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Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things


June 12, 2007

BECKHAM RULES MEMO


by @ 12:21 am.
Filed under Major League Soccer

From: D. Garber

To: All players

RE: Mr. Beckham

As you know, Mr. Beckham will be playing in Major Leauge Soccer sometime this summer, for an unspecified number of games, if he is free. Having a player of this stature is an honor and privilege for all of us, and is something we should not take lightly. We will all have to act responsibly to ensure that Mr. Beckham’s time in the League is pleasant, safe, and successful.

In that spirit, I am announcing several new rules, to be observed in any game involving Mr. Beckham, and, in the event of breach of said rules, the corresponding, non-appealable, immediate, and irreversible suspensions:

Failing to yield to Mr. Beckham on a 50-50 ball: 1 game

Recklessly blocking a Mr. Beckham free kick or cross: 2 games.

Giving Mr. Beckham a dirty look: 2 games.

Speaking to Mr. Beckham without having been spoken to first: 3 games.

Being fouled by Mr. Beckham: 1 game.

Failing to say “thank you” after being fouled by Mr. Beckham: 2 games.

Making any disparaging remarks about Her Highness the Queen during the run of play: 1 game.

“Nutmegging” Mr. Beckham: 5 games

Referring to Mrs. Beckham as “Baby”, “Scary”, “Sporty”, “Ginger” or “Morrisey” during the run of play: 5 games.

Making fun of Mr. Beckham’s haircut during the run of play: 10 games.

Goalkeepers Only:

Handling any ball last touched by Mr. Beckham: Immediate expulsion from Major League Soccer.

Galaxy Players Only:

Implying, stating, or in any way, either publicly, privately, or in one’s personal thoughts advancing the opinion that Mr. Beckham’s play is either not up to standards, or is lacking in some aspect: 10 Games.

Implyng, stating, or in any way communicating to Mr. Beckham during the run of play that he should be coming back to play defense: 10 games.

Gentlemen, I’m sure you’ll all agree that these rules are fair, and that they are promulgated in the best interests of American Soccer. I know if we all enthusiastically embrace Mr. Beckham and these minute changes in the rules necessitated by his presence, we will all, in the end, be better off.

DG/jm

enclosure: illustrated version of rules, for posting in all MLS locker rooms

June 11, 2007

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS: FCD v Galaxy


by @ 1:04 am.
Filed under Stream Of Consciousness

Let me just start by saying how much I despise Chase Bank. I mean, if a guy needs cash for a road trip, should it take AN HOUR to determine that the ATM, which had a software crash in the middle of his transaction, was never, EVER going to give him his card back, much less the cash needed for said road trip? Should it take two separate calls to customer service to determine that not a single solitary person in the entire organization knows anything about the software that runs those damn machines?

I mean, it’s a multi-billion dollar financial empire. They can’t get Automated Teller Machines right?

Naturally, by the time that whole fiasco was finished, it was well past the time we could get from Edmond to Frisco in time for the first half, so we had to scrub the trip. According to my wife, I’m not a patient man in the best of circumstances, so you can imagine how utterly annoyed I was by this whole deal.

Really and truly though, the second I saw the machine re-booting and noticed a Microsoft logo, I should have given up immediately and just hit the road. But nooooo, I had to have a modicum of faith in the competence of huge corporations, and wait.

Stoopid.

Okay, so what were we supposed to be talking about here today?

Oh yeah. The game.

Thank God we beat the dirty dirty Galaxy in this one; I really don’t know, the way my week had been going up to that point, if a loss wouldn’t have just driven me completely over the edge of sanity.

Not to mention the thanks I give that the game was on Direct Kick. Had it been one of those HD Net exclusives, well, see preceding paragraph.

So I guess this was Steve Morrow’s “Here’s your chance to shine” lineup, wherein guys who usually come off the bench get to start. That’s good coaching, in my view. You rest some guys, you give other guys a chance to impress. You have to have the locker room to do this kind of thing, of course. If you don’t, you get guys bitching and pouting and your team chemistry goes down the porcelain throne. But Steve is in control of this team, and the boys are behind him. Good things can happen when you have that.

