Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 2 Notes

Well, the good news is Juan Agudelo score again this week. The bad news is he did it for the USMNT against Argentina and not for the New York Red Bulls. New York definitely missed Agudelo and Thierry Henry in this 0-0 draw that had plenty of chances; plenty of chances for Columbus. In the end they were evenly matched on a rainy Ohio day. Luke Rodgers never really seemed in the match for Red Bull and it took some very good goalkeeping from both sides to keep it level. Many said New York would suffer without centreback combo Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez, and they did to an extent. Many times getting caught with too high a line at the back. Fortunately, for New York Columbus couldn't capitalize on the day.

I said this week that Sporting KC and Chicago would play a high scoring attacking match. They didn't disappoint. Five goals shared with Chicago taking the points, but just like in New England-DC United there was some ridiculous officiating. Chicago was given a penalty early on as the attacker seemed to fall over due to momentum, rather than a push from Omar Bravo. Diego Chaves blasted the penalty in, 1-0. Following the penalty Chicago took the Sporting defence apart for their second goal. I said the defence wasn't tested last week against Chivas, and at times in that match lost the Chivas attackers too easily. Gaston Puerari got the second after slipping through the Sporting defence to make it 2-0. Matt Besler would pull one back for Sporting following some poor Fire marking on a corner. However, Marco Pappa would pull out some brillance in Chicago's third goal dribbling through four Sporting would-be defenders. Sporting would get a late Teal Bunbury goal, but Chicago held on in the end. I've been quite surprised with Chicago in their first two matches, however, Chicago has traditionally gotten off to hot starts (no pun intended) only to burn out during the middle of the season (pun intended). Looking back over week 1and 2 I'm not sure how good Sporting is. Yes, they were missing Kei Kamara from the starting 11, but they didn't play particularly well against Chivas defensively. They need to shore up that backline fast as they won't outscore every team every week. In Sporting's two games this season a total of 10 goals have been scored.

First off, I'm a bit confused with Philadelphia wearing a new white kit for home. I loved this team's home and away kits last year, though I don't hate the white, I thought their away gold kits last season were classy. This game didn't really get going until Vancouver had striker Eric Hassli sent off in the second half. Hassli let some frustration boil over and was yellow carded for two petulent fouls on Union defenders. Despite being a man down the Whitecaps put up a fight and should have gotten a point from this game, however, a questionable no-call allowed the Union all three points. From replays it would appear Carlos Ruiz never got back on side following the initial ball that was played through. Nevertheless, the Union sit on top of the East with six points and will be a hard team to beat with the fervent support at PPL.

Toronto FC got their first points of the season, and looked good doing it defeating Portland Timbers 2-0. Portland did have chances but Stefan Frei was fantastic for TFC. But the man of the match was Javier Martina who scored both goals and had a fantastic finish for his second.

The game of the week between Salt Lake and LA Galaxy turned into a non-event as the best team in the league hammered LA 4-1. The Galaxy looked dismal and are picking up where they left off last season. RSL is continuing to show they are the best team in North America. Javier Morales ran this match and LA Galaxy looked confused, old and slow throughout.

San Jose looked good against a poor FC Dallas team and Chris Wondolowski scored two fantastic goals in this one. I wrote last week that FCD hasn't replaced the players they allowed to leave and it has showed in both games this season.

So far this year I think the teams in East look stronger than the West. Yes, it is early but Dallas, Seattle, Portland and Chivas have underwhelmed thus far.

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