- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 6, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Week 16, 4th of July, Alecko Eskandarian, Dave van den Burgh, Jeff Cunningham, Jeremy Hall, Juan Carlos Osorio, Kenny Cooper, MLS Weekend Recaps, Nick Zimmerman, Robbie Findley, Wilman Conde, Yura Movsisyan
I blame the holiday weekend for getting me off to a late start here this week. Plus throw in the fact that I am a homeowner now all the trips to Home Depot and places like that are easily killing off any spare second over the weekend. Oh well, no time to bitch and moan about that but time to get down to business once again this week.
I felt looking at the results and each game this past week that week 16 was really predictable. I know I missed a couple games in my score predictions but aside from the RSL-San Jose game this week lacked a lot of surprise or anything worth getting overly excited about. Maybe that is the dog-days of summer kicking in here for the league but each result was as predictable as the next on Saturday.Which can be a good thing but can also be a bad thing.
RSL Gets Lucky Late
I’ll start with the first game of the week on Friday here today. Something can certainly be said about Real Salt Lake nearly losing at home to San Jose while dominating the bulk of the game. Kudos to the Quakes for their defense for the first 90 minutes of the game. Unlucky was certainly the own-goal to Chris Leitch. Sometimes the ball bounces that way folks.
But looking at this result for RSL I begin to really question this club going forward this season. Certainly some pieces were missing but I still felt they had the side on the field that should have won this game. I just feel that they are certainly missing a piece or two here though. I like Robbie Findley and Yura Movsisyan but neither are the go-to striker that this club needs to depend on. Findley can be too hot and cold while Movsisyan tends to miss the easiest of shots. Then I look at their defense and wonder if they have the talent to hold up against clubs like Houston or Chivas in the playoffs. Right now I just don’t see them getting there.
Red Bulls On The Brink
The few that cover this Red Bull club up in New York are all saying the same thing today. “The Season on the Brink.” Well with the most games played (19) and the most losses (13) and the fewest points (10), yeah you could say they are on the brink. Honestly they’ve been done for a lot longer than that. I said in my season preview for this club that they’d either be a good playoff club or an underachieving side.
One thing that is amazing is how long Juan Carlos Osorio has kept his job here. After nearly two-thirds of the season being complete and his club is this bad, many would think he’d be gone already. I kind of have a feeling he will be there until the end of the season. That is unless he decises he has had enough before then and leaves on his own terms via Fernancdo Clavjio.
I think the only thing that can be said for Osorio at this point is the couple players he draft this year that have turned out to be pretty good. Jeremy Hall and Nick Zimmerman both definitely show a bright spot for this club’s future. Comes to show that you can’t win on over priced foreign talent alone in this league, you need quality young talent to do work too.
Much can be said about winning 2-1 at home but a lot more can be said about how it was done. Dallas got a huge lift getting New York in town this past week. Not only were the Red Bulls a fairly easy test but it gave way for guys lik Jeff Cunningham to break the club out of a bit of a funk when the club doesn’t have Kenny Cooper in the line-up. I liked the combination of Cunningham and former Red Bull Dave van den Burgh on Saturday for Dallas. Some how it worked but sadly enough we won’t get use to it here once Cooper returns.
Still on another note Dallas has a long way to go here. No doubt they won’t be in contention to reach the playoffs out of the west this season. But they are slowly building a decent base for next year.
Houston Returns To Winning
After a small slide for the Dynamo the league leaders return to the road in Kansas City and get a quality win. The Dynamo get another win, their ninth of the season and become the first club to break the 30 point mark in the standings.
Houston really handled the pressure well late as Kansas City pressed for a game-tying goal late. KC continues to lack some punch up top which is going to haunt them as this season moves towards the playoffs in the next couple of months.
This was a physical game between these two sides. Houston may have gotten the win but they will be without two key defenders for their next game in Seattle. Both Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell will miss the important game with the expansion Sounders due to suspension.
Crew and DC Level
Too bad both sides were missing a chunk of their roster for call-ups and injuries because this one would have been much better for it. Still a quality game with some bad calls from the center ref in it. DC took a late first half lead into the lockerroom to only give it right back up after the break to the Crew. From there on neither side really took hold of this game. DC seemed to control a little more of the pace in this one which lead to a boat load of extra attempts on goal. Big credit to the Columbus defense for stepping up a little more in this one because of that.
DC presented the Crew with a five-man midfield which seemed to slow down Guillermo Barros Schelotto a decent bit. The Crew did find a couple ways around it but never enough to really pressure the Black-and-Red backline.
Both sides are in the thick of things for this eastern crown race. In all honesty right now I think it will between these two sides though we could see the Fire sneak up in there after the way they played in Colorado this week.
Colorado On the Slide
I guess my talk of this side being a dark-horse in the west was possibly a kiss of death to the Rapids. Another loss at home, this time to the Chicago Fire who have looked really good in their last couple of games (SuperLiga mostly). To me Wilman Conde was the player of the game and possibly the player of the week from this game. Colorado had no answer for him when he was around the goal and when he was defending his own goal.
The win was a big one for the Fire as they leap back up the standings into a tie with DC. They really looked like the side we thought we’d see all season long this past weekend. Maybe this is the start of their run going forward here.
As for the Rapids I still have high hopes for them going forward, espeically once they get Conor Casey and company back in the lineup. This club still has some work to do though to make sure they are in contention for the rest of the season to get into the playoffs. I’m slowly writting them off for catching Houston or Chivas here but if they want to stay up there with Seattle for third-best in the west they need to improve their roster right away. Add some depth to the defense and find a playmaker who can set up the scoring in the midfield. Right now they are lacking a bit and it is causing them to drop games that they shouldn’t drop, especially those at home.
Newcomer Nets One For LA
Not a bad start for Alecko Eskandarian. He moved lockerrooms at the HDC over the week and it payed off in a big way. His goal marked a quality win for LA on a night that really saw nothing more than a bunch of fouls. Honestly there may have been more fouls on the field than fireworks in the sky after the game.
The Galaxy really controled this match from start to finish as Steve Nicol’s group is really struggling to find their way again now that the injury bug has knocked out more key members of their roster. Either they are going to have to be creative to find ways to win or just hope they can ride out this strom of injuries again here this summer. Things are not looking good either way in New England right now.
As for LA it was a typical win for them, once they got the goal it was all they needed to play their style of game. Sit back and take pressure while countering when needed. Look LA will make things interesting this season but once this circus called Beckham kicks up again it will be real interesting to see which way this club heads. History should tell us which way that will be though.
Holiday weekend produced good numbers for the league. All over 10k, even in Dallas. LA and Colorado posted the biggest numbers with 20k and 19k respectively while Columbus and Dallas each got 14k. RSL posted a solid 17k on Friday’s game. And KC scored another sell-out, five in a row at home now. Very positive things there folks.