Like/Don't Like: George John, revenge of the old guys, the strange fate of the San Jose Earthquakes
In this week’s Like/Don’t Like, we give it up for the kids and the veterans alike, and wonder if San Jose’s fate is entirely out of their hands … at least this year.
By George! He’s back. George John, the man who completes FC Dallas’s defense, is healthy. Sure, David Ferreira looks good up top, but it’s the big Greek-American defender who is leading the way. Since he’s been on the field, Dallas are in the middle of a 547-minute shutout streak, going 6-0-2 in that span.
What agism? Last weekend, the kids led the charge all around the league on Saturday in scoring, but a pair of, um, distinguished strikers stole the headlines on Sunday, showing the whippersnappers how it’s really done. LA’s Robbie Keane and Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio both had first-half hat tricks, and New York’s Thierry Henry put on a master class in finishing his goal, proving once again that although a youth movement may be upon us, there is a benefit to maturity.
The “Rapkids” are Alright: It is easy to look at the roster of the Colorado Rapids and scoff. Plagued by injuries this season, the bunch that has largely come together has been mostly workmanlike and anonymous. But the Rapids are sitting in fifth place in the West and they have three first-year players to thank for their recent surge – five games unbeaten. Deshorn Brown has two goals and four assists, meaning he has had a hand in just under half of Colorado’s goals so far this year. Dillon Powers has become a sure-thing in the midfield. And Clint Irwin has taken the goalkeeper mantle and run with it, recording five shutouts in his first 10 MLS starts. The ceiling for this trio looks as high as a mountain peak.
Meltdown in the Beltway: You’ve probably heard by now that D.C. United are struggling. What exacerbates those struggles? Public spats between players and coaches. But truth is, Dwayne De Rosario and Ben Olsen never really pulled the gloves off. They kept it respectful. But DeRo was pretty emphatic in his criticism of Olsen’s style of play and lineup decisions, most notably leaving him out of the starting lineup on Saturday. Then again, maybe all the inner turmoil helped: DeRo went 120 minutes as United got their first win in 11 tries on Tuesday, topping the Richmond Kickers in penalties in the US Open Cup.
Elbow Grease: I love having Thierry Henry in MLS. He scores goals that nobody else in this league can manage, and he is capable of producing sublime plays more often than his peers. But his aggressions against Kevan George in the Red Bulls’ 2-2 draw with Columbus last weekend, following up with another elbow to the head of his adversary with apparently no provocation, were entirely unlovable. Of course, even if he had been provoked, it wouldn’t have been warranted, but Henry is better than that. Or should be.
The Odd Way in San Jose: The Earthquakes have famously struggled with injuries and suspensions this year. They’ll likely also face significant absences this summer due to international duty as well. But that’s no excuse for a team with such talent and a shiny trophy haul from last year, to be struggling so much. They have only one win in their last 10 games, matching Toronto FC for futility and with only D.C United on a worse run Here’s a theory: Maybe the second iteration of the Quakes is only good in even-numbered years? In the earlier era, they were at their best in odd-numbered years, winning the Cup in 2001 and 2003. But this version made their return in 2008, reached the playoffs in 2010, and won the Supporters’ Shield in 2012. In 2009 and 2011, they missed the playoffs. So is this year doomed?
What do you like? What do you, er, Don’t Like? Let us know in the comments below.