When you're working with young defenders, it's important that they grasp a key idea: there's no particular shame in it if the guy you're responsible for is faster than you. Happens all the time. The only thing to be ashamed of is not recognizing that fact and compensating for it positionally instead of letting yourself get into a foot race with a player who you know good and well can burn you.
Which brings us to Brian Namoff and Steve Zakuani:
On the other hand, keeper Josh "Michael Flatley" Wicks can't go around giving up the five hole and expect a long career. Then again, keepers who give up the near post this easily generally don't need to worry about that trip to Oneonta either:
All the chat this week has been about Julian De Guzman signing with Toronto (and all the "this is the fulfillment of a dream" crapola after months of fighting tooth and nail to find a job someplace - anyplace - else has been hilarious) but a guy who'll do far more for them (before he heads off to big money in Europe) is O'Brian White. The kid can flat play.
Here's a splendid combination with Cronin and DeRosario, and a brilliant finish:
Toronto having three first rounders in the draft gave Mo the luxury of picking a badly injured guy he was going to have to wait on, and we're just now starting to see what the kid is capable of. Momo may be an idiot, but combined with Sam Cronin and Stefan Frei (who the fans up there need to give some slack; he's still a baby for Pete's sake) this outfit is a couple decent defenders away from being a serious contender and DeRosario, not DeGuzman, is the key.
(Note to Duane "Uncle Fester" Rollins: clearing international transfer paperwork always takes a few days. Just the way it is. For everybody. Everywhere. Your unhinged, childish rant about MLS incompetence keeping JdG out of the lineup was, as is most of what you write about this league, simply ignorant )
Flash: Dateline East Rutherford New Jersey:
The New York RedBulls became the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the 2009 MLS Playoffs with a disheartening 1-0 loss to a Kansas City side that was more lucky than good.
Even with Kevin "Red Card" Goldthwaite in the stands someplace instead of on the field committing felonies, Mark Geiger still wore out a nice new set of cards, handing out seven yellows and topped the evening with a straight sendoff of RedBull Carlos Johnson after the final whistle for an altercation with Michael Harrington.
This was the kind of night it was for the Bulls as Kandji, Oebster and Johnson got good pressure time after time but couldn't close the deal:
Next week's match against New England will be the penultimate game in the unhappy saga of MLS in the Meadowlands. Can't come soon enough for long suffering MetroBulls fans.
There used to be a joke about how the shortest book in the world was "French Heroes of World War II" but "MLS Heroes of East Rutherford" might be in the running. Here's to better days.
Time is running out for this year's Edson Buddle Hat Trick Day, but perhaps since we celebrated it twice last year things are simply evening out.
However, another certified member of the MLS All Time Enigma XI, Jeff Cunningham, continues to rip it up, although it's hard to say what's prettier: the clinical finish or the superb Atiba Harris service:
The shocking 6-3 shellacking Dallas laid on the Galaxy - at the HDC - may have been indicative of a) Los Angeles coming back to reality or b) a Dallas FC resurgance or c) not much of anything at all, but LA was still capable of some textbook stuff:
Nice enoough, but when you allow the other team to score six, well, even DBecks can't save you.
Finally, please don't tell the Eurosnobs, but MLS provided as nice a goal as you'll see this week:
Just doesn't get much better than that.