Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bolton is my 2nd team this season

I've jumped on the Bolton bandwagon as my second team this season, and it helps that USA international Stuart Holden is in the starting 11. Bolton drew 2-2 with  Blackpool yesterday. Check out the highlights from the game as the lead up to Bolton's second goal was fantastic.

USA international Clint Dempsey got his fifth goal of Premier League season yesterday, as well. His came on a scrappy header to keep Fulham out of the relegation zone. Which obviously shows the worth of one Roy Hodgeson, whom may lead Liverpool into the top six today with a win versus Tottenham Hotspur.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Robbie Keane possibly moving to MLS

According to the Sun, Tottenham Hotspurs' star Robbie Keane could be moving to MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps leading the pack to sign him. Paul Barber, former Spurs chief executive, is currently in charge of Vancouver and is looking to add his former associate to the squad.
In 2008, Keane made a dream move to Liverpool despite Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez not wanting to sign the Irishman. Keane was sold back to Spurs six months later after being frozen out of the squad by Benitez and has failed to find his form since. Keane did spend six months on loan last season with Celtic scoring 12 goals in 16 matches.
This would be a fantastic move if Vancouver or another team is able to sign Keane and rumour is New England is looking at signing Keane as well. Keane is a hard working player and would fit right in in MLS and surely become a fan favourite in no time. Keane could also be very marketable as opposed to other DPs or former DPs such as: Omar Bravo, Nery Castillo, Mista, Julian De Guzman.
Keane is only 30, and if he can stay injury free could have a long MLS career. He also would be a key signing at an early age, still. Again this would be a great move for any MLS team and for Keane himself who has had an illustrious career spanning some great European clubs that include: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Conventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Celtic.

Simple look at the draft and Robbie Findley

A lot of flack seems to be directed towards one Robbie Findley at the moment. Portland drafted Findley in this year's expansion draft, though Findley who is out of contract with MLS, will most likely have a trial with unnamed European or Mexican clubs. First, it seems a lot of Timbers', Whitecaps' supporters and MLS followers are confused about the tactics both teams took with the expansion draft. Both clubs have traded away picks and aquired international slots and cash. This shows that both teams aren't interested in the expendable players of MLS and are out to bring in their own players from their past season(s); or they are interested in bringing in non-MLS players. I think this is a great idea and shows that both teams are confident in many of their previous players. Holding on to a core of these players will allow the team to settle into the league quicker. I also believe the gap between MLS and division 2 isn't as great as others believe. Many ex-MLS players must go to D2 when they don't make it in MLS. This actually shows the massive divide between college and professional soccer. Hopefully, with the reserve leage returning it will allow those college players to not be discarded as quickly as they have been before.
Robbie Findly was Portland's 6th pick in the draft with the club knowing full well it was a wasted pick. Again this was on purpose as they didn't have to worry about trading him or signing him. It was almost a bye in the draft round. Findley has been getting massively ripped to shreds by Timbers' and MLS followers following this draft. Findley can be quite inconsistent and may have had a down year this past season. However, Findley has still scored 31 goals in 100 MLS matches (one goal every three matches) which is a fantastic rate in MLS where quality strikers are hard to come by. Findley currently isn't the answer for the national team, but he has been a very good MLS striker; and he brings much more than goal scoring to the team. Findley is rumored to be having a trial with Randers FC in Denmark, where his former RSL teammate Yura Movsisyan plays. Movsisyan currently has five goals this season and is near the top of the scoring charts in a very competitive Danish League. With better coaching Findley, just like Movsisyan, can become a better striker and better national team player. Findley will only grow as a player by moving abroad.

Findley 31 goals in 100 MLS matches, here's how a few other MLS strikers stack up with him:

Alan Gordan 17 goals in 108 appearances
Alejandro Moreno 46 goals in 244 appearances
Carlos Ruiz 90 goals in 164 appearances
Edson 90 goals in 231 appearances
Chad Barrett 33 goals in 147 appearances
Conor Casey 42 goals in 89 appearances
Chris Wondolowski 25 goals in 81 appearances (21 goals this season and winning the Golden Boot, before he'd only scored four goals in four seasons)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Get over it

