Daily Sweeper, 09.13: DC v. RSL (links); Red Bull Curses and Reyna

A couple things before getting under way. First, as I’ve said in the past, I understand why Brucio from du Nord runs his site the way he does (having never corresponded with him, I actually don’t, but bear with me); it’s hard to know what to run and what to spike. The point of all that is I’m starting to lose control of the number of subjects I’m posting – very naughty. Will endeavor to do better. Second…was there a second…dammit…all the chemicals…

[Y’know, I had something here and, the more I thought about it, the less it made sense for me to stick my nose into it.  So…I deleted this portion.]

– I don’t do this nearly enough – mainly ’cause I’m lazy – but I really should acknowledge games after they’ve been played. I can’t do this every time, but, dang, I should when I can. As all y’all know, DC United beat Real Salt Lake last night, but it sounds closer than most of us expected. Reports: Deseret News, Washington Times, Washington Post, USSoccerplayers.com – who, by the way, raised some interesting issues about on-field leadership for RSL.

– In an artfully over-the-top piece about the “curse of Caricola,” Clemente Lisi raised an interesting question about what’s happening with Red Bull New York. Specifically, he slips in a line about the team “peaking early.” Without seeking to blow up this point – I think Lisi used the term loosely and certainly didn’t build the essay around it – I don’t know that Red Bull ever peaked, never mind early, but their season has been fascinating. They started strong, to be sure, but I don’t think this was ever an instance of “peaking.” Moreover, if you look back at their results, you’ll see little streaks here and there – the latest of them running from late-ish July to mid-August (and note the opposition). I think it’s fairer to say Bruce Arena simply didn’t build a team up for the grind of an MLS season. If you want a team that peaked too early, I’d say look at they Houston Dynamo.

– Speaking of Red Bull, Ives Galarcep had a fun debate with his readers and message board dwellers about Claudio Reyna. Part One sets the stage and Part Two defends his points. My take: Galarcep has it basically right.

– Finally, if you live anywhere near Dallas, Texas, do make the effort to get to the U.S. Open Cup final. They’re doing some advertising, but, seriously, just go.

About Last Night: How to read it?

Anyone who cares to knows DC United tied Chivas USA 2-2 last night in a game a couple observers, um, observed could be a preview of MLS Cup (for the record, I’m not among them; I don’t know what’s going to happen this weekend, never mind in November).  I caught the final 20 minutes and was treated to both a good game and the sight of Preki more pissed off than I’ve ever seen him (occasioned, for the record, by a clearly blown offside call).  Naturally, nothing too meaningful can come from such a brief glimpse at a game, but I can pose the key question:

Does DC deserve accolades for scoring two goals against Chivas at home, a tally that doubled the latter’s goals-against at home figure for the season, or does Chivas earn higher marks for holding off the team widely viewed as best in MLS?

Many (Tangential) Talking Points: RBNY v. Chicago

As noted below (no need for pingbacks; just scroll down for the good stuff), I hadn’t intended to post the notes I scrawled through one closed eye while watching New York edge the Chicago Fire 1-0. But since it contained a couple Big Picture, Major League Soccer (MLS)-wide talking point that bubbled up as I watched, it seemed worth passing on to the curious. A personal favorite came in the 35th minute, when I concluded that Cuauhtemoc Blanco is better for the league long-term than David Beckham: he brings this whole pro-wrestling villain vibe to games – just awesome to watch.

There are many more besides, good, conversation/argument-starting talking points (like the one on Osorio coming to coach). Enjoy.

Here goes…and, as always, I’m not promising coherence and anything not lifted from my notes verbatim appears in parentheses: Continue reading

MLS Week 22 Perspecto-Scope: Statements of Intent

It was a weekend of statements.  From DC United’s “knock this battery off my shoulder…bitches,” through Red Bull New York’s, “don’t call it a come-back,” all the way down to the Los Angeles Galaxy reeling out a quiet “Yeah…it can get worse, actually” while longingly eyeing the last day of the regular season, the league looks to be gradually sorting itself out.

Then again, a couple key games ended in ties, thereby giving ambiguity another day in Major League Soccer (MLS).

