Week 11 Preview - for whom the bell curves (CUSA-RBNY R)

So, what I did last night was, I posted about how I thought CUSA were gonna beat Red Bull New York.

I thought the Western Conference team with all the injuries was going to win on the road.

And I didn't even have Power Rankings! to justify it.

Sure, recent results DID sorta suggest that the Farm Animal Cup would be more Goaty than Bully. And it wasn't like I'm dim enough to put money where my keyboard is. But 2008 MLS is the most insanely regression-to-the-mean league in world history, and that's not even taking into account that MLS Cup has been a Who's Hot at the Right Time Tournament since the millennium began. Bill, if you keep betting on this crap, you're gonna be as broke as [INSERT FUNNY METAPHOR HERE] [SERIOUSLY, REMEMBER TO DO THIS, DON'T JUST LEAVE THESE BRACKETED NOTES IN AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR HUMOR]

Oh, I might as well follow on Bill's thoughts on George "The Dream" Flowers. First, LA-based announcers such as, to pick a couple of examples at random, Max Bretos and Christian Miles, go into games looking for something, anything, to get real excited about. You know how Vin Scully lets the game tell the story? You'd think Scully worked on a different planet, rather than a different stadium. Point being, you give these guys a hook like that, and it's a given they're on the pirate ship chasing Peter Pan. Flores has one of the league's few legit nicknames, and while his story isn't as good as Fabrice Noel's or Abdul Thompson Conteh's or even Shep Messing's, it's an easy note to play in a 1-0 game against two teams stuck in park.

Thus chastened, let's look at what's coming up this weekend. Maybe it's because my team isn't already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs like they were last year at this time, but it seems like every week there's at least one really interesting matchup, usually two or three. And every week, there's a Goal of the Week that could be a legit Goal of the Year. I wonder if this is the week the games start getting crummy, as players look at their peers going to Europe for riches and glory while they're stuck in hellholes like Carson.

NEW ENGLAND v. DALLAS
Okay, this one will be lousy. MLS, or Kraft, or SUM, were smart enough to bring Brazil in to pump up what might have been the biggest dog attendance night of the year. As if New England sports fans have anything to be preoccupied about. MLS sums up the West for us: "FC Dallas are just two points off the pace in the West, despite just one victory in their last seven matches." Plus FCD are still looking for a coach - well, what's the hurry? They're not losing any ground in the playoff race. New England, 4-0, because the way Dallas should be more exciting than this and it's getting annoying.

COLUMBUS v. SAN JOSE
Ooh, this one doesn't look too good, either. I usually rely on Barros Schelotto to make potential dog shows like this interesting, because watching Frank and Sigi coach teams that pride themselves on their work ethic is otherwise Must Miss TV. San Jose teams throughout history have been the sort of inspirational, single-minded, dedicated clubs that refuse to let adversity get them down - boy, they're annoying. The Quakes played the Crew awfully tough in Estadio Buck Shaw. Nah, this'll still be one-sided - Columbus, 2-0.

CHICAGO v. DC UNITED
Okay, that's more like it. Eastern Conference teams who hate each other. A mismatch according to the standings. Probably a mismatch in real life. The Fire won in RFK earlier this year, one of the early indications that the United weren't as good as idiots like me thought they would be. MLS tells me that DC United has never won in Toyota Park. Boy, picking the three leaders in the East to win this week? I'm really taking chances. Fire, 2-0.

SALT LAKE v. KANSAS CITY
No, really, this one could be good. The green cement of Rice-Eccles, the hilariously unpredictable and inconsistent form of the two teams, and some of the best Argentine players west of the Missouri. Real Salt Lake is on a pace to go unbeaten at home, and miss the playoffs. Kansas City is on a pace to never play in front of more than six Wizards fans at a time. Somebody should watch this game, so why not us? I'm getting a 2-2 vibe from this one.

LOS ANGELES v. COLORADO
A battle for first place in the West, which is a fact that should keep Kinnear and Preki pacing the floors at night. The Rapids kinda sorta own the Galaxy these days, certainly since the 2005 playoffs. They match up really well against them, especially guys like Cummings and the Gomezes. The wild cards here are Donovan and Ruiz. Donovan is listed as "questionable" and "international absence," so I hope he starts and plays ninety minutes, just to see people's reactions. Ruiz has a score to settle with the Rapids, probably since his Dallas days but certainly since Ciaran O'Brien cheap-shotted him (to, it must be admitted, nearly universal acclamation from the rest of the league). It's either gonna be 3-3, or 3-0 Colorado. I'm thinking the former, though.

HOUSTON v. TORONTO
The Tories, on the road, without Guevara and Edu? Oh, baby, where can I bet on that?! Houston's a decent team again, and Toronto's still in the gray area between "good" and "better than they were." MLS tells me that Houston has never beaten Toronto, but that's obviously a misprint that will be corrected by Sunday evening or so. Dynamo, 3-1.