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

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…

Continue reading

New England Revolution 2014 Season Preview: Such Nice Boys…

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I think they actually have a year or two on the Revs.

How’d 2013 Treat ‘Em: 14-11-9 (W-L-T), 49 gf, 38 ga; 3rd in the East
So, ahead of New England’s visit to Portland last season, I emailed some friends a little scouting report on the Revolution. “Watch this guy,” I said. “He’s gonna be a problem.” (It was Kelyn Rowe for anyone who’s wondering.) Right on cue, New England turned in a mediocre game, but, oh my, darlin’ Clementine, was that team fun to watch last season! When they gave the eventual champs a taste of cold hell in the playoffs, asking what this bunch will do next year came pretty naturally. New England’s 2013 was incredible in a number of ways – e.g. one man (Goncalves) turning around a defense that was pretty shitty just the year before; an attack that swarmed from midfield at so many angles it was hard enough to keep straight while watching, never mind defending it; the average age on the team could very well be 12. Like I said, incredible. And fun. I’m totally looking forward to seeing more of these guys this year. (Full disclosure: so long as they lose to Portland and don’t ruin their ruin to glory, both New England and Colorado can win often as they like.)

Exciting Additions! – Patrick Mullins, Tean Bunbury, Daigo Kobayashi

Tricky Departures… – Juan Agudelo, Matt Reis

Quality Parts: Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe

It Gets Better If They Come Good: Bunbury, Scott Caldwell, Charlie Davies, Daigo Kobayashi, Mullins, Saer Sene, Bobby Shuttleworth

What I’d Expect Based on the Above:
The more you like a club, the easier it is to tamp down doubts and expect everything to come off. To acknowledge the obvious, yes, this is a young team. When people ponder their potential undoing, the conversation turns the impetuousness of youth – e.g. whether these guys can keep their focus and play consistently with distractions like prom, homecoming, and that crazy-long summer vacation. All that falls under that generic hedge about “intangibles,” something no one can really predict, so I’ll leave those chips to fall. Losing Agudelo, though, looks like a big deal, though it’s tough to say how big. People thought they’d struggle when Saer Sene went down, but that panned our reasonably. While I’m not totally current on his status, it seems fair to assume that big goddamn train will roll again in 2014. Even if it’s hard to know how he’ll do (well, outside that great goal in preseason), New England also brought in Bunbury. Given that I want to believe, I’ll just assume this fixes the Agudelo thing. With a couple more interesting parts waiting in the wings (Mullins, Kobayashi…and, the other kid they drafted….uh, got it; Neumann), Revolution players should keep complacency at bay. I’ve heard rumblings about a pissed-off Goncalves and that certainly doesn’t bode well; the question is whether it’s fatal. I’ll just say, I hope not and leave it there. Put this team in the West and I’d be less sure about their progress. In the East, though, where the dog fight rages between poodles, I like New England’s chances. They’re a playoff team at least.

2014 Season Opener: @ Houston Dynamo, March 8