World Power Systems!

I have been WAY too heavy on the WPS stuff, I admit it. Mostly because right now, MLS is baffling. I've been afraid to read reactions to the Red Bulls win, because I think it's 50% Celades being New York's first really good acquisition since JPA, 50% San Jose not having Huckerby, and 50% San Jose being measurably worse than advertised.

I know that's 150%. Told you it was baffling.

That's two "crucial" wins for New York in two weeks or so, sure, but against the same eleven cans of Spaghetti-O's. I'm sure the Red Bulls would tear up USL-2, while we're on the subject. Doesn't mean Osorio's doing a good job. I think that's why a lot of people refuse to give up on the winless Crew - no one else really inspires confidence.

I don't even want to give up on the freaking Earthquakes, not until Yallop starts losing with Huckerby. But I gotta say - this?

All that could have been copied and pasted from this game.

We've been talking a lot about the league passing Bruce Arena by, not nearly as much about the possibility of the league passing Frank Yallop by.

Not that the league hasn't passed Arena by. The Galaxy have eight points in seven games, in glorious sixth place, mostly from digging themselves out of their own holes, and they're acting like they deserve a cookie or something.

Anyway, WPS.

First of all, I don't know how much it could possibly cost to buy the wps.com site from World Power Systems, but I'm guessing the only reason not to is because Yahoo's gonna shut down Geocities pretty soon anyway.

Sorry, sidetracked. WPS reacted very, very decisively to the whole Washington-Saint Louis fracas, one of the few women's games I've seen where the players acted like they were toys being bashed together in Calvin's sandbox while Hobbes looked on with disapproving horror.* The league's press release is here, but this is the gist:

Abby and Kai McNeill miss one game.
The players can appeal, since neither committed an obvious red card foul.
The ref sucked.
It was McNeill's persistent egregious infringement that got her in trouble.
The league doesn't want Saint Louis and Washington to set bounties on each other.

Excellent work, Ms. Antonucci.

What I loved most of all was the recognition that McNeill's play was persistently ungentlemanly. Apart from arguably the push-down in the penalty box, nothing she did was by itself a red card. But there were second, third, fourth yellows all over the place. I approve of the league stepping in to correct mistakes like this, and wish MLS would do the same thing as of 1998 or so.

The only other thing I would add is to start slapping teams themselves with fines. It seems fairly clear that Saint Louis went into this game intent on thugging it up. From the A's perspective, I completely understand. No wins, no goals, morale in the sewer - that team needed some pride** in a hurry. The gameplan worked. So from the Saint Louis point of view, it's worth a $500 fine or so to turn the season around.

If they keep doing it? $1,000 for the next offense. And so on.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying throw anyone out of the league before ten games are even played. I'm not even saying there aren't games where you want to go in a little tougher than ordinary. I'm just saying there should be a price for that. If the referee refuses to charge, the league should.

Big game tomorrow in Carson - not on FSC, I'm glad I checked. The whole town has been looking forward to the Los Angeles-Boston rematch, because LA, especially its big star, has a lot to prove.*** The FSC game should be pretty good, i.e., Sky Blue really ought to figure out how to win if they want to get out of the basement. If Chicago wins, and the Sol and Breakers tie, Chicago is back on top in the race to host the WPS Final.****

*Now that's a reference. Eat your heart out, Bill Simmons.

**Stupid WPS team names taking actual words.

***Okay, the whole town hasn't been looking to this match in women's soccer. But STILL.

****Now that's a Supporters Shield with a little shine on it. Wonder if/how closely MLS is paying attention to this little experiment in regular season excellence.