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11/23 FINAL
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11/30 9:00pm
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LA
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Eastern Conference Championship

The Clean Sheet: All-Star performance

just to pump up the crowd before the game. Michael Buffer, your days are so numbered.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness history. In the three-season history of this column, I have never run an interview with a player.

I never run interviews with players because, well, just watch or read any interview with any professional athlete. I mean if I want clichés, I'll just read a Greg Lalas column. (OK, that was wrong, but the rookie is smoking all of us in the lock pool, and like Landon last weekend, I get mean when I'm losing).

But something happened last Saturday that was worthy of this history-making day -- and a spot in D.C. this weekend. Troy Dayak treated fans to one of the most wonderful displays in the history of Major League Soccer. If you missed it, you've got to check out the video link above. Words won't do it justice, but I'll try.

After being sent off last Saturday against New Eng-er-land, the burly defender ripped off his shirt and ran the length of the field to the locker room, along the way apparently engaging in a pose-down with an invisible Hulk Hogan running along side him.

I'd say it was Brock Lesnar, but he was too busy signing with my hometown Minnesota Vikings. Yes, another bright day for my purple. Sigh.

Anyway, Dayak screamed to the adoring fans and hulked up all the way to the field board behind the goal -- which he greeted with a low kick that would've left Daniel Larusso with no chance of continuing. Watching Dayak go absolutely nuts as he ran across the Spartan Stadium field, I have to admit I was as pumped up as a USA track star.

After witnessing that display, which in my mind absolutely instigated San Jose's two-goal, stoppage-time comeback, I had to pick up the phone and give Troy a call, if nothing else to just to say thanks for showing some honest passion for the game.

Plus I figured I better be nice, as if I said the wrong thing, he may just have gotten the urge to cruise down the I-5 and separate my abnormally-large head from my vertically-challenged body (yes, it's like an orange on a toothpick, "Axe Murderer" fans).

So I ring up Troy and get this -- he says he just got off a call in which he received word that he was being fined for his post-ejection display. A fine? C'mon! He literally ran off the field and never even showed the ref up (unlike even some of his teammates later in the match). A fine? Heck, they should've given him his own commercial.
Anyway, here are some highlights from our little chat:

TCS: Okay, be honest, you were just trying out for a pro wrestling contract, right?
Troy Dayak: Oh yeah, that's a good idea -- can we send them that tape? Snap into a Slim Jim!
TCS: So what happened after the red card, did you flash back to your old football days?
TD: Hmm, I didn't even think about that -- and I was the guy who ran out on the field and got everyone all fired up, too.
TCS: That was just Troy Dayak being Troy Dayak, huh?
TD: I've always been that way, especially since the doctors told me I'd never play again (because of my neck injury). I guess I just don't like anyone telling me I can't play anymore.
TCS: Man, you really did get the crowd fired up, didn't you?
TD: People can say what they want, but the fans can really lift you as a player, it really is true. I figured if I was going to leave my team down a man, I better get the crowd to be the extra man to take my place. Hey -- it worked. We needed something that day to get us going, it wasn't happening for us.
TCS: Okay, you are a youth team coach. How the heck do you explain that one to the kids?
TD: Know what? They loved it. I've talked to so many people who literally just said thanks for showing that kind of emotion. The fans want to see passion and desire, and I guess I gave it to them.
TCS: What about the wife?
TD: Aww, she loved it, she was in the stands cheering with everyone else.
TCS: Okay, I don't want to get you in any more hot water, but I gotta believe the league should pay you for entertaining the crowd, not fine you.
TD: If I'm going to get fined for showing some passion and intensity for our game, then so be it. There were absolutely no negative or malice intentions.
TCS: Troy Dayak -- the new Michael Buffer?
TD: Heck yeah, get me in there. I'll do it.

But instead of spending the weekend in D.C. beginning his crowd-inciting career, Troy will be in Tracy, Calif., at the Saturday grand opening of his new soccer store, Dayak's Den (named after his fan club). In fact, Troy told me that if you go up there and mention the name Tino Palace, he will give you a free wide-screen plasma TV.

You just gotta beat him in a pose-down.

FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY:

I know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy ... so every week TCS is gonna put a little action on the action, if you know what I'm talkin' about. Each week in this space we'll track how last week went and what's on the books, so to speak, for the upcoming week.

LAST WEEK: I had K.C. over L.A. and S.J. over N.E. Like most Eastern Conference teams, I am back to being less than even.
CURRENT BANK: -100
THIS WEEK: I may be sick, but even I wouldn't wager on the All-Star Game (oh, give me 50 on the U.S. Legends over the World Legends).

MLSnet.com COLUMNIST LOCKS OF THE WEEK: Okay, you guys asked for it, so now you're getting it - every week the MLSnet.com columnists are going to pick one lock of the week and we'll keep a running tally to see who actually knows what they are talking about. Late word is that The Commish was nice enough to offer a brand new Honda to the winner.

LAST WEEK: As we hit the All-Star break, the rook is out front and actually just one W short of equaling the win total of Hard C and I combined. However, the Elias Sports Bureau puts the chances Lalas wins the whole thing at only 17%, after his idol Ryan Seacrest had his TV show cancelled this week.

STANDINGS:

Lalas 9-7

Bradley 7-9

Palace 6-10

Connolly 4-12

GRAB A COLD BUD (OR AQUAFINA) AND PUT YER FEET UP:

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:


Saturday -- USA LEGENDS VS. WORLD LEGENDS (12:30 p.m. ET on MLSnet.com): If you don't think these USA 1994 guys aren't seriously excited for another hurrah in front of a crowd, then you are absolutely, well, wrong.

Saturday -- EAST VS. WEST (2 p.m. ET on ABC): I know the Quakes hate the Galaxy, and I know the Wizards hate the Galaxy. Says here Carlos Ruiz has a solid chance of becoming the first All-Star to ever get two-footed by a teammate.

FLICK-ONS:

  • Is it just me or does Danny Szetela look like a long, lost De la Torre brother?
  • Always the happy-go-lucky interview subject, Bob Bradley on his 100th win: "It's meaningless. The numbers don't mean a thing to me."
  • Not sure what the highlight was from the telecast of the Copa America final: Brazil's miraculous comeback or our girl Veronica Paysse filing a pre-game report while bouncing up and down in a bar in Miami.
  • Gazza to Boston United in England as a player coach. Coach? Yeah, bring him in to work with the young lads, good decision. Then again, the way D.C. looked last weekend, Gazza could probably start for them right now.
  • Following the purchase of Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, Chelsea chief Peter Kenyon said his team's summer shopping spree is over. Sorry Peter, you and the Queen of the Palace are the two people from whom I will never believe that sentence.

    The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet.com. 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. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com


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