Thursday, October 29, 2009

The MLS playoffs begin today. Some (mostly completely obvious) thoughts:

1. I love the playoffs. To hell with you stinkin' Europhiles. Please go enjoy Hull City v. Wolves. But ...

2. No more than six teams deserved to make the post-season. There's just no compelling case to be made for Real Salt Lake or New England. Both teams gave up more goals than they allowed, and the Mormons couldn't even manage a winning record. It makes a mockery of the regular season when a team loses more games than they win and is rewarded for their failures. The final weekend, with six teams vying for the final two spots (while riveting), proves the point. With their entire season on the line, only two of the squads could manage to secure three points.

3. That said, Real Salt Lake has the potential to wreak havoc in the playoffs. They finished the season strong and have all the pieces to compete with any team in the league. There's some weird Andy Williams mojo going on with that squad. Robert Warzycha might want to check the grounds for buried amulets prior to kickoff.

4. Shalrie Joseph is the best player in the league (not named Landon Donovan). Where would New England be without the indomitable Grenadan midfielder? Certainly not hosting Chicago in the playoffs. Joseph was his usual dynamic force in the center of the pitch, but dramatically upped his offensive production with the absence of Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston for large chunks of the season, leading the team in both goals and assists. Don't bother trying to convince me that Julian de Guzman is a better player.

5. Lord do I detest Seattle. I can't give you a rational reason. But every time I see one of those smug, lime-green schmucks on TV I want to shove a pool cue down their throats. (It's a good thing I'm not going to MLS Cup this year.)

6. But I love Osvaldo Alonso unconditionally. How is it that no other MLS team was pounding on this guy's door when he was patrolling the midfield for Charleston Battery? Do MLS coach's even watch USL-1 games? All the attention has gone to the dreamy Swede, the crafty Colombian and the American metalhead, but Alonso was Seattle's most valuable player. His combination of bite and guile in the midfield is a rare commodity. And the dude started crying when he went down with an injury back in May.

7. Don't miss halftime at MLS Cup. Brucio is going to race Nick Garcia from endline to endline on the nasty fake turf. The winner secures a starting spot on Toronto's back line in 2010 -- when Ray Hudson will be the gaffer.

8. If anyone utilizes the phrase "It's Bouna time" ever again, I will personally disembowel them with a rusty old meat clever that my neighbor Marty left in my garage.

9. The Indomitable Drinky Crows play our final game of the season tonight. After winning the championship last season, we've somehow managed to win just once (a forfeit) this round. It's the same damn league. It makes no sense. But we will be celebrating tonight at the Sweetwater (and watching the opening match of the MLS playoffs).

10. Bruce Arena is the coach of the year. There is no discussion. He took a completely dysfunctional squad of sniping school girls and transformed it into the odds-on favorite to win MLS Cup. What's more, he did it with no salary cap room to spend on major signings. (Don't even talk to me about Robert Warzycha. All you can say about the guy is he managed to not completely fuck up the best team in the league. My nonagenarian aunt Allie could have done that.)

11. Somebody please give Richie Williams a head coaching job. New York is undoubtedly too stupid to hold on to him. Toronto will undoubtedly pick some drunken yahoo with a foreign accent. Hopefully that means D.C. United will claim the Ankle Biting Midget of Death.

12. Los Angeles will win MLS Cup. Back in March I wrote up my MLS predictions. The team I picked to finish dead last: L.A. Now they're the trendy pick to win it all. Leave some room for me on that bandwagon!

14 Comments:

Anonymous leper said...

There's a small chance I'll join you and the rest of the Drinky Crows at the Sweetwater tonight.

I'm really looking forward to that Brucio v Nick Garcia smackdown. Should be epic. I'm only left to wonder - why is Bunky County the only media outlet covering this event?

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Blogger Demko said...

Awesome. Hope to see you there.

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wiliams is our talisman. his wife has battled leukemia all year - anyone in the stands and bench would come down on the pitch to stick up for andy.

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