Coffee is for Closers Only

Stuff I absolutely will not be writing about: The Battle of Las Vegas is a very tempting topic.

Sin City has been on the back burner MLS-wise for quite a while. The ups and downs, ins and outs and over/unders of putting a professional sports team in that former "desert stopover for GI's" have been debated for years but aside from being the XFL venue which once featured "He Hate Me" along with some of the most adorably slutty cheerleaders this side of The Replacements, they've consistently rolled snake eyes.

Aside from the obligatory cheerful mouth noises from Cohiba Don and the "Las Vegas businessman" who claimed to be negotiating with Hunt Sports to convert The Crew into The PitBosses but ended up moving his entire family to Columbus instead and has never been heard from again, MLS-to-LVN is an idea which has never gained much traction.

But since bad ideas never really die, some locals were pointing to last weekend's scheduled "friendly" between Chivas de Guadalajara and Club America in Sam Boyd Stadium at UNLV as a way to demonstrate to all and sundry what a marvelous soccer town Las Vegas is.

Now a cynic might suggest that staging a match in the American Southwest between two of Liga MX's most fabled and fervently supported clubs would serve mostly to prove that people of Mexican descent will pay money to watch Mexican teams play soccer - a point for which one would think no further evidence was required - but the raw attendance numbers ended up being overshadowed by the riot which ensued.

Now of course the riot itself - which began in the parking lot, extended to the pitch which saw two players from each team ejected and ended with 120 police officers chasing 400 or so fans off the field at the games' abbreviated conclusion - proves as much about Las Vegas as a potential MLS location as the match itself, ie. little to nothing.

No one can seriously believe that a match between the Las Vegas Cardcounters and, say, Sporting Kansas City would generate anything like the same audience, the same level of violence or the same number of hospitalized fans.

As a result the only thing this ugly situation demonstrated is something that, well, it's just not considered polite to mention, much as the resultant comment section flame war would prove eminently entertaining.

So I'm taking a pass.

MLS' Continuing Disgraceful Officiating might likewise be considered appropriate blog fodder.

Last night's beyond-belief awarding of points to the Los Angeles Galaxy is a case in point.

Down 0-1 at the venue formerly known as the HDC to a soon-to-be-conducting-coaching-interviews Columbus Crew, the man with the whistle awarded the Gals an 85th minute PK on a foul which we won't quibble with. Some would call it "soft", but it's one that goes either way depending on the ref's vantage point.

Apparently having developed a taste for deciding games on his own, the referee called for another PK deep into stoppage time on what can only be described as an embarrassingly bad, obvious and borderline ludicrous flop from world famous superstar DP Robbie Keene.

Even LA defender Omar Gonzalez couldn't make up his mind on the call, saying: “Tonight maybe the second PK wasn't such a great call, but, hey, they went in our favor, and I can't ask for anything more than that. It was a great call by the referee.”

But who among us has not felt the sting of a match stolen by the confluence of a gutless, clueless and unqualified referee and a cheating disgrace for a human being?

It is what is is and likely always will be, and complaining about it would sound like sour grapes, which it very well might be.

On the other hand, a league like MLS, which has been trying for years to convince their paying customers that the league office has no particular bias in favor of the New York and Los Angeles clubs, might want to reconsider Tweeting, immediately after the match, that LA had demonstrated "The Mark of a Champion" in their glorious comeback victory:

Unless "The Mark of a Champion" is what many people might fairly consider "cheating, lying and exposing how incompetent our officials are", perhaps MLS might want to consider a different approach.

But like I said, I don't want to be accused of grinding a personal axe here, so you won't hear a word from me.

The question of whether New England will have to cancel the rest of their regularly scheduled home games this season might likewise be an apt topic.

It seems that the local politicians want Kraft to ante up $42,500 to cover their new insurance deductible for the policy which covers law enforcement personnel during an event.

Kraft Sports is refusing and if nothing is resolved by the close of business today they will not be allowed to play San Jose in Gilette Stadium on Saturday night.

But it would be much too tempting to point out that Kraft ought to be giddy at the opportunity to promote a team which, last anyone knew, does not now nor has it ever employed a player who stands accused of running around executing people in his spare time.

And that's just too cheap and easy.

Robbie Rogers.

Beg and plead all you want. Just not going there.

Ben Olsen


And finally, since I've been accused on more than one occasion of being unduly harsh on America's Sweetheart, Hope Solo, I'm not going to discuss her recent Twitter screwup which saw her sending out her home phone number to 670,000 people.

In a comically transparent effort to recover her pride - since after all, laughing at herself isn't exactly Hope - she tried to claim that it was all a sly. sophisticated ploy on her part:

You fools fall 4anything!Wanted to see how easy it was! Uhad my number but for a second! But say hello to my new phone & u ain't got that

Now if I were to comment on this incident I'd feel obliged to point out that Solo just called her most loyal and devoted fans "fools", an opinion which I'd be forced to admit that I heartily endorse.

Still, it's almost irresistible to not quote the follower whose response concluded:

"Can you give me Alex Morgan's number?"

And that's something that, surely, we can all agree about.