Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Ramping It Up
September 8th, 2006 5:28PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Can it be? Have MLS regular-season games truly taken on an aura of urgency and intensity?

No question. Last week's Real Salt Lake-Colorado tussle, despite being played on football markings, had scraps and scrapes long before Rapids players taunted opposing fans so vividly RSL supreme Dave Checketts complained to the league office and issued an admonishing statement.

Oh, boo hoo. Checketts even played the youth card, citing certain behavior as bad examples to the youngsters in attendance, even while his latest stadium plan includes a provision that many parents believe will rake money away from school districts, a few of which are locked in their political and territorial struggles. Whatever.

But back to the action. When Clint Mathis served a sweet diagonal ball that Thiago Martins cracked on frame, only to be repelled by Scott Garlick, and followed up with another shot that Eddie Pope cleared off the goal line, the crowd roared and the players growled. It was just one example of close shaves and tense moments that peppered the 90 minutes.

Whatever one thinks of the MLS quality of play, the quality of competition is intensifying. With only D.C. assured of a playoff spot, even the liberal MLS allotment of postseason places has every other team sweating hard.

When the Galaxy dumped D.C., 5-2, at RFK last weekend, the home team didn't take it well. D.C responded Sunday with a spirited showing at Home Depot while beating CD Chivas USA, 2-1, in another edgy encounter. When Preston Burpo let a low roller from Christian Gomezslip past him for the winning goal, the fans let him hear about it for the rest of the match.

When the Crew, with the poorest record in the league, knocks off one of last year's MLS Cup finalists, 3-0, to keep its own playoff hopes alive, it proves the perils of parity do have an upside.

The logic may seem convoluted, but if parity keeps the playoff races tight, the more places up for grabs, the better.

REV MALAISE. Speaking of the Revs, losers in Columbus last Saturday, of this weekend's games the most interesting should be New England's home game with the Red Bulls (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET on Direct Kick; HDNet; WB-56; MSG). The Revolution players, with a few exceptions, haven't been focused enough the past two months, and another failure to win at home will depress their dwindling cadre of fans even further.

Clint Dempseyand Shalrie Joseph have been denied overseas moves. Taylor Twellman, rightly, wants to renegotiate his contract. Steve Ralston, after missing out on a World Cup place, hasn't been the offensive catalyst of years past.

For players of this caliber, a 5-3-3 home record just isn't good enough. Distracted or not, this team isn't getting it done. With five of the last seven at home, anything less than second place is a failure.

CORRECTION:The reference in last Thursday's Confidential to NASL star Mike Flanaganshould have identified him as a New England Tea Men player.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Farewell, Hope Solo    
I have admired Hope Solo for many reasons. I've sent YouTube clips of Solo's highlights to ...
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
MLS Midseason Awards: Villa and the other Kamara are among the leaders    
The six major categories of awards presented each season by MLS run the gamut of experience, ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives