Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bet On The Crew to Tie at Sounders

Injuries will likely decide tonight’s match with Seattle Sounders.

The betting in Vegas and off shore is on Seattle to win, with the line set at 1.8 ($10 nets $8). A good bet tonight would be for a tie with the line currently set at 3.25 ($10 nets $22.50). This would be a very respectable result for the Black & Gold, battered and far from home.

A blindly loyal Crew fan would lay down on the win with the line at a disrespectful 4 ($10 nets $30). As much as El Luchador wants to believe, has children to feed and won't be making this bet tonight.

Seattle Injuries include: Cuban midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (quad strain), former Crew member Brad Evans who is questionable, and defensive midfielder Zach Scott who suffered an abdominal injury against Dallas. The big question mark is former Freddie Ljungberg who has suffered mysterious, severe migraine headaches but is listed now back in the line up tonight.

Crew injuries include Goalkeeper William Hesmer, defender Frankie Hejduk and midfielder Brian Carroll, who is expected to miss a minimum of two games with the separated shoulder he received in the mugging by San Jose Wednesday night. Also out are Adam Moffat and defender Andy Iro.

El Luchador is calling it a tie, 1-1.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Beautiful Game Triumphs Over Evil

There is a difference between the physical style of football played in England and emulated by many MLS teams and the type of brutal, uncivilized, ugly scrum we saw last night from San Jose.

It was clear that the aptly named Earthquakes invaded Columbus with the game plan of trying to steal at least a point by doing nothing more than fouling on every play and playing the long ball in hopes of winning the lottery.

It is precisely this type of ugly, American-style “soccer” that prevents the rest of the world from taking the MLS seriously.

The Crew still managed to pull out a win by sticking to their brand of football, the Columbus School: A mix of beautiful South-American passing game, just a touch of Midwestern physicality and the periodic long-ball to open up the ground game.

The fact that the Columbus School beat the Straight-Out-of-Compton style was a triumph of good versus evil.

It is a crime that this victory came at the cost of several Crew players being beaten like Rodney King and Brain Carroll having his arm pulled from the socket.

Who is to blame for this?

His name is Abiodun "Abbey" Okula, and he is quite possibly the worst referee in Major League Soccer.

He missed the obvious handball that led to Ryan Johnson’s goal and repeatedly allowed the Earthquakes to play their thuggish style of American soccer with almost no consequences.

This wasn't just a "physical game" as the Dispatch put it, implying that it was within the range of acceptability. This was beyond the pale. This was one team playing the Beautiful Game and the other competing in a professional wrestling smack down.

Until the MLS has refs of higher quality who are trained to not allow this type of spectacle, the league will never get the international esteem it needs for long-term sustainability.

One final thought: If only that beer thrown from the Nordecke had hit Johnson’s douche face.