- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 22, 2009
- 6 Comments
- Ben Olsen, Brad Knighton, Conor Casey, Danny Cepero, Darren Huckerby, David Ferreira, Davy Arnuad, Donovan Ricketts, Dwayne De Rosario, Good Bad and Ugly, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Javier Morales, Joe Cannon, Jon Conway, Juan Pablo Angel, Kasey Keller, Kenny Cooper, Luciano Emilio, Pat Onstad, Santiago Hirsig, Sasha Kljestan, Will Hesmer, Zach Thornton
Typically I do a version of this kind of thing for all MLS clubs but this time around I wanted to do something a little different with the typical Good, Bad, and Ugly column. Instead I will be looking at things in the league as a whole that I have liked, disliked and have absolutely hated thus far in the early going of the season.
Most of this is stuff I’ve been keeping track of here since the start of the season. I may ramble on a bit but you are always welcome to do the same below.
Quality crowds in Seattle, Toronto and even in smaller venues like San Jose or Kansas City. I believe there is a reason why San Jose and KC want smaller soccer stadiums for their future. It doesn’t all have to do with money and not being able to consistently fill those stadiums, it is because they have the fans that create good atmosphere (I think both clubs have underrated supporter’s groups). The same sort of thing you see in Seattle and Toronto. Passionate fans equal a good time at the park.
So-so numbers in places like LA for Galaxy and Chivas games, Chicago for Fire games and DC for United games. For those clubs it doesn’t really deal with a lack of advertising or even the clubs being bad on the field. Its honestly an economical thing in my eyes.
Still seeing bad numbers in Colorado and Columbus too. Thing about the Rapids is though they’ve only played one home game so far. With the club doing pretty well so far this year things could change in their favor in terms of butts-in-seats.
Numbers we see in Dallas are just terrible. The fact that the club has gotten a shade under 12k for their last two home games is pathetic. Marketing around Dallas is nearly non-existent, and people just can’t get excited about this club. It has little to do with the performance on the field I think (because the town supports baseball’s Rangers decently enough each year and they are largely just as bad if not worse), but it deals more with a lack of knowledge about the club in the local community.
Impressive starts from clubs like Chivas and New England. Let’s be real honest, did anyone expect either of these clubs to be undefeated after five weeks of play? If you did then you are probably very rich.
Not-so-good starts from clubs that we expect to be good like Houston or to a lesser extent Real Salt Lake. We know of Houston’s typical early season slowness but RSL is on a different path with how bad they play on the road in the early goings this season.
Until this past week, the ugliness that was New York’s start of the new season. While LA and Dallas were pretty ugly in the early going, they at least were able to find the back of the net in a consistent manner. New York saw four games with no actual goals. The one that was marked in the score column in the 1-1 draw to New England was an own goal by New England’s Jay Heaps.
Things are starting to turn but the Red Bulls dug themselves a decent-sized hole to start the season, not to mention that no club (correct me if I am wrong) has reached the playoffs after going scoreless in their first four games.
Surprising starts for players like Kasey Keller (who still has it), Conor Casey (who is showing he can lead), and Davy Arnuad (three sweet goals).
Other quality starts to the year include play out of Ben Olsen, Luciano Emilio, the Freds from Seattle, and nearly most of the Seattle lineup (even with the two game slump), Kenny Cooper, Javier Morales, and Dwayne De Rosario.
Slower than normal starts from Juan Pablo Angel, Darren Huckerby, Sasha Kljestan, and Robbie Rogers. Some are due to injuries and others who knows.
I think maybe the start from the Columbus Crew as a whole could go here. I know I have higher expectations for this club. Offensively they should not have Guillermo Barros Schelotto as their leading scorer. He needs to be leading the assist category for this club to be success. Maybe the club owners needed to open their wallets a bit more in the offseason to upgrade the offense.
Rookies have started off particularly well this season in comparison to last year. I think it may be even safe to say that this year’s class has already out done what last year’s did.
New additions barely making a mark on their new clubs, that even that is slowly starting to turn around positively. I look at guys like David Ferriera, who up until this past week hadn’t made a dent into the Dallas offense. Hopefully for the Red Stripes, that assist was the first of many to come this season. Also, other guys like Santiago Hirsig for Kansas City are still (slowly) getting use to the MLS game.
No real ugly in talks with the rookies/newcomers but let’s talk about the amount of red cards so far this season. Referee Tim Weyland comes to mind from the Galaxy-Chivas game. He had a bad night to say the least by handing out 11 cards, including three reds. I don’t care if this was a derby game you just shouldn’t have to do that. Let the boys play!
Veteran keepers leading the pack, along with a couple surprises like New England fill-in Brad Knighton. Mainly it seems like Keller in Seattle, Pat Onstad in Houston, and a blast from the past in Chivas’s Zach Thornton.
I know I’ve killed Chivas for not finding a better keeper than Thornton but at least the big guy is making me eat my words so far this year. Five games in, two goals against with three clean sheets. Not bad, not bad indeed.
Lastly, is it me or does LA keeper Donovan Ricketts seem like a possible saving grace for that club? Two games and only one goal against. So far I have ben impressed with his play.
Keepers you’d expect to be doing fine each week like Columbus’s Will Hesmer or San Jose’s Joe Cannon. Its been part sloppiness and weak defensive play for Hesmer and for Cannon just an overworked backline that is aging quicker than most thought.
I look a couple games this season with really ugly keeping. A couple New York games came to mind with Danny Cepero. Boy you could tell they wanted Jon Conway back in a hurry.