Monday, April 30, 2007

2007 MLS Week 4 Recap or The Visitors Strike Back

Going into week 3, visitors had just a 2-10-6 record yet somehow they managed to win a majority of the week's games. The travelers' record this past week was 4-3 bringing the new visitors' record to 6-13-6. This week also saw something else near magical, no ties. The last MLS week that had a similar outcome was the week of August 21, 2006 (the weekend of Sept 2nd also saw no ties, however there were two ties during midweek play).

As much fun as it is to have winners, five of the seven matches finished 1-0 meaning that the per game goal average stood at just 1.71. On the plus side, there were a good number of fans out to see these games as the average attendance jumped over 1,000 from last week to 14,971.

Anyway, enough with all these numbers, let's talk about some soccer.

Kansas City Wizards 1-0 Toronto FC
You've got to hand it to the fans in Toronto, even with a less then good team on the field, they were excited to be there. As far as Toronto, the first half was the best 45-minutes of soccer they have played all season. Sure that is not saying much, but baby steps are better then nothing at all. They were actually connecting some passes and getting shots while apply some decent midfield play. Then came the second half and KC's dominance of the game. TFC was taken to the mat, yet they still held strong until Eddie Johnson finally connected a shot to give his side the deserved win. TFC did set a bit of history on the night as they became the first MLS side to open up a new soccer specific stadium with a defeat. I don't think that is going to make it in the press release.
Goal: Eddie Johnson 81'

DC United 0-1 Columbus Crew
If the season ended today, the Crew would be in the playoffs. I'm not sure if I'll get to type that again later in the year, so I'm having fun with it now. Anyway, Columbus was nothing special on the night, which tells you a lot about DC. Where has their midfield gone? The good news is their defense is looking better but against a Crew side without Andy Herron, it would be the saddest of sad if they didn't. Anyway, I still think Troy Perkins is just a little off with his placement but he was getting better support from his line. This game should take some of the focus of the back, but without a midfield or a steady attack, DC is going to do a lot more falling before the pick anything up. For the Crew, wow, four games in and undefeated, go Sigi go.

Chivas USA 1-3 Los Angeles Galaxy
Quick recap of this game, Landon Donovan woke up. I've said it many times before and I'll say it again, when Donovan is connecting, LA doesn't lose. Right from the get go he was all over the place, but there was one place where, thankfully, he was seldom seen, kicking dead balls. Having Kyle Martino take most of these was a wonderful move by coach Frank Yallop. Still, his side came out flat in the second half and Chivas found their openings. The space they were creating was fantastic and the work by Jonathan Bornstein was very impressive. But they could not hold it, which allowed for one of my favorite moments of the young season, a goal by Cobi Jones.
Goals: Chivas: Claudio Suarez 63'
LA: Landon Donovan 8', Kevin Harmse 17', Cobi Jones 78'

New England 1-0 FC Dallas
Dallas should be happy that only a bit over 9,000 fans (the third lowest attendance number of any MLS this season) as they were a mess. Their midfield play was nowhere to be found and their offense failed them yet again. Kenny Cooper was almost a non-factor in the match while Carlos Ruiz is having a hard time now that he doesn't seem to get balls in the box. The Revs were good on the day, but still lacking in movement, however the strike by Twellman was fantastic. The team wide technical skill leading up to Twellman's finish was some of the best I've seen in MLS this season.
Goal: NE: Taylor Twellman 13'

Chicago Fire 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Yet again, Houston holds possession for a majority of the game and has nothing to show for it. The first half was very nice with their defense holding strong and those up top getting some great looks at goal. Chicago's packed midfield was causing them some problems, but they were finding ways around it. Then came the second half and it all kind of feel apart. The defense wasn't sticking and the team was having a difficult time moving it forward. Meanwhile the Fire were taking full advantage of this poor form and sending in shot after shot. Sure enough, Chris Rolfe hit net in the 60th. The Dynamo tried some late heroics, but could not finish. By the way, anyone know why the Dynamo supporters’ clubs got kick out of the game?
Goal: CF: Chris Rolfe 60'

There is the weekend rundown. Over the weekend I went 1-4 in my predictions while the wife went 2-3. Our totals for the year stand at:
Wife – 9-16
Me – 8-17

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