Wowzers I really got my money's worth on Monday night watching RSL claw New England to pieces while simultaneously being kicked in the nuts by the ref. And then watching RSL claw New England to pieces while the Revs got kicked in the nuts by the ref. The only thing that would have made my evening complete on Independence Day would have been to watch Jason Kreis and Stevie Nicol kick the ref in the nuts while both teams clawed the comically third-rate, shabby, slow-witted, disgraceful, and incompetent nincompoop to pieces. Or that was my thought as I left the stadium, anyways. I woke up the next day without a voice because I had completely sacrificed it to booing Yader Reyes as hard as humanly possible, and with a fresh and altogether more positive outlook on the game.
Without Reyes' "additions" to the game, all we would have seen was RSL clawing the Revs to pieces. Judging by how superior RSL was while playing a man down, if they had a full squad on the field it would have been another 5-0 romp like it usually is when New England comes to town. Instead we got all the Fourth of July Fireworks (the little bit of vomit that escapes my stomach into my mouth every time I hear a comparison to this game and fireworks will turn into a flowing Amazon of Awful that will threaten to destroy whoever is nearby if the metaphor doesn't die soon) and what was really one hell of a game to watch. There was real soccer drama all the way through this game. It took hours to recover from the sheer tension that Reyes managed to produce in just 90 minutes. Every goal but Espindola's classy finish was directly created by the the ref. They all came off penalties and set pieces, most of them erroneous calls to begin with. He was just doing his best to make sure the fans got to see their five goals, but distributed in a more equitable fashion. Good man! More after the break...
Fans are griping about the ref costing teams points, and RSL has been hard done by this year especially. Yes, the officiating was woeful (you only had to look at Saborio's face after Reyes called the second penalty to know how bad it really was. Sabo looked like a kid who was told that Christmas happens twice a year. First there was confusion, and then the kind of perplexed joy that only comes when you know what you're enjoying shouldn't really be happening but it still means you get shiny things wrapped up in other shiny things), but really I don't think it will matter come the end of the season. RSL has had EVERYTHING go wrong this year, and they are still on pace to make the playoffs, and so I am confident they will make the playoffs. New England won't. They are a special kind of awful and have no chance. I just called Miss Cleo and she confirmed that my predictions are quite sound.
Before this game I used to think that US Soccer bigwigs and all the referees sat around in dark smoky rooms behind seedy bars calculating their next move to piss off the maximum number of fans and prevent MLS from making any headway in their valiant but so far futile attempts to improve refereeing in the league. Now I think that US Soccer bigwigs and all the referees sit around in dark smoky rooms behind seedy bars plotting the best way to stand in the middle of a soccer game and make it appeal more to people who like free kicks. RSL and New England rose to the occasion and produced a passel of sweetly struck dead balls. And you know what, it was pretty entertaining. I hope that Yader Reyes is the ref every time I watch a game, and then I can just enjoy the ecstasy of a PK shootout instead of having to suffer through the agonizing boredom of incisive passes, clever play, and teamwork that usually dominates when RSL takes the field.