MLS Weekend Recap: Week 12

MLS Weekend Recap: Week 12

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 8, 2009
  • 2009 Week 12, Brek Shea, Edson Buddle, Eduardo Lillingston, Fredy Montero, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jeff Cunningham, Jimmy Conrad, Juan Carlos Osorio, Kenny Cooper, Maykel Galindo, MLS Weekend Recaps, Paulo Nagamura, Stuart Holden, Taylor Twellman, Zach Thornton
Guillermo Barros Schelotto got the best of Claudio Lopez on Saturday in KC. (WVH Corespondent Brain Stevens)

Guillermo Barros Schelotto got the best of Claudio Lopez on Saturday in KC. (Brian Stevens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

If you blinked this weekend you may have missed some changes in the standings this weekend. A couple clubs continues to fall down the standings while a couple more continue to rise. Also we saw the western race (and the overall race for that matter) tighten up a bit with a Chivas win and a Houston win this weekend.

I believe the groups I’ve mentioned a couple weeks ago in the standings are still shaping up though one or two teams may have shifted around in the groups. The bottom of the barrell is still what it has been for a while now this year.

The Shifting Crew

The biggest move though may be one few noticed due to their game being on at the same time as the US national team’s game on Saturday (yeah, genius plan to schedule it like that). Columbus notched another win in typical Crew fashion this week in Kansas City behind two goals from their MVP and probably current league MVP front-runner Guillermo Barros Schelotto. With GBS scoring instead of setting up the goals this season we are seeing a slightly different Crew side this season but one that is starting to get results.

Sometimes it takes a club a while to get use to a new coach but if you didn’t notice the Crew are back in playoff contention right now. They also have a game to spare on those above them in the east.

Weird part may be though that this club still isn’t healthy here in the least bit this season. But as always good teams figure out a way to get results no matter the lineup. Columbus was still a good team at the start of the season but now they are finishing out games and getting points rather than struggling to get draws. Its hard to keep in mind that they’ve only lost twice this season.

One more thing, when I look at KC I still see a quality team here but I’ll keep saying it, they are missing one to two key elements to make them really good here. I think keeping their attack through Josh Wolff and Claudio Lopez can help but the playmaking in the middle just isn’t there enough. Also the defensive mistakes are really hurting this club. The U-8 style defending on the first goal just won’t get it done. I know Jimmy Conrad is already taking the blame for that goal.

Chivas Rolls Yet Again

It didn’t seem to take much but Chivas USA continues to stay at the top. Give credit once again to Preki for finding the bunch to get it done this week after his lineup was changed a bit due to Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein’s US callups and Jesse Marsch’s suspension.  Still the lineup produced what it needed to to get the three points against the Sounders.

Once again give a lot of credit to Zach Thornton in the back for keeping Fredy Montero and company off the boards. He showed some true MVP form in goal Saturday night.

While the Chivas attack isn’t fancy they get the job done. Eduardo Lillingston, Maykel Galindo and Paulo Nagamura combined on the game’s lone goal. I loved the heart those three showed on the play, they pressed hard and got the result. Too many times clubs aren’t pressing enough on goal and that could be a reason why we see so many draws.

I’m also wondering about Seattle now. Is the early success coming to a head and we are seeing this expansion side be an expansion side? Sigi Schmid could use some healthy players to cure that but this group is falling a bit. Maybe a visit from San Jose coming up will help.

Toronto Continues To Stumble

Talk about a bad stretch of play for Toronto FC. A blowout loss a week ago in Houston followed by an embarassing loss in Vancouver in the Canadian Cup. Most thought a home game against a LA squad that would be without Landon Donovan would be the answer to get them back on the winning ways. Instead Edson Buddle made sure his former side didn’t get the three points.

I still don’t know what to make of this win for LA. While it is good I still don’t beleive they have the depth to stay like this without Donovan this summer. Still a win is a win and I am sure this bunch will take it even if it is only their second one of the year.

Toronto on the other hand dips back down into the territory that they shouldn’t be in. The place below the top group of clubs and right in the middle pack that could go either up or down here. Right now they are falling fast though. Maybe this is their usual summer slump too. I still believe this club has plenty of talent to be good in this league but they lack a finisher up top. Until they get a true go-to scorer they will continue to be middle of the pack here.

