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Malik (8/15/11)

After watching the Sounders FC versus Chivas on Saturday, I am glad that the MLS is in North America and not in South America. I mean the head officiator of the game would have probably been stabbed after the game or something if he was calling games in the southern hemisphere. I have never before heard such a strong reaction from a Seattle crowd as I did during the closing minutes of regulation. When a blatant tackle in the box was not called as anything, despite the ref being only a few yards away, was insane. To follow it with a yellow card a few seconds later to Friberg when he approached the ref to complain, was adding the insult to what luckily was not injury.

This was one of those plays that made no sense. At least from the officiating perspective. Either the Sounder player was flopping (going down for nothing) and deserved a yellow, or he was fouled in the box and should get a penalty kick...not to mention the tackle looked like a good candidate for a yellow on the Chivas player. It was a simple case of "either-or" and instead turned into a case of none-of-the-above, which just didn't fit the play or the game.

It looked like the officiating, as usual for the MLS, was pretty spotty the entire game. It also looked like the play was being ignored due to compensating for bad calls earlier. However, that's not how the game works. A missed call or a wrong call cannot be made up for with some gift of a magical "get out of jail free" card in the future. That would then just lead to anarchy when a MLS ref messes up, as usual, early on and the offended team knows that the law is literally in their favor in the next penalty.

Anyway, at the end this was one lame game. I mean Seattle was brilliant on defense, but horrible on offense. As Kasey Keller said after the game, Seattle tends to do that. It's either offense or defense this season, and you cannot play like that. It's like when the Mariners play and they either get blanked in a low scoring shutout or get a large sum of offense but also surrender too many runs in the process. However, with soccer it's more confusing since the offense and the defense are simultaneous and tied together, not two unique different sides of a coin. If you can handle the ball efficiently on your end, then why can you not find the same ability on the other end or even at mid-field?

At least the Sounders now have some diversions coming along with CONCACAF champions play resuming this week and US Open Cup semi-finals in the near future. It might be a lot to put the Sounders players through, but it might also help them get their game sorted out if they have so much extra time on the field and playing against what are probably vastly superior teams (at least in the international play). Seattle is going to the post-season, unless the most epic collapse of all time occurs, so they need to figure out what it will take to finally advance beyond the opening round of the MLS post-season.


Malik (8/19/11)

Another week is drawing to its close with nothing much to show for it. I think the problem falls on myself for having so little to say in the last few weeks. When the NFL returned from lock-out hell, I had to make up for lost time. This meant I had a few weeks to go through the level of news (transactions, roster shifts, potential plotlines for the season, etc.) that would normally go on for the last six months.

At least it looks like things should be pretty interesting this season. Despite the lack of a solid QB on the roster, Seattle should make for some interesting stories. I don't see a return to the playoffs this season, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. However, if I had to lay my money down, I'd wager on the NFC West being controlled by the team with the best QB. In this case, I'd say that honor is entirely with the Rams. Yes, Arizona has Kolb, but I was never fully convinced that Kolb was the real deal. He had some damned shaky starts with the Eagles last season, and only commanded a high value in trading this month due to how he was the only "starting QB" on the market without issues of age or personality conflicts.

In all reality, Kolb looked, on paper, to me to be about equal to T-Jack. The difference is that T-Jack was known to not be the best potential starter on the market. Kolb commanded some sort of unrealistic level of prestige. For all those who would have loved to see their team land Kolb, I have to ask; what was so damned special about him? He just looked like a backup when he was compared to Vick...but that didn't mean he only lost the starting role due to a better backup QB in Vick. No, he would have had trouble proving his worth to any team outside of San Francisco, the Titans, or the Cards last season. In other words, the only teams I could see him really become an asset of any type for were those who didn't have any other options at QB.

At least with the NFC West, I can see Seattle being a pain in the side of the Rams. Arizona just looks uneven, like they typically do (not counting a Super Bowl appearing team a couple years back). San Francisco...what can you say? They have not looked good since the days of Montana and Rice. That is not going to change anytime soon...or at least it won't until they can find a good QB and some other key pieces to let this fictional QB shine. The only thing going for the 49ers is Frank Gore...who is getting pretty old for a running back (especially in light of his injury plagued last season) and will only start to decline if the injuries return.

To be realistic, I am seeing this season as a lot more of the same we've seen for many years. Despite some crazy trades and moves in the last month, the game still exists with certain dynasties in place (the Pats, Green Bay, Indy...and probably, and sadly, the Steelers). Still, even with a really sad looking outlook for the Seahawks (no solid QB is about the best way to know an NFL team is going to flounder), I cannot imagine being without the NFL for even part of a season.


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