MLS Week 2 Collective Power Rankings

The real pisser about the Major League Soccer (MLS) schedule is the fact that, by the time I get around to posting these on Thursday, some of these calls look silly. I’m thinking here of that #1 ranking for the Kansas City Wizards; I’m guessing that the 8 of 11 pundits who placed KC on top would reconsider after last night’s loss at home to the New England Revolution. Hardly matters, as this is just meant to be a snapshot in time – e.g. how 11 pundits (or more, given that some sites involved take a collective approach to ranking) stack(ed) up MLS’s 14 teams in the week of the prior week’s action.

So…what to say, generally, about how said 11 pundits stacked up these teams? It’s fair to say they’re not all speaking with one voice. In some cases, they’re barely harmonizing. Teams like DC United, the Houston Dynamo, the Colorado Rapids…well, suffice to say the list goes on. It’s not all muddy water: for instance, 8 of 11 pegged KC at #1 – however dubious that looks after last night – and everyone agrees that the league’s worst team is either Toronto FC or the San Jose Earthquakes.

And who were these 11 pundits? Here ya go (and, again, feel free to post your rankings in the comments after mine, to email me rankings, etc.):

Center Holds It (me)
Goal.com (Kyle McCarthy)
Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons)
Fullback Files (um…Fullback?)
Sideline Views (Luis Bueno)
AYL Soccer (Jacob Hart writes, but it looks collective)
WVHooligan (Drew Epperley)
Blue Blooded Journo (a collective)
3rd Degree (Parrish Glover)
ESPN.com (collective)
Fox Soccer Channel (Keith Costigan)

For those wondering what happened with Soccer By Ives rankings, he’s part of ESPN.com’s collective; that’s also why Andrea Canales’ rankings don’t show. Don’t want to double-count anyone…

(UPDATE: My apologies to On Soccer’s pate.  He forwarded his Week 2 “scariness rankings” for inclusion this post; I had to put it in an update because I couldn’t figure out how to work it into the text.  Anyway, it’s a pretty nifty concept pate has; it’s another way of looking at all this if nothing else.)

I’ll work into some details after the jump, but will start with the how I organized the data. Copy/pasting directions from previous entry: each team will be listed by rank and with their average, collective score following. To provide some perspective, the most common score(s) assigned to each team by the individual members of the collective will appear in parentheses after that, followed by the previous week’s ranking and average. Und, jetzt, der data: Continue reading

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La Liga: The First ‘Jueves de Feria’ Without Antonio Puerta

It would be criminal of me today to not mention Antonio Puerta, on this ‘Jueves de Feria’ (Feria Thursday).

2 years ago, Antonio Puerta single handedly started Sevilla on a run that would Spain 15 months and 5 separate titles (UEFA Cup 2006, 2007, Spanish Copa Del Rey 2007, Spanish Super Cup 2007 and European Super Cup 2006). His goal against Schalke didn’t only lift Sevilla to the finals against Middlesbrough, but it was also a spectacular goal, scored in the 100th minute of the game, in Sevilla’s 100th year of existence.

When this goal was scored, the city quite literally erupted into a frenzy, as you can see from the video. This goal will live as one of the greatest goals in Sevilla history.

Manolo Jimenez wrote a great remembrance today in MARCA about this topic. Remember that Jimenez was Puerta’s coach in Sevilla Atlético for a few years before his move up to the first team under Joaquin Caparros, and ultimately under the guidance of Juande Ramos.

His few lines says it all:

No resulta fácil encontrar las palabras adecuadas cuando se trata de recordar la figura del gran Antonio Puerta. Es un futbolista, una persona, por la que siento una especial predilección. Se cumple el primer Jueves de Feria sin él, se cumple el segundo aniversario del Jueves de Feria que cambió la historia del Sevilla y el destino de Puerta.

It’s not easy to find the right words when trying to remember the great Antonio Puerta. He’s a footballer, a person, for whom I felt a special predilection. It’s the first ‘Jueves de Feria’ without him, and it’s the second anniversary of the ‘Jueves de Feria’ that changed Sevilla’s history, and Puerta’s destiny’

Continue reading

CCC08: Done, Dusted…and Ugly…just Ugly

Well, that sucks.  As any who cares by now knows, both of Major League Soccer’s representatives in the CONCACAF Champions Cup have exited the tournament, the Houston Dynamo with a whimper, while DC United went down with fists flying…well, judging by the scoreline at least; I didn’t see the DC game.

Being pressed for time today, I’ll have Jeff Carlisle’s double-bubble wrap on both semifinal series speak for the full record.  The comments below, a genuine post-mortem of sorts as opposed to yesterday’s gloomy prognostications, will be 1) brief, and 2) directed solely to Houston’s loss.  Nice picture, yes?

Deportivo Saprissa 3-0 Houston Dynamo: Ban Artificial Turf
That title should inform all that I intend to eat my sour grapes.  Saprissa’s stadium is a shitbox.  OK, that’s not right.  The stadium actually looks pretty awesome with the stands stacked over the field and so on; the field itself doesn’t look bad, either.  It’s the turf that sucks, sucks, sucks.  Watching Houston over-hit one pass after the other – a malady that played its most fateful role when Dynamo players got excited about an opening upfield – leads me to call for a ban on artificial turf (not seriously, no, but I do hate it).  It’s like Home-Field Advantage-Plus (H-FAP?).  If I had to name an iconic image from the game, it would be Dwayne DeRosario desperately chasing the ball through a seam he slit through Saprissa’s midfield; if memory serves, he caught that damn ball all of once.  Houston simply never got it going, not anywhere near where they had to.  They played the ball forward often enough, but their attack looked positively Columbus-esque in terms of menace.

None of this is intended to excuse Houston.  They had two legs, the first of them on favorable ground and featuring multiple opportunities.  Houston blew every one of them by the end of the first leg, leaving the far harder task of winning on the crap-factory field.

Getting back to the whole “ugly” notion, that first goal was uglier than the guy up top.  The second one, while a little better…still ugly.  By the time the third rolled in, depression rendered me unable to appreciate aesthetics; if anything, the goal looked like dull pain.  Feel free to add your thoughts below.

Well, that’s a wrap…I guess.  It sucks to type it, but…better luck this fall…dammit.  To think things looked so promising on March 31…

La Liga: Jose Maria Del Nido Strikes Again

Anyone who reads this blog realizes I love Sevilla President, Jose Maria del Nido and all of the lovely things that comes from his greedy, sketchy lawyer mouth. Look at what a stud he is, in all his Feria de Abril glory, hanging out in his fancy caseta

Today, Del Nido came out with a classic. Talking about Dani Alves and his supposed desire to leave for Barcelona, the Sevilla president had this to say.

Por 25 millones de euros le mando al Barcelona las botas de Daniel Alves para que se las ponga un lateral del filial. Es quizás el mejor lateral derecho que hay actualmente en el mundo, y mi ilusión es que continúe los cuatro años que tiene”

For 25 million Euro, I’ll send Barcelona Dani Alves’s cleats so that a youth squad player can wear them. He’s possibly the best right back in the world and my hope is that he will stay here for the four years he has

Haha. What balls this guy has. I swear, the best things come out of this guy’s mouth. Basically he just told Laporta to screw off, and Dani Alves isn’t going anywhere.

Later in the convo, Del Nido denies that anyone has contacted him about the Brazilian, but does say that he won’t talk to anyone until the season is over.

It just so happens that this comes out in MARCA which sticks it to the Catalans any chance they get. But Del Nido knows how to deal, I’ll tell you that. He’s not afraid to stick his neck out there and say something stupid, but its what he’s known for.