There's something special about a player as electrifying as David Beckham. He's one of those individuals who brings excitement wherever he goes. There was a completely different vibe in the air this week. Fans all over the world were looking forward to his return. A player like that who combines professionalism and style comes along once in a generation. The roar of the Home Depot Center crowd on Saturday night said it all. The thrill is back.
Thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading that drivel as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now you don't have to read Grahame Jones, Andrea Canales or Luis Bueno. I felt bad for Ives Galarcep last week on the Fox site – he mentions Beckham in the last paragraph, and the News Corp. Headline Gremlins title it "Beckham Will Be Galaxy Messiah" or some crap like that.
(After re-reading the Jones article, maybe he was trolling. Maybe the Times said, "Write about Beckham," and he responded with a masterpiece of parody. I hope so, anyway. I'm still afraid to provide a link, though, in case it encourages him. And because the LA Times site crashes my browser a lot. Maybe that's also Jones trolling me.)
Listen, people, the whole Beckham fad is over. They've been teasing his return for weeks, and the game didn't sell out. Beckham will probably start next week, and I'll betcha that game doesn't sell out either. The New Hotness Red Bulls game, now, that might sell out.
From a return on investment perspective, the Galaxy's attendance this year is one of the biggest disappointments in the league. This is what happens when you spend three years marketing a part-time player who wants to be elsewhere.
I'm sure Anschutz Entertainment Group will address this over the offseason, and come up with a new and visionary plan to compete for the Los Angeles entertainment dollar, by making the Galaxy as a team the focus of a ground-up, grassroots movement that…oh, who am I kidding, they're just gonna sign Ronaldinho and raise the ticket prices.
The GAME? It's the Galaxy. Who cares about the games?
Bill said we didn't have a bet on the Galaxy-Crew game because I wouldn't pay up. The real reason was that I was basically thinking Galaxy-Crew was going to be the biggest mismatch since Triangle Man against Person Man.
So what the hell happened?
Columbus brought their Z-game, undoubtedly looking past LA to the big Joe Public match this week. The Galaxy aren't really as bad as they were in August, just as they aren't really as good as they were in June. Dema Kovalenko was in vintage form – why, he even showed some of the skill he had back in Indiana before he became a Sith (anagram optional).
Of course, he also spent the game beating up on Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Who can take care of himself – he threw the odd elbow, too, and in any case I'm sure all those Boca-River games weren't exactly pillow fights.
Are the Crew vulnerable? Apparently, if that's how Barros Schelotto takes a few teeny little pushes. Robert Warzycha was duly impressed, per Nick Green's post-game quotes article:
The thing is, this isn't news. Alex Prus isn't some rogue symbiont playing fast and loose with the rules. The league has had plenty of opportunities to crack down, but unfortunately, players and coaches generally like this sort of nonsense:
Dema's just following orders. Well, he's not just doing that, he's following orders he agrees with, and enjoys very much the opportunity to carry them out.
In case you had any illusion as to whether Bruce Arena employs Kovalenko to play soccer:
Dema…you're saying this on September 11th?
You know what, I'm going to go the complete other way on this. That's really cool. Hell, baseball and football players got to wear flags and play dress-up soldier for the day, so why not Dema? Yeah! You tell 'em, Killer! I'm not just watching games – I'm watching battles! I'm watching life-and-death struggles for glory! I feel so important!
Hell, if the armed forces have a problem with stuff like this, let the Pentagon say something. They've had nine years.
But…c'mon. It's not a war. It's not even MMA. And, after a hundred years of comparisons, it still isn't hockey. Is it really so unreasonable to ask for defense who can keep their studs down?
Apparently it is. Every team in MLS either employs their own Kovalenko, or wishes they did. This is a Bad Thing. And it will continue as long as the league allows it. It's irritating that the league would go to any legal and marketing lengths to frustrate and annoy the players and coaches when it comes to the salary cap, but when it comes to providing a better, more skilled, and more marketable product, MLS gives in to any hint of player and coach whining.
Plus, of course, fan whining. Yeah…I just asked myself "If Dema Kovalenko breaking someone's leg meant the Galaxy won an MLS Cup, would you take it?" and thought a little too long about it. In the comfort of the blog, away from the heat of battle, away from the front lines (Jesus) – I'd be ashamed of such a victory. Pretty sure I'll sing a different tune in November.
So, to recap, I'm asking writers to stop writing about Beckham, for coaches to stop trying to neutralize better teams, and for the league to stand up to a united front of its fans, coaches and players. I had a fantastic title – "Southern California Edson Restores Power" – and instead I spent a dozen or more paragraphs writing about my two least favorite players.
War is hell.