Today I've had enough of reading about MLS' low ratings for the cup final as well as the low ratings all season long. The doomsayers seem to be out in mass all of a sudden. I've even seen articles dedicated to the end of the MLS playoffs, because apparently people just don't care about them. I'm not exactly sure why that just because it's the cup final that everyone in North America has to be interested in soccer. It seems fans forget it is a niche sport in America. Hell, 80% of the kids in America who are registered soccer players could care less to watch an actual game on TV. Even Colorado's Conor Casey has admitted he isn't interested in soccer outside of playing it as a career.
Lets not forget the final was played by two teams that don't even draw much support in their own cities. Not to mention the game was on a Sunday night going up against Sunday's primetime TV. I still feel the playoffs aren't cared for as much, because MLS plays a 30 plus game regular season now. Once the playoffs begin people have lost any interest that they had begun to build up early on.
But the biggest reason the ratings are low is simple really: The TV deals allow MLS to draw low ratings and because of this it's no doubt the exposure isn't there. ESPN doesn't take MLS and soccer seriously. This is evident during the regular season when the game of the week can change from Thursday night to Saturday night to Friday night each week without real warning. There's no continuity. Not to mention they seriously lack advertising for the game of the week. FOX Soccer Channel carries MLS matches, too. However, FSC is a premium cable channel. The people who purchase FSC aren't buying it for the MLS matches each week, and when these MLS matches are on (typically on Saturday nights) these people obviously have other things to do. Finally, MLS biggest TV mistake is their deal with Telefutura. How ridiculous! MLS bigwigs seem to think Spanish speakers are dying to watch MLS. MLS seems to try and market itself so hard to Spanish speakers by the signing of Latin American players, too (i.e. Nery Castillo). It's sad when I have to find Telefutura to watch a MLS match that practically no one else is watching. Why is MLS trying to export its league before it has caught on in the country it is suppose to represent and being the English is FIFA's recognized language for events they could atleast try to keep it in English.
The ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt, though. Until MLS sorts out a new TV deal and sorts out their thinking behind it, the ratings will continue to drop. If LA Galaxy and New Redbulls would have played in the final this wouldn't be an issue. I feel bad for Colorado and FCD as they put on a good show Sunday night.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My top 10 picks for today's expansion draft

I've decided to pick the top 10 players I think would be perfect for either Vancouver or Portland. I did not allocate them to either team, but instead just picked the 10 I think are the best available.

John Thorrington (Chicago Fire) midfield- A solid MLS vet who fell off the radar this season, but I believe that to be more the Fire's manager than Thorrington who showed quality up until this past season.

Eduardo Lillingston (Chivas USA) srtiker- Though he may have an attitude I feel Livingston is a good player who has bagged eight goals in 25 matches in MLS, a decent return for MLS and Chivas standards. Lillingston is a big bodied striker who could be used as a target man for either team. Being 32 he maybe past his prime, but either team could get a good one or two seasons out of him.

Adam Moffat (Columbus Crew) midfield- In Columbus' MLS Cup winning season many raved about Moffat until his 2008 was cut short by a knee injury. Since then the Scotsman hasn't achieved the heights that were expected of him. However, a move and a fresh start could be what he needs. Making Moffat the intragal part of the central midfield could be exactly what he needs.

Dax McCarty (FC Dallas) midfield- McCarty is a solid MLS player who helped FCD to the MLS Cup Final this past season. McCarty maybe looking to test the waters in Europe and that could be the reason for his surprise inclusion to the draft. McCarty is only 23 and has been in MLS since 2006. A young league veteran could go a long way to helping Vancouver or Portland settle into the league next season and boss the midfield against more established MLS teams.

Juan Pable Angel (NY Redbulls) striker- The big one. I know JPA is 35 and with NY was a DP. However, with the chance to play one or two more seasons, perhaps his contract can be renegotiated. Angel, though, is worth the DP money. He has scored 58 goals in 102 games. Better than one in two, and will arguably go down as the best MLS striker of all time. This past season saw him play the whole season injury free for once, though he was marginalized with the aquiring of Thierry Henry. Angel is the pick that would provide either team with both a leader and proven goal scorer.

Troy Perkins (DC United) goalkeeper- Another player who has had a massive fall off in the past year. Though, it didn't help he played for DC whom had a terrible defense in front of him. Perkins' past MLS achievements over shadow this for me. He is an experienced goalkeeper both in MLS and Europe; and that experience will be paramount to organizing a defense in a team's first season in MLS. The only problem in selecting Perkins is the size of his contract and his willingness to relocate to the Great Northwest.

