Friday, May 09, 2008

Road Rapids

The Rapids are in Houston this weekend to take on the Dynamo. What changes will Clavijo make? And which Rapids will show up? As much talk as their has been over Houston's slow start, they have yet to win a game, I have a hard time taking Dominic Kinnear's Dynamo lightly. After all, the last time the Rapids had an easy game was against San Jose at home against Dicks Sporting Goods Park. And in that game the Rapids failed to come out and play, gifting the expansion Earthquakes an easy 2-0 win.

A Quick Question : What does the Rapids 2-0 win over DC United mean after seeing the Screaming Eagles fall 2-0 at home to the Chicago Fire? And why did the league schedule DC United for a Thursday night game right after a Sunday game?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Kenny Deuchar Underpaid? So is Bill Gates!

I ran across Martin Roger's list of MLS underpaid / overpaid players from last week. I didn't mind that he cited John DiRaimondo over Nick LaBrocca despite LaBrocca appearing in every game for the Rapids this year. Nor was it his puzzling claim that Brad Guzan has "gone right back to work for Chivas". Yes, Guzan's been playing but he's had a few howlers.

What caught my eye was Roger's listing Real Salt Lake's Kenny Deuchar as being underpaid. His reasoning? Deuchar is "a proven goalscorer". More so, his salary is "low for a British import". Please, Mr. Rogers, take some time to watch some games. What has Deuchar done in those to show you he's underpaid? 2 goals in 6 games? Something more than that?

Citing Kenny Deuchar as a "proven goalscorer" is either knowingly misleading or, worse for someone who is supposedly an expert on the game, flat out ignorance. In his entire career, Deuchar has only scored 6 goals in 15 games in the Scottish top flight. All of those games were this year for the Scottish Premiership in his career. At that they were for Gretna, a club that's gone from having financial problems to being on the verge of going out of existence. A club that a couple weeks ago put out a team almost entirely composed of loan players from England's lower leagues. A club that had loaned Deuchar out to lower league teams until later in the season when financial problems had worsened and Gretna was losing players on free transfers (couldn't afford wages; missing payments).

6 in 15 isn't bad but it's not prolific. What about Deuchar's other years? Those were spent in the lower leagues of Scotland and a bit of time in England's 3rd division. But he scored loads of goals there? Yes, he did. But what's important to point out that he only played a couple handful of games in Scotland's 2nd division. Kenny Deuchar only scored 2 goals in those games. All of his other games and all of his other 90+ goals were all scored in Scotland or England's 3rd division or lower.

On the verge of turning 28, Deuchar has been playing for a long time. Despite all that time he not only hasn't managed even one complete season in an arguably mediocre league, the Scottish Prem, but hasn't managed a complete season in the next division down. Even more sparse than his time in those leagues were his goals. Jason Kries and Real Salt Lake's fans may be hoping they've found a diamond in the rough. But so far the only thing that's for certain is that Kenny Deuchar is better than the last striker Real Salt Lake signed for $105,000, Luis Tejada.

>>Link for previous post pointing out Deuchar's lack of experience in upper leagues<<.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Rapids and DCU

There's always some jerk that finds gloom and a bright, sunny day. Today I'm that jerk. Don't get me wrong, DC United may have not came to play. But the Rapids did their job for most part. They kept pressure on them and didn't let them get things rolling.

The Rapids went into half-time tied up at zero with DC United. They failed to put away their chances in the first half. Where's the harm in that? They risked a DC United that hadn't played well coming out of the locker room fired up and looking to show the viewers on Telefutura that they are championship material.

Luckily for the Rapids, DC United didn't come out firing on all pistons. They finally put things together properly when Christian Gomez, finally allowed by Clavijo to play behind 2 strikers and have the space to run forward with the ball, got around Simms and went forward with the ball. Drawing defenders, Gomez waited until the last moment to perfectly lay the ball up to Jacob Peterson running in from his right. Peterson sharply struck the ball on his first touch. DC United's goalkeeper Zach Wells was cheating centrally in antcipation for a cross. Instead Peterson's shot beat Wells at the inside post.

Being down 1-0 on the road, we expect a championship team to be woken up after letting in a goal. It wasn't their day and the Rapids didn't let them generate any meaningful offense. Erpen eventually put the game away with the Rapids second goal. It was a good game by the Rapids.

So what's the worry? Last year when the Roberto "El Bombardo" Brown was read carded in the match at The Dick against the Fire, they put away their one good chance. It gave me hope to see Herculez perfectly sprung free, slotting home the one good chance they had in the match. If this teams is going to show it's ready to make a run at the MLS Cup in 2008, they need to show they put their chances away when they present them self. I know it seems ticky-tack. But it's the difference between a team that barely makes the play offs and one that's capable of winning it all.

More on the game:
FC Rocky
Jacob Peterson's winning goal against D.C. wasn't a candidate for MLS goal of the week? Are you kidding me?

It might not have won. I'm guessing one of the two Beckham goals will win.

View From A Couch
The Rapids had their most dominate performance since the opening match, while DC continued their run of play at altitude. Clavijo made 4 changes to the starting 11, benching Cooke, Clark, Keel and Burciaga in favor of Peterson, Cummings, Ihemelu, and Harvey and switched from the 4-5-1 to the more traditional 4-4-2 with LaBrocca taking up Clark's spot on the left. I questioned this change at the beginning of the game, but the Rapids proved me wrong.

My Soccer Blog : Jacob Peterson's Goal
But Peterson's strike on that crazy assist from Christian Gomez should be among the five choices this week.

My Soccer Blog The first test of Marcelo Gallardo versus Christian Gomez is over and Gomez won hands down (even if Simms tied him up most of the match).

The Offside Rules If ever there was a case for a Goal of the Week write-in, Jacob Peterson's one-time screamer against DC United on Sunday is it. Goff's Soccer Insider


*Everything about United's performance.

ESPN's Steve Davis

5. We need more time to judge United's big Gomez-Gallardo gamble, to assess once and for all whether Colorado or United came out better. But so far it's all Colorado. United jettisoned Christian Gomez to make room for a new Argentine midfield flavor, Marcelo Gallardo. The teams met Sunday for the first time, when Gomez found a way to be a difference-maker. Gallardo never did. Clyde Simms had generally neutralized Gomez. But the Rapids' playmaker spun nicely away from Simms and hit a sweet pass that turned into goal No. 1. Later, Gomez helped keep the ball alive under heavy pressure, making way for the Rapids' insurance strike.

Props To From College To Pros

Props to From College to Pros for being voted one of the top 10 soccer blogs. From College to the Pros The US Soccer Ladder

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Southampton Geading For Oblivion

That was the headline over at the Times Online. Southampton were on the verge of being relegated to Div. 3 (sorry, I'm in no mood this morning for the fancy name the marketers ) for the first time since 1960.

Saints destiny was not in their own hands. Going into today they were tied with Leicester on 51 points. Only Southampton's horrible defense had them with a -17 GD. They needed Leicester to not win. Or at least if Leicester gets a tie, Saints had to win. It wasn't going to be easy with Sheffield United going for a last minute chance at a play-off spot.

Somehow at home in front of a sold out St. Mary's Southampton managed to pull off a 3-2 win. Stern John had a brace twice over. He had a 2 goals but managed to take a few years off of everyone's life from the stress of being a man down for the last ten minutes after John picked up a 2nd yellow.