After The Smoke Clears – FC Dallas 4, Portland Timbers 1

after the smoke clears

Usually, when we do After The Smoke Clears, we try to cover a variety of points, hitting the key things to take away from the game.

Today, though, we think there is one big point that overshadows all others. In large part, the victory over Portland MAY indicate a very large turning point for the team.

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Sixteen Years Is A Long Time – A Rememberance of the FIFA Womens World Cup Final in 1999

99final

I was there, in the Rose Bowl, when the US won their second World Cup trophy. In many ways, it was as glorious as you imagine it might have been. Close to 100,000 watching the US Women’s National Team, most cheering for the home team, in a sports spectacle that has not been equaled in women’s sports – at least in terms of a live event.

I remember the heat – it was definitely not “cool” in Southern California that day. I remember the crowds – crazy amounts of people. I remember every moment of the game, rewatching it every few years just to refresh the memory. Kristine Lilly…. I thought my heart would not start beating again…

But as we sit here awaiting another potential championship – but if nothing else, another fantastic women’s sports spectacle – I think of all the things that have changed since then. Sixteen years is a long time. Continue reading

The Original MLS Power Rankings – June 30, 2015

MLS power rankings-1

You know, it gets so tempting to make broad generalizations about East v. West some times. And when you look at the bottom of the league, you do have three clear poor teams in the East rather than just one in the West, but you also then have weeks like last week where the East seemed to win every matchup with the West. Well, other than New England….

But with Seattle in a tailspin, and our lack of confidence in Vancouver and hesitation with Sporting Kansas City, we still will not have a “Quality” grouping, although the addition of Steven Gerrard to a Galaxy side that has been pretty solid of late might give us something to think about.

As a reminder, we list the team’s Pace number (against the barometer that teams win at home and tie on the road) and points per game average after their name as those are some key statistics we look at to wash out scheduling anomalies such as number of games or imbalance between home and away matches. Continue reading

Texas Derby – What Is At Stake?

ElCapitanLiveEl Capitan, of course. But for both teams, this represents a real key game before the slog that both teams will have to fight through during the Gold Cup, with both teams looking to be missing a number of players for much of July.

But also, oh my how the fortunes have changed between the teams since Dallas took Houston to the woodshed in their first meeting of the year. Since then, both have played seven matches. Dallas had 2 of 7 at home whereas Houston had four. As we have consistently seen in MLS, home field matters (we use The Pace in our Power Rankings for a reason), so to a degree, the resulting change in results for both teams has been somewhat predictable. Continue reading

The Original MLS Power Rankings

MLS power rankings-1In a bit of a short week, there was some movement although nothing earth shattering.

Quality

1 (1) Seattle Sounders (1.93, -1). Took care of business against a struggling Dallas side, although their place was severely impaired long term with the injury to Martins and the actions of Dempsey in the US Open Cup on Tuesday.

2 (2) Sporting Kansas City (1.71, -6). No game gave us no reason to move them, and no one behind them justified moving up. Continue reading

The Original MLS Power Rankings – June 9, 2015

MLS power rankings-1

There has been some real movement this week. Some teams like Sporting continue their hot streak and with consistent performance, move up. Others, not so much. It feels like this year is much more competitive than it has been in years past, especially this early, especially relative to 3-5 years ago.

For a reminder of the games, see our Around the League report from earlier this week. We also added a new group as we are starting to see a little more stratification. Continue reading

Blatter Resigns – But What Does It Mean?

Photo courtesy: Julian Lim
Photo courtesy: Julian Lim

The other shoe finally dropped, in many ways a lot sooner than many expected, but today, Sepp Blatter announced he would step down as the FIFA President, mere days after he won re-election last Friday.

But as with many things, all may not be as it seems. A new election cannot be held until December at the earliest and possibly as far back as March of 2016, and Blatter said he would stay in office until a successor is voted in. Continue reading

The Original MLS Power Rankings – June 2, 2015

MLS power rankings-1

And the bottom simply could not keep up the pace, with most teams falling back into their old roles. Seattle continues to separate itself from the pack and, for the most part, the stratification is settling in. Sporting and Portland have the hot hand right now. Continue reading

FBI and Swiss Officials Investigating FIFA – What We Know and What We Don’t

Photo courtesy: Julian Lim
Photo courtesy: Julian Lim

Huge news broke late Tuesday and throughout the day Wednesday – the FBI and Swiss investigators are going after FIFA. This is a massive story with far reaching implications for so many. This early on, it is probably worth triaging things a bit – what do we know and what do we not know at this time?

Please note that an afternoon update has been added at the bottom of the page, including some raw articles from earlier today. Continue reading

The Original MLS Power Rankings – May 26, 2015

MLS power rankings-1

Another week in the books, and another set of data. But what does it all mean? Well, following last week’s trends, you have a lot of bad teams showing that maybe they were not as bad as their results indicated – or they were figuring out things they needed to figure out to be better – and the good teams were showing that maybe they were not as good as they seemed.

A few things are for sure – Seattle is still the class of the league, but even they are not infallible.  Another team, D.C. United, is showing itself to be pretty good and made a strong move, and Sporting Kansas City is finally showing the quality we expected from them earlier in the year.

Well, that and NYCFC is just bad. So bad that they now reside as the only team in the bottom grouping. Continue reading