Sunil Chhetri (Sporting KC) striker- Most people will wonder who this guy is, but for the SKC fans in the know Chhetri is a promising Indian international who wasn't given a chance in Kansas City in 2010. Chhetri is a striker that SKC signed in the pre-season to 2010 following a trial. He featured only in a friendly versus Manchester United and 45 minutes in a US Open Cup. Though he has only played club level in India Chhetri has been a scorer. Many will complain he played in India or plays for India's National Team and the level of play is low, however, in the limited time he has played for SKC he has shown flashes of what he can do. Given a chance I believe he can show MLS that there is A LOT of untapped talent in central and east Asia. Not only do I think he is an excellent choice for his play, but the marketing that can be put in place for MLS' first Indian born player is limitless and is something yet again SKC's clueless owners couldn't figure out.

Leonardo Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders FC) defender- Gonzalez is an experienced fullback that can also get into the attack as well as defend. In Seattle's first MLS season he was an important player after signing late in the season. He is another player that could help either expansion team settle early.

Alex Nimo (Salt Lake City) midfield- Nimo spent much of last season on loan at Portland, so Timbers' fans should be familar with him. In two seasons Nimo has played 45 games scoring one goal from a winger/wide midfield position. Youth is on Nimo's side at the age of 20 which could make him a player that could be with the team for years to come. Nimo's experience with Portland for the past two seasons will make him ideal as he and the club are familar with each other.

Mike Magee (LA Galaxy) striker/midfield- Though it seems he has been in the league forever, Magee is only 26. Magee brings leadership and experience to the frontline for either expansion team. Though he isn't a prolific scoring I feel with the right situation he can become a vital part of the team. Yes, he may have only scored three goals in 39 matches for LA, but that is a reflection on the emergence of Edson Buddle. Magee can also drop back and play in midfield, and versatility is important for a first year MLS team.

Yes, I know I only picked one defender, but I feel the top 10 players in this years draft are more of the attacking variety. I think this will be the most intriguing offseason in MLS history with five seperate player drafts; and there should be much movement with in teams because of it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

MLS Playoffs 2011

Last night at the MLS Cup Final, MLS commisioner Don Garber addressed the public with a few ideas/tweeks the league will make/want to make for the next season onward. The one he spoke about that confuses me is the expansion of the MLS playoffs for 2011. I am utterly confused to why the league would want 10 teams in the playoffs instead of the current eight teams. Next season MLS will have 18 teams in the league with Vancouver and Portland joining, and each team will play a total of 34 regular season games. However, with the news that the playoffs will be expanding it only devalues the MLS playoffs more. There is no point in having more than half the teams in the leauge make the playoffs. This allows undeserving teams to play for what is suppose to be the most prized trophy in the league. I feel this is yet another instance where MLS has made a decision without thinking it through. It seems as of late they make decisions and then try to figure it out later, like the rules of the re-entry draft, for example. It's the shoot first and ask questions later model.
I know last night's Final was a very good game between two attacking teams. However, the champion of the league should not have been Colorado. I do not feel a team that did just enough to get into the playoffs should be reward with a cup trophy. I know MLS loves to spout off that LA Galaxy were the best regular season team and they get the Supporters' Shield; and thus they are champions of the regular season. But that trophy is absolutely meaningless. The casual fan, and lets be honest 90% of people who follow MLS are casual fans, don't understand the Supporters' Shield or respect what it's meaning is. Hell, most people couldn't tell you past Support Shield winners, but could tell you who has won the MLS Cup. Therefore, I don't feel MLS is truely rewarding it's regular season winner. For the past three seasons there has been an undeserving team either win the final or appear in the final. In 2008, Columbus was the best team that season and played a highly undeserving NY Red Bulls; who made the postseason on the last day of the regular season. In 2009, the LA Galaxy was the best team during the regular season, but  lost on penalties to Salt Lake; whom made the playoffs on the last day of the season. Finally, in 2010 Dallas arguably the third or fourth best team all season lost to Colorado arguably the fifth or sixth best team in the regular season. Not since '07 with Houston vs. New England has MLS Cup showcased the best of MLS.
I'm not calling for a single table or the abolishment of playoffs. I just want them to be more fair for the teams who take the regular season seriously. For LA's troubles all they receive is a badge on their shirts and Champions League football next season that they most likely won't take seriously. If Garber and MLS want the league taken seriously around the world you can't have your marquee teams not competing in the cup final. More importantly if MLS wants to be taken seriously in North America they can't have the seventh best team during the regular season win the top prize in the league. It's suppose to be a showcase of the two best teams over the season and I'm sorry, but the past three MLS Cup Finals have not been those teams.
If Garber wants more teams in the MLS Cup why not allow all MLS teams into the tournament, withdraw every MLS team from the US Open Cup, like they want to be. Then have a knockout cup competition ala the English FA Cup. This way the regular season can be taken seriously and the cup can be taken seriously. Then the two winners of each competition can play for the MLS Supercup or something along those lines. But for Christsakes stop devaluing the MLS regular season like Major League Baseball devalues its regular season.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

