Friday, October 06, 2006

Mile High Goodbye

The Red Bulls really showed the 15K+ and the few thousand watching on HDNet something special last week when they upset Chicago to move into playoff position for the first time since August 26th. The fact that I had to wait for days to see Jozy Altidore's game winner on "Red Bulls Insider" on the official team web site was truly asinine, however. By giving HDNet an exclusive broadcast, does the league think that fans will rush out to finally make that HD set purchase just to see the game? Really.

So tomorrow night's match at Denver can provide some breathing room for NY in the playoff quest. A win against the Rapids, combined with a KC home loss to Chivas, would set up a tie-and-in scenario for New York in the season ender vs. the Wizards in the Swamp a week from tomorrow. Here are the current Eastern standings:

Team, Pts, GD, (matches to play)
1. Y - DC United, 55 +16 (2h)
2. X - Chicago, 44, +4 (1h/1a)
3. X - New England, 42, +2 (1h/1a)
4. New York, 35, +0 (1h/1a)
5. Kansas City, 32, -2 (1h/1a)
6. Z -Columbus, 30, -14 (1h/1a)

Here's a breakdown for tomorrow final MLS match at Invesco field:

The Colorado forwards vs. The Red Bulls' back line:
Thiago and Nico vs. Jeff Parke, Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes, and Todd Dunivant (and Jon Conway). Journeyman Thiago Martins is on his ninth MLS squad (or something). He has a single goal this season. Nico, though, is the real deal up top for Colorado, with seven goals and five assists. The Argentinian is on a five-match scoring drought, though, and Colorado has scored only three goals in its last five games. New York will be missing Marvell Wynne as a result of his two yellows vs. Chicago last week. Utility man Seth Stammler should pick up the slack. The Red Bulls' goalkeeper controversy will only last until the season's end, when future hall-of-famer Tony Meola hangs it up. Advantage: New York

New York's attackers vs. The Rapids' defense:
John Wolyniec and Jozy Altidore vs. Dan Gargan, Aitor Karanka, Mike Petke, and Hunter Freeman (and Joe Cannon). Jozy has become a terrific story in the rollercoaster Red Bulls' season. His teenage legs may prove meaningful in the mile-high air late in the game. Woly hasn't scored since September 3rd. Can't imagine he'll go the full 90. Colorado's D has three shutouts in its last six outings. Mike Petke will always find love in the NY area. I have never heard of Gargan or Karanka, but they sound like Klingons. Yes, I'm a geek. Advantage: Push

The Midfielders:
New York's Chris Henderson, Amado Guevara, Danny O'Rourke, and Dema Kovalenko vs. Colorado's Terry Cooke, Kyle Beckerman, Pablo Mastroeni, and Jacob Peterson. Youth national-teamer Beckerman is tied with Nico for the team league in goals, and first-round draft-pick Peterson has had a good rookie campaign, with two goals and three assists. Cooke has dished out ten assists from his wing position, and Mastro is Mastro. Looking at their midfield, you'd think that the Rapids would have a better record. For NY, Youri is back with the club, but is out with bursitis (the old man). Henderson will attempt to fill in on the wing, but in the end will be an achilles heel for the Red Bulls. Advantage: Colorado.

The Coaches:
Bruce Arena vs. Fernando Clavijo. Last week, the Bruce was able to coax a win from his team last week against an opponent that had nothing to play for. With the Rapids also fighting for a playoff spot, Arena won't have the same luxury two weeks in a row. I have absolutely no opinion of Fernando Clavijo as a coach, just as I have little opinion of the Rapids' team personality. Advantage: Push

The Rapids will say goodbye to its current home ground tomorrow night, which may generate a home crowd... or not. Colorado attracted a whopping 3,800 fans to its last home match on September 13th, which is pathetic, even for their standards. Colorado won't have Clint Mathis, and New York won't have Wynne or Djorkaeff. Advantage: New York

The Prediction:
The Red Bulls don't have to win this game. They can make it easier on themselves by winning, which means of course that they won't. A 1-1 draw.

On The Tube
Euro 2008 quallies cut into league play this weekend... (all times ET):

2:00pm: EURO '08: Denmark - Northern Ireland, FSC
2:00pm: URU: Nacional-Cerrito, GOL
4:00pm: EURO '08: Serbia - Belgium, FSC
4:00pm: EURO '08: Italy-Ukraine, TELEM
4:00pm: MEX: San Luis-Monterrey, GALA
5:00pm: BRA: Fluminese-Sao Paulo, GOL
7:30pm: MLS: DC United - New England, DK
8:00pm: MEX: Tigres-Cruz Azul, GALA
8:30pm: MLS: Kansas City - Chivas USA, DK
8:30pm: MLS: Chicago - Columbus, FSC, DK

8:30pm: MLS: FC Dallas - Los Angeles, HDNet

8:30pm: COL: Junior-Cucta, GOL
9:30pm: MLS: Colorado - New York, DK
10:00pm: MEX: Atlas-Pachuca, TELEF
10:30pm: HON: Marathon-Universidad, GOL

SUNDAY, Oct. 8

1:00pm: MEX: UNAM-Atlante, UNI
1:55pm: USA: WNT vs. Iceland, ESPN2
2:00pm: URU: River-Penarol, GOL
3:00pm: ARG: River Plate-Boca Juniors, FSC
4:00pm: BRA: Goias-Corinthians, GOL
5:00pm: MEX: Club America-Necaxa, TELEF
6:30pm: COL: Ind. Sante Fe-Ind. Medellin, GOL

Godspeed, Mooch.

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