MLS Week 3: Cocktails and Cluelessness

Let the record show that cara oranges make crappy screwdrivers. Now…MLS Week 3…a little late…life, etc.

Take away the comedy gold of New England failing to score (and, fuck you, New England, I lost money on your failure), maybe Seattle swiping all three points from/in Montreal (Swiper! Knock that shit off!), and all other teams in action pretty much lived up to their respective preseason/early season reputations. Some reputations deepened a little (Columbus), some might have grown (FC Dallas), but it’s not like anyone thought Kansas City would struggle. And some reputations we’re…just…not going to talk about (TIMMBBERRRRRR!)

Games viewed:
Colorado Rapids 2-0 Portland Timbers (faithfully submitted here, but I have to acknowledge that people armed with the latest OPTA technology blew up my suggestion that Dillon Powers faded…fucking techno-bullies)
Sporting Kansas City 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes (more below)

This Week’s Edition of Review the Tape
Definitely Columbus v. Philly, a decision based more on score than results or highlights. I didn’t quite call bullshit on Columbus’ opening day result – and they dominated the game without question – I kept saying, but, but…DC! Put that in the context of Philly’s strong showing against Portland in Week 1 and you have a Columbus team that needs finding out. Still, some quick thoughts: 1) LOVE the DEVO sign; 2) yeah, Federico Higuain is good, but he’s too rarelyn noted how damned slippery the man is for a geezer (wicked change of pace); 3) yeah, yeah, yeah, Bernardo Anor, goal of the week; 4) finally, who is this “Fernandez” kid? I guess that’s why you watch a game…for which you already know the score…

ImageBack to that KC/San Jose Thing
To start this bland and barely informative, San Jose started strong only to have Sporting KC steadily, methodically take over the game. Think of two kids fighting pretty evenly till one gets hold of the other’s ponytail and tightens the grip till….submission. And that’s the end of anything that sounds remotely like a match report. Because fuck those things. Let’s talk about what stood out – for instance: that KC’s Ike Opara playing like a starter even though he’s not a starter and that’s full-time bueno for KC’s central defensive depth; or that (Graham) Zusi + (Benny Feilhaber) makes for one of the league’s most damned-if-you-do midfields; or to propose the heretical suggestion, Zusi maybe shouldn’t take all the crosses perhaps, at least not when he’s floating ‘em like he did Saturday; or that what Benny Feilhaber did in the 66th minute (uh, highlights?) is why you stick with him during his down games because who else does that, especially among Yanquis in MLS?; or that the New England Revolution must have eaten the full regimen of crazy pills all at once when they coughed up that Seth Sinovic cat, because he can straight-up ball; or to ponder just who this fancy-footed Kevin Ellis kid is (home-grown? no shit?) and why do the rich always seem to get richer? On San Jose’s side of the ledger you’ve got that fact that: I love Steve Lenhart, immodestly perhaps, but, yes that was a (shameless) handball on the PK, and shouldn’t a player get sent off for an MMA-esque take down – even if the victim if Aurelien Collin?; Chris Wondolowski deserves recognition for how well and often he helped the ‘Quakes move the ball out of their own half – i.e. that he’s more than a target forward; Atiba Harris, always a marginal-for-MLS player, has slipped below the margin. The game lived up to its billing, at any rate, fast, hard-fought, yet kind of pretty. I happen to rate San Jose, which makes KC’s calm, confident win the more impressive. Any team with any sense will regret their exit from the (stupid, stupid) CONCACAF Champions’ League.

New England 0-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (surely “Shitecaps” has been used by now?)
I actually watched about 35 minutes of the first half, plus another five minutes at the end, and, as fate would have it, I shared the same observation as whomever it was who ran the MatchTracker: Kelyn Rowe looked about as good as anybody, especially anyone wearing Rev Blue (don’t let Seattle own that turn of phrase, people). It looks like the nothing first half continued into a nothing game. Daigo Kobayashi looked pretty lost in the final minutes and I didn’t see much magic from last year’s darling, Diego (Fagundez). Vancouver, for their part, seemed content to phone it in…which is something you can do with New England, at least so far.

