Goalkeeper's Log: Game 1 review
The new season has begun and I'm sure a lot of people feel there was some surprises. First, the Eastern Conference.
What is with New England? This team stays just close enough to make the playoffs then goes on their yearly tear in September and October and enters the playoffs in tremendous form. I think most people felt that Columbus was the team to beat entering the playoffs, and they could still be, but stopping an 18-game unbeaten run has to boost the confidence of any team. I'm not going to predict anything in the playoffs (we all know strange things can happen) but it should be a very interesting second match.
The MetroStars/D.C. United match-up was always going to be intense. I'm sure DC would have been ecstatic with a 1-0 away win but to get that second goal so late in the game really is going to make the Metro's task difficult. It was tough to tell on television if Ernie Stewart had beaten the offside trap. There were a few in the first half that were extremely close, so maybe he got the benefit of the doubt. Goalkeeping is always important in the playoffs and both Johnny Walker and Nick Rimando played extremely well. This series has many goals left in it. Although it looks bleak for New York they still must feel that they can create the opportunities necessary.
Now the Western Conference.
The Colorado/Galaxy game was a very cautious match. Los Angeles must have felt a little hard done by with the two tremendous saves Joe Cannon made. But as many teams have found out he is playing very well and even better at home. This series, like all the others, is far from over. It will be interesting to see how both teams play. Does Los Angeles take the initiative and go on attack possibly leaving themselves open to the counterattack, or do they stay with their usual possession style and be patient for an opportunity? Does Colorado sit back and rely on good defending and goalkeeping to protect a one goal lead or do they go for number two and make it difficult to play? This may not be the most entertaining series but I think it is the most interesting in terms of strategy for game two.
Now for our game. A great result for us but also a very dangerous lead. The next goal will be the most important and will swing the tide in that team's favor. Last year we expected Los Angeles to sit back and protect their two-goal lead and before we knew it they had another two-goal lead in game two and a 4-0 lead on aggregate. That would be a dream start but not one you would expect considering Kansas City's excellent defense. Yes, we have a little cushion, but Kansas City is more than capable of coming back from two goals down. We have to be ready right from the first whistle and if we sit back it could make for a long night. I think the series has just begun.
It is interesting that in a year where there were a record amounts of ties that all four games ended in wins or losses. It is a great time of year for soccer and as we all know it is not the result after game one that matters, but rather the final result after game two. It should be an entertaining weekend.