After spending a month this summer whining about every Dave O'Brien misstep like seemingly every other soccer fan in the blogiverse, I felt almost like Guns 'n' Roses had gotten back together (with a sane W. Axl Rose) when ESPN trotted O'Brien back out for the MLS All-Stars v. Chelsea match on Saturday. It was a treat that I didn't expect to enjoy again, but lo and behold, there it was. Here were my favorites:
1. Naturally, O'Brien completely overrated the importance of the MLS All-Stars beating a Chelsea side that has just started their pre-season training and were busy partying with the LA glitterati earlier in the week. Leaving aside the fact that the weather was extremely hot (thus further penalizing the team whose players are just coming off of vacation) and the pitch was horrible (thus reducing the game to a typical, MLS error-fest), this was a pre-season game for Chelsea. Does anyone think for a second that NFL players care who wins pre-season games? So then why would we care that Chelsea was beaten in a pre-season game?
Kudos, by the way, to Ives Galarcep for this solid piece on the complete overreaction of MLS to the game. MLS will never convince hardcore soccer fans like me to watch when they engage in juvenile displays like shooting off confetti and awarding a trophy after beating an English team in pre-season training. Incidentally, while we're on the subject, I have three reasons for following international soccer, but not MLS:
a. The great attraction to international soccer is the atmosphere of the games. MLS isn't close to the singing, screaming, and passion of a Premier League match.
b. There is no team in Atlanta. Cheering against New York teams will only get me so far.
c. The level of play just isn't the same. The ball doesn't move around as fast and the passing isn't as accurate. That said, I could get past this fact if points a and b were resolved.
Where was I? Oh yeah, complaining about Dave O'Brien...
2. He expressed amazement that Chelsea played John Terry up front at the end of the game and opined that Mourinho was doing so because it was pre-season and he was letting Terry have some fun. If O'Brien had bothered to watch last year's Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona (you might want to look into that whole Champions League thing, John), he would have seen Terry playing up front when Chelsea were about to be eliminated. Playing Terry up front when the Blues are behind is nothing new.
3. He stated that the whistling in the crowd when MLS's keeper was delaying a goal kick at the end of the game represented MLS fans enjoying the product and wanting to see more action. Uh, it could be that...or it could be the universal response of fans of the trailing team when the opposing keeper takes his time on a goal kick.