Turd of the Week #42

Never let facts get in the way of a cheap shot.

Men’s College Cup / Crap Referee of the Week: If TotW found the San Jose pitch at last week’s Women’s College Cup besmirched by two Nazi Colleges Against Athletes logo, then the cavernous confines of Charlotte’s Ericsson Stadium were desecrated by two even larger NCAA logos, four team logos (one for each semifinalist), pointyball lines and the usual gnarled turf. None of which the fans or players would have had to suffer had the competition been held at Davidson College as it had in the past. And the ‘crowd’ wouldn’t have looked so lost. But the NCAA is obviously much too important to be holding its final in rural North Carolina. Oh no, it has to be held in the the newest darling megapolis of of carpet-bagging pro team owners out to screw their dedicated supporters — Charlotte.

Regarding the matches themselves: Remember that old joke about going to a fight and a hockey game broke out? Well, Paul Gardner is going to have a field day when he critiques the College Cup in next week’s Soccer America. The semi-finals saw flowing, attacking teams in UConn and UCLA matched up against the 9-0-1 of Santa Clara and the Crips of Indiana. The final was bound to be defensive and physical as the two attractive teams lost in grueling quadruple overtime. TotW is a fan of none of the above, both at the polls and in the College Cup. (Indeed, the only college game TotW occassionally attends is that of its 3rd division alma mater — mostly because they play on the same pitch TotW still drags its aging, creaking, bloated carcass over.)

Given the two teams involved in the finals, it might be understandable that the Nazi Colleges Against Athletes wanted a referee that had combat experience, and so turned to MLS veteran Brian Hall. Unfortunately, the same Brian Hall that would probably call “Play on!” if he saw someone being mugged on a street corner. Hall let too much niggling stuff go early in the game without awarding direct free kicks, so the game gradually deteriorated.

The Crips were the prime offenders, pulling Santa Clara players off the ball, then giving them shots in the back, as the ball rolled out of touch. At the end of the first half, with the Crips holding a 1:0 lead, Hall let a minute run off the clock, after play had stopped, while Indiana engaged in obviously delaying tactics. No caution was given. TotW supposes Hall could blame it on his equally lenient assistants as one failed to wave his flag when a Crips defender threw a flying crossbody block into a Santa Clara defender no more than 10 feet in front of said assistant. (The foul called for at least a caution, and TotW would not have been surprised to see a red card.) This, of course, occured in the second half as Santa Clara moved the ball into the Crips defensive third.

Even worse was Hall failing to red card Crips defender Nick Garcia after he headbutted a Santa Clara defender within full view of the referee. Okay, maybe it wasn’t within full view as the foul occured more than six inches from the end of Hall’s nose. Oh, but Hardass Hall sure did clamp down when he found the Crips had 12 men on the pitch after a substitution. Unfortunately, play had not yet restarted at the time Hall cautioned the Crips, indicating that it was Hall who had screwed up royally by not following proper substitution procedures, ensuring that the player had left the pitch before he allowed the substitute on.

The referees in the semifinals weren’t all that great either, but the Crap Referee of the Week dishonor most deservedly goes to Brian Hall.

There is no truth to the rumor that MLS has named the Crips its next expansion franchise.


FIFA 2000 Sampson Free! EA Sports’ FIFA 2000 video game does not have among its myriad formations, Turd Emeritus Steve Sampson’s beloved 3-6-1. However, it does have many other faults, including a Taiwan international squad suspiciously well-stocked with guys named “Hagi”, “Kinkladze” and other Slavic names; and an “intermediate” level that couldn’t be played by a Ritalin-deficient 12-year old on speed.

Ben Johnson hired to train Libya national team: Infamous Olympic©®™ Cheat©®™, steroid abuser Ben Johnson, is now the fitness trainer for Libya’s national team. Nor is this a Johnson who is on the wagon: Just two months ago, Steroid Ben tested positive for an anti-hypertensive diuretic, which is banned because it can mask performance-enhancing drugs. We will know whether or not Johnson shared all his training secrets with the Libyans if they show up at the World Cup looking like East German female swimmers.

Quote of the Week: “It’ll be nice to be on the same pitch as Dunga and Baresi and not get kicked by them.” (Jurgen Klinsmann on playing in the same side with Brazil captain Dunga and Italy international Franco Baresi for a ceremonial match commemorating Macau’s handover to China.)

