April 16, 2007
Having given the performances from Friday night in their 2-1 loss to Puerto Rico and their 1-0 win in Miami time to settle like a meal that wasn't that great upon first blush, I'm here some thoughts after two games:
- Hamed Diallo may be that dangerous free kick taker the Rhinos have needed ever since Mladenov left for Europe.
- The Rhinos still need a strong central midfield duo to control matches.
- Matthew Delicate is looking more and more like Mauro Carabajal with an English accent by the match. Maybe it's confidence, maybe it's the service. Either way, he has to start putting balls in the back of the net ASAP.
- Chris Aloisi very well could make people say "Frankie who?" before the season is a half dozen games old.
- Thank goodness the Rhinos have Scott Vallow and Kenney Bertz locked up beyond this season. Both were slated to become free agents following the 2007 season before signing contract extensions with the club recently.
- It will be interesting to see if Mike Ambersley and John Ball will make a difference in the midfield play once Mike is healthy (bruised foot) and John joins the team now that his indoor season is complete.
- Will the team sign the English forward and Brazilian indoor player and will it matter?
- How long will it be before Chad Severs gets an extended look up top?
- What was with the team starting out in a 4-5-1 in Puerto Rico? It made sense to move to the 4-5-1 in the second half versus Miami FC, but I would have thought that starting out in the 4-4-2 versus the Islanders would have been the way to go.
- It could be a long season at PAETEC Park if the stadium is basically unchanged from the end of last season and the team is struggling to produce consistent offense game in and game out.
The good thing is that it's still really early and the team does have plenty of time to prepare for the home opener versus Vancouver on May 4th. Even if they are stuck in Miami for an extra day or two due to the weather.
USWNT defeats Mexico 5-0 in Foxboro
It's too bad that last evening's match between the US Women's National Team and Mexico wasn't on TV. The US dismantled Mexico with a 5-0 win and the US was led by Kristine Lilly (2 goals), Lindsay Tarpley (1 goal & 1 assist), and Rochester's Abby Wambach (1 goal & 1 assist).
The USWNT's next match ahead of this year's World Cup in China will be against Canada on May 12th from Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.
Early leaders for MLS Comeback Player of the Year
After their strong Week 2 performances, New York's Clint Mathis and Kansas City's Eddie Johnson had breakout multi-point games over the weekend and appear to be early season candidates for MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Johnson's breakout game against DC United had to have brought a smile to the face of interim USMNT head coach Bob Bradley who has been giving Johnson playing time this year with the hopes that the skilled striker can get his game back on track.
Also of note is that the Red Bulls look to have acquired Juan Pablo Angel from Aston Villa just before MLS's early season transfer window closed last night. It will be interesting to see if that move comes true and if Angel will get added to the Red Bull's mix with Mathis and Altidore up top.
So far, so good for the three Americans at Fulham. Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra started for Fulham and Clint Dempsey was a second half substitute in what was in Fulham interim coach and full time Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez's first game in charge.
There was a lot of worrying about how the dismissal of Chris Coleman, who brought all three Americans to Craven Cottage, would affect the playing time of McBride, Bocanegra, and Dempsey. Although, with the club not getting a point away to Reading, who knows how solid any player's hold on playing time with Fulham truly is.
The spotlight is again being cast on the plight of developmental players in MLS
This latest story comes out of Columbus and has some very pointed comments by Crew head coach Sigi Schmid. Needless to say, not too many people on the soccer side of the operation are happy that some players are barely getting by while others are making six and seven figures.
It will be interesting to see if or when the payscale changes for those at the bottom end of the MLS food chain.
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.