16
May
08

MLS week 6 & 7 thoughts…yeah I know I’m late

So as those of you who read my entertainment blog know, I have been busy prepping the Cannes film festival. (yeah, people ask me whether should be made or not. Weird right? Too bad they normally make the ones I’m not too keen on first. Oh well)

As such, I haven’t been able to pay much attention to this blog since, well, it pays nothing since WordPress.com doesn’t allow ads and the other sites do pay me (a little bit).

Anyway, here is a quick list of thoughts and let me start with a quick note on the start of week 8 with the RSL vs. Colorado game.

It was a pretty tight match. The level of play is the highest I’ve seen in the ‘Rocky Mountain Cup’ since it’s inception. This holds true league wide.

Colorado is looking like the team to beat out west and RSL is looking much improved. However, playing in the west it is looking more and more like they won’t make the playoffs again. It’s a shame because they do have some exciting young players. The Argies they added last year have been fantastic.

On to the past two weeks:

First, LA is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. To expect anymore or less the rest of the year, barring a major move, is folly. They have all the offense in the world. In fact, I am pretty confident that they could blast just about anyone off the field when they are even half on. However, the problem continues being defense as evidenced by their home loss to TFC a few weeks ago. They continue this streak of poor defending and it has been costing them, especially against RBNY who are a vastly overrated side.

LA needs to find a leader. They give up a ton of goals immediately after scoring and it is clear they need someone to holler at them and tell them to focus. 7 years ago a team could over celebrate and get away with it. However, the level of play and competitiveness for spots has increased to such a degree that it isn’t possible to take too many plays off without being punished. You only need as DC United…

…who got the living shit kicked out of them by Chicago on MLS Thursday a week after Chicago beat the shit out of New England for a second time this year. (where’s the excuses for your side this time, Nicol?) DC United has had a pretty strong history of having some talented players, but also having players who drift in and out of matches at times (look at their woeful recent playoff history) The fact of the matter is, the better teams in the league no longer allow you to take plays off anymore. Again, 4-5 years ago this may have been the case, but it simply can’t happen anymore.

The 2 best teams in the league by a country mile are Chicago and Columbus for this very reason. They keep their foot on the gas even if they are having a bad game and more often than not, they have been putting teams to sleep.

The real tragedy is the fact that if current form holds, the league’s failure to structure the playoffs in a straight 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5 format will mean Chicago and Columbus will have to knock one or the other out of the playoffs and play a lesser western team in the final. I know that’s getting way ahead of ourselves as things change almost weekly in MLS due to the relative parity (though it’s looking less pared this year)

However, my complaint stands. The straight table playoff should be the format but it won’t be now that the league tries to do everything possible to get LA into the post-season. Look at the change to the format this year. Last year’s race for spots was the best ever because they made it the top 2 from each conference getting in and then the next best 6 irregardless of conference. However, that was changed to the top 3 and then the next 2 this year which pretty much brings it back to what it used to be. It was a move clearly aimed at aiding the western conference and LA in particular and it’s shameful.

MLS: you won’t be fooling anyone. If LA makes the playoffs as the #3 in the west 20 pts behind 3 other eastern conference teams that would have made it if not for the rules changes, it’s not going to impress anyone. There are a billion other things you could do to give them a competitive advantage. Hell, if you raised the cap $500K they could get 2 high quality defenders and they’d be one of the best teams in the league. They’d probably dominate. Doing it this way just sucks.

I digress.

Sorry for the tangent but honestly, the rest of the league remained status quo. Chivas, DC and Houston continue to suck. Chivas has Champions League qualifying coming up (they got the spot since New England qualified by being in the final–the spot was originally intended for the US Open Cup champ but since NE won that…)

Dallas continues to struggle to keep peak form. They can be a dangerous team when their head is on straight and Cooper is having a break out year which will no doubt earn him more USMNT call ups.

RBNY is a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Many media pundits keep trying to hype them as a great team but they are clearly a cut below the top in the east, that’s even with a victory over Columbus under their belt. They jsut don’t impress me and now that Reyna is out injured…again…they are due for the season swoon like last year.

TFC was off last week. However, their recent form has improved and they are looking more like a team that desires to at least let their fans believe they might win a bit more regularly this year.

San Jose continues to scrap but they still lack some finishing touch despite having some interesting prospects up top. I still think they will be better than most of the expansion teams, but I don’t expect a ’98 Fire from them.

That’s about all. Sorry if I missed your team, if so it probably means they haven’t done much of notice (KC). If you have any thoughts, leave them in the comments.

This year continues to be an exciting one and lets hope the drama continues through the year.

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