Monday, April 21, 2008

Week 4 Spotlight

Rolling out a new feature here. Hopefully this becomes a Monday morning fixture. Let me know what you think.

A look back at Week 4 in Major League Soccer as I spotlight the best players and a couple other tidbits, both good and bad, from the weekend's slate of games.

G: Kevin Hartman
D: Frankie Hejduk
D: Jimmy Conrad
D: Duilio Davino
M: Laurent Robert
M: Guillermo Barros Schelotto
M: Ronnie O'Brien
M: David Beckham
M: Brian Mullan
F: Landon Donovan
F: Alejandro Moreno
Coach: Ruud Gullit

Star: Landon Donovan. Inspired second half performance helped Galaxy salvage a point. Two goals now give him five for the season. Could have done without the taunts, though.

Top defense: Kansas City. After early goal, Wizards defended well for 86 minutes and shut out a strong and determined Fire attack.

Top attack: Los Angeles. Turned the pressure on for the final 45 minutes. Had it not been for a strong performance by Houston goalkeeper Tony Craig, the Galaxy could have scored even more.

Coaching expertise: After his side was thoroughly outplayed in first 45 minutes, Ruud Gullit made two defensive moves at halftime. The moves helped settle the team a bit and Galaxy turned on the pressure and nabbed a point at home.

Top goal: Ronnie O'Brien. For the first time in two years, San Jose scored a goal in regular season play.

Best game: Houston 2, Galaxy 2. High energy, high drama, standout goalkeeping, clutch goals. Only thing missing was a winner.

Worst defense: Colorado. Expansion teams aren't supposed to score so easily.

Worst attack: Chivas USA. Yes, they were missing Sacha Kljestan and Francisco Mendoza. But that doesn't excuse this lousy performance.

Random gaffes
Chad Barrett: The Chad Barrett we knew was there all along returned as the young Fire striker was up to his usual missing-a-wide-open-net tricks.

Chivas USA's intensity: Where was it?

Red Bulls wall: Up a man, New York yielded a free kick to New England early in the second half. Instead of making it difficult for Revs' Jeff Larentowicz, the wall distracted goalkeeper Jon Conway as the Revs scored the equalizer.


A.C. said...

Gotta disagree with you on KC's defense - Chicago missed an awful lot, even without KC pressure.

Also, Ronnie B's goal may have been historic, but Jozy Altidore's screamer was pure class.

If you look at the MLS highlights of the Galaxy game, at the very end, there's a quick shot (from the front) of Ianni's elbow coming up and out to nail Donovan. Yes, LD ran right into it, and the ref missed it because Donovan's own body blocked the ref's view, but a legal shoulder charge doesn't lead with an elbow. No, it doesn't excuse LD's reaction after the first goal, but he had reason for the grudge.

I'd also give coaching honors to Frank Yallop, though, for the historic first win for the revamped Quakers. Ruud's changes were good, but putting Gordon in as a mid in the first place?

Anonymous said...

good idea - looking forward to the featurete.

pretty much agree with all the XI - alltough Kenny Cooper could be included aswell.


briguy said...

This is great, LB. Glad to see it.

I agree with AC that Yallop is the coach of the week.

That said, I disagree somewhat with AC's comment on Jozy's goal. I am a huge RBNY fan, and I love Jozy's tremendous potential. His goal was a serious GOTW candidate, but I think it was a little lucky. Beautiful, but lucky.

Landy's first goal? That was pure class.

Anonymous said...

This is a great feature, Luis.

Only disagreement I've got is the goal of the week: it's gotta be Donovan's first goal. The circumstances, the pure grit, the passion. It's even got history: that has to be the first diving header in LD's career!

just another one of you said...

I think you forgot in your lowlights to ask where the fans were for the Chivas game. 10,000? yeesh

Anonymous said...

As nice as it was for San Jose to get their first goal... top goal has to be LD's first or Jozy's. Those two will compete for goal of the year.

Other than that, nice feature.

papa bear said...

woah woah...I gotta agree 100% with AC on this one. KC's defense was pretty horrible actually.
Chicago blew 2 easy chances with a wide open goal. The first when Thorrington passed the ball behind Frankowski and the second when they let Barrett set up a camp on teh far post to decide how he's blow this chance and send Blanco into another rage.
Conrad too wasn't all that great. He was one of the defenders who sat there and watched while a ball was sitting there to be struck and would have been a goal if not for Hartman.
Hartman had a great game, KC defense looked AWFUL but was only beaten by how AWFUL the Fire were at capitalizing on chances.
Dallas looked great and Davino looked like a rock. They'd be my pick for best D.

Anonymous said...

Quakes fan here.
I don't think Ronnie O'Brien deserves to be on the Best XI list - he missed several chances horribly before scoring one finally, and overall wasn't very effective. The midfielder that has been quietly doing the Quakes' creative work is Ivan Guerrero. However, I don't think any Quakes player belong on this list except, perhaps, Cannon, for some fine saves.

Nice feature, please do continue; though it would be nice to tone down the subtle bias that shows up in this blog from time to time in favor of Chivas USA or LAG that comes from watching them live and perhaps talking to the players periodically.