Monday, October 30, 2006

MLS Cup review

Even though my Wizards are out of the playoffs I'm still following the league's playoffs this season, and had some very entertaining games this weekend from a neutral stand point. Of the 4 teams that came into the second weekend of games trailing, 3 of the 4 ended up coming back to take the series. Two of those 3 games went down to penalty kicks, both on Saturday.

First New England overcame an early Nate Jaqua goal that put them down 2-0 on agg and came back to tie it on goals by Twellman and Noonan. On PK's, Matt Reis stopped 2 PK's and made 1 himself to help New England advance 2-2 (4-2 on penalties).

The West's 4 seed, Colorado came into Dallas and were able to force extra time thanks to 2 goals by Niko. A strike in extra time by the man formally know as Clint Mathis channeled the spirit of the old Clint and struck home a beautiful strike to force PKs as well. After 5 rounds saw the 2 teams level at 4, Dario Sala stepped up for Dallas but ended up missing his PK. Pablo Mastroeni put his attempt in the net winning the series for Colorado. Then the drama started, as Pablo and his Colorado teammates were celebrating to the side of the goal, there were expletives and gestures thrown towards the Dallas supporters. This did not sit well apparently with Sala who came over pushing 1 Colorado played and punching another. You can see a video shot by a Dallas fan here. The league has yet to release a statement on this, but you can expect something to come Sala's way in the form of a suspension and likely fine. This though is the second time that Colorado players have been involved in taunting opposing fans. In the last game of the Rocky Mountain Cup against RSL, Pablo was again the center of controversy as he taunted the Salt Lake fans.

The other game where the trailing team came back was down in Houston on Sunday. A Brad Davis penalty put Houston level with Chivas, and a VERY late goal by Brian Ching gave Houston the series and a spot in the Western Conference Finals. Juan Francisco Palencia received his marching orders early in the second half for 2 yellow cards that brought about some tustling between the 2 teams. After this game, more fisticuffs broke out, as right as the final whistle blew, Juan Pablo Garcia tackled Brad Davis right as the final whistle was blown. This led to a second tustle between the two teams, no punches thrown in this one that you can see on the video on MLS's website, but definitly more pushing, and again we will likely see something from the league on this game as well.

The final conference semifinal game was between DC and NYRB. Trailing 1-0, NYRB got a goal from Josmer Altidore that tied it on agg. But in the 85th minute, Christian Gomez sealed the semifinal with his strike that tied the game at 1 but put DC up on agg 2-1. This leads to the conference finals matches set for next weekend. New England travels down to RFK to play DC, and Colorado goes to Houston to play the Dynamo. Look for my preview and predictions on these games later this week.


Tomorrow, the Iowa Conference men's soccer tournament kicks off with the 2 first round games. Buena Vista (4-13-1, 2-5-1), the 6th seed travels to Pella to play the Dutch (12-5-2, 6-1-1), the 3 seed. These 2 teams tied 0-0 back on September 23rd in Pella. The Dutch dominated that game, outshooting the Beavers 28-5 but were unable to find the back of the net. The Dutch have the opportunity to enact revenge on the Beavers, as the draw kept Central from creating a 3 way tie for the conference title in the regular season. Both teams have a strong defense and I'd expect this to be a very tight game. BV has been a thorn for Central the past few years, with Central's only win in the last 3 years coming in 2005. In 2004, the 2 teams tied during the regular season 1-1. The teams then met up again in the conference tournament just like this year, BV came up the winner in that match winning 2-1 in overtime. Last year the Dutch won 1-0 at Storm Lake. This match will prove to be a tough one for Central, but they should pull it out. Quite a few of the starters on the team this year were part of that team that lost in the conference tourney to BV and I doubt they'll want a repeat. Central 1-0

In the other match up, 4th seeded Simpson hosts 5th seeded Luther. Luther is the most storied team in the conference, winning 6 of the first 7 conference tournaments. Since then, Luther has not made it back to the finals, losing in the semifinals twice and the first round once. This year they play Simpson, who won conference the one year out of the 7 that Luther did not. Simpson won the regular season meeting between the 2 teams 2-1 at home on Oct 4. The match was fairly back and forth, with Simpson having 2 first half goals hold up as Luther pressured in the second half. Luther always seems to turn up once tournament time comes around and you can never count against them in the tournament, but they don't seem to have the talent level as years past, and with the final four being held at Simpson this year, I believe the Storm will want to make an appearance on their home field for the semifinals. Simpson 2-1.

Friday, October 27, 2006


So this weekend, the IIAC closes out their regular season for men's and women's soccer. Both still have 1 spot left up for grabs, and some seeding left to be decided as well.

