Mixed bag today. Catching up. No time for both subjects and predicates.
When last the front page of BigSoccer encountered Ben Knight, he was being pilloried for personal attacks on Bill Archer on his TV show.
Last week, he made an impassioned plea for MLS to implement visible stoppage time, posted on the scoreboard clock. Knight remembers this from the A-League of 1997, but neither he nor his commenters remember it was used in MLS from 1996 up until MLS Cup 1999.
People hated it. It was one of the things that MLS detractors criticized the most, only slightly less than shootouts. It disgusted association football purists throughout the United States, and millions boycotted the league because of it.
This was the game that pretty much killed the idea.
Lost among the confusion is the fact that, as Wagman pointed out, this should have been an uncontroversial call. Quisenberry was there to accommodate an international referee who, forgivably, didn't know WTF about public timekeeping.
Knight is correct, it's still a good idea. Had the league managed to come to grips with the fact that a team should not benefit from a foul that eats up time - the equivalent of the NFL's rule that a game cannot end on a defensive penalty - then Doug Logan would not have needed to throw Kermit Quisenberry to the wolves.
Of course, this would have required patience on those who picked every non-European nit on the neck of MLS. Instead, of course, MLS responded favorably to this and every other purist complaint, and corrected every deviation from the game's traditional, time-honored structure. The league returned to traditional timekeeping, ditched the shootout, implemented draws, and put sponsors on jerseys. Previously dissatisfied soccer fans embraced the league, the Florida teams were saved, stadiums were built in San Jose and Washington, and today the league is in better shape than General Motors. Wait.
Major League Regression To The Mean - This Stuff Self-Corrects!
I thought this part would have been a slightly more uphill battle to get across before last night, but Future Relocated Franchise was kind enough to gag in Toronto. I thought the Reds were going to lose, too. I even had the Neil Young "Helpless" song parody ready. "There is a team in south Ontario...." Oh, well.
The emergency rooms of two nations are already crammed with people who jumped off the Sounders bandwagon - they're not as good with their backup keeper? The devil you say.
As for Chivas USA - there are two types of people. Those who believe CUSA has fielded yet another big-talking fraud that will once again pull a Big Brown (or, if you're less easily offended, an Eight Belles) in the playoffs...and those who will come to believe it. Nick Green has already called out Kljestan for dogging it, a problem that will cease to be a problem this August when he and Landon try to Escape From L.A. They cannot avoid injuries, which is what happens when you sign guys like Alecko Eskandarian. They have an insane annual roster turnover for a team that trumpets its chemistry. And Preki's still stupid enough to put his hack in a skill position. I understand Preki sending Harris out to visit the sins of defenders on their own heads, but that's not how to win games - Tampa Bay tried it with Big Mama, who could actually score, and look where they are today.
Kansas City, on the strength of an admittedly fantastic comeback against the Fire, are today's front page MLSnet darlings. They're 2-2-1. They play helpless, pitiful New York, who embarrassed cattle everywhere the last time somebody put them on television. They're 1-2-2. Columbus is off to a disastrous start, Chicago is off to a great one - and if the Crew win at home over the Fire, they'll be only three points behind them.
The Revolution are justifiably proud of being unbeaten so far - they're tied with Toronto with two games in hand. But they couldn't slam the door on that wildly impressive DC United team, and they get to go to Utah this weekend.
Your most likely sweetheart come Monday morning, though, will be Colorado - almost certainly above .500, and with a terrific goal differential, largely on the strength of playing the Galaxy fifteen times already this year.
Literally the only surprising things I can see so far are (1) that anyone is surprised by the Galaxy suckulence, and (2) the Crew. If Columbus doesn't beat Chicago, then it might be time for concern. Anyone can get off to a bad start, after all - the Crew were looking way up at New England for most of last year. Had they not let the Rapids and Reds back into games, they'd be in much better-looking position, but that's that's an example of the problem, not an excuse. The bye week came at a perfect time for Columbus, and I fully expect them to take advantage of it.
Am I above linking to a post just because it agrees with me? I most certainly am not. Yeah, people don't mind sponsors in general - they don't even mind embarrassing companies like Herbalife and Xango, given sufficient obscurity - but Amway may be a bridge too far for California fans. I'd be very interested to see how this story plays out, but anecdotal evidence I've seen and heard has Amway about as popular among the Sol crowd as Westboro Baptist.