The Clean Sheet: Everyone settle down

For the next five or six weeks, NBC is running a mini-series called "Revelations" which apparently is about the end of the world, or some such tomfoolery. While I am not sure if the major tip-off that the apocalypse was coming was the fact the Revolution are actually getting results before September or that Bill Pullman keeps getting work, something ain't right. Either away, I'm sure mass hysteria ensues.

And speaking of dogs and cats living together, it seems to me these days there is quite a bit of it in the world of the soccer fan, here and abroad. There are a lot of people getting worked up, over a plethora of footie-related issues.

Basically, everyone just needs to settle down a little bit. Who, you ask?

ITALIAN SOCCER FANS: It was reminded on The Deuce's Champions League coverage this week that English clubs were tossed out of Europe for years after Heysel. At what point is it time for a hard-line punishment for Italian clubs? Do we have to wait for a higher body count? I say no, it's time to ban the Italians for one year. Give the country's governing body (and government) a year to get its house in order. This is getting ridiculous.

QUEEN OF THE PALACE: So there we were last Saturday night on a beautiful evening at The Home Depot Center and Landon Donovan had just banged in his second goal to send the place into hysterics once again. It was like a coronation, everyone was going absolutely crazy.

Except for the Queen. You see, for her the score that night was FIFA 2, Queen of the Palace 0. Or as she put it when the PA announcer came on to announce Landon's second goal: "He better be coming on to say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Landon will now remove his shirt.'" Sheesh. Some people are impossible to please. You think that is bad, try being married to her.

PEOPLE WHO BEMOAN THE LACK OF FOREIGN FLAIR: Speaking of the Galaxy game last Saturday, I give you one Pando Ramirez. The guy was just fun to watch. He basically posted up on the left flank and every time he got the ball, was ready to attack the RSL defense either by driving a long cross-field ball, or more impressively dribbling right at the Salt Lake defense, no matter how many opponents stood between him and the goal.

Oh, and by the way, he has kind of a hard shot. Just kind of. The Galaxy supporters loved Pando, and he responded with a fearless, attacking performance that when coupled with Landon in the middle and Cobi Jones out right, is going to simply overwhelm some defenses in this league on many a night. I wonder if we don't see him in the middle of the park a bit down the road, depending on where Landon ends up playing.

PEOPLE WHO THINK ALL SOCCER BROADCASTERS IN THE U.S. STINK: Yes, Virginia, announcers are getting better. As with the players, the fact that MLS has given soccer broadcasters the opportunity to work and improve every week should help development, and it has. In fact, I thought the three Champions League broadcasts (two UEFA and one CONCACAF) this week were quite good, and all six talking heads work or have worked in MLS.

Tuesday on Bayern-Chelsea, Joe Tolleson and Adrian Heaney did a nice job. Wednesday on Juve-Liverpool, Derek Rae still sets the standard, and love him or hate him, Tommy Smyth always delivers one thing: an opinion. No matter whether you think he has any idea what he is talking about, you always know where he stands, and it can be argued that the fact alone you must react to his opinions gets you more invested as a viewer.

Wednesday night on FSC, Max Bretos and Allen Hopkins had a nice call of the Mexico City bloodletting, and made it through the whole game without thinking what had to be on everyone's mind: too bad the true class of MLS, FC Dallas, wasn't on the field that night to lay 90 minutes of Tex on Pumas.

TIVO OWNERS: OK, actually you have a right to be ticked. You'd think the people who are smart enough to invent TiVo could now be smart enough to make it so it automatically extends the recording time if an event runs past its allotted end time. I got killed again last Sunday when I hit the record button on The Masters and left for my Sunday league game. Sure enough, I forgot to manually set some extra time on the back end, so when I got home to sit down and watch, I got shot down after the 17th hole, and missed 18 and the playoff. UNLUCKY! Dear TiVo, fix this. Now.

EVERYONE WHO THOUGHT CHIVAS USA MAY NOT SCORE ALL YEAR: I am the first to admit I had no idea where the goals were going to come from for this team. After a three-goal outburst at Spartan Stadium, is the Chivas USA offense that capable, or is it just going to be a really, really long season in San Jose? We'll find out some more about the U.S. Goats when the shock and awe of Tex's Army comes calling on Saturday.

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

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Friday - UNITED AT CREW (8 p.m. ET on The Deuce): Nothing like a little Friday night footie, and this one should be an interesting battle between two teams who need to get well quick, as they both got absolutely massacred by a combined 8-0 in their last outings.

Saturday - NORWICH AT CRYSTAL PALACE (3 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel): Palace has a lethal striker named Andy Johnson, who has played himself onto the England squad and may end up starting when the Three Lions come to play the Yanks in Chicago. If he stays with Palace next season, he will be the best forward by far in the Championship, which is where his &*%$! team is playing next season after they get relegated because their owner spends money about as often as the Fire spend a day in first place.

Speaking of the Fire, wonder if Peter Wilt has ever been to The Alamo?

Saturday - RAPIDS AT REAL (3 p.m. ET on The Deuce): I know they will be referred to as "RSL," but I kind of like just "Real." What I don't like is Real without Andy Williams. I tend to think Cleetus and Jason Kreis will agree. That said, should be a fun atmosphere in Checkettsville for the team's inaugural home game.

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet. 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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