Friday, September 16, 2011

The Whiplash

So remember that 8-1-1 MLS record through the first two weeks of CONCACAF Champions League play? The one where MLS won twice in Mexico, two more times than it had ever won there before, and lost only to itself? Long time ago, pal.

And for God's sake man, no more "it is what it is." Might as well say "life is like a box of chocolates" for all I'm concerned. Nothing means less. But my overwrought digression aside...

Comparatively speaking (and we're comparing it to the best CCL run in MLS history, mind you) this week was a disaster. The Galaxy lost in heartbreaking fashion (in Mexico), Colorado and TFC were smashed into a million pieces, Dallas somehow surrendered a draw at home to lose two otherwise surefire points and Seattle was the lone MLS team keeping the banner from falling bloodied to the turf. If not for those first two idyllic weeks, this might seem like the norm. Because it kind of has been.

Without RSL's specter muddying the picture, this is more or less what we expected at the outset. Some good, more bad and a little bit of mediocre mixed in for good measure. Toronto and Colorado became more of what we'd expected. The Rapids were the wide-eyed wunderkinds here almost on a lark, a streaky postseason run helped along by George John's thigh, suddenly placing them in the CCL in an arena with Central America and Mexico beyond immediate expectation. TFC has been horrible for most of the year, and the city of Toronto is thanking its stars for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, because otherwise the Reds wouldn't have sniffed this competition. Group action is only half over so making pronouncements on who moves on and who doesn't is undoubtedly premature, but neither team is likely to do much of anything in the knockout phase should it come to that.

Galaxy fans are still ruing a bundle of questionable calls in Morelia. Seven minutes away from becoming the third MLS team to take a full three-pointer from Mexico in the last 30 days, things got wacky. Defying his tremendous form to that point, Josh Saunders made a mess of a Adrian Aldrete strike, allowing it to creep underneath him for the tying goal in the 83rd minute. Robbie Keane appeared to get his second goal on 90 minutes, helping in a ricochet for a 2-1 lead with seconds to play. A horrible offside call (think Koman Coulibaly bad) negated the play, and Miguel Sabah nodded home a header two minutes later in much-too-much added time to complete what was either a stunning collapse or stunning incompetency. I'm not trying to be an MLS homer, but you be the judge.

Dallas' draw with Tauro wasn't as disappointing, but it was close. Daniel Cruz broke the CCL record for quickest goal with a 27th-second strike, and George John should've made it 2-0 on a clearly onside header inexplicably marked offside by the side judge. It mattered when Ugo Ihemelu was whistled for a penalty four minutes from the half to pave the way for the tying strike. Only Seattle held up the standard, beating back Herediano with a pair of Fredy Montero strikes for his fourth goal in his last three matches.

What do we know? Seattle and Dallas are near locks to advance. The Galaxy are currently tied on six points in Group A with Morelia and Alajuelense, but I'd be shocked if they didn't join in on the knockout phase festivities. Any more than that and we're already ahead. Despite a jagged week, this has still been a group phase to remember from MLS' perspective.

- A humbling week for MLS
- This is the TFC we remember
- The Galaxy give a WTF dude to the refs
- Sounders are up nine points, dudes

- Will Parchman

1 comment:

SPA2TACU5 said...

That is one awful call, and one awful goalkeeper.