MLS Week 7 Feelings Check: Sister Kissing and Absent Forwards

ImageAs just about anyone who cares to know knows, Major League Soccer has a major sister-kissing problem. Hell, the Chicago Fire’s already well around second base, but more than a few other teams – my Portland Timbers among them – well, let’s just say they’re grasping at all the wrong bra straps. Look outside the nuclear family, boys, and chalk up some decent, American wins. Ya sickos…

This has been commented on and, fortunately, there is an upside. Those ties are a fucking god-send when your team is struggling to get started. At least one team comes to mind…with hope’s wings a-flutter over it.

A couple other thoughts occurred to me over this past Week 7, things that don’t fit neatly into the team-by-team narrative that will unfold below. On that, I quit Power Rankings cold turkey (seems to be the only way), so don’t read anything into the order below; I listed all 19 teams in the order that they came to me. And that’s it. I’ll make my measure of them in the comments (and why the hell do I sound like a late 19th-century prospector tonight?).

Getting back to those trends, how many teams are suffering from lost gambles on certain forwards to solve the problem? Think Eddie Johnson, Teal Bunbury, and, more recently, Andrew Wenger (no, I will not give him time to get going). There are more, I’m sure. What about the struggles of once/former stars like Marco DiVaio, who has failed to get going so far, or even Will Bruin who promised so very much….though that was in one game…maybe we all should have seen that coming.

On a related note, I’m not even sure the Timbers have a forward… Continue reading

Philly v. RSL: Tools And How to Use Them

The Philadelphia Union surely constitutes one of Major League Soccer’s bigger mysteries this 2014. Though capable of bringing the bubbly (that’s playing “sparkling stuff”), they’re not getting enough by way of results. Just another team failing to launch, only one generally agreed to be packed with promise.

Then they have a game like Saturday’s draw against Real Salt Lake. Charges of theft can be plausibly made in this case, given one clearly blown penalty call (Luke Mulholland absolutely* clipped Leo Ferandez while the ball rolled forward, but referee Alan Kelley waved it off; *eh, maybe not; a compelling case against is made about the 5th minute on this round-up). That wouldn’t have stung nearly so badly if it weren’t for the basically fair/mildly dubious PK that Kelley awarded RSL in the first half. Sideline reporter Heather Mitts was shocked – shocked! – at that one. Replays proved it to be reasonable, but, still. One feels for Philly all in all. This was one they coulda should won.

RSL played strong at least. Nothing unusual about it, really, they just did RSL’s thing: quick combinations to play out of trouble, transitioning quickly and effectively, etc. While they didn’t dominate, RSL held a clear advantage in cutting edge: they had three shots on goal to Philly’s zero part way through the first half and they held that advantage till the 80th minute (5-1), maybe through the end of the game. RSL did things better, basically, more instinctively. Questions of PKs aside, they deserved the tie. Continue reading