Storms flooding the field, then a random power outage. You'd think MLS would take the hint, and realize that God didn't want the game played, but they made it to halftime. I told Beau Dure I predicted a meteorite strike.
A couple of lists floating around today. Bill Archer fave Andrew Hush has questions, which I will helpfully answer.
1. Five trophies. Superliga, Supporters' Shield, CONCACAF, Open Cup, MLS Cup. Realistically? Sure, they've had as many injury problems as any team in the league and they've played through admirably. They're actually deep, unlike the other thirteen teams in the league. CONCACAF will be the toughest. MLS Cup the biggest psychological hurdle, and I think the last, chronologically - can you IMAGINE if New England wins two or three of these, and still needs MLS Cup to avoid thinking of this season as yet another disappointment? But since the question was "challenge for," not necessarily "win" - of course.
2. No. It's just that the West is awful. The only reason the Royals have a better record than Toronto is that they've played two more games, and tied them both. Well, "for real" is a weird way to put it, but even with home field advantage, the playoff structure negates...oh, for "Real"! I get it! Didn't we ban "Real" puns the same time we put in the death penalty for "Much Adu!" headlines?
3. Yes - this one. Look, Abel Xavier is too old to contribute to a first division team, and he's not happy about it. Some guys retire gracefully, other guys have to be fired. It's not personal, AX, it's business. Even the guy the Galaxy dumped to make room for you, Tyrone Marshall, is still going more or less strong. If Ruud starts you every non-turf game because he likes you, the Galaxy lose or tie three out of four of those games because of your mistakes, and he gets fired. He'd rather keep his job than be your friend. The term for that is "coach." So he's venting. I take rejection badly, too.
4. Jesus H. Christ and his adorable pet beagle Floppy. There probably WILL be some more "incidents", partly because everyone's got their cell phones out hunting for one, partly because I'm not entirely sure Chivas USA has actually run Legion 1908 out of the Home Depot Center yet, and partly because I'm entirely sure that the NJSEA is going to get worse, not better, the rest of the way. (I have higher hopes for Columbus, mostly because they've GOT to be sick of the bad publicity by now.) The solution, to all of these "problems," is security appropriate with sporting events in the rest of the country. MLS will be the only league in the nation's history that will have "incidents" in Philadelphia blamed on soccer instead of Philadelphia sports fans, mark my words. You'd think the soccer press would know better, but you'd be blissfully wrong.
5. Is Druggie Dimson guest-writing this column?
6. Very valid question, but the simultaneous complaints about the worthlessness of the All-Star Game and the worthlessness of the choices to that team are sort of Woody Allen "and the portions are so small!" to me. You'd rather have great players called to a worthless game? Am I missing something?
7. No. The Red Bulls are playing both Guadalajara and Barcelona in friendlies this season. A Toronto All-Star Game didn't need Barcelona or Guadalajara. They could have sold it out with Green Eggs and Ham, let alone West Ham. They apparently didn't think of an even cheaper alternative than Wham! UK, though, which I'll talk about tomorrow unless I forget.
8. ....Adu was a disappointment in Benfica? Huh. Well, he's been playing well for the United States, that's all I care about.
10. Natasha Kai.
Meanwhile, Greg Lalas lists our responsibilities.
1. Okay, Greg Lalas has been involved in the sport in a much deeper level than I have, but I'm not at all sure about this:
No, you didn't. You were still a fan, you just followed from the agate type. Or you subscribed to Soccer America and got updated once a month. Or you watched "Soccer Made In Germany." Or, since it's 30 years ago, you watched the Cosmos. Twenty years ago, you certainly didn't watch your local team, because they didn't exist, or they played indoors. You might conceivably have dragged yourself out to see the local amateur club, or your local college team, but you were a fan of whichever English, Italian, Spanish, Mexican or German team you first heard of. The biggest attendance dog in USL-2 right now would have been the king of the APSL or the 80's ASL. I think support of a local club is perhaps at an all-time high, right this second - and will trend upward as MLS and USL expands.
2. Well, yeah, you SHOULD buy Direct Kick and all that, but if we're talking about doing the bare minimum, you're fine watching the World Cup. It would be nice for SUM if MLS made money on its own, but as an extended ad for the World Cup, it's doing fine.
3. Yes, absolutely, but:
Hell, it wasn't that long ago when 1950 was a weird, mythical event even among US fans. Today we still know comparatively little about 1930, for example, and the Federation who sent them still exists. I have hopes that down the road we'll discover more actual artifacts and history from the 1920's ASL, but that's going to take some time and a lot of luck.
5. If soccer becomes truly popular, ticket prices get jacked up to NFL levels, the players turn into the kind of idiot primadonnas other sports have to suffer through, and the average level of discourse on the sport falls to the Colin Cowherd level. The trade-off is of course more success, tradition and longevity for the teams and players we love, but it's pointless to pretend there won't be a trade-off. David Beckham heralds the end of the golden age of the MLS underground fan, where you could just stroll up to an MLS player and he'd be thrilled you recognized him (usually). How many fans in history can say that?
6. Jesus H. Christ and his pet turtle Shelly. Maybe it's just the Los Angeles in me talking, but the masses around here are the ones who couldn't wait to rip the Laker flags off their cars somewhere around 8:00 pm local time June 17th. Do I *have* to teach them how to be a fan? Because I'm not sure it can be done.
7. Okay, I saw the Iran-US game at the Cock 'n Bull, and most of the fans there were cheering for Iran. Man, am I still bitter about that. Lucky Baldwin's in 2002 was a different story.
8. Ha ha, Chinaglia's a criminal.
9. Because many different schools played many different codes of "football" in the nineteenth century, just saying "football" didn't actually make it clear what game you were playing. After all, the word meant a game played on foot, not necessarily with feet. One day in Victorian times, a student was taking a ball to the fields, and he was asked by his friends whether he was going to play "rugger" - meaning, the game of football played under rules codified at Rugby. But he was actually going to play "association" football, the game codified by the FA. So, the student, whose name is regrettably lost to history, decided that "association football" was too clumsy to say, so he replied "No, I'm going to play ASSBALL."
I will keep telling this joke until the glorious day when no one ever brings up the football/soccer discussion ever again.
10. I would go out and play, but I just typed out a huge wall of text, and I'm EXHAUSTED.