Monday, September 3, 2012

MLS Grinder: 13 for 10

More of a dicer than a grinder in store for you all today.

The playoff picture's about as clear as you can ask for this time of year. The bottom three in the East are toast as far as I'm concerned, so it's seven fighting for five. One would think D.C.'s form has bottomed out, but those games in hand are long gone too and the Impact are in much better form. See last week's 3-0. Out West FC Dallas is basically playing boogie monster as the sixth team trying to become the fifth. Letting that club into the playoffs is just an awful idea. Any form and health Dallas can get its hands on is sure to keep the conference sleep deprived. Rightfully so.

Two points missed, two men back 
Dallas did blow a real chance at three points at home against Seattle. The Sounders were ripe for the picking after a midweek match in Trindad. The ultimate 1-1 was probably fair, but this match will be remebered for Steve Zakuani's first start since this. Don't look if you're of weak stomach.

Blas Perez returned and scored, too.


Columbus for six
Further evidence that MLS does not need relegation. Turns out North America has six-pointers too and they're pretty cool. Three goals in twenty minutes isn't too bad of a bang for your buck. Unless it's a Canadian buck, specifically from Montreal, and you only scored one of the game's three goals. Anyway, it's always kind of neat to see the MLS old guard get its business back together while the best expansion team since Bob Bradley's Chicago Fire puts together a D.C.-shaming playoff push

Whoa, another six-pointer 
Case, point. The Fire put three past the Dynamo to jump into the driver's seat of avoiding the wildcard play-in. Chicago has a game in hand and Houston looked ragged. You have to excuse the Dynamo, though, CONCACAF Champions League play has taken its toll. Houston hasn't not played a midweek since the beginning of August. Even that was a home-and-away set with the Red Bulls. A return to MLS play in the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium can't hurt, but Real Salt Lake can. It's hard not to see this team limping into October. 

Wanted: DC's form 
Well, not the current stuff. The pre-All-Star break goods. Since MLS conquered Europe Ben Olsen's team is 2-5-3. That's nine points from 10 games. Not awful, and neither is losing 1-0 to Real Salt Lake, but the rest of the conference has shown little mercy. Fact is, United's running out of games. The remaining schedule is pretty soft and Olsen's team does get a home six-pointer vs. the Crew for the second-to-last game of its season. But if D.C doesn't do some serious fixing in these two weeks off, it will be out of the playoff race by then. 

"We are the champions, remember?" 
I really think the L.A. Galaxy will win MLS Cup. Another day, another result. Injuries, whatever. CCL play, meh. Like a true Bruce Arena team, his players are simply getting it done as autumn nears. Vancouver's a fine team, albeit one riddled with injuries. Still, L.A. did the job at home without Donovan, 2-0.


I don't like to toot my own horn. I don't like people that toot their own horns - too much - but I'm not even right, or wrong, on this one.

- Jacob Klinger


Phil McCracken said...

You may very well end up being right about LA, but if you look at their league schedule over the last 2 months, it hasn't exactly been Murderer's Row (a steady diet of Chivas, Dallas and Vancouver).

I think that the league is much more balanced than last year with not only the West being difficult to navigate, there will also be a very good team from the East in MLS Cup. There a lot of teams that believe that they can beat LA this year and I didn't get that sense in 2011.

MLS play-offs should be great to watch this year and as a frustrated Union fan, I'll enjoy them as a neutral.

Jay said...

Another factor in LA's season: they only play TFC and the Revs once each, but play Seattle, RSL, and San Jose three times each. You can't tell me that doesn't skew someone's record.

TrueCrew said...

A couple points.

First, I love how the teams that lost with a busy schedule (DC, Houston, etc) get passes. But the team that has WON with an even busier schedule (Columbus, going 4-2-0 (W-D-L) while playing 6 games in 17 days) gets no credit for it. After the NE game Wed, it will be 7 in 21.

Second, most successful expansion team since Chicago? What? I think Seattle did a bit better their first year. Yes?

Unknown said...

@Phil Yeah, I mean, no one really knows. I think the intangibles are there, schedule or no schedule. With the way DC's going I fear I'll be joining you as a neutral.

@Jay You're right. I can't.

@TrueCrew I did say it's cool they're doing what they're doing, but seven in 21 does deserve more credit. I hardly gave DC a pass though and Houston has been hit hard.

It's close andMontreal hasn't won anything yet, but I think they look more likely to do late-season damage than that Seattle team.

Jay said...

TrueCrew: You're suggesting that Seattle, who won the Open Cup, but only made the first round of the playoffs... did better than Chicago, who won both the Open Cup and the MLS Cup in their first season. Am I getting that right?

jon said...

No Jay, you misunderstand TrueCrew's comment. The point of contention is which expansion team is the best since Chicago (not which was better than Chicago).
Anyway, I don't think Montreal will make the playoffs, so in a few weeks the mantle will go back to Seattle as best since Chicago.