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The Good, The Bad, The Coyote Ugly

Wrapping up Week 9 in MLS.....

THE GOOD

*Cuauhtemoc Blanco playing a part in four of Chicago's five goals against New York's comical defending and goalkeeping. "He knows what the stage is about and he's not afraid to step on it and our guys know that," Fire Coach Denis Hamlett said. "You get him the ball and then move and he'll find you."
*A triumphant weekend for another designated player as David Beckham scores from 70-plus yards to clinch victory for first-place Los Angeles.
*Tom McManus's swerving laser from 35 yards for Colorado.
*New England handing Columbus its first home loss on Kheli Dube's follow-up to Sharie Joseph's missed PK.
*2007 Sueño MLS winner Jorge Flores, 18, scoring for the second consecutive week.
*Dominic Oduro steering past a defender and scoring an added-time winner for Dallas.
*D.C. United coming from behind twice to end a four-game losing streak.
*Claudio Lopez's individual effort to give Kansas City the lead at L.A.
*Danny Dichio scoring three goals in four days against DCU for Toronto.
*Matt Reis's spectacular save on Eddie Gaven's header in the second half at Columbus.
*Landon Donovan's 9 goals and 6 assists in 9 games for the Galaxy, the highest-scoring team in MLS (2.44 goals per game).
*Kevin Hartman passing Cobi Jones and later Jason Kreis during K.C.'s game at L.A. to move into third place on MLS's career minutes played list, trailing only Steve Ralston and Chris Henderson.
*Kenny Cooper's footwork -- impressive for a big guy -- which drew two yellows on Ian Joy.
*Brad Guzan's reaction save on Facundo Erpen.
*Chicago, known for its defense this season, scoring five and improving to 4-0-1 on the road.
*Dallas interim coach Marco Ferruzzi, on the comeback victory: "Complete heart, complete dedication and complete commitment."
*Retired Newark Star-Ledger writer Ike Kuhns, who started covering soccer in the 1960s, receiving the National Soccer Hall of Fame's Colin Jose Media Award. He will be honored during induction weekend, Aug. 1-3.

THE BAD

*RSL conceding two goals in the last 10 minutes to fall to 0-5 on the road.
*DCU keeper Zach Wells, who has made few big saves and hasn't taken command of the penalty area this season.
*Jozy Altidore's in-grown toenail, which kept him out of the starting lineup. Undoubtedly, his team's in-grown incompetence intensified the pain.
*After making several quality saves, Greg Sutton failing to hold Santino Quaranta's shot from distance, which allowed Luciano Emilio to score his first goal since early April.
*Only one Western Conference club (L.A.) with an above.-500 record and only two with a positive goal differential.
*United promoting a visit by Pablo Mastroeni, not former star midfielder Christian Gomez, for Colorado's match at RFK in August.

THE COYOTE UGLY

*New York's defense, particularly Hunter Freeman and keeper Jon Conway. "I can't even remember all the goals because there were so many," Freeman said.
*The announced crowd of 8,960 at Dallas.
*San Jose ranked last in six of 10 MLS team categories and next to last in another.
*Bobby Rhine lashing out at Javier Morales and receiving a straight red.
*The U.S. under-23 team, with 10 MLS players, losing all three matches at the Toulon tournament and being outscored 7-2.

Anything else?

By Steve Goff  |  May 27, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: Incident in Columbus

Comments

The DC win was beautiful!

Posted by: GrillMaster | May 27, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

You forgot to put the Crew fans pelting Ralston with beer and water bottles (as well as throwing the n-word at players after the goal).

Posted by: Will | May 27, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

THE VERY PATHETICALLY UGLY

Crew fans showering my man Kheli "Game Winner" Dube with racial slurs after his goal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weUIq7hzIDg

See 22 seconds.

Posted by: Christopher | May 27, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

I'd say the Good was another solid performance by Jaime Moreno. He's a calming steady force out there that United really misses when he's out. A goal and an assist. Just another day at the office for Jaime. He's easily overlooked because he puts in performances like that all the time.

Posted by: QuietSider | May 27, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Coyote Ugly: U.S. Soccer in general and Gulati and Nowack in particular. Toulon Cup players and performance were a national embarassment that should force both from their jobs. If Grant was sacked at Chelsea for a 2nd place EPL finish and a Terry PK that was 6 inches left, they would have stormed the gates to get at these two incompetents.

Posted by: Hmmm | May 27, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Comments like Hmmm's shows how much people really know or appreciate about the past.

Nowak took a B, maybe a C side to Toulon. Investigate before you regurgitate.

Gulati - a long-time dedicated servant of US Soccer. He's done things I don't agree with but to call him incompetent is to call DC a "Baseball Town"

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | May 27, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Coyote Ugly?

Michael Kennedy's poor game management as the referee in Toronto on Wednesday?

vs.

