Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The offseason of my discontent ...
First off, congratulations to the Galaxy. I think they were one of the most talented teams this entire year and they're built to be cruelly effective in the postseason MLS tournament. So, kudos to them.

The other thing I don't understand (okay, so I don't understand a lot of things, namely how McDonald's burgers can be made out of stuff that's probably not natural to planet Earth yet still be crackaliciously delicious) is why people are upset with a #8 seed winning the whole shebang.

In other sports, Cinderellas are celebrated, not derided. No one said baseball's playoffs were less than legitimate because the Wild Card-winning Astros, who had one of baseball's worst records in May, made it to the World Series, no one continiously castigated UW-Milwaukee for reaching the Great Eight last year and I've yet to hear wailing and gnashing of teeth that the Patriots winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card makes gridiron football obsolete.

Yeah, the game wasn't the most beautifully played game. Championships usually aren't. And, as an aside, why is a 0-0 or 1-1 hockey game that goes to seven overtimes thrilling but a defensive soccer battle isn't? I'm just curious about that.

But in the end a team that couldn't put it together in the regular season came together when it mattered. If the Patriots put it together in the playoffs this year and win the Super Bowl, no one will remember that they were 5-4 at one point. It doesn't make them less of a champion.

No, the reason people hate the way it shook down this year is because it's Landon Donovan and the Galaxy that won. If the Metros had done the Cinderella act, I think you would have heard more stories championing their leader's fortitude (he made them eat haggis before the game) or Djorkaeff's calming influence in these pressure packed games.

But because it's Donovan, the American soccer press' favorite whipping boy, the 'hired gun' (who really is too good for this league right now) de-legitimizes the championship. And Sampson being the coach, who his own team's fans can't stand, didn't help matters. It's really a no-win situation for FC Entertainment (except, of course, they will add another star above the badge next season).

In the future this won't matter as much because there'll be more teams to separate the wheat and chaff during the season. There won't be two absolutely dreadful expansion teams to negatively influence the season. And we won't have this argument.

Ideally I'd like to see the playoffs be a home and home in both the first and second round to reward the higher seed by having the second game at home each time and then a one game final. But the way it is now, though not the perfect answer everyone will love, isn't that bad.

Also, bring back the Golden Goal. That's good stuff right there.


Blogger Kali said...

crackaliciously is my new favorite word. And not just because it happens to have my name in it.

10:46 AM  
Blogger n. hanson said...

Actually, in the world of football it's often the brilliantly talent, attractive team that failed at the final hurdle that is remembered. For example, everyone knows about Hungary's team from the early 1950's, but can you even name one player from the West German side that beat them in the 1954 World Cup Final? This is something that is anathema to the American way of looking at sports. Get used to it.

12:20 PM  
Blogger D said...

Saw that GT went down to the GBs... thought that might make you happy.

9:50 AM  

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