By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Apr 24, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday's edition, we question whether or not an MLS club has really made a "very huge progression," talk about the red cards scenario RSL faced last Saturday, and the disparity when you compare games played in Major League Soccer.
Which MLS team has made a “very huge progression” from its form last season?
That would be Toronto FC, according to its coach Aron Winter. Everyone has a right to be frustrated, and Toronto is perhaps the most unlucky team in the League this season, but, thanks to the 'competitive balance' of the Eastern Conference, TFC is only 8 points out of the playoffs.
Real Salt Lake has played 224 games in MLS, how many times have they had two players ejected?
One. Saturday evening, RSL had Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave shown red cards during San Jose's 3-1 win.
Despite the look on the face of RSL Coach Jason Kreis when Espindola was sent off, Espindola's two-footed tackle on Sam Cronin of San Jose deserved a red. If I'm being fair, San Jose's Martin Chavez probably deserved to be suspended for more than one game for his similar challenge on the Red Bulls' Roy Millar during their recent game in New Jersey.
But the second red card, shown to Jamison Olave for fouling Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart, was borderline at best. What San Jose coach Frank Yallop has to be aware of is that Lenhart's style of play is eventually a zero-sum game. At some point, the referees, other teams, and the MLS Disciplinary Committee are going come down hard on Lenhart. And given how competitive the Western Conference is, you don't want to give the referees a reason to not give your team the benefit of the doubt.
With one game left, is Robbie Findley's Nottingham Forest safe?
Yes. With 47 points and a goal difference of -17 they are clear of the relegation zone (Portsmouth, Coventy, and Doncaster are going down to League One) but Forest can look back at a season that started in early August with at least the satisfaction of survival in the Championship and a summer to build. Findley saw action this weekend, coming on in the first half of Forest's 2-1 defeat at Hull City. Findley has played in 23 games and scored three goals for Forest.
Robbie Rogers' Leeds United are also safe and could finish in the Top 10 if everything breaks right for them in their final game.
Did Columbus coach Robert Warzycha's line-up tinkering work?
In some ways, yes. Eddie Gaven scored twice (Columbus has only scored six goals all season, so this qualifies as an outburst) and the Crew looked better in the attack. Giving up the late equalizer to a less-than-convincing Houston team, however, put a huge damper on what could have been an evening to build on. Having Danny O'Rourke back also made a huge difference for the Crew.
Not to harp on the situation in Columbus, but the announced attendance was 10,479. Weather, spring football, lackluster opponent in
Why is it still far-too-early to make a lot of big pronouncements about how the season is going?
Seattle has three games in hand on Salt Lake. The Galaxy have two games in hand on Salt Lake. If Toronto wins three in a row, they would be in or very close to the playoffs.
As amusing as Power Rankings and the like are, let's not get too caught up in them until every team in the League has played 10 games.