Thank you Nick Saban and John Parker Wilson. With absolutely no intention of watching MLS Saturday night, gearing up for the clash of the year in College Football I ended up watch more MLS than I have in about two months. That’s because the Crimson Tide rolled all over Sanford Stadium making more of spectators probably wish they took the hedges out again and played real football on the pitch!
Here are some quick thoughts:
- Columbus is the best team in the league right now which guarantees them nothing in MLS’ peculiar playoff system. At least they get a birth in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2009/10 for their troubles.
- Colorado under Gary Smith plays a direct attacking style which he brought over from England. Omar Cummings in particular fits this style well as does Mike Petke. The Rapids as I mentioned this past week on the American Soccer Show will be tough to beat come playoff time. The Rapids under Smith essentially play the very same style as the Puerto Rico Islanders do under Colin Clarke. Clarke’s FC Dallas team won the Western Conference regular season crown in 2006 and his Islanders lead their CONCACAF Champions League group currently after winning the USL-1 Regular Season crown.
- Chivas USA is getting results with a makeshift squad. That’s a credit to Preki’s genius.
- San Jose faltered at home when it most needed the points. Not playing in two weeks certainly did not help. Darren Huckerby is still the go to guy but the Quakes defense is suddenly looking shaky.
- Many may not recall the Yura Movsisyan and Mehdi Ballouchy changed clubs late last season. Both could end up being the primary reason that their news sides make the playoffs this year. Ballouchy has gone from being a wasted player under Fernando Clavijo to a key cog under Gary Smith. Movisisyan is a resourceful player whose versatility seems to have saved RSL at the right moment.
- The two USL imports to Red Bull NY are going to be stars somewhere. Mac Kandji was great this past year for the Silverbacks but part of the reason he was available was because Atlanta missed the playoffs. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up 0 for 2.
- After all the talk of the East’s supremacy, the West could end up getting five teams in the playoffs. They could also get only yhe minimum three still. Too much is still up in the air and late in the season the East has not proven, beyond the Columbus Crew to be in any way stronger than the West.
- Conor Casey recall for the US? He gives Bob Bradley everything Brian Ching does plus a record of actually scoring goals in Europe. Now that his confidence is back, a player with his technical skill and finishing ability is tough to find among Americans. Last year at this time I penned a column calling for Casey recall and a year later I am still on that bandwagon.