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Sunday Morning MLS Review

Ah another Saturday of MLS action is in the books and interest already seems to be at midseason form: that is to say people are losing interest as evidenced by the attendance. Perhaps it was DC’s midweek loss that rendered the best in MLS for another year inferior to an upper mid table Mexican side? (although to be fair DC looked over two legs to be better than Pachuca. Houston however, looked vastly inferior to Saprissa the Costa Rican champions who have for years had a special talent to make MLS sides look bad) Or was it that simply put it is a long season and a buzz hasn’t developed yet this season?

  • I do not know what special circumstances existed this week in the Bay Area, but for all the hullabaloo about losing the Quakes, it didn’t seem like the East bay area is ready to embrace a San Jose team despite the presence of Blanco in the debut.
  • San Jose could be the best expansion team since MLS expanded in 1998 (when Chicago won the MLS Cup and Miami made the playoffs). I liked Kei Kamara’s runs and Ramiro Corrales’ quality on the ball. The backline was solid and held its shape giving Joe Cannon little to do. The little Cannon did have to do he botched up. But if the Quakes don’t have the fan base we thought they did, why are they back in existence without a stadium?
  • I don’t have much to say about Chicago other than they absorbed pressure well and got three points.
  • Peter Nowak made some bonehead moves as we discussed on the American Soccer Show prior to the US U-23 qualifying campaign. Two moves in particular we mentioned were the dropping of Robbie Rogers and Arturo Alvarez. The US’ poor qualifying campaign could have been a lot easier if the two explosive wingers had been around: evidence each ones play in the first three MLS matches.
  • New England showed its limitations with Steve Ralston leading them on versus the Rapids. But the Revs will be fine in the long run.
  • No excuses for the 8k and change in Foxboro, despite Brad Feldman’s (whom I like a great deal as a play by play guy) spin on this past Thursday’s 2Gs show and the rainy weather last night. For years the Revs used gimmicks like putting fans on one side of the stadium ( a technique perfected by former crowd builder extraordinaire Lynne Metreparel who so impressed the Kraft’s she was given the GM job in San Jose for a time) and by scheduling doubleheaders to raise the overall season average attendance. Then their was always the simple padding of numbers. I understand Foxboro is out there, the boondocks literally. But don’t make excuses: New England has a crowd problem. I recall several Sunday afternoon Spanish language TV games in the late 1990s where you could literally count the fans at the old Foxboro Stadium and then you’d see a reported attendance of 10,000.
  • Chivas USA has problems at the back and I am officially an old man as of last night because I distinctly recall watching Keith Savage’s father Bruce Savage one of the only Americans who played in 1982 and 1983 for my hometown Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL. The elder Savage played along such luminaries as Nene Cubillias, Ray Hudson, Brian Kidd, Ellias Figeruoa and Thomas Rongen.
  • Columbus has some woeful finishers even though they did score four goals. The number of chances Columbus created should have netted them at least six or seven goals.
  • Funny how dumping Ned Grabavoy makes Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers look more efficient and comfortable in the attack.
  • I love Sacha Kljestan’s game but I have seen him several times get too emotional in matches and get dumb fouls or worse yet like last night be sent off. He could be one of the best Americans in MLS but must mature in adverse situations.
  • What exactly did Preki see in Chris Pozniak that made him give up the depth and young legs that John Cuncliffe could give his team?
  • At this rate Brad Guzan will face more shots before the transfer window opens and he presumably is sold to a European club than he did the previous two seasons. Brad, does your backline remind you of year one for Chivas at all?
  • Chivas is putting too much pressure on Galindo and Kljestan to provide goals galore. The funny thing is half the time they can probably outscore their opponents, ala FC Dallas last season.
  • Chivas has looked poor in all three games this season. I’ve kept them high in my power rankings based on names on a piece of paper. This week they take the drop for sure.
  • Memo to Bob Bradley: Kenny Cooper is healthy and looks more dangerous than ever with great touch and an improved pace. Drop Eddie Johnson for good and bring Cooper in for another look.
  • FC Dallas should have nine points right now but instead have just five. Honestly, I am not sure anyone has better players than the Hoops but as we discussed earlier this week on the site, some teams are simply cursed and can’t stand prosperity. Until something clearly changes that, Steve Morrow’s bunch cannot be taken seriously as a title contender.
  • Kansas City’s attendance across the river in Kansas at Community America Ballpark is certainly much better than it was at Arrowhead.
  • Gretna refugee Tony Caig had a nightmare against Saprissa in the Champions Cup, but he came back with a solid game against the Wizards.
  • Santino Quaranta, once the golden child of US Soccer appears to finally be growing into a good player.
  • I like Real Salt Lake’s team this season as our readers and listeners know. However, I took nothing from the 4-0 drubbing of DC. Not only did United field a reserve type side that was emotionally drained after the controversial defeat at the hands of Pachuca in the Champions Cup midweek, but RSL has actually become what Bolton has been to Arsenal the last few years. A bogey team. Thus, I encourage everyone to not read too much into the result.
  • Part of the reason I am so high on RSL is their depth. Robbie Findley, for example comes off the bench to add scoring punch. Were he still with the Galaxy he’d be forced to go 90 minutes each and every night.
  • Quite possibly the two worst teams in the league play today in what should be a showcase game for Telefutura. The last thing the league needs again is Spanish Language announcers openly disparaging the quality of play in the league. (This was a frequent problem in the early days of the league when matches were on Univision and Telemundo) If ever a chance existed for Spanish Language commentators to take shots at MLS existed, this game is the opportunity. Call it the “one shining moment” for the anti-MLS snobs out there.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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