Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

August 20, 2006


by @ 10:16 pm.
Filed under Major League Soccer, Stream Of Consciousness

So, after the X-Games were finished ruining the grass at the Home Depot Center, with the crazy kids and their skateboards, and the long hair and rock-n-roll music and all, the Galaxy, naturally, re-laid the sod. This makes sense. But, inexplicably, they cut a good 10 yards off the width of the field. Oh, I say it’s inexplicable, but that won’t keep me from coming up with a few wild, unfounded speculations. This is journalism, of a sort, after all. And really what typifies modern journalism better than wild, unfounded speculations?

My guess is this: Frank Yallop, and Landon Donavan are, as we all know, former Earthquakes. Spartan Stadium in San Jose, as you no doubt remember, had about as much width as Nicole Richie’s hips. The EarthQlashQuakes were great at capitalizing on that narrow field and making it mesh with their style of play. Ergo, one can surmise that Frank and Landon set up a power lunch with Alexi Lalas and somehow convinced him to make the HDC as narrow as they could manage without making themselves look stupid. Quod Erat Demonstrandum, as the mathematicians would say.

I don’t know how that little piece of strategy will work out for the Gals, but they sured failed in keeping from looking stupid. Why would you possibly make such a big beautiful field resemble a high school gridball field? It’s like putting a restrictor plate on your Corvette so it won’t go so darn fast.

I noticed that David Wagenfuhr is starting in the midfield. I don’t generally pore over the lineup possibilities and dissect the minor changes Colin Clarke might make from match to match. If I want to know about that stuff, I just read Buzz’s practice reports. He’s all over that stuff like a fly on a sticky bun. But, that said, even I noticed that this was a fairly significant difference in the average lineup. Ronnie O’Brien is on the bench, for whatever reason. I don’t second-guess, either. Personally, I like seeing Wags get a start. He had a really good first half, too, nearly picking up an assist when he hit a nice first-time cross that Carlos Ruiz nearly, but, oh-so-nearly bicycled past Kevin Hartman.

I’m not sure what in the world happened on LA’s first goal. It looked like a combination of poor communication between Greg Vanney and Dario Sala, along with a really opportunistic, hustling play by some kid named Donovan. Either way it was not a particularly pretty piece of work by the good guys.

The second goal LA scored, just before the half, was just a thumping good goal by Santino Quaranta from about 25 yards out. Maybe Dario was cheating up a bit, expecting a through ball, but I don’t know if would have saved that shot under any circumstance, short of hanging on the crossbar on his nearside. Which would be kinda odd, you have to admit.

Speaking of Quaranta, he absolutely epitomizes that infrequent but undeniable phenomena wherein an underachiever gets a new lease on life merely by changing teams. The kid has always shown talent, but he was floundering in DC by anyone’s standards. Now he’s scoring big goals and endearing himself to Dan Loney. I’m happy for the kid; apart from the whole, you know, scoring on us thing.

Somehow, Kenny Cooper got a yellow card for diving. Did Brian Hall confuse Cooper and Ruiz? Did we somehow slip into Bizzaro Universe due to some odd space/time anomaly? Did Cid slip some acid into my Diet Coke? Did I really just see that? What an outrageous call; Hall should be fined by the league. That’s just crazy. Not that I’m against showing the cheese to divers; I’m all for that. Really and truly, it should happen a lot more often in this league. But maybe we could go ahead and wait until somebody really, you know, Brian, dives next time before we make that call. M’kay?

Two goals down at halftime. Normally I’d just give it up and watch reruns of Law and Order on USA (because let’s face it, that’s all they show anymore). But this season, a two goal deficit is child’s play; a teaser; an opportunity for growth, as Tony Robbins might say. Ever since we came back and beat Chick-ago back in July from two goals down, we’ve been a different team. I feel fairly confident we’re going to make a game of this in the second half.

(I know, I know . . . I just jinxed the whole thing, probably . . . so sue me for trying to be an optimist).

Kevin Hartman (who used to be the lead singer for Blondie, as I’m sure you knew) just robbed Drew Moor, snuffing a header after a great cross by Richard Mulrooney. We’re not playing poorly by any means; we’re just two goals down. I hate when that happens.

Josh Gardner comes in for Quaranta and Dominic Oduro comes in for Wags. I like Oduro. I see him being a big part of the team for years to come, unless he gets sold to Norway or something.

Gardner, on the other hand, I don’t know at all. He does have, as Cid would say, “an unfortunate haircut”. That’s the worst Mohawk I’ve ever seen. I say this as a man who is currently riding a 41-year bad-hair-day streak. Josh needs help. Maybe he’s joining a fraternity or something. That might explain it.

Drew Moor almost scores again. Almost. He skied it from around the penalty spot. I’m not criticizing, folks, just reporting. I know this game is a lot harder than it looks. In fact, It amazes me how many people on websites like Matchnight or BigSoccer freely use words like “suck” when referring to really talented players.

Here’s a little advice from your ol’ Uncle Dave: If you’ve never played professionally, you have no business saying anyone in MLS “sucks”. You, on the other hand, probably do actually suck at soccer, at least in comparison to the least talented player you’ve ever seen play professionally. I know I do.

If you’re a professional, current or former, or if you’re a great talent who was somehow tragically overlooked by short-sighted scouts and managers over the years, then feel free to say “suck” with impunity. Knock yourself out.

Everybody else shut up.

Welllll, we’re about 15 minutes from full-time, and though we’re attacking and getting chances, we’re still two goals down. That sound you hear is the optimistic outlook draining from my consciousness. Of course, losing hope in a game like this only makes it that much sweeter when the boys come back and win.

If they do.

But I digress.

Nunez just misses from just in front of the goal; Ante Jazic makes a really good defensive move to deflect the ball away from goal.

Our boy Dario puts the stone-cold diss on Alan Gordon and Quavas Kirk. A great double save on two point blank shots. Shaka Hislop must have been thinking he was close to getting his chance after watching the first half, but I don’t know . . . that was some classic Sala right there. I love that guy.

Well, okay, another loss in LA. We haven’t won against the Dirty Dirty Galaxy, in Los Angeles, in six years. We’ve never won at all against them at the HDC. I won’t go so far as to say the Galaxy are our Daddy, but they’re at least, like, our Stepdaddy, or perhaps a really close Uncle.

For now anyway.

Kevin Hartman moves up to #2 on the MLS All-Time Shutout List with 60.

Hooray for him.

See you next weekend for FC Gandalf. Unless the Wednesday US Open Cup match against Houston is televised.

Like that’ll happen.


  1. Carl Sagan Says:

    You suck, soccer sucks, this blog sucks.

    Any questions?

  2. DJ Walker Says:

    Hey, thanks for reading!

  3. Linda Says:

    Enjoyed a lot!

  4. Nicole Ritchie Says:

    Hi…Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts ! it was a great Saturday . Nicole Ritchie

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