The Weekend in Context: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
- Some fans chuckled after week one when I said I was more interested in a matchup between the LA Galaxy and DC United than any random matchup in MLS. At the time both teams looked like they were going to be bottom feeders in the league (although I had tipped LA to improve, I did not expect much of DC United this season). But as this last two weeks of “Summer of Soccer” friendlies have once again told us, Football ultimately is about tradition and putting Toronto and Seattle up against big European clubs may be good on the pocket book but exposed MLS’ quality in a negative light.
By contrast, games involving DC United and the Galaxy were a credit to MLS, with both teams showing well, though it should be noted that the Red and Black did draw a game against Real Madrid a few years ago that I paid big bucks to watch on PPV.
DCU’s history includes a win over Tottenham in London, and smashing wins over Newcastle and Celtic. Let’s not forget in 2005, Chelsea needed to play their starters deep into the second half to overcome United 2-1, in a game DCU dominated for large portions. Let’s not forget, DCU is also the one MLS team that can be said to have played the same style of football, for over a decade, and when facing superior opposition that makes a difference. I know Don Garber, wants to showcase his successful, former A-League/ USL-1 markets but that has a downside in demonstrating MLS’ lack of quality and depth beyond a few clubs that have a real history behind them. (Seattle Sounders FC is not the same club from the NASL days after all, despite the similar name)
- The USMNT has gathered in Miami for training camp before the massive qualifying clash with Mexico at Azteca. I’ll be covering training for another media outlet the next two days, but will share some tidbits here.
- Preki’s Chivas USA team, looks woefully outclassed and out of sorts since their flying start to the season. Perhaps, Jorge Vegara could spend some of the money he is wasting on Mexico’s first rubber pitch on his American team? I am also not sure why the FMF is allowing Guadalajara to develop an unfair advantage with a rubber pitch. Perhaps, the play of one Mexico’s signature clubs has been so bad for the last few years, everyone is being hit in the wallet.
- Also on the FMF, reigning champion Pumas has started the Apertura season with three consecutive losses. Pachuca, a favorite of many American fans has three consecutive wins.
- A consistent theme has emerged among MLS officials this season: If in doubt, give the benefit of the doubt to the opponent of the Dynamo. Given the continued short end of the stick Dom Kinnear’s team gets from the officials (this trend started early last year when Houston were two time defending MLS champions) one has to wonder if there is some reason this is happening consciously. Thankfully, in the interest of fair play the Dynamo still beat Chicago Fire, 3-2 on Sunday.
- Pasion Naranja, reports that Puerto Rico Islanders Forward Fabrice Noel, formerly of the Colorado Rapids is getting a tryout from Ligue Un side Le Mans. Noel, has a unique and tragic story involving the killing of his brother and Fernando Clavijo’s efforts to get him out of Haiti and relocate him to Florida. Noel, is coming off an excellent summer with the Haitian National Team, and in Puerto Rico’s CONCACAF CL run last spring. Noel, played a part in Puerto Rico’s 4-0 thrashing of Clavijo’s current employer, Miami FC at the weekend, a game in which Colin Clarke gave several of his regulars a rest.
- The PDL Final saw Ventura County Fusion defeat the Chicago Fire PDL team 2-1 in front of a nice crowd in California. Both teams had impressive runs to the final, and the Fire continue to be the model for player development in MLS. The Fusion, played much of the game a man down. Also impressive, was the decision of LA Daily News MLS beat writer Nick Green to cover the final in person, despite both local MLS teams being in action that day (they were both on the road, however.). Kudos to him. The game will air on FSC, Tuesday Night.