Okay, I'm not going to indulge in this degree of ball-washing, but I cheerfully retract my sneering dismissal of the Whiteys' impact on-field this year. What's good for Cascadia is good for MLS, I've always said that. Okay, by "always" I mean "never," but I'm still thrilled to see Vancouver playing like these regular season MLS games actually mean something, despite the lack of relegation and Europa League spots and whatever the hell else is supposed to give soccer meaning.
I'm even thrilled with the "traitor" chant they gave Teal Bunbury. Sorry, I don't have your back on this one. If I want the right to wish Giuseppe Rossi ill, then Canadian fans have the right to give Bunbury the Maple Leaf Rag. I only hope that someday, some ill-advised US-based MLS team signs Hargreaves.
Fine, so I'm the guy who read how Red Bull fans gave another dose of "US reject" to Brian Ching, and poured myself a nice, tall, refreshing glass of I Told You So. Fans have a right to feel about opposition players however the hell they feel. If Bunbury wanted the love and affection of Vancouver fans, he went about it all the wrong way. Landon Donovan can tell him all about homecomings to San Jose.
Major League Soccer Soccer is also telling me that there's no reason for Kansas City to panic, and I agree. It's tough on the road, and they'll be fine once they get home in...oh, right. Yikes.
Speaking of recent arrivals...man, I wonder if this really is the year the Union get their playoff spot. Nowak has the recipe down, presumably learned well from Bob Bradley in 1998 - when you're not necessarily as talented, be necessarily meaner.
Besides, it was another bitter Carlos Ruiz homecoming, and in their own way the Galaxy can be just as destructive and anti-soccer as the Union. If the Galaxy didn't have Donovan, they'd probably be the Union. Only Peter Nowak would never start a defensive liability like Beckham.
I'm probably going to look very foolish for saying this if they don't turn it around, but there's really nothing about FC Dallas that's worth panicking over, either. They had too much roster turnover to get off to a good start, which matters even less this year, because the season's so long. They have plenty of time to get Castillo and Ferreira on the same page.
And yeah, they lost in Ohio - a man down.
All they have to do to get their season clicking again is get revenge this Friday, in the can't miss game of the weekend. The Rapids look fantastic so far, even allowing for DC's historic incompetence at altitude. But I have a sneaking suspicion Dallas will be highly motivated. This one might be nearly as intense as the game back in November.
Oh, wait, no - there's no relegation and it's single entity and everyone makes the playoffs, so there's nothing at stake. My bad.
I wonder how Colorado fans think about Salt Lake holding the banner of American soccer into the Dragon's Lair tomorrow night. I don't hate the Royals nearly enough to cheer for Saprissa, probably one of the five least likeable teams in the entire hemisphere - but I sort of hope someone does. Country over club? Real Salt Lake ain't no country.
Maybe the Rocky Mountain teams, who so far look like they're going to split every trophy in America between them this year, have a gentlemen's rivalry where they wish each other the best in the name of good sportsmanship. They're the first, only, and probably last MLS rivalry to answer that description, if that's the case.