For once, it's nice to be on the positive side of a stolen game. That's what the LAG match was - the Union were in a lucky position to pull a single point from that match, and then Lio Pajoy and Mike Farfan went on a crime spree, and flat-out stole three points. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, and this match was the epitome of that cliche.
- As mentioned elsewhere, my daughter commented around the 40th minute that Freddy Adu wasn't playing with heart or hustle. Now, she's biased - hasn't really liked him since he came in, for whatever reasons. But I think in this case she was spot on. Can we trade him somewhere for, oh, say $10 of allocation money? An extra pile of cones? A hot dog?
- I mentioned in my Houston post that I like Keon Daniel. I think there's a place for players like him on MLS teams, even in their starting 11. He has composure on the ball, handles it well in tight spaces, is willing to play defense, and makes good passes (even if he rarely attempts a high risk, high reward play). But I'm still not convinced forward in the 4-3-3 is the place to play him. He looks downright uncomfortable below the opponent's 18, and naturally drifts into the middle third of the field. I think the best place for him is an outside mid in a 4-4-2 formation - which means he doesn't really fit on this team. He's my daughter's favorite player right now, but I think the Union might be best moving him.
- Kudos to the Union defense - Valdes and Williams/Garfan (I've heard both credited with the play) - for snuffing out what looked like gimme goals to Robbie Keane. I absolutely love players who never give up on a play, and seeing a defender make a save - especially with their face! - is the epitome of that. But... before we heap too much praise on them, I do think it's worth pointing out that Keane got those chances because of failures by the defenders. So they did a great job covering their mistakes and bailing their goalie out, but it was their mistakes that lead to those plays.
- Lio Pajoy is now officially out of my doghouse. Kudos to Hackworth for putting him in the left-forward spot rather than center. He seems to be thriving out there. It's great seeing him hustle and bust his butt, and his play to spring Marfan was fantastic. Even without the pass, it was great play, holding the ball up and keeping LA from getting it. The pass, though. Wow.
- I lost a ton of respect for Landon Donovan. I hate diving. I hate it in hockey, and I hate it in soccer. I don't think it has any place in the game. There was at least one clear simulation - the play near the end of the match where he faked getting hit in the mouth - but I'm dubious of at least two of his other penalties. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing MLS's Disciplinary Committee won't do anything after-the-fact to him. (Can they, actually? I don't even know if that play is something they can weigh in on. But even if they can, they won't.)
- Speaking of Donovan... I thought that when a player went to the ref holding his hand up as though he were holding a card, that was supposed to itself be something that garnered a card? Donovan wasn't the only LAG player who could've been booked for complaining, but his was the most obvious. And yet, the only card for that all night went to MacMath.
- Dear Peter Nowak: I bet you feel silly not playing Jack McInerney more often, huh?
- Dear Nick Sakiewicz: Please, I'm beggin you, fire Bob Rigby. I don't know if I'll be able to make it though the rest of the season having to listen to him. Mute is an option, but then I lose the wonderful play-by-play of JPD. I can't stand when a broadcaster says "we" when talking about the team. That's just one of the many sins Rigby committed against my ears Wednesday night. Please, Nick. Do us all a favor and end the misery. Let JPD work alone if there's no replacement available. I'll buy an extra hot dog and soda every match to contribute to the team's coffers. I'll buy an extra t-shirt or two every season. I promise I'll renew my season tickets for next season, and buy every Open Cup game and Friendly you offer up. Just get rid of the man.
- And just in case Nick can't or won't fire Rigby, Comcast - please do me a favor and do not ever ever ever give Rigby camera time? His smile might be the creepiest thing I've seen all year.