- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 7, 2008
- 2 Comments
- MLS Weekend Recaps, Week 15
Anytime you have a weekend match-up that pits two conference leaders against one another, the game sort of takes over the weekend. That was the case this holiday weekend. Eastern clubs are still leading the way over the west, though one western side did get some revenge at home in some sweet fashion.
Yup, 15 weeks down and couple things are clear to me; New England and Columbus look to be the two most legitimate clubs in Major League Soccer right now; the western winner may end up with a losing record this year or something on the border of .500%; and the apparent log-jam in the middle of the overall table isn’t getting any clearer.
I want to say a western side is going to be a winning club this year. A winning club above .500% and one that competes well with the west. LA right now is tied a top the west but has only one win against the eastern clubs in seven matches now. That won’t get it done come MLS Cup time or MLS Cup Playoff time for that matter. Its almost like the western clubs lack a certain toughness that a couple eastern clubs contain.
In all this holiday weekend offered a lot to the average MLS fan. Some great goals, a couple come from behind draws, and some solid attendance figures. One thing I love about this time of year is things slow down a bit as other competitions kickoff. Soon we have SuperLiga to go along with the US Open Cup that is rapidly going through rounds each week. Later on we will see a couple clubs start up in the CONCACAF Champions League. How those clubs handle the extra games will go a long way and how the clubs not included in those extra games take advantage of that too.
Like I said, I love this time of the year. A few less games to talk about so people like myself can go on vacation. Which by the way, was a great time last week. I hated to see it end but all good things have to come to an end right? Also, if you get a chance to vacation in the western portion of Colorado…do it.
I was able to catch a bit from every game this weekend. Some games were highlights and some I actually got to go back and watch yesterday when I got back from the Rocky Mountains.
FC Dallas 1 – 1 Kansas City Wizards:
- For once Dallas is able to come from behind late to steal some points. Great finish to the game really, big disappointment for KC fans though.
- That game-tying goal by Abe Thompson was perfectly set up by rookie Eric Avila. Damn, talk about a perfect cross in to Thompson. Picture perfect.
- KC was lucky for the most part to not be down early in this game. Kenny Cooper had a number of solid chances that just didn’t find the back of the net. Kevin Hartman came up big a couple of times.
- Solid set up to the Scott Sealy goal though by Claudio Lopez. Totally caught the Dallas defense napping.
- The offside call on Kenny Cooper’s goal was a gutsy call by the official. Probably the right call but man it was close.
- KC had a number of chances in the second half to put the game away but their suspect offense came up short yet again.
- You know the offense has some issues when a guy like Lopez has a clear two-on-one breakaway chance and passes it up because he “doesn’t see” his teammate. Yeah that lack of confidence in a teammate on a breakaway can’t be good.
- The KC defense again came up short as they weren’t able to hold on to this game. Too many lows for this club this season. Blame it all you want on the schedule and what not, the fact remains this club just isn’t that good at all.
- Then again, Dallas isn’t anything special either but at least they show some signs of actual hope.
- Decent crowd in Dallas for a non-Beckham game. Nice to see them actually fill the stands for the most part on a hot and sticky night in Frisco.
Colorado Rapids 4 – 0 New York Red Bulls:
- Remember that defense I would talk about a few weeks ago out of New York? Yeah, they showed yet again just how overrated they are and how easy it is to find big holes to send threw balls into the attack against.
- And because of that it makes every Red Bull fan hope and pray that these reinforcements we keep talking about are actually going to help out and be good for this club. If they are anything like what this roster currently has then don’t expect too much else out of this club this season.
- Give a lot of credit to the Rapids though in this one, they actually came to play in this one and played fairly consistently for a full 90 for once. This was the Rapids side that most expected to see at the start of the season.
- With games like this one, Colorado is still very much in the mix in the not-so-good western conference.
- Great goals by Colin Clarke, Tom McManus, Omar Cummings and a decent one by Mehdi Ballouchy. I don’t want to sound harsh on Ballouchy but his goal wasn’t anything special. Clarkes was a great strike and McManus and Cummings had some nice runs to put home their goals.
