Rocky Mountain Snoozefest

Since I was otherwise occupied last weekend, I saw almost no live MLS soccer.

So this weekend I was determined to watch every minute of every game which, fortunately, the league website allows you to do if you really feel like going to the trouble.

So between Major League Soccer Soccer and Justin.tv I gorged myself on a veritable cornucopia of footie and by midnight on Saturday, despite what I've been reading elsewhere, I had seen quite a lot of what I thought was some fairly entertaining - if not always exactly artistic - soccer.

And as with most things in life, I should have quit while I was ahead.

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Yesterday I sat and watched Colorado and Toronto present Exhibit A for the argument that soccer is a 90 minute borefest devoid of drama, skill or intelligence.

If you - like, apparently the vast majority of the citizens of Colorado - decided not to bother watching, go out today and buy lottery tickets while your luck is good.

So OK, let's get the attendance thing out of the way. On TV, it looked like there might have been 1000 people at The Dick yesterday. The big COLORADO spelled out by the seats in the west stand was virtually unobstructed.

The team says there were 9900+ people in the building and, in truth it appeared that both ends were well populated (of course the supporters section is in one of them and they were in full voice and fine form). And it's also true that the side that was visible was facing into the sun, and anyone with a choice would have been likely to sit elsewhere.

It's also true that, inexplicably, the Rapids raised their ticket prices again this year and it's now a relatively expensive outing compared to other local teams. If so, I'd love to hear an explanation. I've been preaching for years that pricing is always based on what the traffic will bear, and clearly the traffic out there wasn't exactly breaking down the doors in 2009.

For myself, I'm just wondering why the nattering nabobs of negativity aren't announcing this morning that soccer clearly can't survive in small-market crapholes like Denver, Colorado.

For myself, I'm just as happy that a lot of folks stayed home. A game that ugly could scare puppies, let alone paying customers.

Toronto, facing a Colorado side that played like they pried themselves off of barstools they had occupied for the previous 12 hours or so barely in time to pull on a uniform and stumble out for the National Anthem, TFC managed all of one shot on goal, a statistic which is made worse by the fact that said shot was a PK.

The team had to keep running triple lattes out to Rapids keeper Matt Pickens to keep him from falling sound asleep. His zero-saves on zero-shots-from-the-field afternoon indicates that they might just as well have sent him out a pillow and a Snuggie.

For long stretches of the game, Toronto had trouble just getting the ball past the halfway. They couldn't have managed to hit Pickens unless they got two strokes.

The 3-1 scoreline might lead some to assume that there was some excitement here. Unfortunately, those four goals consisted of three PK's (the first one on a call that, well. let's just say that Ricardo Salazar won't be including it in any highlights video he sends to FIFA) and an utterly bizarre Jeff Larentowicz Free Kick where Toronto's Denilson-caliber DP, standing in the wall, made a mighty leap into the air and off to one side, nicely clearing a path to the goal.

(See above highlights, around 3:10 although the best view is the second replay. It's really quite remarkable. Please forgive me for inflicting Marcello Balboas' commentary on you. Sadly, "That's the way you don't move out of the way" isn't even in his Top Ten Moronic Comments)

Sensei Preki said afterwards that DeGuzman wasn't even supposed to be there. Based on that performace I can certainly see why, but that begs the question of just what kind of qualifications you need to simply stand there. It would seem to be the easiset job in all of sport, and yet DeGuzman, pockets swollen with the enormous stacks of Loonies that TFC is forking out for him, hasn't figured out that the point is to block the ball, not audition for Swan Lake.

It's no wonder Reds fans are delighted to learn the team can go ahead and hire another DP; this one is working out so splendidly.