MLS Week 29 - Boot to the Head

TNFtermath: Last night, for the first and last time, I was happy to see Dema Kovalenko enter a game. It was pretty much pro wrestling at that point - Clint Mathis bladed and had to leave, Pietravallo was getting the heel heat, and Kovalenko was there to dish out a little turf justice.

The one guy he actually nailed was Ubiparipovic. Which I LOVED. "That's for nearly killing me last year, Schumacher!" he should have said. Kovalenko still doesn't belong in a civilized league - even MLS - but at least for one game he made me laugh.

Because he's a clown.

What I loved even more than the Dema's goofery was the reaction of the New York Red Bulls after Pietravallo was red-carded. There was Mathis, bleeding like the Black Knight, and there were the Bullies, surrounding Terry Vaughn and gibbering like a pack of howler monkeys. It's gratifying to see that week after week after week after week of Paul Tamberino and Brian Hall emphasizing the importance of referees taking control of the game and preventing ridiculous demonstrations by players and coaches has had roughly the same effect as a bed-ridden neutrino. Not that Vaughn has been free from controversy this year, but the idea of being lectured on correct calls by the likes of Kevin Goldthwaite is hilarious to the levels of mid-90's observational stand-up comedy.

This is much more reassuring to the Bread Rolls and Saltines than the actual MLS standings, so last night was pretty much sound and fury. Nice stadium, though. The bagpiper was cool, but should slow down.

After winning the Superliga, the Revs have flunked out of the Open Cup, the Champions Cup, and last week, the Supporters Shield. They've got some time to kill before MLS playoffs, for which they already have a stirring ad campaign going. You don't actually want to go into the playoffs flat, but it's not the worst thing possible - the Quakes in 2003 were garbage in the last month of the season, and that turned out fine. Of course, San Jose that year was a lot better than the rest of the division, and New England isn't anymore. Humiliatingly for Kansas City, they are still locked in a struggle with the fourth-place team in the West for a playoff spot. Oh, and also DC United and Toronto, but they should be over that humiliation already. If the Wizards come out flat for this one, they deserve what they get. Wizards, 2-1.

If Toronto loses, they still have six chances in a thousand to make the playoffs. You'd think the playoff stretch wouldn't be the perfect time for a coach to come out and say, in so many words, "We need a quality player, because these guys can't do the job, otherwise I quit," especially after an important road win, but that's why John Carver is a genius. Did someone tell Coach that a DP would probably add to the list of international absences he's been complaining about? Says here Carlos Ruiz will be missing - how can they tell? Dallas, 3-0.

Okay, look. I'm not an unbiased source when it comes to CUSA, but enough already. You really looked at these guys in their alleged hot streak? Toronto's Greg Sutton gives them a win. Then Toronto has to call in Rick Titus and Tim Regan to even field a team. Then New England smacks the crap out of them. Then Borchers and Rimando run into each other. Sasha Victorine wreaks his revenge on the team that traded him. And last week, CUSA got to join the hyenas in feasting on DC United's corpse. Fifteen of the least impressive points in the history of the league. These guys aren't going any farther in the playoffs this year than they did last year. San Jose, 2-0.

One of the rivalries in the league that doesn't have a silly trophy to validate it. That, and the legion of bitter baseball fans looking for something to cheer them up, is the only thing that makes this game at all interesting. The Fire are playing for the right to play New England second in the playoffs, or something. The Crew are playing on the off chance Houston finishes the season 5-0. That, and the two best keepers in the league, and two hard-nosed coaches...this one screams out 0-0. Sorry, fans.

All credit and congratulations to DC United for the brave showing at Saprissa. There's always been a lot of pride in that team, and there always will. Dynamo, 6-0.

What's with all these games on Sunday? Monday isn't a real holiday. The last time the Galaxy had neither Beckham nor Donovan, they played actually sort of all right against Salt Lake. Isn't that interesting? Rapids, 6-0.