MLS/USL/WPS/FMF Thoughts (Updated with Mexican Content)

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.
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15 Responses to MLS/USL/WPS/FMF Thoughts (Updated with Mexican Content)

  1. Ryan says:

    “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.”

    I’m still not on board with Cooper because I think he has his flaws. More importantly, his flaws are ones that will hurt the US more than those of Jozy, Ching, etc. If it’s an Eddie Johnson/Kenny Cooper debate, that’s one thing, but I don’t think he’s better than those 2 starters or more deserving of a look than Charlie Davies.

    However, I’m firmly on the Conor Casey bandwagon and would like to thank you for piloting it for so long this year.

  2. C Webb says:

    I pretty much agree with the above poster on all fronts. As someone who is begging to see Cooper get a chance with the National Team, I have come to the conclusion that the style of play that Cooper plays simply won’t mesh with the US when he plays as a forward. However, I do see him playing a wing forward or outside midfielder role for the US. His tendency to drift wide during the course of play could be used by Bradley.

  3. John says:

    Bruce Arena is absolutely the most OVER-RATED coach in American soccer history. He has done a great job in the Concacaf region but that’s it.

    I can only think of 1 decent win outside the region – Portugal during the World Cup – That ‘s it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m amazed at how so many people continue to sing his praises when the most basic statistics (wins) for a national team coach are horrible (outside of the region). His style of play was boring, not effective and he continues that same trend at LA.

    He understands the sport, is a good tactician – but is a far cry from a great coach.

  4. EastLAChiva says:

    Kartik, no offense, but you really need to stop kissing Bruce Arena’s fat ass.

    What’s going to happen when the Galaxy win a game? Best team in the MLS? Landon Donovan will be a better a player than Leonel Messi?
    Seriously, stop being an apologist for this franchise.
    I don’t know anyone who loves American Soccer more than me, but this is getting ridiculous.

  5. Gil says:

    I agree when you say A-Rod is not playing as she used to. But I’ll tell that it’s a positioning issue that Tony DiCicco seems not to have figured out yet. Or he decided to favor some players and force Amy to play in a way she’s not used to… well, I’d like to invite you to read my post on the Un-Official WPS blog at OleOle and then you’ll see what I’m saying: http://www.oleole.com/blogs/wps/posts/what-is-happening-with-a-rod—controversy-alert

  6. Troy says:

    Yes, Kartik continues his year long suck up campaign to Arena. I hope for your sake it’s working, man.

  7. bill says:

    Worst officiating ever! The ref who did the Chivas/Fire game last Thursday loves giving unwarranted red cards and he is awful. Swear on this one, he ref’d my mens league game yesterday here in San Antinio and that POS handed out 4 reds. One was in the box, a guy dove and he said it was a denial of a clear goal scoaring op even though I was waiting on him at the penalty spot. When I was told that his name was Jason Anno I about crapped my pants. He’s miserable and has no concept of the way the game is played. It’s like there is a conspiracy to rid US soccer of it’s physical nature. With morons like this in control of the game US soccer has really taken a step back.

  8. Pumas Fan says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding Conor Casey. Of the 4 or 5 Rapids games I have had the chance to see, he has been completely dominant up front. He is a much more physical player than just about every current US MNT forward. I would love to see him at least get a look during the Gold Cup.

  9. Lars says:

    The goal which TFC was cost on Saturday undoubtedly affected the performance in the 2nd half. Obstruction was called but video replay showed that the TFC player got to the ball first and headed it into the net. We’ve (the folks from where I am that watch tfc at the bar) come to the conclusion that the American refs can’t stand TFC’s success, and will do anything to stop it.

    Now, granted, TFC played god awful on Saturday and deserved to lose, but any possible comeback was simply killed by poor officiating. I’m really hoping this isn’t the desire of MLS.

    Kartik, I sincerely hope it’s just incompetence from USSF officials…

  10. Peter C says:

    I remember reading(somewhere) that for WC ’06 the scouting duties for the group matches were split between Arena and the 2 assistants with Arena taking Italy.
    The US was the only team to score on Italy until France got one in the final and the only team not to lose to Italy. FWIW, does this not speak to Arena’s coaching and scouting?
    Mind you, towards the end of his stint with the USMNT, I often found myself screaming at the screen wondering if the US knew which end they were supposed to advance to in order to score.

  11. Mexican football says:

    You’re absolutely right about the officiating. It’s another reason why the league is unwatchable.

    Good piece on Chaco Gimenez. I’d like to see him suit up for the Tri, too. They let him get away I guess. It’ll be a treat to see him return to Concachampions action in the next CCL

  12. albert says:

    Chaco always dismissed in playing for el Tri , as long he was still active his dream was always to wear the albi-celeste jersey . His love for his nation and perseverance are both commendable in day in age when many players simply play for another national just be able to play at international level ,with no heartfelt sense of pride for the colors they are reprsenting.

    However,there is another Argie about to get his Mexican citizenship ,Daniel Luduena from Santos , who happens to be a formidable offensive mid-fielder.He will most likely get capped

  13. Mexican football says:

    Haha, albert. I understand that. As a youngster, would make makeshift shirts with those unmistakeable blue and white stripes of Argentina. I’d wear them when I played, pretending to be Maradona, Bautistuta or Caniggia. The Argentine national team has some sort of magnetic lure. They”re just the coolest, even today. I guess we can’t blame the Chaco.

    BTW, it was nice to see Villar’s kids all decked out in the blue and white during Atlante’s CONCACAF Championship celebration. What a proud footballing nation. Best of luck to them. They’re gonna need it, despite having Messi.

  14. albert says:

    Mexican football , if I were in Chaco’s shoes I probably would’ve done the same.Even knowing that it may only be a one shot deal , just the fact that you were noticed by Maradona and being able to practice with players he says he has only played with on his playstation , sounds more apealing than playing in a world cup for a country that is not dear to your heart

  15. Joey Clams says:

    We wouldn’t have anti-Canadian bias if we didn’t have Canadian teams. Seriously. That’s one more reason why binational leagues are a terrible idea. They don’t bring people together. They end up pitting people against each other. Do you think that an LA or Houston-based Mexican league team would face bias?

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