Monday, October 01, 2007

2007 MLS Week 26 Recap or So little movement but so much change

The season is quickly coming to a close and even though there was not a lot of movement in the standings, week 26 showed a lot of interesting possibilities. On a whole, the league continued to increase their average attendance per game numbers thanks in large part to the 33,000 at KC on Thursday and the 27,000 that turned out for Chivas on Saturday. The Chivas number is the most impressive as they have been playing in front of some of the tiniest crowds in the league up till a few weeks ago, but can they continue to get those numbers when Blanco is not on the field?

Anyway, here are the regular league numbers 174 games into the season:
SeasonWeek 26
Att per game16,43222,905
Beckham Att (5*)195,8470
Beckham Avg Att39,1690
Goals per game2.6842.71
Inter-conferenceEast 28-25-25West 2-1-2
Ties44 (25.3%)2 (28.6%)
* Number of MLS matches with Beckham in attendance
** I cannot locate the attendance numbers for Colorado-Columbus (2 Sept) or LA-Columbus (30 Sept) so the season average is for only 172 games.

Colorado Rapids 0-1 New England Revolution
The Revs were without Avery John or Taylor Twellman but still handled most of this game just fine. Colorado played their regular style of strong defense and not much else soccer, but they could not ride out the full 90. Actually, the Rapids tried to give the game away in the first 10-minutes when keeper Bouna Coundoul gave the Revs Adam Cristman a golden chance off a bad distribution, but Cristman just sent it right back to Coundoul. Still, the goal that all but kills off Colorado's playoff hopes kind of summed up the season for the Rapids as Khano Smith sent it right through Coundoul's legs in the 88' to win the full 3 points.
Goal: Khano Smith (2) 88'
Attendance: 19,166

Real Salt Lake 2-2 New York Red Bulls
It is a shame Real didn't look like this a couple months ago because they are playing better then a couple playoff possible teams. Still, the team cannot shake their past completely as a late error again cost them points. Now it is not the stoppage time errors that made the team famous the first half of the season, so it is a little better, but they are still errors nonetheless. The Bulls had wonderful control until Claudio Reyna went out of the match. Clint Mathis gave them something in the middle but without Reyna, this team is not the same threat. Can Reyna still healthy long enough for New York to be a contender in the playoffs? For Real, Beckerman is making a strong case for best acquisition ever for the club.
Goals: RSL: Chris Brown (4) 22', Kyle Beckerman (3) 75'
NY: Francis Doe (2) 49', Juan Pablo Angel (17) pk 80'
Attendance: 15,855

Toronto FC 1-4 DC United
Toronto might have given United an early scare, but in the end, DC rolled on as expected. It seemed DC was experiencing a little hangover from their Wednesday night match but after about 30-minutes, they settled and in the second half reformed. The first 20-minutes of the second half were some of the best DC has played and the final goal by Emilio was just a nice cap to everything.
Goals: TFC: Carl Robinson (2) 14'
DC: Marc Burch (1) 52', Fred (7) 57', Jaime Moreno (7) 66', Emilio (20) 70'
Attendance: 25,174

Chicago Fire 1-1 Chivas USA
So should it have been a pk or did Alex Zotinca get a piece of the ball? That question might pop up again soon if this ends up being the first round playoff match-up. So what did I learn about Blanco from this match, he knows how to play for the fans. Okay, already knew that but I think this was the most relaxed I've seen him in a match and what do you know, he was the Fire's key. Chivas had some cross bar fun but for the most part failed to string together possession as they have been doing over the past couple months but that might have something to do with the pure physical play the Fire was showing. They really were checking the goats every chance they got. So about the penalty, Blanco runs the ball into the final third, goes into the box, looks to be getting a one-on-one with Brad Guzan and then Alex Zotinca takes him down, but it did look like he got a toe on the ball to make it all legal. The Fire didn't see it that way and all insanity breaks out with Chicago coach Juan Carlos Osorio getting tossed. This is the sort of thing that could make the first round of the playoffs an amazing thing to watch.
Goals: CF: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (4) 24'
CV: Claudio Suarez (3) pk 82'
Attendance: 27,000

Houston Dynamo 3-0 FC Dallas
The Dynamo dominated Dallas but those three points might not make up for the loss of Ricardo Clark. As always when these two meet, it got physical, but Houston was able to expose Dallas's increasingly poor midfield to take the ball just about anywhere and then laughing at their defense while they stand around watching. Dwayne De Rosario is rediscovering his footing and getting better at making space for the Dynamo while Toja is shrinking for Dallas. I really don't get what happens to Dallas at the end of every season, but it seems to be happening again as they are playing some of their worst soccer of the year (and Denilson still is not providing anything). But let's talk Clark who's short-term future is now in the hands of the MLS discipline committee after kicking Carlos Ruiz in the final minute of play. Clark felt Ruiz was being a bit wild with his knees, so he decided to give him a little message by kicking him in the side while he was on the ground. I have little doubt that Ruiz was doing his usual crap foul tactics that he does so well during the match, but Clark's response was beyond stupid. He could be looking at a 5-game suspension meaning he would miss the first round of the playoffs. Houston is good but they need Clark in that holding position to open up the field for the team. With him out, Houston is less of a team.
Goals: HD: Dwayne De Rosario (6) 46+', Eddie Robinson (2) 62', Stuart Holden (4) 84'
Attendance: 17,366

Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Columbus Crew
It took some luck but LA made it three in a row (and they didn't need a red card to get the win). Columbus took an early lead but relaxed, which allowed LA to take the lead within 15-minutes. LA's first goal was just strange as it bounced around and took a deflection or two before just slow poking over the goal line, but the second goal was one of skill. But the most impressive part of the game for the Galaxy is the way their defense held. Yes, they got some help from the crossbar, but Columbus threatened a lot late but could not steal one. Cobi Jones continues to look like a player with a year more left in him while Landon Donovan was actually creating things during this one. Could it be that LA will late rally into the post season? They are still 6-points behind Chicago with four games to play (Chicago has three), but with Clark out for Houston (their opposition next Sunday), and then games against Toronto and New York at home, it might all come down to the final day when they had to Chicago to see if they can get the win.
Goals: CC: Alejandro Moreno (6) 2'
LA: Troy Roberts (1) 13', Kyle Martino (3) 16'

Now for the playoffs. If the season ended today, here are the first round matchups:
DC United vs. Kansas City
New England vs. New York

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

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Anonymous Laurie said...

Just verifying that you know that this post was reposted on another site and that this has your approval.

I've had some of my stuff pilfered recently without permission, so when I see things I've read reposted elsewhere, I like to point it out to the authors. Just fyi.

1:37 PM  

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