I know MLS isn’t everybody’s thing. But even those not down with MLS might want to check out some of this weekend’s proceedings, especially as they shake off the Gold Cup hangover.
I’m particularly interested in seeing how Dwayne De Rosario performs with D.C. United in his first run-out since the big trade. Remember, this guy was threatening to hold out for a bigger chunk of change just a few months ago. Since then he’s been shipped away twice, going to New York and now down the coast to RFK. “De Ro” still has some value, but two clubs have decided he’s just not a good fit, or perhaps not a good value.
De Rosario has always been something of a ‘tweener, not really a striker but not really a midfielder, not in some setups, anyway. It looks like United manager Ben Olsen may play De Rosario at the top of a midfield diamond, probably ahead of Clyde Simms. This is the same position that De Rosario occupied for all those successful years in Houston. Of course, he wasn’t 33 then as he is now. So, it will be fun to see if De Ro can make this one work.
D.C. United hosts Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel.
I think the man on the other end of this week’s surprising trade, Dax McCarty, will fit in well at his new Red Bull Arena address. If you look at Hans Backe’s players, he obviously prefers technical ability over edgy tacklers. And that fits McCarty’s style. He’s good in tight spaces and quite adept at creating space for himself through subtle movement, body positioning and astute first touches.
Much more ahead ...
McCarty is a handy two-way midfielder, but hardly a bruising enforcer and not exactly a creator. Thing is, Thierry Henry is doing so much of the playmaking in New York, frequently working back into the midfield to claim possession and move the attack forward, that McCarty won’t need to supply much of it.
I can’t say if McCarty will start this week when Backe’s boys travel to San Jose, but either way kickoff is 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Monday night, Seattle travels down the coast to meet Los Angeles in a July 4 special (10:30 ET, ESPN2). The SigiSounders have been on top of things lately, climbing in the West. But they struggle against Los Angeles, just 1-5-1 overall in the series (including playoffs). That mark includes the Galaxy’s 1-0 win earlier this year at Qwest Field, which has since been renamed. (In a better world, a stadium is a stadium. It gets a name and that’s it. It doesn’t change according to the high bidder. Agree? Disagree?)
Any-who, the Sounders are promising to pack extra bags or motivation for this one, hoping to reverse the trend.
There are other matches scattered throughout the long holiday weekend in MLS Round 16 – those are just the ones I’m particularly eager to check out.