- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 6, 2009
- 6 Comments
- 2009 Week 3, Conor Casey, Eduardo Lillingston, Freddie Ljungberg, Kenny Cooper, Landon Donovan, Luciano Emilio, MLS Weekend Recaps, Steve Ralston, Steve Zakuani
Lots of good action this past week in Major League Soccer from Real Salt Lake’s Thursday big win over the Columbus Crew to Seattle’s big road victory in Toronto. With seven games over the weekend we are now starting to see a bunch of different things this season. Some are more clear than others but one thing remains certain, Seattle could be the best expansion team we’ve ever seen…maybe in any sport.
Feel free to pipe in your comments from this past weekend’s action.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – 0 Toronto FC:
What more can you say about this Seattle club. A goal by their DP early on in the game really set the tone for the win. The late first half goal by their number one draft pick took the Toronto crowd out of the game almost for good. For the most part I feel like Seattle looks very similar to Sigi Schmid’s Columbus clubs from the last couple years. Tight in the back but its like he has a better offense in Seattle than he ever did with the Crew (even last year).
I’m starting to think that my boy Freddie Ljungberg may turn out to be one of the better DP signings that the league has seen. His impact was seen all over the field on Saturday. Just a classy give-and-go on his first goal too. Also, rookie Steve Zakuani is really showing us why he was the number one pick this year. Not only does he have the skills but his positioning on the field has been spot on for Seattle. He seems to find himself in the right spot time and time again.
Toronto had their chances, let’s not say they didn’t here because I really felt they held the possession well in this one. It was just sloppy finishing on their part that caused the third straight clean sheet for Kasey Keller and Seattle. Speaking of Keller, again he came up huge in this one to keep the lead for the Sounders. It didn’t hurt that Toronto hit the crossbar and the side post a couple times too.
Toronto’s Pablo Vitti looks like he could be their big scorer this season. Its just finding that first goal that is taking a while. He was linking up well with Dwayne De Rosario.
Seattle proved to the league they can win on the road and in a tough environment. Toronto proved that they are still a step away from being a contender here. Toronto is improved here this season, make no doubt about that but they have to learn to respond in a game when they go down a goal or two. No one will take them serious if they don’t prove they can get back in games.
New England Revolution 2 – 1 FC Dallas:
Dallas can score inside the box but they still give up crappy goals in defense. Thing is this should have ended in a draw. The PK called late in the game was a total crap call. I hate to sound like a homer on that call but that call changed the game in the wrong way for both sides.
Aside from that New England looked like their normal self. Good to see Steve Ralston back on the pitch too. Having Ralston back in the midfield really changed the New England attack than what we’ve seen in the first couple games. Just shows how important he is to their attack.
The run of play was very much in hand to New England. Dallas still looks a bit lost in the midfield which really shouldn’t be like that with the talent they have in place there. It still comes down to their defense though for the Hoops, if they don’t get things turned in the right direction we may be talking about a long losing streak here.
Give a lot of credit though in this one to Nicol, his halftime changes proved to be just enough for the Rev’s second win of the year. I don’t think many believed they’d still be undefeated at this point.
DC United 1 – 0 Houston Dynamo:
Things still remain the same, DC’s defense isn’t that great and Houston’s attack isn’t any better. I will say this about DC though, they did do a better job of putting together a more complete performance for 90 minutes than what we’ve seen out so far this year.
Houston we have an offensive problem. The chances were there but the finishing was absolutely not. Maybe this is just the typical slow start for Houston that we’ve seen over the last three seasons out of this bunch or maybe it is just a sign of the times for Dominic Kinnear’s bunch.
Luciano Emilio looked great once again for DC. Is it me or does he look like he will have another 15-20 goal season here this year?
The worst part of the game and probably most surprising was the red card to Jamie Moreno. A very un-Moreno like challenge against Brad Davis.
Again, DC looked better in this one but it didn’t hurt that Houston couldn’t put a thing home. The Dynamo had their fair share of chances in this one but couldn’t knock anything past Louis Crayton. Also give a big credit to a game-tying save by Brad Namoff. Big time goal mouth clearance by him really saved the three points for the homeside. One could say that was the save of the week.
Colorado Rapids 3 – 2 LA Galaxy
Another bad call or at least questionable call changed the face of this game. The red card to Dema Kovalenko was very questionable red card in my mind. The Moreno red card in the DC game was a good one but this one was a very tough call. Yes a tough challenge by Kovalenko but a straight red may have been given due to his history. Anyways it changed the game in a bad way for LA.
I really felt LA had worked their way back into this one after the early Conor Casey goal. Thing was it wasn’t just the red card that was bad, the LA defense just looked lost against Conor Casey on Saturday night. They couldn’t figure the big guy out at all. After getting the league they quickly gave it back up to Casey on another easy goal.
