Man, I wish I wasn't behind on the referee reports on ussoccer.com, and I wish they weren't a week behind or more, either, because it's almost impossible to make sense of this year's MLS action without them.
The other bit of context you need for the Galaxy game this past Saturday is in this report - I'm not gonna call this "soccer press cesspool," because this is obviously someone trying to be extremely fair-minded and objective. Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News on the Galaxy's totally deserved win against Kansas City:
Coming from Victorine, that's the equivalent of Tommy Lasorda's opinion of Kingman's performance.
Oh, and apropos of nothing, this quote was awesome:
Sportsmanship is for dummies.
Hm, well, Wolf sure isn't one of these LA Lakers reporters that believe the home team can do no wrong. He only gave one sentence to Beckham's goal. He did note in passing that the Galaxy is in first place for the first time since 2005 (which I actually had trouble believing, since LA was a butt-ugly fourth place that year before the postseason - but they did get off to a good start that year, aside from the opening game in Columbus).
Perhaps the LA Times would be a little more celebratory - just kidding, it's Grahame L. Jones, who makes Wolf look like the late Harry Caray:
Then we get to OBTW Beckham, first place, etc.
Did the Galaxy FO serve dead rat to the press box on Saturday night? That's a lot of hate.
"Gee, Dan, maybe they have a point?" Nuh uh - I checked the highlights at MLSnet, and so can you (if link doesn't work, then type in "MLSnet.com" and enjoy your merry adventures). Wahl clearly tripped Donovan, and Buddle wasn't "obviously" offside.
Why does nobody believe we're beautiful and popular? (Now that the Galaxy are back in first, we're "we" again. I never doubted you, Green and - er, I mean, Blue and Gold! Mm-wah!) I don't think it's because of Beckham. It isn't just that he's hyped up and popular beyond the dreams of the MLS mean - so are Donovan, Gullit, Lalas, and Cobi Jones. Carlos Ruiz is going to pop back onto the radar tonight, too. It's a remarkably easy team to despise, and seeing them - sorry, us - in first place is going to be quite a pill for the rest of the league. And if the local press is anything to go by, familiarity breeds contempt.
The other thing is, the Galaxy are so far the league's only media-proof team. Soccer media isn't completely irrelevant to the marketing and publicity of the Galaxy this year...but it's close. Abel Xavier gets on TMZ because of his hair and his teammate, and that's more television exposure than anyone involved in the league except Ben Olsen's kid in the Beckham shirt.
And it's going to get a lot worse if the Galaxy, God save us win, a trophy. I could sit here and say that David Beckham hoisting the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup would be the best thing that's happened to that tournament since Billy Gonsalves...except he's not playing tonight. I could say the same about the Supporters Shield...except Columbus, Chicago and New England would have to take a couple or three months off, and Toronto would have to have points docked for excess streamers. Then there's MLS Cup - which, since LA is hosting, the Galaxy have zero chance of appearing in.
But it's a damned goofy league this year, and as of this week your frontrunners for the MLS MVP are Donovan, Beckham, and Cootiemac Blanco - three players the vast majority of the league would sooner see torn apart by ants.
So speaking of the refereeing. Michael Kennedy and his team were calling the game exactly, precisely as the Powers That Are have been demanding. Lots and lots and lots and lots of cheap shots in the midfield, slow or absent offside flags, and veering towards the offense in the penalty areas. Now, we have to wait a week or so to see if any of the local press complaints are addressed, but based on form, I think Paul 'n Hall are going to support Kennedy. I think this is a bad thing, as huge parts of the game were simply midfield demolition derby. If the games keep being called like this, you will see diving, a whole bunch of it - simply from self-defense.
Speaking of Beckham's goal - wasn't that neat? I don't know if people are going to give an empty net Goal of the Week, let alone Goal of the Year, but that made for some fine television. And, as Voros pointed out in Bill's thread, we have a league full of guys who miss empty nets from seven yards out, so belittle Beckham's long distance shot at peril of mockery.
I'd like to say I'm going to the Open Cup game tonight, but I'm tutoring a ten-year-old in math. Go read Josh, he'll have you covered.