MLS Review Part 2: San Jose v Colorado and Chicago v Toronto

14 July 2008

San Jose Earthquakes 1 Colorado Rapids 1. San Jose was robbed as far as I'm concerned. How the linesman or Hilario Grajeda did not spot Conor Casey's push of Jason Hernandez in the 69th minute is beyond me. It was also the moment Grajeda lost control of this game. The game was already physical to begin with. However with Grajeda allowing more than he should have in the first half, the second half once Hernandez was shoved out of the way for the equalizer descended into chaos.
The one booking that really made me shake my head was Kei Kamara's yellow card in the 75th. It was one of those things where Kamara was already going for the header and had no idea Coundoul was already there. It was a reactionary yellow card only because of the equalizer.
San Jose to me though did not take advantage enough of the chances they had. It's not fair to blame San Jose entirely as Bouna Coundoul denied two well taken shots on goal that on most days would have been goals. They still weren't though and despite 8 on goal, 5 on target, the forwards still are lacking as the midfield of San Jose is still having to pick up alot of the slack. Will that change with Darren Huckerby shows up, only time will tell.
Colorado tried to bully their way across the park and weren't so successful. They got reckless in their challenges, and while I understood their attacking tendencies, being offsides 8 times in a 96 minute game (yes I include the stoppage time in both halves) is simply inexcusable. Had they stayed onside, the outcome is very different.
There is a base for San Jose to work from this match. Maybe Frank Yallop losing his cool will inspire this team to bigger and better things.

Chicago Fire 2 Toronto FC 1. Chicago dominated the first half and were nearly undone by a sixteen year old. Yep, that's about the story of their season...a team that has pace can have them. You ask why they had New England's number, but really sometimes a team just has another's number.
I thought Toronto came out way to timidly to start the game and paid the price for it. Chad Barrett was able to stretch Toronto out and Chris Rolfe was able to get off a shot without being pressured at all. But Chicago's finishing came back to haunt them. Three golden chances on either side of halftime came back to bite them in the backside, Blanco's effort to me in the 53rd should have been the dagger in the heart. He gets mad as his teammates for missing those same efforts he delivers in and I was very happy to see him get mad at himself for missing the closest thing to a sitter Chicago had all night.
So let's talk about Abdus Ibrahim kid. It's amazing to me that he was ready to give up before going to Toronto. Fair play to the organization for giving him the chance. Once his body fills out it's going to be scary how good he can be. Hell I shouldn't be gleaming at one club appearance but add in the appearances he had with the US at the U-17 World Cup, it's going to be difficult to put too many expectations on him. The goal he scored was just a beautiful run, his shot on goal seventeen minutes later was game winning material.
What is worrying about Chicago is the lack of shape this team keeps. At times it looks like 11 people who have just started playing together, and that's not a good thing. If any team in Major League Soccer has an over reliance on midfield goals, it's Chicago. I understand Chad Barrett has five goals, but a goal every 3 games isn't going to cut it. When 3 midfielders each have 4 goals (Chris Rolfe, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, and John Thorrington), that is a problem to me. And having to rely on John Thorrington for a game winner is a scary proposition.
As I said in my preview, I don't trust Toronto on the road. You could say that for all the MLS teams with the exception of New England but TFC is as close to a guaranteed three points as you will get if you are playing them at home.
As for the diving yellow cards. On the first one, despite what some will say, it was not a penalty. However it was not a dive. Jon Busch was able to get to the ball before making contact with Maurice Edu. As for Ibrahim, Jorge Gonzalez got it right. There was no contact, the referee was right next to the play, and Ibrahim went down fishing for a call.

All in all these were two entertaining games. What were your thoughts?


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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