1) Man! What a game! You know, I’ve always heard that snails can slide their way along a razor and won’t get cut. That’s the image that was running through my head as I watched Saturday’s game. Both teams were living on the razor’s edge.
If you didn’t watch the game and only saw that it ended 1-0, you might think to yourself, “Oh, soccer is so boring… Another 1-0 game… Yawn…”
Well, lemme tell you, brudda, this game was one of the most exciting you could ever see. It could easily have been 5-4. Or 5-0, for either team. It was non-stop chaos. Back and forth, back and forth, both teams were just BLITZING the goal.
2) So how does a free-for-all like this end up 1-0? Because the goalies were absolutely brilliant. How many of those saves will be nominated for MLS Save of the Week? Donovan Ricketts is definitely nominated for that lay-out save in first half stoppage time, but Dallas goalie Raul Fernandez could have three or four saves nominated. The guy was out of his mind! The way we attacked him for 90 minutes, Fernandez is gonna have to go into therapy. He probably woke up screaming last night.
But back to our side, how great was it to have Ricketts back in goal? The one word that kept coming to mind was “comforting.” Every time our defense got leaky, Donovan stepped up, made the right play, and told all of us to just calm the hell down, because he’s got this.
Remember the last time we gave up a goal at home? Me, either. Apparently, it was against Montreal, back in early March. Since then, five straight shutouts. It’s good to have you back, Donovan.
3) Now, I feel like I need to blame someone for putting Donovan under so much pressure. Oh, sure, I could probably just give Dallas credit for being good, but I think our defense deserves some blame, too. They looked a little shaky. Jack Jewsbury, you’re on notice, sir. Quit letting guys zip past you! Lower the shoulder and drop someone if you have to!
Also, it was our first time seeing Futty Danso and Pa Modou Kah side-by-side at center back and, I gotta tell you, the Great Wall of Gambia is missing a few bricks. I’d hoped that starting two Gambians would lead to vampire teeth and complete intimidation. Instead, it just led to missed assignments, mental blunders, wide-open shots on goal, and me, up in the stands, soiling my delicates. Tighten up, people! Donovan can’t save us forever!
4) But our defense wasn’t entirely to blame. The ref was pretty bad, too. How many free kicks did Dallas have? 103? That’s gotta be a record. I think maybe he awarded Portland one, as well, but it was by accident.
Seriously, though, what is it with MLS referees? Every match seems to turn into a hockey game. I was telling the guy next to me that I was worried a fight was going to break out, and then one did! Some guy pops Freddy Piquionne, Freddy gets up in his grill, and then the dude head-butts him! Right in the mouth! What did the ref do about it? He took another bong hit, that’s what.
Jeez Louise, MLS. Get some decent refs for a change. Is there some sort of old folks home for retired European referees? I don’t care how old they are, I say we hire a few. We’ll give them whistles and maybe some of those motorized wheelchairs and then let them do their thing. Could they be any worse than what we have now?
5) Let’s talk about some players.
Darlington Nagbe. What a freakin’ goal. It actually caught me by surprise. Something about the slowness of the shot, plus the ridiculous angle, I didn’t realize it had gone in until the crowd started going nuts. I think the goalie had pretty much the same reaction.
Diego Chara. I love you, dude, but you need to go to finishing school. You’re now leading the league in almost-goals. Also, you now have 4 yellows cards. I’m pretty sure your 5th means a one-game suspension. We need you, buddy.
Diego Valeri. Once again, you looked really gassed at the end. What’s up with that? We need you at full-game fitness, okay? You’re too valuable to be subbing out after 70 minutes. On a more positive note, your almost-goal? Collecting, turning, and firing, all in one motion? Sick. Absolutely sick.
Futty Danso and Donovan Ricketts. Are you guys hurt? Futty, you had to leave the game. Donovan, you were holding your back and grimacing. We can’t have this, dudes! We need you right now! Heal! Heal!
6) Why do we need them so bad? Because there’s no rest for the weary. Wednesday, we go to LA to face the Galaxy. Four days later, it’s Colorado, here at home. Then three days after that, we go to Dallas for the US Open Cup quarterfinals. There’s not a bad team in the bunch.
Fortunately, we’re pretty good, too. But eventually this unbeaten streak will end. If it happens in the next week, I’ll be sad, but I won’t be terribly surprised. We’re living on the razor’s edge right now. We might get cut.