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There was plenty to be annoyed at at this past World Cup; tender Frenchmen complaining that their abject failure was due to plastic horns, delicate sportscasters complaining that said plastic horns obscured their Very Important Commentary, a supposedly possessed ball that stymied the world’s best players (yet somehow allowed for passable football when used all season long in MLS?), some nearly avant garde refereeing, and, most notably to results-driven American viewers, a preponderance of drawn matches, many of the dreaded scoreless variety.
UEFA, as well as many regional FA’s, have already banned the horns in all European competition, and most pros are back to kicking whatever Nike Intimidating Combat-Related Name ball they’re used to playing with, but the last two problems still remain in international competition. But instead of considering any sort of electronic accountability for referees, the main source of hair-pulling/greying for most at the World Cup, FIFA is tackling the non-problem. Sepp Blatter says they’re thinking about: no draws in group stages, no extra time, just penalties after 90 drawn minutes. While, yes, weak teams seemed to be playing for the draw to grab a point, I’m not sure that a win/lose match would necessarily make a once squamish team suddenly take up a rock and start aiming at Goliath’s head. Spain, Germany, Argentina,
England, these are terrifying opponents, football machines that control space and time when in top form, and your Switzerlands and Honduri would probably play defensively no matter what, mainly because they don’t have time to actually win the ball to play offense.
The only idea of worth in Blatter’s proposal is the reinstatement of the Golden Goal (Sudden Death for those into tuff talk). PKs should only be a desperate last measure, brought out with unanimous player/coach/referee/attendee/television viewer consensus once 3 or 4 days of play time has passed without score. Then, sure, get the 3rd string goalies and the Under-16s to come out and shoot it out as the first teams are hospitalized for exhaustion. After all that football, why decide with a lottery? Golden Sudden Goal Death would have allowed Croatia to sneak past Turkey and lose to Germany in 2008, after all, and I missed a secret quasi-Yo La Tengo set at Terrastock for it.
It strikes me as odd that Cardullo’s would take their iconic TV out of the window, considering the owners were on NPR not too long ago talking about what an excellent institution it had become over the years. I’m not sure I understand why this would make more people pay a ton of money for imported foods in a recession, but I guess a Designer said they would, so we’ll see.
While I’m sure at the hands of a more deft comic mind, there’s plenty of Sarah Palin or Ice Road Trucker jokes to be had at the expense of The Portland Timbers choosing Alaska Airlines as their jersey sponsor upon joining MLS next year, lets just observe Timber Joey (here seen battling an inflatable wave-runner), who might be the awesomest and most potentially Actually Dangerous mascot I can think of at the moment.
The Revs’ last shot at any hope of dignity this season seems to be gone. 8 points out of what’s probably the most generous and inclusive playoff field in professional sports, the SuperLiga trophy would have been a nice, if slightly sad, little consolation. Something of a round robin dressed up as a champions league for Halloween, SuperLiga pretty much just shows which totally middle-of-the pack clubs from MLS and the Mexican FMF give a crap about showing up to get an arbitrary trophy and $1m that probably won’t get used tremendously well. But as marginal as it would have been, it would have given the dozens of Revs supporters at least a moment of respite in this dire-ass season.
Apparently 10,000-odd souls showed up, which is pretty respectable. Hopefully they were mostly Mexicans or Morelia support so instead of the awkward silence that stifles the stadium as visitor goals rain in, maybe it sounded like a football match.
Nicol’s all-at-once “attack minded” subs of Khano Smith, Zach Schilawski and Roberto Linck can get fluffed as good strategy by SBI and AOL, but anyone watching knows its pretty much a concession or desperation. Sure, lil’ Z is the team’s top scorer this year, but that speaks more to how dire the scoring has been, and his totally sweet opening day hat trick is really making numbers more impressive than they are. Linck is new and I hope awesome, but he’s been on the pitch maybe 5 minutes, definitely way too green to be part of any serious attack. What can even be said about Smith? He runs like hell but forgets that he’s gotta protect the ball. Why he’s even considered before just about anyone on the bench is a mystery.