Los Angeles, S.O.L.

rampowned - n. What tends to happen to Marta in finals.

The official story.

Jacqueline Purdy at Soccernet.

Scott French giving the good news to the Jerseyites.

You know what, I should have posted this when I got home, rather than wait until after the FSC delay. I could have encouraged Sky Blue fans to watch, and everyone else to avoid the WPS Championship Brought To You By Frustrated, Inc. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Kinda like the Sol this afternoon, come to think of it.

I suppose one theory is that the Sol couldn't complete passes, couldn't get good shots off, and in general stunk up the joint was because of the excellent game plan and disciplined play of Sky Blue.

If so, it certainly was smart of New Jersey to figure out that Wagner, Duan, poor Falk and poor Zerboni would go out and lay big dinosaur eggs.

There might be some who say it's unfair for the team that won the regular season by that much should lost he championship because of just one bad game. But (a) the Sol knew the rules going in, and (b) that really was a terrible game from the Sol. It should count as at least three losses.

Besides, it's the Sol's own stupid fault for letting New Jersey into the playoffs to begin with. They should have lay down for Boston after all.

It's also tempting to say it would have been different if Abily had played, and it would have. Camille would have been standing around wondering why the rest of her team was wearing the new Puma Concretes(TM), the only boot made out of pig iron, quicksand and dog manure.

Heather O'Reilly's goal was good enough to make her MVP, but it should have been Kelly Lindsey. Kidding. I'd have gone with Natasha Kai, partly for the assist, largely on the work she did getting the red card.

It was heartbreaking, it changed the direction of the game, and it was absolutely the correct decision. Natasha Kai just embarrassed Falk and Zerboni, and while Abner Rogers claimed Stephanie Cox had a chance at the play, my angle behind the goal said oh no she didn't. Falk gambled that Kari Seitz wouldn't have the guts to make the right call. Maybe she should have had faith in Le Blanc, who after all did get a hand on O'Reilly's point-blank goal. Maybe an 11-man Sol could have gotten two back, although yeah, it does seem unlikely. But a 10-man Sol sure couldn't get one.

I thought Rampone was outsmarting herself in the second half. The Sol had way, way, way too much possession. That was a long time to depend on the failure of Marta's skill. But you can't argue with Rampone's coaching success. Either she knew the Sol were firing with empty chambers, or she made a terrific guess.

I wonder if Sky Blue will have a coaching search after all. How would you like to be the new boss, at this point? "Okay, team, here's our 3-4-3." "Well, coach, when I won the championship last year, we used a 4-4-2. But hey, it's your team."

Does this invalidate the Sol's great season? Well...yes. Pretty much. Which leads us to the inevitable playoff structure question, and whether MLS should adopt it.

You'd have to get AEG hooked up to a sodium pentathol drip to confirm this, but I wonder whether the announced crowd of 7,000+ was up to expectations or not. Well, here's Purdy again:

Against that, though, you have the comparatively limited time to sell tickets for an extra game...which having the regular season champion given a free pass to the final was supposed to ameliorate, sure. And then there's budgeting the relative expense of marketing in Los Angeles as opposed to, say, St. Louis. Although none of the teams besides the A's are in what you would call cheap markets.

But then...well, let's say the final was at the Home Depot Center this year. Given the passive nature of most Sol fans, I think a final between two out-of-town teams would have drawn truly horribly. St. Louis or Washington, though, might have seen more fans come out just for the sake of women's soccer. LA fans are much more prone to ennui. (Don't believe the 1999 World Cup hype. This was the same town that couldn't sell out Mia Hamm's farewell game.) I think WPS should give the experiment at least one more year.

But then again, I thought the Sol would win fairly easily, so what do I know. Congratulations to Sky Blue FC, your women's soccer world champions.*

*There's no way to test this claim, of course. Which is MORE of a reason to make the claim, not less of one.