Stuart Holden and Houston rockets guard Kyle Lowry had this little shootaround here in town the other day. I would have paid real US currency to be there. Read more!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Boy, time sure has a way of sneaking up on you. Still amazed by Barca's amazing domination and repulsion of the Mancunian Invasion of Roma yesterday, I completely missed Columbus' 2-1 win over San Jose last night. (Proof that it did truly happen here.)
(And BTW, a HUGE shout out to V on Dynamo Planet, who correctly predicted the teams and the final result a year ago. Yes, A YEAR AGO! I bow to you dude. Now, about this week's lottery numbers.....)
Somehow, in its infinite (what passes for) wisdom, MLS decided to schedule a game the same night as the UEFA Champions League final. I guess we should all be thankful they didn't schedule the game at the exact same time as the festivities in Rome (Why did I post that video up there? One reason is that with about 20 minutes to go in the game the phrase "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way..." drifted across my consciousness. Go figure.), though would it surprise anyone if the idea had actually been considered in the Don's underground New York bunker?
So anyway, I give myself a pass on last night's game, even though a road game for San Jose? What else would I have picked but Columbus winning, though when you see the highlights, the Trembles had more quality chances in the first 20 minutes than they had all last week. And, by the way, who is that inhabiting Joe Cannon's body? I know SJ's back four is as woeful as it gets, but "Cannon" is hardly doing anything other than phoning it in. Look at his positioning on both goals, in addition to last week here at Robertson. Tony Caig would be an improvement.
And in another noticeable non-occurrence, Eric Denton got no suspension nor a fine for his high elbow to Kei Kamara's chin (If he wasn't trying to throw the elbow, what was it doing up there in a play off the ball?). Just saying.
So, on the rest of this week's games (My overall mark is 26-42 after last week's 3-4 performance, good for a .382 mark or three games over blind chance. And yet, still he picks his own self up and soldiers on! Sucking knows no quit, ladies and germs.):
FIRE at las chivitas. 1-1 TIE. I have predicted all along the wheels would be coming off for Bizarro Chivas (copyright Dan Loney) any day now. A ship built on Zach Thornton's continued goalkeeping prowess is a ship that will take on water at any moment. And the best they can do at KC is tie? It's happening now My People. Temoc vs. the Goats, American or not, lifts Chicago to the road draw.
RAPIDS at RED BULL. 1-1 TIE. After the Rapids have traveled 10,214 miles over the last two weeks playing at New England, Seattle (for a US Open Cup play-in) and now New York, you know they're going to be tired and wouldn't be at all surprised to lose. But then again, this is Red Bull, who constantly find new ways to lose or draw each and every week against teams not named San Jose. So who am I to argue with that?
DC UNITED at REVOLUTION. 1-0 DCU Have you seen New England play lately? No? Good for you.
TORONTO at DYNAMO. 2-1 Orange So much is being written about this game around that it seems absurd to put in my $0.02, but here goes: The Reds are two different teams. At BMO, they're Under a Blood Red Sky, and on the road, they're just a little pinker. I mean, this is the same team that lost to FC Horrible at Pizza Hut, the only squad to do that this year. Not to be overconfident or anything, because any team with De Rosario, Guevara and Dichio is a team that can hurt you bad. But like so many games, I think this will be decided by the back line, and when you compare these two teams on that level, you see a decided advantage to Dynamo.
CREW at SOUNDERS. 2-0 Seattle. Columbus was getting peppered by San Jose. San Jose!! At home. Columbus is not the same team as last year, which is becoming more and more apparent. Sigi and the Green take this one.
WIZARDS at GALAXY. 1-1 TIE. As Loney pointed out, someone needs to alert Arena that they give three points for wins these days. Eight of the Gals' 11 games have ended in draws this year (and one more in US Open Cup qualifying). It's bigger than all of us.
REAL SALT LAKE at EARTHQUAKES. 2-1 RSL. Yallop fired at halftime because, as much as you'd like to, you can't fire the team.
FC HORRIBLE at FIRE. 20-0 Chicago. Or something like that. What's the only thing worse than dallas? Dallas on the road.
Monday, May 25, 2009
See that smiling face? We all love him and with very good reason.
