his wife or more money abroad might be in the offing, leaving for any other reason seems far-fetched.

  • Jeff Bull

    Thanks for the plug, but I'm looking up the page here and think you've done plenty toward recapping the 2007 season. And, Bonji, I tried to link to your top-drawer rebuttal of Jeff Plush's presser for my <a href="http://centerholdsit.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/colorado-rapids-2007-season-review-the-difference-between-playing-and-eating/&quot; target="_blank">(cruel) review</a> of the Colorado Rapids' 2007, but there's something going on between my machine on some google ads on your site. But, for those who haven't read Bonji's thing, it's pretty good.

  • Thanks for the plug, but I’m looking up the page here and think you’ve done plenty toward recapping the 2007 season. And, Bonji, I tried to link to your top-drawer rebuttal of Jeff Plush’s presser for my (cruel) review of the Colorado Rapids’ 2007, but there’s something going on between my machine on some google ads on your site. But, for those who haven’t read Bonji’s thing, it’s pretty good.