As much as I would prefer for Dynamo to be playing this weekend, the bye week is not without its charms.
Among those is the chance I get to look around the league and find some players I thoroughly enjoy watching, others who are Dynamo alums I still root for and still others who's skills I appreciate but am thoroughly glad that this week they're not playing my team. It's nice to get a breather and check these players out for a week.
PLAYERS I LOVE TO WATCH
Juan Pablo Angel Is there any doubt that JPA (and one other below) is tied for the title of best designated player in the league. The guy's combination of speed and mental toughness is a welcome addition to this league, as it would be to just about any league. He is a true sportsman, a gracious and serious professional and a tough-as-nails competitor. Have any doubts, just ask any defender in this league, ANY defender, what he thinks of JPA. They'd trade shirts with him after any game at any time.
Here's a collection of JPA goals:
Guillermo Barros Schelotto From River Plate to Boca Juniors now. Schelotto is the other best DP in the league. There have been so many superlatives heaped on the Argentine that it's silly to go on about him again here. My main thing about the guy is that he's really like a sleeping giant sometime. He'll watch and play and probe and for all intents and purposes look and play just like he's been taken out a game by a defender, and then, BOOM! You're dead. You're laying there. Hands over your head. All life is draining from your body. You don't open your eyes because you know exactly what you're going to see, GBS surrounded by teammates in the middle of a goal celebration. Here's an example:
Terry Cooke I know what you're thinking. Angel, Schelotto and Cooke? One of these things is not like the other ones. And you would be right. But let's just look back at this past weekend. At what point was Colorado at its most dangerous against us last weekend. It was the second that Cookie set foot on the field late in the second half. Remember that is was Cooke who would have scored on that rebound of the PK. And it was Cooke who sent that ball juuuuuust wide dangerously across the goal mouth at the death. The little Brit is sneaky dangerous. Not every game, but you ignore him at your peril. Here's my favorite Cooke moment, Johnny on the Spot against that famous DP from Hollywood. Who was the better Brit on the field in this game (March 2008)?
Landon Donovan You know, I am sick and tired of people tearing into Landon Donovan. The guy is nails. He is, very simply, the best American non-keeper ever to play this game. And if you care to dispute that, then find a hole in his national team stats first, then tell me how many trophies he's won, then tell me, if you were a defender against one of Landon's teams, who is in the the first group of players you'd be wary of. Landon is the man.
Nick Rimando Always on a list like this I come up with someone that is really not one of the best, but just someone I like to follow. And that is RSL keeper Nick Rimando. I find him interesting, acrobatic, capable of some truly amazing saves, and unbelievably brain dead blunders. I don't know why I follow Rimando, but I do. And I am frequently glad he's not on my team, as I don't think my heart could handle all the ups and downs.
Here's two for Nicky
Ben Olsen How can you not admire the path Captain Caveman has traveled to come back to full time play this year? The guy has put together a legendary, epic run in MLS with, let's face it here, limited skills in comparison to others you would normally talk about with a similar length of career. I was among the legion of people who felt that Olsen's final day in the DCU kit was in the Dick's Sporting Goods ad last year. Then he goes and does this last week and punctuates it by spitting on Wells Thompson afterwards. Olsen, Jaime Moreno and John Harkes are the DCU Holy Trinity. (OK, Marco Etcheverry makes him a baker's trinity).
And of course, my favorite ex-Dynamen that I follow and root for: Dwayne De Rosario (natch), Nate Jaqua and Curious George (aka Alejandro Moreno).
And players who I acknowledge as great talents who I fear Dynamo playing against (because they are a threat to score at any moment) are Kenny Cooper and Shalrie Joseph. I never want any injuries to happen to anyone (except maybe on a bad day Andre Rocha), but if Cooper and Joseph miss the games that Frisco and New England play against the Orange for whatever reason, I will cry no tears. I'll leave it at that! Read more!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Well, after my prediction barrage two weeks ago, I continue to prove a few things.
One is that it's a durn fine thing I stay away from Las Vegas, though I fully expect to get multiple invitations from sports book owners very soon.
Two, when your crystal ball is cracked, you really should chuck it in the garbage.
But now that my flux capacitor has a new supply of plutonium, I will fire up the ol' De Lorean and be back in a sec with some "predictions."
OK, I'm back. WOW! What a weekend of games!! You'll never believe it. I enter this time with an 8-21 mark overall on the year, and my friends, I am here to tell you that this is about to change. And awaaay we go:
las chivitas at Toronto: 2-1 Reds. Earth Day is Soccer Night in Canada. Excuse me, but I just can not believe in the Amerigoats. Zach Thornton? You have got to be kidding me. This is not 1998 and the man will break down. And tonight is the night.
RBNY at Kansas City: 0-0. Davy Arnaud just can not score from 30 yards every game. And without that, the Wiz offense looks like, well, New York's. JSO goes for the road tie again, the scumwad.
Chicago at Columbus: Crew 3-2. Now we're talkin'. The Crew is just not this bad. And Chicago is this good. Columbus' rest from last week does them well as Schelotto scores a late game-winner to douse the Fire.
