Monday, April 09, 2007

2007 MLS Week 1 Recap or 'Well, at least its back.'

Week 1 of the 2007 season is done and, well, I think it will get better. That said, there was some good play to be had. Anyway, here is my quick recap.

DC United 1-2 Colorado Rapids
This turned out to be the best match of the weekend, so the league lucked out having it on ABC. Colorado managed to shut down the very powerful DC midfield, and take the game to their questionable backline. Ben Olsen tried repeatedly to turn it for United, but again and again, the Rapids swarmed. DC did recover a bit in the second half, a benefit of being in better game shape, but they just could not pull enough back, no matter how had Luciano Emilio tried.
Goals: DC Luciano Emilio 80'
CR: Herculez Gomez 19', Roberto Brown 35'

FC Dallas 2-2 Real Salt Lake
It is nice to know there are constants in life and that no matter what happens, Real Salt Lake will always manage to surrender goals late. This fact makes the world seem okay. So what about the game? Both sides suffered from problems with their backline and Kenny Cooper was the first to expose that. But RSL actually kept calm and worked away at Dallas and sure enough, Jeff Cunningham used his quick fire skill to pull them back. Cunningham then put them up thinks to a failed clearance by Hislop and a bad call by the linesman. But Real managed to walk away without a win thanks to the pure confusion of goalkeeper Nick Rimando. He called for the ball and missed it, allowing Carlos Ruiz to get an easy boot on it for the tie in the 94th minute.
Goals: FCD: Kenny Cooper 19', Carlos Ruiz 94'
RSL: Jeff Cunningham 29', 51'

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Columbus Crew
Two things were obvious in this one, Claudio Reyna is now the heart of New York (no big surprise) and the Crew actually has some offensive potential. Just about every important play on the night involved Reyna. On the other side of the ball, Columbus actually managed to play most of the second half on the visitor's side of the pitch. I cannot recall the last time I saw that. Ned Grabavoy had a great shot late in the match that just took an unlucky bounce off the post. Too bad as the Crew had earned a goal by that point.

New England Revolution 0-1 Chicago Fire
The action got going quick as Logan Pause redirected a Justin Mapp cross into goal and that's when Chicago's defense took over. They were all over the Revolution, forcing poor shots from odd angles or long distances. When the Rev's did get threw, Matt Pickens, and his goal frame, were there to deny them. Could the fire be the defensive team of 2007?
Goal: Logan Pause 4'

Toronto FC 0-2 Chivas USA
Toronto looked good for the first 15-minutes or so, but then Chivas took control and dominated the pace of the match. Ante Razov got his 99th MLS goal thanks to a lackadaisical TFC backline and an easy pass from Maykel Galindo. Toronto applied some offensive force late, but that just opened their backline up even more, which lead to Sacha Kljestan's power shot in the 88th. Although I'm sure they are happy with the result, Chivas should have won by four or more goals.
Goals: Ante Razov 35', Sacha Kljestan 88'

Los Angeles Galaxy 0-0 Houston Dynamo
This match kind of summed up the MLS opening weekend, an excited but cold crowd, more then a few poor calls by the ref and a number of good plays that lead to nothing. The first half was definitely the better of the two as both clubs were finding creative ways around the defensive and getting good shots on goal. Then came the second half and a bunch of lackluster effort. Add to it a few bad calls by the linesman and an unfair direct red for Ryan Cochrane and you have a disappointing 45-minutes of soccer. Still, hats off to both keepers as they each came up with at least two big saves.

Now for a review of something that had nothing to do with the game. During pre-game activities, there was a ceremony to honor the winning of the MLS Cup. Part of that ceremony involved the raising of the 'Championship Flag' on a flagpole next to the US and Texas flag. Both these flags were the huge flags you normally see at stadiums (if I had to guess, I would say 15x20 foot or so). When they raised up the 'Championship flag', it turned out to be this little beach towel size thing (think about 3x5). It was so small, it didn't even catch the wind. Everyone was laughing. Later, they put up the full size Dynamo flag (15x20) with the little flag under it and it looked much better, but my question why didn't someone look at this size issue earlier?

Week one is now done and in the books and for the first time in what seems a generation, the Columbus Crew is not currently the worse team in the MLS. This week was not kind to me or the wife's predictions are we both went 1-5. Hopefully next week will see a bit of better form from the league and us as a whole.

By the way, the quote in the title is what my wife had to see when I asked her about all this weekend's games.

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