Friday, September 11, 2009

Emerging out of the vortex

Not even the Guardian of Forever can bring me back far enough in the past for this it seems. Man, do the last two weeks feel like an eternity or what? It seems like forever since Dynamo last played a game, instead of the two weeks since the loss to Colorado.

Hopefully, plenty has changed over that time, and if you need a positive sign, there's this from the Boz' Facebook page on Sept. 4:

Prolly the hardest 2 days of practice I have had since joining the Dynamo.

So apparently Dom and Spence have been working the guys hard these past two weeks and we'll see this weekend what they have to show for it. I know for a fact that this is a team that generally saves the best for the stretch run, but it doesn't get much tougher in MLS right now than a road game in Columbus (the half-strength Crew's loss to NYRB there in August notwithstanding).

As for those Dynamen who did not get much of a layoff, namely Brian Ching, the Goalden One and Super Rico, as a Dynafan myself, I couldn't be happier with the amount of work they received in the El Salvador and T&T wins. Ching is never better than when he's pissed off, and not getting any significant PT in those wins is bound to gnaw at him. Stewie barely played in T&T and should be well-rested and ready for Columbus. Rico, meanwhile, had a workmanlike effort in T&T before blowing in his howitzer of a golazo and did not even suit up for the El Salvador game (another of Bob Bradley's mystery lineup decisions). So while I was worrying two weeks ago that they would resume MLS play tired, I now see my concerns were unfounded. Nice that.

Speaking of World Cup Qualifying, all I have to say is that I'm glad we don't play Mexico anymore. Talk about a woken up squad. Even with the subpar performance against Honduras in Azteca this past week, El Tri is studly right now and easily playing the best of any team in CONCACAF. With games left only against El Salvador and the Soca Warriors, while the US has a road game in Honduras and home against Costa Rica, I fully expect Mexico to win the Hexagonal and the US to finish second. That is unless our Nats come out with a monster game in Honduras. We'll see.

Now, on to the weekend. I love the stretch run in MLS. I wish dearly that the Supporter's Shield was a bigger deal, which I don't think will happen until you change its name. The season champ should be called the Season Champion, while the postseason minitourney should stay MLS Cup. That being said, I also like the postseason tourney, the playoffs, whatever you want to call it. This period from now until mid-November is a lot of fun, and if it gets colored Orange, even more so.

Last week: 0-3 (Yes, you read it right. My first ever 0-fer week. Oh the shame!)
Overall: 73-93 (.440, or 18 games over blind chance)

WIZARDS at DC UNITED last Wednesday In my last post on Wednesday, you'll see that I predicted a DCU win and as it turns out I was right, so I'm already ahead of last week. Baby steps.

RAPIDS at TORONTO FC. 1-0 Colorado In the back end of the home-and-home, the situation could not be more dire for the Reds. Adrian Serioux is out with a red, Dichio just retired and de Guzman isn't there yet, Toronto is falling behind in the playoff chase and what's worse, Baldomero Toledo is the ref of this game. (RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!) That last one affects both teams, but I think Toronto's only hope is that De Rosario just goes wild. Haven't seen it yet, so I've got to give it to the team playing well.

WIZARDS at RED BULL NEW YORK 2-1 NY The win against New England and the close loss to DC notwithstanding, I still am not believing that KC is all that. Add to that the fact that they will be one of the only MLS teams this weekend not rested and I see New York's resurgence continuing.

SOUNDERS at DC UNITED 1-1 Draw This is going to be a slugfest. The USOC championship game did not end well for DC and that is not a team that has responded well to adversity this year. Not only that, Seattle is (Yes, I'm going to say it), a chippy, bordering on dirty team, and in this contest they will be playing with a collective chip on their shoulders. Someone (or perhaps more than one someone) is going to get carried off the field in this one.

FIRE at RSL. 2-1 Chicago RSL is already shorthanded with Morales and now without Beckerman and Grabavoy, who are suspended, their lack of depth will be exposed. I'm not sure Chicago is good enough to blow out this team on the road, but they're definitely better than RSL.

FC DALLAS at LA GALAXY 1-0 LAG I hate to write that as it would mean that the Gals, no matter how temporary, would leapfrog both Dynamo and Crew in the Supporter's Shield race, but come on now, what other prediction even makes sense. Eskandarian, Buddle and Kovalenko are out for the Gals, but Frisco is just not a very good team right now. Maybe they'll pull it together and the resuscitation of Cunningham will carry them, but if I had money on this game, it's very simple who I would take.

REVOLUTION at CHIVAS USA. 2-0 New England This will be the point at which it all unravels for las chivitas. Galindo and Saragosa are out for the Goatlings, while the Revs are without Shalrie Joseph on suspension, but this hurts Chivas more than the Revs. Here's a fun fact from MLSnet: Chivas USA have not defeated the Revolution since June 30, 2007, a stretch of four matches. NE has won the last three meetings between the teams, with shutouts in the last two, including the 2-0 win July 19 this year. Make those numbers five, four and possibly three.

DYNAMO at CREW. 2-1 Houston Brad Davis is out, which means the midfield delivery might be suspect for the Orange, but then again, maybe that brings us Landin's first start (Dale Escorpion!). My head tells me that this is a draw for Houston, but my heart says to go with the win for the boys. If Dynamo wins this game, they'll deserve the Supporter's Shield.

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