Just when you think this one ends in a draw, Casey comes through again with yet another easy goal. His hat trick may have been the easiest of goals by any MLS player that I’ve ever seen. He didn’t have to do anything special to beat the LA defense because they pretty much gave him the goals. LA keeper Josh Saunders was found completely out of place for all three goals. He was beat badly on the last one too.
LA was looking good though for a while in this one. Landon Donovan put in two very nice assists to get LA the lead. Its just the old issues for LA in the back. The rookies looked a bit fatigued despite having the extra week off to prepare and the veterans in the back looked, well, old.
I give a lot of credit to Colorado here. While their defense didn’t look any better they found ways to get in transition with Casey and create better chances on the offensive end. That is something I’ve really been waiting to see out of this bunch. Can they keep it up is the biggest question.
Chicago Fire 1 – 0 New York Red Bulls
Another red card in this one but unlike the other games it didn’t really affect the outcome. John Thorrington’s probable goal-saving tackle on New York’s Mac Kandji was a very good call by the center official. Thorrington was the last man to beat and he did what most defenders have to do, save the keeper and take one for the team with the tackle.
Aside from that Chicago really looked to have controlled this one. New York’s midfield tandem of Jorge Rojas and Luke Sassano really did little to get the attack going for the Red Bulls. I did think that the addition of Dominic Oduro to the attack when Kandji went out after the red card to Thorrington really sparked the Red Bull attack for the rest of the game. He had a few runs that really looked dangerous. But it was the same old Dom that I use to see in Dallas where he had loads of space but a poor touch would bring the attack to a halt.
Chicago got a good break on some sloppy (and typical) play in the back by New York. Marco Pappa made the visitors pay with his late first half goal. After that it was really all the Fire needed to get the three points.
Is it me or does Juan Pablo Angel just look off so far this season. Its like he has lost a little bit of his magic touch that we are so use to seeing out there for the Red Bulls. Plus it doesn’t help that guys like Dane Richards haven’t really played well so far this season either.
Again I gotta say Danny Cepero does not look like the option in goal for New York. Thing is Jon Conway is likely replacement isn’t anything special either. A bad keeper can make a club look really bad even with a decent defense.
I know a lot of people will say Seattle is the league’s best right now but Chicago definitely deserves a lot of consideration for that honor in the early going this season. With no Blanco yesterday and very little out of Red Bull killer Chris Rolfe, and being a man-down to get the win a lot of people need to look at the Fire and what they’ve done thus far too. They may not have the points that Seattle has already but they definitely have the talent in place to make the run this season.
New York on the other hand still looks a tad bit overrated than what some are still making them to be. I know once they get their new guys in it should be different but until then I still think this is just an average club that will struggle to reach the playoffs this season. I haven’t been impressed so far this season with this club.
Kansas City Wizards 2 – 0 San Jose Earthquakes
Hey looked who decided to join the fun here in 2009. The Wizards and Quakes didn’t really battle one another yesterday but battled the nasty weather. Kudos to the few fans that actually showed up for this one because it looked cold, wet and way to windy to enjoy.
Kansas City definitely braved the weather and more importantly the wind and got the much needed boost of a result. From start to finish they really owned the possession in the midfield and really didn’t give San Jose a chance to form a good attack to come back. I’m sure Quake fans will blame a lot on the weather but give more credit to the Kansas City midfield and defense in this one for keeping San Jose honest and not allowing them to spread them wide like they normally would.
Just how well did the Wizard’s midfield and defense play yesterday? Well enough to hold San Jose to only three shots with only one of those on frame. KC also owned a lot of the attack with 13 shots and eight corner kicks. That is the kind of play one would expect out of this bunch. It was like they needed this game to finally put it all together.
Chivas USA 2 – 1 Columbus Crew
A slow start indeed for the MLS Cup champions. Two losses in one week on the road, both games saw the Crew tie things at half then to only lose it in the second half. Chivas started off strong last night with an early goal from Atiba Harris. Great assist by AmeriGoat newcomer Gerson Mayen who has two assists on the season now.
The game-winner came once again from Mexican striker Eduardo Lillingston. Minutes later the weekend saw it’s forth red card with Andy Iro from the Crew. Iro also notched the only Crew goal of the game.
Columbus looked off, just as they did on Thursday night. The two games in four days is never easy for any club and for some reason the Crew just couldn’t handle it. I knew this would be a rough week on the defending champs but never did I expect it would go this badly.
Give credit to Chivas here. They are slowly proving to a lot of people that they could very well be for real here this season. I think Preki continues to pluck away at his roster and find the right combination of guys that seem to work.