The Weekend: All MLS

MLS, you’re up. Make it pretty.

Dominic Oduro and the Chicago Fire host Sean Franklin and the Beckham-less Galaxy Saturday in Chi-town.

43 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 3:31 PM

    if there was a game in rfk tonight, that would be the hottest game of the season, as it is, that kc v houston game should be a real scorcher. this is not ideal weather for playing soccer. but that seattle v colorado game should be exciting, as several maligned us internationals get to take top billing on NBC tonight at 11est


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/08 at 1:32 PM

      I was in the DC area last weekend during the heat wave/mass power outages and I can’t believe that soccer is played in that type of weather unless late at night. Just a bad time to be playing soccer in a large part of the US. As a fan you would have had to pay me quite a bit to show up to a game in that type of heat.


  2. Posted by dth on 2012/07/07 at 5:59 PM

    The trouble with Sporting stems from their central midfield. Aside from Graham Zusi, it’s much too functional–and so when it’s bad, it’s really bad. Roger Espinosa seems to have little idea to complete a pass or do anything beyond run around and make borderline dirty tackles.

    It’s fortunate that Zusi is such an iron man that he can pick up the ball around the backline, start it circulating around the field, finally get near the goal and try and influence things. Still, it would be better if Zusi focused on what he’s good at–driving at goal from the #8 position. So if I were Vermes, I’d be looking for central midfielders.


    • Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 7:00 PM

      well, kc is nil nil and cj sapong started at forward and the closest chance of the game came from center mid jacobson, who recieved a pass from roger espinoza. its always fun on here, but i wish i could use my original screen name from my home computer and not just mobile, that way i can just get one junior bradley roma jersey.


  3. Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 8:38 PM

    eddie johnson looks like he is ready for some more national team duty. a cross field pass on the money ala junior bradley, and a very nice chest trap and just good all around movement and play. ej is ahead of altidore and rapid vienna right now in my book.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/08 at 1:33 PM

      Johnson is done as a national team player no matter what he does in MLS. The guy is a massive headcase as evidenced by his behavior in the US Open Cup.


      • Jared,

        You are far from alone in your visceral disugust when it comes to EJ but I always find it interesting that USMNT followers like you and others, are so violently negative about certain players ever getting another chance to play for the USMNT after they did not do so well during their last effort.

        EJ is a not everyone’s favorite cup of tea but he does have assets that, even now, may be be of some use to the USMNT.

        In my view it is a self selecting process, EJ ( and Sacha, Clark, Findley and any other number of former whipping boys) either improve from their last time out or they don’t get a call.

        Their careers are dynamic; either they are better or worse than they were. They don’t stay the same.

        I have enough faith that the USMNT staff are sharp enough to figure out whether player X is worth calling in, regardless of who they have offended in the past.

        If JK sees fit to cap, EJ, Bornstein,Ching, Conor Casey, Kenny Cooper, Brek Shea, Bill Hamid, Ramiro Corrales ( owner of the single worst left back performance for the USMNT ever) , or not cap Sacha or Bobby Convey I’m comfortable that they have a reason, good or not.

        In other words I’m fine if they don’t cap Convey because everyone there thinks his talent is not worth having to put up with the sight of him. It is their frickin team and they will have to live with the consequences of their choices.


        • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/09 at 10:27 AM

          You’re right that it should be a self selecting process but it clearly hasn’t been for some time under the previous coach and even still under the current coach (Castillo, Orozco Fiscal). Those guys that you listed are all examples of players who had not improved yet were called up again and again (especially Bornstein). Sacha is the only one that seems to be bucking that trend.

          I don’t like the idea that they will have to live with the consequences so we should accept their decisions. It’s not just their team, it’s our team since we are citizens of the US. I wasn’t comfortable with Bornstein being in the Gold Cup team in 2009 and we’ve had to live with the consequences of him having come on looking like he had barely played the sport.

          My issue with Johnson is not that he didn’t do well in his last effort, it’s that it was many efforts that he didn’t do well in before completely failing in Europe while showing that he had attitude issues. He’s not good enough anymore to make up for his headcase issues and he’s not even in the top 5 in MLS scoring behind 3 Americans.


