- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 28, 2008
- 2 Comments
Stand up if you had the Columbus Crew leading the way in Major League Soccer after five weeks. Do it. Stand up…anybody? No? Yeah thought so. Okay, now if you had the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo winless through five stand up. Again, nobody? Wow, yeah. That’s just how crazy this season has been thus far.
Week five brought us a slew of goals (21), Toronto reach above .500% for the first time in club history and a three-game winning streak, DC seemingly came alive, Houston still winless, and Columbus on top of MLS with 12 points. Also, good luck finding a goal of the week winner, I think there are four goals that could easily win that award and could end up being in the discussion for goal of the year down the road.
April ends as wacky as it began I think. Oh yeah, and some guy named Landon is tearing up the scoring charts with EIGHT goals. Yeah eight. Five games and eight goals but if you think about it, he really did a bulk of that work in the last three. Scary what kind of pace he is on right now but more on that in a bit.
I am willing to bet though that even the die-hard Columbus Crew fans didn’t see this kind of start coming for this club. In fact no one did. But that may be the beauty in the start, the offense is second in MLS in goals and William Hesmer is proving to be a beast in net.
Looking back on this weekend, we are finding more and more the parity in MLS. But I will say this, I think DC is slowly coming back to life here after their win over RSL. Sure it was at home against a side that sinks of the road but I really saw something that may be to come from them. But more on that in a second.
Let’s look back at this weekend, where it all got started, up north in Toronto.
Toronto FC 2 – 0 Kansas City Wizards:
- Okay here’s the thing, since Toronto made a slew of signings they have been nearly unbeatable. Three straight wins and most of that is due to Laurent Robert and Amado Guevara. Still knocking that signing Red Bull fans? I think it is paying off pretty nicely right now.
- Kansas City looked exactly like I figured they’d be. It wasn’t just the fact that they were terrible on the turf at BMO Field, their offense is starting to look real mediocre here. Claudio Lopez is trying to do too much when he really should be taking more chances on his own.
- The defense for KC is also to blame here, when you put pressure on the wings like Toronto did and then even more from the middle of the park this Wizards defense cannot hold up. Also, Kevin Hartman is looking old again in net.
- Not the best game for Carlos Marinelli. He is starting to fall into that same rut that he was in late last season. Not a good thing for KC, they need his best out there and lately he has been giving anything but his best.
- What can you say about the Guevara free kick? Sad enough it isn’t my goal of the week but it is damn near the top.
- Big props to see WVU’s Jarrod Smith out there for Toronto late in the game. Weird sub by John Carver to bring in more offense late in the game but Smith was fresh and nearly made it a 3-0 scoreline.
- I love hearing Bruce Arena do color commentary but I cannot stand it for just one MLS team. It just doesn’t fit for me hearing him work for the Wizards. If he isn’t doing a national broadcast then I don’t know if I like hearing him on just a local like in KC. It just seems weird to me.
Columbus 1 – 0 Houston:
- Color me wrong but I really thought this would be a draw. Loads of chances by both clubs but in the end the Crew made the most of their chances and really looked dangerous on both sides of the ball.
- Alejandro Moreno is playing like the go-to scorer that Columbus needed before the start of the season. I bet Houston is kicking themselves for not making a deal for him to begin the season. You know they would have loved to get him back.
- Columbus has a lot of balance right now with the way they are playing in the midfield. They aren’t beating anyone real fancy but they are doing the little things right with possession and getting good chances on net.
- Houston can’t seem to buy a goal, much less a win right now. As I said in my preview for this game, I am just waiting for them to start clicking here and turn it on for the season.
- William “don’t call me Will” Hesmer is really impressing me in goal right now for the Crew. Lots of good chances from Houston when straight into Hesmer’s bread-basket. He is finding himself in the right spots and is coming up big when his club needs him to.
- We are seeing just how good Guillermo Barros Schelotto is right now in Columbus. Without him this club wouldn’t have four wins. That much we know is true but with him this club very well can and will make noise in the east just as they are doing now.
- Only thing I have against the Crew is the fact that I don’t know how well they will do away from home this season. Sure, I know they beat DC but that was a DC side that wasn’t healthy and wasn’t 100%. The three home wins are nice but I want to see more out of this club before I dub them as the best in the league right now.
- Very nice crowd in Columbus. Hard not to get behind a winner right now. I think teams are learning how to be loud and annoying with streamers after seeing Toronto last year. I absolutely love it.
DC United 4 – 1 Real Salt Lake:
- Payback is a bitch, that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw this scoreline.
