Sunday, June 15, 2008

MLS Review: Focus on Internationals


Former Metro star and current Islander Peter Villegas scored a goal for Puerto Rico in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Honduras

Every region with the exception of the Euro engaged UEFA confederation has begun qualifying for World Cup 2010. A number of players from Major League Soccer and USL-1 were in action Saturday, representing their countries, and flying the banner of both leagues. This is why it is all the more illogical for both leagues to play right through the international breaks, especially for World Cup qualifying. Sunday over twenty five players from MLS and USL will be engaged in World Cup qualifying.

Here is a rundown of Saturday’s best:

Carlos Ruiz (LA Galaxy)

Scored four goals in Guatemala’s 6-0 thrashing of St Lucia

Christopher Megaloudis (NY Red Bulls)

Scored a goal in Puerto Rico’s 2-2 draw with Honduras

Peter Villegas (Puerto Rico Islanders)

Scored a goal in Puerto Rico’s 2-2 draw with Honduras

Noah Delgado (Puerto Rico Islanders)

Played a full 90 minutes in Puerto Rico’s 2-2 draw with Honduras

Amado Guevara (Toronto FC)

Played 90 minutes in Honduras 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico. Honduras advances 6-2 on aggregate

Gonzalo Segaras (Chicago Fire)

Played 66 minutes in Costa Rica’s 2-2 draw with Grenada.

Shalrie Joseph (New England Revs)

Played 90 minutes in Grenada’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica

Kenny Mansally (New England Revs)

Played the final 15 minutes of Gambia’s 1-0 victory over Algeria

Kei Kamara (San Jose Earthquakes)

Played 90 plus minutes in Sierra Leone’s 1-0 victory over South Africa. Kamara was subbed out in stoppage time.

Other Thoughts:

Given the massive crowd assembled the performance of the Earthquakes was disgraceful. But without Kei Kamara, and Ivan Guerrero (who didn’t play for Honduras despite being on the bench) The Quakes looked completely incapable of linking up from midfield to the attack. Edson Buddle is playing so well and seems finally to have his head screwed on straight that perhaps he should be looked at closely by Bob Bradley for a future US National Team call up.

How humiliated must David Beckham feel to be playing on a sodded up baseball diamond while his mates are competiting on the world’s biggest stage in the European Championships? Give him credit for not sulking and still giving his all in every match despite the poor quality of the pitches, the football and the seeming need of opposing MLS clubs to use Beckham to sell tickets.

DC United rolls at RFK Stadium. No surprise there. Now United needs to maintain its level away from home. Last week’s win at Chicago was a good start but just one game marred by red cards and poor officiating. Luciano Emilio thankfully has regained his scoring touch.

The extended road trip for Kansas City really dented the teams’ confidence and right now DP Claudio Lopez and Ivan Trujillo are simply not producing up front. I hate to say this but unless a player is from Argentina or Brazil signing someone who has never been capped by their nation is a risky proposition. MLS is not as poor a footballing league as it once was an signing players like Trujillo is no longer a sure fire way to success.

Don’t sleep on Toronto FC as a title contender. Without several players missing due to international duty, the Reds crushed a Colorado squad that was hardly missing anybody beyond Bouna Counduil. A very impressive performance for John Carver’s side, yet Jeff Cunningham is stuck on goal #99.

Houston was poor the other night, and with so many internationals missing you are reminded how influential Steve Ralston is on a match when healthy and the standard is dummied down. Ralston, an MLS original is still on his day among the league’s best.

Comment here