By Tony Edwards – San Jose, CA (Apr 19, 2012) US Soccer Players – It's Thursday, and Tony joins Robert Warzycha in looking for answers in Columbus, details Kansas City's impressive defense, and offers no excuses for MLS attendance.
What is Coach Robert Warzycha doing to shake up the Columbus attack?
Trying new combinations, in training at least. Tony Tchani or Eddie Gaven at attacking midfield? Kirk Urso at left wing? Why not? When you've only scored 4 goals in five games, some experimenting might be in order. Is this evidence that panic has set in already? Perhaps, but six points from five games is still enough for 6th in the East and they're tied on points and goal differential with 5th-place New England who've played six games to the Crew's five. Speaking of New England….
Should you be late getting to a Revolution game?
Not if you want to see New England score. So far, the Revolution have scored 4 goals in the first 15 minutes of games, but only one goal afterward. Starting the game strong is not New England's problem.
How many shots has Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen faced in seven games this season?
16, and he's saved 14 of those shots. How good has the Sporting defense been? On Thursday, the Whitecaps became the first team to put seven shots on goal against Kansas City. Only New England in Week 2 is close to that, finishing with six. In the other five games? Nielsen needed two saves. What this isn't good for is the saves leaderboard. Nielsen is 14th. Where he's first is in save percentage for any keeper that's played more than one game. His 88% is impressive, but four other MLS keepers are also at 80% are better.
Which is the latest team to open up a dedicated practice/training facility?
The Portland Timbers. Located in Beaverton, the facility has a 6,000 square foot indoor facility, and grass and field turf fields. The advantage and comfort of having one place to practice can't be overstated. Neither can a first-class facility, something currently left out of the discussions surrounding a stadium for DC United. Their current practice facility are fields located in one of the RFK Stadium parking lots.
MLS has rightly trumpeted the attendance in Seattle and Montreal, among others, but how many teams are averaging less than 15,000 per game this season?
While the League overall is averaging a healthy 19,490 so far, five teams (New England, Chivas USA, Colorado, Chicago, and Columbus) are averaging less than 15,000. New England and Chivas USA are averaging less than 12,000. As noted in the comments, San Jose is technically in the sub-12k category but their stadium capacity is under 12,000.
Whether you expect the Kansas City phenomenon to continue or not (both in playing and attendance, where they are averaging more than 18,600), that franchise has shown how to revitalize a market. Every market is different, but Kansas City has shown that if the League is going to live up to their 'Major League' tag, there can't be excuses.