The morning after a team gets knocked out of the playoffs there's always a good deal of finger pointing, blame seeking and what-iffing.
As dutiful, diligent, longtime fans of the Beautiful Game, we all know perfectly well that blaming a loss on any one play or one call is simply unfair.
What about this or that pass or this or that shot or this or that run that someone did or didn't make? Soccer consists of 90 minutes of opportunities - taken and missed - and the fact that so many games are low-scoring or no-scoring affairs demonstrates just how tenuous the whole deal is.
OK, have I been clinically analytical and dispassionate enough yet? Good.
Here's Emmanual Osei tossing New Englands' season down the crapper:
Everybody who follows the game knows that the obstruction rule is, basically, just there for appearance sake. 20 times a game we see a defender ushering the ball into touch like a Britney Spears bodyguard while some attacker, who at times appears to be frantically attempting to breed with his opponent, tries to get a foot on it.
We can have long, learned discussions about whether the ball was "within playing distance" and all of that officiating minutia, but the basic fact is that the defender had no thought whatsoever of doing anything but acting as a roadblock.
Which is the way the game is played and that's OK I guess, but someone needs to tell Osei that you need to put a little effort into it sometimes. The ball has a ways to go before it gets across the line, but he seems to feel his mere presence in the vicinity will be enough to make Nyarko turn and head up field for the New England throwin.
Nyarkos' pocket picking aside, it still took a nice piece of on-the-ball calmness from our man Cootiemac to send Chicago on to the Conference final, but the fatal error belongs to Osei alone.
Until that moment the game looked almost certain to go into extra time as the Revolution simply locked down the final third of the pitch, although not until they coughed up posession and allowed this lovely bit of ball movement after Jay Heaps seemed more interested in knocking Blanco down than playing, you know, actual defense:
All of which will likely ease Mr mcBrides' pain this morning after Mr. Reis made the point that it was, in fact, HIS area thank you:
Still, it's not like the Revs didn't have their chances, including this early Christmas gift for Pat Phelan:
Phelan, apparently, prefers to wait until Dec 25th to open his presents.