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Around MLS: Drama, Crowds and Goals

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If you watched this weekend's games, you might need some sort of diazepam derivative to calm your nerves. Wild finishes abound.

I wasn't aware Grover was the SJ mascot
I wasn't aware Grover was the SJ mascot

That loud boom you heard on Saturday was the goal explosion that occurred late that afternoon. Stadiums sold out and crowds were loud. With our cups overflowing with goals, the weekend had no shortage of excitement.

D.C. United did not follow up winning very well, and lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps. As has been the case far too often this season, a controversial penalty was to blame for the DC's loss. Matt Watson ran into the box, and Bill Hamid ran out to meet him. He clearly touches the ball, but from the camera angle it also looks as if he takes out Watson in the process.

Here's the foul in question:

To me, that's not a penalty, but there's an argument to made for it. Hamid palms the ball away from danger and breaks up the play, but he definitely gets into Watson's. "Getting the ball" does not make a goalkeeper immune from adverse decisions anymore than a defender who gets the ball first but then cleans out a player dangerously. In this case though, Hamid got the shaft.

Ben Olsen was furious afterward and called the referee a "joker". He will surely be fined, if not suspended, for that, but it's hard not to feel for him, especially as FCD fans. Having been on the receiving end of some very poor officiating this weekend, I'm inclined to feel some sympathy for DCU.

The Colorado Rapids broke out of their losing skid by dramatically defeating the Montreal Impact 4-3 in the dying minutes of the match. As with several other major moments during the weekend, the goal came in stoppage time, stunning the raucous home crowd into silence. For Montreal to drop points at home against an inferior team should sting. Every team struggles, but Montreal has slowed their torrid pace of late. Will they get back on the saddle after this weekend? They don't look quite as undefeatable as they did before.

The comeback was a major story on its own, so it's a bit of a shame that the Rapids will again be ignored, this time due to of one of the best goals of the season. The Impact will get a good deal of press for Hassoun Camara's wondergoal. How great was it?

This great:

The best part is how completely uninterested the Rapids broadcast crew is. I understand they're catering to the home crowd. I prefer a bit of homer slant in my broadcast crew. "A bit" being the key word. There's nothing that prevents a slight bias from being properly awed by an incredible goal.

The Rapids crew were so completely nonplussed by the goal that many twitter personalities couldn't help but comment on it. Between San Jose's crew and Colorado's, it's hard to pick the one that got more hate this weekend.

The San Jose Earthquakes beat the LA Galaxy 3-2 in the "CaliClasico" (which takes the cake for forced rivalries), going 2-1-0 under their interim coach Mark Watson. The crowd definitely had an effect, and the numbers alone are impressive. Just about 50,000 fans made it into Stanford Stadium to watch the two teams go at it.

They got a show, as the two teams combined for five goals and the "home" crowd got to see the LA Galaxy's defense picked apart by the Quakes in the second half. It doesn't help that the Galaxy wasted a large number of chances that fell their way. The game itself was a bit odd, with the Quakes' poor defending not costing them more than two goals (it should have cost them at least four) and the Galaxy's back line looking like a poorly organized mess as the game wound down.

There was also a red card issued for Victor Bernardez by virtue of a second yellow card, but I would be surprised if SJ didn't challenge that suspension. There was some diving involved, and this diving was a bit more pronounced than the Watson "dive" against Philly.

The media is desperate for San Jose to be the team they were last season, and have already trumpeted their return. But don't let the press' enthusiasm fool you: their defending is as awful as it ever was, and if the Galaxy had struck the ball with any competence on Saturday, the Quakes would have lost.

The Earthquakes are not the same Quakes from last year. One comeback doesn't make it so, no matter how much people wish it to be.

As a side note, the San Jose broadcast should come with a warning that prolonged listening to their announcers will cause your ear drums to explode into a fine, red mist.

I'm all far being excitable and passionate. Mark Followil and Ian Darke are loved because they put real emotion into their commentary. It's measured though. I don't believe Mark has an aneurysm every time a shot goes three miles high. Ian Darke certainly doesn't have a meltdown and sob when a call goes against his team.

Put simply, the SJ crew needs to learn some sort of emotional restraint. While they're usually excitable, this particular weekend they were as bad as I've ever heard them. Every shot was a gift from the Gods. Every miss was the chance of a lifetime, wasted. Every foul was pitch-side murder. Every goal was the Second Coming.

I really couldn't stand it, and I know I wasn't the only one.

The New York Red Bulls bored the Houston Dynamo to death by a scoreline of 2-0.

I would say more, but I regret watching that game, and I will only bore myself (and you) by writing about it. It was a dreadfully boring match. The first ten minutes were exciting and then there was nothing worth writing about.

I keep seeing "Well... sure, they're bad now! Just wait until Brad Davis gets back!".

Look, if the Dynamo look that terrible (and they were absolutely devoid of anything resembling creativity or passion) without Brad Davis on a consistent basis, which so far they have, I pity the Dynamo. They were an absolutely woeful team to watch on the ball on Sunday, and wasted everything that came their way.

Truly. They were consistently poor going forward, and were assisted only by some bad defending from NY.

RSL won against Toronto 1-0 in a result that should surprise no one. It was away though, and away wins are always tough to get. Salt Lake looks like serious business, and they will only get better.