However, this Saturday night, when the whistle blows, Dwayne De Rosario will not be our friend. He will be our enemy. He will be trying to hurt us, take away from us a victory we need very badly to stay in the Western race.
So the question is, how is he to be welcomed back to Houston? I know there are many people out there who want to cheer Dwayne, and really, I can understand that feeling, as I do as well. From afar, I have been cheering his exploits as a Red and wishing him nothing but success. Let's be clear, here's a guy who wanted to go home so badly, he was willing to don ruby slippers (or at least a ruby kit!) to do so. I can respect that. I can honor that. His desire to leave was not a statement about the Dynamo, about Houston, about us fans. He deserves no ill will because of that.
And yet ill will is what he most certainly deserves on Saturday night because he is not a member of the Houston Dynamo. He is a visiting player who is trying to score, to win, to defeat the Houston Dynamo. When he left last year, I wrote this very simple message:
"So, fare thee well Dwayne De Rosario. Enjoy your years back in your hometown, where we would always want to wind up in our lives. You have earned our love and respect and, and I mean this in all sincerity, I hope you take it as the deepest measure of personal respect and true love when Dynamo come to BMO Field next season and crush you like a grape."
And I mean every word of it.
So while I will not hold it against anyone who wishes to applaud DeRo, know this, there will be no applause emanating from my seat in Section 119, not until after the game is over. I thank him for his service the last three years and I wish him well overall, but under no circumstances do I wish him well on Saturday night. May all his shots find the seats. May all his passes go awry. And may the funky chicken dance be nowhere in evidence.
What say you? Read more!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
This is a time-lapse of the building of Red Bulls' new playpen. Squint your eyes just a bit and you might be able to see the east side and downtown Houston in the background.
(Don't we all wish!!) Read more!
My quote from last week:
So, as you can see, like my Orange and those Celtic Bhoys, I am now feeling my oats. I've been around long enough to know, though, that is the exact, precise moment that reality comes crashing. So armed with the certain knowledge of crushing defeat...
My record from last week: 2-5, along with Celtic's potential title-crushing tie, which means that their SPL championship run is very possibly over (though my positive waves will be heading both to Parkhead and Dundee Sunday. More on that in another post, but suffice to say, the situation is dire in Paradise.).
Would that my picks could be as good as that prediction up there, with my season mark now an almost unspeakable 23-38. My performance is shocking, RUBBISH! as Kenny Hassan might say.
But will that stop me? Heck no! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again...
REVOLUTION at TORONTO FC. 2-1 Reds. OK, I know Ralston's back, Shalrie is playing well and Reis might be in the lineup, but overall the Revs have just been woeful. Also, even though Toronto have never beaten New England, I think this is the time. Both back lines are terrible, so the goals might be coming aplenty. Reis' presence keeps the Reds from running away with it.
RSL at DC UNITED. 2-0 to the Black. A quick recent history lesson here. Last week I wrote: OK RSL, this is your last chance. If you screw me around blow a game against a winnable opponent again, I will not pick you for the rest of the year, whatever it does to my record! (Though seeing how RSL has played so far, that will probably be not much.) And why? Well, overall I have picked Salt Lake to win or tie six times (SIX TIMES!) and over those six times, the Royals have gone 1-5 against my prediction. Skee-rew them. DC, rip them a new one. With Salt Lake sending out their third-string keeper, it shouldn't be hard.
las chivitas at WIZARDS. 2-1 KC The wheels are starting to come off of Chivas' dream season. You heard it here first. Zach Thornton '09 is almost out of gas and the Amerigoats start coughing it up.
GALAXY at FC HORRIBLE 2-0 Gals. Yes, even the tie-crazy Galaxy can break out of their patterns, and if you can't do it against this team, then you just can't do it. No matter what that scumbag Andre Rocha did scoring against Seattle last week. Look at who's out for Frisco: Sala, Cunningham, and then Purdy and George John, that is two of that incredibly bad back line we saw here in Robertson a couple of weeks ago. How bad are their subs? Watching this team is like watching Newcastle this season. You know the hammer is falling, it's just a matter of who it's falling on this week.