David Ferreira: Good choice

David Ferreira was officially named MVP of MLS on Friday, a few days after Don Garber accidentally let the cat out of the bag. Ferreira scored eight goals and recorded 13 assists playing in all 30 matches for FC Dallas during the regular season. Ferreira will hope his excellent form will continue tomorrow night in Toronto when his FCD take on Colorado in the MLS Cup final.
Though FCD are thinking about tomorrow's final I am sure they have one eye on Ferreira's contract status. Ferreira has been on loan from Brazilian's Clube Atletico Paranaense since 2009.  Arguably, Ferreira has been FCD's best player in his two seasons there. Dallas, however, will now have an extremely tough decision to make. First, can they convince both CAP and Ferreira to return on loan for 2011. This I highly doubt as his value in money to CAP is extremely high at the moment. If they can't work out a loan deal for a third season will Dallas be able to stump up the transfer cash and meet the wage expectations of Ferreira; who could possibly request DP money for next season. Dallas is set to receive a windfall of money that could be put into paying their best player(s) after a successful season.
Ferreira has been more valuable on the pitch than many DPs in MLS in 2010: Freddie Ljungberg, Nery Castillo, Jonathon De Guzman were all DPs during the past MLS season and have all failed to match the stats, consist play and value to their teams. Yet all three made more than Ferreira in 2010.
One idea is that Ferreira could make a big move to the Mexican Primera for next season as the Mexican league loves a true number 10. Being one of the 10 best leagues in the world (according to FIFA) this could be a big step for a player who has already acheived so much. Ferreira has won trophies in Columbia, the Middle East and the U-20 Copa America. A move to a more prestigous league/club could be appealing as it could be his last chance now that Ferreira is on the wrong side of 30.
I can't see Ferreira moving to Europe as he is now 31, unless it's to a smaller central or eastern European club. But if not Mexico what about another MLS team? Ferreira has been on loan and it seems there aren't any rules against another MLS team contacting Ferreira's parent club and negotiating a deal.
Dallas will do well to keep their star man on board for next season. Remember they once paid Brazilian Denilson, a former World Cup winner, DP salary to score one goal in a handfull of games. Dallas also paid (the highly overrated) Kenny Cooper a DP salary before he was sold to 1860 Munich where he warms the bench. Ferreira will have offers coming in this offseason and if he wins the MLS Cup tomorrow will he feel there's much left to accomplish in MLS.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Money League Soccer

I read an intesting article last night about FC Dallas' sponsorship situation. FCD had 40 corporate sponsors for the 2010 season. Which is a fantastic number for a team that doesn't draw the most supporters in MLS. As a matter of fact FCD are near the lower half of the league despite playing excellent football, having an exciting team and being in Sunday's MLS Cup Final.
With FCD in Sunday's final sources say there are now well over a hundred sponsors beating down FCD's door to invest in the club next season. This includes a massive million dollar plus shirt sponsorship deal for the next few season. MLS is pushing extremely hard to sell the fronts of each teams' shirt as word has come out Sporting Kansas City (Wizards) may announce a shirt deal soon as well.
FCD has had a fantastic season while SKC had an up and down team that ended the season without making the playoffs again. But these teams in my opinion are not that different. Before this season FCD and struggled mightly over the past few seasons. They, however, have scouted in the right places bringing in the likes of 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira (who they'll do well to keep after this season) and drafting quality players like Brek Shea. Meanwhile, they added quality MLS veterans such as Jeff Cunningham and former SKC/Wizard Kevin Hartman who has been fantastic in goal for FCD this season. KC is relying on a name change and a DP in Omar Bravo to turn things around. Yes, I know FCD were once called the Burn. But in truth the name change has never helped them gain new fans and even when NY Metrostars became the NY Red Bulls many fans turned their backs on the club. Gimmicks are everywhere in MLS. DPs, name changes, new stadiums, etc, but at the end of the day people come to see a winning football team. Let me remind you that no team with a DP has won MLS Cup. LA Galaxy and David Beckham came close last season, but ultimately failed. This season neither team has a DP and I think that's great. It's all about attacking football. Colorado and FCD show that the most complete teams from back to front win the MLS Cup. DPs are only marketing.


