Monday, April 16, 2007

2007 MLS Week 2 Recap or Welcome back to form

There was much improvement in play in week 2, even if the weather was, for the most part, nastier. It was also nice to see the netting of the goals getting used more this week as 16 goals were scored for an average of 2.6 per game, however five teams failed to score. Anyway, here are some quick recaps.

Columbus Crew 0-0 Real Salt Lake
Real was trying to get their offense started against a confused Crew defense but they were just missing that final touch or were just a bit offside. Columbus were able to provide some nice work of their own, however this was a match for the goalkeepers. Both Nick Rimando (RSL) and Andy Gruenebaum (CC) put forward amazing performances that kept their teams level.

Toronto FC 0-4 New England Revolution
Let's try to understate this one, Toronto is having some issues with their backline and their attack seems to be limited. The Revolution was connecting all the dots allowing Taylor Twellman to return in style. For too long Twellman has looked a little flat, but not Saturday night. He was finding every hole, and there were a lot, and sticking it to them. The few times Toronto did venture into New England's territory, James Riley stepped up to shut them down. For the team from Canada, the arrival of Daniele Dichio cannot come soon enough.
Goals: NE: Taylor Twellman 12', 18', Shalrie Joseph (pk) 60', Andy Dorman 72'

KC Wizards 4-2 DC United
In the pouring rain Eddie Johnson was reborn. I thought this would be the best match of the weekend and I turned out to be correct, although a number of United fans might disagree. The Wizards might have got some help from DC's shoes, but even without it, they were by far the better of the two sides. Johnson and Co. picked apart DC's backline, which never found any real structure while the Wizards' midfield ran a lot of the show (to be fair, DC looked better against KC then they did against Colorado). KC's defense lead by a reemerging Jimmy Conrad, also was strong on when United's attack was trying to push forward. If DC can take one thing away from Saturday it's that their frontline seems to be coming together. Now they just need to get the ball.

By the way, as much talk as Johnson will get from this game, and he should, I was really impressed by Michael Harrington and not just because he set a record for quickest ever first MLS goal. He was making runs and causing havoc on a level far above a rookie. Great first showing and I can't wait for more.

Even though I predicted a DC win, I thought that this game would cause people to start looking at them as possible 'paper tigers.' With a defeat, well the talking has begun.
Goals: KC: Michael Harrington 3', Sasha Victorine 8', Eddie Johnson 46+', Scott Sealy 54'
DC: Luciano Emilio 11' Christian Gomez 34'

Chivas USA 0-1 Houston Dynamo
The reason Houston won this match can be tied very much to Pat Onstad. He turned in another amazing performance to keep his club from disaster. Starting at just the 20th second and leading up to just about the last second, his saves of ‘should have been’ goals were wonderful. He made up for a backline who seemed to enjoy giving Ante Razov all the time in the world and a midfield, who for most of the match, with the exception of Ricardo Clark, couldn't get anything past Chivas. The Dynamo stepped it up in the second half but is lucky that Chivas failed with every chance they got, thus costing them at least a point.
Goal: HD: Brian Ching 65'

FC Dallas 0-3 New York Red Bulls
I don't know what Dallas has ever done to Clint Mathis but he sure does hate their soccer team. With Claudio Reyna nursing an injury, the role of leader fell to Mathis and, in one of the biggest shocks of the weekend, he ran with it. In weather that brought back images of the 1996 MLS Cup, Mathis woke up and surged. I only got to listen to the audio feed of the match, but it sure did sound like it was the MetroStar Mathis on the pitch. He setup Josmer Altidore for the first goal and then made a meal of an Altidore pass for the second. Even better news for the Red Bulls, their defense was outstanding and kept Dallas from having opportunities. Dallas's defense was in a bad place before the start of the match, but the loss of David Wagenfuhr with his second concussion in two-years might just spell doom.
Goals: NY: Josmer Altidore 18' Clint Mathis 34', Dave van den Bergh 93+'

Chicago Fire 1-1 Colorado Rapids
The Fire should not be happy with this result as they played a man up for almost the entire match. Roberto Brown went off in the 6th minute with a direct red, which gave the Fire many opportunities, but they did not make much of them. The Rapids were in bunker mood for most of the game and only managed three total shots, yet they walk away with a point. Yes, the wind was playing havoc with any ball that want more then 2 inches off the grass, but that is no excuse for the Fire side. Only getting one shot in the first half is not acceptable. Their backline might be all right but until they sort out their attack, the Fire will keep coming up short.
Goals: CR: Herculez Gomez 58'
CF: Chad Barrett 85'

Week two is now ever and done and I'm happy to say that I did better with my predictions. I went 3-3 on the weekend for a new season total of 4-9 while the wife went 2-4 and 3-10 overall.

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