Tag Archives: Chivas USA

Week 3 Power Rankings: Power Shifts West

Week 3 Power Rankings:

1. Seattle (3-0-0)- The Sounders continue to roll on the road at hostile BMO Field, even without wunderkind Fredy Montero.  As Freddie Ljungberg returns to form, this team could get even more dangerous.  The only question is whether they have the defensive depth to weather injuries.

2. Chivas USA (3-0-0)- The Goats are somehow managing to win games with an injury list that looks like a starting lineup.  They didn’t look overpowering against Columbus, but winning 3 of 3 is impressive for this league. Perhaps most importantly, they managed to score with Kljestan effectively taken out of the game.

3. Chicago (2-0-1)- As usual, the Fire are the early season class of the East.  Winning a 10-on-11 contest shows that this team has the resilience that last year’s lacked.  There is impressive offensive depth, with Rolfe and Blanco on the bench, but can the defense hold up over the course of the season?

4. New England (2-0-1)- Nipping at the heels of Chicago in the East.  Having to come from behind at home to beat Dallas is worrying, but you can’t argue with the results.  The next contests (DC and RSL) will be better tests of what this team can do.

5. Colorado (2-1-0)- So they can beat LA and Kansas City.  The big test for them will be at Columbus next week.  The Crew will be at home and fighting desperately to regain a shred of respect.  Colorado’s road win over LA was impressive, but most teams won’t give up the easy goals that the Rapids managed to poach.

6. Real Salt Lake (1-1-0)- Two ends of the spectrum from RSL.  Will this be like last season where they dominate at home and flounder on the road?  Benefited from some huge errors by Columbus, but still managed to beat the defending champs 4-1 (does that mean anything right now, though?).  Can Findley and Movsisyan keep it up?

7. Toronto FC (1-1-1)- Showed some flashes in the windy home loss to Seattle.  When will TFC find a consistent goal-scoring threat?  If the Reds can’t beat Dallas next week, John Carver will be in hot water up north.

8. DC United (1-0-2)- Less than impressive in a game where they had a man advantage at home against Houston.  Couldn’t create very much on offense until the end.  Circle the Eagles’ tie with RSL next week as the most potentially enlightening game of the week, as both are in a good position in the standings.

9. Kansas City (1-2-0)- Maybe the Wizards found the right defensive combination against San Jose?  2-0 over the Quakes is impressive, but they’re still one of the worst defensive teams in the East.  Can they be the first to keep Seattle out of the W column next week?

10. San Jose (1-2-0)- How can they score so little when they have so many experienced playmakers?  The Quakes can redeem an ugly road loss to KC at home against Chicago next week.  Paging Bobby Convey.

11. Houston (0-2-1)- The class of the winless ranks of MLS.  There’s plenty of fight in this team, they just haven’t been getting the bounces thus far.  The Dynamo no longer have a consistent midfield presence with D-Ro gone.  Cameron and Mullan are good at times, but neither is much of a revelation.

12. Columbus (0-2-2)- Showed some fight with 10 men against Chivas, but the injuries are mounting and this team doesn’t have the same confidence that it did last year.  Could Sigi Schmid have been the difference maker?  Even Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks off.  A home win against Colorado would be huge next week.

13. Los Angeles (0-1-1)- The talent is there, but it is horribly inconsistent.  Omar Gonzalez’s roller coaster performance perfectly exemplify this.  Can a 35 year-old 2.Bundesliga defender really improve the backline?  Does anyone really miss David Beckham?

14. New York (0-1-2)- The only consolation for The Red Bulls is that they aren’t the worst team in MLS.  However, Houston would seem to be ripe for a road upset.

15. FC Dallas (0-0-3)- There is no consolation for Dallas.  They let a 1-0 lead slip away at New England and now have to travel to Toronto.  Off-season improvements look like a waste at this point.

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More Emigration? Kljestan Attracting Attention from Europe

…and not just Bundesliga 2 clubs either.  A widely circulated rumor has Anderlecht, Bayern Leverkusen, Celtic, FC Twente, Heerenveen, Monaco, Olympiakos, Schalke, Wolfsburg, and Zenit St. Petersburg after the 23 year-old rising star.  Fresh off being named to the MLS First XI team and garnering more and more attention from USMNT boss Bob Bradley, the most photogenic man in MLS seems to have been able to translate his finer international moments into serious opportunities to advance his career, not to mention the cause of his bank account.

But would a move right now really be the best thing for his game?  Kljestan has the opportunity for a serious pay raise if he makes a move, but his play is not at the level it needs to be to start for, say, Celtic.  To me, Kljestan is still a player defined by his frustrating inconsistency: he mixes flashes of brilliance so often with disappearing acts that he fails to catch the eye for more than one game at a time.  Furthermore, he makes great runs, but often seems to lack a top-notch ability to make decisions in the final third.

Given his flaws, Kljestan may either play on a reserve team, or go out for a loan spell and end up with a lower division team, possibly playing at a lower competitive level than he currently is in MLS.  If he were to stay in Los Angeles, Kljestan could hone his game for a year or two before making the leap to a side where he could make a more immediate impact.  Playing in the Eredivisie may be his best shot at playing right away.