After winning his first cap with the USA National team this week the Juan Agudelo hype machine has been turned on. The soon to be 18-year old New York Red Bull player's (who played in only two matches for the Red Bulls during the MLS season) image is gracing a number of websites with lovely articles about him and also (and most notably) is gracing the front page of Yahoo USA's main page today. Unfortunately, I have yet to see this kid play, so I cannot speak about his game. However, I'm now expecting the same hype Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore received to greet Mr. Agudelo in the next MLS season. It's truely a shame as Adu (who is most likely older than he is stated to being) never lived up to the ridiculous hype and pressure that was placed on him in both MLS and now in Europe. Altidore who had only a brief spell in MLS with NY has performed notably for the US National team, however, his performances at club level have left many to wonder what has happened. Altidore, on loan to Hull City last season, scored one goal in 28 appearances as Hull City were relegated. He is now back with his parent club Villarreal where he has played sparingly. I hope Agudelo doesn't end up like the two before him and buy into his own hype. Agudelo could be the new face of USA soccer with the likes of Mikkel Diskerud, Andy Najar (if he can gain US citizenship soon) and Tim Ream as the Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey get older. The big question is will MLS and NY Red Bull allow this budding star grow and continue to learn his trade; or will they see the dollar signs and begin to market him for the short-term?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It happens today

I promise I'll stop talking about Kansas City soccer after this week. But today is the big day. The rebranding of the team formerly known as the Wizards. I'm currently living in central Europe (Hungary to be exact), so I am seven hours ahead of KC time. I won't be staying up late tonight to hear the announcement as I have work tomorrow, so I'll get the disappointment of the name when I awake on Thursday morning.
I would love anyone who is reading this today or checking out the blog to post your comments on the change or what is happening with the club formerly know as Wizards.
Like I said, this is the last time I write about it... This week. I will try to return with a little something on the MLS Cup final this weekend to wrap up the MLS action for the season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm sorry but when your home state team changes its name I have to bitch.

Like I said in my blog this week. I feel the name, Sporting KC, sets the team back. I feel many people will believe KC has a new team and the Wizards have gone bust. So many people are just the casual fan. It takes the name they've known for 16 yrs away and adds this to confuse the masses. As for it being regional I totally understand that. But that's a big region KC west to Colorado or KC east to Chicago before you find another MLS team. Nothing is to the north and you must go all the way to Dallas before you hit someone in the south. Not many people in that vast expanse care about KC soccer or soccer in general. Obviously Ongoal hasn't done a lot of homework as Nebraska is Cornhusker football crazy and Iowa is all about Hawkeye football. Arkansas is the same with football, baseball and basketball. Kansas University rules eastern Kansas and a lot of western Missouri. Those are the teams your competing against. Those pickup truck driving Bud Light drinking people don't care to watch men without pads on run around kicking a ball. If they do go to a match it's only to take their kids, because their kids play community league soccer; or they go to watch a friendly against Manchester United, because they've seen them on Sportscenter (I had a couple of friends who actually did this last summer). Ongoal has now set back the team in its own city by a year or two. The only positive I can think may have to do with signing players from other countries. Perhaps they could be more swayed if the team isn't called the Wizards. Though there is a Wizards in the NBA, who changed their name from the Bullets. Which was a much better name.
If you think about the name change and the fact KC possibly won't play a home match for three months to wait for their new stadium, I don't see how next season won't be a disaster. Even if they play neutral site home matches I can't see any of this working. On a sidenote, playing neutral site home games almost seems like the team is being auditioned to other cities to move there. What if Ongoal wanted to do something like the Dynamo/Earthquakes? I'm just putting the thought out there. I know the new stadium is almost finished, but crazier things have happened.
In closing, I just want to say I'm quite disappointed with the fans in KC. I've heard people bitch and moan, but never have I heard of anyone protesting this change; except on the internet. It seems everyone has just rolled over. It seems a lot of Wizards' fans are just casual fans. TFC and Seattle have supporter groups who didn't like something and they spoke against it, no matter how I feel about what they wanted I respect the fact they saw something they didn't like and spoke against it. Not in KC though.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sporting KC, come on

