Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Viva La Internet Radio

I'm fortunate enough to join The MLS Show once again to wrap up the Red Bulls' 5-0 season ending victory over Toronto FC. Give us a listen, won't you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

This is The End, My Friend

The 2009 New York Red Bulls season, and the team's 14-year stay at Giants Stadium, will end just after 9:30pm ET tomorrow night. It's fitting that tomorrow's match, versus playoff hopeful Toronto FC, will be played on a wet, slick, artificial surface covered with football lines.

While Giants Stadium has hosted plenty of meaningful soccer matches in its day, the third-class treatment that the NJ Stadium and Entertainment Authority has shown the MetroStars/Red Bulls since 1996 will be encapsulated in Saturday's 90 minutes. Parking customers will be gouged. Only a handful of concession stands will be open. Security will be surly.

The fans in attendance will hope that the Red Bulls that take the field will show some pride & fight in a season that got away early. New York started the 2009 campaign 0-1-1 in March, and 1-3-1 in both April & May. That pretty much was it. The '08 MLS Cup Finalist has been in 15th (last) position on the league table since June 20th, and is winless in five (0-3-2) since interim coach Richie Williams guided the club to two successive wins in late August.

While tomorrow is meaningless for New York, the match means everything to Toronto, which is trying to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in the team's three-year history. TFC has two victories over the Red Bulls this season, both at BMO Field, bizarrely played only nine days apart in June.

The fantastic TFC supporters travel well, and last season brought a large banner announcing "Ooh! The Red Bulls are Shite!" for the Giants Stadium fandom to cast their eyes on. Given the state of the 09 team, the Red Patch Boys' statement was prophetic.

So is it within the realm of reason to expect Red Bull to play spoiler tomorrow? Certainly an appearance by all-time leading scorer Juan Pablo Angel would be an advantage, considering F John Wolyniec is out with season-ending surgery. Hopefully, Toronto will have a case of the giggities and allow a relaxed New York side that's had 10 days off to finish off the season on a positive note.

Is it March 27th yet?

Below is a video from Red Bulls Reader from team practice. At least they're saying the right things...

New York Red Bulls Player Preview: Toronto FC regular season finale from Red Bulls Reader on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Podcast Trifecta

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of contributing to Jason Davis' excellent MatchfitUSA podcast, as well as the SoccerLens podcast. Tonight I join The MLS Show as the Red Bull New York correspondent. Here's a link to the episode.

Horrible News: Davies Injured in Car Accident

Whatever honeymoon the US Men's National Team was enjoying after clinching it's sixth-straight World Cup Finals appearance has ended abruptly.

Last night at 3:15am, forward Charlie Davies was in a car that crashed on the George Washington Parkway in DC. A 22-year old woman in the car was killed in the accident. Davies has been in surgery today for injuries that while not life-threatening, may end the promising forward's career.

Tomorrow night's match with Costa Rica, the final match of the Hexagonal, was to be a celebration of US Soccer's success. Today, a somber pall has fallen over US Soccer fandom. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Charlie.

Monday, October 05, 2009

MLS Horse Race: Down the Stretch They Come!

There are only twenty days remaining in the 2009 MLS Regular Season, and after this weekend's results, there are only five playoff spots up for grabs. MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield holder Columbus have locked up a return trip to post-season, as has '06 & 07 Cup champ Houston Dynamo and the resurgent Los Angeles Galaxy, returning to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Eleven tightly-packed clubs are in the running for the five available slots, and the higher up the table, the tighter it gets. Clubs in slots 4-9 (Seattle, Chicago, Chivas, Colorado, New England, And DC United) are separated by a mere six points. Clubs currently on the outside looking in, however (Toronto, Salt Lake, Dallas, and KC), all have three matches remaining to reach the top eight. Only one club, New York, has been eliminated.

A close look at the schedule exposes the sides with the easiest road to the playoffs...

Club (current points, position), Avg pts/remaining opponent, matches remaining, most possible points:
1. TFC (35, 11th), 30.3 pts/remaining opponent, 3 games remaining, 47 points possible
2. RSL (35, 10th), 31,0, 3 gr, 47 pts
3. SEA (41, 4th), 32.5, 3 gr, 50 pts
4. COL (40, 7th), 34.0, 2 gr, 46 pts
5. x-LA (44, 3rd), 35.5, 2 gr, 50 pts
t6. FCD (33, 13th), 36.3, 3 gr, 42 pts
t6. CHV (41, 6th), 36.3, 4 gr, 53 pts
8. x-CMB (46, 1st), 37.3, 3 gr, 55 pts
9. SJ (28, 14th), 38.3, 4 gr, 40 pts
10. DCU (26, 9th), 39.0, 2 gr, 42 pts
11. KC (32, 13th), 39.3, 3 gr, 41 pts
12. CHI (41, 5th), 39.5, 2 gr, 47 pts
13. x-HOU (44, 2nd), 42.5, 2 gr, 50 pts
14. NE (38, 8th), 44.3, 3 gr, 47 pts

Of course, in MLS, a strong stretch run can turn a poor regular season into a playoff success. Here's a look how many points each club has picked in since August 1st:

16 points: x-Columbus (5-2-1), x-Los Angeles (5-3-1), Dallas (5-3-1)
15 points: New England (4-4-3)
14 points: San Jose (4-2-2), Chivas USA (4-3-2)
13 points: Colorado (3-3-4)
12 points: x-Houston (3-3-3), Salt Lake (3-3-3), Seattle (3-4-3), Chicago (3-4-3)
11 points: Kansas City (3-5-2)
9 points: Toronto (2-4-3)
8 points: New York (2-3-2) DC United (2-5-2)

Based on the above analysis, Who will grab five those remaining spots? My prediction: Seattle, Chivas, Salt Lake, New England, and Colorado.

Key Remaining Matches:
Sat 10/24: KC-DC, CMB-NE, RSL-COL