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MLS/WPS/USL Review

ccl pr semi2preview 300x176 MLS/WPS/USL Review

The march on DC by supporters will be covered extensively on this week’s podcast. We’re doing the review a day early this week because I will be traveling on Monday morning.

  • Kansas City-DC was a difficult game to watch, but both teams fought hard to split the points.
  • Referee Michael Kennedy made two very questionable penalty decisions in the dying minutes in front of a ruckus midweek crowd at Rio Tinto. Much like last season, RSL dropped points in a match they dominated at home.
  • Will Johnson found himself the focal point off all the craziness in stoppage time Wednesday. He committed the alleged hand ball that gave the Galaxy a PK, then converted RSL’s PK on an even more questionable foul call and then kept Mike Magee onside on the tying goal when the rest of RSL’s line had smartly pulled forward.
  • WPS showed it can hand out justice and handle a potential PR crisis with the Daniela injury.The suspension for Abby Wambach was handed down swiftly. The league continues to be extremely impressive avoiding some of the PR bungles WUSA had early on despite having better TV penetration.
  • The crowd in Austin was impressive for Friday night’s FSC game. But the big story is how Puerto Rico is struggling without Jonny Steele. Also the Islanders have yet to really integrate Kyle Veris and Dominic Mediate in the side. USL-1 is important but the focus has to be the Carribean Cup for Colin Clarke’s men where one more win will qualify the Islanders for a second straight CONCACAF Champions League. You can pretty much assume much of Central America is cheering for Puerto Rico’s Haitian opponents in the semi-final.
  • Rochester is looking like a dangerous side in USL-1 now having taken four points on the road against participants in last year’s CONCACAF Champions League knock out stages.
  • 12,246 was the attendance in Montreal which is the lowest for a home opener since Saputo Stadium opened. This comes just months after 55,000 plus attended the Impact’s home leg in the CCL quarterfinals.
  • I like what regular playing time for Emmanuel Ekpo is providing the Crew going forward. More lively attacking play with speed and a decent amount of flair.
  • I’m a little bit concerned about Robbie Rogers. I’ve been thinking for a few weeks he seems a step slower to react and his first touch is suspect unlike last year when he was magic in a bottle. The US MNT still has serious concerns on the left side of midfield and perhaps Rogers isn’t the long term solution.
  • With the struggles the US is having up front I wonder if Bob Bradley will recall Josh Wolff a proven goal scorer in CONCACAF particularly against Mexico whom he has repeatedly played well against. Assuming Jozy Altidore or Brian Ching are going to play well at Azteca or at Saprissa is a leap of faith perhaps too far for me to simply accept without some critical analysis. Woff on the other hand has found his form with the Wizards and has proven throughout his playing career that he can be johnny on the spot for the US. Keep in mind Bradley coached Wolff for five seasons in Chicago also. It’s possible Wolff can provide the same spark up front Frankie Hejduk has given the backline.
  • 14,000 plus experienced a nice throwback theme in Columbus. What would be even better would be if Stern John the hero of 1998 and 1999 returned to the Crew as reported by MLS Rumors last week.
  • Hunter Gillstrap played heroically for Cleveland City Stars as they earned their first ever USL-1 point in a nill nill draw against Portland.
  • Alex Nimo is a player I was really high on after the U-17 World Cup in 2007, but he couldn’t find the pitch at RSL and now on loan at Portland has sturggled. But he finally showed some lively play and quality last night in Cleveland coming on late for the Timbers.
  • See what actually signing some Canadian players can do for you Mo Johnston! DeRo and Serioux have helped lead TFC to near the top of the Eastern Conference.
  • I know many American fans like the English Premier League based on reputation and media hype but has a single Premier League game in the last month been as dramatic as the RSL-LA or TFC-DCU games this weekend?
  • I have to bring up the issue of officiating when Toronto plays again because whether it is an anti-Canadian conspiracy or something else, the Reds have been on the bad end of more bad calls the last three seasons than perhaps every other team in the league combined.
  • We can complain all we want about ESPN 2′s pre-preemption of almost 20 minutes worth of Texas Derby action. But ESPN’s contract with the NCAA to show all championships (except Basketball which is on CBS) is much more lucrative to the network than MLS whose ratings are significantly worse on Disney owned networks than they were ten years ago. Last year’s MLS Cup Final was the lowest rated final since MLS began and last season the TV viewership was less than half per match it was in 1998. That having been said, I was still highly annoyed by the fact that the network has a very bad practice of scheduling events in small time windows.
  • The natural pitch in Cary for the Railhawks has held up very well despite Carolina having several home games in the first month of the season following several home exhibition games. Further proof for USL-1 which has too many turf pitches that grass can work if properly maintained.
  • Lori Chalupuny’s goal combined with some incredible goalkeeping by Hope Solo (or so I am told since the game wasn’t on TV) has put the Athletica right back in the thick of the WPS playoff race after a horrid start.
  • Tiffany Milbrett made an immediate impact after entering the game for FC Gold Pride, which is great to see.
  • Chicago continues to drop points at home in front of seemingly sparse crowds in Bridgeview. Sharlie Joseph’s goal was a point stolen for the Revs who then went on to control the second half.
  • Something isn’t right with the Fire. But it’s not totally broken either. More on this later in the week.
  • Houston’s defending is impressive game in and game out, while Stuart Holden continues to adapt to a play makers role in his own way.
  • Kei Kamara’s goal to give the Dynamo the victory was pure desire and showed remarkable skill.
  • Paulo Nagumura reminds us every time he takes the pitch what a fool Alexi Lalas was to release him.
  • Zach Thornton still is very much on form and looking like a potential recall for Bob Bradley this summer.
  • RSL’s road form continues to be worrying. The club cannot even seem to threaten consistently away from home let alone score goals. Javi Morales so dominant at Rio Tinto seems to disappear for large stretches of games on the road.

