For all of you who recorded last night's Chivas-Toronto FC tilt and have nevertheless - inexplicably - logged onto a website where soccer is discussed secure in the belief that no one will mention the game, here's fair warning:
I don't do the "Spoiler Shield" bit, a la Dan Loney who in any case seems to have an extensive collection of cute and fuzzy animal baby photos he can use for this purpose (although apparently only one picture of his baby daughter), while all I seem to have is a hard drive full of - well, the less said about that the better.
Still, since this is the first time the situation has really come up this season there are likely people out there who don't know that the whole "No Results" rule has pretty much fallen into disuse, thank Gaia, and for them, just this one time, I'll provide some cover and post this stock photo of Toronto Head Coach John Carver:
So anyway, to dispense with the formalities up front, Toronto FC hosted Preki's Cobra Kai Dojo at BEEMO last night and the prospect looked grim:
TFC was winless in three games at home while Chivas was on top of the mythical MLS table by four points, and the Cobra Kais were second in scoring while Toronto trailed only FC Dallas in goals allowed.
And TFC's prize "Almost, sort-of-kinda-like-a DP" midfielder Dwayne DeRosario was on the bench with a bad hammie.
But remarkably, Carver did something brilliant: he took a seat in the stands.
Yes, he had received a whopping $750 "fine" for badmouthing the work of referee Tim "White Cane" Weyland over the weekend, but he was not suspended, apparently on the theory that if everyone in MLS who thinks Weyland is incompetent had to sit out the league would go dark.
So with Carver volunteering to throw beer with the fans, Assistant Coach Chris Cummins was the guy prowling the sidelines and bitching to the fourth official. (And would someone tell me why coaches all yell at the guy with the lighted sign? You might just as well holler at a stray hot dog vendor for all the influence he has on the way the game is called).
And of course as these things tend to go in MLS, with all the momentum going the other way TFC managed a 1-0 win, with their highly suspect defense shutting out Sensei Preki's high flying offense as Carver swapped dirty jokes with the patrons.
So the question relative to Carver comes down to one word: Why?
Did he do it in an effort to change up the team mojo, which is altogether a normal kind of a thing for a coach to do?
Or did he do it as a sort of silent protest of MLS officiating or policy, as a man with a martyr complex as troubling as his might welll think was appropriate?
After the game, Cummins would shed no light on the topic, telling reporters that "he had his reasons". Some fans, meanwhile, were quipping that John sat out "for health reasons; the fans are sick of him".
Either way, one thing is crystal clear: as usual, Carver managed to make himself the story. Some coaches, of course, try hard not to let that happen, ever, but John loves the spotlight like Chuck Schumer loves a microphone.
However that may be, now he has an obvious problem, and one which a guy in his position ought to be more careful about, ie: what does he do next game?
If he takes the bench back and they lose, well, then clearly he's messed with the chemistry in what may be the most superstition-riddled sport in history, short of Inca human sacrifice golf.
So then what? Can he then risk going back to the stands, having the team win again and thereby announcing to all the world that he's a walking, talking (and talking and talking and talking) curse?
On the other hand, the same thing happens if he keeps sitting out and the team keeps winning. He'll very quickly become the neo-Sigi, sitting on the bench in 97 degree weather wearing a scarf he's afraid to take off no matter how much sweat is rolling down his face.
Only in Carver's case he'll be getting regular beer showers so he'll at least stay cool.