Skip to main content

MLS Game o' the Week: Seattle Sounders v. Houston Dynamo

After showing up at the bar promptly at 8:00 pm to watch Sporting Kansas City (and my beloved Graham Zusi) vs. Vancouver, I was informed that the game wasn't nationally televised. Anyway, I stayed to watch the MLS Game of the Week:  Seattle Sounders (complete with Clint Dempsey) vs. the Houston Dynamo.

Seattle ended up getting the 2-0 win but in pretty un-convincing fashion; a shot from Marco Pappa in the 69th minute deflected off a Houston defender into the goal, and a 75' minute penalty kick goal from Gonzalo Pineda. I say "un-convincing" because, even though Seattle seemed to out-shoot Houston, the game was a lot closer than the score suggests and, in fact, I was more impressed Houston's play than Seattle's.

Houston midfielder Brad Davis was particularly impressive. He just seemed to have a way of moving the ball forward and making chances for the strikers; virtually every time he got the ball, you knew something good was going to happen. Unfortunately, that did not materialize into goals; Houston had at least a dozen quality shots, though apparently only three of them on goal (memory doesn't serve correctly; seemed like they had at least that many on-target head-shots, but IDFK).

The Dynamo also demonstrated some impressive passing through the midfield; long, quick passes that were able to turn the tables quickly on Seattle and catch them on their heels. Again, not quite good enough, but strong passing and a deep midfield are two critical aspects a winning side needs to have. The connection up the right side between defender Kofi Sarkodie and midfielder Boniek GarcĂ­a seemed to create a lot of good runs, as well.

Let us not, either gloss over the quality play of Seattle's Clint Dempsey and Houston's DeMarcus Beasley, USMNT members. Just like with the "Zusi Effect" I noted in an earlier blog post, watching these players in the MLS instead of the World Cup makes me realize just how good they are. Somehow, mixed in with all the other World Cup level players, it wasn't easy to see, but after watching Dempsey dribble circles around Houston defenders, it's clear why people make such a big deal over him. Same with Beasley; while I don't think he had a stand-out game last night, it's easy to see that's he's one of the pivot points around which the fate of the Houston team swings.

My Takeaway: Easily the best game I've watched since the World Cup; fast pace, quality passing, lots of shots, even if the result (IMHO) was far more inconclusive than the score suggests. I like the Houston squad a lot more than Seattle; they play exciting ball and seem to have a real "team," though something seemed missing last night: execution. Sadly, above all, that's what it takes to win games.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…