          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2012/07/09 at 12:39 PM

            Perhaps it’s just a matter of management styles. As a manager I like to give my employees enough leeway to work out their problems because nothing teaches like failure as long as that failure does not cause irreparable damage.

            And the USMNT plays a lot of friendlies so there is room to allow for learning (or not).

            As a fan of course you have a stake in the team but to say that your suffering even begins to compare to what the manager and his staff will suffer if a given player choice goes awry is entitled hyperbole. If you aren’t happy with the choices the USMNT staff make you have every right to complain but having that right doesn’t mean your complaints make any sense. That is what being a fan is all about,not making any sense.

            I should have added that sometimes players who perform poorly do so for a lot of reasons that you and most fans may or may not be aware of.

            Bob Bradley was particularly bad because he never explained any of his actions in other than the most cliched terms. Apparently he did not like to criticise his players in public but this left a vacuum which people were only too happy to fill with all sorts of gossip and speculation.

            He would have been better off saying things like “Convey lost a lot after his knee injuries and even though he may be marginally better than JB, who is much faster, , it’s not worth it if it means we all have to put up with his toxic personality.” or ” We left Ching off of the World Cup roster because we feel he won’t make it through the tournament. We can’t take a chance on that seeing as how he has twice been sidelined just recently with hamstring injuries.”

            So if it’s not entirely their fault they may be picked again. For one thing, there may not be a better alternative, not hard to believe given the US talent pool. It is rare that a US manager is the position to drop anyone just because of one mistake.

            You may say, what can it hurt to start Mike Grella ahead of Jozy and Preston Zimmerman ahead of MB90? “How do we know if they are any good if we don’t give them a chance?”

            Okay, but there are not an infinite number of caps available and you hired a professional staff, who are presumably more competent than you or me,to make those tough determinations based on a lot of variables and data that you and I have no access to.

            And Jozy and MB 90 may play poorly but that does not mean Mike Grella, Jeremiah White, Anton Pederlin,Marcus Tracy, Cody Arnoux etc., etc. would have done better.

            I notice that a lot of USMNT fans like to always lay the blame for a poor team performance at the feet of one player. You seem to like to individualize what is very much a team effort good or bad.

            For example on the first goal in the Ghana game that everyone blames on Rico, there were several players who,if one were to be objective, share as much if not more blame for that goal as Rico. And, with one exception, their mistakes came after Rico made his so they could have saved the situation. But “red Card” Rico is a convenient choice. As far as I’m concerned that particular goal was a team failure all the way around.

            Had Edu been in there, a man noted for occasionally treating the ball as if it were made of weapons grade Plutonium,,there is every reason to think it would have gone down the same way but of course we will never know. One thing I do know is that the whole team lost that game not Rico Clark.


            • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/09 at 1:03 PM

              Most games are not an individual’s responsibility for the loss but there are exceptions to that. I’d say that even Bob Bradley put the blame on the Ghana game on Clark considering he pulled him in the 30th minute because he was so bad and had picked up a much too early yellow. I’m not blaming Johnson for any losses because he was awful for a long stretch in both losses and wins. I’m also not saying he should be kept out of the national team just based on his performance. For me he should be kept out because he clearly still has attitude issues that could be very detrimental for the national team at a time when results matter too much.

              Wow, talk about a straw man argument bringing up guys like Zimmerman and Grella who were never anywhere near the team. I’ve never made any ridiculous claims like that. It’s fine if you want to disagree with me regarding Johnson but don’t try to put down my argument by making up examples that I’ve never used.

            • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/09 at 3:51 PM

              How about we wait more than a couple of weeks after Johnson hit another player in the face after a game? That doesn’t count as having a bad attitude?

            • Jared,

              You aren’t the only person who has made the kind of arguments you are making. So even if you never personally made the argument for Grella, for one example, there are plenty of others who have.

              It’s not all about you.

