Monday, April 03, 2006
Five and Five
Hopefully a new permanent Monday-morning look at the week just passed.

Five things I liked from this weekend:

  • New fans. All of the games this weekend had at least 18,000 fans there and many of the stadiums had over 20,000. Houston by far was the biggest surprise as nice weather helped a healthy walkup and nudged (the) Dynamo over 25k.

  • New faces. A lot of the rookies from last year, as well as a few young'uns from this year's crop, played very well. Mostly I'd like to call out Roberto Mina, Kenny Cooper, Kei Kamara, Matt Groenwald and Sasha Klejstan. I thought all of those guys stepped into starting roles they didn't previously have and did a pretty good job. Especially Kamara ... I think that kid is going to be a very good player in this league. He's wicked fast.

    Another kid I was really impressed with is Marvell Wynne. I didn't think he'd adapt to MLS as fast as he did (no pun intended) but his speed cancels out a lot of his technical shortcomings. I think as he gets more comfortable he'll start moving forward more in attack.

  • Familiar faces. Aside from Eddie Johnson's ridiculous 8-pack, the former FC Dallas man and current Wizzle Wizard had a fine debut for the Blues on Saturday. In addition to the goal, just having him on the field really opened up space up top for K.C. and allowed them to attack mercilessly. That and a pourous Columbus D.

    ETA: Oh, I almost forgot. Welcome back, Esky. I'm not a big fan of his but it's nice to see him back on the field and healthy. Now I can go back to hating his game with a clean moral conscience.

  • Chivas USA. The laughingstock of the league last year looked lethal on Sunday, picking apart an admittedly lackluster RSL side. Ante Razov may very well catch Jason Kreis in the goal-scoring charts before Carlos Ruiz if he keeps up this pace though I should temper my expectations, I know, because I could have sworn Columbus would have won the league after last year's First Kick victory over the Gals.

  • Red Bulls. Bringing 800 fans to D.C. and upping the ante on an already good rivalry really accentuated the play on the field. Yeah, they're the same ol' team (can't protect a lead, can't hold the midfield) but at least it's a point in the first game.

    Five things I didn't like from this weekend:

  • Freddy Adu. The kid had an ok game notching two assists and when he looks up to pass the ball, he made great reads and even better placement on his passes (especially the one that set up the second goal). Still, would it kill you to pass more often, son? I know you have more individual skill than just about anyone else in MLS but you don't have to beat everyone off the dribble. You've got some other good teammates, too.

  • Real Salt Lake. Where was the fire, lads? Where was the heart? Where was even a semblance of tactical organization? Granted it's just one game, and L.A. came back from a 3-0 drubbing last year to do pretty well, but I don't see Landon Donovan falling in your laps this year. Does this start the Ellinger hot-seat watch?

  • Galaxy. After a touching tribute to Doug Hamilton, the L.A. Galaxy I remember finally stepped on the field. I don't like L.A. even when they are playing well so it goes without saying that I didn't like their gameplan on Saturday. New England manhandled the the gold and green and kept them from getting anything set up. You have this guy on your team named Landon. I've heard he's pretty good. Perhaps you should try and get him the ball.

  • Clint Mathis. Talk a bunch of crap about Ellinger and then go off after 19 minutes? If EJ's 8-pack made me embarrased, it should have shamed you and your pudgy self since you, y'know, get paid to be in shape.

  • BigSoccer. There were six good games, great crowds and beautiful color on TV all weekend and all these yahoos do is complain the whole time. Oooh, we're going to have to pay for games online. Oooh, MLS isn't on FSC. Oooh, the referees are horrible. MLS is back after what seems like a longer offseason than ever, has a bunch of great storylines and you guys can't just shut up and enjoy the weekend for a change? C'mon.

    Blogger Kali said...

    Hey, at least we RSL fans had something tangible to bitch about...

    12:23 PM  
    Blogger maradawga said...

    Yeah, I feel for you guys. Hopefully you can get it turned around quickly. It doesn't get any easier next week against Dallas.

    12:38 PM  
    Blogger D said...

    Hey, you heard me say it -- I'm willing to pay the twenty. I'm actually surprised MLS has let it be free for so long.

    1:22 PM  
    Blogger D said...

    And how can you hate on my man Esky? I think that you, of all people, should be in his corner as he is, when good, exactly the kind of dynamic striker that people like to see.

    1:24 PM  
    Blogger maradawga said...

    I can hate on Esky very easily ... because he's good and he knows it. He's a good villain for everyone who doesn't like D.C. much. =)

    1:33 PM  
    Blogger brucio said...

    i love opening weekend every year and this was the best ever! i was a happy dude for two straight days despite being sick as hell before and after it

    3:09 AM  
    Anonymous nico said...

    It's easy to hate on Esky because of that smug cigar chomping photo.

    That being said, I'm glad he's back on the field. I wouldn't wish his injury on my greatest enemy.

    1:05 AM  

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