It does, however, seem to be in Sacha’s best interest to strike while the iron is hot.  A move overseas would mean a bigger paycheck, as well as entrance into the European scouting crucible, where he will be most certainly be evaluated by more clubs than he can be right now, even if he is playing second-tier football.

Of course, staying in the States benefits the league greatly, but especially Chivas USA, who could very well be in for a big shakeup soon, even after a second-place finish in the Western Conference last season.  The more talent that stays in the United States, the better for the league.  Adding European money to the MLS coffers cannot balance out losing a young talent like Kljestan whose ability and potential can continue to raise the standard for a league that needs to continue to set the bar higher for itself.

Boswell Sure to be Hot Commodity

2006 Cosmo Mr. Bachelor Virginia and occasional central defender Bobby Boswell will be a hot commodity this winter…for employers.  Boswell led the backline for Houston last season, but he is out of contract and with all of the league’s frontrunners in need of central defenders–Columbus, New England, Chicago, Chivas USA, and even Los Angeles all have holes to fill there–Boswell can basically go anywhere he wants.

He may have to fight for a spot in Columbus, as two of the three players the Crew rotated in that spot are definitely returning, with Chad Marshall the wildcard.  If Marshall resigns with the Canaries instead of heading for Europe, Boswell would have to look elsewhere.

In Chicago he would be playing in front of MLS Keeper of the Year Jon Busch, but would be stepping into a defensive unit that will suffer a few losses this offseason, and thus a hit to their chemistry.

New England lost Michael Parkhurst to Europe, but Boswell could team with Costa Rican import Gabriel Badilla to form a solid central duo in Boston.

Chivas USA would probably love to add Boswell to complement Shavar Thomas, but Thomas is not nearly the potential partner that Badilla would be and playing for Chivas may just be the least rewarding experience in the league.

Los Angeles is always in need of defenders and may be too much of a landmine to step into (the Galaxy probably don’t have the money to spend anyway), but Boswell would be on the league’s highest-profile team and having both Boswell and Franklin in defense could be the stabilizing force LA needs.

In the end, Boswell’s best option might be staying in Houston.  If the Dynamo can reload up front, they may have just as good a chance as anyone in the league of holding the 2009 MLS Cup after not making it to the finals for the first time in three years in 2008.

Regardless of where he goes, what will Boswell’s new team be getting?  According to Cosmo magazine:

“I am optimistic, work well under pressure, and am goofy.”

What does Boswell look for in a partner?:

“Confidence and enthusiasm are big for me. I like girls [or teams] who challenge themselves.”

The man has spoken MLS, now go show him what you’ve got.

CONCACAF Champions League Recap 9/3

New England 0-Joe Public 4 (Joe Public win 6-1 on aggregate)

The Revs got humiliated in Foxboro at the hands of the Trinidad and Tobago club.  Devastated by injuries up front and fatigue at the back, New England but on a good display of the lack of depth that MLS clubs are restricted to due to the salary cap.  But that’s really no excuse when you consider Joe Public FC’s funding and newness; aside from injuries, the Revolution have to admit that they just played poorly.  Maybe an MLS team ought to look at Guyana International strker Gregory Richardson.  The 26 year-old scored an away hat trick to lead the way for the Lions.

Chivas USA 1-Tauro FC 1 (Tauro win 3-1 on aggregate)

Chivas’ effort should probably be celebrated as a little stronger than New England’s, but they had more ground to make up, and eventually missed opportunities caught up to them.  Roberto Nurse scored early for the Goats, and plenty of near misses, including a missed penalty by Sacha Kljestan.  In the 51st minute, Jonathan Bornstein’s second yellow signaled a drop to 10 men for Chivas, which would lead to a goal from Tauro’s Luis Moreno 12 minutes later, putting Tauro up 3-1 on aggregate- enough to advance.

MLS Weekly Review and Preview 9/2

First, a quick rundown of last week’s games:

Salt Lake 2-Colorado 0

Fabian Espindola made a big splash in his return from injury, scoring his 4th and 5th goals of the season to lead RSL to yet another home win.  Salt Lake continues to try to keep pace with streaking Houston, while Colorado is trying to find its groove under Interim Head Coach Gary Smith, who has lost both games he has presided over with that official title.  The Rapids were also hampered by injuries to Pablo Mastroeni and potentially England-bound midfielder Terry Cooke.  With the loss, Colorado relieved San Jose of the cellar spot in the West.

New England 2-Los Angeles 2

Taylor Twellman notched his 5th goal, but also went down after taking LA ‘keeper Steve Cronin’s hands to his head.  Landon Donovan picked up his 15th and 16th and Shalrie Joseph finally got his name into the scorebook for the season during a 2-2 draw.  The Revs, reeling from their CONCACAF Champions League loss to Joe Public FC of T&T and fighting depth issues, switching to a 4-4-1-1.  New England continues to slowly lose ground on Columbus for first in the East (and the league), while Bruce Arena’s LA is hanging on to MLS’ other playoff contenders by their fingernails.

