After a seemingly endless string of MLS PK awards that have sent fans of virtually every MLS team out into the night in search of replacement TV's (since the one they watched the game on now has a brick in it) it's nice - well, maybe nice isn't exactly the word; let's say a relief - to finally see an official point to the spot in stoppage time and not see him immediately surrounded by a lynch mob of players bent on demonstrating that the FIFA "Respect" progam is the soccer equivalent of a "WIN" button:
Seriously, when is the last time you saw a ref call a spot kick and NOBODY says a single word to him? It seems almost odd to see him marching over to set the kick without a pack of berserk howler monkeys three inches from his face.
San Jose just can't catch a break this season, and what better than stoppage time Conor Casey PK's in two consecutive games to illustrate the fact?
For their part, Colorado surely expected better than two points out of back-to-back games against Saint Joe. Games against last place teams this time of year are what you pray for, but instead of being on 42 points and ahead of LA for second seed in the West, they're at 38 and in a pack with some other lean and hungry outfits.
Of course a funny thing is happening with the doormats lately: they're refusing to go along with the script. All of a sudden that match you've had down as a sure three points against a playing-out-the-string outfit like New York or KC or San Jose or Dallas is looking less like a vacation and more like a war.
In fact, Vermes' team is acting for all the world like they still think they're in it - and they are - while the Bulls under Richie Williams have beaten the Crew and tied the Revs over the last three weeks and look shockingly un-dead.
Over the years we've seen teams get inspiration from the "We're going to screw up your playoff plans" motivation which is a tough sell for coaches but infinitely more efective than "you're playing for your job", which can make a lot of guys play tight and tentative and, well, selfish.
For those of you who aren't with Barbie and me on the whole math thing, I can't recommend THIS MLS NEWS & ANALYSIS THREAD begun by BigSoccer numbers maven Knave (and with an able assist by TrueCrew) highly enough.
It attempts to make sense of the playoff race using, you know, numbers and stuff like that. Or something,
Here's his latest, posted after last nights match:
In other news the Dynamo have just signed Brian Ching to A NEW FOUR YEAR DEAL.
And to think it could have been Kei Kamara. Well, except for the scoring and teamwork and good citizenship and all of that.
The Sounders are the latest team to grumble about the lack of charter flights, which they - perhaps with some justification - feel are more important for them because the have more long trips than other teams.
I WISH THEM LUCK with that but, like other teams who've come late to the party, they don't grasp that the four charters allowed per year are four more than the owners used to allow. They already feel they've compromised on this issue.
The players have an increasingly long shopping list and I wish them luck - I agree that charter flights aren't asking for too much - but ITTET I wouldn't hold my breath for increases in luxury.
Although there does need to be a clause about not having to sit in the middle seat next to Sigi. And if it's a flight home after a loss, well, thanks anyway but I think I'll walk.
Finally, all MLS fans, new, old and everything in between - need to pause and contemplate the awesomeness of 20 NYRB FANS WHO GOT A PEEK AT THE NEW BUILDING TODAY.
The 20 invited fans, who were given the first opportunity to select whatever seats they want for 2010, have all been season ticket holders for the MetroBulls SINCE DAY ONE IN 1996.
Those of you who want to prance around declaring yourselves to be the best and greatest of fans should hold your manhoods cheap at the thought of the perseverance these people have demonstrated.
My hat is off.