MLS Conference Semis: It’s a Wrap

As The Hives sang not so long ago, hate to say I told you so. Before you think I’m feeling cocky, let me just confess right now that getting all Saturday’s picks dead right cost a tiny sliver of my soul. I didn’t read the document all the way through, but I’m pretty sure it was just a sliver I sold.

But no one wants to hear about my triumphant stand atop the table of the Center Holds It/Who Ate All the Cupcakes Playoff Picks Duel (see the sidebar; god bless those Cupcakes lads…so on top of things). No, people who come to this site come to read about the games. So, let’s get to ’em…very, very briefly. I mean, you know what you saw, right?

Houston Dynamo 4-1 FC Dallas

Curse the damned distractions in my life, but did I see that correctly? Did Arturo Alvarez really whack the Houston player in the pills? That’s a guaranteed sending-off, son, not to mention drawing the silent, collective condemnation of all male viewers. Oh well. A Houston win was always just a matter of time; the extra man only made it more emphatic. The personal highlight for me? That tasty through-ball Dwayne DeRosario slotted to Brian Ching. So, FC Dallas season ends where it usually does. Even so, you have to feel they feel better about losing this one than the past few to the Colorado Rapids; being on the wrong-side of a Texas ass-kicking can’t hurt nearly as bad as getting out-coached by Fernando Clavijo…twice…oh, the humanity. I could write more, but the bottom line reads pretty straight: this series was over the minute Houston leveled the aggregate.

New England Revolution 1-0 Red Bull New York

The game doesn’t deserve analysis. It deserves the finger. The rare moment of brilliance – well, not brilliance, so much as the odd bright spot – typically came to nothing. My personal highlight? Bruce Arena having the good sense to pull Juan Pablo Angel. Don’t trifle with head injuries. The toothpicks propping open my eyes snapped more than once, though. And New England’s goal…well, that just had to be heartbreaking for Jon Conway.

Chivas USA 0-0 Kansas City Wizards

As if proving the adage about some goalless draws providing more entertainment than wins and losses, this one kicked the holy crap out of the above. Too many things jumped out at me to record in this space, but the real kicker was how frustratingly far Chivas seemed from scoring – and that’s in spite of hitting the post on several occasions. Oxy-moronic (or, perhaps, just plain moronic) as that sounds, I’m trying to get at something deeper: to dominate possession and aggression to that extent without scoring takes some doing. Maybe it was Chivas’ apparent yen to score from within the six-yard box that did them in; they tried so many times to pinch inside, even when playing from the flanks; maybe it’s their trouble with getting in crosses that forced this. To name names, I have never been so underwhelmed by Francisco Mendoza, the worst culprit for the troublesome offensive habits described above. Going the other way, Eddie Johnson looks somewhere between eager and sharp – good news for Wizards fans. In fact, KC looks like they’re playing as well as they ever have this 2007. Doubtful as it may be in the end, upsetting Houston isn’t beyond them. They’ll need to tighten up things at the back when they face a team that knows how to fire in crosses – one that lives on them, in fact.

Well, that’s all from me today. Looking forward to the conference finals.

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6 Responses

  1. New York looked absolutely uninterested out there. They allowed the Revs to comfortably sit back and wait for their chances. Thursday’s game is a push. The Revs have home field and turf type advantage, but the Fire have an extra two days of rest (screw you MLS!).

    I just want to hear “Your 2007 Westen Conference Champions: Kansas City Wizards” just so MLS HQ gets embarrassed.

  2. God bless ya, jimmychowda. KC…man, that would be a hoot.

  3. My fave moment at Robertson Stadium was the team applauding the fans, who just refused to leave the stadium after the game. We had 30,000 here in Houston for the game, which just destroyed the attendance of every other playoff game.

    In the game, Davis’ free kick was just a thing of absolute beauty. I’ve seen the replay many times and it just can’t compare to the reality of it. The daring of of it, the timing, the genius. Amazing.

    On replay, two things stand out. One was DeRo’s pass to Ching for the equalizer. You are right, that was very, very sweet, and it just gets better the more you see it. What a pass into a minute amount of space. If it wasn’t perfectly placed the goal doesn’t happen.

    Next is Ngwenya’s assist on Chingy’s second. Again, if he does\’t get to that ball, it bounces away. Awesome.

    And Jeff Bull, how can you continue to support the candy canes after watching Little Fish’s antics? If Dida gets suspended for his tank at the Celtic game in Champions League, then why isn’t Ruiz getting attention for being wheeled off on a gurney, for goodness’ sakes, and then coming back on 20 seconds later? It is an embarrassment not only to the candy canes but to the league as a whole. Good thing for MLS that was not nationally televised, but it needs to be addressed and Ruiz should get a suspension for a flop of that magnitude. (Great scene after the game was De Rosario wearing Rico Clark’s jersey for the onfield celebration and recognition of the fans. After seeing Ruiz’ antics, it was more than fitting.)

    Don’t get me wrong, dallas deserves huge credit for taking the champs all the way to just 20 minutes to go and giving Dynamo all they could handle. But Ruiz is a disgrace to the league. Not only that, but dallas got carded eight times in that game. Eight times!! With two suspensions (one after Alvarez kneed Brad Davis in the area we don’t like to talk about in a family-friendly forum like this one). If you’re going to hold Rico Clark’s one moment of insanity against Dynamo, how can you ignore the thuggy tactics of that entire team from little d?

    Not that I’m biased or anything, but personally, I think that KC’s Jimmy Conrad and three wooden posts defense is going to break to pieces Saturday night and Dynamo is heading to the Cup again. So there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon for you now Jefe. I’ll even move over and personally let you on. :>

  4. I can’t fully justify my appreciation for Ruiz, but view at is just one of those things. The odd thing is, I don’t mind cheats so long as they’re consistent. It’s the left-field incidents – my freak-out over Pat Onstad getting someone sent off, to give an example – that get to me. Ruiz is like a pro wrestling villain in that he’s almost cartoon-ish with how blatant he can be. Take that away and he wouldn’t have that “bastard” angle in find so perversely charming.

    Thanks for the invite on the bandwagon. I’d certainly have a lot more to cheer if I jumped in with the Dynamo. And they do have some of my favorite players – Brad Davis to name one I’ve always liked, but there’s also Rico Clark and Brian Mullan. Hell, the whole midfield is magic. I like the Dynamo well enough, but, truth be told, unless I see them lining up for MLS against, say, a Mexican team, I usually don’t pull for them. Don’t know why that is…

  5. Ah well, that’s sporting fandom for you. I know how that goes. For some reason, I’ve rooted for some teams and against many others. Living in Houston, I’ve always rooted for any team with the city’s name on it, which hasn’t always led to a happy life, mostly the opposite I assure you! But like I say, we here in Orange-ton welcome you, despite the odd Ruiz affectation. (You might just want to keep that under your hat when visiting, that’s all.) :>

  6. Duly noted.

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