Sunday, April 22, 2007


The 2 games this past week have offered an interesting dose of perspective. After falling to Salt Lake in extra time on Wednesday night Kansas City largely felt that they controlled the game and that Salt Lake simply capitalized on the two defensive mistakes that were made on the night.

For large portions of the match against Chivas on Saturday in Southern California RSL also dictated large portions of play with their control of the possession. It's a fact that is invisible - and truthfully, at the end of days like this, doesn't matter - when the box score shows a 4-0 result in favor of the Goats.

There are so many things better left unsaid. Although, I will say that I enjoy Robin Fraser's analysis. It's refreshing to hear someone with extensive knowledge of the league, and not just the game. Even if the highlight for me was a technical point that he made. That favorite moment of the night was when he talked up the skill level of the Salt Lake midfield and stressed the importance of utilizing that advantage over teams, and just as the words fell from his lips an RSL defender sends another long ball out of the back - bypassing the midfield.

So it was an ugly road loss, for their sake let's hope that it was a fluke and Salt Lake now has it out of their system. Of course, they would also do well to get a couple other things out of their system while they're at it...and maybe add a thing or two as well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Get your Gameface On: Preview on the Crew

I got this idea the other day to do things a little differently. Normally, a blog that covers a particular team would talk about how their team is preparing for the upcoming game. Well, I took the opposite stance. Instead, I've arranged some notes on what to expect from the Crew on Saturday. Enjoy.

Real Salt Lake have faced the Columbus Crew four times and have only came away on top once, loosing the other three. Through the history of the series Columbus have out scored Salt Lake 6-3.

The Crew opened their season with a scoreless draw at home against the Red Bulls. The single point in the standings puts the gold-and-black tied for second with the Bulls. It's the first time since July of last season that the Crew are not in the bottom spot in the Eastern Conference.

In reverse fashion of RSL, the Crew started out their season on the tentative side and warmed up as the game went on. They pressured the Bulls and Jason Garey - some reports say it was Grabavoy - had a shot rock the woodwork.

Columbus players to watch:

Jason Garey. He opened his MLS scoring account at Rice-Eccles Stadium last May, and he looked confident against RBNY last week.

Eddie Gaven. As a teenager he exhibited an amazing level of confidence and skill, netting 16 goals and accumulating 12 assists in his three years with the MetroStars. But, last year he traded in his red-and-black stripes for the Gold of Columbus and without a strong support group of talent around him Gaven sunk with the rest of the league's worst team.

Andy Herron is another addition to the Columbus offense who is decent and will probably open up some space for Garey and provide a target for Gaven. He did score against RSL in 2005 while playing for Chicago in a 3-1 win for the Fire.

Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum got his first career shutout in only his third pro start last Saturday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And, They're Off!

As the gun for the 2007 MLS season fired, I felt like the tortoise choking on the smoke of everyone else flying off the line. I hadn't done any type of journalistic activity for months and it showed as I struggled to get any kind of decent work done...and in only twice the time!

Staying with that analogy could describe what happened at Rice-Eccles on Saturday, not necessary in literal speed, but in level of play. The RSL homeboys flashed off the line to an extremely energetic start. They kept up their feverish pace for much of the match, but Dallas remained steady, prepared to jump on any defensive mistake. They did, after all, have only one shot on goal in first half, and that one ended up in the side netting.

Do I really need to comment on Saturday? Either you saw it and, like the rest of us, are still trying to strike the last minute of play from your memory. Or, you didn't and you're sitting there wondering, "was it really that bad?" Yes. Yes, it was.

All I will say is that I love how the RSL offense is looking, especially during the first half against Dallas. Mehdi, Jeff, Chris, Freddy, Jason and Carey all looked good. At times you could see an understanding between Adu and Forko developing on the left wing. They seem to work well together and should lead to some exciting stuff.

Although the start was exciting and different, with a lot of improvement, the end result was strikingly familiar to the 2006 campaign. The defense - especially the last defender - will need to catch up to the level of the front six players for Salt Lake to have any hopes of reaching it's goal of making the playoffs.

Columbus is up next on Saturday, and is one of three MLS sides that have never lost at Rice-Eccles. The other two being New England and New York in all its various flavors.