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Saturday Kickaround

*The MLS playoffs continue today with Real Salt Lake hosting defending champion and two-time Supporters' Shield winner Columbus at Rio Tinto. (6 p.m. ET, Direct Kick). RSL is unbeaten in 10 straight at home, and given its woeful road performance this year, the club will need to keep it going in the first leg in order to maintain realistic hopes of advancing to the Eastern Conference final.

*A Maryland-Virginia preview. As part of the Post's series about college athletes who serve in reserve, a look at a UVA women's soccer player.

*Americans abroad:
Friday
F Freddy Adu in 18, didn't play in Belenenses' 1-1 tie at Porto
F Matt Taylor in 18, didn't play in FSV Frankfurt's 1-0 loss at Union Berlin

*Two Washington Freedom players are finalists for FIFA women's player of the year: Abby Wambach and Sonia Bompastor. The others are Nadine Angerer (Germany), Cristiane (Chicago Red Stars/Brazil), Inka Grings (Germany), Mana Iwabuchi (Japan), Simone Laudehr (Germany), Marta (Los Angeles Sol/Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany) and Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers/England).

By Steve Goff  |  October 31, 2009; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad , College Soccer , MLS , Women  
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Next: Sunday Kickaround

Comments

First.

147 days until United's first 2010 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | October 31, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The article about Katie Carr is worth reading and is true about players at all levels. At some point in their career every player has to learn the value of contributing as a reserve. This is equally true for players in club and high school teams as well as players at the collegiate level. It's even true for older professionals who are transitioning from starting for their teams to reserve roles. (We can name a few of those, can't we?) It's not an easy lesson at any age. But it sounds like Katie, at least, has adjusted well. Kudos to her.

Posted by: Curious99 | October 31, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Dempsey 1-1 Liverpool

We need this Dempsey on the US Nats!!!

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 31, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

First.

147 days until United's first 2010 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | October 31, 2009 12:29 PM

I thought you were going to say 147 days until Freddy Adu's next appearance in a competitive match, which coincides with the start of MLS...

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | October 31, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

For those of you in the Atlanta area, Comcast has a free preview of Direct Kick this weekend, so the RSL/Colubus game will be on. It'll be nice to watch it on tv instead of a cpu monitor.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | October 31, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Jay:

That too!

Posted by: Curious99 | October 31, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

We need this Dempsey on the US Nats!!!

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 31, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

seriously. why does the national team get the "disinterested" and "lazy" dempsey, while fulham gets the "good" and "hardworking" version?

i guess this happens every year, but any thoughts about how the MLS playoffs could be restructured? in this home and home/total goal system, the first games seem to be super-cautious and mostly boring affairs...

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

MLS playoffs:
Two groups of four. Each team plays each other team once. The team with the better regular season record in a matchup gets home-field advantage. Top two advance to the semis. Just like the World Cup group stage. THat would produce a real home field advantage and make each game meaningful.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 31, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

good one I-270. very interesting. at the very least, each game has to have a winner (i.e. if it's a tie, go to sudden death OT, then PKs). then have it be best-of-3, with the higher seeds having home field advantage. this is kinda lame too, but better than the way it is now...i think.

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

After today's action in Nigeria, the USA U17 side will advance to the round of 16 with a win or draw against UAE, and has a slight chance of advancing with a loss.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 31, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I think none of the German women can win because they stayed home rather than match up with the best of the rest of the world.

Which leaves Marta.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 31, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

o..how nice...RSL playing for the eastern conf. championship...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 31, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

to those with FIOS, sitting home waiting for the kiddies to come to the door ... Columbus/RSL is on Direct Kick for free. Channel 1499 (at least here in my area).

Posted by: nairbsod | October 31, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

if direct kick is doing a free preview in both Atlanta and DC I wonder what that means for Flagstaff...

Dempsey said stop complaining he won third best player at the confederations cup playing for the USMNT.

Posted by: grubbsbl | October 31, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I think none of the German women can win because they stayed home rather than match up with the best of the rest of the world.

Which leaves Marta.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 31, 2009 5:46 PM
__________________________________________

But what is the geographic mix of the voters? I can imagine that the Euro championships provided more relevant exposure than did WPS, at least in some quarters.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 31, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Which leaves Marta.
Posted by: OWNT
===========

Oh sure. If you're going by talent. But don't discount politics. I'm still wondering why a 16 year-old player is on that list. I've never seen her play and will stipulate to her being terrific, but POTY?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 31, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

What's up with Freddy these days? DCU, Real Salt Lake, Benfica, Monaco, and now Belenenses. I know he's still young--and I happen to like him--but he's yet to find a manager that will give him minutes.

Maybe he can get on the field with Crystal Palace Baltimore.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 31, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me. A feature about a Flagstaff joint will be rebroadcast on the Food Network on Monday night:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/return-to-route-66/index.html

Posted by: universityandpark | October 31, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks nairbsod. Fios 1499 works in MoCo.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 31, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The attendace at Rio Tinto for a PLAYOFF game is appalling. That place looks half full, maybe a tad more. That makes me really wonder about the long term viability of this league.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 31, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow, thanks for the tip nairbsod. I watched the first half my laptop but now I've got it on FIOS 1499 also. Not sure it makes sense for MLS to have a free preview weekend during the playoffs, but whatever.