              As for Clark being pulled, at the time I thought BB pulled him because Clark was clearly unsettled by the goal and quickly got a yellow. Given the circumstances Bradley clearly could not afford to risk going down to 10 men. We are talking about Red Card Rico after all. My suspicions were later confirmed:

              From the Washington Post.

              “The decision to include Clark instead of Maurice Edu didn’t work as planned, and Clark departed in the 31st minute. Bradley’s concern was centered around Clark possibly receiving another yellow and leaving the Americans with 10 men.
              “Whenever you take a player out in the first half, as a coach, it’s important to know that’s a tough spot for a player. We all know that Ricardo was part of a play early in the game where he lost the ball. I know Ricardo; I knew how badly he felt, but the decision was really based upon the fact that he had a yellow card. When you play that role deep in the midfield and you are counted on in certain situations to cover and put out fires, we were very worried that the yellow card was going to get in the way of his ability to do the job.”

              Of course, it does not say much for Rico that he lost his discipline. But I never argued that Rico was the second coming of Kompany or Busquets. My argument was that the goal that everyone blames him for was a team breakdown and Rico was not entirely to blame. Watch a replay some time. There was plenty of blame to go around. Howard never gave up a softer goal in his career.

              As for EJ’s “attitude”, I have no problem with people losing it once in a while ( J Jones, Gooch and Ibra, Dempsey, and so on).
              It shows they are passionate, a necessary ingredient for a “nasty” striker. Granted there is a question of professional discipline but that minor detail is JK’s problem not mine.

              Again, I don’t think there is a chance in hell that EJ will get called up. I’m just saying it is nuts to say it should never happen.

            •  Dikranovich on 2012/07/09 at 7:20 PM
              If Boyd gets called in over ej, for these games against Jamaica, I’ll barf.

              Mr ranovich,

              Well dik, have you seen a specialist about your delicate innards?

              Because I guarantee you that right now, assuming Boyd does not crash and burn in Vienna, JK is almost certainly going to call in Boyd over EJ the next hot chance he gets.

              JK already has invested quite a bit in Boyd and you can expect he will give his pet project every chance to fail. Boyd is the future and EJ is most likely a stop gap measure at best. Of course EJ might surprise us, score ten game winning goals between now and the Jamaica games and turn into the marauding beast we all thought he was going to be.

              That would be fun but I’m not holding my breath. There is an expression that applies to EJ and many other USMNT prospects such as Adudinho.

              It is called “flattering to deceive”.

              FLATTER TO DECEIVE

              1) To give the appearance of being better than the true situation [usually not by design]. I suspect these statistics flatter to deceive. (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Vol. 1.)

              2) To encourage [[usually not by design]] on insufficient grounds and cause disappointment. (Oxford Dictionary of Idioms)

            • Posted by dth on 2012/07/09 at 9:08 PM

              Neither of them should be called, really. CJ Sapong is better than both as a team player.

              That make everyone happy?

            • Posted by dth on 2012/07/09 at 9:08 PM
              Neither of them should be called, really. CJ Sapong is better than both as a team player.
              That make everyone happy?


              For competitive games assuming everyone retains their form the two forward slots should be Jozy and Gomez with Wondo and Boyd in reserve.
              For exhibitions, while I would want to see about working Sapong, a very intriguing player, into the mix, JK should focus on his euro guys, such as Wooten and Boyd, since most of them probably won’t be available for the January camp.

            • Posted by dth on 2012/07/10 at 9:08 PM

              Calling Wondo is duplicative of Gomez. You don’t need both, as we found out in the five game tournament. And we know Gomez does what Wondo does but–at the international level–better.

              I would confine the selection to three forwards. That leaves Boyd versus Sapong. And Sapong is better than Boyd.

              Wooten? Come on now.

              It’s still a source of mild amusement for me that people are super-excited about calling up guys who have played all of seven pro matches (Wooten) and zero (Boyd). I prefer players with actual accomplishments.

            • dth,

              The two Jamaica game series are qualifying matches. My assumption is JK will not experiment.

              Should he go with two forwards, Jozy and Gomez seem to be good bets.

