Weekend Recap: Teams Closing The Gap

Weekend Recap: Teams Closing The Gap

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 8, 2008
  • 2 Comments
  • MLS Weekend Recaps, Week 24

Its amazing how close the standings are this season in Major League Soccer. Some clubs are starting to speak at the right time and others are start to show just how deep they really aren’t at the moment. And what’s with this four way tie at the bottom of the standings?

But how about the Columbus Crew right now? An absolute dominating performance at home against New England. Does this result mean the Crew are a shoe-in for the Supporter’s Shield trophy? And what’s going on with the Revs here?

Lots to go over from this weekend so let’s not waste anytime here.

Chivas USA 3 – 1 Toronto FC:

Poor Toronto: The patch-work club nearly pulled off the improbable. They go up early and nearly shock the world with their group of day-loaned players and one-day contract subs. The Reds were missing nine regulars to international duty. A 39-year-old Rick Titus of the Canadian Soccer League’s Italia Shooters (who was once with the Colorado Rapids), Diaz Kambere of the USL’s Vancouver Whitecaps and MLS veteran Tim Regan, who was actually retired as an active player after being released by New York after last season and was working for Toronto as a scout. Yeah, they nearly had it with those guys and a bunch of reserves.

But Chivas came back: Chivas is probably thanking their lucky stars right now that they faced Toronto in back-to-back weeks during this current funk that the Reds are in AND this schedule issue with missing nine players to World Cup qualifiers.

Ante Razov: I think this was a game that Razov and Chivas needed. Not just because they are finally getting healthy at the right time of the year but because Razov was producing like he should. A goal and two assists is exactly what the Red-and-White need out of Razov.

Is Toronto done?: Out of the four clubs at the bottom of the standings I think Toronto is the one club that is done here. With seven games left and only a couple of those at home this club just doesn’t appear to be one that will have enough catch DC or New York and make the playoffs. Not to mention there are a few more international call-up dates left.

Peaking at the right time: Give a lot of credit to Preki right now. He’s weathered the storm for the most part and is finally seeing a healthy club at the right time of the year. With seven games left I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see this club make a push up the western standings. I don’t think they will win the west this year but I could see them catch Real Salt Lake and get home-field advantage in that first round series.

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Columbus Crew 4 – 0 New England Revolution:

Schelotto at it again: Want an interesting stat? Out of the last 14 goals for Columbus, Schelotto has been apart of 13 of them. The only one he didn’t help out on was the Jason Garey goal to end the game, he was on the bench for that goal.

Goal and two assists: For the forth time in a little over a month GBS does it again. We may need to rename the goal and two assist line after Schelotto. He’s doing it with such regularity anymore that it almost seems common place. Its not just the goals that are impressive but the now 18 assists have people wondering if he can break the all-time single season record of 26 (by Carlos Valderrama). On this pace it is certainly possible.

New England on the decline: On the wrong side of the peak here are the Revs. Injuries are killing them right now and I am wondering what is really going on with this club. Defensively they looked completely lost on Saturday. Maybe it was Columbus just owning the midfield. Whatever it was the decline is on with this club. From a defensive standpoint it starts up top and seeing the Revs only get four total shots tells me they weren’t playing defense anywhere on the field. The better you play defense up top usually means the more shots you get on goal.

Goals off the bench: Talk about some insurance for Sigi Schmid. Two goals by Jason Garey and an assist by Pat Nooan off the bench. Talk about some depth right now.

Chad Marshall and Andy Iro: This may be the best duo in the back these days in MLS. Marshall is an absolute beast and Iro scored his first goal in MLS. I knew that Iro would be good once he got a chance and now I am starting to think he may be a front-runner for the Rookie of the Year chase.

Can New England turn things around?: I still see the Revs finding their way back here before the playoffs. They do have to be careful of DC and New York catching them now but their schedule is still workable here. Four of their last seven are at home though they won’t too many easy ones.

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Chicago Fire 1 – 0 New York Red Bulls:

Blink of an eye: Yeah, I turn my head for one second during this one and completely miss Stephen King’s goal to help the Fire win this one. Good to see King score and good to see the Fire get a solid result at home for once.

What’s with the look?: Anyone notice the facial hair New York keeper Jon Conway is rocking here? Its a funky looking goatee.

Where’s the offense?: After a couple weekends of dominating offense, the Red Bulls practically left their offense in New Jersey. Only four shots total in this one for the visitors. The Fire defense was back to it’s dominating self in this one. Jon Busch was awarded with his 10th shutout of the year.

