Open Cup: In Praise of FC Dallas

I’m happy to say I managed to catch one of last night’s quarterfinals in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the one pitting Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas against the USL-1 Charleston Battery.

Now, normally, I’m the type who LOVES upsets; any other year and I would have been root, root, rooting for the Battery, but 2007 is anything but a normal year. Given that, I was fairly anxious that Dallas win this game, if for no better reason than to allow the word “top-flight” to retain any meaning. And that was even before I knew the extent of the violence the Colorado Rapids had visited on the concept.

Happy as I was with the win – and allowing for the double-happiness at seeing my latest man-crush, Arturo Alvarez, score the winner – calling this one an epic doesn’t hold water. I understand about the temperatures and humidity, but there was A LOT of walking. Moreover, the fact this game went to overtime somewhat concealed the lopsided feel of the contest. Over several stretches, Dallas passed around the Battery players at will; they seemed able to attack at leisure and with little in the way of urgency. Pretty as that was to watch at times, the larger feel of the game suggested a scrimmage between varsity and junior varsity – no disrespect intended to the Battery players or fans (ahem).

Still, at least ONE MLS club upheld the dignity of the league…and with a little style; again, in spite of the score, we’re talking different level. So, good stuff, guys. Now put them Seattle Sounders in their place; they’re getting a little uppity (see the bit about “they might as well be part of MLS already”).

Turning now to some random notes:

– With the number of times he’s worked the same move, Alvarez is starting to look at lot like the second coming of Preki. Until someone stops him from cutting in from the left, holding and carrying across the top of the 18…holding, then firing, well, he’s just going to keep doing it, isn’t he?

– Nevermind the lopsided head-to-head record: the USL owns MLS on the online video feeds as well. Not only did the game archive immediately, I could blow up the picture – and it held together pretty well at the expanded size – and suffered fewer interruptions than I ever do with MLSnet.com’s subscription service. They’re getting killed across the board this year. Shit.

– I like that Dax McCarty fella.

– Much has been written about the FC Dallas back line – not least by me – but I think I’m finally cottoning to a Drew Moor, Clarence Goodson, Chris Gbandi, Adrian Serioux back-four…at least till you get to Serioux. He made suspect decisions more than once last night and looks a little shaky in the fundamentals. Maybe central defense isn’t his spot. But whatever improvement has come to the Dallas back-line, I’m no longer certain that Serioux is the cause.

– Regarding Serioux, that’s not a fixed opinion by the way; I’m willing to believe he had an off-night. But I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the Canadian.

So…that’s what I saw. Feel free to add your two cents.

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One Response

  1. Retribution is so sweet. Go Battery! (There in the national championship match against DC United.)

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