Lots of Fun, But Not a Lot of Answers

Since I've led off the last two Mondays with late game PK's (deserved or otherwise) I figure it's only fair to show this effort, whereupon I will propose that in the future any similar effort shall be known as "a Kljestan", as in "Boy, I was really pissed when Kevin Stott called that phantom hand ball PK, but fortunately the shooter pulled a Kljestan, so it didn't matter"


When the first people who come up to you after a PK effort are both wearing your opponents' uniform, you've really screwed the pooch. Perhaps they were offering to let him shower in their locker room since it looked like being anywhere near Preki was going to be a little dangerous.

To be fair, the only reason that Chivas was in a position to win the game at that point was Sachas' beautiful 63rd minute strike, but that in turn was trumped - mathematically and artistically - by Juan Pablo Angels' clinically professional 84th minute equalizer off of a bigtime ball in from Sinisa Ubiparipovic:


How in the world you let the most dangerous player on the field - and maybe in the league - wander around your penalty area unmarked is a topic which I'm positive Sensei Preki will be addressing this week.

Of more immediate concern is the fact that The Goats are desperate to find some points at this late juncture, and hosting the team with the worst record in the league is the kind of time you've got to get them. But then the Bulls are 2-1-2 since the ABMOD took over and that soft spot in the schedule has begun to look more and more like a pothole.

But overall, it was that kind of a day. You sort of expected that come Monday morning the playoff picture would have begun to sort itself out, but surprisingly little was decided. Only one team - Columbus - clinched a spot but it's not like they were all that worried about getting in.

Still, as Dan pointed out yesterday, what was startling was how easily they handled the Galaxy considering that Warzycha left five starters - including Schelotto, Rogers and marshall - on the bench and started a) two guys who have never started before and b) at least two other guys in positions they've never played before.

LA looked incredibly placid and punchless, going the full 90 minutes with only one effort which one could reasonably call a shot on goal. But the worst part was when some guy in a Big Bird suit jumped the rail like that Russian PK guy last week and, after making Greg Berhalter look like....well, like Greg Berhalter, iced the game an then provided a strong candidate for the single most embarrassing goal-dance in the history of the game:


Your Grandmother can likely bust a better move - and probably has better skills and foot speed - but now the 2009 Playoff bracket is one down, seven to go, and the clock is ticking.

Colorado was another team who came into the weekend figuring to solidify their playoff hopes against a team that looked dead and buried a month ago, Kansas City.

In the end however the two teams produced that scourge of the American soccer TV broadcast, the scoreless draw, thanks to some terrific defense on both sides of the ball and some sterling work from the chronically under appreciated Kevin Hartman:


(Can someone tell me why Bob Bradley seems set on Troy Perkins as his third keeper? If it comes down to the # 3 guy - which would in itself be a stunner - why wouldn't you rather have a guy like Hartman or Busch? I mean, it's not like you're getting Perkins some "seasoning" for down the road; Howard and Guzan will still be #1 & #2 at WC 2018. What you want on the bench is a grizzled old vet.)

Still, KC needed the points in order to stay alive much worse than Colorado needed them to stay in the running, and the Raps match with New England next weekend should tell a lot about both teams.

For the Revolution, Shalrie Joseph has seemed like a man on a mission lately, determined to get his team into the post season even if he has to carry them on his back.


Unfortunately, he may have to do just that after this Steve Ralston knee injury:


Coupled with the injury to Edgaras Jankauskas, this could spell serious problems for New England coming down the home stretch. Here's hoping Ralston, one of the really good guys in this game, isn't seriously hurt.

And speaking of seriously hurt, the Sounders playoff hopes limped out of Gillette as well. Their 38 points is enough if the season ended today, but they're on the road the next two weeks, in Columbus - who would like nothing better than to send Sigi home sad - and in suddenly scary Kansas City before finishing at home against Dallas and the one man goal machine, Jeff Cunningham.

Where the points are going to come from to keep from slipping down past the Mendoza line is anybody's guess.

One team that may have seen any realistic playoff hopes die over the weekend is Real Salt Lake, who ran into the aforementioned Mr. Cunningham, who is - to put it mildly - suddenly running wild. Coach Kreis left town stuck on 34 points, smarting from a 3-0 smackdown and wondering if maybe he ought to be getting his resume together.

Cunningham hit twice yesterday - incredibly, he's now tied for the league lead with 15 - including this stunning piece of skill followed by a stunning piece of Jeff being Jeff. When things are going his way, absolutely nobody has a better time out there:


Dallas has scored an astonishing 22 goals in the 8 games since the All Star Game, and while their playoff hopes amount to pretty much zip, they are at least having some fun down there, and it's been a long time since you could say that.

Toronto finally found some goals on the road yesterday: three of them as a matter of fact.

Unfortunately, one of them went into their own net:


Garcia's own goal, combined with a second half header by someone who was actually wearing a Fire shirt (McBride), made the final score 2-2, and left TFC solidly in the "If they started today we'd be on the couch" playoff bracketing. Their hopes lie in the two games they're about to play at home, but with three matches remaining they don't have a lot of room for error, while the Fire, who had aspirations of challenging for the Shield, may have to be content with holding on to the second seed in the East.

And speaking of coaches who maybe shouldn't send out their laundry, Tom Soehn may currently occupy the hottest seat in MLS, particularly after losing to the Quakes on the strength of this 72nd minute comedy skit:


After yesterday's loss to a San Jose side that, on paper at least, doesn't even begin to match up with them talent wise, Soehn had this to say:

"I've got to go back and evaluate whether I had the right blend of guys on the field."

Um, yeah Tom, good idea. Of course, having been coach of the Uniteds for going on three years now maybe the management had expectations that you'd have that part of your job down by now.