Praise the Lord, the MLS is back.
On an eventful season opening weekend, soccer fans enjoyed exciting clashes three nights in a row, including two nationally televised matches courtesy of ESPN. On the other hand, MLS’ Match Center remains unavailable, but they deserve a little leeway regarding the whole CBA debacle resolving itself little more than a week ago. So, all in all, I was only able to catch two games this past weekend: the Philadelphia Union beat down and the unveiling of Red Bull Arena (along with the match, of course.) But don’t fret. I’ve scrutinized highlight reels and perused websites involving the other action and will now provide my flawless analysis:
The Sounders will contend for the MLS title. It is early in the season and they did just put on a clinic against the expansion team at home in their overwhelming stadium. But this club is freaking good. Returning the large majority of their roster from last year, the players have now had over a year to find their footing and mesh together. Steve Zakuani was on an absolute tear streaking down that left side and caused serious problems for left back David Myrie. This brings me to my next point…
The Union has a long, long way to go. Pegged as a popular playoff contender, the expansion side had trouble following in the footsteps of the Sounders last year. The defense, thought to be the core of the squad, revealed atrocious weak points that could have had them down 4-nil before the halftime whistle blew. Newcomer Tony Stahl made quite the impression in his debut, picking up two early yellows for physical play. Head coach Peter Nowak showed even less discipline when he wrongly and publicly criticized the Sounders for diving and flopping on the pitch. Do the excuses really need to come this early (or at all?). Keep an eye on the young Colombian Roger Torres when Philadelphia hosts DC United April 10; he showed some control and skill of the ball in a hostile environment.
I still don’t understand the situation in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas ended last season on a tremendous note, dominating games and coming within a half of securing the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Dallas Cup started on Sunday, bringing in players and fans from all over the world. North Texas in general is a hotbed for youth soccer. Apparently the temperature was right and the sun was out. So how in the hell does only 8,000 people show up to Pizza Hut Park? As stated before, I cringe when I see empty seats. Cringe.
Sports fans will always have some internal burning desire to rank teams. It’s fun and fuels debate. Here are mine:
- Columbus Crew
- Real Salt Lake
- Seattle Sounders
- Colorado Rapids
- Kansas City Wizards
- Los Angeles Galaxy
- New York Red Bulls
- Chicago Fire
- Houston Dynamo
- FC Dallas
- DC United
- New England Revolution
- Chivas USA
- Toronto FC
- Philadelphia Union
- San Jose Earthquakes
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to state your case below.
Tim Patterson is a staff writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at Tim@yanksarecoming.com.