Or. Or. Or, or, or, or, or. Or...you could just not throw stuff on the field. That was originally going to be addressed to Houston fans - and y'know, what the hell, you can't spell "elaborate" without "late," so I'll chime in. The previously unheard-from League Secretariat on Fan Behavior Modification might have singled out Dynamo supporters, but that's a good thing. A fellow Galaxy fan whose name is probably of no importance to you, gentle reader, pointed out that fans shouldn't throw things - monkeys throw things.
And you know what happens to monkeys? They get put in cages and have medical experiments performed on them. Then they get the rage virus and cause the zombie apocalypse. Or they get their brains served up in doomed temples while Indiana Jones tries to figure out how to lose the two dumbass sidekicks. You act like a monkey, don't be surprised when you get treated like one.
But hey, now you can say you're such badasses that the league had to crack down on you. If Dynamo fans aren't taking a little bit of pride, however unspoken, on being singled out by the league for being TOO wild, then I clearly don't know my MLS fan. And I do, baby, I do.
In any case, the punishment is irrelevant. Opposing stadiums can already do whatever the hell they want to visiting fans. For my tiny amount of money, one of the very darkest hours in MLS fan relations history was the 2005 US Open Cup final, where Home Depot Center security refused to let FC Dallas fans bring in a four-foot inflatable dinosaur called Infernosaurus.
Like they were going to throw him at Landon Donovan, like it would have made it to the field anyway, like it would have hurt him anyway, and like it was blocking the view of any fan. (You know how Seattle has set the Open Cup attendance record? Well, it wasn't exactly the Galaxy's record that they broke, if'n you catch my drift.)
If the HDC had the green light to protect the delicate souls of Victoria Street from a rampaging balloon toy a year before the Dynamo existed, then I don't think fans need to worry about increased vigilance. We've been there all along. Stadium security, and the home team's front office what hires said security, is going to trump whatever directive comes from the commissariat in New York. When Dynamo fans travel again, they will be the recipients of perhaps slightly greater attention, but the actual policies towards them will change not at all.
Which brings me to Toronto.
Ever since inaugural year TFC fans threw seat cushions on the BMO Field turf as if they had just seen the defeat of a yokozuna, I've sort of given Toronto a pass. When they threw streamers at Beckham, it was cheeky and fun. When Dynamo fans threw trash at him, it was cruel and tragic.
But we can't go through life making "Super Troopers" references over and over. What worried me at first was the reaction of the Galaxy. If this is how they're going to act in Canada, worried I, how in God's name do they intend to handle a Mexican crowd?
After the goal, but before the celebration, I thought, were the Galaxy sandbagging? That whole "How can I possibly work under these conditions" drama Beckham indulged in, then the playground "Time in" move like Inspector Clouseau attacking Cato from behind. If the Galaxy were trying to knavishly lull Toronto into a false sense of security...well, I suppose it worked.
And then, the celebration. For those of you who didn't see it, it was pretty much why the civilized world hates and despises the Galaxy. Pretty much the whole team, including the two most famous soccer players north of the Rio Grande, went straight to their tormentors and gloated, gloated, gloated. They sure didn't act like they were terribly worried about having things thrown at them, now, did they? If the whole business looked familiar, then you probably also saw it back in November at MLS Cup. Just a tawdry, bush league display of arrogance and entitlement.
Naturally, I laughed so hard I woke up my little daughter. I'm still laughing now. I love the Galaxy so much. Am I a terrible person because I support the Galaxy, or do I support the Galaxy because I'm a terrible person?
If Toronto can turn the page on how this game ended, and on how the game next Wednesday is likely to end (I'm gonna make a CRAZY prediction and say, derr, 1-0 Galaxy), then they've got a lot to look forward to. This certainly looks like the best team and coaching staff in the long and glorious history of TFC. That makes them solid playoff contenders, not least because the Eastern Conference is one big Geocities "Under Construction" animation. Best of all, they have a brand new rival team in an old rival city that they should be able to beat handily. The only thing to worry about is potential fan confrontations. To that end, I've written to several Canadian municipal and provincial authorities about introducing the concept of police on horseback. I think it's a useful policing tactic that might work in a Canadian context. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.
Boy, Seattle sure looks good.
Well, that's not true - they look awful, seemingly hellbent on punishing viewers incautious enough to watch their games without one of those pinhole viewers they hand out for eclipses. But they play pretty darn well. I think they're going to lose the second leg, but for traditional CONCACAF hometown reffing reasons rather than because Santos is leaps and bounds better than the Sounders. (Galindo even complained that Seattle was getting the home cooking in the first leg, and I'm not sure he's wrong. Shows how far we've come as a league, that the refs are helping us out at home they do for Saprissa.) As long as they can keep Eddie Johnson away from the field, the Sounders are absolutely a threat to LA this year.
I realize Sigi has won more awards in soccer than I could fit in my living room, so if he says Eddie Johnson can make a contribution to his team, then I suppose I ought to pipe down about it. But...look, you've followed his career too, right? This is why scientists are convinced that global climate change is man-made - because the planet's atmosphere has been warmed by all the bridges Eddie has burnt. And I don't think the issue all this time was that his jerseys were too normal.