Monday, April 10, 2006

MLS Week 2 Recap or Another ball off the bar

Week 2 was fun, but not as great as week 1. It seemed that balls were better at finding the bars then the net. In every match, there were a handful of good shots that missed by inches (or went in by centimeters - hi Chivas). Anyway, let's get down into it with the recap of week number 2.

The good news for MLS fans is the best match of the weekend was the one on national television. Too bad the horrible rains the day before kept the attendance level down. DC controlled the first half but Chivas still managed some decent counter attacks, but neither could find a goal.

It didn't take long for the second half to get exciting as Chivas had some wonderful plays, which resulted in a goal, but it was called back correctly by linesman Adam Wienckowski (it's only a shame it took the ref so long to notice his call). Then came Jaime Moreno's (pictured) first score. Christian Gomez slid a perfect pass in behind the Chivas defense and Moreno ran to it. With the backline beat, keeper Brad Guzan came running out to take control. He was out of the area, so he could not use his hands. He decided to slide into the ball, but his clearance smacked the oncoming Moreno in the shin and bounced on towards goal. It wasn't that bad of an idea by Guzan to come out, but why go to ground? If he stayed up, he could have tried to slow him down, allowing time for his defense to get back or follow him into the area and make a grab at it.

Chivas almost got a lucky bounce in the 63rd, but Troy Perkins's face was able to clear it away. Then came the free kick just outside of United's box. Juan Pablo Garcia stepped up to take it and smacked a beauty that hit the cross bar and fell right behind the line and bounced out. Perkins, who had given up on the shot, did what a good keeper should and played the ball as if it were alive. Sure enough, the call was no goal. So was it or wasn't it? I think it was, but since the ref said no, it was not. But even if it had been, DC got a second in fantastic fashion. Freddy Adu playing as a late sub placed a great pass to Jamil Walker who one touched to Moreno who placed it in the upper corner. That is the type of soccer we all love to see.

DC 2-0 Chivas

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The new era in New York soccer has begun and ever the most jaded of Metro fans had to be at least a little impressed with what Red Bull did on Saturday. The only shame is that the excitement didn't really carry over to the pitch (which was, for a limited time only, natural grass instead of turf). New York really only threatened twice the whole match. The right post stopped one of them and New England keeper Matt Reis knocked the other one over the cross bar. New England played much better then last week but still did not look anything like the force they should be. Taylor Twellman had multiple chances to get his first goal of the season, but somehow all were denied. Clint Dempsey showed some fancy footwork, but could not finish. Pat Noonan tried to set people up, but could not find the hole. With only one goal so far this season, the Revs are looking lost and if they can't get it done now, what is going to happen when so many are called away to Germany?

NY 0-0 NE

By the way, a large portion of the stadium's lights turned off for the final 10-minutes of the match. Maybe George Zoffinger should spend less time worrying about the names of teams that play in the Meadowlands and more time making sure the facility works.

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This game did not live up to all the pre-game offensive hype, but there was really no way it could have. Even without the offensive fireworks of last week, it was still a fun game to watch. Lots of back and forth attacking with both goalies being called upon to make good saves. Brian Ching tried to add a fifth to his season goal count off a free kick by Kevin Goldthwaite in the 37th, but it bounced off the left post. But Ching would not be deprived for long when Goldthwaite served up another wonderful free kick and again Ching placed his head to it, but this time it went in. The home crowd went crazy, however they would soon be silenced. Just two-minutes later KC's Jose Burciaga took a corner kick and placed it in the area. Sasha Victorine pulled a Ching and got his head onto it, sending it past keeper Pat Onstad. The Dynamo tried to get the winner, but when Dwayne De Rosario got a red card for a hard tackle, the team had to fall back into survival mode for the last 13-minutes. Houston held up well, but then Burciaga fired a shot into the net in the 90th. Just a couple minutes later Burciaga would be sent off for his second yellow, but there was not enough time for Houston to claw out a tie.