The Good:
0 fouls committed by DC United going into the second half against Toronto on Saturday...

Posted by: Lost in BA | May 27, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Um...yeah...the Toulon tournament wasn't taken seriously at all and it was just to trial different and new players at the level. Also, I'm not sure there was anything beautiful about the DC win.

It's funny when reading the "Good, the Bad and the Ugly" how many of the goods can be ugly if you turn them around or vice versa.

Posted by: sitruc | May 27, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

How many combined minutes in MLS do those "10 players" that Nowak took to Toulon have?

I'd guess not that many. The "best known" names from MLS may have been Seitz, Ashe and Leathers, so I don't think those 10 U23s should/could "represent" MLS in any way.

This was an inexperienced side as Nowak was looking for any last minute possible additions to the core group he'll take to Beijing. (Note: those core players were not at this invitational tournament.)
http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_6356995.html

Yes, better results would have been nice for everyone to see, but this was nothing but a set of friendlies for the U23s.

And if we're going to throw Gulati and Nowak under the bus, we should also demand accountability from assistant coaches Lubos Kubik and Josh Gros.

Posted by: Gold | May 27, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Payne, on the performance: "For me, it's not as much [about] the result as it's the way we played and dominated possession. ... They couldn't have had 10 minutes of possession the whole game. I thought it was a dominating performance, with two lapses that cost us goals. We probably should have had five or six goals, and if we keep playing like that, we are going to be all right."

One win does not make up for poor decisions nor does it mean a winning season. Shame on you Payne, we're surprised you didn't take sole credit for the win.

Posted by: InDenial | May 27, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

So, did Dichio's first goal remind anyone else of Jan Koller's goal for the Czech's against the US?

Great build up. Toronto is going to be a pretty good team. After 1 year in the league, they're ahead of Salt Lake and Real's been her for, what, 4 seasons?

Posted by: TCompton | May 27, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Gulati is self-serving and has never undertood the sport. He has used the MLS and U.S Soccer as a teaching experiment at Columbia. He's just another political incompetent in the US Soccer organization.

Posted by: Stones | May 27, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

THE VERY PATHETICALLY UGLY

Crew fans showering my man Kheli "Game Winner" Dube with racial slurs after his goal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weUIq7hzIDg

See 22 seconds.

Posted by: Christopher | May 27, 2008 7:32 AM

========================

UGLY times 2 -- (1) the actions themselves; and (2) proudly posting it on youtube with commentary. Lovely stuff. Perhaps there should be a minimium IQ at the beer stand as well as a minimum age.

Posted by: Old WNT fan | May 27, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Payne was fair in his comments and didn't say anything that inferred that this was the end all be all. It was a well fought and well deserved win. The effort couldn't be questioned and he's right, watch the game again, TFC didn't get forward on DC a lot and when it did it looked dangerous, but DC holds most of the run of play in that match.

The team played more forward and attacking balls and guys took their chances and made the most of what was there rather than trying to conduct each match as a symphony of flair and style. Sometimes you win gritty and sometimes you play ugly football until you can gel and play something else.

The decision making in the back is still terrible and while I think a lot is still to do with language, I'm pretty sure most of it has to do with Zach Wells. I hope he's not too comfortable in Ben's basement and that he's got his bags ready to move this summer.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | May 27, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The Great

Finally Goff is seeing how horrible Wells is in goal! I celebrated when he finally came out of his goal at the end of the game to take control of the box for the first time all season.

Posted by: Q | May 27, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

ummm, that was Alex Prus in Toronto on Wednesday.

Michael Kennedy is the one who called Donovan's swan dive a PK on Saturday. Now, that belongs in the Coyote Ugly category.

Posted by: Glenn | May 27, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

MLS should force Columbus to play a few home matches in an empty stadium. Those fans have brought shame into Mr. Hunt's stadium.

I hope each visiting African-American, African-Caribbean, African-South American, and unhyphenated African player scores a hat trick.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 27, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

For "Good", how about Quaranta's performance for DC on Saturday? It won't show up as assists on the score-sheet, but 'Tino set up both of those goals. More than anyone else he showed the passion that this team has been needing.

Posted by: soccer nerd | May 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Is Ike Kuhns rlated to Will Kuhns?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 27, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if VA Blue Blood is 100% correct stating Nowack's group was a B or even C squad...but I do agree that they are rubbish.

Note the makeup of the team, a large group of MLSers, TWO (yeah TWO, to include your keeper) guys without teams, and a few euro players.

It calls two glaring problems into view:
1) MLS is not serving to develop young players
2) Whatever good young players are in the US will bypass or leave MLS for development (i.e. Arguez) because of #1

As more young players leave, the remaining young players who will typically flesh out the developmental roster slots and reserve matches will be truly inferior.

As proof of the above, it readily apparent how few young players come up through the reserves and become integral first team players.

