Diving to be Clever

So how do the Colorado Rapids get to Columbus? By plane? Train, maybe? A bus would be infeasible. They can't take separate cars....

Oh, that's right. The Rapids will get to Columbus by taking a dive.

Well...you sort of had to feel bad for the Rapids, and the choice they had to make.

"You guys going to hand LA the Supporters Shield?"


"Oh, so you're going to help Salt Lake, then."


But I for one am sickened and appalled that the Colorado Rapids chose to bring shame and dishonor to the good name of the Rocky Mountain Cup. Gary Smith tried very hard to sell that the Rapids-Royals game Saturday wasn't fixed like a rescue tomcat:

Sure they did.

"I can't believe we got an easier playoff opponent," they said to themselves. "It makes me cry how much weaker the Eastern bracket is. We might even host a semifinal against San Jose! ********!"

Fine, so Colorado couldn't have known that Will Hesmer would miss the playoffs. But even with their most exciting goalscorer, the Crew had no chance of beating much of anyone.

This scandal hasn't made the home page on ESPN or Fox Soccer yet, maybe because most every other team in the league lay down this weekend - sorry, rested their players for the playoffs. San Jose got their Golden Boot winner, Seattle didn't pass Dallas and run into Salt Lake, Dallas chose not to play the Galaxy three weeks in a row. How convenient for these Western Conference layabouts.

But at least the Quakes, Sounders and FC's didn't give their fans false hope for the championship of their time zone. Colorado had the game, and the series, sewn up. But then the Rapids radioed Matt Pickens through his illegal, invisible, surgically implanted transreceiver that the Sounders lost, and ordered him to give away the game. I will never take the Rocky Mountain Cup seriously ever again. Ever.

I'm still a victim of Fox trying to screw over Dish (or vice versa, for all I know), so I had to rely on radio and news reports. And fine, the Galaxy have redefined homer coverage. If all you listened to were local broadcasters, you'd have thought the Galaxy and Chivas USA meet in MLS Cup twice a year.

But man, Joe Tutino sounded truly ticked off last night, considering his team was winning. The first Dallas goal was controversial, you see. (I'm sure historically-minded San Jose fans would be delighted to remind historically absent-minded Galaxy fans of the occasional offside non-call which helped LA.) The rest of the game, Tutino went after the hapless AR's like a man possessed.

But even the LA Times got into the act afterwards:

THEY are physical, WE are frustrated with the injustice. I love us. I love us so much.

I mean, I can't think of a single reason why Dallas would be so fired up to play physical against the Galaxy -

Ol' Black and Blue Eyes is Back

Burninator fans, you'll be astonished to hear, had an ever so slightly different take on the proceedings.

Sadly, I think you got a very, very good preview of the playoffs. One thing we tend to forget in the heat of the moment is that - once again - MLS referees are neither corrupt blackguards nor rogue anarchists. Even Jair Marrufo is no Tim Donaghy - I mean, who the hell is going to get rich with their signed MLS jersey collection? Not me, that's for damned sure. Sorry, tangent.

When you see MLS refs, week in and week out, allow things that would be considered impolite in a Tijuana bar fight, keep in mind that's how the Powers That Are want the game to be played. They don't want all these "fouls" "slowing up" the game, they want to "let them play." That goes for players, coaches, and even fans of the team whose players are currently hitting and kicking harder than the other suckers.

Actually, it's unfair to single out MLS and the USSF - Nigel de Jong is currently a free man, and that's nothing to do with the league or the Fed. This is a game-wide, worldwide issue at this point. The more important the game, the more lenient the refereeing. I'm just reminding everyone that if you think your team is more skillful and elegant than most MLS teams, you're either (a) in for an incredibly frustrating and short playoff run, or (b) in serious denial about your team's lack of skill and elegance.

In the mean time, I'm psyched for the Salt Lake-Dallas series. I love a good bar fight.

(Oh, the post title. Old joke from high school - roughly eight hundred years ago - about the biggest-selling band of all time, Culture Halen. The hit single from "Diving to be Clever" was "Do You Really Want to Jump Me?" As a matter of fact, we were aware "Jump" wasn't on "Diver Down," but we just didn't care enough to come up with a better blog post title. Er, I mean, a joke that made sense. Aren't you glad I explained that?)