Cheap Seats: Wolff on the prowl
except Wizards head coach Bob Gansler, who played nice with Arena and still got his players back -- lost out in yet another episode of Club vs. Country Romper Room.
Faced with a no-win situation like this week's, of course, Wolff had no choice but to say that he understands both sides of the situation and he feels no resentment.
"As a player you're always excited to get called into the national team, so yeah, obviously we're disappointed about being removed," Wolff said at the K.C. airport on his way to Denver. "But Tim Hankinson is doing what he thinks is best for his team. He wanted Pablo to stay, which he's certainly entitled to do. And Bruce wanted to make sure everyone in camp was focused on the qualifier all week."
In his six years in MLS, Wolff has become a really good professional, which basically means he scores goals, says all the right things and doesn't get drunk on the eve of a game. (The same cannot be said for yours truly back in the day -- just soothing the bench-warming beast.) He seems to understand the politics that control and affect the game and the league, and he's cautiously willing to wonder out loud about moves some people make.
"You've got to kind of scratch your head about Tim's move," he said, "because we get three guys and they only get one back."
Bingo. That's the craziest thing about all of this. Which just goes back to the basic rule of this game: It's the little things that come back to haunt you, like signing Brandon Prideaux or hiring Carlos Queiroz. Wednesday night in Denver, Wolff -- one of the guys who wasn't supposed to be at Mile High -- beat the 'Pids, almost singlehandedly, when he was brought down in the box in added time. Wolff took the PK. 1-0. Thank you, good night, drive safely. Goodbye Nat Borchers! Goodbye 16-game home unbeaten streak! ... Goodbye Tim Hankinson?
I can't help but have a little pity for Hankinson in this case, though. He had every right to hold Mastroeni back, and Hankinson made a bold "Tony-Soprano-telling-Johnny-Sack-off" move by standing up to Bruce Almighty. It was probably about time someone did. Unfortunately, if you mess with the Capo, you usually end up having to blow your favorite cousin's head off. No fun. No fun at all.
And Hankinson found out the hard way Wednesday night. It is more than just one loss for the 'Pids, though, because now they are firmly in last place in the Western Division. The hotseat under Tim's rump is now hotter than a Texas outhouse in August, as a Houstonian friend of mine likes to say. Furthermore, now one of Colorado's main division rivals, K.C., is on a roll with two straight road wins. And the Wizards' main scoring threat not in the infirmary, Josh Wolff, is hitting his groove, with two goals and an assist in the last three games. He now sits in fourth place in the scoring race.
"Ostensibly, we're as strong as anyone out there," Wolff said. "On attack, without Preki, we've lacked some creativity, but we've made some plays, too. It's been tough at times, but now we're getting some results."
OK, my editors be damned. I mean, what is this, the Soviet Union? I've got to make at least one comment about VH1's "100 Most Metal Moments" show. Actually, my buddy Anish pointed this out: How can the tale of Mayhem, the Norwegian band whose members murdered each other and then ate each others brains, come in at No. 69? Absurd. I mean, honestly, the guy ate his bandmate's brains! Does it really get any more metal than cannibalism?
Mortal Lock: Well, my bet that Columbus would win five in a row comes to a head this weekend, when my beloved Crew play at home to Josh Wolff's Wizards. I really, really hope they win. Crew over the Wiz.
Greg Lalas played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the New England Revolution in 1996 and 1997. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or its clubs.