DC United’s late heroics courtesy of Jaime Moreno and Benny Olsen salvaged a home point against an injury depleted Revs side saved a critical point. But the crowd once again was smallish by RFK standards, and DC’s play uneven. Those in the local media who want United to take a hike seem to be getting their wish. Eventually Jaime Moreno and Benny Olsen will not be able to continue to revive the ghosts of DC United yesteryear and the orchestrated campaign to destroy the greatest club in MLS history could succeed.
Red Bull used the advantage of playing on home and on turf to good use. RSL looked organized as they always do, but New York broke them down at several critical moments in the match.
Bobby Convey looks re-invented this season in MLS. Is it too late to count Convey out of the 2010 World Cup cycle for the US? No, but Bob Bradley has several left sided options at his disposal and Convey will have to show consistency and a better work ethic in training to catch Bradley’s eye again.
The last sequence of the Colorado-Houston match at Robertson Stadium demonstrates precisely why I believe Conor Casey needs to be given another look by Bob Bradley. Casey serves as a target on a desperation long ball, controls the ball, heads it down to his feet where he plays it on and creates a sequence where Terry Cooke came inches from stealing a point on the road. Casey was one of the few Americans abroad when at Mainz whose work effort off the ball matches his technical skill on the ball. Bradley’s reluctance to give him even a single serious look since taking over as US coach is shocking and inexplicable. (I don’t count ten minute cameos as serious looks)
Donovan Ricketts to this point could be the single biggest difference maker in MLS this season. That sounds crazy for a goalkeeper whose side has yet to win a match, but the Jamaican National Team keeper has been outstanding and once LA’s backline settles, look out. The Galaxy are not going to concede many more goals.
The pattern of declining attendance is logical based on the economy but in Chicago it is most worrying. The Windy City doesn’t have a newspaper writing weekly editorials blasting a stadium plan, a team that is not competitive, or a stadium that is particularly inaccessible although Bridgeview I will admit is a hike if you are on the north side of town.
I was at the Miami FC-Cleveland City Stars match Saturday night, and Lockhart Stadium makes 2,100 people feel like 10,000. That’s why like in the Fusion days it is an amazingly underrated venue. But the attendance was still far and away the lowest in USL-1 this weekend.
For all the good vibes in the building and an amazingly sharp performance for Miami FC, the biggest storyline was Diego Serna’s dominant performance on his return to the United States. Serna played for five MLS teams and still ranks as the league’s all time leader in hat tricks and as one of the top 20 leading scorers in league history. Serna was downright amazing in this match, a man among boys.
Chris Seitz on loan to Cleveland for a single match put in an amazing performance which quite frankly prevented a 3-1 Miami FC win from being worse.
Cleveland GM Mark Geissbauer confirmed to me after the match that former Kenyan national team captain and star Musa Otieno could return early from the South African Premier League. Otieno could rejoin the City Stars as early as May 9th and will give Cleveland one of the best attacking options in USL-1.
Martin Rennie’s Carolina Railhawks sit atop the USL-1 table with two wins in two matches. Former Manchester City, Rangers, Hearts and Bolton defender Paul Ritchie is being groomed to help Rennie run the Railhawks operation.
The Boston Breakers are downright scary in the attack. Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly and of course Kelly Smith give Boston a midfield that could compete in most men’s leagues, and with Amy Rodriguez up front the sky is the limit. Heather Mitts leading the defense does not hurt either.
Jim Gabarra has some serious decisions to make about Washington’s defense and goal keeping situation. Brianna Scurry for all her great contributions to US Soccer looks old and a step slow. The backline also is just not cutting it.
MLS has a funny way of counting attendance. I’d swear on my life the Red Stars had almost as many fans in the seats Sunday as the Fire did Saturday, but a 5,000 person gap in reported attendance is a bit much to accept. Moreover, the Red Stars fought some bad weather while the Fire had an almost perfect night. It was even more perfect because one time Fire superstar Josh Wolff scored twice for the Wizards to salvage a draw.
I’m disappointed with the field turf and football lines in Austin. USL-1 is playing on more proper pitches than ever before (the league at one time I dubbed the “football line league”) but Austin is causing USL to backslide a bit. Additionally, owner Phil Rawlins evidently has no plans to build a stadium or move to a facility with either grass or no football lines. Given Stoke City FC’s strong involvement with Austin, it’s a bit surprising the Premiership club doesn’t demand its American affiliate club have a more acceptable setup. That having been said the Aztex have a solid side but were held to a home draw by Minnesota.
I’ve launched a new website called the Kartik Report, which will deliver daily links to other blogs (including this one) and have a feature called today in US National Team history which will appear periodically.
Few thrills in MLS match watching a broadcast with Brad Sham calling a match as he did last night. I applaud FC Dallas for continuing to provide one the truly iconic voices in American sports to all of us year after year.