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.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

12 Responses to MLS/WPS/USL Review

  1. Cali Comet says:

    I think TFC is getting screwed eight days until Sunday if you know what I mean.

    The thing is all the refs are American, USSF accredited. They are bound to be biased. English refs cannot officiate games between BPL and SPL teams, why should American refs referee every TFC game against an American team?

  2. Fuuzball says:

    Where were Chicago’s fans?

    The Revs stole a point when you factor the talent in Chicago.

  3. Lars says:

    The refereeing was yet again atrocious for TFC. But, we’ll take a tie against DC in DC, it should have been a win…

  4. Lars says:

    I am glad though that you have pointed out that quality domestics are playing a key role for TFC though.

  5. kyle says:

    Please no Josh Wolff on the USMNT.

  6. sounder says:

    seattle got screwed by the ref didnt call an obvious pk and then gave riley a red for trying to get the ball back from la who was delaying the game he gave 5 or 6 yellow cards and completely lost control of the game

  7. eplnfl says:

    Chicago fan right here. Most talent in the league, yes. Can not drive home a win, yes. Wrong mix of players? Maybe. Defense a bit unorganized at times. Yes, at all the wrong times. Something wrong in the locker room. IMHO, YES.

  8. Fuuzball says:

    Re: Chicago.

    Where did Brian McBride dissapear against Revs? I am a Rev fan.

    I think we won the tactics battle to be honest.

  9. eplnfl says:

    Forgot to mention look around the league at the teams that have ex-Fire playing key roles. Chivas is leading the league with Thornton in the nets, Seattle, Toronto all have former Chicago players playing key roles. Has Chicago moved solid veterans to bring in talented young players and two great ones?

  10. adam says:

    Give Austin some credit. Adrian Heath an experienced English manager who’d probably win the tactics battle with 90% of the MLS coaches, Eddie Johnson former Man City and Gifton Noel Williams who has scored a ton of goals in the 1st Division and Championship. Yordany Alvarez the star Cuban defector also. They actually have a good looking side.

  11. Kartik loves DC United says:

    What about LA-Seattle and Vancouver-Puerto Rico. Just ignore the Northwest why don’t we?

    United two draws this week and no hope. Kartik must be crying about his teams continued failure to win.

    One more question. Why is DC getting a stadium more important than Houston, Seattle, New England, etc.

    BECAUSE KARTIK IS A BIASED DC UNITED FAN. WORD TO RED BULLS, FIRE AND REVS FANS. DON’T READ ANYTHING THE DC LOVER HAS TO SAY ABOUT MLS. USL AND USMNT STUFF IS FINE BUT HE IS SO SKEWED AND BIASED TOWARDS DC AND AGAINST THE REST OF THE LEAGUE IT IS NOT EVEN FUNNY.

  12. Chris Webb says:

    Kartik,

    Don’t even joke about Josh Wolff playing with the National Team. That’s not funny.

    Will Johnson’s alleged hand ball? He damn near hooked into his own net. That is a stone cold penalty. If anything, that call was more solid than the follow up call that no one got a clean look at. The replay was inconclusive at best. I can guess that the RSL player was run over, but you don’t know how much embellishment was going on.

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