DC 0-New York 0

A bore draw between two teams locked in stalemate in the East.  DC continues to draw games that it needs to win, while New York stays hot with a solid road draw.  Both teams are currently in good position for the playoffs, but New York is on their way up, while DC seems to be stagnating and in danger of heading downwards.

Dallas 1-Columbus 2

Just two weeks after defeating FC Dallas at Crew Stadium, the Canaries traveled to Dallas and picked up a valuable road win, pushing them two points ahead of New England.  Alejandro Moreno scored his team-leading 8th of the season and Eddie Gaven finally got his 1st on the year.  Dallas took the lead on a 35th minute Jeff Cunningham strike, but Columbus continues to prove that they play just as well, if not better from behind as they do from a tie or a lead.  With the loss, Dallas loses valuable ground in the West, falling to just two points out of the cellar.

San Jose 2-Kansas City 1

The red-hot ‘Quakes finally crawled out of the cellar for what seems like the first time since before the Expansion Draft.  Darren Huckerby’s arrival continues to lead the revival for San Jose, scoring the game-winner in the 83rd.  Arturo Alvarez scored in the 43rd, but Davy Arnaud equalized for the Wizards in the 64th.  With the loss, Kansas City continues their wallowing at the bottom of the East.

Chivas USA 2-Toronto 1

The struggles continue for media darling Toronto FC, despite acquiring Guatemalan International Carlos Ruiz, as Chivas picked up an injury time game-winner from Atiba Harris to secure the home win.  Jim Brennan opened the scoring for TFC, but Alecko Eskandarian tied the game up just 11 minutes later.  The game would stay tied for the next hour before Harris inserted the dagger.  Chivas climbs to the top of the West deadlock, now behind only Houston and Salt Lake, while Toronto remains tied for last in the East with Kansas City.

Houston 2-Chicago 1

Brian McBride scored his first goal in his return campaign to MLS, but it sparked a Dwayne De Rosario equalizer just a minute later, which was followed by Brian Mullan’s 3rd goal of the year, giving the Dynamo a lead they would not relinquish.  Although they lost defender Eddie Robinson to injury, Houston stays firmly ahead of RSL in the West with a 5-point lead.  Chicago continues to squander opportunities to overtake, or at least keep pace with New England.

CONCACAF Champions Leaue, US Open Cup and MLS Predictions

9/2: Champions League
New England 3-Joe Public 1 (NE 4-3 on PK’s) New England advances
Chivas USA 2-Tauro FC 1 Tauro FC advances

9/3 US Open Cup Final
DC United 2-Charleston Battery 1 DC wins 2nd US Open Cup

9/4 MLS League Play
FC Dallas 2-Colorado Rapids 0

9/6 MLS League Play
Toronto FC 1-Chivas USA 1
Columbus Crew 1-New England Revolution 2
Chicago Fire 2-New York Red Bulls 2
San Jose Earthquakes 2-DC United 0
Los Angeles Galaxy 2-Real Salt Lake 0

9/7 MLS League Play
Houston Dynamo 3-Kansas City Wizards 0

CONCACAF Champions League: MLS Sides Need Strong Home Showings in Second Legs

After a 2-1 Joe Public FC victory over New England and a 2-0 Chivas USA loss at the hands of Tauro FC, both MLS sides need to regroup with better home efforts in their second legs (both September 2) if MLS is going to have solid representation in the Group Stage of the competition.

Neither the Revs nor the Goats really have good excuses for their First Leg performances, outside of traveling and hostile environments, but if MLS is really going to be a top-flight league with world-class talent, they have to be able to knock of the top clubs from other CONCACAF nations.  The United States can dominate CONCACAF international play, and when most Central American countries’ domestic teams are made up of their international players, that can only speak to the weakness of MLS as a league.  Either teams aren’t preparing well enough, don’t have the depth to compete in multiple competitions (the salary cap puts a huge hindrance on the abilities of clubs to have enough players), or too much domestic American talent is leaving MLS, thus watering down the talent pool.

It must be said that Chivas USA is depleted as it is, with the recent departure of Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan’s mind possibly on a European move.  Still, Chivas is in a playoff position in MLS, and should be able to show that the parity-obsessed league still retains competitive bite when it travels outside US borders.

CONCACAF Champions League Begins August 26

I will do a CONCACAF Champions League preview later (including plenty of coverage on the intriguingly named Joe Public), but here is the schedule of first-leg games for the preliminary round (second-legs are a week later at the opposite site):

August 26:

New England Revolution (USA) at Joe Public (T&T)
Chivas USA (USA) at Tauro (PAN)
Hankook Verdes (BLZ) at Cruz Azul (MEX)

August 27:

Real Esteli (NIC) at Montreal Impact (CAN)
Puerto Rico Islanders (PR) at LD Alajuelense (CR)
Marathon (HON) at Metapan (ELS)

August 28:

UNAM Pumas (MEX) at Harbour View (JAM)
San Francisco (PAN) at Deportivo Jalapa (GUA)