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My Utterly Unofficial Awards for the Western Conference Semifinal, First Leg

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MLS Dynamo Sounders FC Soccer

  • Let's start with the "MOST RIDICULOUS NAME EVER" award to:
    The "Eastern/Western Conference Semifinals."

With 50% of the spots awarded to wild cards, let's just abandon this conference charade once and for all. The rest of the universe says you're the "Cup quarterfinals." Deal with it.

  • The "SEE IF I EVER SUCK UP TO YOU AGAIN" award to:
    Referee Ricardo Salazar.
  • Ricardo? I can sort of understand that -- after the Beckham red card, and the diving yellow to Moreno, and your ignoring of Divotgate, and the fact that Seattle was 3-0-1 with you on the field -- you might kind of feel a need to balance the scales a bit. But you were asleep at the switch last night and risked completely losing control of the game. I hereby take back every nice thing I thought about you in my insomniac ravings.

    And Alex Prus is my favorite referee. So there.

  • The "NOT QUITE FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS" award to:
    Seattle Sounders, particularly the offense.
  • Okay, guys. (Stevie Z? Fredy? Freddie? I'm especially lookin' at you.) You've had this game to work out the kinks and get over the playoff jitters and to recognize that Houston are no pushovers. And to remember that you're supposed to pass to the guys in green. (Or blue, as the case may be.) Now let's see the team we've come to know and love in Houston next weekend.

    (Freddie and Fredy? Do we need to send you on another camping trip?)

  • The "IT DOESN'T TAKE MUCH TO CHANGE YOUR REPUTATION FROM 'LEGEND' TO 'TOTAL ASSHAT'" award to:
    Pat Onstad.

    Yo. Pat. What the HELL was up with that knockdown thing you did to Montero? And then what was up with you holding your face? If Salazar had had bigger cojones (and if Montero hadn't created his own reputation for going down a bit easy in the past) you would have been off the field and out of the next match. And wouldn't that have been fun?

    P.S. I think the Grecian formula is seeping into your brain.

  • The "THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF" award to:
    Fredy Montero, after the Onstad knockdown. Many hours and several replays later, I'm still wondering: What the hell was that?!?!

    Let this be a lesson to anyone who even considers playing with South American style: Your reputation for embellishment can come back to haunt you later, when a game-changing call really should go your way.

  • The "GLOVES OF GLUE" award to:
    Kasey Keller.

    No hesitation. No bobbles. No kidding. You were rock solid in goal.

    (And on our part? No regrets about having you in this job.)

  • The "WAIT. WHY AREN'T YOU A STARTER AGAIN?" award to:
    Patrick Ianni.

    A solid central defender, sure. We've got a couple of those. But ALSO a dangerous threat with your head on set pieces? Holy crap, son, what are you doing on the bench?

    That said, though? Get well soon, Tyrone.

  • On a related note, the "YET AGAIN, WHO WAS THE IDIOT WHO CONCEIVED THE CROSSBAR CHALLENGE?" award to:
    Patrick Ianni and whatever idiot conceived the Crossbar Challenge.

    Wouldn't it have been a whole lot better to have that one go UNDER the bar and have Seattle going into the second leg up 1-0? Just wondering.

  • The "THE BLOODY BANDAGE IS A BADGE OF HONOR" award to:
    Nate Jaqua.

    Another solid game, Nate. (And, not coincidentally, the second Houston game you've ended with a bloody head.) Consider me a "Jaqua as right midfielder" convert.

    Now next time let's have the calls and the goals go your way, okay?

  • The "YOU KNOW I CAN'T CONDONE THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR, BUT..." award to:
    Whichever fan tossed the cup of beer at the referees after Jaqua seemed to score, except that we later discovered the play had been whistled dead way the heck up the field. Despite the fact that we seemed to maintain possession and advantage the entire time and the whistle didn't even blow until Nate was twenty yards upfield and goalbound.

    Beer-tossing fan? That was wrong. Completely wrong. Utterly, unquestionably, horribly wrong.

    (My id says well done, though.)

    P.S. Ricardo and Mr. Assistant Referee? Does the word "advantage" mean anything to you?"