In the past - if you define "always" and "two days ago" as definitions of the past - I mocked claims that there was an MLS/AEG plot to benefit the Galaxy at the expense of all things non-Galaxy. Such mockery was either mirthful, like during complaints that Robbie Keane for Juan Pablo Angel somehow violated the sacred covenants of the league - or rueful, like when the Galaxy botch a four-goal playoff lead, or when Kyle Beckerman makes a penalty kick in Seattle in November - but I always dismissed such claims out of hand. What kind of league, after all, puts its championship game in a city but can't rig its host to get to the match - not once, but four and should not but maybe five times? Jerry Jones was laughed off the planet for a similar failure, and that only happened to him once. Plus Phil Anschutz was the executive producer of both "Game of Their Lives" and the Around the World in 80 Days remake with Jackie Chan. Evil genius? Hardly. When it comes to rigging games, AEG is strictly Doofenshmirtz Inc.
And then the Loch Ness Monster rolled out of the lake and ate one of my sheep, so to speak. Twice, actually - once as tragedy, once as farce - as is so often the case with metaphorical sheep being eaten by plesiosaurs.
Tragedy seems to have been averted, in that breakout star Mauro Rosales won't have to recuperate for two to six months. Yes, when Sounders fans are affronted, the signal to noise ratio approaches that of tuning your radio to the airport traffic station, then throwing it in the bathtub. And yes, Sigi Schmid has employed plenty of players whose approach tended towards the inelegant.
But that don't make this wrong:
"The league's got to start protecting him," Schmid demanded. "The last two games, teams have gone out there and kicked him and I don't think the referees have done a good job protecting him. Today was a case in point. ... We have a talented player in this league, a player who's a good player, who fans want to come and watch play, then we let thugs hit him and we don't protect him enough."
If it helps, think of the best player on your team, and you'll find yourself agreeing with Sigi. Also, if it helps, don't think of it as "protecting" - think of it as "calling the game according to the rules." If we can be as anal as Sir Mix-a-Lot when it comes to the letter of passive offside, then we can apply that same dedication to professional fouling.
But no...Seattle having good players, let alone an MVP candidate, might slow down the Galaxy's march to the Shield, and thus home field advantage up until 2012. Can't have that. So down goes Rosales.
If that wasn't enough, on Saturday, the Galaxy played host to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who will join MLS next year as an expansion team. Major League Soccer Soccer was too ashamed to include this sequence in their highlights, but after half an hour Bryan Jordan committed an obvious penalty kick foul in front of God and everyone. Not only was there no call, but Jordan went on to notch two assists. That brings his season total up to...let's check the stats page here...two.
We are the best in the world! We are the best in the world! We have beaten Vancouver 3-0 in football!! It is completely unbelievable! We have beaten Vancouver! Vancouver, birthplace of giants! Mackenzie King, Pierre Trudeau, Robertson Davies, Harold Ramis, Anne Shirley, Tommy Chong, Degrassi Junior High, Don Cherry, the guy who did "Informer" --we have beaten them all! We have beaten them all. Kate Beaton - can you hear me? I have a message for you: Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!
The only thing unknown is whether aegmlssum decides that one Galaxy championship in front of their long-suffering fans is enough, or whether a dynasty is needed.
I know what you're thinking. "Well, Dan, since there's no alternative but to accept Galaxy overlordship for the foreseeable future, when I do make my pilgrimage to Carson, what can I look forward to seeing while I'm there?"
Glad you asked. You won't want to miss the Tapestry of Heroes that lines the outside of the Home Depot Center. A small sampling:
An ongoing cautionary tale against the pitfalls of the Designated Player, Amado Guevara watches over the northeast corner of the Home Depot Center, guarding Chivas USA now and forevermore against any player who would make more than six figures a year.
It's one thing that AEG won't go out of pocket to take the guy's picture down - but Jorge Vergara and Antonio Cue are also too cheap to take down this ongoing embarrassment. A sort of giant, one-picture, reverse Wordless Book, Chivas USA is summed up perfectly here.
This picture is arguably as embarrassing for the Galaxy as Guevara is for Chivas USA. Ronaldinho snubbed the Galaxy several times over the past few seasons, and as far as I can tell never actually played in the Home Depot Center, for Barcelona or any other team. The Galaxy's puppy love towards big names ahead of anyone - literally anyone - who has actually contributed to the club is apparently a point of pride. Keep in mind, these things are a couple of stories high.
Say this for Michael Watson, he has not given up on lacrosse in Southern California. You know, if Major League Lacrosse had promotion and relegation, maybe more real fans would tune in.
Like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Home Depot Center salutes the legends of American soccer history in sidewalk form. Needless to say, only the true legends of American soccer are
Okay, but, she did win a World Cup in Southern California. The standard for American soccer heroes isn't completely
Moving right along - the LA Team store has everything for the discriminating Southern California soccer fan - and then some:
I mean, seriously, can you imagine the kind of asshole that would actually have this in front of his house?
Because I can! YAY!