Beatdowns and Sendoffs: MLS Week 4

On the road for another day or so, but as long as I have this netbook and a free connection for a bit this morning, I thought I'd pass along possibly as easy a sendoff as you'll see this year, courtesy of the recently repatriated Gregg Berhalter:

Then again, referee Tim Weyland pretty much wore out a set of cards, issuing nine yellows (with disgraceful MLS thug Paulo Nagamura - who, having scored his yearly quota of two goals in week one has returned to what he does best: hacking - seeing two before the halfway and LA's Alan Gordon seeing yellow twice inside of three minutes after it) to go with Berhalter's straight red.

The Official Story here is that these are "bitter rivals" which may be true, I don't know. What I do know is that Chivas USA is pretty much nothing but a bunch of cheap goons and the Galaxy did pretty much the only thing you can do about it, which is hit them back. Last week, under referee Kevin "No Autopsy, No Foul" Stott, Chivas was allowed to play Whack-A-Mole with MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall's head, and the one that finally took him out of the game caused a concussion that, if the whispers we're hearing turn out to be accurate, may have ended his career forever.

The last elbow directed at Marshall's head was courtesy of Chivas Chief Thug Atiba Harris, who led MLS in fouls last year with 73 in 28 games. The guy in second, Dallas's Andre Rocha, was more than 20 fouls behind, and after four games this year Harris leads the league again. Even so, fouls are one thing; guys like Soumare, Hejduk, Olave, Saragosa and Garcia - to name a few of the more illustrious strategic foulers in the league - manage to stop you without sending you to the ICU.

In yesterday's slugfest Weyland called 31 fouls (and could have called about 31 more) with Harris leading the list with 6. Overall, the fouls were about even between the two teams, but LA has a right to defend themselves.

Apparently this garbage is what Preki wants from his team, since it's been going on - and getting worse - for a couple of years now, and if so he ought to be ashamed. If there's something MLS needs less than a soccer riot it's uncontrolled goonery.

Enough is enough.

In other Sendoff News, Kasey Keller was invited to hit the bricks after he rushed KC's Hercules Gomez, who was headed goalward,and blocked the ball with his hands just outside of the area. And since Seattle backup GK Chris Eylander is still nursing a knee, on came the Dreaded Scourge of Major League Soccer: the league "Emergency Keeper", someone named Ben Dragavon who was unable to keep Seattle's Unscored-Upon streak alive, coughing up the first goal in Sounder's history to Davy Arnaud.

(It should be noted here that while Seattle's 350 minute-long season-starting clean sheet is an impressive feat putting them in second place All Time, neither the team they knocked into third place yesterday - the 1999 Dallas Burn- or the team that still holds first place with 421 - NYRB in 2007 - were notably successful otherwise.)

Then we have Houston's Mike Chabala, who showed everyone how it's done by getting himself sent off for a hard tackle in the 93rd minute:

Said foul doing nothing much to make the Houston - New York match even remotely interesting, but if you're going to get shown the gate, the 93rd minute is an excellent time to choose.

Brian Ching worked his tail off but for naught as the return of Kei Kamara from his suspension for being an idiot added virtually nothing to the Dynamo attack other than a couple extra offside calls and a whole bunch of attitude.

Somewhere, Jar-Jar Ngwenye must be smiling.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake continued to kick tail at Rio Tinto, absolutely dominating DC United - the 2-1 score is wildly misleading - as the "Not Much Longer to be Underestimated" Javier Morales slotted home the winner on 80 minutes:

And in BEEMO, rookie GK Stefan Frei was nothing short of sensational and John Carver inserted rookie midfielder Sam Cronin as well, but a late equalizer from Pablo Ricchetti forced the Reds to settle for their second straight home draw.

Toronto only has one win so far, but has played two or three of the most entertaining games of the season thus far. Dallas, conversely, came in as the only team in MLS without a single point to show for their effrots thus far and looked positively sterling much of the way.

By far the best game of the weekend.