Surreal Salt Lake

Another hyped-up game, another Galaxy fizzle. Someone explain to me why the Designated Player all the little boys and girls scream for decides to completely disappear from the game. After all that marketing and all that publicity, and all that jabber about how the Galaxy need his world-class skills, it's really tedious to see a subpar performance like that.

But enough about Landon Donovan HAR HAR HAR okay, after single-handedly winning the DC game maybe he was due for another vanishing act, but still.

Seriously, the Galaxy brings over this ridiculously over-publicized ex-Manchester United midfielder, and he doesn't remotely gel with the team. It's like he has absolutely no clue. He's been here years now, and for the kind of money he's making the fans absolutely deserve better. If he's not going to justify his salary, he should just quit embarrassing himself and retire already.

But enough about Jovan Kirovski HOO IT'S COMEDY TIME

It's a shame New York has three Designated Players now, because there's no way the Red Bulls front office will give Joel Lindpere the MVP push he deserves. Right now I'm torn between him and Kyle Beckerman. If Angel passes Buddle for the scoring title (thereby becoming the MVP frontrunner), won't that put RBNY in an awkward position?

Oh, yeah - I forgot David Ferreira. Wow, this MVP race is going to be interesting. Assuming MVP races interest you.

Hey, speaking of Beckerman and Real Salt Lake. Now THAT was a rivalry game. Tense, passionate, fans of both teams adding to the atmosphere - I love Colorado-Salt Lake games. This one may have been the weirdest yet.

First of all, I'm going to go ahead and tremble a little at Salt Lake holding Colorado to a point while starting their junior varsity. I would have thought Omar Gonzalez had a better chance to repeat as Rookie of the Year than Salt Lake did to repeat as champions, but they look damned good.

Second - I don't know whether to congratulate Ramon Hernandez for having the nectarines to overturn his own penalty call, or to join the bandwagon criticizing him for making a penalty call he wasn't certain of. According to the official league site, Salt Lake wants clarification. Hey, you know where I would expect to find clarification on that play? The official league site.

The Salt Lake brain trust is still "Wuzza wuzza?" about it, but I think the explanation is pretty clear - Hernandez thought Wynne handled the ball and called a penalty, assistant referee said the ball went off his chest, call overturned. You rarely see drop balls, so that was intriguing.

Fox Soccer Channel was absolutely no help. They called their misleading camera angle decisive - all they showed was the back of Wynne's jersey, and the ball ricocheting off what could easily have been his arm or his chest. Then, after Borchers equalized - oh, by the way, that was a little exciting - Dunseth said that ended the controversy. Actually, it doubled it. Instead of potentially costing the Royals one point, the non-PK theoretically cost them two.

Yes, I know, we don't know how the penalty miss changed the game. Maybe Salt Lake would have been perfectly satisfied with a draw and not tried for the winner. I still think if Salt Lake loses the Shield to the Galaxy (and, slightly more practically, has to face Dallas in the first round of the playoffs) by two points or fewer, RSL fans will look back on that sequence with something less than an amused chuckle and "Ah, we got the point we deserved anyway."

But it looked as if it was the right call. We don't have instant replay for handballs in the penalty area (big sigh of relief heard from Heath Ledger's old loft), so the next best thing is AR consultation. The system works.