Boston Broken

This is another WPS post, but I wanted to hit some other stuff first.

Chapka may be on to something, even though I couldn't naviagate the Buff site to save my life, and I couldn't figure out from the diagram how to make the pirate headband.

"Dan, why do you want to dress like a pirate?"

...because shut up, that's why.

Why don't NFL teams have scarves, by the way? Or college football? I mean, apart from their well-known aversion to merchandising the sport.

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Ed believes in the Galaxy. So do Galaxy fans. I guess I'm the last one who doesn't.

The Galaxy, like the Nats, will go exactly as far as Landon Donovan will take them. If the basis of belief is that Landon has been so breathtakingly incredible that he can singlehandedly win (another) MLS Cup, then I can't argue with that.

If the argument is that Bruce Arena is going to continue to cover the many, many holes in the Galaxy...I can't get there.

I tried to go through the Galaxy position by position just now, but they're so insanely boring it wasn't worth it. Arena has the Galaxy playing high-intensity midfield defense and lethal wing play. If Miglioranzi regresses to his career average, or if Eddie Lewis starts to feel his age, or even if opponents stop making silly mistakes, then the Galaxy are going to be handled fairly easily. Perfectly disciplined teams do end up winning things, and Arena's Galaxy are a lot more disciplined than they used to be...but this team reminds me a lot of Chivas USA earlier in the year.

I will say that Bruce Arena has done a lot better job of coaching after twenty games than fellow legend Tony DiCicco. (WPS content follows.)
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Time to kick the Boston Breakers while they're down. Their fans deserved better, but more to the point, they expected better, and rightfully so. Kristine Lilly played every minute of the season. All season we heard about how Hucles, LePeilbet and Scott had opposing offenses on lockdown.

There are a couple of issues here - who should take the fall, and who's going to take the fall. One of the scapegoats here will be Kristin Luckenbill. Well, "scapegoat" implies blameless, which Luckenbill wasn't. I'm pretty sure DiCicco expected more out of someone in the national team pool (this will be a recurring theme), but Luckenbill lost the starting job to former Ajax America star Alli Lipsher. According to the BigSoccer thread on the Breakers-Sol game, Luckenbill was a last-minute replacement. She will take most of the blame on the Marta goal, although didn't Boston used to employ a back line of some sort?

Another tempting scapegoat will be Amy Rodriguez, who made herself about as popular in Boston as Alex Rodriguez, and what did I tell you about that A-Rod nickname? I'd say Amy isn't ready for the pros, but Pia Sundhage seems to believe otherwise. And it was the entire Breakers forward corps that was incompetent - Rodriguez was just the most obvious empty barrel. The stat of the game, before the 18th minute or so, was Kelly Smith not having scored a goal since May 31. She still led the team in goals. Second place was Kristine Lilly, who is...okay, you know how FC Gold Pride had all those great stories about 90's US veterans coming back and contributing? Where did FCGP finish? Exactly.

Smith would have been forgiven if the Breakers had another shutout, but depending on shutouts is an excellent way to finish fifth and miss the playoffs. Boston was scoring a goal roughly every other game, and the Breakers end up blaming a last-minute penalty kick that sent them out of the playoffs by two goals instead of one. What were the Sol even doing on that side of the field in the final minutes of desperation time, anyway?

I think Tony DiCicco is the culprit. DiCicco got bad performances out of good players. He had three chances to clinch a playoff spot, and went 0-2-1. I don't think you can get away with knee-jerking someone with DiCicco's c.v., but if he were any other coach besides Tony DiCicco, he'd be fired.