Houston 1-2 KC

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For two weeks in a row, Dallas has found itself behind and managed to rally back for the win. Real Salt Lake made a match of this one. Yes, they were outplayed, but they were not embarrassed. For Dallas, they really need to stop fouling within striking distance of their goal. On just such a free kick, Real got their first goal of the season. Andy Williams tapped the ball to Chris Klein who bent a shot into the top left corner of the net. But FCD did not let it stand as they kept coming. In the 43rd Carlos Ruiz was surrounded by Real's defense but managed to back heel a pass to Kenny Cooper who put it past former Dallas keeper Scott Garlick. Ruiz had a chance at a goal himself in the 56th when Roberto Mina placed a cross to him. Ruiz chested it down and fired, but Garlick defected it to defender Carey Talley who tired to clear, only to have Mark Wilson step in front of it and punch it back into goal.

Dallas 2-1 Salt Lake

It's interesting to see Carlos Ruiz without a goal yet this season. The fact that he has been very happy to draw the defense to him and then make great passes to open players suggest that he really is in it for the team this year.

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The first thirty minutes of play belonged to the Crew. They managed to shutdown the Rapids offense while making good, controlled passes and decent attempts on goal. If Colorado didn't have a keeper like Joe Cannon, they would have been in the hole more then one goal. So what happened? Once the Rapids tied it up in the 35th off a cross from Terry Cooke that Jovan Kirovski headed into the corner, the Crew just withdrew from the game. When Kyle Beckerman blasted a shot that reflected off defender Brandon Moss and into his own goal, the tone was set, there would be no recovery for Columbus today. That didn't keep the Crew from trying when in the 61st Ritchie Kotschau put in a shot that Cannon could not get hold of, but hit the crossbar. The Rapids finally put it away for good in the 67th when Fabrice Noel headed home a Terry Cooke cross. The Crew has now gone seven matches at Invesco Field in Denver without a win.

Colorado 3-1 Columbus

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Surely this would be the night that LA starts playing like the MLS champions. Chicago is a young team on a long road trip while LA is stock full of talent. Yet somehow LA managed to only walk away with a point and look poor while doing it. The Fire's Chris Rolfe lead the way for them in the first 45-minutes, but they just could not find away past goaltender Kevin Hartman. LA had some good chances as well (including a Donovan to Gomez free kick that Chicago's Zach Thornton had to stretch to save), but they were missing that final pass. LA could get it down field, but had trouble getting it into the box. In the 50th minute the Fire's Thiago had two great chances in the matter of a minute. His first was a shot right inside the box that was barely deflected out and his second as a shot from the top of the 18 that Hartman had to dive to stop. LA answered with a near miss of their own in the 62nd when Chris Albright redirected a corner kick with his head into the crossbar.

In the 78th, there was another corner and Albright again claimed it with his head, but this time he found net. Finally, LA scores. They almost got a second a few minutes later when Ned Grabavoy found a streaking Donovan with a long ball, but his shot went wide. LA was looking like the team they should be, but then it happened. In the 86th minute, Chicago got a free kick from almost the same spot as NE's kick last week that ended up with a goal. Thiago took the kick, but this time it was Jim Curtin that put his head to it and made the game level. The crowd sank and the game sputtered to a tie.

LA 1-1 Chicago

By the way, are the sideline video billboards new to LA this season? I don't remember them from last year. If they are new, that's really very amazing.

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This week the teams were not very kind to my predictions. Here's how my wife and I did:



MatchFinalMeWife
DC-Chivas2-02-13-1
NE-NE0-00-21-2
Houston-KC1-23-22-0
FCD-RSL2-13-02-1
Colorado-Crew3-11-10-1
LA-Fire1-12-11-3


PersonThis WeekSeason
Mike2-47-5
Wife2-46-6


It was a hard week for both of us.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Bill said...

The electronic adboards were introduced last year when Real Madrid came to play at HDC. After that point, some of the games had them and others had old fashioned adboards - my guess was that there were technical glitches.

The HDC is a heck of a stadium, especially on TV. It's only too bad it's in LA. Hopefully in a few years all MLS cities will be able to put on a show like that - including San Jose.

7:04 AM  

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