Maybe the best idea would be to have a bunch of DVDs of last nights' FC Dallas- New York RedBulls match made up, and then keep them handy.
That way, every time some dumbass Eurosnob colon opening wants to tell you how crappy MLS games are you can hand him a copy and tell him to cram it.
To put it bluntly, that was one hell of a game, maybe the best MLS match I've seen this year, and I'd just like to mention that, in case you haven't noticed I have some news for you:
Dallas is good. It's not speculation, it's a fact.
Unfortunately, on this night, with Pizza Hut Park rocking – and has anyone in recorded history ever written that sentence before? I mean, other than ironically? – they weren't quite good enough to overcome two other facts, neither of which will come as news to much of anyone:
1) Brek Shea is a stupid, immature jerk
2) Thierry Henry is a stupid, immature jerk
In front of the kind of crowd Dallas has been praying for ever since the move to Dragon Stadium (AKA "The Great Texas Fan Flush"), with his suddenly high-powered team going toe-to-toe with the greatest collection of international stars the league has ever fielded and – incredibly – very much still in the race for the Shield, Shea decided, as he has way too often in the past, to act like an idiot.
After failing to cleanly tackle the ball away from an opponent, said ball ended up at the feet of Chris Albright, whereupon Shea sprinted 30 yards across the field and launched an ugly two-footed assault that scissored Albright to the ground and drew a red card just 28 minutes into the match.
If you've followed the carer of "Mr. Million Dollar Body On A Ten Cent Head" ever since he landed with Dallas as the second pick in the 2008 Superdraft, then you know that Shea has a history of this kind of – well, stupidity.
Then, apparently working on the assumption that he hadn't screwed over his teammates and embarrassed himself enough he then decided to make sure the league gets involved by shoving an official.
Yet the evenings' crowning piece of stupidity was reserved for Mr. Handball Cheat.
I'll admit up front that one of my pet peeves – granted I have more than my share, but work with me here – is the fairly common post-goal custom that says after a teammate has scored, if the ball rolls out of the goal it's a really cool idea to run up and whap the hell out of it, sending it back into the goal in a kind of in-your-face jab at the keeper.
If you have followed Thierry Henrys' career at all then you know that it's always been a favorite move of his, so it wasn't particularly surprising or noteworthy when he did it after fresh-off-the-plane Mehdi Ballouchy evened the score at one off of a really splendid Joel Lindpere ground pass.
What was noteworthy was that at the time Henry pounded the ball Dallas GK Kevin Hartman, currently the leagues' leading keeper – he came into the game riding a four match shutout streak – and a strong, even leading, candidate for MLS MVP, had his foot on the other side of it and was giving it a push at the same time.
The full result won't be known until later today, but Hartman had to leave the game with what the team is calling an MCL injury.
Henry sought Hartman out at halftime and apologized, but unless what he said was "I'm a jackass and I promise to sit myself out for as many games as my ridiculous, unnecessary and imbecilic behavior causes you to miss" then so what?
Further, Henrys' asshattery was well-deserving of a yellow card which, coupled with the one he was already carrying, would have sent him to the locker room to contemplate his sins, but the referee – inexplicably – let it go.
Dallas is reportedly furious about the Henry incident and they plan on calling league HQ and screaming at someone this morning but it's hard to see MLS doing anything.
Hartman's injury and Sheas' stupidity-induced early shower, coupled with a hamstring injury which forced Daniel Hernandez – probably the best defensive midfielder in the league this season – to the bench in the 28th minute would have been more than enough excuse for your Fathers' FC Dallas (which, come to think of it, would be "The Burn") to fold up like a cheap card table.
But this is a new day in Dallas, as the flash crowd of over 15,000 can attest.
Shellas Hyndman simply sent in Dax McCarty who, fresh off of an eight-game injury layoff, paired with the utterly astonishing Eric Alexander to dominate the midfield despite their team being a man down.
Alexander, a rookie third rounder out of Indiana, was clearly MOTM after he a) headed a Heath Pearce cross directly to the feet of teammate Milton Rodriguez for Dallas' first goal, b) cleared a sure goal off the line with his head and c) split the RedBull defense like an overripe melon and beat Bouna Condoul 1 v 1 to retake the lead in the 68th minute.
Only a very unfortunate own goal – not that there's really any other kind – allowed NYRB to escape back to DFW with a point in their pockets.
For Dallas, who kept a 15 game unbeaten streak alive and well, it might all have been a bummer, having coughed up two points on an OG and lost a couple key performers to injury in the process.
Instead, the team and their fans are wildly upbeat this morning. Not a hangy-down head to be found.
They're in the hunt for real and they know it.
And who the hell saw that one coming?