Monday, October 20, 2008

Elimidate

It's here.*

(I know you're probably thinking one of two separate, non-related items: 1.) A little early for asterisks, or 2.) You're reminded of that creepy DirecTV commerical with that scene from 'Poltergeist', which features the tragically-deceased Heather O'Rourke, which only repels me further from subscribing to DirecTV anytime soon.)

Eleven days from Halloween, 38 days until Thanksgiving, and 66 days until Christmas.

Straight from my corner of the interweb, the First Ever Elimination List (FEEL) has arrived on your computer screen!

So without further ado, let's take a look at the poor souls who've suffered the indignation of having to play for asbolutely zilch for another week or so.

-Los Angeles Galaxy. This is the first time in Bruce Arena's MLS career that he is looking at November without a postseason fixture in front of him. Obviously, he inhereted the MLS equivalent of 'Lost' during the summer and by then too many egos had transpired remarkably against any realistic dreams of a playoff berth before Labor Day. Well, that and just bad defending.

At least Abel Xavier did the honorable thing and called it a day, prompting many within a Steve Cronin punt to wish the rest of the backline had done the same. Four evenly spaced bottles of Evian could have done a better job. Really.

Suffice to say, it wasn't a good day, or season, in L.A. I wonder if it's because there was lots of smog, or if Bruce Arena actually cooked the breakfast with hog? Or if Edson Buddle looked up at the Goodyear blimp, but it didn't read "Edson Buddle's a pimp"?*

(*Free shout out to anyone who can accurately guess the song reference and post it in the comments section.)

-San Jose Earthquakes. Well, it was kind of expected, despite a midseason surge that saw them pull off a few shocks (4-0 vs. New England, 2-0 @ Columbus, 2-1 vs. Houston). The expansion 'Quakes certainly kept things entertaining down to the penultimate week of the season. Kudos to the organization for bringing Frank Yallop back after a super-secret arrangement with the Galaxy during the offseason.

The Arturo Alvarez and the oft-traded Kei Kamura (who, incredibly, was whisked away after 12 games) acquisitions made it clear that the 'Quakes were serious about contending this year, despite their shortcomings. Internationals Scott Sealy and Darren Huckerby set off some fireworks on attack, while Joe Cannon - God bless him - continues to entertain far more shots than I'm sure he's comfortable with.

Anyway, an expansion team usually struggles out of the gate, so what were you expecting - an actual playoff berth?

-Toronto FC. Another club that looked like a contender midseason until, you know, they hit that torrid six-game losing streak and returned to their 2007 expansion form. Then, to excerbate matters, Maurice Edu left via transfer to Rangers (Scottish Premier League), and then that whole situation where Carver had like 37 players called up for National Team action prior to their game against Chivas USA on September 6th, which they predictably lost 3-1, all made for a very, very odd season.

I remember watching a game and saw a cute "In Carver We Trust" banner behind one of the goals. Trust to do what? Sink farther into the Eastern Conference abyss?

-FC Dallas. A midseason managerial change and an ever-fluctuating roster certainly did little to aid the effort to pull themselves out of the muck of mediocrity. I don't know what's more surprising: the fact that Kenny Cooper stayed on board for all of it, despite the rumors of his imminent departure overseas, or that they traded away Arturo Alvarez.

If there was a death star hovering above Pizza Hut Park, it signaled Juan Toja's departure to Steaua Bucure┼čti (Romania). Alas, the maginificently mulleted midfielder would not finish the season with Red Stripes, and all was very, very wrong during the summer. True, they notched three victories September to make it competitive, but then gleefully mailed in the month of October with only two points resulting from consecutive draws to Toronto and San Jose. Both at home. I need not say more.

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