Do Those Shorts Make The Goalpost Look Fat?

I'm seriously down with some kind of cold/flu/bubonic plague kind of thing at the moment, so I watched last night's RedBulls/Royals match through a haze of those medications you take because you have to take something but which mostly just make you stupid.

(Go ahead, say it. I don't give a crap this morning)

As a result, I apparently missed the key tactical element of the game, the part where the goal standards pulled on Red Shorts and marked Movsisyan and Mathis out of the game.

I know this because today I keep seeing otherwise intelligent people saying that "the goalposts kept RSL from scoring".

See, I was so doped up that I thought the actual problem was that Salt Lake's attackers kept missing the goal.

After many years of devotion to the beautiful game, and countless hours of tatric contemplation, I realized that the deep, arcane, closely-held secret of winning soccer games is to put the ball into a goal which is eight yards wide more times than your opponent does.

So if you keep bouncing goals off the uprights, it's not that the uprights conspired against you but rather that you missed the big gaping hole you were supposed to put the ball into.

If Kobi Bryant clangs a few off the iron, the announcers don't tell us that "the rim kept Bryant from scoring". The word they use is "missed". If Manny Ramirez puts down the bong and hits the ball into the foul pole the papers aren't full of foul pole commentary the next morning, they just say that failed to hit a home run.

The goal is not, nor has it ever been, eight yards plus or minus six inches. It's eight yards. Put it in or go home.

I'm also hearing a lot about "gods" this morning. Hopefully that's not an indication that I'm as near death as it feels like I am (and with my luck, The Almighty is probably a TFC fan anyway).

But there seem to be these "soccer gods" who've smiled on NYRB and turned their backs on RSL, leading one to believe that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir isn't on the Lord's jukebox.

And then there's "finishing" that all-pupose explanation for why teams lose soccer games. I'm being told that RSK "outplayed" NYRB but just didn't finish". Well perhaps, but again, to me "unable to finish" seems much like another synonym for "missed".

On the other hand, I'm - strangely - seeing very little commentary whatever regarding the fact that neither the goalpost nor some ethereal being had anything to do with Jamison Olave making possibly the worst attempt at a tackle I've ever seen, which left him sitting on his ass while John Wloyniec headed for his keeper unfettered by anything like a defender.

This forced someone - I can't recall, Borchers perhaps - to have to slide out of the middle where he should have been covering Van den Bergh. Goal and, as it turned out, game to NYRB.

As for the other theme which I've already seen so much that my head is ready to explode - or maybe it's the drugs - yes, New York won the "Western Conference" title. Ha, ha, ho, ho, what a bunch of morons MLS is. Why any idiot knows that New York is on the East Coast, dontcha see, so what kind of bizarro league has them winning the West, ho, ho, ho.

Well, as a famous philosopher once said, "bite me".

MLS makes it possible for this to happen because otherwise a team with fewer points can and often will make it into the playoffs, as would have happened this year when 38 point Colorado would have otherwise taken the last spot over 39 point NYRB.

For a bunch of fans who constantly complain that the regular season doesn't mean anything, well, you can't have it both ways. Either the top eight teams, based on the all-important regular season, makes it to the playoffs or they don't.

In any case, here we are: an original, 1996 vintage MLS team which has never been to MLS Cup previously is going to win the Cup next Sunday. Altogether a hard result to argue with.

And for a Playoff Tournament that began three weeks ago with four of the gawd-awfullest games you've ever seen, this sure has gotten interesting.