              Wondo, who JK seems to like since he brings him in a lot, is the Gomez backup.

              Boyd, who JK also seems to like a lot, is the Jozy backup.

              I wouldn’t have a problem with your three man choices (actually I’d rather just go with Gomez and Jozy) but I’m talking about what JK would most likely do.

              And I agree with you about the USMNT calling in inexperienced players but that ship sailed a real long time ago. And, there are always exceptions, but if you are going to blood newer guys the schedule argues for Euros when they can be called in and MLS guys in the January camp.

  4. Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/07/07 at 9:10 PM

    Matthew, could you please explain your Eddie Johnson tweet Where you suggest he “could” have been such a good player?


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/08 at 1:34 PM

      I’m not Matthew but I can explain it. Johnson had/has all of the tools necessary to be a very good player as evidenced by his early career for the USMNT and in MLS. He then bought into all of his hype and from pretty much every report out of Europe did as close to nothing in training as possible at every stop.


  5. Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 9:23 PM

    is this MLS or freaking serie a five games, 405 minutes, three goals, all from one player. i dont care what anyone else says, marvell wynne should be getting national team reps. he is not even really hawking the ball tonight like he is capable, but dang he makes some nice passes, nice forward thinking passes.


    • Posted by narkid on 2012/07/08 at 2:25 PM

      jared, you must buy into that old european adage that says certain players have to develop at a certain rate, within a certain timeframe, or they will never reach their full potential. the path to greatness can take many different roads. its pretty obvious that the coach in seattle knows how to handle ej and if coach klinsmann can use this same methodology, well we have a big player in the riddle wrapped in an enigma.

      dont you think it is unwise for the us mens team to be limiting its options, when in fact, usa needs to keep all options open? i have seen ej and t boyd up close and personal and there aint no comparison at this very moment in time as to who is the more accomplished player.

      its kind of funny, but kljestan was another maligned us national team player and yet, now he is a sentimental favorite to get back into the fold, and if he is good enough, he should and will get his chances. ej is in a similar boat. the guy is not a kid anymore, like he was when so much was expected of him. he has an attitude? so what, scarf wearer, does not mind and it seems to be bringing out a better game. eddie johnson is taking players on, jared, please tell me that does not fascinate you.

      i look at ej as this cycles edson buddle, but only about 30% better and that might be enough to do some real damage. i think ej could reach for some very high places, but he needs americans to support him, not try and bring him down.


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/09 at 6:03 AM

        Eddie Johnson punched a player two weeks ago. I don’t think that shows a coach who knows how to handle him. I’m not getting my hopes up about Johnson after a month of solid play. He’ll go back to being bored soon enough.


        • Over the course of his career,EJ has had all the tools he needs except for the most important one, the one between his ears.

          As long as EJ’s other tools remain more or less intact, if he has managed to make a breakthrough in the between the ears area,and that is a big if, he will always have a chance at working his way back into the USMNT picture.

          EJ, in USMNT terms, is yesterday’s news and the fans are always about the next big, shiny bright new thing.


  6. Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 9:42 PM

    actually chap, he is known as the riddle wrapped in an enigma


  7. Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/07/07 at 10:08 PM

    Can we please get a replay on that disallowed Colorado goal. I mean a good replay


  8. Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/07/07 at 10:29 PM

    Aiight, I’m gonna roll one up, go listen to Buju Banton and then come back and give some analysis on the evenings games. Ultimate bee for everybody.


  9. Posted by narkid on 2012/07/07 at 11:21 PM

    well, the late action in the sounders v rado game took the goal tally to six on the evening, in five games. late goals were the order tonight, late goals, or no goals. out of the five games, three went scoreless. if you are keeping score on the international scene, it was three goals for costa rica, and one a piece, for jamaica, uruguay, and usa

    “driver, dont stop at all, drop this off over arizona, round albamarle. driver dont get a little itch, grab a little food and yeah, come back quick.” bb


  10. Posted by dth on 2012/07/08 at 7:29 AM

    Time to fire Schellas Hyndman and rebuild for the future, right? I’d do it–pull a Philadelphia, fire the coach, give the kids a shot to prove themselves.


