MLS Saturday: Unwatchable Football

The biggest game of the MLS season to date takes place today at RFK Stadium in front of a national television audience on ABC. Last night’s action reflected the sloppiness of many players on each team returning from international duty in a weekend before July 4th and with anticipation for the upcoming Superliga. In other words the football in some places bordered on unbearable, and officiating was almost equally confused except for the exception of Mauricio Navarro, the Canadian who is CONCACAF’s top official who smartly kept the yellow in his pocket and allowed Juan Carlos Osorio to substitute Seth Stamler out after a hard foul that could have drawn a second yellow. Chivas fans won’t be happy, but that is good officiating: an official knowing the situation and not wanting to be the issue the next morning.

San Jose should have beaten Chicago. Ramiro Corrales and Shea Salinas both beat Jon Busch but hit the post while Chicago looked completely inept going forward and unsettled in the midfield. Two points lost for Frank Yallop’s side even though the match was at Toyota Park.

Conor Casey as I said a year ago deserves another look on the national team. Crazy you say? Perhaps but our other forwards aren’t exactly world beaters and Casey is so skilled in many ways that forwards need to be and has the size to make an impact at the international level. Bruce Arena gave up on Casey fairly early despite his goal scoring prowess at Mainz and his return from injury for the Rapids has helped the team’s attack.

New England was solid but unspectacular against TFC. As I said in response to a reader question the other day, Steve Ralston ought to get called back in to the national team. Ralston could be a “poor man’s Eddie Lewis” on the right side which is a kind way of saying he’s be our second most effective wide player. He can also play inside if needed against Guatemala. Ralston is a professional who’ll treat an away qualifier with seriousness it deserves to be treated with.

Kansas City versus Salt Lake was a difficult game to watch and deserves little space in this column. Chivas USA showed some flair in the second half, but Red Bull fully deserved the draw and simply gave up a gift goal to Ante Razov. We trust DC United and the LA Galaxy, MLS’ two best teams historically will redeem the league for the unbearable play of Saturday.

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