There should be an opposite of ESPN Classic. Like, ESPN Horsesh*t. Because Saturday's LA-Dallas game deserves immortality, but calling it a classic would be rank false advertising.
I'm sure in the 130 years or so they've been playing association football that there have been weirder games. That Caribbean tournament where the loser of the group game advanced to the next round, or the one where the dog was red-carded, or one of the experiments where kick-ins replaced throw-ins, or an NASL game in Veterans Stadium with the 35 yard offside line.
But this one was just...yeah, didn't see that coming.
Except I did. Up until a week or so ago, I was screaming at anyone who would listen - which, of course, was nobody - that the Home Depot Center hosts the two biggest frauds in the league*, maybe in the history of the league, and that it was only a matter of time before the Good Ship Lollipop pulled an Edmund Fitzgerald.
Too much attention is being given to David Beckham - so I'm about to completely lose perspective and put the entire loss on him. And I mean, seriously lose perspective. I read Bill's post and thought, "I can't believe I've been misunderstanding Kim Jong-Il all these years." THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE. THE REST OF THIS IS ME GOING OFF ON BECKHAM YET AGAIN. IF THE TOPIC BORES YOU, THE OTHER BLOGGERS HAVE GREAT STUFF TODAY, PLEASE READ THEM INSTEAD.
Remember this guy?
Not since Richard Jewell has someone been so wrongly vilified, so badly misunderstood, so horribly rejected. This man was a prophet. This man was a visionary. Wherever and whoever this man is, I belatedly and apologetically hail you for your insight and courage. God bless you, and that wonderful expression you had that day.
I know it sounds stupid and blinkered to blame a comprehensive loss in a team sport on one person, but that's just it. It's a team sport. Beckham is a passenger. Forget that the good option right now is that he's back to dogging it during MLS games - he's hurting the Galaxy in so many ways. Why did Stefani Miglioranzi have the worst game of his career? Because he was the only central midfielder. Wherever the action was, Beckham wasn't. It's not just that he's a Valderrama on defense these days - that's not what he's there to do, I understand that. He's hilariously out of position on offense, as well. He's walking around all the time, dekameters out of position, killing the counterattacks that Bruce Arena teams live on.
The worst moment, and this speaks to the entire Galaxy organization, was in the first half. Beckham is about to take a corner kick, and he fakes a hamstring injury. Eddie Lewis runs up at full speed, sends a short corner to Beckham - TRICK PLAY! - and Beckham sends the ball right off a Dallas defender, starting a counter the other way that nearly resulted in a goal.
Which Dallas wouldn't need, because the Soccer Gods were as pissed off and ashamed of that crap as I was. Faking an injury for a trick play. Beckham should have been red-carded on the spot, and Arena as well. Think about it - they practiced that. That was a designed play. "This is where Beckham fakes an injury, and we catch the other guys napping!" Absolutely reprehensible.
And people are worried about Beckham grabbing Daniel Hernandez' neck? It's Daniel Hernandez. That's what his neck is for.
By the way - now that I've got a nice, solid Beckham rant going - you enjoy seeing the game live? Maybe you did in Texas, but it was tape-delayed locally. Because it wasn't close to a sellout. David Beckham, Landon Donovan, the Los Angeles Galaxy, with a game that would put them in first place. And people stayed home in droves.
Yeah, Ohio State-USC was on TV. USC's been on television before against the Galaxy. The Galaxy have cracked 20K against Laker playoff games back in the day.
Yeah, it's a recession. It's the same damned recession in Seattle, and their DP also doesn't want to be in the same country, apparently, but somehow their homeless crack addicts can beg enough change to sneak into a game, so why can't ours? Announced attendance was just over 18,000 or so, and the HDC has been telling attendance fables all year anyway, so you can imagine where it actually was. Huge swathes of green in the midfield seats, general admission tickets available.
Beckham is done in Los Angeles. No one here cares anymore. Yeah, everyone loves slowing down and watching the car crash, but once the paramedics have driven away, the show's over. The difference here is, no one's bothered to take away Beckham's corpse. But there are only so many people - 18,000, according to the Home Depot Center - willing to watch Beckham stay dead.
It's still the same problem it's been all year. Every time Beckham steps on the field for the Galaxy, he risks his World Cup spot. Maybe Fabio Capello is happy with that kind of preparation. And he's probably right. He'll show up for Milan or Arsenal or whoever (strange, Sir Alex doesn't seem interested), and a few months in Europe (as opposed the whole season that the rest of the England squad will have endured) will be enough for a roster spot.
We'll see if the Galaxy are still willing to pay Beckham for all this if he stops drawing in fans. It's a really good question. Remember that Milan friendly that Tim Leiweke demanded as the price of Beckham's services? Cost them Edson Buddle for two months and Alecko Eskandarian for the year. And I guarantee you the Galaxy would do it again if they could. It's one thing if Beckham doesn't care about making the playoffs, it's quite another if the Galaxy don't care, either.
Oh, hey, look, a Galaxy season ticket renewal package. Perfect timing.
Should I give Dallas some credit for the win? Well...no. Jeff Cunningham missed an easy, easy sitter in the first minute or so. Dallas started Atiba Harris. This isn't a team that, frankly, deserves a lot of credit. There's a reason they came into town in sixth place, and left it the same way. Buzz and the gang gives the FCD perspective, but I still think the story is more about Galaxy suckulence than Dallas in the course of one week turning into a last-second playoff contender. Unless you think a LOT more highly of Heath Pearce than I do.
*I did miss the call on the CUSA-Revs game, by omission, and I'll tell you why. I KNEW that Chivas USA was going to win that game. The Revs were hot, CUSA was junk, it was the MLS "impact game of the week" - biggest sucker bet of the month. If it had been in Foxboro, I would honest to God have put money on CUSA, because that's how wacky this league is. Since CUSA won at the Home Depot Center, it MIGHT be because Sacha Kljestan has finally adjusted to not playing for Celtic, and for blowing his spot on the national team, and is taking it out on his fellow MLS schlubs. Had the game been in Gillette, CUSA would have won because MLS is weird.
(By the way - I would watch ESPN Horsesh*t ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. White guys fighting for boxing titles! The Maryland-Indiana 2002 Final Four championship game! Fran Tarkenton's greatest Super Bowl moments! Baseball in DC - three centuries of glory!)