Sunday, August 07, 2005
Thoughts from a full day of MLS action
Yeah, I know the Championship, Bundesliga and a host of other leagues got started today but the only league I really care about right now (yeah, I'll probably wake up for the Community Shield match tomorrow) had a full dose of action to start the second half of the season.

In no particular order:

• Excellent game between RSL and Chivas USA. Certainly a fight around the 20th minute gets the blood pumping even if the ref had no chance of keeping order or handing cards to the right person. Yeah, Cleetus didn't deserve a red card (and what did Arias do?) but the ref was out of league to start the match and his crew was ill-prepared to handle that situation (although great coverage by ESPN2 of Romo's dive). Refs should take care of that stuff in the pre-game meeting! That's why you have it in the first place.

Also glad to see someone like Andy Williams get the 5,000th goal and ecstatic that it wasn't a Matt Behncke own-goal or something like that. Talk about a nightmare situation for the league.

Glad the Monarchs could pull out the win. Tough luck that Colorado also picked up a win tonight over teh Galaxy. At some point, we're going to stop worrying about whether RSL can catch the Rapids and the Galaxy is going to have to be the ones worrying about whether they make the playoffs at all. Up only five over Colorado and ten over RSL, it's not likely the Gals will miss the playoffs but I just don't see how Sampson survives this season. If I didn't want him for our next national team boss I'd tell AEG to break the bank to bring Gus Hiddink in. Actually, I wouldn't, since the only MLS team I don't like is FC Hollywood.

• I was supposed to produce the KC - New England game tonight but I did just enough to get that up and running so that I could tune in to the opener of Pizza Hut Park.

First off, let's say this: any time MLS opens a new park it's big news. Outside of Harrion opening tomorrow, opening the Brick Oven is the most important thing MLS will do this season.

Playing games at the Cotton Bowl was becoming a soul sucker for this franchise and with brand spanking new unis, this was a team that needed a shot of adrenaline that all the Carlos Ruiz wundergoals weren't going to bring about.

And the stadium was beautiful tonight. One of the things that most stuck out at me was the shot of players playing a game in Dallas with fans behind them. I'd become so used to the empty stands at the Bowl that seeing fans in the stand, and an aboslutely luscious field, just caught me off guard.

It helped that the game was great. Each team scored excellent goals (both of Ruiz's and Youri's second) and each team could have rightly justified two additional goals (how did EJ miss that?).

Teh Grown Ass Man is still, clearly, not match fit but Carlos Ruiz is. How is it the most talented are often the most mercurial. We might be able to list all five nominees for Goal of the Year from Ruiz this year ... that backheel was sensational. Not a bad chip from Youri, either.

Just a great way to open the stadium and, for the first time that I can remember, Dallas had the highest attendance this week ... and the rest of the games weren't slouches either (except for S.J.).

• I feared a low-attendance backlash for the Summer Soccer Celebration last month where fans just needed a week off to let their credit cards cool off. While it certainly wasn't a banner night, we did have one over 16,000 and two 14,000 games. Only NE was a disappointment. I'm used to San Jose not drawing well and still don't understand how the city thinks they deserve a team when they can't draw anyone to what otherwise looks like a decent facility (despite MLS not making a dime there). I can understand why FCD had such a hard time drawing and the MetroStars Giant dud proved itself.

I just don't understand what's up with that area.

• Here's something I wasn't expecting at the beginning of the season ... San Jose is in first place. Even though FCD has a game in hand, here's my vote for Dom Kinnear for Coach of the Year.

• I still think Chivas USA can make the playoffs but they really, really needed the game today. I can't wait to see what they look like with Palencia and Loquito in the lineup. A good offense makes a porous defense look better.

• I didn't get to watch the D.C. - Chicago game but here's the big thoughts

  • Damn, the Franchise got hurt. He should have come off as soon as he got hurt ... I think we all forget he's 16. His body can't handle the stresses the same way an adult's can. Read the quotes from the game. Freddy knew he was done ... don't force it, Nowak. That's the future of American soccer right there.

  • Every game these guys play is good. Here's to a D.C. - Chicago Eastern Conference Final.

• Final thoughts? Good weekend. Everything was flying with the those start times. In the future, I really hope we can stagger some of these games. One, because that makes my job easier but, two, I really want people to see these games. Could you imagine a 2:00 p.m. Eastern start time (yeah, it'd be hot), a 4pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm? All day soccer. That'd be awesome.

Of course, with seven games in a weekend (after the next round of expansion which is when the TV deals get renegotiated), we could do two 6pms, two - three 8pm/7:30pms and two 10pms. Perhaps even a Sunday game at the new Metroplex in Harrison.

Lots of positives out of this week. None moreso than the Brick Oven. It's going to be an exciting stretch run.


Blogger incendiarymind said...

Good to know I wasn't the only one who was letting my credit card cool. I'm still wondering if it's too hot to touch for the Wizards match on Wednesday (now that it's super meaningful).

We already get all day soccer, just not all domestic and some of it in tape delay. I can't even count how many Saturdays I've wasted listening to the early Premiership match, catching a Colaship afternoon, listening to 606, turning on the MLS matinee, and listening to the nightcap. And that was before I had FSC.

2:04 PM  
Blogger maradawga said...

It's not that I don't like the English or European leagues (nothing beats Champions League in my book, not even the NCAA basketball tournament) but I prefer the American game. A lot of that probably has to do with me spending so much time paying attention to it.

I admit that I can watch a lot of games during the day on Saturday but what I really want is an NFL style matchup. Pre-game show at 11, first game at 1, second game at 4 and nightcap at 8. I want them to be all games that I care about, not just the ones that give me soccer all day (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I've got a post working on something similar to what scaryice posted awhile back as to where the league is in terms of its growth. I'm excited about what lays ahead for MLS.

2:50 PM  
Blogger D said...

Hey Dawg --

Perhaps I can clarify to some degree my response to you over @ DCenters... I realize that a adolescent anatomy is different from a fully grown one. I think this situation works because Adu didn't do more damage, proved his toughness, and the next time (god forbid) he goes down, everyone will take him seriously if he knows he needs out of the game. It works out okay. I agree, it could have been a nightmare if he tried to stay in the game and did more damage (like to a growth plate or something).

8:48 AM  
Anonymous John said...

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9:51 PM  

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