Calling the kettle

I'm way, way behind on this, but it needed following up upon, and you're all sick of hearing about the World Cup by now, aren't you?

...That's IT? Marijuana? The least harmful drug this side of dark chocolate?

Why is the league even testing for marijuana? It's the least effective performance enhancer this side of dark chocolate. And as far as a painkiller goes, well, I'd probably feel better knowing recovering players were on THC than the kind of thing that nearly cost Brett Favre his career.

I thought this was something serious! So did you! We were all concerned for his health and his family's welfare and God knows what.

Unless Joseph was showing up to games high, I don't see why this was a league issue. And since he was an MVP candidate last year, if he was high during the games, then the big problem was him bogarting. Maybe if he had shared he and the Revs would have some rings by now. At least it would have helped poor Taylor and his headaches.

Right about here we get into the topic of these guys being role models. Clearly, I am not thinking of the children.

Yes, yes, it's illegal. So's jaywalking.

Yes, yes, I wouldn't want my kids doing it. I also wouldn't want my kids riding a bike without a helmet.

I don't think I'm even kidding. In fact, I know I'm not. I know without even looking it up that traffic accidents are far more dangerous and lethal than marijuana - accidents? How would that happen, you buy a bag full of stems or something? Drop the roach while driving like in "Big Lebowski"?

And while I'm sensitive to concerns about the league's public image, it's a little late to ask how many people it takes to unscrew a virgin. I'd rather my kids sell herb than Herbalife.

Six games! I thought he was on meth or something.

Actual factual Revolution fans forgave Joseph almost instantly. That's understandable. I'm just wondering why they weren't infuriated at having to go without their best player for non-injury reasons, seeing as how the Revolution went 1-4-1 without him. (Well, some of that might have to do with the Revolution going 1-4-1 since he came back. New England's problems run a little deeper than Shalrie Joseph, although maybe Steve Ralston will make it all better.)

So, yeah, sorry I was late with that, but, there's other stuff going on in the soccer world. Like Sacha Kljestan going to Europe, finally. As a US fan, I hope Anderlecht does for him what Hannover couldn't do for Clint Mathis - prevent the ongoing ruin of a player who had fantastic potential. I know, he's young, he has time to turn it around. If he comes slinking back in a year muttering about the coach not giving him a chance, though, I expect you, fellow MLS fan, to boo him out of every park in which he deigns to set foot. If it makes it easier, when he does come back to MLS it'll probably be with the damned Galaxy.

I'm not going to mope about losing our perfect season (the Galaxy are winning a lot, so I refer to them as "we" again. A refreshing chance from 2007, when I referred to them as "those ********ing ********s), because, while there's no good way to lose a game? That's a great, great way to lose. Controversial call, on the road, without your two best players, against a potential rival to get you fired up for the rematch, which won't happen until the playoffs. It also gets the pressure of being undefeated out of the way, and yeah, that was real. The Galaxy badly needed to hear "thou art mortal."

The other overdue thing I need to acknowledge, even if I'm the last one to do so, is how much the Galaxy's start is down to coaching. And I mean, at least 85%.

It's easy and justifiable to get distracted by Buddle and Landon, what with them still leading every important offensive category.

It's also easy to give the credit to Donovan Ricketts, whose GAA reads like a misprint and who already has more shutouts this year than a lot of teams will have wins.

Buddle and the two Donovans have been mind-blowing, don't get me wrong. Another coach takes those same performances, though, and leads them into second place or worse.

Damn it to hell, I have to look up stats on Major League Soccer Soccer. Excuse me for an hour or so.

Okay, here are the Galaxy's stats so far. There, look at Josh Saunders. Yeah, he was unbe********ingcredible against Boca Juniors, and I'm surprised he either isn't getting offers to skip town, or that Saunders isn't making demands to go somewhere he can start. But in his one league game? One shot on goal. One save.

Anyway, Ricketts. 37 shots on goal, 33 saves, 12 games played. Ricketts is being asked to make a teeny bit over three saves a game.

If we look up the league stats on shots on goal...we see Buddle still ahead by one over JPA. Because why would anyone want to look up goalkeeper stats? Major League Soccer Soccer strikes again. Well, clearly I have nothing better to do than to click on each team's stats individually to find out what other teams' keepers do. No trouble at all.

Andrew Dykstra - 11 games, 54 shots on goal, 35 saves.
Zach Thornton - 9 games, 36 shots on goal, 23 saves.
Will Hesmer - 11 games, 51 shots on goal, 37 saves.
Matt Pickens - 11 games, 41 shots on goal, 31 saves.
Kevin Hartman - 7 games, 26 shots on goal, 21 saves.
Troy Perkins - 7 games, 40 shots on goal, 25 saves.
Pat Onstad - 12 games, 50 shots on goal, 30 saves.
Jimmy Nielsen - 10 games, 41 shots on goal, 28 saves.
Preston Burpo - 11 games, 65 shots on goal, 48 saves. (Holy CRAP.)
Bouna Condoul - 12 games, 68 shots on goal, 52 saves. (Holy CRAP!)
Chris Seitz - 9 games, 50 shots on goal, 28 saves. (Well, you knew his stats would be ugly.)
Nick Rimando - 12 games, 39 shots on goal, 28 saves.
Kasey Keller - 12 games, 37 shots on goal, 24 saves.
Joe Cannon - 11 games, 48 shots on goal, 31 saves.
Stefan Frei - 11 games, 63 shots on goal, 45 saves.

Jesus, was that ponderous. But compared to the rest of the league, the Galaxy make sure Ricketts sees far fewer shots than other keepers have to face. It isn't just Ricketts, who has been fantastic, don't get me wrong. But it's also been guys like Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens, Todd Dunivant, whoever's playing right back at any given point, Gregg Berhalter, and Omar Gonzalez. Gonzalez has got national team written all over him, but he's still a sophomore. Stephens is a rookie. Sean Franklin has been fighting injuries. Berhalter is older than sharks.

That personnel isn't a cut above, the way Buddle and Landon Donovan have been compared to their MLS peers. But they've gotten results that are as impressive as Buddle's.

Last night, where Salt Lake by universal admission outplayed the Galaxy? The Royals got all of three shots on goal. (And one of those, the Galaxy are kind of frosted about.)

When the Crew brutally outplayed the Galaxy in Ohio? They got four shots on goal.

It's also parking the bus and relying on the counter-attack, especially on the road. But the Galaxy are giving up insane amounts of possession time, and other teams are getting nothing for their trouble. It's not like the Galaxy are the first team to try tactics like this, especially in MLS.

That's coaching, and it's past time I gave some credit.

(Of course, if the Galaxy end up trophy-free again, especially after this start, I'm going to turn on Arena like a plate full of bad clams.)

Well, enough of this domestic violence. Someone asked me what I was going to do this weekend. Haw haw haw!

(Oh, right - the Whitecaps have a new logo. It's horrible. Now, World Cup time.)