Baldomero Toledo booking a Red Bull player while Clint Mathis and a teammate play Simon Says.
Here are some thoughts on Saturday’s Chicago-DC match I attended that have been percolating since the weekend:
- I don’t think I’ve seen a match this season where the dissonance between the quality of play and the quality of officiaitng was greater than on Saturday. The two penalties Baldomero Toledo called we shockingly awful. The fact he called one for each team doesn’t take away from the fact that no where other than in MLS does Busch’s “challenge” Chris Pontius warrant a penalty and that his pitifully blatant makeup call against DC’s Dejan Jakovic reeked of pure, unmitigated unprofressionalism. The honest truth is that beyond the two penalty misses, he wasn’t too bad, but that’s like saying the food on the Titanic was really lovely.
- Returning to the play on the field, that was a really well played match despite each team missing one good player apiece because of injury or suspension (Blanco/Emilio) and each team missing one player because of utter incompetence. Fred was terrible against the Fire, at times looking barely able to control the ball and lacking the confidence to do much more than pass it backwards. Meanwhile, Chris Rolfe’s family and the Chicago PD put out a bulletin that he may have been kidnapped somewhere between walking out of the RFK tunnel and the opening whistle because he was completely invisible for 90 minutes.
- DC fans are currently living out the fantasy of seeing their young talent actually pan out for once. Pontius and Wallace both had very effective matches with Pontius damn-near scoring a rocket off a rebounding that landed outside the penalty area. In the wake of Rod Dyachenko, Justin Moose, Nick Van Sicklen, et al, it’s a new and different sensation to see an early-round draft pick actually look like they belong in MLS. Full credit to Soehn, Kasper, and Payne for doing very well at January’s draft when the pressure was firmly on them. On the other hand, it might be time to start asking some questions about Baggio Husedic, Chicago’s first round pick, who has seen a grand total 26 minutes so far this season.
- Josh Wicks’ great performance this year reminds me of one of those puff piece profiles you see on NBC’s Olympic coverage except that instead of escaping a war-torn country, or overcoming a genetically-chronic case of gout – he survived the 2008 LA Galaxy defense. Seriously, someone get Chris Connolly or Ann Curry on the line and ready the soft-focus lenses.