Monday, September 24, 2007

2007 MLS Week 25 Recap or a full slate of good games

Week 25 saw a number of ties but also some great goals. DC's Jaime Moreno, LA's Chris Klein and NE's Taylor Twellman had some of the best, but by no means the only good net finders on the week. Also, something that the league can take a great deal of pride in, for the third week in a row, average attendance has increased. It is not a huge jump, but seeing how MLS has a history of seeing numbers drop as the season comes to a close, this is a wonderful change.

The run for the Supporter's Shield seems to still be down to DC and Chivas with United having a bit of an advantage while the fight for the last playoff spot might just be about to lose a team. All in all, a great weekend of action.

Anyway, here are the regular league numbers 167 games into the season:
SeasonWeek 25
Att per game16,10118,878
Beckham Att (5*)195,8470
Beckham Avg Att39,1690
Goals per game2.6832.75
Inter-conferenceEast 27-23-23West 1-0-1
Ties42 (25.1%)4 (50.0%)
* 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 166 games.

Columbus Crew 2-1 Toronto FC
For the first time since July 7, Toronto got a goal, ending their streak at 824-minutes. As great as that news is, it still doesn't solve the issues that team are having on attack or the muddled defense. The Crews first goal found Jason Garey in the middle of the box unmarked while their second saw Jacob Thomas just blast past any attempt TFC could make. Columbus deserved the win on the day as they really only had a couple periods of poor play. They still need to reconnect in their midfield, but they are looking like the team to challenge Chicago for the final playoff spot.
Goals: TFC: Miguel Canizalez (1) 2'
CC: Jason Garey (1) 61', Jacob Thomas (1) 83'
Attendance: 20,127

New England 2-2 New York
So much of soccer is luck and New York had a bunch of bad in that category on Saturday night. They had shots bouncing off the bars, cleared off the line and a goal called back off a horrible offside call. Still, the Bulls would not be denied at least one point. This was a very good outing for the Reds as Juan Pablo Angel was looking dangerous again, Francis Doeis proving to be a wonderful addition and Claudio Reyna played his best game in over a month, causing them to look dangerous on the breaks as well as from free kicks. New England owes a lot to their defense and Matt Reis who, after a few iffy outings, looks strong again. But the talk on this one should be about Taylor Twellman who made everything of the chances he got and kept his team from walking away with nothing. By the way, good move by Bruce Arena to bring in Mathis and Altidore with 20-minutes remaining. It knocked the Revs defense a bit off stride for the remainder of the match. Also, great to see a respectable crowd at this one. Keep it up New York.
Goals: NE: Taylor Twellman (13) 22', (14) 70'
NY: Francis Doe (1) 37', Juan Pablo Angel (16) 84'
Attendance: 16,823

Colorado Rapids 0-1 Real Salt Lake
If there was any doubt that a change of attitude is taking place within the Real franchise, look no further then Saturday's wet match against the Rapids. Yes, Colorado had a number of big players out, but that didn't stop RSL, who had a number of their own big names out as well, from flatting the Rapids. From their play, you never would have guessed that Colorado was the side that needed to win in order to keep pace in the playoff hunt as they were lackluster in almost every department. They could strong passes together, get a decent shot off or stop the Real attack. Okay, the Rapids did have a few good chances but Nick Rimando stepped up when needed and kept his team from falling. The Rapids have the easiest schedule of the three teams looking to claim the final playoff spot, but if they look like they did on Saturday, it is never going to happen.
Goal: Kyle Brown (2) 30'
Attendance: 14,089

Kansas City 1-2 Chivas USA
Chivas finally clinch their playoff berth with this win, but Eddie Johnson tried to make it difficult for them. EJ was the center of KC's attack, but his shots were not the best. The Wizards defense is what let them down on the night as both Razov goals could have been prevented. The first one say Razov beat his defender by a step while his second found him at the top of the box with no one around him, late in stoppage time. The resulting goal is one of the best of the week. Chivas again showed their ball skills and patience in attack and looks now to have all but a lock on the Western Conference crown. For the Wizards, they have to be a little concerned about their current form and the playoff hunt. They are still four points up on Chicago and five on Columbus, but with a difficult final three games DC, at NY and at FCD, they better hope to get three points against LA on Thursday or they could be in some serious mud.
Goals: CV: Ante Razov (10) 69', (11) 92+'
Attendance: 13,214

DC United 1-1 Chicago Fire
Chicago gave DC a run in this one as they owned a majority of the game, but in the end, if you give DC just a couple chances, you are going to pay. The lone Fire goal was the textbook example of what Blanco can do with a pass combined with great ball skills by Chad Barrett, but that goal was nowhere near as amazing as Jaime Moreno's strike in the 86'. His shot some how curled in by just skimming along the bar. When watching it live, I didn't think it actually went in because the angle was just so strange. DC did look a little tired during this game so walking out with a point is very positive. For the fire, this is the second game in a week where they have seen points disappear due to late goals. Not a good way to hold off a playoff challenge.
Goals: CF: Chad Barrett (6) 18'
DC: Jaime Moreno (6) 84'
Attendance: 20,079

FC Dallas 1-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
It is good to know that when LA plays up a man for an hour, they can get the win. So what the question must be asked, what was FCD's Chris Gbandi doing on the pitch last night? Is he on the take from Alexi Lalas because he did everything to help LA except score an own goal. I'm surprised he didn't get a direct red for his ugly revenge challenge on Kevin Harmse, then he follows it up by pull and pushing Donovan in the box two minutes later. This earned him a second yellow and Donovan a free kick. Yet Dallas still did okay in the game. Dax McCarty and Juan Toja stepped it up to keep the Galaxy from rough riding their side into the ground. But in the end, it was Chris Klein with some help from Cobi Jones that gave LA a much needed victory. Denilson continues to look out of place for the Hoops while Carlos Ruiz did not have a memorable return to the Home Depot Center. By the way, with the victory, LA earns their second win in the same month for the first time all season.
Goals: FCD: Dax McCarty (1) 11'
LA: Landon Donovan (7) pk 25', Chris Klein (2) 72'

There you have the recap, now let's look at the playoffs. If the season ended today, here are the first round match ups:

DC - Kansas City
New England - New York

Chivas - Chicago*
Houston - Dallas
* Chicago moves over to the West because they are the fifth team from the East to qualify.

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Blogger Allen said...

CO is showing the "easiest" schedule thing doesn't mean a whole lot. Teams that are in or a hair away can afford to take their foot off the peddle a tad. No use going into the playoffs injured or tired if you don't have to.

On the other hand the Rapids have a coach that despite being a goal down seemed to insist on playing a 4-5-1 for much of the game.

1:10 PM  
Blogger YK said...

Hey Mike,

Do you think David Beckham's arrival actually improve LA Galaxy overall. We all know he is more of a marketing tool than a footballer nowadays but i notice LA do play better with him on the pitch. Any comments since you are closer to the action. Im from Singapore :)

10:38 PM  

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