EARTHQUAKES at DYNAMO. Puh-lease. 2-0 Good guys. There's really nothing like seeing the joy in Brian Ching's eyes as he beats the heck out of San Jose. Those stars on their jersey are a personal affront to him and all the guys who came over from Cali, and they should be. Now if we can only keep Kamara from taking Nick Garcia's head off, though maybe he should? I'm just saying.........
SOUNDERS at RAPIDS. 1-0 Seattle. Check out this from the injury report: PROBABLE: MF Freddie Ljungberg (migraine recovery) I have never seen that before, though as someone who is married to a migraine sufferer, let me tell you, don't laugh. That is serious business. Colorado is better than they used to be, but Seattle is coming off a road tie last weekend against a far worse team and they will be playing angry. Jaqua will score (though I'm sure I've just jinxed him).
FIRE at NYRB. 2-0 Chicago. One fluke goal against us last week (though I have to admit, I loved Wolyniec' finish on that one as a soccer fan as much as I hated it as an Orange-utan), and a five spot against them in the US Open Cup game on Wednesday and you see a Red Bull team that is about to just fall into a deep, deep pit. In a away, the 4-1 win over San Jose may have done them more damage than good, if you know what I mean. Watch Chicago just dominate this one. Read more!
Friday, May 15, 2009
The streak is alive! Going 5-4, I have now posted two consecutive weeks over .500, allowing me to inch ever closer up on the season at 21-33, good for a .389 mark. Overall, I think that's not bad since pure chance would have a mark of .333. (I decided early on that if a result is a tie, that's a loss for me since I could easily have predicted a tie.)
So, as you can see, like my Orange and those Celtic Bhoys, I am now feeling my oats. I've been around long enough to know, though, that is the exact, precise moment that reality comes crashing. So armed with the certain knowledge of crushing defeat, I am wading into the treacherous waters of MLS Week 9.
FIRE at TORONTO FC. 1-1 Draw. You know, I continue to be a nonbeliever in the Reds. DeRo did indeed wake up last week (and did you see that second goal of his at Dc? Wow. now THAT was a bittersweet thing to see.), and awake and playing well, he's easily TFC's best player. But this week we will all see this association (courtesy of my son's TAKS test): Kryptonite is to Superman as artificial turf is to Dwayne De Rosario. He will not score. He will not assist. All of his passes will be too heavily weighted. He'll be frustrated and Blanco will get in his head. Chicago escapes with the away draw and the early optimism will begin to wane in Toronto.
RAPIDS at REVOLUTION. 1-0 New England. What's the precise blogging term for "I have no f'ing idea"? The Crapids are in the road and have a winning all-time mark against the Revs. New England still have half the team out with injury, but Steve Ralston's back. I'm going with the old tried and true on this one. When you don't know, go with the home team to hold on for a win. Matt Reis can handle anything the Rapids dish out.
DYNAMO at RBNY. 2-0 Orange Did anyone happen to catch Red Bull's 4-1 win last week? Amazing. Shocking. Total rubbish. THAT was the San Jose back line. New York, they of the almost laughable ineptitude, went through those guys like a hot knife through butter. I think NY has been thinking all week, though, that it was a result they got because they're just that good. Hubris is the companion of the loser who loses after a win and hubris will have its home on the NYRB bench this week. I think that will more than make up for the fact that Dynamo are again playing on a green-painted tarmac. Perhaps the terrible condition of the Robinson Stadium field earlier this season has helped Dynamo play better on the fake stuff. We'll see. Shutout streak continues.
SOUNDERS at FC FRISCO. 3-0 Seattle. This is just not a team that can score on Kasey Keller, while the other one really is a team that can score on Ray Burse Jr. Early. And often.
WIZARDS at REAL SALT LAKE. 2-1 RSL. OK RSL, this is your last chance. If you screw me around blow a game against a winnable opponent again, I will not pick you for the rest of the year, whatever it does to my record! (Though seeing how RSL has played so far, that will probably be not much.)
