Daily Sweeper, 10.5: The Pain of Losing, (Some) Awards, and Week 27

If the Ricardo Clark debate weren’t swallowing so much bandwidth, what has already been a diarrhea-mouthed day would have been even runnier. Now that you’re nauseous…

– There’s a lot to love in DJ Walker’s reminiscences of last Wednesday, when he watched his much-beloved FC Dallas come in second-best in the U.S. Open Cup final. A personal highlight comes with what he has to say about Carlos Ruiz and Dario Sala during the meet-n-greet.

– As much as I don’t often pay attention to the various awards MLS dishes out annually, Climbing the Ladder pulled together all the awards, rules, and candidates so nicely that I’m going to take the time to vote on ’em….well, the ones I care about at least. My votes (and why, where necessary):

Coach of the Year: I’m torn between Preki and Tom Soehn, but I’m going with Preki; DC has enough trophies.

Rookie of the Year: Maurice Edu– largely because I think this should go to the player who helped his team most irrespective of the success of said team. He also impressed me as having the most promise.

Referee of the Year: No vote here, but I also think it’s worth pointing out that I don’t really see the refs, even when I see them. They’re kind of like cops to me; all I see are the uniforms.

Fair Pla…: Screw it. So long as they don’t give it to the wrong guy, I don’t care.

Comeback Player of the Year: Pat Noonan, ’cause I like him better than the rest. Clint Mathis is up there too, but I think Noonan’s got more upside right now.

Newcomer of the Year: Tough one, but I’m going with Luciano Emilio based on consistency. I like watching a lot of the other players more (Schelotto, Blanco, Galindo, Toja, etc.) more, but Emilio earned this one.

– Finally, the weekend. I think my viewing plans are pretty set: I’ve got Fox Soccer Channel’s airing of Columbus hosting FC Dallas penciled in and know I’ll watch New England v. Chicago – in spite of elements of self-loathing inherent in the endeavor. Time permitting, I do want to see how KC and DC match up – and, yeah, I’m pulling for KC. The power and lifestyle of an Eastern potentate couldn’t lure me to watch the final game on offer, the Rapids hosting Toronto FC; that’s strictly for punishing the worst of the worst while in lock-up. And curse the league for sticking Houston v. LA on a channel I don’t get.

Well, that’s it for me. It’s a little frustrating to know that we’ll probably know little more Monday than we do today.

MLS Daily Sweeper, 09.12: Playoff Push; Nats Chat; Awards; LA Sickness; Apology to the Women’s Game

– Ives Galarcep picks through the traffic jam rushing toward the seventh and eighth playoff spots. I think he’s got it about right – though do feel obliged to acknowledge the distinction between what is actually right or real and that with which I agree.

– Credit USSoccerplayers.com’s Ken Pendleton for writing a column that makes we want to reel off my favorite point about the comparative progress made by the U.S. Men’s National Team (“It’s been ten fucking years, people! It’s at least another 10 to water-into-wine, never mind raising the dead!”), but, picking through the aftermath of last weekend’s loss to Brazil, he makes a subtler point. This excerpt, which by no means does the whole piece justice, gets at a crucial distinction:

“Goalkeepers aside, however, the US still has not produced a player who merits comparison to Ronaldinho, Kaká, Robinho, Daniel Alvez, or even Diego and Julio Baptista, for that matter. In fact, a good case could be made that Ramos and Reyna, as well as Hugo Perez, had better balls skills and were more creative than any player that has come along since.”

In other words, this isn’t the stale gripe that we’re not improving exponentially; instead Pendleton acknowledges a general improvement while lamenting persistent shortcomings on an individual level. Can’t say I disagree with that a whole lot.  He closes with what needs to happen and, without putting unwarranted faith in the MLS’s plans for player development, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re headed in the right general direction.

– I don’t plug RSLFM.com, but that could be because I fear its slick layout. I mean, look at their preview for tonight’s game against DC United; it’s like a frickin’ media guide! What do you get outta me? The profanity-laced ravings of a bald guy on the wrong side of 35 sans eye candy.

– The end-of-year awards thing tend to pass me by…oh, hell with it; I think the awards are silly and I don’t get so much as the minutest flutter of satisfaction out of them; only games, trophies, and wins matter…which is probably why I never got wind of the Newcomer of the Year award. But, if you’re into this kind of thing, the New York Times’ Goal blog handicaps the Newcomer race. WVHooligan goes…let’s see…one…two…three…five better and handicaps all the awards.

– The latest report on the injury-ravaged horrorshow that is the LA Galaxy.

– Finally, earlier in the week I griped about the lack of parity in the women’s game (I’m not going to find the link, but accept full responsibility for my writing).  Grant Wahl, who certainly knows better than me, states outright this will be the most competitive Women’s World Cup ever…though only after unpacking an incredible amount of crap about Beckham.  So, I hereby acknowledge my knee-jerk ignorance.  And Dwight Schrute did a promo for them (hat-tip: The Beautiful Game); he’d never do that for me…in spite of me watching The Office religiously….