MLS has quickly become a shortcut league for two reasons:
1) people don't want to pay to watch a kid who was All-Conference defender from Francis Marion college - they want "names"
2) coaching in MLS is deficient, so it is easier to hire already-proficient players from overseas to compensate

In the end, though, it comes down to coaching.

Why don't US coaches get hired overseas? Because they are not good enough. USSF and MLS really need to work to improve our coaching pool at the highest levels. This, in turn, will lead to much more effective development of our young players. When these kids get to Europe, some are 3-5 years behind most of their teammates, not athletically, but mentally & tactically. Is it no surprise McBride did not effectively peak until his late 20s and into his 30s? Or that so many great American MLS players go to Europe and become mere role players (many established starters for the USMNT are mere subs for their euro club teams). Game/mental speed and decision making is what kills them.

Improve the coaching pool.

Improve the development of our elite young players (Bradenton isn't really doing it...every club in Europe and South America has its own Bradenton...we have ONE).

Posted by: Erick | May 27, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Ugly:

guevara's punch to McTavish. I applaud teh officials for carding him tot he extent they coudl based on what they saw However, red card to the league for not taking action based on the video. Aside from the fact that that he didn't connect too hard it was not an open palmed shove... It was a closed fist deliverd with intent.


Posted by: W | May 27, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

How about the referee that allowed Dube to stand about 5 feet into the box before the penalty was taken,

Posted by: Phillip | May 27, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Coyote Ugly: The attendance in Dallas, Denver, Carson (Chivas), and most of the time Columbus is "Miami Fusionesque" (i.e., PATHETIC). MLS has real problems, and perhaps should think of relocating franchises before true expansion. Playing these games on TV with these paltry numbers of fannies in seats looks TERRIBLE, making MLS look very bush-league.

Posted by: Ron | May 27, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with ron, the attendance issue is troublesome. It also makes the point that the soccer specific stadium is not a panacea for this problem if it is not built in an appropriate location.

Posted by: rob | May 27, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

rob, indeed, it is just painful to watch, say, the the Rapids in their gleaming new SSS play in front of 4 or 5000 almost silent people scattered among acres of empty gray seats.

Posted by: Ron | May 27, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Coyote Beautiful and Butt Ugly:

Cuauhtemoc Blanco's "rump-pass" in the 1st half on Sunday. It was actually well executed and went straight to his teammate. That's a bit disturbing since it probably means the hunchback has been practicing that move.

I thought that when MLS/Chicago signed Blanco it was a bad move motivated by little more than ethnic pandering. I was wrong.

I'm sure MLS higher ups are glad to see the extra Mexicans in the seats but Blanco has been very good and Chicago (gag!) are the best team in the league now.

Sometimes Blanco gets too much credit for Chicago's turnaround last season (they also picked up Conde and I think Armas, Mapp and Rolfe returned from injury around that time) but he's the engine that drives their offense.

Posted by: garbaggio | May 27, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

SSS should be built as close to the city center as possible so that public transport can be used. Go too far out in the burbs and the atmosphere gets too mellow.

Posted by: -K | May 27, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

MLS should force Columbus to play a few home matches in an empty stadium. Those fans have brought shame into Mr. Hunt's stadium.
Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 27, 2008 9:39 AM

That's not really that much of a change now is it? ;-)

Posted by: boda united | May 27, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen any mention of the PK that should have been called at the end of the Saturday DC-Toronto match. The live camera shot wasn't perfect in showing the hand-ball, but I think Toronto deserved a chance to tie the match.

Posted by: Tom | May 27, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that NY game was bad news. I knew we were bad, but I didn't know we were THAT bad.

Still, we're hanging on to that #8 playoff seed by our fingernails. Not that I expect we'll hold on for the next five months.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | May 27, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the non-call beign consistent with two similiar plays commited by Toronto... accordign tot he post game teh flag the side judge raised was for a foul commited on Wells by one of the Toronto players as he went up for the ball. (Very clear in teh replay; and not as many though for an offsides. Since that occured before the scramble to clear the ball and the alleged hand-ball the play was in theory dead even though the wistle hand't been blown.

I haven't seen any mention of the PK that should have been called at the end of the Saturday DC-Toronto match. The live camera shot wasn't perfect in showing the hand-ball, but I think Toronto deserved a chance to tie the match.

Posted by: Tom | May 27, 2008 11:16 AM

Posted by: wc | May 27, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@Mastadon Juan: Your honesty on this blog, and the fact that you're open about your status as a New York supporter, is refreshing. Besides, you're the guy everyone here loves to hate -- and that's fun.

Posted by: David | May 27, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen any mention of the PK that should have been called at the end of the Saturday DC-Toronto match. The live camera shot wasn't perfect in showing the hand-ball, but I think Toronto deserved a chance to tie the match.