  11. Posted by dth on 2012/07/08 at 1:26 PM

    Why get your homegrown players minutes when you can sign a guy from the Swiss second division and/or give Chad Barrett his time?


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/07/08 at 1:36 PM

      I’ve been watching some of the LA game and saw Barrett was up front for LA. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing many goals from them today. He must be the anti Eddie Johnson, zero talent but 100% effort.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/07/08 at 2:51 PM

        Barrett has a decent eye for the pass. Isn’t worth the mind-boggling 200k+ he’s getting per year, but he’s not totally terrible.

        I wish I could just send selections of “The Black Swan” to MLS managers. The only times they allow themselves the possibility of upside surprises is when they suck (e.g. Andy Najar, Ashtone Morgan/Doneil Henry, Philadelphia’s youth brigade’s current rampage, etc.) Practically the only team that’s managed to successfully introduce/develop players without suckage being a decisive factor is Real Salt Lake.


  12. Posted by dth on 2012/07/08 at 5:15 PM

    I know a lot of people have mentioned Frank Yallop and Ben Olsen as coach of the year candidates, but for me Jay Heaps is right there with them. To get them playing the way they are–in a substantially different, more attractive style no less–is highly impressive.


    • Posted by mbw on 2012/07/08 at 8:47 PM

      I basically agree. But for better or worse, we live in an age when sub-.500 coaches don’t win coach of the year.

      One of the questions with New England is, what happens first: the young guns (Rowe, Fagundez, Soares) come into their own; or the Aughts holdovers (Shalrie, Riis) plus Simms become obsolescent and another phase of rebuilding is necessary? (Cf. Philadelphia, another team with a lot of young talent, but one which is not heavily reliant upon older players.)


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/07/08 at 8:51 PM

      I’ve got Jesse Marsch as the front-runner. He’s basically redone Montreal while improving their defense on the fly and integrating new players.

      Further, he is, to me, the most prepared coach week-in and week-out. I may not like his tactics from time-to-time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not good.


      • Posted by narkid on 2012/07/08 at 10:00 PM

        well, montreal is 6 wins, 3 draws, and 11 losses, and they have played two more games than any other team in the east. they have a -9 goal differential and they are four points ahead of filthy, but jack mac and pack have four games in hand.

        if these are credentials for a coach of the year candidate at this point in the season, then we really have a lot of work to do to get this thing figured out.


  13. Posted by Crow on 2012/07/08 at 5:32 PM

    Freddy Adu was outstanding and has been solid the last few games and I’m far from being an Adu apologist. Okugo looks good in central defense as well.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/07/08 at 6:00 PM

      Adu’s had a very interesting section of the season starting with that half he had against NYRB in which he was amazing. Ever since then, he’s had some very intriguing games. This is probably the best sustained run of play I can recall. I, like you, am a bit of an Adu skeptic, so I’ll hold off a bit on anointing him. He’s fun though.

      I feel like I’ve been hyping Okugo for ages now…it’s going to be sad when they replace him with Bakary Soumare.

      The other intriguing guy was Jack McInerney. He’s been a little limited in other games in non-goalscoring aspects of his game, but judging from the highlights he made some decent contributions to build-up and had an assist.


      • Posted by mbw on 2012/07/08 at 6:12 PM

        You’d have to be a damned fool to lift Okugo from the lineup right now. Forty percent of the goals they scored this week started with his passing out of the back, plus his defense has been fine.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/07/09 at 12:55 PM

          This is just me being a keyboard manager, but I wonder if they could try a three-man-at-the-back formation? Thinking a Bielsa-style 3-3-1-3 would work well:

          MacMath; Soumare, Valdes, Okugo; G. Farfan, Carroll, Gomez; M. Farfan; Adu, McInerney, Pajoy.

          Then there’s the 3-5-2:
          MacMath; Soumare, Valdes, Okugo; G. Farfan, Carroll, M. Farfan, Gomez, Williams; McInerney, Adu.


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