First Kick Thoughts

So, how'd you enjoy First Kick 2009? I had a dinner out with friends instead, but the highlights I caught revealed few surprises. The Red Bulls back line is molasses and is going to rival the likes of DC, TFC, and LA for the most goals conceded this year. Osorio will dig up a Sudamericano "savior" in the summer, but he'll probably make things worse.

As for Seattle, the atmosphere looked great, but that's to be expected on opening night for an event so long hyped. Seattle's home kit looked predictably terrible, but it did match the grass nicely. So much so that the players often seemed camouflaged. Oh, and Fredy Montero may be an early Golden Boot candidate. The question becomes, how long does the honeymoon last? And what are the odds that they pull a TFC and travel poorly? What gaps will injuries reveal?

By the way, if you didn't catch the match, you could watch the replay on the new Match Center Video (formerly, now streaming at double the bitrate (800k) and providing 130 regular season games plus playoff matches. They've got my $19.95 already, and I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl this weekend.

In more MLS news, Portland is going to make it a trifecta from the Pacific Northwest joining MLS over the next few years. The question becomes, how long does the East-West conference structure survive? Or will we be back to the three-conference structure? Maybe, just maybe, the time approaches when the single-table holy grail is to be achieved.

But all these new teams dredge up the specter of the talent vacuum I discussed yesterday. Will journeyman MLSers and young, talented collegians continue to bypass the league, leaving it bereft of the domestic talent whose development used to be one of its stated goals? One prime example was on display in the UEFA Cup yesterday as Marcus Tracy finally took his Aalborg bow, and seemingly performed pretty well against Manchester City.

Good news for the national team. Not so much for MLS.

What do you think? Is Seattle the real deal? Is MLSNet's video offering the biggest steal in streaming sports media (beyond and Is MLS expanding too fast? Is there enough talent to pad the rosters? Happy to see Tracy have a good debut? Let's hear your comments below.


  1. It was a great kickoff to the season. Great crowd, spectacular play from Montero, fantastic saves from Keller...and the Red Bulls lost!

    Seattle looked good. With Lundberg healthy, that means they will be able to bring either Jaqua or Evans off the bench along with Zakuani. That's pretty good depth. Question will be how well their defense holds up, but they seemed pretty organized until the later minutes of the second half and they seem set to add some depth with Parke. Keller stepped up when he needed to. Quest Field will be a tough place to play.

    Red Bulls sucked. Their defense was horrible - but their two Central American signings were not available. Petke ran hot and cold. He made some key stops but was also torched by Montero a few times. Goldthwaite was awful but this was probably his last start. Hall played well when he came in at right back. Their midfield was useless. Ubi and Pietravello could not mark their men and Rojas was way too far back and always lost the ball. Richards tried to dribble everyone and always lost the ball. Angel couldn't do anything with the few touches he got. They missed Vandenbergh on the left side.

    We can beat these guys!!!!

  2. Here's hoping!

    As for Seattle . . . it was a promising start, but let's see what happens when they start hitting the road and/or pick up some injuries. The season is long.

  3. Seattle did look good, and Montero is the real deal. It will just be interesting to see what kind of Designated Player Llunberg will be. Will the team rally around him like Blanco? Or will he ruin Seattle's rapidly developing chemistry, like Gallardo.

    Did you catch the Houston/Columbus match? As good as Seattle looked, I still don't see them being among the elite teams in the league like those two.

  4. Let's wait to proclaim "real deal" status until we've had more than one game, shall we? Ljungberg's effect will indeed be interesting to watch. I liked what I saw of Zakuani, so I hope his return doesn't kill the kid's playing time.

    Yeah, I caught about a half-hour of the Crew-Dynamo game. I think part of the reason those teams looked so good was the continuity on their rosters. That sets them (and Chicago) apart at this point.