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
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.
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.