Monday, July 4, 2011

The MLS Grinder: The Quakes Live

Game of the Week
San Jose 2, New York 2

I keep wanting to bury San Jose. Not because I hate the Quakes, or even because I dislike them. But because at a time it made sense. The Quakes were a known commodity at the beginning of the year, and they were a terrible commodity. The end. But not so fast my friends.

This is why Frank Yallop says why the hell not.

So no Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers and Rafa Marquez. In a sense, the Red Bulls are happy to pull out a seventh draw in nine games. Joel Lindpere's equalizer in the 85th minute saved New York the ignominy of dropping a point, but that they did it in front of 41,000 in Stanford, Calif. shows that San Jose's season is very much alive. There goes that perception flip again. In another sense, the Quakes are unhappy not to take the full three. But these are points that keep San Jose on an upward swing. It's easy to forget where they were after a few weeks.

What is most interesting about this result is the disparity in conferences and the perception of these two teams. San Jose has five wins and 22 goals in 16 games and is sixth in the West. New York has five wins and 29 goals from 18 games and is second in the East. Most of us would pick NY in a pinch, especially full strength. But it all goes back to the hilarious parity this league presents. It's nuts.

Best of the Best

- TFC, that woebegone franchise north of the border with 18 points from 19 games, fired a salvo this week that's ringing all the way to Bremen. Here comes rocked-footed Torsten Frings and his new Dutch buddy Danny Koevermans.

This has (of course) ignited another brisk round of "MLS as a retirement community" discussions, an argument I'll largely stay out of only to say this: the 34-year-old Frings will rightly bump Julian de Guzman out of the top DP spot and take over a much-needed role in TFC's defensive midfield. TFC has the worst goals against and goal differential numbers in the league. Neither of these guys are back line players, but Frings' mindset brings a sharp edge and his tackling ability will be key for the point man for TFC's leaky defense.

Frings' Canadian fans can overlook it, but plenty of Yanks no doubt remember his fateful handball in the 2002 World Cup that kept out a sure goal in Germany's 1-0 quarterfinal victory over the US. Can you forgive him in order to raise MLS' standard of play? I can. Plus, there's this.

As for Koevermans, the lesser known of the two, he fills a sucking void at center forward in Aron Winter's 4-3-3. There have been three relatively unsuccessful experiments at the tip of the spear this season, and Koeverman's ability to bring bags of goals will presumably lift TFC's attack from the realm of the embarrassing. He collected just one goal for PSV last season in a diminished role, but his pedigree in front of net is historically impressive. At 32, the well-built 6-foot-3 striker had 136 goals in 11 seasons in the Eredivise. Insert obligatory goals montage here.

- Darlington Nagbe (sorry, I meant Darlington Neymar), this year's second overall pick, has a brief announcement on MLS' perceived lack of flair.

- Happy Fourth to all my American buddies. We've got a pair of games on tap tonight with RSL-New England and the highly anticipated LA-Seattle tie both going down. Enjoy.

- Jason Kreis had his jersey retired.

- Hopefully we're in for a treat. Soony Saad is coming.

- Brek Shea is smoking. Dude scored his eighth goal of the year in a 2-0 win over Columbus and nearly added an assist 10 minutes later on a beautiful weighted through ball. He's got his hands on his hips, tapping his foot impatiently while staring a hole through Bob Bradley right now.

Worst of the Worst

- Portland lost to SKC. At Jeld-Wen. Oh dear. This whole thing is coming unraveled for the Timbers in a hurry. The cruel twist of Nagbe's goal is that it came in a losing effort. Sweet and sour defined.

- The Crew, who are now just three points off Philly's first-place pace in the East, lost 2-0 to FCD this weekend. Suck, right? Not the half of it. In 90 minutes, Columbus lost the Pioneer Cup and three players for this Wednesday's Whitecaps fixture. Andy Iro and Emmanuel Ekpo are both out on bookings, and Rich Balchan (the Balchanator!) is out with a groin injury. Oops.

- Chicago held a lead... and still only earned a draw. Again. If you're counting (and you are), that's 12, tops in the league. A ridiculous Nick LaBrocca goal helped the Goats equalize. I know this is the unhappy section, but I'm an optimist. Goals!

- Will Parchman


doorworker said...

Frings is shite. His handball on the line in the '06 World Cup v the Nats is a burned-on-the-retinas moment for this fan, and I wholeheatedly hope he fails and loses and writhes in pain both literal and figurative. What Henry so righteously is to the Irish, Frings is to me and my ilk, and I give eff-all for whatever advantage this lends
TFC, who deserve whatever continued bad fortune befalls them henceforth, as far as I'm concerned.

Torsten Frings. Please.

doorworker said...

Whup. Meant 2002 WC, apparently.

Christ, I'm getting old.

Will said...

I can respect that viewpoint. I remember going volcanic when it happened. Maybe nine years has simmered my anger, I don't know, but I was pleasantly surprised when he signed. Yes, it was another 30-something ex-Champions League mainstay ending his career here, but no question it'll up the quality on the field. Even if it is Frings.

SPA2TACU5 said...

What the f. That video presenting frings and koevermans is showing images of Erik Pieters, the dutch national team's left back.