Revs at RSL: 1-0 New England That kid in Reis' goal is good, but what does RSL in is their normal lack of finishing. Shalrie beats Rimando early and the Revs hold on for the road win.
LA at Colorado. Rapids 2-1. Colorado is actually pretty good, which I can't believe I'm typing. The Gals, however, are not (excepting that Landon kid, who just might make something of himself in this league someday), which is easy to type.
FC Horrible at Chivas USA. Goaties 2-1 Can Kenny Cooper score more than 80 percent of Frisco's goals this season before the summer transfer window opens? Signs point to Yes. But it's not enough at the Home Depot Center.
San Jose at Seattle. Sounders 2-0. Kasey Komes bacK and Kompletely Korrals the Kwakes.
DCU at NYRB: 1-0 DCU. Olsen scores again as NY wonders what that big net at the other end of the field is for anyway.
KC at Toronto. 0-0 What, did you think I was going to predict that Toronto would win two in a row? Even I'm not that nutso. Two tired teams end this marathon "weekend" sputtering to get the heck out there. Read more!
Monday, April 20, 2009
I did not see what happened, so I offer no opinions. However, this discussion over on MyDynamo.net (click the link here) is highly illuminating to say the least. (These photos were posted by Christian Sandoval over there.)
My hope is that El Batallon continues to do what they do like no other on the north end (as you do on the south Texian Army) and this problem is resolved quickly and to everyone's mutual satisfaction. Make no mistake about it, this is a big deal, and it needs to be resolved quickly. Good thing there's a bye week coming up to give everyone what's needed, some time.
Let me just say that El Batallon, the Texian Army, Houston Pulse and all the fans make a unique environment in MLS here in Houston and if we ever wind up in a situation like FC Worthless up in Frisco, it will Break. My. Heart. Read more!
Find more videos like this on MyDynamo.net
Though it is nice to see the Crustified Canuck do the job on Conor Casey (who really shouldn't have even been on the field at all following his elbow to Boswell's face, but that's another matter entirely).
But this ain't no American/Canadian thing. The Flyin' Hawaiian's sweet goal is up for Goal of the Week honors at MLSnet.com. He's currently leading in the ballotting, but that is not a sure thing as Captain Caveman's nice header and punk job on Wells Thompson is close behind.
Show Brian the love here. Read more!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I know, I know, that is a picture from the way past. I was actually at this game, a Houston Hurricane (of the long lost NASL) match in the Astrodome (prior to the soul-killing seat addition of the early 1990s). I remember my dad watching and saying to me, "I just can't get into any game where the men wear shorts." And he never could.
But that little trip down memory lane is not why we're here today! Instead, I'm here to offer more predictions on which I would definitely not advise you to hang any hats. After last week, my official record on the year is a hardly-inspiring 4-11. In my defense, I will point out that my record of 3-5 last week is a marked improvement over the 1-6 I posted in Week 2. (I did not predict in Week 1, so I'm calling it a push.) My record, by the way, looks only at the wins and losses, not the scores, which would be a soul-killing 0-15. My self-respect, therefore, in tatters as it is, is sticking with 4-11.
So what do you do when faced with such a result? Well, like any true gambler, I intend to double down (I didn't say "winning" gambler, now did I?). The wife and I will be out of town for a week beginning tomorrow. (Durn MLS went and scheduled the Dynamo-NYRB game on me this weekend after I had made these plans. Domestic policy is very clear on this: Go with the Wife. But the committee meetings were heated, to say the least.)
So, not only will I predict this weekend's matches, I will predict next weekend's matches as well. So the cracked crystal ball is showing me an even more warped picture than normal here. No matter. No matter. Here we go.
Red Bull NY at DYNAMO: 4-0 Dynamo. I have had it up to here with all of this carping about the Orange, and so, I suspect have they. NYRB has looked absolutely terrible this season. Total rubbish. And a visit to the team they upset at Robertson Stadium last November, a good team that has underperformed so far and is still steaming from that loss is hardly the tonic that JS Osorio is looking for, I would wager. Akinbiyi scores while the weather is still nice in his Dynamo debut. (Have faith in the US Embassy on this.)
Chicago at San Jose: 1-1. San Jose is woeful, to be sure. But at home they man up and Darren Huckerby is bound to wake up some time. Chicago is too good to lose to these guys, though, so I'm going with a draw here.
FC Frisco at Toronto: 2-0 Reds. Excuse me for a second while I reflect on FC Worthless' start to the season, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! There, got that out of my system. De Ro scores and taunts Dallas while he does it. And did anyone other than me notice how decidedly uncomfortable he looked on the BMO Turf against Seattle last week? He hates that surface and will get hisself hurt on it sooner rather than later. You wait and see.
DC United at Real Salt Lake. 2-0 RSL. I know DCU beat us last week, but other than the kinda weird goal, did you see anything from that team that makes you think "quality"? Nope, me either.
Colorado at Columbus. 4-0 Crew. What better tonic for the Crew, who really are better than they showed last week, than a visit from the Crapids? I love these Col v Col games just because it's so much fun writing that.
