Okay, but, you did wait for the 15th of July.
I guess I don't want to say that teams shouldn't have a chance to improve, or correct mistakes during the season. But I blame DC United for doing too good a job of it in 1996, and then again in 2004. You can also blame DC United for turning Supporters Shields into first-round exits the past two years. People think they can write off the first three months of the season and contend for the championship, and that's the reason we get New England and Houston every year. The big moves Houston made last year were Nate Jaqua and Joseph Ngwenya. The big moves Los Angeles made last year were Much More Widely Covered. Which team didn't embarrass itself?
The teams that rely on the midsummer transfer window to salvage their seasons tend to stay in the salvage heap. The seeming exception last year, the Chicago Fire, really isn't one. Cootiemac Blanco vastly exceeded expectations, especially those like me who still hope he fails every week. And yeah, the Fire got to the semifinals ahead of the Shield winner.
Then they lost to New England, yet again, because the core of the roster that just wasn't good enough in April still wasn't good enough in October...and because the other big pickup over the summer was Paulo Wanchope, who was given way too many chances to succeed simply because he was a big summer acquisition.
The midseason savior model has permeated the league. The Galaxy do it every year, apparently thinking the law of averages will eventually kick in and their team will actually improve in August. (Two years they didn't, by the way, were 2002 and 2005, just saying.) Chivas USA has built its marketing model for the year around it, and may saddle themselves with Bofo Bautista and Osvaldo Sanchez. San Jose and Houston knowingly started the seasons way, way too shallow at forward.
Meanwhile, New England and Columbus got their acts together, and are putting together solid years. DC United made all their big moves in time for the season, and seemingly have managed to adjust. Toronto waited a few weeks before acquiring Guevara and Robert, but they certainly didn't tell their fans to wait patiently for improvement. Real Salt Lake is...well, hey, they're better than they were, and they're not in the East, so the sky's the limit.
("But, Dallas and Kansas City thought they were ready on Opening Day, and now look at them." Well, there's just no helping some people.)
CREW v. FIRE
Um, I dawdled on this preview, so the game has started. These teams usually hate each other, so this should be exciting. I'd go into more detail, but someone has scored already. Yes, I ruined the result, if you had been on a 0-0 draw.
Yeah, can't be objective here. I'm cheering for red cards and injuries.
EDIT for awesome: Nick Green asks Mike Randolph about his contribution to the Galaxy offense: