- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 31, 2008
- 4 Comments
A very interesting opening weekend for the MLS. A number of clubs won big, four others tied their games, and for some reason New York and San Jose sat at home.
Here’s a bit of what we do know:
- KC looks solid and their new digs work for me…
- New England looks very strong (but please don’t call it a revenge game anymore…I need to stop that as well)
- Houston and DC are possibly in their CONCACAF lull that they get on to start the season
- Colorado thumped LA…yes the Rapids, a team that couldn’t buy a goal a year ago beat LA 4-0…
- RSL still can’t do much against Blanco and his heroics
- Columbus looked pretty good as Toronto looked just as they did a year ago
- Dallas looked average, while Chivas came on late to look strong
I will start up in Ohio with my recap here. I will admit I did not get to see all of this game but enough to get the general story and feel of it.
Columbus 2 – 0 Toronto:
We asked who would step up for the Crew and score this year and maybe, just maybe, we have an answer. Adam Moffat and Alejandro Moreno both looked more than capable of filing the scoring role as the Crew downed Toronto 2-0 on Saturday at Crew Stadium. Toronto brought their crazy fans and seemingly forgot to bring their A-game in the process.
Will Hesmer looked solid as ever, even stopping a PK before halftime, which was a point in the game that I felt really turned sour for the Reds and quite possibly told me that the Crew were going to hold out and win the game. Hesmer may be a fantasy steal for you fantasy soccer nuts out there. Keep an eye on him.
Toronto had their chances, in fact just as many as the Crew but none were good enough to beat Hesmer. Colin Samuel and Jeff Cunningham worked pretty well together but neither were able to do much when they got the ball near goal. I wouldn’t say it was the Crew defense shutting them down more so than the fact that those two couldn’t finish a chance when they had to.
Nice goal by Moffat though for Columbus. Brian Carroll played a smart restart, which quickly beat the Toronto defense for Moffat to score a nice goal from outside the penalty box. Probably one of the top goals from the weekend.
Chicago 1 – 1 RSL:
Tough break for RSL. They have a lead and went into extra time looking like they would walk away with three points at home to start the new season when disaster in the form of a bulky Mexican struck. Yes, the thorn that is Blanco pierced the side of RSL just before the final blow of the ref’s whistle.
Let’s face it, as Blanco goes so will the Fire this season. He was really the only thing going Saturday for the Fire. The one RSL goal was an own-goal on Bakery Soumare but RSL did have plenty of decent looks at net as they tested Jon Busch all afternoon.
Honestly, RSL looked to be the better team most of the game but as luck as it the Fire scored a point in this road game. A point that I am sure they will gladly take considering how they played and when the game tying goal came. Anytime you get a late goal like that it should provide a nice spark into the next game. As for the other side of that late goal, it can do some damage. I don’t know if that will be a sign of things to come for RSL but they did show up to play and did provide a decent game to watch.
In all though, this game was more about missed chances than the actual goals that were scored. Nothing too impressive to walk away from.
New England 3 – 0 Houston:
Safe to say that I did not expect this game to end in a 3-0 scoreline. But please can we not call it revenge anymore? New England has practically owned the Dynamo in most circles during the regular season in the last couple years. They just can’t beat them when it really means something.
Anyways, Steve Ralston, Adam Cristman and Sainey Nyassi all provided reason to make me smile that I picked New England to win the MLS Cup this season. I meantioned a couple weeks ago to keep an eye on Nyassi, that kid is something else. Nyassi and Kenny Mansally really opened up play for New England on both wings and provided gaps that guys like Ralston and Cristman took advantage of.
No Taylor Twellman (who picked up a slight knee injury in warm-ups), no problem. Grant it, Houston was without a good chunk of their defense but some will question if that would have been enough against the speed that Steve Nicol used on Saturday. Also, the addition of Mauricio Castro was nice to the Revs lineup.
Houston had some chances but Dwyane De Rosario couldn’t connect on a couple of those chances. But give credit to the Rev’s defense (which looked much better than last year) and to Matt Reis in goal.
I don’t think this scoreline means Houston is in for some trouble this season, but I do think it means that New England will be a tough game no matter what here.
Kansas City 2 – 0 DC United:
Another scoreline that was a bit surprising this weekend, though when I first saw it I wasn’t all that shocked.
Let me just say it, I was very wrong about the stadium set-up for KC this year (and next). The field looked great (though small) and the stands were packed for once. Its amazing how a smaller venue can change how a club plays and looks as a whole. Not to mention the game felt more intense with a full crowd, even if it was only a little over 10k, it was a 10k that was loud and very into the game. I loved it.
Newcomers Ivan Trujillo and Claudio Lopez both looked very good for the Wizards against a good defense from DC. The Black-and-Red looked strong early on but as the game wore on the Wizards were the ones getting the better chances and making the most of them.
The Wizard’s defense looked alright, I wouldn’t write them off as one of the best just yet but they did answer the calls when needed on Saturday night. I think on a bigger field they would have been tested and broken down a bit more though.
Some could argue about Lopez’s goal being offsides but I wasn’t too convinced about it. I thought he was onside.
Speaking of fantasy soccer, Ivan Trujillo may also be a wise pickup here. I was very impressed with him.
Colorado 4 – 0 LA:
Ouch, that may be all that needs to be said about this game. One big ouch. Let’s not take anything away from the Rapids here but LA looked awful. The first half wasn’t too bad for the Galaxy as they did create some chances but it was the second half that the club just looked horrible on all sides of the ball.
One Englishman did show up to play, Terry Cooke. He played a part in two of the four goals and was a big reason why the Rapids won this game. I have to say the Rapids midfield was impressive to watch, but saying that I want to see them against a better club like a New England or a DC before I really stamp them as an elite group of players. Still, they looked very impressive.
Another guy that I mentioned a couple weeks back for the Rapids was Colin Clarke. He made Abel Xavier look silly on that last goal. Again, he is another guy to keep an eye out this season. With that goal I think you should all know why, it was definitely the goal of the week in my book.
The Donovan-Beckham-Ruiz trio looked alright for probably the first half of the game. They were able to get some space around the Rapids defense but really created nothing on goal. Beckham and Donovan looked tried after playing in Europe a couple days before. Ruiz just looked like the same Ruiz that we’ve seen the last couple of seasons; one that is mostly a waste of space out there when he doesn’t have the ball.
Only three shots for the Galaxy on a night that they looked, say it with me again, terrible. I will say it again, this is a club that will struggle to win games this season. I think after watching that game Saturday we all know why I think that.
For FC Dallas and Chivas please see the post from earlier…