DC UNITED at las chivitas 2-1 DCU I firmly believe that these are two teams that have played above their skill level so far this season, but none so much as the Amerigoats. I mean, Paolo Nagamura has scored two game-winning goals so far this season while Kljestan has scored none? Zach Thornton playing like Pat Onstad? You can not tell me with a straight face that this is a team winning on its merits. DC, on the other hand, has had three games scoring either winners or ties with goals in extra time. That is three more than I think they'll get the rest of the year. But I still don't think they'll need it this time as Chivas will be exposed here. The fall will be long and steep.
CREW at GALAXY. 2-2 Draw. I know and we all know for a fact that Columbus is a better team than the Gals, and that this in all rights should be a complete and utter blowout at the site of Columbus' greatest triumph last November. LA seems to be adept at tie-making this season, and Columbus has been equally adept at surrendering tie-making goals. The Crew is playing better, but they'll still leave the HDC shaking their heads. Read more!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Well, well, well. It looks as if Julius James or Waibelinho his own self may get to see some action sooner than planned.
Bernardo filed this story today (link here):
Dynamo defender Richard Mulrooney will miss Saturday’s match at the New York Red Bulls after suffering a broken left cheekbone after a collision during Tuesday practice.
Mulrooney, the team’s starting right back, underwent surgery that same day. He is expected to return to practice in 2-4 weeks, the team said in a release posted on its Web site Wednesday afternoon.
The 32-year-old MLS veteran has started every match and played every minute this season for the Dynamo (3-2-2), who are riding a three-match winning streak and have gone a league-best 403 minutes without conceding a goal.
Mulrooney becomes the third starting defender to miss time because of injury after Eddie Robinson (knee surgery) and Wade Barrett, who missed last week’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas with a strained calf.
Personally, I think the back four looks like this:
With Waibel and Barrett first off the bench. Now before all of you Waibel Warriors get on my out there, know this: I also am a big fan of His Balding Badness. However, pace on an artificial surface like the glorified green runway tarmac at Giant Stadium is at a premium. James has it in that circumstance and Waibel (not to mention Barrett) do not.
No one wants to see Nightmares with Dane Richards, the Sequel here and I think James is best suited to prevent that. What do you think? Read more!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Jeff Carlisle shows some Orange love on his West notes column (click here) over at MLSnet.com, focusing primarily on Geoff Cameron and Andrew Hainault.
My favorite part of the piece is in this quote from The Dom:
"You always try and put your best team on the field," said Kinnear. "That's what you always try to do. But we feel comfortable enough with Boswell, Hainault, Cameron, and Julius James, that when Eddie comes back it's the right time. If it gets to the point where Eddie is a clear starter, then we have some selection issues, which is great."
And that is great, though I doubt seriously it's going to happen until ate in the year. I foresee Ching, Clark and Holden all missing time due to international US call-ups this year. And don't forget that Hainault and Onstad might miss some minutes playing for the Canada team, which, while no longer in World Cup qualifying (which is another tragedy entirely) will be playing in the Gold Cup.
Here's a projected XI with all five of those guys gone:
Hall/Deric(back from loan)
Not as stout as we've seen, but plenty loaded with skill and some pace and toughness. What do you think? Read more!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
What's better than being at Dynamo's smackdown of FC Worthless? Watching the Texian Army's take on it. Read more!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Now I am not going to say that I have turned things around completely, but after posting my first winning week of the season with a 4-3 mark (Thanks to my Dynamo boys for putting me over the top), I am feeling my oats. Overall, I am 16-29 now, but I look at MLS' nine-game slate this week and what do I see? I see opportunity my lads. Opportunity to make up geography on that record. So here we go.
(And by the way, these predictions are for personal jollies and not to be used as the basis for any wagering. If you do that, then the consequences are yours and yours alone. Though please, if you feel so compelled to wager based on my predictions, there are many, many agencies out there to assist you in your recovery. Get help. Now.)
DC UNITED at WIZARDS. Tie 1-1. DC is rolling with two straight wins that got started with their last-minutes comeback against RBNY. But nothing can get a team overconfident like a win at home against a USL-2 side like FC Worthless. KC still sucks, but DC is just not tough enough to get this win. They are, however, good enough to force the away draw.
GALAXY at REAL SALT LAKE. RSL 2-0. OK Salt Lake. I have had it up to here with you. I picked against you in Denver last week and was right (Despite El Naranja's calling me out!) and think you guys have just been all over the map. But if you can't win against a team as bad as the Gals at home, then that's it. I think you guys have every chance in the world here. Foul Landon early and often and LA will not be able to respond.
