The Night Superliga Became Super (Video +)

The only bad thing to say about last night’s eleven goal barn-burner between FC Dallas and the Los Angeles Galaxy in Frisco, Texas was that it would have been better had this been a Major League Soccer (MLS) team facing a Mexican club. After that, it’s all pretty happy....well, unless you tally up the injuries large and small picked up by FC Dallas players. Or if you’re a fan of competent defending.

Speaking of, if you haven’t seen the highlights, they’re well worth the gander. Though people made anxious by loose marking and nearly-free headers would be wise to skip ‘em.

Naturally, any game that cranked out goals in patches produces a slew of talking points, not least because, as Dan Loney wrote, this one had "everything but defense." But nothing is getting attention like Landon Donovan’s “throat-slashing” celebration after scoring the Los Angeles Galaxy’s fifth goal. One doesn’t have to travel too widely to find a range of opinion, from Buzz Carrick’s shocked and appalled, through Sideline Views’ toleration, to MLS Underground’s salute to controversy (and there’s more chatter still in the comments field).

As for me, put me in the "half-Carrick" camp: shocked, but not appalled. My wife can attest to the fact I was shocked; my jaw, literally, dropped when I saw it, not least because I remember the hub-bub this, um, practice created in the NFL. I suspect Donovan will get fined and I’m OK with that too; the league ought to support correct behavior, at least to a point (one that shouldn’t, as I see it, extend to calling the refs idiots when warranted). In the end, though, I’m also not all that bothered; I don’t care about the little publicity it generates, questions of class, etc. Fine him and any other player who does the throat-slash thing (and, while you’re at it, ditch the fine for taking off the shirt) and move on.

Turning to the game, though, several points of interest abound, not a few of them dealing with the long-term implications of either team surrendering five or six goals. Potent as Dallas’ offense may be - especially with Carlos Ruiz looking like he’s getting warm over the past few games - but an LA revival won’t take place with a back four playing that loose. To use Arturo Alvarez’ two goals as examples: the first, a free and clear header, speaks for itself, but the second, which went past a defensive bunker with no less than three baffled defenders as a forward guard, well, that was just pathetic. Seeing as the other three were only marginally better, and seeing as LA allowed 25 shots on goal on the night, let's just say the Road to Success runs in the opposite direction.

Going the other way, last night seemed like Dallas’ answer to the vote of confidence in their defense offered in yesterday’s post on which teams will make the playoffs. Clearly, Dallas is where faith goes to be utterly destroyed, if not defiled.

On a more positive, and LA-centric, note, one has to wonder if this win won’t be the kind of catalyst for LA that the Columbus Crew’s dramatic 3-3 tie versus the New England Revolution turned out to be for the Ohio team (I mean, look at what followed). That’s a big question at this point and, unlike early this season, we should have our answer shortly. Turning to Dallas, this only looks like the same script amplified; this team can score and win, but can they stop being their own worst enemies? That’s no small question either. In fact, there could be an MLS Cup riding on it.


catdirt said...

i mean- what the hell happened- besides terrible defense? that score is bewilidering. as for the throat slashing- mls could use more antics... would have been great to see this game on the televion c'est la vie...

Laurie said...

Defense. It's highly overrated.

I think my heart rate is finally back to normal. Until the final whistle blew (in the freakin' NINETY-SEVENTH MINUTE!!!) I was absolutely certain the Galaxy were going to lose.

O me of little faith.