Send in the Clowns

After the year Seattle had in 2009 a lot of people forgot that under normal circumstances the average MLS expansion team is usually one teeny-tiny little car short of a clown act.

Last night in Toronto, Peter Nowak's shiny new Philadelphia Union side rolled off the bus with all the big floppy shoes, large red noses and seltzer bottles anyone could ask for and proceeded to give away three points they could have easily pocketed.

Personally, I blame the league for putting these two teams - one of them playing only their third game ever and thus having an excuse for stinking up the place and the other in it's fourth season and having absolutely no excuse for being anything near that gawdawful - on a national broadcast. If ever there were two sides that defined the term "Not Ready for Prime Time" it was these two.

And then there's Chris Seitz.

Now I'm not going to doggy pile on the poor guy. Well, OK, maybe a little: What in the name of Walter Zenga is this kid doing out there? Sweet Merciful Christ, that's some of the most embarassing goalkeeping ever seen by mortal man.

A week ago he tried like hell to give a match to DC United, who - being the gentlemanly chaps that they are - said "No thanks, kid, you keep it" as they allowed his teammates to bail him out.

Last night in BMO his teammates - the ones that hadn't been sent off for being imbeciles - weren't able to repeat the trick despite a pretty weak performance from the hosts.

Seitz butchered the first goal in a fashion that would get a U12 keeper benched and coughed up the second on a PK call where, whatever the details of the foul may or may not be, he gave Baldomero Toledo no choice but to point to the spot..

(As a side note, would someone please tell Dwayne DeRosario that his little mincy-wiggle-prancy-pony goal celebration makes him look like Pee Wee Herman in heat? Jeez, that's just embarassing. And that leaves aside the fact that ANY goal celebration after those two scores would have been unbecoming to pretty much anybody. I'm not big on "Hey, ain't I something" routines after goals which were 90% the other guys' mistake.)

I don't see how Nowak has much choice other than to sit Seitz down for a couple of weeks. Everybody knows he's a talented kid with a bright future but I wouldn't bet on him being able to hold a spoon long enough to eat a bowl of soup right now. At the end of the day a keeper's biggest asset is his confidence, and this guy's has to be non-existent right now.

How bad can Brad Knighton be compared to what they're getting from Seitz at the moment?

And then there's Danny Califf.

Look, we get it, OK? The Mohawk, the tats, the attitude, check, check and check.

But at the end of the day you're the veteran anchor of that defense and that cheapass elbow to DeGuzman's neck - yeah sure, the guy made a meal of it; it looked like you barely touched him, but there isn't a player in the world who wouldn't have done the exact same thing - was sloppy, lazy and irresponsible. If you felt like you'd blown the backpass that badly (and it didn't look that way) and had to keep the guy off of Seitz for a couple of seconds, then fine: step in front of him, take the IFK for impeding and be done with it. Throwing an elbow in the open field at the top of the box is simply dumb.

So the Union ends up playing a man down - again - for an hour or so, screwing up what started out looking very promising indeed. Up until then Philadelphia had been all over the Reds like stink on a monkey, moving the ball nicely through the midfield and forcing Preki to start benching Baltic States defenders at halftime.

And I don't care if he never scores a goal, Alejandro Moreno is the engine that makes the Philadelphia front five work. Give his work rate to Edson Buddle and the guy would score 30. For Barcelona.


In other tiddly-tidbits
from around the league we hold our noses and love to death, Jar-Jar Ngwenye is reportedly poised for a return to Houston.

Apparently Kei Kamara wasn't available.

Toronto FC, the team with Stars Upon Thars despite never even making it into the playoffs, is initiating a Ring of Honor.

No, I am not making that up. Jim Brennan will be the first inductee. There's no truth to the rumor that John Carver turned them down.

RedBull New York has apparently found what they believe is a winning MLS strategy: stop using American players altogether.

Luke Rogers is awaiting his paperwork to complete the move from Notts County and Brian Neilson HAS REPORTEDLY SIGNED ON LOAN from Vejle. He'll be joining former teammate Salou Ibrahim.

And SKY SPORTS IS REPORTING that Marcus Hahnemann figures he can play in Europe for a good while longer before he becomes too old and decrepit to handle it any more and will then come back and play in the worlds' Footballing Retirement Village known as Major League Soccer.

Gee, I can't wait.