Monday, September 18, 2006

MLS Week 25 Recap or the weekend of the red card

What did we learn from this weekend of play? First of all, the Columbus Crew can now start thinking about 2007. Yes, there is still a way for them to make the playoffs, but everything in the world would have to go their way to make such a thing happen. Second, LA does not seem good enough to sneak into the fourth spot again this year. Third, the West seems afraid of commitment, thus, with just 4-games remaining, no teams have taken the big step and decided that yes, they do want a playoff position. Finally, the color of fall seems to be red as seven players were sent off in the five matches. Anyway, here is the recap.

Real Salt Lake 3-2 FC Dallas
All FC Dallas needed to do was get a point and they had their playoff spot. One point in Salt Lake. Up till about July, there would have been little question about if they were going to get that point, but the Salt Lake of today is a very different team. FCD had everything going for them in the first half. Carlos Ruiz was hot again getting 2-goals and RSL was down a man. Then came the second half and the Salt Lake come back.

Chris Klein got the tying goal off a quick free-kick and then just 10-minutes later, Jason Kreis found a ball in front of goal to put the 10-man side up 3-2. However, FCD looked like they tied it up a moment later when Kenny Cooper put in a goal, but was ruled offside. All and all, I'm not sure that was the correct call. Then a couple minutes later fortune again showed that it was a Real fan for the night as Atiba Harris came in boot up on a play with Dallas' keeper Dario Sala. Harris got a yellow, but it very easily could have gone red.

In the end, Salt Lake played the smarted game and got the full points meaning FC Dallas is still a point away from getting that playoff spot.

New York Red Bulls 1-0 Columbus Crew
How bad are things for the Crew? There were as many players sent off in this match (3) as they had shots on goal.

This was, without a doubt, an ugly game. Both teams were playing as if their life depended on it because, well, they did. The Red Bulls made more chances, but could not finish till the 83rd when Josmer Altidore snuck one past. However, the Crew had a golden chance at the tie and a little revenge for former New Yorker Eddie Gaven. Gaven found himself with a clear shot on goal in the 90th minute in the penalty area, but spit it off to the right.

That one play really could sum up the whole 2006 campaign for the Crew.

The Red Bulls now find themselves 1-point behind Kansas City for the fourth spot in the East while the Crew still has exactly half the points of top of the table DC.

LA Galaxy 0-0 Colorado Rapids
There are good 0-0 games and their are boring 0-0 games. This one was of the later.

I missed large portions of this game as I kept falling to sleep, but every time I woke up, it was the same sloppy play as when I dozed off. This game was so bad for LA that Colorado actually looked like the offensive power in the first half.

The second half saw a little more action, but even that was limited. I was astonished by what I saw, or didn't see, as LA needed three-points to realistically keep their playoff dreams alive, but the Galaxy were flat all over the pitch. Poor passing, bad attacks and forgettable midfield play. The one high note was Landon Donovan's corner kicks. At least three of them made for good scoring chances.

LA has never missed the MLS post-season, so till they are mathematically eliminated, only a fool will say never, but I cannot really see a way for them to make up six-points in four matches.

By the way, this was the only match that did not see a red card.

Chicago Fire 1-0 DC United
Lots of questionable calls in this one as DC saw two players sent off, but let's talk about play. United is still not where they were before the All-Star game, but they were the better team on the pitch for most of the match. The Fire were lacking in their passing throughout a large portion of the game. It seemed like every third pass was going to a 'missing' player. Still, the feed to Andy Herron for the goal was fantastic.

In the end, DC fans will feel that got screwed on this one and with some good reason. The second yellow to send Bryan Namoff off was a little weak and I'm not sure Joshua Gros deserved a straight red in the 88th.

The win should keep Chicago from having to face DC in the first round of the playoffs, while United still sit 6-points up on Dallas for the Supporters' Shield.

Houston Dynamo 0-0 Chivas USA
All and all, this was a game Houston should have won. Chivas played down a man for 30-minutes and gave up 12 corner kicks. Giving the Dynamo 12 corners is not a smart way to play a game, but somehow they failed to connect on any of them.

Still, with LA destructing and Colorado lacking in the threat column, these two sides seemed to be happy to play for the tie.



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