Tuesday, September 4, 2007

10 Bright Spots of Week 23: Benny O thinks he played RBNY, the Argies barge in, and Angel keeps pace

1. Ben Olsen - the reigning MLS Player of the Week deserves it fully with two more goals to add to his career year; who would of thunk it at the age of 30 he'd be sitting at 7 goals, 4 assists in 17 games (granted that 5 of his goals were scored in 2 games, but still...); Olsen is DCU's player of the year so far, even despite Emilio's productivity Bennie O has been that constant (that Gomez was last year)...

2. Juan Pablo Angel - just give him one chance (alright three, but it sure seemed like one) and that is all he needs to damage a team like Chicago; the Fire's defensive stance was certainly stingy and rather effective as was Dane Richards' inability to find

3. the Real Salt Lake Argentinian Trio - Javier Morales, Matias Mantilla, and Fabian Espindola each had a hand in every one of RSL's three goals against Kansas City on Wednesday; they then followed it up by making a big impact - though not statistically - in RSL's 2-1 win over Los Angeles; the three Argies have kickstarted a Real resurgency (which believe it or not seems to happen at the back end of every terrible season)

4. Eddie Johnson - a loss and a tie for the Wizards but still EJ tallied 2 goals to help the KC cause; either way, however, EJ's boys are 0-2-1 in its last three games and there isn't much but poor execution here to blame - this team needs to rediscover the team aspect if they're going to make a push to the playoffs - where has Michael Harrington been?

5. Nick Rimando - I might been overstating Rimando's case but we had all but destroyed his credibility as a player after his first couple starts of the year; the truth is, and I'm no keeper, that he has rebounded and become a rather decent asset to an extremely fractured team; at least they haven't had to call for help Brad Guzan-style and start a young keeper

6. Fred - the Brazilian attacking midfielder has come into his own, becoming somewhat of a regular on this list; he continues to produce even when Gomez and Emilio are quiet; also has begun to show us a scrappy-Olsen-like style to his play which makes me wonder if he had that trait in Australia or if DC has put a little bit of America in his game; either way, Fred helped DC dismantle what many thought to be a surging Dallas squad, 4-0.

7. Bakary Soumare - he makes mistakes and possesses real raw talent, but undoubtedly, he complements Blanco well in the midfield and plays tough and brave (kind of like an oversized Chris Armas back in his day); Soumare made some questionable challenges but ultimately kept the Fire functional and drew the plaudits of an otherwise moody Blanco

8. Dwayne DeRosario - the Canadian playmaker had a decent game against Kansas City and assisted Joseph Ngwenya's seventh goal of the year, keeping Houston from skidding to its' third consecutive loss; I know he's not MVP-caliber anymore but I think you'll see - come playoff-time - DeRo will become rather noisy once again

9. Andy Williams - his cheeky chip that sunk KC and a nice assist on Robbie Findley's goal against Los Angeles was a shade of his former self and although age has somewhat downgraded the Jamaican, he still knows the game and has a vision better than most in the American game right now

10. Conor Casey - just a small shout out as Casey has seemed to start realizing where the net is once again; by no means am I saying Casey has returned to his former Mainz self but 2 goals in the past 2 games speaks wonders compared the beginning of his season; the big man isn't used to scoring 2 goals in over 10 appearances but I think he's still counting his lucky stars that he's healthy

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Angel has been playing injured.

Talking to Juan Pablo Angel after the Red Bulls' 1-0 win over Chicago, it was revealed that he has been playing the last couple games with a strained intercostal muscle. As a former competitive runner in college I can tell you that strained intercostal muscles are extremely painful. It has everything to do with the twisting of your torso and is also effected by how deep you breath and how often. Clearly, one can play with it - but it certainly isn't comfortable. Arena confirmed it in his press conference.

In short, Angel is a beast.

Jozy Altidore is out injured.

Not dressed, not playing in RBNY vs. Chicago. A shame because last time out Altidore and Angel destroyed the Fire combining for all three goals in a 3-0 rout. According to RBNY officials, the injury is 'lower leg', most likely the calf injury that he received late in the U-20 World Cup.

Starting Line-ups: RBNY vs. Chicago

Red Bull New York (10-9-3)

GK: Ronald Waterreus ()

Defenders: Jeff Parke (), Seth Stammler (), Dave van den Bergh (), Chris Leitch ()

Midfielders: Dane Richards (), Claudio Reyna (), Joe Vide (), Clint Mathis ()

Forwards: Juan Pablo Angel (), John Wolyniec ()

Unused Subs: Jon Conway (), Kevin Goldthwaite (), Carlos Mendes (), Dema Kovalenko (), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (), Francis Doe (), Mike Magee ()

Chicago Fire (7-9-5)

GK: Matt Pickens ()

Defenders: C.J. Brown (), Chris Armas (), Diego Gutierrez (), Gonzalo Segares ()

Midfielders: Logan Pause (), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (), Bakary Soumare (), Ivan Guerrero ()

Forwards: Paulo Wanchope (), Chris Rolfe ()

Unused Subs: Jon Busch (), Dasan Robinson (), Mike Banner (), Bruno Menezes (), Brian Plotkin (), Chad Barrett (), Calen Carr ()