Posted by: Tom | May 27, 2008 11:16 AM

***********************************

Toronto DID have chances to tie the game but awarding a PK for an unintentional handball (if it existed) would have been a wrong call.

Peralta cleared the ball off the line and away from goal and it bounced off McTavish a few yards away. Couldn't tell from the replay whether it hit his arm (his body screened the camera shot) but a defender would have no reason to block a ball that was being cleared AWAY from danger.

Posted by: garbaggio | May 27, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Gee Whiz MJ, did take some sort Taoist retreat or something this spring? A new girlfriend? Or is it just the fact that we are still in the cellar?

Posted by: Dadryan | May 27, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Who came up with play for your colors banner? Barra Brava is just amazing I am a 67 year old man and i am thinking of joining this club they are great.Thanks BArra Brava for making RFK's atmosphere incredible

Posted by: just a fan | May 27, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Or is it just the fact that we are still in the cellar?"

That makes it all much easier to stomach, I'll admit.

If we're not in last place PRIOR to June 14th, I'll be surprised. This team suxors.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | May 27, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen any mention of the PK that should have been called at the end of the Saturday DC-Toronto match. The live camera shot wasn't perfect in showing the hand-ball, but I think Toronto deserved a chance to tie the match.

---------------------------------------------
What about tackling the goalkeeper? Now, whether Wells needed to charge out is another question, but he was clearly grabbed around the shoulders by a Toronto player.

As far as beauty-full and this win... It was a relief to see that the 442 works, credit to Soehn for implementing wing play & overlaps and going away from the dreadful 3-5-2 (one might wonder what took so long -- how important is it to win with cute formations...).

But Wells' decision-making and positioning in the back was coyote ugly. The man continually leaves the frame wide open while he gets himself stuck in no-man's land. Note to Tommy: with this guy in goal, better cover both posts while defending corners. Better yet, coach him up. That's what you do, right? Coach? Leaving the goal wide open on so many occasions is just not an option.

Quaranta was looking pretty coyote ugly on the wing for long, long stretches. The upside was good, when he finally did something besides try to cross the ball.

Fred played a hell of a game, and Moreno is the glue that holds this bunch together, as best as may be.

Hopefully DCU can now get their collective heads out of their collective arses and make a run.

What will need to happen is: some depth must develop among attacking players -- the current guys are one injury away from being back to dysfunctional.

Wells needs to give this team a chance in tight games.

Posted by: spike_2.0 | May 27, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Peralta cleared the ball off the line and away from goal and it bounced off McTavish a few yards away. Couldn't tell from the replay whether it hit his arm (his body screened the camera shot) but a defender would have no reason to block a ball that was being cleared AWAY from danger.

Posted by: garbaggio | May 27, 2008 12:10 PM
==========================================

Is it possible that someone handled the ball, intentionally or otherwise, on its way to Peralta's foot? The Toronto players seemed to be raising their arms in protest as the ball came off Peralta.

Posted by: tri-village | May 27, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Denis Hamlett for coach of the year in MLS! Glad he finally got his chance.

Posted by: Jack | May 27, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Also ugly was the missed call on by the AR -- LA's first goal was offside.

Posted by: JJH | May 27, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Tom, I know the Toronto players were calling for blood, but that was a clear case on the ball-playing-the-hand during the scramble to clear, and was appropriately not called.

Posted by: Stevan in Gaithersburg | May 27, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Erick | May 27, 2008 10:17 AM

Give the coaching thing time.
The guys who taught me the game in the 70s/80s were really the first generation. We are, in effect, watching the 2nd generation of US coaches. Not to mention the first generation of US kids with an opportunity to play professional soccer. In 20 years, the fruits of the men mentioned above will really begin to take hold.
Enjoy the growth of the game, the league, the coaches and the players right before your very eyes - that to me is The Good....this week and every week.

Posted by: marksman | May 27, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What was the red to Laurent Robert for, does anyone know? According to the report, it was for abusive language, which is a straight red, which was how it was awarded (even though he was already on a caution).

Posted by: broonalemagpie | May 27, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

What was the red to Laurent Robert for, does anyone know? According to the report, it was for abusive language...
==========================================

It seems as if you've answered your own question. He hadn't committed a flagrant foul; no United player was writhing on the ground. He got tossed just after the controversial non-call discussed above, after the referee consulted with the AR on the far side (i.e., across from the TV booth). On CSN, Limarzi and Rongen observed that they had seen Laurent talking to that flagman. The ref did not show a (second) yellow before the red.

Posted by: tri-village | May 27, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Don't mean to be an a$$, but on the 2nd Dominic Oduro goal when he took his jersey off in celebration -- that's an automatic yellow card according to FIFA and yet he got nothing.

What's going on with the refs in this league? Do they all need to be taken for an off-site refresher course on what the hell they are doing?

Posted by: Eugene | May 27, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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