Here We Go

You'd have to be one mean-spirited, sorry-assed, cold-hearted bastard not to get the warm and fuzzies right down to your socks over the latest chapter in the Charlie Davies story.

Since every hack soccer writer in the US of A is repeating the entire history for us today despite the fact that every single solitary fan already knows it by heart, I'm going to assume that none of you just got off the shuttle from Jupiter and need to get caught up.

(I would however like to ask any number of writers out there if they could possibly see their way clear to not dragging a shattered young girl who made an unspeakably tragic mistake that put her in prison through the mud any more. We all know what happened, guys. We don't need to be reminded. Really. It's now between her and whatever deity she subscribes to along with every mirror she will look into for the rest of her life. We're not making a drivers' ed film here.)

And if you can watch Davies' tearful post-game interview clip without getting just a tad verklempt yourself, then you need to run on over to Wally World and see what kind of a deal you can make on a case or two of humanity because you're completely out.

However, I'd like to make a couple of points that have gotten lost in the emotional response to a heartwarming saga that - to be just a little cold about it - surely has put a spring in Don Garbers' step this morning.

Not that I blame him. Not a bit. The fact is that without stories like this, without this kind of shared history, MLS - or any other sports enterprise - is an empty shell, an edifice constructed with money but wholly lacking in soul.

And having statistics isn't the same thing as having a history. The former is message board fodder, the stuff of 10,000 threads all of which are devoid of a heartbeat.

Human triumphs and human tragedies (or at least tragedies other than David Beckhams' MLS career) are the stuff by which, as the late Roone Arledge famously recognized as he dragged sport kicking and screaming out from the bars and barber shops and into the mainstream, people are drawn to your endeavor. Home runs, touchdowns and goals - even beautiful ones - scored by nameless, faceless guys in ugly, garish clothing are fine as far as they go but caring about the guys who are performing those feats, emotionally investing in their success or failure, can't be generated by all the billboards and stadium giveaways and ticket sales geeks on Earth.

And let me just say in passing that, while as a fan I wish DC United only futility and suffering and failure until the ending of the world, that's absolutely the perfect team for him, the perfect coach for him and the perfect set of fans for him. Whoever we thank for that - well, thanks.

All that aside however, allow me to be just a wee bit churlish and point out that while the mere fact that the guy can walk is cause enough for celebration, let alone score two goals in his first match, there are two other guys who bagged a pair over the weekend who are getting kind of shortchanged in the kerfuffle.

And indeed, while Davies goals consisted of a PK (and how brilliant of Olsen to send him to the spot?*) and a nice piece of ball control aided considerably by the fact that the guy covering him simply fell down, the other two guys both had two sterling efforts.

(*EDIT: I have now received approximately 58,412 PMs and emails as well as the comment below from the estimable Q*bert Jones III saying that in fact it was Dax McCarty who picked up the ball and handed it to Davies. Class is as class does. DC fans must be wetting themselves.)

Vancouvers' French DP Eric Hassli coldly and clinically scored the Caps' first-ever goal before the games' 15th minute, thus beating both the famous 24th minute Danny Dichio first-ever TFC goal and, fittingly, the team he scored it for, whose defense might be called pathetic if there was any evidence that they had one.

Indeed, Hassli actually had three but one was called back on a foul call, but four goals their first time out - and against Toronto, just to make it sweeter for them - has Vancouver delirious this morning, making up somewhat for the dashed hopes of the Timbers faithful who seemed to feel MLS Cup was all but tucked away.

The other double scorer was SKC's Mexico DP Omar Bravo whose goals were both the result of a high pressure offense that punished Chivas for a pair of defensive gaffes with goals that were as pretty as they were opportunistic.

What we're left with this morning is three players leading the league in scoring (a fourth, LA's Juninho, share the lead but his paltry one-goal-per-game average off of two suddenly signature guided laser shots is neatly doubled by the other three guys) who are new to MLS, a league that even the commissioner admits badly needs more scoring.

Bottom line for the first weekend: a bunch of goals, some exciting new players, one city full of delirious fans and one great storyline.

Not bad at all.