Stop the violence

Boy, the Union are perfectly named. They're as dull as McClellan, bloodthirsty as Grant, and it's going to be three years or so before they can win away from home. I'm really sorry I told you to watch them play Portland. At least we saw the chainsaw once.

You were much better off watching, of all things, the Galaxy-Red Bulls game. The big names played extremely well...provided you just watched the highlights, as far as the Galaxy big names are concerned. But Rafa Marquez completely controlled the Galaxy offense, and Henry was just beautiful out there. That plinka-plinka move he did down the sideline in the first half was something I thought was going to get his leg broken...oh, oops. Sorry.

But hey, if I'm going to snottily criticize millionaires for not living up to my standards, I should be just as loud when they play well. The casual, non-committed fans got their money's worth Saturday night, and they'll have every reason to come back again.

Speaking of breaking legs - well, you can Join The Conversation at Bill's posts or in the forum, but just to recap, here's the sequence of events:

This is how I responded to Mullan's record-breaking suspension, more or less.

And this is how Chuck E. Chivas alleged forward Marcos Mondaini reacted to Mullan's suspension:

And this is how Robin Fraser, a man celebrated in three MLS cities for his exemplary defense, reacted:

Fraser, of course, is a former RSL assistant, so it's incomprehensible that he Ordered A Hit. And, as has been frantically pointed out, Mondaini is a forward, and thus can't be expected to act in a way that isn't a danger to himself and others. Or something.

But of course the damned tackle was malicious. Saying otherwise is like saying Oswald didn't mean to shoot John Connally. Look at the freaking highlight on MLSsoccer. Mondaini tried to slow down Morales, tried and failed to slap him as Morales made a hard right turn, and then Mondaini slid in from behind.

No, he didn't MEAN to break Morales' ankle. And Mullan didn't MEAN to break Zakuani's leg. And Leathers didn't MEAN to break Ferreira's ankle - I missed the league memo on how long Leathers was suspended, but I'm sure it was pretty harsh - just like Tyrone Marshall didn't mean to break Kenny Cooper's leg and Dema Kovalenko didn't mean to break Pollard and O'Brien's legs. All they wanted to do was neutralize a tactical advantage or superior talent by whatever means were available. All they wanted to do, in short, was cheat.

And I'm kind of not in the mood to hear that in their hearts beats a competitive fire so bright that desperate emotion takes over. Heat of the moment is all very well and good, but (a) they kept enough of a grasp of the basic rules not to, say, pick up the ball and run with it, and (b) so what if their intentions weren't to maim? I didn't mean to back over those orphans, either, but they still took away my license. Whether you're clumsy or malicious, you still are a liability on the field. And you shouldn't be on the field until the person you hurt can play, too.

"What if it's a career-ending injury, just through bad luck?" Misery loves company. Get a job.

But how to explain Mondraini? Even MLS couldn't have ruined him this fast...assuming that the rumors I heard about rough play in Argentina are just malicious falsehoods.

Remember, the goal isn't to have a game exactly as dangerous and cynical as the rest of the world. The point is to entertain American and Canadian audiences. By far the best way to do that is with talented players allowed to show their skills. The Galaxy (of all teams!) did not exact revenge on Thierry Henry for his showboating juggling, and even Galaxy fans are better for it. The Red Bulls didn't score on the play, students of the game appreciate proper defense, LA fans don't have a defender suspended for six months, and New York fans can still cheer for a cheating handballer. Everybody wins.

Not usually said about a 1-1 game, but there you go.