Friday, April 24, 2009

Musings for the bye week

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.


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!