Houston Rising

Don’t look now but Houston is up there in the standings with Chicago and Chivas. Stuart Holden and company jumped all over Chicago early and held on with their strong defense late to keep Chicago off the board.

Houston continues to impress with their defense, which is the best in the league at the moment in terms of goals against. I think we are also seeing their offense click a good bit here with the play of Holden. He knew he ahd to be a leader this season and he is definitely showing it.

What’s with Chicago at home here this season? Just like last year they struggle at home while playing very well on the road (league best road record 4-0-3). They tend to give up a lot of easy goals at home for some reason and defensively make me question just how deep this club really is.

Yeah, Colorado May Be That Good

I know it was a draw but the fashion the Rapids scored their game-tying goal late in Salt Lake gave me the impression that this club probably can compete without the services of Conor Casey up top. Good thing too since they will be missing him a decent bit this summer.

Omar Cummings was a good go-to filling if you will for Colorado. It’s exactly what the Rapids need out of him when Casey is gone. His speed is there and right now is finishing is starting to be there more for him. If that keeps up the Casey-Cummings duo could be a really fun one to watch this season.

I know RSL had the bulk of chances in this game but finishing continues to ruin what could be a really good club this season. I think once the summer transfer window opens up in a few weeks we will see this club change up a good bit. Jason Kreis has to make some moves to get this club back to where many expected them to be here at the start of the season.

Bottom Clubs Are There For A Reason

I wasn’t at all about to get excited over the recent play of Dallas and San Jose here. While both are starting to slightly come around here this season they are both still not very good. Its sad too since both have the potential to be good but just can’t get over the hump on a few items.

Both San Jose goals were just a product of terrible defense by Dallas here. More of the same if you will from the back four for Dallas, bad give aways in terrible spots.

But for Dallas both goals were very good to see. Great build ups by Jeff Cunninham on the first after a quick restart by David van den Burgh. David Ferrierra bags his first MLS goal (finally) on the play. Brek Shea helped set up the game-tying goal to Kenny Cooper. Just the kind of build up you need from this side, which makes me want to see more of Shea in the lineup here for Dallas.

Still I do like Dallas shifting their lineup a bit by moving Jeff Cunningham to the wing. His pace on the wing is much needed on a hot day like yesterday. The thing though about a guy like Cunningham is he isn’t always there for you out there. Too many times he gives up on plays but at the same time he could have been more involved at times.

The man of this match for me though had to be Ray Burse. For Dallas fans I think it is easy to say Burse has claimed his spot as the starting keeper for the club, even when Dario Sala is healthy again.

New England Lays Into New York

For a while we’ve said that New England will be good once their offense gets going. Well after a four goal effort yesterday I wonder if everyone else is still having doubts about this club like they were a few weeks back. Thing about this club is they’ve seemed to get over the hump a bit in terms of the amount of injuries that they had early on this season and are finally seeing results on the field that we’ve come to expect out of Steve Nicol’s bunch.

Kudos to Taylor Twellman for becoming joining the 100 goal club. No doubt his play on the field is sparking this club in a big way. I still have little doubt that he will go into the books before long as the all-time leading scorer in league history.

So what can we make of New York here? Six goals against in two road losses this week. They still haven’t found the back of the net here and most are certainly calling for Juan Carlos Osorio’s head now. Would it even be the best move for this club going forward? Maybe and maybe not. All I can say is the moves that were made by Osorio haven’t worked and that may be enough for a dismissal. It’s just gone from bad to down right sad there.

Other Notes:

The butts-in-seats look this weekend wasn’t all that bad. Everyone had at least 11K except for the lowly figure in Dallas yesterday. No way in hell there was even 5700+ at Pizza Hut Park. You’d have to count for all the workers at the stadium and the folks playing on some of the other fiels in the area to make that number. Now I know that is technically the number of tickets sold but its a pathetic number nonetheless.

Best crowd this weekend may have been at Rio Tinto Stadium for the Rocky Mountain Cup match between the Rapids and RSL. A near sell-out according to the final attendance numbers.