I caught a few games this weekend and would have typed them up – specifically, Red Bull v. Chicago, which turned out to be the most educational of this weekend’s games – but, between family and squelching various crises, too much time slipped by to post them.  It’s a shame in a way…they were good notes….but this perspective piece will have to do.  May as well start with the boldest statement… Continue reading

Red Bull Loses, Wins: Hide the Children

There are ugly wins. Then there’s the win the New England Revolution picked up against Red Bull New York. The Revs will take this home – albeit like a dog covered with a mystery rash requiring a long, long course of lubing with topical ointments, I doubt they’ll be showing it off.

As the title implies the Red Bull did this to themselves: between helter-skelter defending and losing the beat to the possession game that had them looking the better team in the first half, Red Bull ceded the initiative and hung too close to the ropes. Bizarrely, though, the coup de grace came with a wild throw from one of their own: a thumping back-pass from Carlos Mendes to Jon Conway, who, unbeknownst to his teammates, was sleep-walking.

Things looked nearly as ugly on the other side of the ball. With New England playing like they were – the usual mixture of hard-running, hand-grenade quality passing (e.g. close enough), and scrapping after every 50/50 – the telling mistake was always going to come from a Red Bull blunder; the only surprise came with the great, whopping, even stomach-turning aspect of the thing.

For the record, I watched this game in the morning, when the Insanity Juice is safely locked in the fridge. So, my notes should read a little more literally. Here goes: Continue reading

The SuperClasico: Kicking His Majesty

 Though I was otherwise occupied last night, I did catch the highlights for this one last night. Wow, what a result! 3-0 to Chivas USA: a rough, involuntary proctological exam given by the Home Depot Center’s “junior tenants” to an increasingly desperate LA Galaxy. I do have a thought or two, but will begin – and this is with all due and sincerest apologies to LA Galaxy fans – ahem…ha, ha ha ha ha! Oh, sorry. Very sorry. But…holy ouch! That must be demoralizing.Turning from gloating to game, some nice goals came out of this one – thank you, Maykel Galindo (honorable mention to Francisco Mendoza’s) – but the thing that really stuck with me was Jesse Marsch’s ruthless kick to David Beckham’s mid-section. What the hell was that? I see Kevin Harmse and Alex Zotinca got chucked for their part in the brawl that ensued, but I’m not seeing Marsch’s wild, miles-from-ball lunge as anything less than a red card offense. And, yes, there’s that little evil part of me gleeful that Beckham finally got that cheap-shot “welcome to the league” that I always knew he’d get, but it was still a shitty foul. Furthermore, tough as Marsch is, I didn’t peg him as a natural for the welcoming committee. Interesting…

Any wagers on the size of the fine heading Mr. Marsch’s way?

UPDATE: Judging by the three, four articles I’ve so far read, mine stands as a minority view on the severity of Marsch’s foul.  The fullest explanation of the incident I’ve so far seen appeared in an Associated Press write-up run on Sports Illustrated’s site.  Here’s the key excerpt:

“Marsch came running up behind Beckham and applied a high kick to the Galaxy captain’s upper right hip during injury time at the end of the first half of the Major League Soccer game.”

“‘He kind of got a piece of me the play before that and so it was somewhat of a retaliation, somewhat of a tactical foul because he was on the break,’ Marsch said. ‘It was harder than I would have liked it to have been. I apologized to him and I told him I respect what he’s about. He was kind of dumb with me though.'”

Well, there’s one side of the story, anyway.  Even if the kick went to the “upper right hip” instead of the belly, as I saw it (stupid Lite beer…), Marsch missed the ball by a mile.  But getting kicked is part of the game, right?  So, I’m revising my thinking a bit: cynical twice-over as the foul was, I’d be at least mildly surprised if Marsch got fined.

KC Over Chicago…oh yeah, that other game.

As much as I think I would have learned more about the future watching this game, I went with DC’s win over Red Bull simply because MLSlive.tv got that one archived first.

I did watch the highlights, though (not bad; available here), which gave me a glimpse or two into Kansas City’s win over the visiting Chicago Fire.  The relative closeness of the score makes me think there’s something to the Fire Revival, but, having not seen the play unfold in real time, I’m not going to go too far with that.  Or, rather, I’m going to read what other people have to say and move forward from there.

I will say, though, that Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s pass to Chad Barrett for the opening goal was a beauty.  Going the other way, it’s also worth dubbing this a sign of life from KC.

But consider this result duly recorded.