Back in the early days of MLS, I loved the Thursday night games. I was in school in Athens, GA, and Thursday night was the big night to go out. A big group of us would go down to Peppino's or Sneakers (R.I.P., the best two places in downtown Athens back in the day), watch the MLS match, then go on our merry way around town. Besides, watching the Wiz and Burn could also double as a Public Service Announcement...
Anyway, Thursday Night Soccer is back tonight! Here's your brief Week 2 preview, along with a suggested soundtrack if you're watching the game...
LA-Dallas, 10:00 ET (ESPN2)
I Want You Back by the Jackson 5
No, I'm not talking about El Pescadito returning to LA, I'm talking about the grand return of Waldo to the booth. I know I've had my fun with him, but I really enjoy Wynalda in the booth. He has more character than all of the other color commentators in MLS combined. He speaks his mind, sometimes a little too much, but he was screwed in this situation.
On to the game, the Gals have pretty much owned FCD at the Home Depot Center. Maybe the aprons distract the Hoops, I don't know. Both teams are coming off opening week draws, and Dallas has to keep a Sunday game on their mind as well. I'm going with LA here, Jaqua and Donovan will be too much for the weak Dallas backline.
LA 2, Dallas 1
Salt Lake-Columbus, 6:00 ET (DK)
Ugly by Bubba Sparxxx
I actually think this might be a fun one to watch, but the general consensus is, "Who cares?" The field in Salt Lake is definitely UGLY. I'm over the football lines at this point, I don't like them, but there's only so much you can do. That turf looks like it would be hell to play on, the football style turf usually is. The sidelines are barely visible, it sucks. Last Saturday's game at 6 was hard to watch as well because of the sun and shadows. Are they not allowed out after dark in Salt Lake City?
Enough bitching about the stadium, both of these teams are young and looking to make a statement. I like the work both front offices have done to put their rosters together. Nick Rimando will be looking for atonement after his issues last weekend. I think Columbus is one player away (and it looks like he'll be playing for Boca against River Plate this weekend), while RSL looked good against Dallas. Freddy, Jeff, and Ballouchy will lead the Stormin' Mormons to victory.
RSL 2, Columbus 1
DC-Kansas City, 7:00 ET (FSC)
Back on the Right Track by Sly & the Family Stone
DC has five competitive games under their belt, this is the first for KC. United did look like crap for the greater part of 90 minutes in Colorado last week, but I think their minds were still back in Guadalajara, wondering how they fell to Chivas. They'll be back on it this week in front of their home crowd. Josh Gros is back, and we'll see if Fred (or Casal) will get a start on the opposite flank.
As for KC, they are finally ready to announce their new signing. Carlos Marinelli will help the midfield, even if he isn't a Designated Player. Let's see how he adjusts to MLS on Saturday.
DC 3, KC 1
New England-Toronto, 7:30 ET (DK)
Too Bad by Nickelback
Toronto looked pretty good for the first part of the game against Chivas, and if it wasn't for El Guzano, might have taken some points out of the home improvement store. These things happen to expansion teams. I expect more of the same in New England against Matt Reis and the Revs. Toronto will get their chances, but New England will weather the storm, and Twellman or Noonan will give the Revs a late winner.
We still need a nickname for Toronto, anybody?
New England 1, Toronto 0
Houston-Chivas USA, 8:30 ET (HDNet, DK)
On Top by The Killers
This your official Cupcakes Game of the Week. If I did power rankings, Houston would be at the top of mine. I also have some high hopes for the young Goats. Sacha could end up being a real impact player in the league this year, and Galindo could be the partner Razov has been missing up front.
However, Houston will be too much at home here. They were, like DC, distracted last week due to the tough CONCACAF loss. They'll be coming out all guns blazing here to get a win, and I think they will. Besides, they can't lose in the debut of the Dynamo Girls, can they?
Houston 3, Chivas USA 2
New York-Dallas, 3:00 ET (TeleFutura)
I'm Getting Used to You by Selena
I didn't get to see the TeleFutura broadcast (I hate you Comcast, I really do), but I hear that most people really enjoyed it. Even people who don't speak fluent Spanish, most people raved about the production and passion. I'm very happy to see MLS back on Spanish-language TV, although I was hoping we wouldn't have so many Sunday afternoon games. It's not so bad now, but just wait until the middle of the summer. I remember some of the awful games on Univision from the 120 degree Cotton Bowl back in the day...
New York didn't do much of anything to impress in their opener in Columbus. Claudio managed to get hurt midway through the first half, and then got bossed around in the midfield by Eddie Gaven afterwards. I'll give Reyna credit for committing some nice fouls though, stopping Gaven from running past him. Dallas will be coming off of the Thursday night game, which won't be easy. Maybe we'll see the 5-1-2-1-1 formation out of them, that would be groundbreaking! I don't think this will be a fun one to watch, and I'm going with a 1-1 draw here.
New York 1, Dallas 1
Colorado-Chicago, 8:00 ET (DK)
Rocky Mountain High by John Denver
The Rapids looked quite impressive last week, with the wing combination of Terry Cooke and Herculez Gomez running the show. Colorado will be tough to handle at home this year, it will take a lot of teams time to adjust to the girth at the Big Unit. Mastroeni should be ready to play 90 this week, which will only make them more difficult to handle. I just hope Condoul wears his traditional African attire to the game so they can show it 5 times this week.
Chicago got the win against New England, although they didn't look that great in the process. Matt Pickens was strong in goal, as was the Chicago backline for the most part. Justin Mapp could be a handful this week, he's really coming into his own. I don't think he'll be able to do enough to beat the Rapids though. Cuauhtepito can't arrive soon enough...
Colorado 2, Chicago 0