By Greg Lalas
3...Thoughts on the Ugly Scenes at Crew Stadium
Streamers are not the enemy. I was in
Idiots are the enemy.
The problem is that I’m a romantic idealist. Perhaps a naïf. I’m a
veteran of the league’s early years, when it seemed impossible that
anyone could care enough about an MLS team to take his support beyond
But that’s exactly what happened in
Racist remarks need to be dealt with harshly and swiftly. This
cellphone video of the Revolution’s goal (they won 1-0), scored by
Zimbabwean striker Kheli Dube, includes a racial epithet hurled by some
fan toward the celebrating Revs. It’s impossible to see the speaker.
But his words are clear enough: “You n****r.”
This reprehensible act has no place in the world, let alone in MLS, but it is one of the uglier consequences of growth and success. The league must do something about it now. It must set a precedent.
At the same time, the Revolution’s Shalrie Joseph, who reportedly flipped off the Columbus fans after the goal --- it’s difficult to see on the video the exact gesture he makes -- should be fined and suspended for his actions, if they are proven conclusively.
5...Reflections on England-USA
Yes, it was as bad as it looked up top. Josh Wolff can’t start for his mediocre 2nd-division team in
The holding midfielders were worrisome, too. Michael Bradley was not his usual cocky, precise, hard-tackling self, and Ricardo Clark gave away possession too often. And both failed to stay with their runners or apply adequate pressure to the service (see: Steven Gerrard’s goal). In Bob Bradley’s box-like Chelsea-style midfield, these two are the key. They are Makalele and Essien, and they need to do a better job of staying with runners, maintaining proper spacing, and communicating with the backs. After some decent performances of late, this game was a step back in this area.
There were some positives (though seen through the lens of a negative).
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as some poetic bugger once said.
And so, I’m not above saying that my heart is fonder of Landon Donovan
today than it was two days ago. In LD’s absence, due to a groin strain,
LD’s absence also says something about how far the American player has changed since 1994, the last time the
But Donovan is not the same type of green, wide-eyed, gee-I’m-so-lucky-to-be-here kind of player that comprised the 1994 Generation. He’s the modern, confident American player who sees himself on par with his global counterparts. Kaka’ or Lionel Messi wouldn’t kill themselves to play a friendly at Wembley, why should Landon? If he’s hurt, then playing for romanticism makes no sense. I applaud this attitude.
Freddy Adu did okay. He at least tried to inject a little oomph into the game with some clever flicks, probing passes, and a shot (gaps!). But he’s not ready for this level yet. He needs more games at Benfica, or whatever team his new agents at IMG find for him.
He’s even more than he seems. McBride is 36, but he plays like he’s 30. He’s fit, strong, and so vastly experienced now, that he can make up for any age-related physical deficiencies. His aerial ability gets the flashbulbs going, but he is even more valuable for his back-to-the-goal hold-up play, his off-the-ball running, and his tireless defensive work.
The Keeper...Bill Gates, soccer fan?
Since MLS teams started selling jersey sponsorships a few years ago, the first deal was in
Since the RSL deal, however, some big-name sponsors have come on board: Herballife in LA, Best Buy in
Microsoft. It doesn’t get any more major league than that. So far, the Sounders are doing everything right.