September 8, 2008
Thanks to the Rhinos 2-0 win over Portland on Saturday night and the scoreless draw between Minnesota and Vancouver last evening, the Rhinos have clinched a playoff spot thanks to the fact that they won the season series with Portland by winning twice and drawing once with the Timbers.
The Rhinos sit alone in 3rd place with Seattle only a point behind in 4th and Charleston now three points back in 5th.
Sports Club Stats.com not only has the breakdown of odds of making the playoffs, but also the odds of where in the table the team will finish. Right now, the Rhinos have a 42% of finishing 3rd and a 30% chance of finishing 4th. If the Rhinos win out, they will have a 2% chance of winning the regular season title.
There shouldn't be too much argument after awards night with Johnny Menyongar being named team MVP as voted by his teammates, Scott Vallow winning the leadership and dedication award, Scott Palguta getting the new coach's performance award, Danny Earls being named rookie of the year, and Tiger Fitzpatrick getting the community service award.
Luke Kreamalmayer was the one player that was left out. But, his quiet demeanor likely kept him out of the running for the leadership award and the coaches felt much the same way that quite a few Kick This! callers did with regards to Scott Palguta's value to the team this season.
US 1 Cuba 0
As SBI.net pointed out here, winning away from home, even in these early stages of World Cup qualifying, is not always easy or pretty. That's why I'm pretty happy that the US has 6 points and sits atop there group after playing their first two matches of this Semifinal group stage on the road.
With the US hosting T&T at Toyota Park on Wednesday, the US has a chance to put a stanglehold on their group.
Soccer America's piece about how the USMNT is running in place under Bob Bradley has some merit to it. I would like to see Michael Bradley pressed a little more for playing time. For instance, I wouldn't mind Maurice Edu teaming with Pablo Mastroeni on Wednesday night in Chicago.
But, this team is still trying to create a new identity without two players that have been mainstays in Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride. Add in players like DeMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey, and Eddie Johnson who have seen their development stall a bit, and I can see why this team is in bit of a transition mode right now.
And it is a long time between now and 2010. Perhaps by then Benny Feilhaber will have regained his mojo, Freddy Adu will be closer to matching the hype, and Eddie Johnson will be a consistent scoring machine.
A guy can dream, right?
News & Notes:
- Scott Vallow's latest blog posting at D&C.com talks about the goings on at Saturday's game. I liked the piece about Darren wanting Scott to play things quicker in teh second half!
- Devo has a nice piece in today's D&C about the free clinic that starred one Abby Wambach at RIT yesterday. Abby's message of making better food choices stuck with my son Brandon long enough that he wanted an apple for his bedtime snack last night!
- It looks like Carli Lloyd could be playing WPS ball in Chicago and not in her home state of New Jersey.....
- Vancouver is starting to put together some pieces for it's bid to move to MLS with $65 million going to upgrade BC Place and the team trying have a bit of a MLS Rally Night last evening.
- I wonder if these were the people that ESPN kept showing with American flag bandanas hiding their identity on Saturday night? And if so,which one had the Gooch jersey on?
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to email@example.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.