Monday, September 17, 2007

2007 MLS Week 24 Recap or the race for eighth stays hot

DC United, the New England Revolution (added on edit) and the Houston Dynamo clinched their spots in the post season this week, but the most interesting part of the picture is what is happening in terms of the eighth spot. Chicago, Columbus and Colorado all entered the weekend within a point of the final spot and not much changed. Chicago fought back down a man to take a point, the Rapids pulled one of the biggest surprises of the season by earning a point against Chivas while the Crew's run of 'luck' continued when they lost late to KC.

As far as everyone else, not a lot of dancing going on.

Anyway, here are the regular league numbers 159 games into the season:
SeasonWeek 24
Att per game16,06317,998
Beckham Att (5*)195,8470
Beckham Avg Att39,1690
Goals per game2.6793.375
Inter-conferenceEast 27-22-22East 2-0-1
Ties38 (23.9%)3 (37.5%)
* Number of MLS matches with Beckham in attendance
** I cannot locate the attendance numbers for Colorado-Columbus (2 Sept), so the season average is for only 158 games.

Real Salt Lake 0-0 Toronto FC
How can a team that plays like TFC really go 822-minutes without a goal? They were all over Real on Saturday but they had no finishing touches (even when they were up a man for an hour). There were at least three occasions were it was harder to miss the netting then to make it yet somehow the team from Canada found ways of flubbing them. All credit must be given to Nick Rimando who played a near perfect game between the posts for Real. On the plus side, manager Mo Johnson just got a two-year extension to figure out what is wrong with the club.
Attendance: 20,098

FC Dallas 2-4 New England Revolution
Carlos Ruiz had his best game of the season for FCD but the Revs were able to more then compensate with their pure coverage in the attack. FCD's defense wasn't playing bad yet NE was able, time and time again, to sneak into spots and create the little things that kept Dallas on their heals. The one Rev that looked flat on the night was Matt Reis.
Goals: NE: Pat Noonan (6) 29', (7) 65', Steve Ralston (3) 78', Khano Smith (1) 90'
FCD: Carlos Ruiz (5) 35', (6) 84'
Attendance: 15,289

Columbus Crew 2-3 Kansas City Wizards
This one might just be the one that breaks the Crew's season. They were up 2-1 going into the 93rd minute and they end up getting nothing. The Crew saw their flow return for large portions of this one and were able to make KC suffer for their poor ball control in their own half, but it just all fell to junk in the end. The Crew defense was doing a reasonable job till the end when they gave up a pk in the 93rd and, a minute later, let Scott Sealy beat his man on a last second centering cross. These are the kind of burns that don't heal.
Goals: KC: Scott Sealy (3) 31', (4) 94+', Eddie Johnson (15) pk 93+'
CC: Alejandro Moreno (5) 65', Any Herron (4) 67'
Attendance: 10,217

New York Red Bulls 2-2 Chicago Fire
All season the Fire have had the same problem, they can't do anything with their many build ups. They have gotten better with it, but they still have a long way to go if they hope to hold up some silverware in a couple months. However, coming back and then holding while a man down is impressive. New York is having some offensive problems of their own but most of them have to do with injuries. The best news for the Bulls is how much better keeper Ronald Waterreus looked in this one. Neither of these teams looked like a real threat to the top tier on Saturday but they both have some elements that could become something great with a couple more additions.
Goals: Dave van den Bergh (2) 10', Juan Pablo Angel (15) pk 69'
CF: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (3) pk 54', Gonzalo Segares (1) 70'
Attendance: 20,586

Chivas USA 1-1 Colorado Rapids
I don't know if it was the rain delay or the cats napping but this one was just felt long. Maybe it had something to do with Chivas's plan to just hold the ball after they went up in the 13'. Now I understand that the Rapids are not much of an offensive threat but playing keep away for 80 minutes is a bit much. The game got physical, as Colorado games often do, but even that seemed contained. The game ended in a tie which is about what was deserved although the Rapids tried to lose it with some shoddy defensive work, but Chivas was not going to bite.
Goals: CV: Sacha Kljestan (4) 13',
CR: Colin Clark (2) 76'
Attendance: 14,503

Houston Dynamo 3-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
If you want to see LA's season in just one play, watch Houston's third goal. Ching put a low ball into the box but the Galaxy had three defenders around it. So what do they do? They just stop, allowing Ricardo Clark to sneak in from the side and pop one past Joe Cannon. Oh what must have been going through Beckham's head during that one? The Dynamo owned this match but needed a little luck to control the score as the pk awarded at the start of the second half was weak. LA put a couple good balls in but they could not apply pressure over large stretches thanks mainly to their poor defensive work. Dwayne De Rosario looked much better this week and Biran Ching returned to play for the first time since 19 August, which is good for Houston but he came in as a sub for Joseph Ngwenya why he went down in the 42'. If the Dynamo can stay healthy, they have a chance of a repeat.
Goals: Ryan Cochrane (1) 21', Dwayne De Rosario (5) pk 47', Ricardo Clark (2) 73'
Attendance: 25,217

And there are the games from the weekend. Now for the playoff picture if everything ended today.
DC United - Kansas City
New England - New York

Houston Dynamo - Chicago Fire*
Chivas USA - FC Dallas

Just a reminder that MLS does not have a direct 1-8 playoff system, instead the take the eight top teams from the league and then divides them by conference. *If a conference qualifies more then 4 teams, the fifth place team moves over to the other conference and plays the top seed in that conference.

Since every week I type this someone leaves be a comment saying that I am in fact wrong and the MLS has a direct 1-8 playoff system (1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, etc), I direct your attention to this MLS page explaining that teams will be conference based. This is a change the league made mid-season designed to make the playoffs as goofy as possible.

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Blogger Allen said...

Shoddy defense? That sounds like Chivas during the last 18 minutes and during the first 10. If anything this game showed if you take the game to Chivas they'll struggle to snuff out your attack. Instead of looking to upgrade their offense next year Chivas needs to upgrade their backline.

6:20 PM  

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