Look, I don't know why I have to tell professionals who work at a multi-national entertainment corporation this, but a bit of news for MLS: not all publicity is good publicity. I'm assuming if you're reading this, you don't need a recap, but here's a quick one on the situation: Tim Melia of Sporting KC body slammed Cristian Roldan after a separate foul was called and Melia only received a yellow card, even after a VAR review; which was bad enough. Well things got worse, because famed wrestler/action star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson found out somehow, and waded in to tell MLS that their referees suck and that this was clearly a violent action, in his own way. And then things got dumber.
Because the main MLS account, run by actual supposed professionals thought it was a good idea to beg for attention like an incel who thinks have a chat over coffee at work is a date. This is the sort of tweet guaranteed to backfire on you, the sort of thing that anyone with an ounce of awareness would not send out. Any vaguely competent league would have treated this as a serious mistake by their referees worthy of an internal review, an embarrassment that had reached a greater audience after getting the attention of a big celebrity, but instead MLS's official statement is basically "punish me harder daddy". And even the next day, on an unrelated game between New England and Orlando City, John Strong, that smarmy bald ignorant twat, made a wrestling joke about the violent incident. And just...what the f**k MLS media?
Surely at this point we have seen enough incidences of serious injuries, of brain injuries, broken bones and paralyzed players in the world of sports to take these sorts of incidents seriously. Just because Cristian Roldan wasn't hurt, doesn't mean that the play wasn't potentially very dangerous, the turf can be unforgiving and his head hit very near to one of the metal bars of the goal. Look, you wanna make fun of the Austin penis own goal, that's one thing, there was no potential for serious injury and the only thing that was hurt was the keeper's pride; but serious violent conduct deserves to be taken seriously and I just had to write that sentence because we are surrounded by idiots. By glorifying the Rock's response you encourage players to do violent things if they think it might get them internet points and you make the league look biased for certain teams, none of which is a good thing. We should be past desperately trying to get any sort of attention for the league, have some damn self respect and recognize that not all banter is good banter.
Oh, and one last thing, is Peter Vermes keeping the family members of referees and Disciplinary committee members hostage like a 17th century Tokugawa shogun? Because yet again there was a horrific violent foul by a member of Sporting KC against another player in the Minnesota vs SKC match, this time a two-footed "leg breaker" tackle on Reynoso by Amadou Dia that could have very well ended the season of one of the better offensive players in the league. Dia also was only suspended 1 game upon review by the Disciplinary Committee. I know SKC has a reputation as a "physical" team, but that's supposed to be a sign that you call the game more closely and be willing to pull out the cards, not keep the cards in your pocket and let it play out. Just...just do better everyone, okay? Please?
A Building Failure
A rare double dose of doom?! Yes, because it's time to once again crap on the NYCFC because, it seems like their dreams of a stadium in the Bronx are dead. As per reporting from The City and other sources, the Bronx deal is pretty much dead in the water and NYCFC are looking to start the process over...yet again. Getting anything built in New York City is hard but this club was first announced 8 years ago and is backed by the Yankees and City Football Group which owns Manchester City; two of the most powerful and wealthy sports empires in the world and they have failed in pretty much every aspect of building a successful soccer franchise in New York City. NYCFC aren't garnering a huge fanbase, they haven't won any trophies, their overall performance is somewhere between mediocre and bad and they haven't even put a shovel in the dirt to start building a stadium despite promising to get a deal done nearly a decade ago. Most embarrassingly, NYCFC had to play some of their games at the Red Bulls stadium in Harrison, New Jersey; one of the consistent jabs NYCFC and its fans have taken at the Red Bulls is the fact that they are really a team playing in New Jersey instead of New York but they were forced themselves to play in the same stadium they mocked. From the reporting I have read, the NYCFC ownership group is trying to play hardball with New York City, but local politicians are taking them to task for promises broken and increased demands for help or cash from the city. Now I'm just a humble drunk on the internet, but my advice is to just pay out now, because this fan base desperately needs something to be excited about, and further failure may mean there will be no fan base to fill the stadium by the time it gets built.
The Doom Seat
Most people who are going to be fired before the year is up have been, but there are still a few people in serious danger of seeing the door come the end of the season.
- Bob Bradley:
- Tab Ramos: New ownership, new boss, if I'm Tab I'm worried that pink slip is coming soon.
- Gerhard Struber: The Red Bulls just barely cling to the playoff spots in the east, is that enough for Red Bull group? Struber hasn't exactly been given a great roster but does the foreign ownership recognize that fact? Do they care?
- Matias Almeyda: San Jose are officially out of the playoffs, I think Almeyda gets another year, but it could very well that ownership decide to just make a clean sweep and start from scratch.
- Phil Neville: Miami's big, expensive roster is missing the playoffs after just making it in last year due to COVID playoff changes. Is nepotism enough to keep Neville in place? Probably, but it shouldn't.
The Doom Rankings
It all comes down to the final week and our list of teams on the rankings has significantly thinned. The Doomed are those already eliminated, while the saved are those already in the playoffs. The number in brackets indicates where the team was ranked when they dropped out of the rankings.
The Doom Rankings are a sort of reverse power rankings, here #1 in the list is the most likely to miss the playoffs. When a team fails to qualify for the post season or is confirmed to be qualified for the post season, they come off of the list. In the Doom Rankings, being highly ranked is a bad thing!
- Columbus Crew The good news? The final game of the season is against the Chicago Fire who are pretty bad. The bad news? If the Red Bulls and Atlanta tie tomorrow then the Crew are eliminated.
- DC United Up 5 If Atlanta and the Red Bulls tie tomorrow then DC United will not only need to win, but also need Red Bulls to lose on the final day of the season to make the playoffs.
- LAFC Down 1A loss tonight against the Whitecaps eliminates LAFC. Even if LAFC win, they then need some luck as they head into the mountains to face Colorado on the final day of the season and will be tied on points with Vancouver and the Galaxy.
- Real Salt Lake Down 1 RSL aren't that far behind, but they need to win at least one of their remaining games, both of which are against pretty good teams in Portland and SKC.
- LA Galaxy Down 2 A home game against Minnesota United could determine whether or not this team makes the playoffs, but it seems reasonable that they make it.
- CF Montreal Up 2 Montreal need to win both of their remaining games to guarantee a playoff spot, but both are home games, one against the very bad Houston Dynamo and the final one to Orlando City, so it's possible, just very hard.
- New York Red Bulls Down 4 A win at home tomorrow against Atlanta United would clinch a playoff spot...otherwise it gets a little dicey as their final game of the season is away to Nashville.
- Minnesota United Up 2 Minnesota are probably in on their current points alone, but to really clinch it they'll need to win away to a hungry LA Galaxy.
- Orlando City SC Orlando has to lose their last game to have a chance of missing the playoffs, but that last game is away to a pretty good Montreal team that will be hungry to make the playoffs.
- Vancouver Whitecaps Down 8 Vancouver needs to win just one of its two remaining games, away to the not very good LAFC tonight or at home against the Sounders, to almost certainly clinch a playoff spot.
- Atlanta United Down 3 Atlanta just needs to win one of their remaining games to clinch, both are away, but one is away to FC Cincinatti.
- Portland Timbers A draw or a win against RSL tomorrow and they are in, failing that a win against hapless Austin on the final day at home will do it too.