Hero of The Week: Also Jurgen Klinsmann, for quitting the game to spend time with his family: “I miss the game but not the business. I would love to play the game every day but I don’t miss the environment; there are many other aspects to the game apart from training and playing. Playing in Europe you’re on an 11-month schedule. I could have played for another year but I wanted to be around my son Jonathon. He’s two-and-a-half now and I wanted to play with him and see him grow up. If I had carried on playing I wouldn’t have got that time with him back.”

TotW couldn’t make this stuff up … Most Belgians think Euro 2000 refers to the new European single currency rather than the European soccer championship scheduled for next summer. 58% of all Belgians thought Euro 2000 was about money. (It is, but not the way they think.) 8% thought it was a millenium festival in Brussels; 2.4% thought it was about the European Union’s planned enlargement and 0.3% thought it was the Eurovision Song Contest.

Separated at Birth?
Francisco Franco Spain Dictator Still Dead Ferdinand Marcos Phillipine Dictator Henpecked Husband Francisco Marcos USL Dictator Soccer Purist
Francisco Franco
Spain Dictator
Still Dead


Ferdinand Marcos
Phillipine Dictator
Henpecked Husband


Francisco Marcos
USL Dictator
Soccer Purist


Further evidence of USL Generalissimo Francisco Marcos evil and nefarious plotting against the changes he himself wrought comes from alert soccer fan RhinoPit:

I wrote this letter to the USL office and got the following response. My letter dealt with the fact that in certain situations,in the new playoff format, it was possible for a team to benefit from scoring an own goal. The USL office did not seem to think that was a problem.A portion of my letter:

“there is still the possibility of a team intentionally allowing a goal to benefit from the “home goals'” tiebreaker:Game 1 Home Team A wins 2-1

Game 2 Home Team B is leading 1-0 with under a minute to play. If the score stands, both teams would be tied on aggregate goals 2-2. However team A wins the “home goals” tiebreaker 2-1. Thus team B would be better off allowing Team A to score, forcing a 20 minutes overtime in which team B can try to get the second “home goal”. If Team B scores and wins 2-1, the penalty shot tiebreaker would be used.

The same scenario exists with the bonus point rule.

Game 1 – Home Team A wins 3-2 (gets 5 points)

Game 2- Home Team B is leading 2-1 with under a minute to play. If the score stands the same, they only get 4 points. Team B is better off allowing a goal to force overtime to get the third goal and the bonus point. Aggregate goals would be tied, home goals would be tied, penalty shots would be used.

My point is you can’t have overtime when you have these tiebreakers. There are too many games that teams can play, and as a result, the integrity of the game could suffer. The two-legged system works in Europe because they don’t play overtime.

My suggestion would be to eliminate overtime from both games. Overtime should only be played if the two teams are tied in the other tiebreakers after 180 minutes of soccer.”

The USL Response:

“Unfortunately, you are exactly right in that there exist certain situations where a team may benefit from putting the ball into its own onion bag. We were aware of this factor when we decided to change to this playoff format. The idea we are trying to stress is that we want teams to win games. If they can’t do so in 90 minutes, then we definitely want a winner after 120 minutes.In either of the cases you described, the team which scores the own goal must score themselves in order for the strategy to work correctly. Thus, a team would already be pushing forward in the latter minutes of regulation and if they scored an own goal to force extra time, fans would be provided with another half hour of exciting, desperation, attacking soccer.”

Thanks to TotW’s former KGB double-speak experts, we are able to provide the following translation of the USL’s response:

“We don’t care if you are exactly right in that there exist certain situations where a team may benefit from putting the ball into its own onion bag. Peon! Who are you to question the Will of Marcos? It doesn’t matter who wins or why. We are Marcos. Resistance is futile. FIFA will be assimilated.”

It’s a good thing TotW has those KGB guys gainfully employed providing us intel, rather than the Iraqis nukes. This is scary stuff! Even scarier than the thought of Roseanne posing nude on the Australian women’s soccer calendar. Generalissimo Marcos has indeed crafted the United States a Brave New (soccer) World. Several years ago when a fan pointed out a similar flaw in professional pointy football, even the potentates who run the NFL for their own mastubatory self-gratification had the common sense to change the league’s playoff formula. But in Marco’s USL (and it is his — he legally owns it), the integrity of the game is irrelevant as long as the drooling morons are sated. TotW would be excited by the sight of Marcos desperately fending off attacking lions …

Francisco Marcos

Turd of the Week

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