EARTHQUAKES at RBNY. 1-0 New York. Juan Pablo Angel scores on a New York Friday night and earns JCO a reprieve on the coaching hot seat. San Jose is rubbish on the road.
WIZARDS at CREW 3-1 Columbus. Second game in three days against the defending MLS champs means disaster for KC. Columbus cruises to its first win of the season.
TORONTO FC at DC UNITED. DCU 2-0. Put it on Black. You know, everyone will make a big deal about this being a battle for top of the Eastern table. But Toronto is overrated and DCU is much better than last year. Once again, you will see in this game the difference that having a healthy Ben Olsen brings to the Black. This game will not be close.
REVOLUTION at FIRE. Chicago 2-0. New England is not as bad as they showed against Dynamo last week. They just are not. But they are not as good as Chicago. Not by a long shot.
FC HORRID at DYNAMO. 3-0 Orange. There is so much to write between now an Saturday about this game, and it will all be written here and at other sites. But quite simply, and I'm trying to be as respectful as I can be here, Frisco is total crap and Dynamo is rolling. I think frisco's problem is simple. They keep playing all of these teams that are better than they are. They need to find some teams they can beat. Maybe a PDL side? Hey, just trying to be helpful.
REAL SALT LAKE at las chivitas. 2-1 Goaties. Chivas continues their early season run before the summer implosion takes its toll on them. They'll start losing soon, but not at home against a bad road team like RSL.
GALAXY at SOUNDERS. 2-1 Seattle. Landon goes wild and has a great game, but its those other 10 guys in the LA gear that let him down. What else is new? Read more!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I'm trying to think of any Dynamo who might do this. Maybe Waibel, though perhaps that's why he doesn't get to take corners.
This is the old NASL Vancouver Whitecaps. Found at kenn.com, a wonderful site. Read more!
Monday, May 4, 2009
In case you missed it, Dynamo win strong.
Certain things I noticed about the game, other than how nice it was to see the Orange produce a 2-0 smackdown of the Revs on plastic grass:
<>I think the Revs' best chance came in the second half after Andrew Hainault mistimed a challenge along the Revs' right flank. It turned into a near miss, but might have energized New England if they had converted. No one's perfect, but the carrot-topped Canadian almost screwed the pooch there.
<>Best goal that wasn't: Brian Mullan's jinking, back and forth run through the right side of the box, deking two guys out of their shorts before centering to Kamara, whose wormburner was snagged by Matt Reis. Wow. Mullan looked positively Messi-like there. If he had any finishing touch at all, he would be even more of a beast than he is.
<>Wow, this is what happens I guess when you're missing six starters. That was the worst performance I have ever seen from New England. Looking at Stevie Nicol's face after the game, I think the postgame meeting was probably a tad heated over there.
<>Matt Reis letting a weak ball from distance through his legs like that? I still can hardly believe that happened. Look closely at it because you'll probably never see him do that again.
<>On the same play, Stuart Holden was quoted in the Chron today thusly:
“I’ve been holding back a little bit, looking to pass too much so I took a couple of shots today and got lucky,” Holden said.
Stuart, that is what all us out here watching have been saying all season. And you did indeed get very lucky. Look, I'm a team guy. You're a team guy. We're all team guys. But you've got a howitzer on the end of your leg there. Load the sucker up and fire!
<>Is it my imagination or does Kei Kamara get klobbered out there on a regular basis without a kall being made? The guy has a ton of athleticism and pace, and clearly the book on him is to chop him down. It would be nice to get just a little protection from time to time. In all sports, there are always guys that officials don't like and they let opposing teams give them the business more than others. Is Kei one of those guys? If this doesn't change, he is going to get hurt out there and miss time one of these days.
<>And about Kei, can he please start reading the offside trap a little more reliably? I'm am so tired of him getting caught out so frequently.
