The Clean Sheet: Planet is spinning

Let me tell you about last weekend. I did not get to see a minute of soccer. Nary a one. Didn't get out to The Home Depot Center. Didn't get to see any MLS action on the tube. Didn't even get to see the national "B" team in the Gold Cup. An entire weekend with no soccer.

But that is far from the worst of it. Want to know where I was? Trapped in a tiny beach community with Queen of the Palace's entire family. Yup, marooned with the in-laws. Hey Fox, there's your new reality show ... or horror movie.

For four days, I was in the grasp of the Queen's crazy family. There is only so much you can do in a situation like that to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. I went on so many runs they thought I was training for a marathon. I took so many naps they wanted to test me for mono. I played hide-and-seek with my adorable little niece and successfully stayed hidden once for seven hours.

The long weekend was enough to drive your old pal crazy. In fact, when I finally reconnected with society on Tuesday and ran to my computer to get caught up on the MLS action from over the weekend, I thought I had.

I ran through the scores and saw the Galaxy had lost on the road again, of course. The Crew had lost at home again, of course. And Chivas USA had gotten murdered again, giving up a five-spot, of course. Then it hit me. That last one wasn't right. They had won 5-1. And Cleetus had finally scored.

Now I knew the in-law incarceration had left me nuts. You leave for one weekend ...

So now we head into this coming weekend and we have ourselves quite a little situation out here on Planet LA. You see, it is Clasico weekend, but two days later the Galaxy have some Spanish team coming for a little exhibition. So Steve Sampson's grand turnaround of the Galaxy (one game over .500 this season) will not get any easier this weekend.

While the national team will make some his choices a little easier on Saturday, he will still have to juggle a pretty crucial match against a suddenly-revitalized Chivas USA (who also comes off a last-minute win in the Open Cup Wednesday), and then try to make sure his team puts up a good fight, or at least puts on a good show, in the star-studded exhibition on Monday against Real Madrid. Not exactly a fun position to be in.

Had the Galaxy not been terrible recently, they would have been in position to put out a "B" team against Chivas USA and still have a shot at winning, or at least have the position in the table to deal with an upset loss. But looking up at San Jose and now nine points behind the almighty Hoops (who have a game in hand), they suddenly need three points.

What has all this craziness given us? Luckily for footie fans out here, it has given us two very interesting matches within 48 hours. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

And trust me, I now know all about how not to spend a weekend.

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

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Saturday - CREW at FIRE (4 p.m. ET on The Deuce): Robert Warzycha's tryout begins against the Fire, who have cheated their way to the top of the standings.

Saturday - USA vs. JAMAICA (4 p.m. ET on Telefutura): Set the Tivo and catch this one after Crew-Fire.

Saturday - RAPIDS at METRO (7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel): Fernando Clavijo confirmed to the Denver Post what you heard here first last week - that Mile High Club is indeed interested in Daniel Hernandez. The paper also reports that Conor Casey is in their sights, although his recent torn ACL may affect the situation. I also hear RSL may have their eyes on the target forward.

FLICK-ONS:

  • Always tough when a good guy gets sacked, and that's the deal with Greg Andrulis in Columbus. I also happen to agree with the move, as the franchise just needed an injection of life and those great fans deserve better. Bob Hunter in The Columbus Dispatch put it pretty well: "In its 10th season, the franchise is at a crossroads. The Crew is losing and attendance is falling. This team has no real identity and the league hasn't offered much help."

  • As for the new coach, it's about time Brian Bliss gets a chance to see what he can do, but if the club reawakens under the Polish Rifle (I just like saying that), it may be his job to lose.

  • Sorry to everyone in Checkettsville, but I have to give a shout-out to my hometown Minnesota Thunder for pulling the upset in a wild Open Cup affair Wednesday night. And speaking of Real ... yikes, the wheels are coming off a bit.

  • If MLS ends up in Tulsa down the road (hmm ...), part of the deal has to be the rebirth of one of the great sports nicknames: the Roughnecks.

    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 MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com.


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