I was on the phone before the ball even hit the net. "Satan? It's me. Luke Rodgers is going to be the hero? After all I've done for you? Tell me what it'll take to undo this."
"Okay, Loney. Five things. First, who the here told you to call me during It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Don't do that. Second, there's only so many horrible things I can do to the Metrostars."
"They're the Red Bulls now."
"Exactly. Third, enough about Luke Rodgers. I already had Will Rogers in here screaming at me about what a douche he is."
"Wait, why is Will Rogers in hell?"
"Fourth, I'm tired of all these soccer calls. Haven't I made MLS more popular than the NBA?"
"Daddy? Can I have my Elmo phone back?"
"Hush, sweetie. Daddy's on the phone with Satan."
"Fifth, you already sold you soul so that Dukakis would be President."
"Oh, that's right. Hey, wait a minute -"
"So piss up a rope, I'm busy. I gotta get the place ready for Harold Camping. Later, chump."
So, while it wasn't for want of trying, it wasn't me who saved the Galaxy. Ask Roy Miller why the hell he went nuts.
You know, it only literally occurred to me right now as I was starting this sentence that there might be Red Bulls fans to whom seeing their team defeated by ex-Bull Mike Magee and prominent MLS antichrists Beckham and Donovan might in fact be as painful as the idea of jobbing to Luke Rodgers was to me.
Oh, well. I'll start a telethon for them.
Sports morality is a weird thing, where someone who performs well for your team is "good," and everyone else is "bad." I held my nose when Dema Kovalenko played for my favorite team, but it's not like I started cheering for the Earthquakes.
And I admit/am thrilled that I don't know the "real" Luke Rodgers, although at this point I'd love to see what was in those letters of recommendation, purely from an aesthetic point of view. They must make made Priam pleading Achilles for the body of Hector look like Uncle Sam farting the national anthem in comparison.
But there are words for players who try to bounce medium-range shots off of unsuspecting fans. And if he didn't try - just like the firework was an unfortunate accident, just like the bar fight was an attempt at chivalry gone wrong - then, best case scenario? The guy's a chronic f**kup whose lightning rod for trouble will eventually torch NYRB and MLS.
Still, as long as he performs for the Red Bulls - seeing as how precious few others in their employ actually do - it's not any more likely New York fans will turn on him than I'm likely to denounce Landon Donovan for admitting he was a whining diver in his youth.
But since sports morality is pretty much a modern form of trial by combat, I'm thrilled that Red Bulls losing makes it slightly more likely that Rodgers will be fined into penury for that stunt, just like it's slightly more likely that Red Bull will ship Rafa Marquez off somewhere we don't have to put up with him.
Speaking of trial by combat - I'm about the ten millionth person to say this, but gosh, thank God we're having the semifinals three days after the quarterfinals, just so we can respect the FIFA calendar. (It's like the Maya calendar, only the apocalypse is ongoing.) Jurgen called up exactly five MLSers for the friendlies next week, exactly one of whom will still be doing anything with his club this season.
Boy, it's a good thing we're punting a weekend for the sake of Zurich. If we don't make Sepp Blatter happy, we might not get to host the World Cup.
Look, I realize there are some common sense precautions MLS can take to avoid things like World Cup qualifiers, but what's good for MLS is good for FIFA, not the other way round. Playoff games twice a week is not good for MLS. And you know what, FIFA doesn't care if MLS has playoffs the same weekend as some meaningless friendlies.
I know if we admit that, we'd have to also admit that it doesn't matter whether we stop at 20 teams, or whether we continue to have playoffs. I too have trouble believing that they don't stay up late at night in Europe worrying about MLS not having a single table like they do in Mexico. But there's a middle ground between forcing teams to do without players who were called up for important games, and providing fans with the best possible matchups.
LA-RSL should be a damn good game - it will probably be the real final. It therefore follows that it would be a better game if both teams were at full strength. Instead, both teams have to worry about missing crucial players, just so Bob Bradley would have four hundred players to choose from instead of three hundred and eighty. Was man made for the FIFA calendar, or was the FIFA calendar made for man?