After reading our club’s blog entries thus far…
…I decided it might be a good idea to talk some [North] American soccer, since that’s where most of us live, because MLS is so important to the development of our international/USMNT aspirations, and because MLS has become a really exciting league to follow. Last season gave us a push to the last day for the Supporters Shield winner and playoff races, it’d be a crime not to have watched it.
This season thus far has been a goal bonanza, but those goals are coming from some surprising sources: Columbus and Dallas. If you followed MLS much last season, you’ll recall FC Dallas under Schellas Hyndmann had a lightning fast start to the year but completely fell apart after the All-Star break. I have to believe their front office, new head man Oscar Pareja, and the players haven’t forgotten that, but they’ve had another hot start nonetheless with 13 points in six games, their first loss coming in a 2-3 defeat to Seattle last weekend. Having lost Kenny Cooper to the Sounders in the offseason doesn’t seem to have mattered much as the Hoops have gotten excellent production out of Mauro Diaz, Blas Perez, and new addition Michel, who’s got 3 goals in six games. Dallas’s 1-4 destruction of the resurgent Houston Dynamo two weeks ago was proof of their ability to score and defend, as Houston’s been on a hot streak of their own.
In other news, Deuce is back. Since his half-hour run out in the season opener against Sporting Kansas City, Dempsey’s finally starting to look comfortable in rave green. Need more proof? Try five goals in his last two games, including an always nervy Deuce penalty kick to get within a goal at Portland Timbers in the best game of the year (we’ll get to that) and then a free kick goal last weekend against FC Dallas. Sigi Schmid has never been a slave to formation, and it looks like he’s finally found a place for Dempsey (or Dempsey’s figured out his role) in the Sounders lineup where he’s most productive. Now if the Sounders could just stop leaking goals and getting Oba Martins to find the back of the net, they’ll be the juggernaut they’re supposed to be.
There’s a bevy of MLS storylines to discuss, more than one blog post allows, so I’ll end with this one: whither the Timbers? I, along with most others, had them pegged to win the Western Conference and the Supporters Shield before the season started, and all they’ve done so far is earn their derisive moniker “Draw City” with four draws and no wins in six games played this season. With one of the best coaches in the game in Caleb Porter and the team playing the most attractive soccer in the league at the end of last season, I was sure the Tims would pass their way to the top of the table this season, but they can’t seem to find their way out of the midfield thus far. 8 goals for, 15 against really tells the story.
That’s it for now – keep up around here and we’ll talk Eastern Conference next week!
Taylor Sorrels is president of The Coopers.