On the men's side, Wartburg has clinched the number 1 seed in the conference tournament, as they go into the final game of the regular season at home against Central. Loras can clinch the 2 seed and a first round bye as well with a win against winless Coe at home. Central has clinched at least third and a first round home match, but still has an outside shot at the 2 seed, if Coe defeats Loras. Simpson College has locked up the other first round home spot as they are 4-3 heading into their final game with Cornell. Luther has clinched another year in the conference tournament, but does not have their seed settled yet. They are currently in fifth with a 3-4-1 record. They are the only team that has played all their games in conference and are on the sideline as the rest of the league fights it out. Their battle for 5th is with Dubuque U who they tied 1-1 in Dubuque. Dubuque closes the season on the road against Buena Vista which will be the match that will likely decide who will be the last team in the conference tournament. A win by BV will, I believe, give them the 6th seed and leave Dubuque out for another year. A win by Dubuque and they will likely take the 5th seed playing at Simpson while Luther would get the 6th seed and either be traveling to Loras, or more likely, Central. A draw would give Dubuque 6th place and Luther fifth.

While all this is going down though, Cornell still has a slim outside shot at the conference tournament. In fact they'd be in better position then BV if not for some violations of IIAC rules, which I quote here: Conference penalty structure penalizes unsportsmanlike conduct that results in teams losing standing points based on cards received.

This will be a major downfall for Cornell if they happen to defeat Simpson on Sat. Coe has been eliminated from possibly making the tournament, and unless they pull off a miracle win at Loras, will go the entire season without a win, and 1 draw.

Here are my predicitions for the last weekend of the season conference games:
Coe vs. Loras - Loras wins this one going away and clinches second.
Dubuque vs Buena Vista - This one ends in a draw as that's the main thing BV knows, and it will come back to haunt them here as Dubuque qualifies for the post season for the first time.
Central vs Wartburg - As much as I want Central to win this one, Wartburg is gonna go into the tournament undefeated in conference play, but it will be close, 1-0 to the Knights
Simpson vs Cornell - Cornell needs this for their conference hopes to stay alive, but I don't see that happening, Simpson gets the win here.

The conference tournament this year will be held at the winner of the women's regular season champion, which looks to be Simpson. Loras had a rough non-conference schedule that saw them go 2-6-1 outside the conference. Loras has though wrapped up a bye along with Simpson, and still have a chance to take first if Simpson stumbles. Luther has clinched either 3rd or 4th depending on Wartburg's result against Central at home. Coe and Dubuque are fighting for the last spot in the conference tournament, with Dubuque having the inside lane as Coe has to go play at Loras while Dubuque plays BV who has not won a game in conference this season. Central and BV have both been eliminated from play.

Also of note, Clint Schreiber
of my alma mater, Central, was named to the team of the week. See the rest of the team here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

starting over

So I'm starting over with this whole Soccer blog thing. Last time I kinda trailed off and got away from it and more towards my myspace blog. Well now I'm gonna try and seperate the 2, making this my more soccer specific blog. So let's get started...

Tonight I am gonna touch on the Wizards end of season awards.

Here is the link to the Wizards site that gives the awards.

MVP: Jose Burciaga Jr. - No real surprise here, Jose was second on the team in goals with 8, and tied for first on assists(8) with Sasha Victorine. While Jose's defensive capabilities are called into question many a times, you can not deny the affect that he had with the team this year. You can't really look at any of the other players on the Wizards roster and say that they were more important then Jose. The only one that even comes close in my opinion is Nick Garcia, but you can't pick him over Jose, especially with his offensive output this season, that brought on 4 game winning goals, while no other Wizard had more then 1 this season.

Golden Boot: Scott Sealy - 10 goals in league play, for Scott Sealy, 1 more then his total last season in league gets him this award. Scott actually scored 11 goals this season, as he also had the game winner in the USOC match against the Des Moines Menace.

Defender of the Year: Nick Garcia - For the second year in a row, Nick takes home the teams defender of the year. Also for the second year in a row, he's overlooked for the league defender of the year while teammates of his are nominated for the award. Last year while Nick won team defender of the year, Jimmy Conrad won league defender of the year. This year, Nick again won the award while Jimmy and Jose were both nominated for the league award. Has Nick's early reputation as a bit of a hack and physical defender blackballed him from this by coaches and GMs in the league? Overall in my opinion, Nick is one of, if not the best man marking defenders in the league, if not for his size, he'd be a national team central defender.

Humanitarian of the Year: Bo Oshoniyi - Bo knows being a Humanitarian. Bo supported Breast Cancer research by wearing a pink goalie jersey that was then auctioned off to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Greater Kansas City Affiliate. You can never fault a man for wanting to help raise awareness on a cause like this, even if it does involve the guy wearing pink.