A key moment in the Quakes 2010 story came very early. The home opener was a dismal affair, and Frank Yallop sent A Message by benching Bobby Convey and Javier Robles at halftime. Convey responded by stepping up, while Robles stepped off, and the latter was long gone by the time the Quakes hosted game one of the playoffs. Saturday, we saw the 2011 version of A Message. Yallop pulled Khari Stephenson and Simon Dawkins, the supposed engine of the offense, late in the game. How will they and the rest of the Quakes respond after back-to-back lifeless performances?
Why does Frank Yallop keep turning to Ryan Johnson? It’s because while there may be a lack of skills with RJ, there is no lack of work ethic. Still, Sealy got the start, and I’m glad Yallop’s looking at alternatives at striker. Steve Lenhart, get ready for your chance to win hearts and minds.
RSL and Monterrey. CCL Final. This is as big as it gets around here. Salt Lake will miss Kyle Beckerman, but no excuses, Monterrey will be missing Aldo di Nigris. I enjoyed seeing the commercial with clips of the Commish and lots of MLS Big Names sending messages of support. I join them in wishing Salt Lake all success Wednesday.
But I still hate that team’s name.
The Red Bulls and the Galaxy looked downright attractive last week, winning 4-0 and 3-0. This is great news if you’re a MLS fan. Just in case people start tuning in, it helps to have some teams worth watching.
The Red Bulls had Thierry Henry score the game’s first two goals, Joel Lindpere followed with a major league finish, and another Juan Agudelo highlight at the end. In LA, it was Beckham and Donovan, a nice finish by Chad Barrett, and 2-0 after only seven minutes against Portland. Add in a sweet cross from Angel for another Donovan goal, and Donovan Ricketts coming up big against Kenny Cooper, twice, and that’s just about how the Galaxy would like to script it.
I haven’t written much about Chicago in this space, trying to accentuate the positive or at least the interesting, but Diego Chavez is worth a mention. He’s scored in four of the Fire’s six games, but his team still can’t win at home. Houston cashed in a late corner kick for a 1-1 tie Saturday at Toyota Park. Like some other teams I know, the Fire have earned just five points from their first half dozen matches.
So, what the should the league do about Brian Mullan? Mullan has been one of the better players in MLS for years, and was never known as a violent player, but the sight and sound of his breaking Steve Zakuani’s leg with a vicious two-footed tackle was sickening. Consider that it happened three minutes into the match, and that Zakuani will be out for the year, and I think the league should see that Mullan misses the rest of this season as well.
I’ve heard a lot of reasons why Chivas USA didn’t take Benny Feilhaber, but none of them make any sense. Philadelphia passed, too, which is interesting since Peter Nowak coached Feilhaber on the 2008 U-23 that competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Steve Nicol was only too happy to put Feilhaber in a Revolution shirt and in the starting line-up ASAP. Benny played all 90 minutes at Gillette Stadium Saturday, and 12 minutes in he teed up last year’s team MVP Marco Perovic at the top of the arc for the game’s opening goal. The Revs hope to see a lot more of that in the future; Shalrie Joseph can’t do it all by himself. Joseph tied that match against KC at 2-2, setting the stage for Rajko Lekic’s game winner for New England.
Last word — don’t let concern turn into full-throated panic. There’s still 28 games to go.