No Blanco, no problem: The Fire continue to show that they need Blanco but they can do things fine without him. Denny Hamlet did a little patch-work in his midfield and it paid off as King started and scored the game’s lone goal. Balls were coming in from the back and from the wings just like it should. I think Chicago could still sneak up into that Supporter’s Shield race here.

Red Bull road flameout?: Is it possible that the Red Bulls not win another game on the road this year? Its very possible because they play at Columbus, at Salt Lake and at Chicago one more time. Thankfully for their fans they have four more home games, three of those against teams that have a combined four wins of the road this year.

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San Jose Earthquakes 2 – 1 DC United

Huckerby, Huckerby, Huckerby: Every week I say it but how good has this guy been for San Jose? A goal and assist in this one. If he wasn’t for a few other guys out there I would argue that he could be a MVP candidate right now.

Open Cup hangover?: Absolutely. Sure some injuries played a part but we all figured DC would drop this one considering how they haven’t won in San Jose since before the turn of the century.

Wing play: We knew how open the wings would be in this one for San Jose. Lots of open chances due to the creativity on the wings and due to some blunders in the back by DC. Is there really a chance that the Quakes can sneak into the playoffs here? With 28 points and only four back of a wild-card spot it seems possible.Tough home-and-away series with Houston coming up though.

Will DC catch up to the top three in the east?: Not without Luciano Emilio. I pretty much saw what I expected out of DC in this one. Santino Quaranta stepped up late for the Black-and-Red to score their lone goal. It was a little too late though. They have the chance to catch up to New England who is sliding but as for Chicago and Columbus I just don’t see it out of this club right now. But the good news is they are peaking at the right time. They just have to find a way to get things done on the road here.

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LA Galaxy 2 – 2 Real Salt Lake:

Flipping Out: Its always funny to see a goal waived off after a guy has celebrated it. Fabian Espindola does a back-flip after he was clearly caught offside for RSL. To make matters worse he got hurt on the landing of that back-flip. Then to make matters worse LA scores shortly after and Bryan Jordan lands his front-flip without any problem.

Buddle returns: Nice to see Edson Buddle come back to life in this one with a goal an assist. He hasn’t looked great in recent weeks (then again either has his club) but this game showed me he is still working hard here this season and looks fine.

RSL road worries: They got a point, and it was much needed but they have to find a way to get three points on the road here. Four more road games here for this club. With Chivas and San Jose surging those three home games are a must-win three games in my mind. I do see them picking up one huge road win against Colorado to close out the year. That result will keep them in the playoff race and not in a wild-card race.

LA’s winless streak continues: Now let’s make that 11 games. They looked better on Saturday but not that much better. They were lucky that RSL looked bad at times in this one. But looking at their schedule its go on the road then go home…and then back on the road again. Their next winable game is Colorado – which is four games from now. By then they will be way out of the race and looking at what they can do in the SuperDraft.

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Houston Dynamo 3 – 1 Kansas City Wizards:

Dynamo peaking at the right time?: I’m wondering if the schedule will mess this current run up or not but you have to love the way the Dynamo are playing these days. Even without their main three parts (Ching, Onstad, and DeRo) they absolutely dominated this game. Nate Jaqua put in two goals to put this one away early.

Kei Kamara the new Ngwenya?: I’ve said it before, this trade for Kamara would pay off in a big way for Houston. A two assist effort shows me that his short time in Dominic Kinnear’s system is really paying off.

KC done yet?: It may not be too early to figure that this club is out of the race here. We called it back in June that they were but I think after this result it may be even more evident that they really are. They did create more chances but even with the new additions on the field in the second half they weren’t able to muster up enough to come back in this one. Oh yeah, they are in dead last right now if you base things on goal differential like the league does. Yikes.

Then again…: Looking at the Wizards schedule, five of their last seven are at home. But I think that hole they’ve dug themselves into may be too big to get out of by now.

Can the Dynamo move up into that Supporter’s Shield race?: Its possible if they don’t let the CONCACAF Champions League games get in the way. They’ve got four more road matches THIS MONTH. Lots of games left, I think they will still win the west but the Supporter’s Shield is staying in the east this year.

  • Cannon Girl

    How's THAT for an expansion team Drew? MY JOE AND HIS QUAKES ROCK—WHO-HOOOOOO—GO QUAKES!!!!!!!!! 🙂 😉 🙂

  • Cannon Girl

    How’s THAT for an expansion team Drew? MY JOE AND HIS QUAKES ROCK—WHO-HOOOOOO—GO QUAKES!!!!!!!!! 🙂 😉 🙂