Best foot forward.
In a better, kinder world, fate would have consented to Major League Soccer to fielding its best, hottest team against the Mexican Primera’s mighty CF Pachuca, a team that one notable pundit dubbed the best soccer team in North America. Instead they’ll face the Los Angeles Galaxy and its south-of-green defense, the same “wall” that the can’t-score Colorado Rapids banged three goals through in 45 minutes time. Why? Because Fate, that rotten bitch, conspired to have the Galaxy’s only win – wait: make that their one competent performance – for the entire month of August come against DC United in the Superliga semis. So, the Galaxy it is: thus, MLS puts its clubfoot forward…and in front of an artificially reduced crowd no less….stupid undergraduates…why aren’t you out drinking? It’s Wednesday, people.
Oh well. At least we have the memories of this inaugural Superliga tournament, along with the hope that next year’s tournament – the qualification for which is based on merit, as opposed to Beckham and demographic calculations – will be better still.
Here, for those who want it, is MLSnet.com’s official preview.
On the upside, it looks like the Galaxy will be able to play, oh, half a Beckham and maybe three-quarters a Donovan: it sounds like both players will suit up for the Galaxy’s likeliest (only?) shot at taking a positive from 2007. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get still another Wild West Shoot-Out; the Galaxy has been part of two of the best games this season, so credit them for that if nothing else.
And, for the record, I will be pulling for them in spite of my essential loathing for them and a soft-spot for Pachuca. Then again, I’m the kind who likes pulling for the underdog – and the more improbable the better….say, a one-legged, blind kid cherishing the delusion of winning the Boston Marathon…why did that image come to me? Sorry, I’m in a cruel mood today.
With the inaugural Superliga nearing its end, looking back and, all at once, forward seems a natural thing to do. And Luis Bueno did just that yesterday for his Press-Enterprise gig (where’s that paper from now?). Bueno weighed the good against the bad and came to a conclusion or two about this tournament: Mexican clubs are better, the format cheated the Mexican clubs with the games being played in the States and in the Primera’s preseason, etc. And he’s got decent points on each count.
As I see it, though, the little cheats we pick up – e.g. MLS teams are in form and on home turf – balance things out. In other words, we get those little edges, while the Mexican clubs enjoy better resources and bigger rosters. That said, I’d also trade a raised salary cap in MLS for playing some of the games in Mexico (to go one or two further, I’d prefer a raised salary cap free of league micro-management – i.e. teams can sign whomever they want under the terms they can so long as they stay under the cap; no developmental players, etc.; just players; and we could alternate between countries for hosting, etc.). And, for next year, regular TV – and regular TV does not include Telefutura, dammit – is a must. My back is already tensing up at the thought of fighting that over-stuffed online feed during tonight’s broadcast; I can already here the echoes of my wife’s biting mockery.
All in all, though, I have to say I enjoyed the Superliga distraction. It’s helps tide me over while I wait for the main event: the CONCACAF Champions Cup…damn, that was a fun tournament this year.
So, go Galaxy. We’re looking to you to find your best foot and get it out there.
Filed under: CF Pachuca, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer, Superliga | 6 Comments »