It's Friday again and the Sounders are set-up for another tough road game on Saturday. On Wednesday the team flew to the east coast only to lose 2-1 to D.C. United. The injuries woes continued as Rosales re-injured his hamstring in the 2nd half and Fredy Montero was clearly struggling with pain in his injured wrist throughout the game. The rest of the team looked pretty gassed. It's a shame Mike Fucito couldn't get some time on the field to play against his old high-school teammate.
Sigi Schmid has some very tough roster decisions to make before the Saturday game against Columbus. You can find his thoughts prior to the DCU game here. Joshua Meyers has his player ratings from the match and the numbers sure do look bad. Meanwhile, the player ratings for DCU over at Black & Red United look considerably better.
MLS Needs Big Ratings: This weekend and next weekend have two marque games that could really help MLS bump up its national TV ratings. This Saturday the NY Red Bulls vs. the LA Galaxy clash in a highly anticipated game filled with over-priced super-stars. All five highly paid designated players look healthy and able to start much to the happiness of the MLS front office. Next weekend its the crowds who are the stars as the Timber's Army travel north to scream, yell and wave tifos in a packed stadium of Sounders fans. Or at least...that's probably the big storyline you'll get all of next week as ESPN hypes a rivalry that really doesn't need the hype.
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Rapids Wake Up, Beat the Dynamo, Hit Snooze Button: The other MLS match-up on Wednesday was a pretty pedestrian affair as the Colorado Rapids managed to secure a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. The first 70 minutes was about as boring a game of soccer as I've seen in a while. It picked up when Collin Clark launched a pretty nice shot to secure the first goal of the game. The Dynamo then gave up two easy goals. You know it's a dull game when Palguta makes the highlight reel. Probably the most important take-away from the game was the ankle sprain to Omar Cummings who may miss the next match against the New England Revolution.
Rongen Out: Thomas Rongen, coach of the U.S. U-20 team, has been given his pink slip. Rongen has been the coach of the U-20 since 2001 and has had good success in broadening the pool of players for the team. However, the U-20 team's failure to get out of CONCACAF qualifying for the first time since 1995 likely sealed his fate. However, this may have been a long time coming as Rongen never really seemed to develop many of the talents that entered the U-20 team. Tab Ramos will take over coaching duties until an interim coach is named.
Reckless vs. Physical: The SBN soccer homepage has two good articles by Jeremiah Oshan on the line between physical play and reckless play in MLS. In part 1, he talks with current and former players on the fine line between playing physical soccer and reckless soccer. In part 2, he looks at the message MLS sent to it's players about that fine line with the 10 game Brian Mullan suspension.
Another Yank Goes to EPL: American defender Zak Whitbread and his club, Norwich City, earned a promotion to the Premier league on Monday after defeating Portsmouth. The 27-year old has previously been called up to camp for the USMNT, but has yet to earn a cap. Whitbread was born in Houston, but spent most of his youth and soccer career abroad. He also spent four years at Millwall, Kasey Keller's old club, prior to joining Norwich City.
Campos in Town: One of my favorite keepers, Jorge Campos, was in town yesterday to promote the upcoming Mexico-Ecuador game at Quest Field. I used to love his acrobatic saves (except when Mexico was playing the US). Amazingly, I don't need sunglasses to cut-down the glare of his outfit. A far cry from the multi-colored neon goalkeeper kits he designed for himself back in the mid-90s.
Brougham Block Party: The Emerald City Supporters are gearing up for the Portland Timbers game next week with a pregame block party. It's a 21+ event with a beer garden, food and full bar. ECS will also have membership tables in Fuel and Temple Billiards. Sounds like a raucously good time.