Hm, I've kinda been tunnel-visiony about MLS Cup, what with The Most Important Team In The World going to play the Galaxy and everything. (See what I did there?) (No, seriously, Real Salt Lake has this scrappy underdog thing going that I find both irritating and frightening. I sat through the Sol gagging against Sky Blue, and if this god-damned game isn't looking like its identical twin brother, then, in the words of "Bored of the Rings," I don't know lunch from din-din.)
...so, yeah, like I said, let's see what's happening elsewhere.
*raises the shades of the window*
*sees mushroom cloud*
Thierry Henry said to the reporters,
"A man ain't nothin' but a man.
Before I'll let Ireland go to the Cup
I'll score the winning goal with my hand, Lord Lord,
Score the winning goal with my hand."
I'd love to trot out a "And where in the rules does it say you can't touch the ball with your hand?" crack. Pity The Simpsons did the joke already along those lines.
Justice is unfortunately meted out pretty easily. Did Shay Given grab Henry earlier in the penalty area, and was that uncalled?
Thank you, please drive through.
That said...you know what, I'd love to be a contrarian about this, but I think there should be instant replay. (Replay as in cameras, not replay the game.) I don't see implementation to be insurmountable, and for the most part automatic replay of goals won't take even as long as the goal celebration.
I used to be a supporter of having human eyes only, but I've come around for a couple of reasons. I think the job is too difficult for one man (plus a couple of dudes running on sidelines trusted with their own impossible job). And the whole premise of the referee is to ensure the right call is made. If you want wrong calls, might as well let the players or fans decide based on the honor system.
Would I want the United States to advance on the basis of a wrong call? OH GOD YES, MORE THAN ANYTHING, THAT WOULD BE EVEN BETTER THAN WINNING CLEAN!, which is another good reason for instant replay. This is also why I can't get mad at Henry (or Given, or whoever commits some affront to the game in MLS Cup, and you KNOW that'll happen) - too much is at stake anymore for us to go back to the Corinthians era. Ideally, France would offer a replay, but I understand if they say "tough merde, enjoy watching us next summer." They don't have to, and there's nothing in it for them. I wouldn't play Russian roulette, no matter how many strangers would respect me for it.
Oh, people are still bringing up John O'Brien's handball against Mexico? Haven't we been over this? Friedel would have saved the penalty anyway.
Speaking of which, apparently there were some Nat games in Europe this week. Who cares.
Look, I hate to be the bearer of good news, and sure, it's particularly easy for me to ignore the Chivas USA National Team. But...okay, we can't win road games in Europe with our B-team. I lost faith in our B-team sometime between the fourth and fifth goals of the Gold Cup final. My Kubler-Ross process for these friendlies took about a nanosecond.
"Yeah, but what about Frankie Hejduk? Aren't you worried that he might be-"
FRANKIE HEJDUK IS DONE WHEN HE SAYS HE'S DONE AND NOT ONE SECOND BEFORE AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT lousy un-American flag-burning Commies
"But come on, first the Salt Lake series, now this? Even you have to admit-"
LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA
Look, the question is, do you want a young guy or a veteran at the bottom of the roster depth chart. If three or four guys don't get hurt, then bringing the young guy is probably a good idea. But what if, man? WHAT IF?