- Watching this game I really felt like DC came alive in it. Their offense is starting to blend nicely and their defense didn’t look nearly as bad as before.
- But as good as the offense was I am still waiting on Luciano Emilio to be the Emilio of 2007. Sure he set up some quality chances but he looks so much slower than a year ago.
- RSL had their chances, make no mistake about it but after the second PK they were totally out of it.
- Again I will say, until RSL shows me something on the road I will not rating them high for beating even the best of clubs at home. Sure its nice but they have to put it together in both ways in this league.
- The three-man backline for DC worked for me more so than the four-man system that Tom Soehn usually employs. And I’m not saying that because my boy and another WVU player Dan Stratford got his first start on Saturday too.
- Total class on the first PK by Jamie Moreno. Same goes for Gallardo’s first MLS goal. Definitely a goal of the week candidate.
Chicago 2 – 1 Colorado:
- One of two games that I really didn’t see much from this weekend. Two John Thorrington goals lead the way for the Fire. Newcomer Tam McManus provided a late goal for the visitors.
- I like what Dennis Hamlet is doing with his lineup, keeping it the same and only tweaking if really needed. But with that said it is shocking that one of his most paid players (Wilham Conde) isn’t playing as much right now (spare me the whole Conde story from the offseason, I know that and its pretty much over right now).
- I said Chicago would win thanks to Tomasz Frankowski, only thing was I figured he’s score instead of setting up the two goals. Still, the play of Frankowski and Blanco is proving to be really tough to stop.
- Speaking of Frankowski, he may be one of the best signings of the offseason (more on that later this week).
- Two straight loses for the Rapids. Uh-oh, time for Fernando Clavijo’s job to be questioned again.
- Seriously though, the Rapids have been a fall from grace in the last couple weeks. Its not a matter of what is Clavijo doing with his club, but what isn’t he doing with his club. Still no go-to scorer here is why they are starting to drop in the standings.
LA Galaxy 5 – 2 Chivas USA:
- When you’re hellbent like Landon Donovan, you score like crazy. Nice hat trick, he easily sealed the April Player of the Month award from everyone.
- As nice as the three Donovan goals were, I think his rival Sacha Kljestan may have had the best one of the night. Hell that is his second goal of the season that could win Goal of the Year.
- He made Abel Xavier look stupid…oh look, there’s something that I haven’t said this season. Seriously, the Galaxy need to get rid of him. He has been on the wrong side of the highlight reel all season long so far.
- When the hell did Alan Gorden decide to play soccer this season? Usually he is stuck tying his shoe during Donovan or Beckham goals but he came in and scored twice on Saturday night. I’m shocked.
- Chivas really never looked like they were in this game. Their defense has been really shaky as of late and their offense is still on the mend with Razov and Galindo. At least Kljestan showed up to score.
- Lots of emotion and intensity in this game. I loved it. It showed us just how good a rivalry in this league can be.
- Even with the three goals, Donovan’s cute little handball early in the game was plain stupid on his part. He should know better. Not even 10 minutes in and you get a yellow for a hand ball. Again, that’s just stupid.
- We are seeing just how much depth Chivas doesn’t have right now. That has to worry some for this club going into the summer when they have SuperLiga and CONCACAF Champions League games.
- So Brad Guzan has given up 11 goals in his last three games. Eeek! That’s won’t get him in the EPL this summer. Then again, maybe that is a good thing for Chivas.
New York 2 – 0 San Jose:
- Yeah, so, I went out on a limb to say San Jose would win this one. Totally was wrong and I’m really not surprised in the least bit by it.
- Jozy Altidore is making it hard for European clubs to not notice his play right now. Another stellar run to score a goal late in the game. It’s something to watch right now but he needs to be more consistent on that kind of thing right now. I forgot about him for stretches of the game yesterday.
- Nice strike though by Jozy. But come on Joe Cannon, gotta guard that near post better than that. My little cousin could have scored on that near post.
- Not a great game really by either club. New York didn’t wow me in their win and San Jose played pretty much like the expansion side that we’ve seen out of them so far this season.
- New York held the possession well thanks to Claudio Reyna. Again, it was nothing special but San Jose made New York’s midfield look world-class, which they aren’t at all.
- New York also looked better in defense but when you go against a club that is still learning how to play with one another on offense you’re gonna look better. Still not too high on this Red Bull defense.
- No crowd in New York yesterday. Reason #329 of why MLS cannot wait for the Red Bulls to get out of Giant’s Stadium. A crowd of 9k will look a hell of a lot better in a 30k stadium than a 80k stadium. One-third full beats 1/12th full any day.