Real Salt Lake 1-1 LA Galaxy
REVENGE!-ish. So, probably not enough to sate LA’s appetite for turn-about, but it’s hard to bitch when you have Robbie Keane for consolation. I mean, the guy played balls-out in mid-week and he still skinned a defender (not) literally half his age (but still)…is there performance-enhancing crack in his Gatorade or who? That said, the fuck was LA doing on that opening goal? That’s Alvaro Saborio, people, leaving him time to think about what he’s having for dinner is damned stupid. After that and in all honesty, it’s hard to judge this game by the reel, especially with two teams who do so many little things well. I guess it’s enough to say the stars shined…and Brian Perk’s head looks like a perfect square in headgear. Man could be M.O.D.O.K. for Halloween…

Image

Brian?

Toronto FC 1-0 DC United
Anyone expecting the Toronto FC experiment to keep on bubbling hot didn’t see much in the highlights. Ditto for the DC meltdown. Still, Toronto beats DC by less than they beat Seattle, so, that makes DC better than Seattle, right? So, not all bad. Back in reality, Jermaine Defoe looks every bit as big as advertised; the man’s chances per game is nucking futs. Uh, ditto on that one guy…uh, oh yeah, Michael Bradley. In all seriousness, Bradley’s subtly pulling the strings and it makes some beautiful sounds…and look who was back to help clear up DC’s best chance. Toronto probably bears watching at this point….as for DC, the most interesting question so far is whether Davy Arnaud was laid out badly as he looked. (I’m asking, was he? We’re putting people up; haven’t had time to read shit.)

FC Dallas 3-1 Chivas USA* (*Pending rebranding)
Call this the closest second for a second look. I heard good things about Dallas in the preseason previews and they started strong, no question, but how many times has that been said about Dallas since 1996? That said, it seems like Fabian Castillo’s feelin’ it, which covers one prominent item from the preseason checklist (as in, he does good, they do good). And…say, just noticed how deep the game went scoreless…didn’t catch that earlier. It’s a little surprising given how tentative and crossed-up Chivas looked here and there. And, yes, per some talking points, Mauro Diaz looks not at all bad, in the poise category, especially (though I wonder how he’s going to field those tricky questions); the weight on that pass usually comes later in career, so that’s promising. I guess that biggest knock on Dallas’ strong start comes with who they beat…and that doubles as a take on Chivas; I’d heard some kind words about them after Week 1. Some of what showed up here makes one wonder…not sure I’ll ever watch to find out, though.

Chicago Fire 1-1 Red Bull New York
I’m just gonna say it: I came into this one not giving a shit. Maybe it’s the match-up, maybe it’s the teams; it’s just hard to care here. Still, what happened? Think I saw some game-time tweets about who did what – things about Dax McCarty scoring, more on Big Red’s (Jeff Larentowicz) big season start, Harrison Shipp looking real, etc. I have to say, the highlights sold this one. Chicago might be playing bigger that I expected – a good thing (they showed all right against Portland, certainly) – but it’s hard to bitch about an end-to-end. Chicago came out looking better for sure, but New York…huh. Put a sticky on both teams….so many games, so little time…

Montreal L’Impact 0-2 Seattle Sounders
A wager made me watch these Sunday night (skipped Chicago v. NY; no skin in that one, see?), so I watched these a second time today. Lamar Neagle popped up a lot, which isn’t terribly surprising given his odd flashes in 2013…not what you expect from Montreal ‘keeper Troy Perkins, who is both good, really good at times, and freakin’ cursed (more like David “Calamity” James than any MLS ‘keeper I can recall). Montreal provides the bigger surprise here: no, they haven’t won yet, but they looked competent in their losses…it’s hard to tell in this one, seeing as most of the highlights featured them scrambling back toward goal to stand over a shell-shocked Mr. Perkins. Good win for Seattle, though. I hear good and bad on them. Hard to track so far. Still exploring the theory that Clint Dempsey is locker-room cancer.

All for this week. And it’s enough. Right?

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