Sunday, March 20, 2011

Things I've noticed after the first Saturday in MLS

The major theme this weekend was awful, awful defending. Most goals seemed to come from poor defending and average attacking play.

-The Vancouver supporters were fantastic and in great voice for their season opener. If Toronto could defend they would have taken a point from this game. Some of the worst school-boy defending I've seen in a long time with two of the Whitecaps goals from bad marking, bad clearances or just not marking a runner.

- On the theme of terrible defending Chivas tried their best to be the worst defensive team on the day. Sporting KC's three goals were simply down to awful defending and opportunistic attacking. However, Chivas got themselves back into the match by some shoddy set piece marking followed by a second Chivas goal thanks to more bad SKC marking. I wrote SKC's backline was untested in the first half and they looked shakey in the second. Chivas didn't have anyone to put the ball away and SKC escaped, in the end, with all three points.

- Salt Lake escaped San Jose with all three points in unconvincing fashion. The combination of wind, rain and RSL fatigue due to their exploits in the CONCACAF Champions League looked to zap the energy from the team. Fortunately for RSL Nick Rimando put in a man of the match performance.

- I'm not sure who counted the heads as they came through the gate, but it was annouced FC Dallas' Pizza Hut Park was sold out for opening day. I guess a sell out in Texas is different than in most other cities as there were massive gaps in the stands and loads of empty seats. I was a bit unaware Break Shea would be moving to centreback in this one, and he looked out of place miscontrolling a pass then getting sent off for pulling down a Chicago attacker. I thought Chicago looked the better team in this one, except for the magic goal that Dallas' Milton Rodrigez pulled out of nowhere.

- Great to see Colorado getting off to a great start and their attack looked electric, most notably Omar Cummings. Portland was never in this match. Rodney Wallace was poor and proved again he isn't an MLS level defender. It was also great to see a full house at Dick Sporting Goods Park.

- Nothing special between Houston and Philadelphia Union. The winner coming on a scamble in front of goal that was buried by centreback Danny Califf.

- New York and Seattle played perhaps the best match of the weekend. Seattle already played during the week and lost to LA 1-0. They looked better in this and if it wouldn't have been for Greg Sutton Seattle would have been up early. However, NY's Juan Agudelo won an early penalty only for the spot kick from Thierry Henry to be saved by Kasey Keller. Alvaro Fernadez and Freddy Montero were excellent linking up together in this one. But Seattle had no one else joining the attack and NY put the game away with an excellent goal from Agudelo. Henry it must be noted faded in the second half for the Red Bulls after starting brightly.

- Not sure how to judege DC United after they defeated a poor Columbus team. Josh Wolff got the opening goal and the man I said would lead the leauge in scoring and resurrect his career, Charlie Davies, got two. One from the spot and the other from open play. His second was fantastic individual effort and the quality that he showed against the Columbus defence was head and shoulders above. I've said previously Columbus has terrible fullbacks and a bad defence and it looks like it could be a long season for them. Great to see a big hungry DC crowd out looking for a rebound from last season. It's interesting to note DC's captain last season Santino Quaranta and Branco Boskovic started on the bench and were both unused subs.

- If the season goes according to opening day we're going to see a load of goals, some terrible defending and some fantastic forwards in the league this season. I'm already earmarking a couple managers to be sacked this year with the first being Columbus' Robert Warzycha.

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