Turd of the Week #14

Hero of the Week: Columbus midfielder Jason Farrell who delivered unto us crapshoot salvation in the form of an 88th minute goal in the Crew’s 1:0 win over the hapless KC Wizards. (New coach Bob Gansler, hired the day before the match, observed from the stands.) Farrell is the second Jason in the last three weeks to perform this miracle. ‘Jason’ must be a blessed name. Did I ever tell you my son’s name is Jason? I wanted to name the kid James, but the soon-to-be ex-wife insisted …***bbbzzz-OTTT*** (Sorry, we had to cut off power as TotW management sensed a boring personal story about to occur. We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.)

Go Ask Alice, I Think She’ll Know: Okay, I was had. Yes, the White Knight was talking backwards and Doug Logan is off his head. Seems the “Do groceries and soccer mix?” article I found on the otherwise legitimate Hawaii Soccer Research Institute site — and actually posted in last week’s TotW — was an April Fools joke. Maybe I should have been warned by the page’s file name — “DrKookie9.html” — but who ever looks at the URL anyway? No, what I deserve derision for is believing the Humpty Dumpty’s that run pro soccer in the US would actually do something as common sense as using a FIFA clock and letting draws be draws.

Sing at all San Jose matches.
Stranded, stranded on a toilet bowl, what do when you’re stranded, and you can’t find a roll? To prove you’re a man, you must wipe it with your hand!
To the tune of “Branded”, the old TV western.

Stranded: The SJ Clash emerged triumphant, if not glorious, with their fifth straight crapshoot ‘victory’. In a legitimate table San Jose would be 11th of twelve teams, instead they are a lofty … 5th in the ‘Western Conference’. Okay, so they are no higher now, and no closer to the playoffs, than would be with legitimate rankings. Seems a fitting reward for such scintillating regulation play. Because there is now more crap in San Jose than there is in an outhouse, San Jose will henceforth be thus named: the SJ Outhouse.

In addition, Dallas keeper Matt Jordan was sent off during the crapshoot. Dario Brose overran the ball during his crapshoot runup, giving Jordan time to reach the edge of the penalty area before Brose could regroup and attempt a shot. Disregarding Brose taking several millenia to make his attempt (MLS allows only five seconds), the ref awarded a penalty kick as Jordan “was judged to have handled Brose’s shot outside of the box”. FIFA’s Laws of the Game only give penalty kicks for fouls inside the penalty area. Think there is a connection there? Penalty area, penalty kick. Hmmm? The Law of Unintended Consequences yet again rears its ugly head. If MLS would just leave well enough alone, and let draws be draws, this whole fiasco never would have occured. Instead, having bastardized the resolution of games, MLS then has to bastardize the PK by awarding it for fouls outside the area during a crapshoot. Now, no doubt, instead of bagging the crapshoot Doug “The Centrifuge” Logan will spin it as needing only minor adjustments to reach Perfection. The crapshoot as Shangrila.

Quote of the Week: “I don’t want to comment on the game, because I’m encouraging the players this year to focus on things they can control.” (Dave Dir, Dallas Burn Head Coach)

They’re Coming Out of the Woodwork: Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed there seem too be as many Chevy Cavaliers on the road as there are Manchester United fans? Coincidence or conspiracy? You be the judge …

Supremely Boring Statistical Analysis of the Millenium

The Shootout: Does the best team tend to win?

The gal who wrote this is a PhD in Economics at Hahvahd, so she obviously knows her numbers, even if she can’t say it straight. So, for those of you who fear statistics even more than you fear crapshoots, here’s the plain English version: “Unfortunately for shootout fans, there really seems to be no indication whatsoever that the better teams are more likely to win the shootout … better teams with more regular season points do minisculely worse in the shootout than teams of lesser-quality …” Okay, maybe that wasn’t quite plain enough. It gets no simpler than this: The crapshoot does not reward better teams, it punishes them.

An amazing thing happened at last week’s MLS Cup rematch between the Chicago Fire and DC United: In a game benign by MLS standards, visiting Scottish referee, Stuard Dougal, broke the MLS record for cards issued in a game. As if his calling 42 fouls, handing out 10 cautions, and ejecting three players is not amazing enough, the record Dougal broke was the one he set last week! (Dougal whistled 37 fouls, including a record nine cautions, in the Galaxy’s 1:0 win over the Clash on April 25, before mellowing out, whistling only 30 fouls and 6 cautions in the Crew’s 1:0 win against the Wizards on April 28.) Dougal, known in Scotland as “Dr. Discipline”, racked up a grand total of … (drum roll) … 3 ejections! 25 cautions! 109 fouls! And in only three games. For that sort of spirited endeavor, perhaps MLS should pay Dougal the $15,000 fine United GM Kevin Payne earned for his fulsome praise of Dougal’s artistry. Perhaps “Dr. Death” would be a more appropriate moniker for, as SoccerTimes columnist Robert Wagman noted, 18 of the 19 pictures of Dougal on the Glasgow Daily Record and Sunday Mail website feature him proudly displaying his little piece of red plastic. Unfortunately, Jack “The Dripper” Kevorkian has also spoken for “Dr. Death”.

But that is not why we are gathered here, to berate a hapless tourist. Perhaps, afterall, Jupiter aligned with Mars and the all fouls were justified. No, we are here, as usual, to heap further scorn on the knobs who run MLS.

Bruce Arena, who was at the Chicago-DC match, and who knows a wee bit of footie, said, “We really need to look at how we are selecting, training and instructing referees. We have people in the league office who know little about soccer telling referees how to call matches.”

Doug “The Centrifuge” Logan, realizing there’s no way Arena could be speaking about him, in high dudgeon sputtered, “No, I completely reject this idea. They are not over-instructed. There is no such thing as a leash on American referees. I reject those criticisms.”

And so we turn to this week’s dishonoree, MLS referee kingpin, Joe Machnik.

Admitting his own malfeasance, Machnik said that MLS’s home grown referees had blown at least three offside calls that should have resulted in goals, because the assistant referees were “rusty”, having been provided no preseason training nor practice. To make matters worse, Machnik, realizing the error MLS had made in bringing over one of Scotland’s lesser lights, made the extraordinary move of calling both Chicago and DC before their match to warn them that Dougal was a highly “technical” referee and not a good “player manager,” and that they should prepare their teams accordingly. In other words, rather then send Dougal home early, the skinflints at MLS wanted their money’s worth, and let Dougal ref the match anyway.

Joe Machnik

Turd of the Week

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