Arrivals/Departures: DC Lands (some of) Their Fish

Welcome to today’s now-typical wrap up of trading/rumor action. For all the trades wrapped up, just as many seem up in the air. What the hell? Let’s start with the latter. No, wait. Can’t do that. Look at the title…another trap! And I set it for myself.

– Steve Goff posted something a bit ago about DC United wrapping the deal for Colombian defender Gonzalo Martinez; it also sounds like the deal to bring in Peruvian ‘ keeper Jose Carvallo should also wrap in time for him to start training with the rest of the guys. No word yet on Marcelo Gallardo…though MLS Rumors jumped ahead of the non-risking part of the soccer media world, declaring Gallardo to DC a “done deal.” We shall see…we shall see… (Against that and for the record, WVHooligan reads something in Goff’s copy that suggests to him that DC is out of the running…or, after re-reading his space, it’s more accurate to say he wrote “they may not be in the running”; subtle difference…my bad.)

What I do know is I’m a bit conflicted on this Gallardo-to-DC thing, assuming if pans out. Given how DC collects Supporters’ Shields, this one stinks of the rich getting richer (and dumbass clubs like New England approaching the season with their heads – I dunno – in the sand? Up their butts? Too intently craned toward their wallets? I think Jimmy Chowda of Blue Blooded Journo nicely sums up the emotions this provokes). At the same time, thanks to those Supporters’ Shields, DC rather often flies Major League Soccer’s (MLS) “freak-flag” in the international club tourneys, so, on the theory that MLS clubs doing well makes more players want to join MLS clubs, which allows MLS clubs to do well, which makes more players want to join MLS, um, etc., I can live with it.

Sometime around mid, mid-early March you’ll be reading posts from me about how we’re all DC United and Houston Dynamo fans today…Is it time for outgoing? Yeah. Why not? Continue reading

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Chivas USA 2007 Review: Stalking Horses…with a Limp

Chivas USA
Record (W-L-T): 15-7-8; 46 GF, 28 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster (whoa…updated already)

Overview
It can’t possibly be so simple, can it?  Surely, the reasons for Chivas USA’s first-round exit from the playoffs don’t begin and end with the absence of starting forwards Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov.  There has to be something else.  Right?

The truth is, I don’t really know.  On some unconscious level, Chivas USA has taken over the role that the Kansas City Wizards had held previously – e.g. they’re the team I’m most likely to forget.  The funny thing about that is the impression that I’m not alone.  For those unfamiliar with the regular season practices of this space, I compiled something called Collective Power Rankings, which amounted to averaging all the independently compiled power rankings I could find and averaging the numbers.  Somewhere way back – further back than the oldest collective rankings I could find (well, that used Chivas USA as a tag) – I, along with everyone except Sideline Views’ Luis Bueno, suddenly noticed a couple things about Chivas USA.

First, they had a stellar record at home.  More significantly, however, they had an unbelievable defensive record at home: by the time the All-Star break rolled around, Chivas had surrendered just two goals at home on the season (OK, this gets a little silly because when they play the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center – e.g. their home ground – Chivas counts as the home team only half the time).  No less significantly, a weird, early-August layoff from league play had them slowly gaining games in hand over their Western Conference rivals; and all of them – except the Houston Dynamo, who were tearing shit up around the same time – were stumbling. Continue reading

DS, 10.17: Before the Post-Season*; Chicago Could Be Better; Chivas Ain’t Dead Yet

I have to post the Daily Sweeper early, so’s I can go into hiding from the soccer world, thus leaving open the possibility of watching the U.S. v. Switzerland on tape-delay.

* I have some kind of psychological resistance/distaste for the word “playoffs.”

Moving on…

– Though I’m posting MLSnet.com’s useful enumeration of the varying alternate realities-to-be that will define who makes the 2007 post-season, I have to confess my total inability to read it to the end without going cross-eyed.  Wake me up Sunday…

– In his most recent, post-season-themed First XI, Bob Bradley snuck in a question worth considering:

6. To play? Or rest? The question of the week for D.C., New England, Dallas and New York is ‘how seriously do you take the game?’ While many would argue that those clubs should be obligated to put their best teams on the field, I’d ask ‘why?’ Why risk an injury to a player when there’s nothing you can change in the standings?”

For the record, Bradley goes on to vote they should rest their players.  I disagree with him with one exception: ‘d rest my players if I was DC.  As for the others: New England, having lost their last two, could really use a win – outright bullying Toronto would go one step better; Dallas and Red Bull need to get their shit wired on defense, Red Bull even more so given recent changes in their back line; on top of defense, Dallas could use more on-field time to get their post-Denilson offense on track.  So, yeah, I’d start my first team if I were were Steves Nicol and Morrow and Bruce Arena.

– Luis Arroyave’s Red Card reports that Ivan Guerrero and Justin Mapp won’t be available for Sunday’s game against LA.  Just think how much better Chicago could be with both those players healthy…damn.

– Luis Bueno answers the fretting about Ante Razov’s absence from Chivas USA’s starting line-up.  Laurent Merlin ain’t such a bad second banana, even if playing requires a change in approach at a less than ideal time.  I think Luis may be on to something.

Chivas 3-0 LA: Two Kicks to the Moldering Corpse

Last night, for the first time in my time as a Major League Soccer (MLS) fan, I pulled for the Los Angeles Galaxy. I couldn’t help myself, not with them dragging desperately around the pitch like a three-legged dog. I pulled, especially, for Landon Donovan and Abel Xavier, who, together, seemed to be two of those three legs.

The fervent prayers of ten thousand well-wired saints, never mind my feeble pitying support, could not have saved the team the Galaxy fielded last night against a strong Chivas USA side. What life is left to pray for runs through Donovan, Xavier, Joe Cannon, and, arguably, what’s left of Kyle Martino’s after you account for his nagging injuries. No disrespect intended to the rest of the Galaxy team, but, player-for-player, they just don’t stack up right now.

The shortcomings are both most apparent and painful up top. Carlos Pavon looks like my dad could push him in a foot-race, while one-dimensional stands as the most polite insult one can direct at Alan Gordon; he’s 80% target-player and 0% open-field runner; the time Chris Klein tried to play the latter into a foot-race through the defense painfully illustrated Gordon’s limitations.

We were all in for an evening of mildly appalled viewing from the moment Chivas scored the first goal; that Razov scored the goal with his RIGHT FOOT only poured more salt into the wounds. With LA’s forward line so unequal to the job, the game seemed over and, the Galaxy, dead. Still, Donovan and Martino pushed bravely – if, in the case of the former – recklessly forward in a spirit that recalled a tortured doctor from a hospital drama, the man who recoils at the thought of losing a single patient. One could almost hear Donovan screaming, “NO! Live, damn you! LIVE!!” In my memory, though, the Galaxy never came meaningfully close to scoring and that’s in spite of getting into position: Xavier sailing a near-range shot almost implausibly high over the crossbar or Gordon flopping on his back trying to trap a high, through-ball with his foot come to mind there.

When, around the 85th minute, Chivas scored a second – this one on a well-taken shot by Francisco “Panchito” Mendoza – the entire affair turned a touch morbid. When Laurent Merlin scored off a sloppy clearance – a play that originated when still another Galaxy defender was caught dicking around with the ball too long – it all became essentially grotesque. That’s two hard kicks into the side of a helpless corpse. I tried to change the channel after the first, but it all happened so fast.

And to think, we’ll get to see this at least a few more times this season.