Week 19 Thoughts: Mathis, DPs, and More

Week 19 Thoughts: Mathis, DPs, and More

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 9, 2010
  • 2010 Week 19, MLS Weekend Recaps

Clint Mathis closed out his career this past weekend. (Getty Images)

The summer of friendlies is nearly over for Major League Soccer and while the league looked pretty good against top European competition this summer its time to get back to what’s important, the MLS playoff race. Week 19 served up some very interesting matchups and boy did they not disappoint one bit.

Nearly every club was in action this past weekend in league play. Only Columbus and LA were off but the Crew had a midweek game in Philadelphia and LA hosted Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl.

Speaking of the Galaxy and that Madrid game. I wanted to start off this morning with a brief thought about the now retired Clint Mathis. No doubt for some Mathis was a guy that you either came to love back in 2002 or if he and the MetroStars were playing you back then you came to hate him. But more than likely you loved him and his crazy mohawk and how he played the game.

Mathis got a proper send off Saturday in front of 80,000-some folks at the Rose Bowl. He didn’t play long but we all knew he wouldn’t. The ovation he got was chilling and pretty special too I might add, one of those moments I wish I was there for in person.

I think a lot of “ifs” surround Mathis and his career. In some ways I’ve always wondered if he’d be bigger than Landon Donovan had ne never got to Europe the times that he did and just stayed here in MLS. No doubt going to Germany did little for his career and probably even set him back a bit.

But as we saw once he got going again in Salt Lake and in LA over the last couple of seasons he was still Cleetus. Though the big goal production games were years behind him he was still making his marks on games and even helped RSL get a MLS Cup last year.

I hated to see him hang it up but I’m glad he got to go out on his own terms.

Five DPs yield no goals

So this hyped game between New York and Chicago ended in a scoreless draw. We never got to see five DPs on the field at once though as Thierry Henry went out at halftime and Nery Castillo didn’t come on to the pitch until late in the game. Still this game was entertaining and definitely a sign of the times for things to come in MLS.

New York controlled a lot of the match with their DP play. Rafa Marquez looked alright but good enough to help a defense look miles better for the first time this season. I still have my reservations about their defense but it may not matter going forward with their offense. No doubt in my mind once they begin to click it won’t be pretty for other clubs.

But let’s talk for a second about the play of rookie Sean Johnson. We knew back in January that it was an utter steal on the Fire’s part to get Johnson as late as they did. He was a raw talent in goal but one that you could tell would be something special given the right time and place. So far it looks like everything is in alignment for him to have a really good career. Sure its just two games but did you ever expect a rookie to come up big on the likes of Juan Pablo Angel and Thierry Henry? I doubt it.

New York remains in second place in the east with the draw and do have a game on hand against the leaders in Columbus. But draws won’t help them catch up with the Crew as they are now nine points back of the Crew. It may not seem like a lot of ground but with only 11 or 12 games left in the season its still a fairly large gap.

Chicago on the other hand does close in a little tighter for one of those wildcard spots. I said a week or so ago how I believe we’ll see four clubs from each conference make it to the playoffs this year unlike the two previous seasons. The Fire’s big ace in the hole is still their games at hand against the entire league.

Dallas Continues Impressive Pace

It was a wacky game. An early goal, an early red card to a keeper and then two late Jeff Cunningham goals for the win. But Schellas Hyndman and FC Dallas will take it and continue on their current run in the process. FCD now moves into forth in the overall standings (for those who enjoy the single table look) and has still only lost TWO games this entire season. Those nine draws definitely aren’t pretty but they are effective enough to keep them in the running here.

Should RSL stumble a little bit with their upcoming schedule in the CONCACAF Champions League, we could possibly see FCD slide into that number two spot out west. Dallas has a game at hand against RSL right now and could make things that much more interesting out west.

The one ugly spot from this game was easily the gate number as only 8,000 or so showed up on a hot (100+ out) 5pm game. I know FSC wanted the game then but seriously the league or FC Dallas should have stepped up and said no to that. The players looked melted on the field and no one in Dallas wanted to come to a 5pm game in Frisco. That was just stupid on FSC’s part to want a game at that time, which brings up the debate about FSC against Versus. I doubt Versus would have made a call like that.

Seattle Takes Care of Business

Its really starting to become Fredy Montero’s world. He’s played a part in 14 of the past 17 Sounder goals. There’s little doubt that he’s able to do a little more now with Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez continues to impress.

I keep bringing up the games at hand this morning but Seattle is the one club that does not have that going for them. It may not matter though. They have ten games left and a bunch of CCL games but Sigi Schmid’s side looks good enough to handle that extra competition (plus the US Open Cup).

Teams Leaving Points Up

I look at two games here, RSL-KC and Colorado-San Jose. Now the Quakes got a little unlucky with Jon Busch’s attempt to be Robert Green for a night. The own-goal wasn’t pretty but it was enough to send the Rapids away with three points. Tough break for Frank Yallop’s side who really has begun to free fall down the standings.

As for RSL and KC, I sort of expected this result but for the Wizards you know they feel like this was more of a loss than a draw. Three points for vital in this home game and they couldn’t get the result they looked for. Once again lack of a finishing touch up front gets in the way of the Wizards improving here.