An abreviated version this week thanks to the USMNT coverage. For full coverage please reference the excellent job Peter C. is doing with the Take Me Out to the Ballgame features.
Some quick thoughts.
- The officiating in Major League Soccer and a to lesser extent WPS and USL have been horrible this year. This week we have seen four matches arguably decided by poor officials calls in MLS, and two that were most certainly decided by suspect calls. Some theories are abound that both calls were due to MLS’ desire to begin avoiding draws in matches. But the truth is that the responsibility falls with the USSF who trains and maintains the referee pool. MLS is almost an innocent bystander in this.Last season Toronto FC was denied an opportunity to make the playoffs thanks to several suspect calls. Allegations of anti-Canadian bias which cannot be as easily dismissed as some would like crept up. This season it is just flat out incompetence or too literally applying the “letter of the law” instead of using common sense.It’s too bad for MLS because they have little control over this, but the continued inept officiating is hurting the league’s credibility. So something has to change and fast.
- Few are giving Bruce Arena the credit he deserves for the outstanding form of the Galaxy. Sure the number of draws is frustrating for the league and somewhat comical for outsideers, but consider that LA is over matched from a talent standpoint in every single MLS match they play. Arena’s team has often scored late equalizers even when a man down like Saturday night because of a timely tactical change of shift that has not been countered by the opposing coach. That’s why Bruce Arena is hands down without debate the most successful manager in this sport the United States has ever produced. Arena continues to prove his worth even three years after Sunil Gulati sacked him.
- Colin Clarke got a big monkey off his back and perhaps regained some goodwill of the Puerto Rico Islander fans with a 2-1 victory over Minnesota on the road. The Islanders hadn’t won a USL game in four weeks and were still smarting from the criticism Clarke received for resting several of his regulars in the CFU Club Championship Final after the Islanders had qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League with a semifinal win.
- As I’ve said before I know why Bob Bradley selected the players he does but my two biggest issues continue to be with the omission of Conor Casey and Kenny Cooper from a US squad that is offensively challenged. This weekend in MLS did nothing to change my view.
- So long Ian Sawyers, hello Rutgers and a critical win for Sky Blue FC over the Boston Breakers. I have come to the conclusion that Amy Rodriguez is nowhere near the attacking player we thought she was or that Pia Sundhage needs for the US to be successful at World Cup 2011.
- Diego Maradona has called Chaco Gimenez of Pachuca into the Argentine National Team. Gimenez scored twice last night in Pahcuca’s extra time loss to Pumas in the FMF Clausura Final. The issue for me is that Gimenez was months away from gaining Mexican citizenship and probably a first team spot for El Tri. Instead he will be capped next week by Argentina and lucky to play again for his native country. I know being an Argentine is a draw from Chaco, but he would have been wiser to reject the call up and follow the footsteps of Pachuca team mate Gabriel Caballero and play for Mexico instead of Argentina.
- Pachuca’s loss means Jose Francisco Torres does not join the list of American titlists this season. Including on the list are Oguchi Onyewu, Mo Edu, and DaMarcus Beasley.