November 4, 2007

MLS Post-Mortem: Examining the newly deceased

DC United
The Supporters' Shield curse strikes again. It's been five seasons since the Supporters' Shield winner has also won the MLS Cup in the same season (2002, LA Galaxy). For all of the changes that Tom Soehn made this year in DC, the end result is still the same. Way too many losses in must win games in cup competition, the story is really getting old.

On top of that, there will have to be some roster changes going into 2008. United will surely lose an important player in the expansion draft to San Jose (hello Bobby Boswell, maybe Brian Carroll), and the word on the street is that both Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez could've also played their last game in a DC uniform. If you saw Moreno after the Chicago loss, he looked like someone that was saying goodbye. That puts the emphasis on adding to the striker corps even more important. When Jamil Walker was injured this year, the lack of a third quality striker became really glaring. That showed in the first game in the playoffs when Moreno and Emilio were both out due to injury, there just wasn't anybody who could replace them.

There's still big talk about Juan Sebastian Veron coming to DC for the 2008 season, but I'm not convinced that he's what DC needs. You'd still need either a left mid or an attacking mid, depending on the Gomez situation and where that puts Fred in the lineup. With Clyde Simms, holding midfield is one position that DC is strong in.

FC Dallas
The Hoops were sitting in a pretty good position until Arturo Alvarez's knee molested Brad Davis. What in the blue hell was he thinking with that? I know the game was getting pretty nasty, but come on man.

Dallas went out in the first round again, they haven't won a playoff series since 1999. Where's Ariel Graziani when you need him? I don't think they really got any better after changing head coaches. I think the team's biggest problem is their inconsistent defense. A team with guys like Cooper, Ruiz, Alvarez, Oduro, etc. isn't going to have too much of a problem scoring. However, a team with Clarence Goodson as your defender of the year isn't going to win a lot of championships. At what point do you have to start making some big roster decisions to rectify this?

There will be DP issues in Dallas this offseason as well. I doubt Denilson will be back, and then you have the decision to make on Carlos Ruiz. Who would you rather have?

New York Red Bulls
Il Brucio really left his mark on the Red Bulls, huh? They finished one place higher in the standings, and went out in the first round of the playoffs for the fifth year in a row. Things are never good when your first two substitutions in the playoff second leg are your two DP's. Reyna was no surprise, I'm shocked whenever the guy actually gets on the field at this point. Juan Pablo Angel was knocked out of the game with a concussion. He wanted to stay in and play through it, but he was eventually taken to the hospital. Sharp contrast between a hamstring injury and concussion and who wanted to stay in and who didn't, huh?

For all the promise that NY showed at times this year, they would continually disappoint. Angel, Altidore, Mathis, and Dane Richards should've been able to produce more offense you would think. Some of the roster decisions have to be addressed at this point as well. Reyna? Waterreus? Quaranta? Schopp?

I think Red Bull could be growing restless, it's time for a return on their investment.

Chivas USA
Unlucky playoffs again for the Goats as they aren't able to overcome the loss of Ante Razov. I would've rather seen a true 4-4-2 in the playoffs, even without a healthy Razov and Galindo. These are the lessons that a rookie coach learns in his first playoff appearance. It's a shame that Chivas hasn't been able to be at full strength over the last two years in the playoffs.

There's talk about Guadalajara legend Ramon Morales coming to the American Goats for next season and Panchito Mendoza heading south. The word is that it's totally up to Morales.

I don't think a lot of moves are needed for Chivas USA for next season. They have a strong core to build around, and will mainly need to look at future replacements for somebody like Razov. They might want to look into bubble-wrap for their stars late in the season though, then they'll have a real chance in the playoffs.

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