Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Which MLS teams got 'hit' the hardest?

Just under half of the 23-man squad named by Arena play for MLS teams. These 11 players will miss games from May 10th till their exit from the World Cup (the final is July 9th). Since MLS will play during the US training camp and the World Cup, teams will be without their best players for at least 10 matches.

Here is the list of MLS players:

F Brigan Ching (Houston), D Jimmy Conrad (KC), M Clint Dempsey (New England), M Landon Donovan (LA), D Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), F Eddie Johnson (KC), M Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado), M John O'Brien (Chivas), M Ben Olsen (DC), D Eddie Pope (Salt Lake), F Josh Wolff (KC)

It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago a lot of people, myself included, thought New England would lose 3 or 4 players to the US national team. It turns out the Revs 'lucked out' as only Clint Dempsey was named to the 23-man roster. When you look at the way the Revs have started this season, this is not a huge surprise as Dempsey and Matt Reis have been the only steady players on the team and injury has hit other key players.

Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, Steve Ralston and Reis were all named to the alternative list, so there is a chance the Rev's number could increase.

The team that will see the most of their top talent serve the USA is Kansas City. The Wizards strike force of Johnson and Wolff will be gone, as will defender Jimmy Conrad. These absences might just cause KC to nose dive, however the Johnson-Wolff pairing has only netted 2 of the club's 8 goals, so maybe it won't be so bad after all.

LA only sees one player off, but that player is their heart and soul, Landon Donovan. Everyone knew he would be gone for the cup, but after watching them play the last few weeks, I don't think anyone realized just how DOA the team is when he is not producing.

Another team that will miss their international player the most is Houston. It is fantastic that Brian Ching surprised everyone and made the team, but since he has 6 of his Dynamo's 9 goals this season, the absence of his head will be noticed.

Then we have Real Salt Lake. If there is a bright spot for Real, it is Eddie Pope. He has been able to tie up the opposition enough to keep his team from getting blown out match after match. Without Pope, Real might just sink to back to 2005 levels.

The Crew will drop even more talent with Hejduk gone, but they haven't been much with him. Colorado is in a similar spot as Columbus with Mastroeni going away. DC will miss Olsen (the only player to not play in a 2006 qualifier and make the team), but they should have enough talent to cover. And Chivas will not be able to turn to O'Brien, but that's okay as he has only played 5-minutes for the club so far.

FC Dallas, Chicago Fire and New York Red Bull don't see any changes in their roster, however the two Chrises of Chicago, Armas and Rolfe, and Tony Meola were named as alternates, so there is still a chance they will have to alter things.

Needless to say, it will be very interesting to see how clubs do during the next couple months.


Blogger cc said...

I never do the Next Blog but did and found this. Nice to find a soccer zealot. I'll be back.

3:45 PM  

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