Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hey, where'd everybody go?

To the international games or just home messing with the Xbox, that's where. Absences due to either call-ups or the sudden abundance of red cards are going to affect more than one game in MLS this weekend. I long for the day when MLS is mature enough of a league to suspend play due to the former, but I am told that is not where we are, so fortune will have to favor the deep benches.

Overall, I have been in favor of all of the card dealing by MLS refs this season, though I would like to point out that I have not noticed it actually applying to Dynamo foes (with the exception of Armas' back elbow job on Brian Mullan's jaw). Still, any downgrade in the excessive physicality on the pitches out there is a good thing to those of us who enjoy attacking soccer (and who doesn't really?). Eventually, as long as the officials are consistent, the players will adjust, we'll get a prettier game out of it and the card distribution will go down. Too many MLS refs lose control of games in about the 7th or 8th minute (and those are frequently the good ones!), so it's about time they exerted a little fortitude.

So after last week's 3-5 mark, I am sitting here at 29-47 on the year, a mark of .382 and maintaining my three-game lead over blind chance. But like a guy sitting at the dollar slots, I'm putting that next token in, knowing that this is the spin where it all comes my way. Just what it is that's coming my way, though is where the whole theory breaks down. But moving right along into the fog:

RBNY at DC UNITED. DCU 2-0. Red Bull is in some kinda free fall. JPA finally scored last week, but on a PK that was nearly blocked! Shep Messing is convinced Angel is hurt and not telling anyone because he just doesn't suck this bad. But the thing is, without him at 100 percent, just what else in attack does RBNY have? The I'm Not There brigade: DC: Avery John (Trinidad & Tobago; June 6 vs. Costa Rica) ... NY: Andrew Boyens (New Zealand; June 6 vs. Botswana); Alfredo Pacheco (El Salvador; June 6 vs. Mexico). Not to mention that NY is also possibly without Kandji. This will be over by halftime.

DYNAMO at FIRE. 2-1 Orange I've always been told that predicting a 2-1 scoreline means you should play at the front tees with your pants around your ankles. But I am doing it now because, (a) Chicago will not be shut out at home two weeks in a row, and (b) this is not the Fire team that so dominated earlier this season. Check out this international absence list: CHI: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Mexico; June 6 vs. El Salvador); Bakary Soumare (Mali; June 6 vs. Ghana); Gonzalo Segares (Costa Rica; June 6 vs. Trinidad & Tobago); HOU: Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark (USA; June 6 vs. Honduras). Also, Wilman Conde is doubtful and has not been training. Our defense is wholly intact, while theirs is in total tatters. Mulrooney is back to move into his natural position of holding mid in place of Rico. Akinbiyi wants to break out so bad, it's all but visible. Dynamo all the way, and they never trail.

GALAXY at TORONTO FC. 1-0 Reds Finally, the Galaxy do not tie a game. Donovan is, of course, in Chicago for the USMNT game, as is Marvell Wynne. But without Landon, what does LA have? After losing to us and the Whitecaps over the last week, Toronto rights the ship against a depleted side that will be hanging back in anti-football mode all game.

CREW at WIZARDS. 1-1 Tie Here are two teams that have frustrated me all year. Columbus is better than they've showed and Kansas City is playing better than they really are, I think. Columbus' defensive woes will continue to haunt them as they give up a lead for the second consecutive game.

RAPIDS at RSL. 3-1 Colorado Two weeks ago, I swore I would not pick RSL again. Last week, I broke my vow and regretted it as the Royals got punished, PUNISHED by none other than San Jose! Oh. My. Goodness. That's it. No more mercy. Rapids, do your stuff and demolish those guys.

SOUNDERS at CHIVAS. 2-1 Seattle. Bizarro Chivas is winding down ever so slowly, and even though Seattle has had trouble on the road recently, Sigi loves taking teams into the HDC and wreaking havoc. This is all setting up perfectly because, if this goes according to plan (my plan, admittedly), las chivitas comes into here next Wednesday just three points up on Dynamo and taking on water. BWAH-HA-HA-HA! Jaqua, do you stuff.

EARTHQUAKES at FC HORRID. 2-2 tie The Suck Bowl. Ummm, I'd stay well away from Frisco on Sunday if I were you. This game might spill on your clothes.

NYRB at REVOLUTION. 2-0 New England. New York is picking a bad time to face a resurgent Revs squad. If they go all 180+ mins of play starting tonight with no goals scored, as is entirely possible, Osorio and Agoos are outta there. Though there's always a bright side. Maybe they'll get hired in Frisco.

Enjoy the week.

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