Toja. What can you even say about Toja? He was like two or three players worth of good on the night. What can you say? Except he’s so good someone’s going to snap him up and take him to the Continent before too long. We can only hope he finds a girlfriend in Dallas who doesn’t want to leave Texas. It may be our only hope of keeping him around. Love is a funny ol’ thing, and can cause a man to do crazy things.

I guess.

Speaking of Mr. T, he scores from a crazy insane acute angle for the first goal. He’s over the end line at a full run and somehow manages to square up on the ball and left foot it past Joe Cannon. If you tried to graph that shot on paper, the math wouldn’t work. Who makes goals like that? Who? I mean, really – how many guys you’ve ever seen play soccer could have pulled that off?

Dominic Oduro is another one. What a joy to watch. He was making the LA midfield look silly at times. And often he gets loose on a breakaway but then has to stop because no one is as fast as he is. Not a bad problem to have. The minute his first touch and passing are as good as the rest of his game (and they’re not awful now, mind you), he’ll be gone too.

As for the PK that Dominic earned, well, it was kind of tough on Ty Harden for that to be a penalty. I mean, he did foul Dom, and Dom did make the most of the foul, theatricality-wise. But let’s be fair, Dominic was never going to catch up to that ball before it went out.

But on the other hand, if Dom was never going to get to that one, why bother fouling him? So, hey, tough luck kid, welcome to the bigs.

That was a nice little goal L.A. Managed to pull back right before the half. A beautiful touch by Kyle Martino finds an inexplicably unmarked Cobi Jones. Cobi’s shot gets past Dario, but Chris Gbandi makes an incredible back-heel save off the line. Sadly, it rolls right to some guy (Finley I think) who taps it in. Ah well.

Once again, The Inferno looked big and sounded great. The Toja chants were great, as was the “Cannnnon…..Cannnnon” bit they started up as the game wound down. Joe C usually takes the Inferno’s abuse pretty well, but he seemed to have exhausted his supply of good humor for most of the evening. Probably wondering why he had to leave Colorado just when they were getting good.

Here’s another reason why I love Steve Morrow: He’s ahead 2-1, there’s 25 minutes left, and he tells Kenny Cooper to get warmed up. Not Bobby Rhine, a defender, but Coop, a goal scorer. I love that. Why is it so difficult to understand the best way to protect a one-goal lead is to make it a two-goal lead? I can’t even begin to tell you how long the fans of this team have been waiting for this kind of strategery.

Even Drew Moor got into the act. Not content with shutting down what’s left of the Galaxy’s offense, He sneaks up on a free kick and makes a sweet diving header to put the game out of reach late. Tyrone Marshall, shockingly, was too busy tugging on Kenny’s shirt to defend the free kick. Idiot.

And what does Marshall do for an encore? A couple minutes later, [KIDS, TURN YOUR HEADS AND DON'T READ THE REST OF THIS SENTENCE] the son-of-a-bitch goes after Kenny with his studs up, and breaks his leg. Snaps his tibia. What goes through the mind of a person to make him do something like that? Sure he got a straight red for his trouble, but that’s hardly enough. Kenny is out for two months, minimum. There was no rationality behind that tackle.

If Don Garber and Joe Machnik want to continue to be taken seriously, not just by the American fanbase, but internationally, then they have to come down hard on this nonsense. Six games isn’t too much for a broken leg, if it’s just enough for a fake knockout.

Besides, let’s face it, when David Beckham gets here, Don and Joe will be suspending guys for not getting out of his way fast enough, never mind trying to cripple him. Let’s hope they’re not going to wait until sometime in July or August to start cracking down on thugs like Marshall.

By the way, you just gotta love assistant coach Marco Feruzzi. As soon as Marshall had done the dirty deed, Marco went after him and had to be restrained by the Assistant Referee. He got sent off, but in my book, the man deserves a raise. I like that the fire this team has extends to the coaching staff as well as the players. I also like that El Capitan Ruiz (away on Gold Cup duty with Guatemala) called the team before Kenny’s X-Rays were even dry to check on his condition. That’s a Captain.

That’s all I got. Between Chase Bank and Tyrone Marshall, I’m so put out I can hardly see straight. See you next week, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

June 5, 2007

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS: Houston Road Trip Edition


by @ 11:02 pm.
Filed under Stream Of Consciousness

Speaking strictly in terms of climate, if Hell has a foyer, it must be Houston. Seriously.

