Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things to take away from Week 2:
Two wins in two games so far, after Backe's bunch shut off the music on Seattle's house party over the weekend. Remember, teams didn't often come to Qwest and take all the points last year; it happened just twice in the Sounders' expansion season.
The big takeaway here is that New York is doing it with essentially the same personnel that stumbled and bumbled around so flaccidly a year ago, flirting with league marks for worst team ever.
The starters in Saturday's 1-0 win -- in the best match of the weekend, it should be said, a lively contest that had lots of pop right from launch -- included eight players from last year's team, plus one rookie.
(About that rookie, center back
Of the new guys, left back
Useful as Lindpere appears, two new players plus a rookie draft pick is hardly a complete team makeover. So check the box next to "impressive," in the early reviews of how Backe has reinvented this team without starting over.
Oh, and score one for foreign managers, who have certainly fiddled and diddled with MLS sides before but rarely with such favorable results.
You know what he's got? Confidence. Easter baskets full it. And believe me, that means a lot.
I think that's what we have going at New York. By keeping things simple and not asking players to do things they can't, the individuals look like they have found comfort zones. Having one system and being highly organized helps, too.
Managers tell players all the time not to complicate things. Play simple. Pass and move. And yet, these same managers can sometimes be masters of over-complication. That's how it was under former manager
Backe's team is playing a straight 4-4-2, with Lindpere and the best available candidate lining up side-by-side in the middle. Aside from one midfield change, he used the same lineup between the opening win over Chicago and Saturday's quality win at Qwest. (And much the same lineup in the Red Bull's final preseason friendly, too.)
It's a long season, and the losses and harder times are surely out there.
Can you blame them?
United looked like a side on a mission for a half against visiting New England on Saturday. New signing
But the inability to turn all the possession into a lead seemed to eat away at United. As the home team emerged after intermission, still in a scoreless dogfight, the men of RFK apparently left their confidence back in the locker room. After all, they probably didn't have much to start with, not after finishing on the business end of that 4-0 ambush at Kansas City the week before.
"I thought we moved the ball well, I thought we created chances," United coach
He also tried to explain the seemingly inexplicable: how a team that's yet to score a goal could forget to insert the goal-scorer it brought in during the offseason.
We've heard the word on heralded Australian forward
Casey did connect on a penalty kick, and maybe that will get him going. But that's about all Colorado manager
It almost looks as if Casey is playing hurt at the moment -- or perhaps afraid to get hurt. It does happen, where performers on the World Cup bubble start thinking too much about what's potentially at stake. The trouble for Casey is this: He doesn't have that luxury. He is hardly a lock for a spot on Bradley's final 23; he still needs to show more.
On the other hand, Casey is a fellow who depends on service.
It will be interesting to see if he can brush some of the "dull" off Casey's kit. Bradley will be interested, too.