The Clean Sheet: Good service

which is why I wanted to take this time to appreciate those wonderful set-ups from last weekend. Remember -- as I found out at the Cheesecake Factory in Brentwood, Calif., a couple weeks back (yup, still holding that grudge) -- good service is just so hard to find these days.

THE NEWS: So Kansas City's Alex Zotinca is standing right behind Frankie HEY!DUCK! when he gets reverse-elbowed in the head.

TCS SAYS: Sheesh, Alex could've avoided the whole thing if he just read the name on the back of Frankie's jersey before he got clocked.

THE NEWS: I read this week that Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has been given about 30 million pounds to buy some new players.

TCS SAYS: Is it just me, or should the only money this guy gets from Liverpool be in the form of a severance payment?

THE NEWS: OK, we all know Mile High Club hasn't exactly torn it up in the international acquisition department at times over the years.

TCS SAYS: Did you catch their game last weekend? While they feel they should have gotten three points, what did stand out was the play of their foreigners, especially veteran Wee Scott and newcomers Jean-Philippe Peguero and de la Torre. If you watched that game, it sure looks like the Rapids shopped a little better recently.

THE NEWS: Including the merciless thumping by my Burn last weekend, by my count the Fire have not scored a goal in MLS play since an exhibition game prior to their first season.

TCS SAYS: Maybe they should consider signing Marc Burrows, an amateur player who scored a goal 2 1/2 seconds into a game earlier this month in England. The English FA is calling it the world's fastest goal.

THE NEWS: See where FIFA docked Cameroon six World Cup qualifying points for wearing those one-piece uniforms in the African Nations Cup?

TCS SAYS: I can understand a huge fine, but taking away World Cup points seems a bit over the top, no? If they were protecting a huge sponsor or something it'd be one thing (but still not worthy of docking points), but this was just a FIFA uniform code. The ruling is being appealed and hopefully FIFA will drop the penalty to solely financial.

THE NEWS: We all know I don't like to spread rumors, but ...

TCS SAYS: I'm just wondering why people keep asking me if I have heard about New Eng-er-land shopping for some defensive help? And more than once, the name of Joe-Max Moore has been mentioned, and I have heard Mile High Club multiple times as well. Revs skipper Stevie Nicol also this week told ussocceruk.com, "Clearly, we need to make a move." Like I said, I have no inside info, I just keep getting asked about it ...

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

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Saturday -- UNITED-FIRE (5 p.m. ET on ESPN2): Freddy on national TV? As my grandmother would say -- Go on!

Saturday -- RAPIDS-QUAKES (9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World): This just in: Pat Onstad ... on fire.

Wednesday -- USA-MEXICO (8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World, HDNet and Telemundo): The Bruce called in a team of 17 MLS players plus Conor Casey for this friendly (and we use the term loosely) in Dallas.

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 only have myself to blame. I bet on L.A. to win on the road. And I bet against my Burn in the first leg of Brimstone '04. Well, I got what I deserved. Minus 50 on the weekend after also losing on the Quakes-Revs game but winning on Metro and the Wizards.

CURRENT BANK: -100

THIS WEEK: All right, I gotta turn this thing around. I love LA over Columbus, so let's try to make back a big 150 on that one. Then we'll go 50 each on D.C. over Chicago, Dallas over K.C., San Jose over Colorado and Metro over the Revs.

MLSNET COLUMNIST LOCKS OF THE WEEK: OK, 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: Lalas and Tino are wearing Davy Arnaud jerseys this week, while Bradley and Hard C are wondering where Eddie Johnson's finishing was when he was in a U.S. jersey.

STANDINGS:

Lalas: 1-2

Palace: 1-2

Bradley: 0-3

Connolly: 0-3

THIS WEEK:

Bradley: L.A. over Columbus

Hard C: L.A. over Columbus

Tino: L.A. over Columbus

Lalas: MetroStars over New England

FLICK ONS:

I'm not saying Claudio Ranieri may be on the hot seat again after Chel$ki's midweek loss, but word out of London is Mr. Abramovich has contacted Donald Trump about acquiring the rights to borrow a certain two words. ...

Does Metro head coach Bob Bradley still have some experimenting to do with all this new firepower he's brought in? Bradley, when talking about Taylor this week, told The New York Times: "I don't know if he's left- or right-footed." ...

Think Freddy took some of that new dough he's got and sent something nice to Tenywa Bonseu, whose matador impersonation allowed the ball to get through to the kid for his first goal? Just asking. ...

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet.com. Views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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