<>Ade, welcome to life on Dom's bench. Really, was there any reason why Dom waited so long to get Akinbiyi on the field? Honestly, sometimes I think Kinnear forgets he has a bench and there are subs to be made. Kamara was getting killed. Ching was getting hammered (no surprise there) and we were cruising 2-0. Why couldn't Ade have seen the field in the 70th minute or so? He looked good in the few seconds he was in the game, but he clearly is going to have a tough time adjusting to MLS refs. Join the club pal. Wait until you meet Abbey Okalaja. >shudder< Read more!
Friday, May 1, 2009
Now, I love Extra Time. Well, maybe love is too strong a word. I'll stick with, "It's just about the only MLS deal around, so I'll watch it."
However, I have to say that I think Shep Messing and Greg Lalas just turned in the wussiest preview rundown I have ever seen. Going over a whole weekend slate, the only game they're going to predict is Colorado/RSL? WHAT is up with that?!
To tell you the truth, coming from a former keeper and defender, I think they've gone a bit yella.
Go out on a limb boys. Don't just tell me that the Seattle/Chicago game is the most attractive one on the schedule. I know that already. Tell me who's going to win and why. Post your predictions. Stand behind them. BE! A! MAN! (Or in your cases, two men.)
Look at me, my overall record on the year is 12-26. That is a percentage of .316! Now in another sport, that might net me a million dollar contract. But here, it is absolute rubbish. But am I afraid to advertise that fact? Am I afraid to declare my total lack of quality in the prediction business? Here's the deal, I know I suck, and in that I find honor. I'll get it where I can.
Shep and Greg, nut up or shut up you guys.
CREW at TORONTO. 2-1 Columbus Toronto at the top of the Eastern table? Mirrors, guys. They're doing it with mirrors. Columbus is starting to put it together. Look at how they were playing before Gino Padula got sent off. With that, MLS refs proved once again they have no idea when and where to use which cards. Yellows where reds should be and reds where yellows should be. Kind of a parable there though, as yellow will triumph over red at BMO Field. Crew are without Hesmer, Iro, Moffat and Frankie is questionable. Still, even though DeRo is questionable for the Reds, the Crew hold on to get their first win. Toronto's run ends here.
FC COOPERS AT DC UNITED: 3-1 DCU I give Frisco the one because Kenny Cooper is that good. It is good for them that there is no relegation in MLS or they'd be the Texas Toon. May 9 = the Kick 'Em While They're Down Hoe-Down. DCU, you get the honors first. Enjoy.
SEATTLE AT CHICAGO: 2-1 Fire Now this is the sort of game that many will tout as being a preview of MLS Cup 2009. But since neither one of these teams wear orange, I don't know what they're talking about. (HAH!) OK look, Kasey Keller is good and all, but he is not, nor has he ever been, the (insert deity of choice here)-made cast of the Perfect Goalkeeper. He is mortal and he will give up goals and he will lose. And against a virtually full-strength Chicago side at home riding the wave of last week's comeback and an on form Brain McBride, this is the week.
RSL at RAPIDS: 2-0 Colorado The Rocky Mountain Rivalry is a fun one to watch, if only because you have two historically crappy sides whose only hope of glory year in and year out is to beat up the other. Good times!! A 6-0 pasting of New England aside, it would be folly to read too much into that. That was a perfect storm and unlikely to be repeated. And, you know what, Colorado is not that bad this year.
las chivitas at SAN JOSE: 2-1 Goatlings The Quakes are in big trouble and Chivas is rolling. Sounds like upset time right? Well, maybe. But not this week. Chivas holds on and Zach Thornton does just enough to keep his mythos going.
RBNY at GALAXY: 0-0 Look, paint peeling! Let's go check that out.
DYNAMO at REVOLUTION: 2-1 Houston You know, this one has tie written all over it, but my orange heart will not allow me to go that route. And for those of you hoping that last week's 6-0 loss to RSL means something, check out the RSL note above and know this: Matt Reis is eligible for this game. Of course, he's just about the only one who is. Ralston's out. Twellman's out. Albright's out. Castro's out. Nyassi's questionable. And we're just about at full strength with Ade Akinbiyi and Hainault. Still, artificial surface. And the weather report has it raining and in the 50s. Still, my heart says 2-1 and I will go with my heart.
So take that Shep and Greg! What have you got? Read more!