So, I've just read the "hard evidence" that Kansas City Wizards will become Sporting KC this week. Wow, that's fantastic. Now, as I've stated before I will no longer be supporting my home state team. I find it unbelievable when other fans just except the rebranding that is taking place. It seems to show that the American sports fan will just roll over and except anything or almost anything from the franchise's hierarchy.
TFC supporters, though they may not have made their demands clear, protested the rise in ticket prices for next season and got some result. Seattle Sounders FC supporters protested against the team playing (meaningless) friendlies at the end of the season prior to the playoffs and the club has taken on board what the supporters wanted. Seattle has fallen for the second year in the playoffs and perhaps it was from fatigue of playing too many friendlies (money makers) on the side. On a side note I find it funny that all MLS related podcasts and blogs denounced the Seattle supports for protesting and said it was great for the club to play Chivas Guadalarja or whoever late in the season and the supporters should be happy of the decisions the head brass make. They then stated Sounders FC would blow through the playoffs. In the end they were blown out of the playoffs. Looks like the fans know best especially when many MLS owners could careless about football and only look for another way to make money. Like scheduling midseason friendlies. Which I hate.
Back to the WIZARDS though, I feel so empty about this name change. Yes, Sporting KC is ambigious enough to still nickname the team Wizards. But the real damage I feel that will be done is many people who have atleast heard for the Wizards name will now think there's a new MLS team in town. Let us keep in mind the causual MLS fan and fan who barely stays on the radar of MLS will not realise the change. Especially those in Kansas City area. This is a major step back for the franchise in KC and if the franchise or anyone else thought KC could build off the friendly win over Manchester United then that is out the window. I feel the causual MLS/Wizards' fans' inability to regularly follow the team and league will hurt them with this name change. Those fans (which I'm friends with many) only pay attention to the table, highlights and the playoffs.
I truely feel Ongoal (KC's owners) have no clue what the fans want/need. I would like to see, just like in Seattle, a supports group with a vote and say in the happenings of the Franchise.
Also, keep in mind I say franchise, because MLS is making the league in to something between the NBA/NFL/WWE.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MLS Playoffs- NY v. San Jose

Being that I live in Europe currently the time difference for watching the MLS playoffs is a bit hard. Because of this I was unable to watch last nights'/this early mornings' match between NY Red Bulls v. San Jose Earthquakes. I wasn't at all surprised, however, to find out the Earthquakes had won the tie and now move on to the MLS Cup Semi-final.
First off, MLS has to be cursing the Earthquakes. They badly wanted/needed NY to progress to the final, to get NY the second largest market in the US to care about soccer. Also, they were dreaming of a LA v. NY final. It would have been the biggest final in MLS history and now thanks to San Jose it's not to be.
San Jose is a team in one of the smallest markets in MLS that has now defeated the team with one of the two largest payrolls. NY boasts Juan Pablo Angel (who will most likely move on after this season), Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry; so why should San Jose have any chance of beating them? NY signed Marquez and Henry in midseason as designated players and both have contributed to the side. However, it seems that signing them midseason may have been a mistake. Henry only appeared in 10 matches scoring two goals. Though Henry hadn't played much for Barcelona at the end of last season or at the World Cup he still wasn't as fresh as other possible players. NY also traded striker Macoumba Kandji to Colorado to give Henry a proper place up front. Being 33 years old and coming to a league that is more physical than credited for probably didn't help either. Marquez, 31, also featured in 10 matches and recorded one goal for NY. But more importantly he was an experienced defeader to help rookie Tim Ream. But why couldn't NY progress past a team who is making the playoffs for the first time since their re-incarnation of the franchise in 2008?
MLS teams with DPs rely to much on DPs. I believe there is much naivety in MLS that a DP can make a difference on the pitch. As we've seen many DPs are here for the money and are a simple marketing tool. MLS executives seem to think building a team isn't as important as having one big name. It tool LA Galaxy two seasons to discover that had to put more than David Beckham on the field. DPs have now failed for DC United and Toronto (which could be argued). One thing I feel this proves about MLS execs is they still don't/can't grasp soccer and that they're just selling a product not building an actually soccer club.
San Jose proves the point that MLS is a workmen's league. San Jose boasted the league's golden boot winner Chris Wondolowski who scored 20 goals in 38 regular season matches. Prior to this season he had only scored four MLS goals in five MLS season. FOUR!!!!
I'm sure San Jose can continue their momentum all the way to the MLS Cup Final. Salt Lake did it last season and NY this season before. Which also shows there is a problem with a playoff format, but I digress.