Posted by: DCUMD | October 31, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Ron16 - the playoffs EVERY YEAR seem like an afterthought. that's why i wish they would just go to a single table, make the regular season champion "the champion" and be done with it.

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

seattle has nothing on salt lake.


....do they know this is a playoff game?

Posted by: nairbsod | October 31, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

birdy, I am beginning to agree with the single table position. There is little interest in the MLS playoffs, and the soccer frequently is bad. The soccer in this Crew-RSL game is HORRIBLE. These two teams are playing a dreadfully sterile match. PLus, lets faced it, even at MLS CUPS played in SSS's there are plenty of empty seats.

It ain't workin' folks.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 31, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

all these games are going to be defensive and extremely careful...they'll all end either 0-0 or 1-0. boring. they've got to try something new.

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I am not going to watch any more MLS playoff games unless it involves DC United, which of course this year will not. These games are almost as bad as baseball.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 31, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Single table guys:

You're spinning your wheels but not going anywhere. MLS has bigger issues.

***

RSL-Columbus:

That was one of the least interesting MLS playoff games that I can ever remember watching. There was a lack of drama, and for once I found myself hoping for the standard MLS refereeing mistake to at least give me something to be interested in. Columbus came strictly for a 0-0 result. Other than on set pieces, there was absolutely no interest on their part in going forward. Speaking of free kicks, that's all they did seem to want; most Crew players hit the deck any time a light breeze gusted in Sandy. Frankly, I wanted them to get punished with a heavier defeat because of their utterly cynical approach. Payne may have picked a terrible time to say what he said (since we're sitting on the sidelines), but it doesn't mean he was wrong about certain teams.

RSL tried to do something with this game, but really lacked the quality to break Columbus down. Of course, Columbus is good defensively even when they do play an honest game, so with them going ultra-defensive RSL was always going to struggle to create. That said, RSL wasn't exactly throwing the kitchen sink at Columbus. Their fullbacks stayed home until the hour mark, and subs like bringing in Robbie Russell for Tony Beltran with 10 minutes to go do not scream jogo bonito.

All in all, 1-0 is fair. Columbus deserved worse, but RSL's overall play didn't merit any more goals. Actually, if it was possible, I'd prefer the score to be RSL 0, Columbus -1.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | October 31, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Chest, you are right - single table will never happen but I still favor it on principle.

Your analysis of the COL-RSL game was on the mark. Which is why I am done with MLS for the year.

Life is too short to watch bad soccer.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 31, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see RSL's playoff game but according to the boxscore on MLSnet Barros Schelotto didn't play. Is he hurt or is it just a case of protecting an old guy from playing a road game?

Pretty sure Rio Tinto has that exotic stuff called grass rather than the Abominable Carpet of Rice Eccles.

Too bad they didn't draw more fans in Utah but MLS teams still struggle for visibility and relevance in their local media - even here in DC.

Seattle is probably unique in that aspect.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 31, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

i realize single table isn't going to ever happen, but i am still going to whine about it. the current format is terrible. even the "whoever gets to 5 points first" (remember that one?) is better than this one. the strategy of the first playoff game is for the road team (the "better team") to play for a 0-0 tie, which, for the most part, they accomplish. even losing 1-0 isn't a big deal for the higher seeded team. jeez, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. come up with something new! 270's idea is a million times better than this crap...

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Yep, both teams definitely need to step it up in Thursday's rematch, for Kreissakes.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 31, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"first to five" was abominable, as bad or worse than the current set-up.it had the added scourge of adding more games to get through to the next level. The soccer was unwatchable, and people stayed away in droves. the current set-up is about as bad but the amount of torture for the viewer is reduced due to the lower number of games.

Posted by: Ron16 | October 31, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

i hear you ron, but at least with that stupid "first to 5" there was SOME semblance of strategy (do i go for a tie? do we step it for a win?). this total goal stuff is awful. the better team is always going to go for 0-0 in the first game...every single time. ok, i have whined enough for one day.

Posted by: birdynumnum | October 31, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Garber is so going to fine you guys for criticizing RSL and the sCrew.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 31, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

At the very least give me away goals.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | October 31, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

If we're going to have a playoff, just do single elimination. Why do we need home-and-home's anyway? It's not like the final is a home-and-home. The thing is, we'd still wind up with quite a few ugly matches decided by PKs, but at least these ghastly play-offs would be over much more quickly.

I'd still prefer a single table as well. This might actually give more exposure to the U.S. Open Cup and the non-Mexican team home games in the CCL (maybe, I have no idea what would really happen here).

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | October 31, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

If we're going to have a playoff, just do single elimination. Why do we need home-and-home's anyway? It's not like the final is a home-and-home. The thing is, we'd still wind up with quite a few ugly matches decided by PKs, but at least these ghastly play-offs would be over much more quickly.

I'd still prefer a single table as well. This might actually give more exposure to the U.S. Open Cup and the non-Mexican team home games in the CCL (maybe, I have no idea what would really happen here).

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | October 31, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Bingo!

Home-away makes sense when you have a random draw (WC qualifiers, Champions league, etc...) but when you play a full season to determine the top teams you would think they would deserve a home field advantage in a single elimination format.

If anything I think the US Open Cup should be home-away and MLS Cup should be single elimination.


Posted by: Southeasterner | November 1, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

I think the playoffs will go to single elimination when there are 20 teams in MLS and 16 make the playoffs.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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