The Clean Sheet: It's in the cards

Remember in the offseason when MLS made a much-celebrated decision to kill extra time during regular-season games, in part to fall in line with the game around the world? So did you catch what FIFA president Sepp Blatter said this week? He now wants to scrap draws and make every game have a winner. No, seriously.

Lemme take a deep breath so the FCC doesn't really shut me down.

Blatter's reasoning? This is what he told Reuters: "When you play cards or any other game, there's always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football."

Cards? Did he really say cards? This guy's been watching too much Chris Moneymaker. What next, have the coaches play a round of Texas Hold 'Em at the end of regulation to settle the game?

Oh - and it takes "courage" to have a tie-breaker? Sorry, Joey, Pat Tillman had courage. This is just plain dumb.

By the way, I'd definitely trust the people at FIFA to come up with a way to break a deadlock ... they'd be my second choice right behind those vote counters from the last presidential election in Florida.

Actually, Blatter did weigh in on how to break the draws: "Penalties remain the best way to decide a game in the case of a draw but if anybody has a better idea, I am ready to listen to it."

So soccer fans, apparently it's up to us. Sepp needs you. The game needs you. Teams sharing the spoils after a spirited 90 minutes isn't courageous, all the sudden. There needs to be some silly gimmick to sort it out. Come up with something and Sepp will listen.

Here's a few ways I think make some sense:

-- Team with most catch/punches wins.

-- Team whose coach was ripped most that week in an Eric Wynalda article wins.

-- Immediately at the end of regulation, both teams have five minutes to design a new one-piece uniform for The Cameroon and the prettiest uni wins.

Wait. I got it. You wheel out a big clock and a field player starts with the ball 35 yards out and has five seconds to score ...

OK, you get the picture.

This just in: The game works. MLS realized this over the years and to its credit, adjusted accordingly. Now FIFA wants to mess with it?

You've heard me talk 17th-century art before and now I guess I gotta do it again: If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!

THE NEWS: U.S. 1, Mexico 0

TCS SAYS: While we all know that I love when the Yanks send the Mexicans back down south of the 2-0 parallel with a loss, obviously the win means absolutely nada. As we also know, however, it is all about finding the horses for The Bruce when qualifying starts up, so I did take a few things away from this one.

Up front, Conor Casey was up to the task for the most part, and showed again that there may be life after Brian McBride at the target position. As for his partner Wednesday, I'm not sure I see what Josh Wolff brings to the side right now. But good for Taylor Twellman for getting into dangerous positions coming off the bench.

Behind the front-runners, Landon Donovan settled down and was obviously very dangerous on several occasions and the lefty guided missile he hit off the woodwork had me literally jumping off the couch. That one goes in and there is US Soccer's video highlight for years to come. I'd like to see Landon finishing a bit better overall, but that'll come back. I also thought DaMarcus Beasley's pace was useful, but right now he's still just not the Run DMB we are used to.

Defensively, Chris Armas and Kerry Zavagnin did a job in the midfield, the backline obviously kept things together enough to help earn a clean sheet, and Jonny Walker looks the part between the posts and seems to have a solid lock on at least the fourth spot right now.

My last thought after Landon looked so dangerous in the middle of the park: if that keeps up, will the Claudio-to-right back talk resurface at some point if The Bruce stays in a 4-4-2? Was there ever Claudio-to-right back talk in the first place? Anyway, it'd just be nice to have someone back there to serve some decent balls into the mixer.

THE NEWS: Three things I know: 30 years old is the new 25, Damani Ralph is the new Ben Wallace, and the Columbus Crew are the new Dallas Burn.

TCS SAYS: Speaking of Dallas, I'm not going to say they are successfully playing a little Route One right now, but one of my TCS spies tells me Burn Prexy Greg Elliott was recently spotted meeting with Marion Jones.

THE NEWS: Congrats to Tim Howard for becoming the second consecutive Yank to be named the 'Keeper of the Year by the Premier League players.

TCS SAYS: Hey, think soccer fans out here on planet Los Angeles care about Manchester United not coming this summer now that it looks like Real Madrid is gonna play at the Rose Bowl? Hmmm ... Becks, Zidane and Figo - or Neville, Neville and Saha. Exactly.

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

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Saturday - QUAKES-UNITED (4 p.m. ET on The Deuce): Remember, as much as Freddy Adu has never played pro ball before, Piotr Nowak has coached professionally the same amount prior to getting the United gig. It's gonna take a little more time than some people thought, huh?

Saturday - REVS-GALAXY (7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World): Can Sigi Schmid try hypnosis to finally win on the road? Seriously - in the pregame meeting, just dangle a gigantic pocket-watch in front of the boys and repeat "You are in Carson, you are in Carson ..."

Sunday - "ALIAS" (9 p.m. ET on ABC): What's better than watching Sydney Bristow fight crime? How about watching Sydney Bristow fight crime with her hot Argentine sister!

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: It was candy from a baby taking 150 on L.A. over the Crew, then my Burn come through for another 50. Unfortunately, neither D.C., San Jose nor Metro came through, so we end up only making 50 on the week.

CURRENT BANK: -50

THIS WEEK: OK, my Burn are en fuego and the Crew are ... well, the Crew. I'm putting 100 there on Dallas, even though if Columbus is gonna stop the bleeding, it has to start this weekend. I also love the Quakes over reeling United, so let's go 100 there. We'll close out the week with 50 each on New Eng-er-land over the Road Warriors, the Zach-Who's? over Metro and I'm actually betting on a draw in the KC-Colorado game, a TCS first.

MLSNET COLUMNIST LOCKS OF THE WEEK: 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:

Should betting against Columbus count? Hard C, Bradley and I don't mind after winning behind Little Fishy's brace last week, but Lalas may disagree (he lost on the Metro-Revs draw). Sing when you're winning ... you only sing when you're winning ... SING WHEN YOU'RE WINNING ...

STANDINGS:

Palace: 2-2

Lalas: 1-3

Bradley: 1-3

Connolly: 1-3

THIS WEEK:

Bradley: San Jose over D.C.

Hard C: San Jose over D.C.

Tino: San Jose over D.C.

Lalas: Dallas and Columbus tie

FLICK ONS:

  • Nice job out of Michelle Kaufman recently with a "Where Are They Now?" piece on Miami Fusion players.

  • Weekly update: four Honda Players of the Week so far this season, none of them Americans. Yeah, the foreign talent in MLS is just fine, thank you.

  • Eddie Robinson and Joe-Max, heal quick.

  • Damndest thing happened to me last Sunday afternoon. True story: I pull up to a stop light in Santa Monica and see a guy in a MetroStars jersey, probably headed to an ESC West Coast Chapter viewing party for the Metro-Revs game. Suddenly, I find myself rolling down the window and yelling, "Metro sucks!" just as I was pulling away. I honestly have no idea why ... just seemed like the thing to do at the time.

    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.


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