Las chivitas v. Galaxy. 3-2 Amerigoats. This faux clasico seems to always produce the goals in bunches if for no other reason than because Landon is always up for it. Gals, to put it mildly, have issues, though, and won't be able to sustain leads, if they get them, or come all the way back if they fall behind (more likely).
Wizards at Sounders. 2-0 Sea. Y'know, Kasey Keller, despite what you may have heard, is not Jesus in the 6-yard box. But his golden goose-egg is not going to be busted by the Wizards.
NE Revolution at DC United. Revs 3-1. After a week off, the much healthier Revs go to the home of their ancient rivals and leave it a little mussed up. With DC's now two-game losing steak, Soehn is outtathere.
RSL at Red Bulls NY. 1-1. New York still can't buy a win. After their thrashing at Robertson in Week 4 (see above), NY comes home and gets the early lead, but they continue to suffer the fate they deserve after selling their future karma for last year's MLS Cup run. The piper, he gets his sheckels. Lots of 'em.
Kansas City at Chicago. 3-0 Fire. Cover your eyes and keep the kids away from the TV. This could get ugly.
Galaxy at San Jose. 2-1 Quakes. The way to San Jose is littered with bodies, and they're all wearing white.
Sounders at Chivas. 1-0 Amerigoats. Chivas' early run continues, but if this was in Seattle, I'd pick it the other way. Who beats Keller first? Kljestan of course.
Toronto at FC Dallas. 1-1 On the reverse end of the home-and-home, Toronto is stunned by the sea of empty seats on the North Texas prairie, allowing Kenny Cooper to fire one in. But then they remember who they're playing, score an equalizer, but because they're just not that good either, they can't go ahead and Frisco get a single, solitary point.
Colorado at DYNAMO. 3-0 Orange. And finally, we can stop reading those stories about how bad off this team is. Two big wins in two games at Robertson and life returns. Akinbiyi scores again, as does Ching and, from distance, Rico.
And awaaay we go........ Read more!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Well, that didn't take long. Too bad. I was hoping they'd stick with him, at least through the August and the US game there. Maybe they'll make Nery the Hothead player-coach. :>
See the story here.
Sven-Goran Eriksson gets fired again
April 2, 2009 at 4:08 PM EDT
MEXICO CITY — Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was fired a day after a 3-1 loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying.
The Mexican Football Federation announced the decision on Thursday.
Mexico has just one win in its last seven matches.
The 61-year-old Swede was hired in June to replace Mexican star Hugo Sanchez, who was fired after the country's under-23 team failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Former Manchester City manager Eriksson stirred controversy inside a country fiercely loyal to its national team when he added four naturalized citizens to the roster.
Personally, I think the only one crazy enough to take this job now is a Mexican, and since they already went the Hugo Sanchez route, I think they tab the Chivas coach for the job, that is if he wants it. Read more!
I'll start with the guarantee: After last week, I think I can say that these predictions will almost positively, certainly NOT reflect actual results, real or imagined.
Last week, in my first foray into this whole prediction game, I finished 1-6 looking at results, with the one courtesy of la chivitas' win in Frisco. Hey, I even got the attendance almost right in that game. (Don't laugh, when you go 1-6, you grasp for whatever you can get!)
So, seeing as how the Amerigoats screwed up my unblemished record, there is NO WAY I'm picking them this week. That'll show 'em! (HAH!)
So, without further delay:
Columbus at Real Salt Lake: 2-1 RSL. Crew continues their winless start to the season as the Royals inaugurate their first full season at Rio Tinto with a win. This is the second week in a row I have picked Kreis' boys to beat a tough opponent. Don't fix it if it's broke, I always say.
Seattle at Toronto: 1-1. De Rosario finally breaks through on Kasey Keller. Unfortunately for TFC, Fredy Montero fires in on a bicycle kick in last action because that's pretty much the only thing he hasn't done right?
FC Dallas at New England: 3-1 Revs. Cooper scores on a shot from Logan Airport, but New England, after they stop laughing, score early and often against these guys as FCD would be in USL-2 in 2010 if we had promotion/relegation here.
DYNAMO at DCU: 2-1 Dynamo. DCU looks like the East's answer to FC Frisco. Chingy comes on as a second half sub, but by then it'll be mostly over. But this is the Dynamo after all, so they surrender the goal to keep it close and give happiness to heart surgeons all over Houston.
Colorado at LA Galaxy: 1-0 Gals. What a stinker of a game. Rapids are no match for Landon.
NYRB at Chicago: 2-0 Fire. Osorio is a master of match-ups, but really, other than Angel, what does he have? Fire dominate.
San Jose at Kansas City: 1-1 Another Sunday stinker. Jimmy Conrad scores his first as he attempts to lead the team in scoring again this season as a defender! But Huckerby will also score for the away draw.
Columbus at Chivas USA: 2-0 Crew. The Crew are just too good to go four games in this league with no wins. Hejduk is back from the get-go and las chivitas gets nothing. Zach Thornton wonders when will it all end. Read more!