I’m going to start this off on a low note. While the new MLS Soccer website is miles ahead of last season’s, the MatchDay Live feature has some serious problems. Paying 40 dollars for its service seems a tad bit expensive for 160 games, especially given the 100% markup from last year, but the administrators need to work out a few bugs. As I write, it’s been over 48 hours since the Union and DC United kicked off on Saturday afternoon and the match is still not available online. If I were to have my hands tied on certain weekends and be away from my computer, I would prefer to watch entire games later prior to knowing the final outcome. Now that I’m writing about the MLS every week, I’m trying to at least watch half of every game. That said, at this point I still don’t know if the expansion side was able to send Philadelphia into a victorious uproar. It’s challenging to avoid soccer blogs for two whole days, not to mention my die-hard sports fan suitemate from Philadelphia. I was only able to catch the three games from Saturday and offer my insights below.
Pizza Hut Park attracted less than 9,000 people once again for their battle against the Crew Saturday night on a perfect day in Frisco. Not even a challenging opponent with star players could uproot Dallas residents from their grieving of the late Texas Stadium. The “We are FC Dallas” fliers and billboards along the Tollway are looking more and more pathetic with each passing week. Hopefully, Eric Avila’s late equalizer – a precise and low far post strike that caught side netting – will draw a few more spectators, but I don’t really see that happening. It’s quite a shame because the Hoops (does that nickname even exist anymore?) have the individual talent and team chemistry to make a run in the playoffs. David Ferriera and Dax McCarty partner well together in the midfield and the unveiling of right back Zach Loyd came with minimal issues. If Jeff Cunningham can continue his form from late last season, FC Dallas will put some heavy pressure on MLS defenses.
Forget Denilson at FC Dallas, the Dynamo are having early season difficulties with their own DP in Luis Landon. The Mexican International, perhaps in frustration of his less than productive play, let Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez know exactly how he felt with an 8 seconds late swipe to the ankles. Landin was still trotting down the tunnel when Edson Buddle notched his second of the game, a fact that made this guy chuckle a bit to himself. Props to Donovan Ricketts for cooling his players down after the incident and leading them away from the hot head Landin. The Dynamo attack will look even less intimidating next week, with Clark, Holden, Ching, and now Landin missing from action (or switching clubs, the main point being Houston is screwed). On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, the Galaxy look to be early Cup favorites with another clinic put on by Buddle. This man may even be attracting the attention of USMNT head coach Bob Bradley.
Right now, the most appealing thing about Toronto FC in my opinion has to be their jerseys. For some reason I’m a sucker for that gray, red, and blue and it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve come close to ordering one online. Maybe I know subconsciously that BMO will employ me someday? Really, I don’t know; I just really like their kits. That being said, the appeal ends right there. The central defense needs a tune up, Dwanye De Rosario needs a new goal-scoring dance, and my fantasy teams needs a new keeper. It appears as if another no name will start his goal scoring frenzy at New England. This time it’s the rookie Zach Schilawski fresh out of Wake Forest throwing down hat tricks left and right. With Sharie Joseph back in the lineup, the Revs looks to be a more balanced squad ready to take on anyone in the league. They played extraordinarily well against Toronto FC. But damn, do those jerseys look good.
On a final note, the MLS surpassed the NBA and the NHL in regular season average attendance. I know it’s only week three of the young season, but I’ll still give a hearty “Fuck you, soccer haters” anyways.
Tim Patterson is a staff writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at Tim@yanksarecoming.com.