What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
If today were a popular chant, I reckon it would involve not being able to hear a (insert curse word of choice hear — it varies) thing. It is, it seems, another slow day in the world of RSL, but in the land of MLS, there's a little movement.
Most notably, this year's tie-breaking rules have been announced, with the first tie-breaker for league position being goals scored and the second being goal differential. This does buck the trend seen worldwide a bit, but I'm having trouble getting too up-in-arms about it. The third is strange — disciplinary points, of all things, act as a tie-breaker.
In fact, for the first time this season, I've seen the disciplinary points breakdown, and we're only two behind league "leaders" Montreal Impact. How exactly we have 420 disciplinary points is beyond me. It's a combination of fouls, cards and disciplinary committee action. While we haven't had too much disciplinary committee action, we have been subjected to some questionable red card decisions, and those certainly play into our, uh, ranking.
Although the news was decided in April, it was, for some reason or another, announced today. I mean, that's a bit weird and perhaps unwise, but in the grand scheme of the game, it's a minor thing, isn't it? The clubs apparently knew about it, so there's no issue of unfair advantage. And at some point, it does strengthen the argument for better attacking play in the league, but at what cost? I don't know. It is a little odd to think that a team might have a negative goal difference and still rank ahead of a team with a positive one.
For instance, Vancouver, with 34 points, has a -2 goal difference, while three points ahead of them, the Sounders have a +9 goal difference. It's not entirely unconceivable that they'd end up level on points, and if things just happened to go one way, it would be awfully weird. Of course, that's probably not going to happen, and it's rare that they'll get down to the coin toss portion of the tiebreakers.
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There has been, of course, a great deal of player movement, too. The most recent, which saw Troy Perkins leave Portland for Montreal, with Donovan Ricketts going the other way, is a bit confusing to me. A straight swap, with the biggest implications perhaps salary-driven. It's odd particularly because neither seemed to be the problem with their sides' respective fortunes, but internal issues may be playing out. Or maybe it's clear cut, and it's just to manage the salary cap. Expansion teams do often find themselves running into those issues.
The even stranger one, for me, is the trading of Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA for Blair Gavin, a second-round draft pick, allocation money, and perhaps some red licorice or something else to sweeten the deal. I assume there was something to sweeten it, because I really don't understand why you'd trade your captain and a long-time veteran in the middle of the season for essentially nothing. This, too, after Joseph was signed to a DP-salary contract at the start of the season.
Imagine if, instead of offering Andy Williams a chance to stay in Salt Lake City and with Real Salt Lake, we shipped him off to, say, Toronto (some place cold, for the purpose of illustration. It does get cold there, doesn't it?) for a sack of magic beans. It's a frightening prospect, isn't it? It's not only a blow to the player — and the person, although they are one and the same (I suspect, at least) — but a blow to the squad and, more importantly, to the fans. I understand the need for systematic reform within a squad, but if that solution involves trading off your captain, long-time player and fan-favorite, perhaps there are better options.
Right, 'til tomorrow, when I'll probably ramble on about something else. You do know how that works.