Everything Old is New Again

Someone sent me a link to this video which is titled "Weird Penalty Kick"

[youtube]36y1Gdi2KC8[/youtube]

BROWSING SOME OF THE COMMENTS it's clear that either I'm getting really old or a lot of people weren't paying attention back in the '90's.

Surely most of you recognize this as the old "MLS Shootout" which the league used back in the early days when they were certain that American sports mentality was not conducive to leaving games tied.

The purists (read: "snobs") of course objected to it, just as they object to anything MLS does that isn't a slavish copy of how things are done in Europe. MLS dropped it a couple years in, apparently due to a realization that rather than appealing to non-soccer fans, what is was mostly doing was turning off the existing soccer fans.

What a lot of people didn't understand was that it wasn't an MLS creation. They simply adopted it from the old NASL format; this is from the 1981 NASL Championship between the Cosmos and the Chicago Sting:

[youtube]wg2CpWD2jpo[/youtube]

(Some of you only know Chinaglia as a grouchy, stubborn old guy when, in fact, he was once a grouchy, stubborn young guy too)

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought it was kind of fun. They still do this at some tournaments in the US and the participants, most of whom have never done it before, don't seem to have much difficulty figuring it out. The PK has become, frankly, pretty boring, and in games where you really have to have a winner - like, oh I don't know, a recent MLS Championship - this sure is a lot more interesting.

I'm not suggesting that we go back to resolving every draw - call me one of the snobs; I'm OK with draws too - but there are some circumstances where, frankly, this is a lot more like actual soccer than the current carnival midway, three-balls-for-a-quarter method, which leaves everyone feeling just a bit cheated.