- Colorado looks like an entirely different club when they have a healthy Christian Gomez running the show. Without him they are rather pathetic as we have seen in recent weeks.
- Does this win cool off the “Fire Fernando” talks? Absolutely not, this club still has a hell of a long way to get back on track and get Clavijo off the hot seat.
- Speaking of hot seats, Juan Carlos Osorio may already be feeling some heat. He will definitely feel it if those new players end up as duds like the only one he brought in this year (Oscar Echeverry).
New England Revolution 2 – 1 LA Galaxy:
- New England is well on pace right now to win the Supporter’s Shield with road wins like this one.
- Both Adam Cristman goals were nice. The second one especially, that may have been my favorite of the night from the 4th of July games. Just a towering header.
- Guess who was in the middle of giving up that second goal for LA? Yup, if you guessed Abel Xavier, you are correct. Xavier was caught out of place on the corner kick, which allowed Cristman to get all the room he needed to head home the game winner.
- LA did press well late in the game, particularly in the second half. The Buddle-Donovan-Beckham trio was able to score one with Beckham putting home a lucky strike.
- Sure LA is tied a top the west right now but their record isn’t one to brag about. Until they get some defensive help on the backline and in the defensive part of the midfield, I really don’t see them having any success against clubs better or around them in the standings.
- New England now heads into some out of league games with SuperLiga here soon. Even though they’ve played two games more than most MLS clubs, they are well ahead them all in terms of pace setting.
- Also, the Rev’s depth is going to come into question again here soon but I think they are built to handle it all.
Columbus Crew 2 – 2 Chicago Fire:
- Chicago gets up on the Crew real early, looks like they have things in control and then they fall apart allowing what I think is the toughest club in the league back in the game.
- Columbus proves yet again that they are the hardest team to beat in MLS right now. Harder than the Revs I think too. The Crew are one of the few if not the only club that actually knows what it takes to come back in a game and get a result. They’ve done it a couple times now this season.
- The two early goals were just what the Fire needed though. A loooong drought came to an end early with Chris Rolfe. Just like Rolfe being in the right place at the right time.
- I’m starting to become a real big fan of both Emmanuel Ekpo and rookie Steven Lenhart for Columbus. Well, I already thought Ekpo was something special but now the more I see Lenhart the more I am thinking of putting him in the Rookie of the Year discussion. Why not, a couple big goals already is making me think it.
- What can you say about Guillermo Barros Schelotto? Probably had the best weekend of anyone in the league. Two timely assists keep the Crew in second place overall. When he is on this club is so damn dangerous.
- Even though the Fire looked good early on you still have to bring up questions about their defense falling apart and their offense not putting away more chances.
- I didn’t really get the no-goal on Alejandro Moreno early in the game. Offside or foul? I think a bad call either way really. Probably should have been a goal.
- Great crowd at Crew Stadium for this one. Best attendance figures of the year so far for them I believe. Loved the “fans against racism” banner in the stadium. Great thing those two clubs have going in their respective supporter’s groups.
Chivas USA 1 – 0 San Jose Earthquakes:
- Still no luck for San Jose in LA this season. But at least this trip saw more quality chances on goal.
- Ante Razov had a solid game. He was due for a goal and damn what a strike. Probably the goal of the week. Just a well struck ball, nothing Joe Cannon could do about it.
- Fairly even game other than the lone goal. Neither club had too many great chances. A couple near misses but other than that it was pretty much down the line for each club.
- With the win Chivas moves up to the top of the western standings with LA. San Jose is still dwelling at the bottom of the table.
- Thing is for Quake fans, you still have to get a sense that your club is doing better at this point than the ’05 Chivas, ’05 RSL, and the ’07 Toronto FC clubs. Still, year one of the rebirth has been a tough one and it will continue to be that way.
- Last thing on this one, I hated the goal call by Max Bretos of FSC. I know it was a game winner but it really pisses me off to hear someone say “that’s the game winner” or something to that effect before the final seconds are ticking off the clock. If that had been the last strike of the game and had gone in like that, then fine. But there was still time for a San Jose come back. Bretos would have looked very stupid if San Jose had scored after saying that.