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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun.


MLS – Back to Reality

Written by on June 6, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Posted in MLS

After the veritable goalfest of last week MLS returned to more normal service this weekend with both goals and wins once again at a premium.

The four lucky recipients of three points were San Jose, Chivas USA, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. Dallas are probably the form team of MLS at the moment and they inflicted a 1-0 scoreline on the New England Revolution that could have been so much more.

In the end they had to wait until the 69th minute for Martin Chavez to get the goal but the win puts them within striking distance of LA at the top. New England though are heading in the other direction having now lost their last three games.

San Jose are gradually dragging themselves into the playoff picture having taken 11 points from their last 15, and a 2-0 win at home to Houston only helped their cause. Houston now haven’t won in seven yet still remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

In fact if you want to be able to survive a bad run of form the East is the place to be. Remarkably six of the nine teams haven’t been able to win a game in their last five outings, which partly explains why the Red Bulls stay in second place despite another disappointing tie at home (to Columbus) and why no team can really count themselves out of the postseason just yet.

Of the two teams who fired their managers this week the Chicago Fire did the marginally better with a 0-0 home draw with Seattle, but the Vancouver Whitecaps looked completely out of sorts as they were easily beaten by Real Salt Lake.

The team from Utah may have lost last week to the Sounders but they still look to have quality in abundance, and calmness in possession, despite losing crucial players to both the Gold Cup and injury.

The LA Galaxy’s winning streak came to an end with a lacklustre 0-0 against a DC United team that looked dangerous on the break and comfortable at the back throughout the full ninety minutes.

After the fiasco of last week Toronto will probably take some solace from a 0-0 home tie with Sporting Kansas City but their long-suffering fans are probably hoping for more than simply solace at the moment.

Kansas though remain the great wild card of MLS, true they are bottom of the East with just six points from ten games, but due to stadium issues they have yet to play a game at home and their away record is better than, or at least comparable to, the likes of New York and Houston.

If they do find their new stadium to their liking then their rise up the standings could be swift, they may well have become used to not being in Kansas anymore but it in MLS there really is no place like home.

6 responses to “MLS – Back to Reality”

  1. John Bladen says:


    Dismal weekend for Canadian MLS fans… at least Vancouver lost to a club that was clearly better. Toronto’s performance v KC was just pathetic. Holders of ticket stubs to the 2007 FA cup final might disagree, but this was the worst game I’ve seen in five years in any league (including a couple of league two and conference games).

    Neither side could string two passes together (most of the misses were by several yards, not a step or two) with any regularity, and on those rare occasions when they did, Mr. Reyes felt compelled to stop the action for a nuisance foul. It looked like there were perhaps 12-13k actually in the stands, and most of them must have been wondering if bathing the dog might have been a more enjoyable use of their Saturday evening.

    I don’t expect a lot in terms of finesse, passing and first touch from any MLS game, but this was truly disgraceful. Even with a vertically challenged attacking trio of Plata, Santos & Martina, I would have thought Toronto could have pressed KC a little. In fact, neither side created much in the way of chances.

  2. John – what I found shocking was that both coaches claimed to have been happy with their team’s performance. It is along time since I saw so many professional players having trouble controlling the ball with three or four touches let alone one.

  3. Russell Berrisford says:

    John- Vancouver put in arguably their worst performance of the season on Saturday (despite playing a very good team).

    The “double-header” between TFC and the Whitecaps at the end of the month should prove interesting.

  4. Tim says:

    the LA game made me sick…so frustrating…first touch first touch first touch

  5. Soccerlogical says:

    For any team to pose ANY sort of attacking threat, they require at least 2 technical players and one skilled CF. LA had Becks and Juninho to provide some opportunities but without Lando or Angel there is no potency up front. RBNY are in the same position without DeRo, Richards and Agudelo.

    Basically, when any team scores first on the likes of LA or NY, they are currently missing the required minimum of 3 “effective attacking” players to put pressure on opposition and score the needed goal.

    * Any other MLS team without 3 “effective attacking” players either plays long ball, parks the bus or just displays the ugly soccer mentioned, as they lack the necessary creative and passing threat.

  6. John Bladen says:

    Bobby: I found that concerning too… I mean, even Ferguson lowers fan expectations sometimes… but how low can you go?

    Russell: Yes, it’s sad to say at this early point in the season, but it could be that VWC and TFC have only the NCC left to play for. Based on the way KC’s defense (not it’s first team backline, from what I heard) handled what should have been one of Toronto’s best attacking combinations, I have to believe that KC will comfortably sweep past Toronto once they start playing home games.

    I’m all for giving Winter the time he needs. No-one could reasonably believe that he could build a cup contending squad with what he was left with, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the players he has will not adapt to the system effectively at all. I had hoped de Guzman might be the beneficiary of a new tactical approach, but frankly, he looks as bad as anyone else in red out there. Worrying times for reds fans.

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