Vancouver v. LA: A Meditation on Difference-Makers

My interest tilted toward the home team when I tuned into the Vancouver Whitecaps v. LA Galaxy. Memories of the season-opening curb-stomp against Red Bull New York the angle: maybe the ‘Caps would do it again, especially if they carried some confidence over from the prior week’s narrow loss to LA at the Stub Hub.

Pedro Morales made one hell of an impression in that opener. Talk of how he’d eviscerate any team fool enough to leave him alone with the ball at his feet bubbled into commentary. Yep, all very promising.

The Pedro Morales I watched last night was not that guy. He did hit a couple cross-field beauties, balls that landed on a dime’s edge from 40+ yards away – things o’ beauty, in all honesty – but he squandered those hot little flashes with some alarmingly loose, shorter-range passing. You start to wonder if Morales can only hit the long ball. Continue reading

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Vancouver v. Red Bull New York: Opinions and an Acknowledgment

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BC Place?

I’m going to start this with an acknowledgment. Yesterday, I posted what I assume to be one of a countless collection of responses to Billy Haisley’s exhortation against watching ugly, crappy Major League Soccer. While it’s true I devoted most of that post to attacking (kill! kill!)…or, rather, examining, ahem, his rather useless advice to MLS (“get better”; that was it, really), I did take some time, a paragraph really, to defend MLS, the product.

Notably, I challenged his assertion that MLS players’ first touch is a problem. Funny what you don’t fully notice…

…because, holy dear god in heaven and the devil below, did Vancouver Whitecaps v. Red Bull New York feature a very, very large collection of hideous, bobbly first touches. Looked like they played the game in a goddamn bouncy house. Or maybe with one of those bouncy balls one gets from those 25-cent vending machines at the grocery. Just ugly, loose stuff all the over.

Point taken, Mr. Haisley. And I nowhere did I say it was a better product…just…the trapping was…never mind…OK, not that incredibly shitty. Wow.

The point here is to offer some substantive comments on the game referenced above. Hopefully, you’ll see something novel enough here. Continue reading