Monday, April 4, 2011

Five Things We Learned From This Weekend's MLS Action

1. Teal Bunbury is every bit as good as Juan Agudelo- Now the joint to scorer in MLS, Teal Bunbury as proved to America that he is just as much of a prospect as Red Bulls youngster Juan Agudelo. Bunbury displayed his finishing touch last week with a fine goal against Chicago, and this week he was at it again, with his second goal in particular, oozing class. With just a defender between him and the goal, Bunburry displayed a deft touch, flicking the ball around his marker, before blasting the ball high into the net. Everything about that goal was brilliant, from the first touch, to the turn, to the finish, play of the highest order from the American youngster. Unfortunately for Bunbury and his Sporting KC teammates though, a spectacular Vancouver rally denied the newly branded franchise victory, despite that terrific goal.

2. De Rosario to New York may well be signing of the season in MLS- On Friday, MLS was rocked by news of Dwayne De Rosario's move from Toronto to New York. De-Ro has been one of Major League Soccer's finest players over the duration of his career in the league, and with four MLS titles to his name already, many predicted that number five would be on its way this season with New York. De Rosario didn't start New York's match against Houston, but during his forty-five minute substitute appearance, the Canadian showed that pre-match predictions of MLS glory were by no means overblown. De Rosario controlled play from the start, pinging long passes across the pristine Red Bull Arena turf, including an assist for speedy winger Dane Richards. A combination of bad luck and brilliant goal keeping may have stopped the Red Bulls from claiming victory on the day of their latest big money signing's debut, but with a line-up stacked with world class talent, Bulls fans can expect much excitement in the next few months.

3. The East is just as weak as last season- Remarkably, only one team from the Eastern Conference of MLS managed to take all three points this weekend. That team, Colombus, provided a saving grace for a series of disgraceful results from teams in the East. DC United were crushed 4-1 by reigning champions Colorado, and New England were held by Major League Soccer whipping boys the Portland Timbers. To make matters worse, a previously unbeaten Philadelphia Union team crashed to defeat in LA despite being up a man for most of the second half. Only a cursory glance at the Supporter's Shield standing is needed to see that the West is set for another dominant season, the top three teams in the combined table are all from the West, with two of those three teams perfect so far in MLS play.

4. Vancouver can rally with the best of them- Three-nil down with just twenty minutes left, there seemed to be no hope for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who looked set to crash to their second consecutive defeat. However, a goal by Atiba Harris gave the Caps fans hope, before two goals from Camilo saved the day. The comeback brought back memories of Everton's early season draw with Manchester United, when, down 3-1 with two minutes of stoppage time remaining, Everton some how scored two goals in as many minutes to level the game at 3-3. In some ways, Vancouver's come back eclipses that achievement, as they were at one point 3-0 down in their match against Sporting KC.

5. Bob Bradley should give Eddie Gaven a chance- In a US midfield stacked with talent, there is unlikely to be room for Columbus player Eddie Gaven, but I still think that Bob Bradley should give this young man a go. In his mid twenties, Gaven still has the best part of his career ahead of him, and on based on his performance against FC Dallas on Friday, he deserves a shot at some national team playing time. Gaven dictated play all night for Columbus and, fittingly, it was his goal which put the gloss on a fine 2-0 win. Impressively, Gaven outshone 2010 MVP Davide Ferreira, proving that he is more than capable of competing with the very best that MLS has to offer.

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