(an un-comprehensive and un-objective look at the weekend that was)
What did we learn from last week’s US v Paraguay friendly?
1) There’s a good reason why goal scorers and goal creators make the big bucks. The US looked dangerous, but lacked that final pass or final touch all night. Of course, if Michael Bradley’s 87th minute strike hits the back of the net, everyone goes home 100% happier, but Our Guys continue to struggle to score against quality competition. (Question: why are so many of our free kicks so very poor?)
2) That soccer has indeed passed hockey as the #4 team spectator sport in this country. True, MLS has a l-o-n-g way to go to match the NHL’s numbers, but soccer in general has hockey beat. The latest evidence, over 29,000 showing up on a Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee for an exhibition game. That’s the third straight USMT game in Nashville to draw over 25K. It wasn’t that long ago that a game in Tennessee would be lucky to draw 2,500.
I wish the weekend attendance figures for MLS were as robust as the National Team’s. A tip of the hat to Portland on gaining their first ever MLS point, but imagine for a second you’re a Revolution fan. You and 7,000 of your closest friends are rattling around Gillette Stadium (which can hold 10x that amount) watching Sharlie Joseph and company kill another forgettable Saturday. The horror. The horror.
NY drew less than 14K, even with the newly signed Dwayne DeRosario making an already interesting team extremely watch-able. The DeRo deal with Toronto went down on Friday, but he was so eager for a new start that by Saturday afternoon he was playing the second half at Red Bull Arena, sending Dane Richards forward for the game’s first goal. I love New York? Let’s make it “like.” And remember, they play in New Jersey.
NY (NJ) note: they’ve played three games this year, and have started three different goalies. Crazy.
Back in Toronto, the string of sellouts at BMO Field is history as the locals are Not Amused by TFC’s on-going struggles to field a quality team. The Reds 1-1 draw with Chivas USA won’t help make their disgruntled fans any more... gruntled.
Did you catch Vancouver’s comeback against KC? They were down 3-0 with less than 20 minutes on the clock, and came all the way back to a 3-3 tie, topped off by two stoppage-time goals from Brazilian striker Camilo (Sanvezzo, but being Brazillian, one name is all he wants to use). The Whitecaps couldn’t ask for a better start to their inaugural season; Empire Stadium is buzzing.
LA’s game vs Philly went according to plan. The defense pitched a shut out, and Beckham laid in a sweet free kick for Leonardo to head home. 1-0 Galaxy.
If the Supporters Shield really meant something, we’d have a great race this year between NY and LA, two glamour teams in two glamour markets. But, Commish Garber still has a hard on for conferences for some reason — another “Americanization” of the game that should go the way of the shoot out and game clocks that tick down to 0.
Note: If you want to help hype the Supporters Shield, you could start by coming up with a better name for the trophy. Currently, it sounds like a molded plastic insert you put in your jock.
Sunday’s game introduced another Name To Remember to MLS fans. Ex-Hull City striker Caleb Folan scored two goals to help Colorado beat up on DC 4-1. The investments made by Vancouver and Portland are forcing other clubs to spend a bit to keep pace. As someone who watches way too much of this league, I’m glad to see it.