Please, understand, this is by no means a reflection on the people of Houston, whom I find to be uniformly pleasant (with the exception of the Nimrods of El Batallon, whose problem is not being Houstonian, it is being rank morons stuck in the worst kind of perpetual adolescence).

For example, in Houston, the police and security folks are wonderful; cheerful and professional. As opposed to say, the cranky nitwits who make up the security staffs of Kansas City and Chicago.

And the Dynamo fans (apart from the previously-mentioned morons) are gracious and friendly. Even when they razz us, they go it with cheerful good nature. You gotta like that. I mean in Europe, if one team’s supporters were foolish enough to go anywhere near an opposing team’s supporter group tailgate, there would be a full scale riot. Here, we meet new people, share food, drinks and laughs, and take big group photos.

But goodness, people, how do you live with that humidity? Getting off the bus at Robertson Stadium was like having a hot wet wool blanket thrown over my head. I’d rather attend a game in La Paz – at least if I couldn’t breath, it would 20 degrees cooler.

I guess the humidity is useful in its own way. For example, had I actually burst into flames from the heat, the super-saturated air would have put it out immediately, especially combined with the totally and completely unreasonable amount of sweat my body was generating in a frantic attempt to, like, not DIE.

Anyway.

Oh, and I don’t want to blow my own horn or anything (lie), but I have to be the best fan in the history of this franchise – I got up at 5:00 am, on the road by 6:00, arrive in Big D by 9:30, several hours on the bus to Houston, all for a two hour game. Then back to Dallas on the bus and drive back to OKC; home at 3:30 am.

Oh, and all this was in spite of the fact I had my first day at the new job just a few hours after getting home. Do I rock, or what?

Not that the bus ride was a burden or anything. Being confined in a small space with The Inferno and a dozen or so full-to-bursting coolers full of icy malt beverages isn’t the worst way to spend a few hours on the road. Somebody even brought a bunch of tiny servings of Jello. Wasn’t that sweet? Mine kinda tasted funny though. One even had a little worm in it. Wonder how that got there . . .

All in all, it was a perfect day.

Or would have been, had we had skipped the game completely and just kept drinking.

Oh, the game.

What can I say? We scored first on a really nicely constructed goal by Abe Thompson, assisted by Kenny and Dax. Very pretty. We looked in control. Then in the second half it kinda all went bad. Dynamo players started slipping through cracks in the defense like cockroaches squeezing through your baseboards.

Except cockroaches are way more charming.

And cockroaches never would have been dumb enough to leave San Jose for Houston.

And cockroaches look better in orange.

And cockroaches . . .

eh, that’s all I got.

So all the sudden, in the time it takes to get a five-dollar Diet Coke, we’re down 2-1. How does that happen?

And what’s more, I didn’t see either second-half goal. The first one, I was at the concession stand trying desperately to rehydrate myself before fainting and permanent blindness set in, and on the second one, I was busy screaming witty insults at Pat Onstad. For example, stuff like “Hey, Pat, socialized medicine is a really bad idea!” and “Hey, Pat, who’s the chick on your money?”

Yeah, I like to save my ‘A’ material for the Dynamo.

Speaking of Brother Onstad, he really should get at least a three game suspension for his foul on Arturo Alvarez. Three yards outside the penalty area and not even pretending to go for the ball, he went studs up straight to AA’s lower leg. He missed for the most part, thank goodness, but it was still pretty cynical. Not cool, Pat, not cool.

Sure, he got a straight red, but that hardly does justice, not only for the blatant larceny, but for the whole “I’d rather break a guy’s legs than give up a goal” vibe the play had. For pity sakes, man, you’re Canadian – shoulder check him into the boards or something, but not that.

On the upside, Michael Kennedy can say he got at least one call right on the day on the season. Good on you, Michael.

Oh! This Saturday is the first time the Galaxy will visit PHP this year. I can’t wait. I’m so excited to see David Beckham I can hardly sta . . .

What?

Really?

Crap. The kids are going to be so disappointed. I’ve had them practicing anti-British slurs all week and everything. I guess I’ll just tell them Beckham is the speedy little balding guy playing up front. They’ll never know the difference.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. See you post-Galaxy beatdown for some more Streamy goodness.

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