MLS First Kick 2011, Seattle Sounders Vs. Los Angeles Galaxy: Apparently, There Was Soccer Played Yesterday

Posted In Match Previews and Reviews - By Kevin McCauley On Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 With 2 Comments

Okay, so let’s not try to freak out. Admittedly, I had to calm myself down a bit when last night’s game between the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy ended. I had a strong desire to rip into both teams and bitch about the quality of play. Instead, I decided to go to bed. That was a really good decision.

I woke up to see people saying that LA did a great job of keeping possession and that Erik Friburg showed a lot of promise. What I saw last night was Los Angeles playing a direct and slightly disjointed game, while Friburg made the error that led to the goal. These are not encouraging things. Then I remembered…this is MLS. It’s a different ballgame. It’s totally its own thing. And it takes some serious getting used to.

I guess Los Angeles kept the ball about as well as we could expect an MLS team to keep the ball in their first game, especially since they were playing without large or technically adept forwards. Juninho was pretty good and Birchall was Birchall, but Donovan and Beckham left something to be desired. Donovan looked exceptionally rusty, while Becks was panting after 35 minutes. Obviously, these two things will be fixed with time.

On the Friburg front, he’s to blame for the goal, but I guess he had a decent first game otherwise. He looks like a pretty solid passer. He had a couple of decent shots. Still, I’m not entirely sure what his role is, and I’m not entirely sure that Sigi Schmid gave him one besides “central midfielder.” There’s a distinct possibility that I’m completely full of crap in this regard, but I wasn’t able to figure out what his role was outside of knowing how to pass the ball. Regardless, he certainly plays the generic not really doing anything central midfield role a hell of a lot better than Nathan Sturgis ever did, so that’s something.

So, I’m being a Negative Nancy. I know. This is me calmed down, actually. If I wrote right after the game, it would have been a rant about how much the game sucked as a whole. But then I went to bed, chilled out, and thought about what was going on. First of all, none of these guys have played in front of a crowd like that or in a competitive game for about five months. They were probably a little jacked. Second, wet field turf + Jabulani = fail. There’s only so much the players can do about that. Third, I’m conditioned to the best of the best.

Major League Soccer is not an elite league in Europe, but it’s also not crap. A couple hours before this game, I watched Manchester United play Marseille, in a game where Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs looked like magicians at times. My standard for “good” should not be “as good as Wayne Rooney,” especially in the first match of the season. Fredy Montero is rusty and O’Brien White is just a kid who is beginning his career. They aren’t overrated and they’ll probably be fine in a month. They need to warm up, and I need to condition myself to MLS again.

So, sorry there’s not more hard-hitting stuff in here. I’ll be doing a lot of tactical analysis and such this season. I’m just not conditioned to MLS yet, nor are the players anywhere near shaking off all of the rust. Both of these teams will get better, and I need to get over myself. SSFC fans, don’t hit that panic button yet. You’ll be fine. Even without Nkufo.

About Kevin McCauley - Kevin McCauley is the Editor in Chief of The Allocation Order. He is also the managing editor at World Soccer Reader and a contributor on multiple levels to SBNation

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  1. rob c. says:

    i watch plenty of European soccer, but it’s not so much the disparity in quality on display—decent sides like Villa and Fulham and Blackburn have contested games every bit as unattractively.

    What made it hard to watch was that both these teams looked like last year’s Revs. i don’t mean that as a compliment. On the other hand, maybe it bodes well for Sunday’s game…

  2. Dave Sneddon says:

    I hear ya. I watched the Bayern/Inter match earlier in the day and it was tough to watch the Galaxy/Sounders game at first. What I took from it was yes, the play just isn’t on the same level, yes, the pitch was atrocious, yes, the sounders’ uniform comes with a “splat boom pow” sound effect, yet the optimism for better things to come was definitely there. No doubt the MLS is still very much a journeyman’s league but I feel it’s just about to turn a corner…you can sense that it’s almost about to reach that moment where all of a sudden it’s being talked about on a much bigger scale. Social media and MLS are starting to come together more and more. I hear whispers of MLS teams and players at work and play that I haven’t heard before…the excitement is starting to build. Now the quality of play has to do it’s best to keep up with that excitement.

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