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Leagues: Liga MX

Weekend Review: May 24, 2009

This weekend every single MLS, USL or WPS match had meaning. Americans were also playing in meaningful matches abroad whether in the Mexican or English Football League playoffs, fighting relegation in Germany, chasing a title in Scotland and Belgium or even an important regular season match in Scandinavia.We even had PDL matches serve as qualifiers for the US Open Cup and the USASA qualifiers and the USSF’s Youth Development Academy spring showcase in Sarasota Florida.

The one place in the footballing world strangely devoid of important matches and results was in the Barclays Premier League, the preferred  football league of many American fans some of whom are simply brainwashed by elements of the media and others who don’t really appreciate the game. Only one Premier League result meant anything this past weekend, and that was Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Newcastle. The other matches, unlike the the games played on all levels here in the United States were essentially exhibition matches with little importance.

  • We didn’t get to see much of Marco Vidal for Indios in the first leg of the semifinals with Pachuca. Blamed for Christian Gimenez’s initial goal, Vidal was replaced at halftime. Jose Torres had a very lively and effective game for Pachuca supplementing the attack well and moving from left to center midfield seamlessly during play.
  • The second leg was amazing, but Indios chances to continue their Cinderella run but couldn’t close out the match when they had a chance.
  • I wish FSC would mix up their USL telecasts a little more. We’ve seen Cleveland City three times now while still having seen the Battery nationally.
  • John Cuncliffe looked reborn for the Railhawks in Cleveland. Last week against Miami he did not even suit up.
  • Michael Bradley will be in the Bundesliga for at least one more season as Gladbach avoided the drop on the last day.
  • Steve Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that San Jose is looking to already dump Bobby Convey. What a shock! Convey is no more mature as a person from what I am told than he was when he entered MLS at 16 years of age, over nine years ago.
  • The Battery’s hot start has put Tyler Hemming back on the Canadian National Team radar. He’s been called in for the pre Gold Cup friendly in Larnaca against Cyprus. Problem is USL like MLS does not  adhere to the international calendar and the Battery will lose Hemming for at least a week maybe more.
  • RFK Stadium saw Josh Wicks make his case to be United’s starting goalkeeper.
  • Cat Whitehill seems to assumed the leadership role of the Washington Freedom in Abby Wambach’s absence.
  • Jack Jewsbury is playing incredibly well an an attacking midfielder for the Wizards. Given the difficulty the US team has had with linkup play away from home, could Jewsbury be an option this summer for the Nats?
  • Listeners to my CSRN show will recall how much I liked Colin Clarke of the Rapids the last few seasons. Again, Clarke is playing at a very high level and deserves a serious look from Bob Bradley because right now the left side of US formation is a mess.
  • The Minnesota Thunder and Miami FC played an entertaining game despite the nill nill scoreline. USL-1 has caught up with Diego Serna whose last goal was from the spot in the second match of the season. Serna looks largely outclassed at this level not making timely runs and constantly diving.
  • The Galaxy are now undefeated in eight games. Bruce Arena has taken a completely outclassed squad and achieved results. Sadly, much of it has been achieved by playing anti-football. The Galaxy are still 2-3 years away from moving beyond the stench created by Alexi Lalas’ tenure and while Arena is being faulted by some for his tactics, what else is he supposed to do? Send a team out to play attractively and be beat 3-0 every night like Ruud Gullit’s team was towards the end of his tenure?
  • St Louis Atheltica, terrible the first two weeks of the WPS season are now undefeated in four and gave a good accounting of themselves in Bridgeview on Saturday night.
  • Kasey Keller could very well still be the second best American born goal keeper behind Brad Friedel. I know Tim Howard is playing well for Everton but he plays behind a solid backline and has not had to make the stop Keller did at Gladbach two years ago, Fulham last season and this year with the Sounders.
  • Chris Rolfe continues to progress as a player and is versatile in every role thrown at him by Dave Sarachan, Juan Carlos Osorio and now Dennis Hamlet.
  • The LA Sol have Marta, but they also have a well organized team that looks like they have played together for years.
  • Martin Rennie’s Carolina Railhawks sit atop the USL table and also have taken 9 points out of a possible 9 on this current road trip. Rennie’s success is no fluke. I’ve interviewed him a number of times as our readers and listeners know and have always come away remarkably impressed with his tactical skill and general knowledge of the game.
  • Colin Clarke had to answer questions last week about his decision to play reserves in the CFU Championship Final. Now Clarke will be questioned as to why the Islanders continue to drop points at home with alarming regularity. Last year’s Commisioner’s Cup winners and CONCACAF semifinalists have already dropped eight points in just five home games.
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  1. James

    May 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Hey a great soccer site! Written by an international player!

  2. Mexican Football

    May 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Fans are not brainwashed to like the EPL. Their football is very entertaining, that’s why it’s popular.

    You’re right about the 2nd leg in Pachuca’s semifinal. Down to the wire. Pachuca got lackadaisacal and almost paid the ultimate price. Once they woke up from their slumber, they put one in to seal the deal. The Grand Final starts on Thursday night on Teleworld, with leg 2 on Sunday. The winner goes on to the group stage of the upcoming Concachampions league. Should be pretty good.

    How many Colin Clarkes are there?

  3. Vnice

    May 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    LI Matt brings up a very good point. I find myself watching EPL more often than other countries because of the English language factor.

    Ya know…bringing up English footy…I really wish there was more League 1 and 2 on TV. I like how scrappy those little teams are. It’s more fun than watching rich boys on the pitch.

  4. eplnfl

    May 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

    You forgot Sarah Boyle!

  5. LI Matt

    May 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

    … the Barclays Premier League, the preferred football league of many American fans some of whom are simply brainwashed by elements of the media and others who don’t really appreciate the game.

    Aside from the Murdoch organization’s promotion, a big reason for the EPL’s popularity in this country is everything’s in English. It’s not just the match commentary: the journalism is in English, the fan sites and boards are in English, the expats at the “footy pub” are speaking English. It’s easier for a mono-lingual American (like myself) to participate in the supporters’ culture with English clubs than with clubs from places where those things aren’t the case.

  6. Ian

    May 25, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Your point about Arena is utter B/S. They play so deep all the time in classic US Soccer style of course they are going to draw the majority of games.

  7. Martek

    May 25, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Kartik, you are right on the money about Bobby Convey. I was at the Dynamo game this past weekend and it was well into the second half before I even noticed he was still on the field, and at that point just standing at the midfield stripe while the ball bounced right by him. (“Hey, that’s Convey, right?”) The game just passed him by.

    Dynamo was strong against a woeful, woeful side that looks to be in complete disarray.

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