The angry reaction by Chivas USA players and Coach Preki
to the antics and purported dives by Fire attacker Cuauhtemoc Blanco
is, in the eyes of some opponents, a
case of the stripes getting a hefty dose of their own medicine.
"They have good players, but it's funny how some of them can't seem to stay on their feet very much," said a player from
a rival team earlier in the season.
"They spend a lot of time lying on the ground," said another.
Chivas USA hasn't disregarded the salary cap as blatantly as it did
last season, when the high salaries paid to Francisco Palencia ($1.36 million) and Juan Pablo Garcia ($624,260) sparked rueful comments around the league. "Yeah, they're doing better, and they're only
$4 million over the salary cap," said an opposing player, who was joking and exaggerating, somewhat.
Chivas USA preserved its home unbeaten mark (10-0-3) when Claudio
matched a Blanco free kick by converting a penalty kick called when C.J. Brown dragged down Maykel Galindo
Blanco's presence drew a boisterous crowd
to Home Depot Center and the club's first sellout excluding derbies against the Galaxy. Fans sporting jerseys of Club America, by far the most prominent of Blanco's former clubs, cheered as Chivas USA
fans jeered and booed him. He played to the crowd, a bit extensively perhaps, and picked up his third caution of the season; his free kick notched a fourth goal to go along with six assists.
So far, he's proved to be expensive and quite possibly worth it. NO CLEAR VIEW.
Fire head coach Juan Carlos Osorio
went berserk in stoppage
time when Alex Zotinca
tackled Blanco in the penalty area and referee Tim Weyland signaled not for a penalty kick, but a corner kick.
Blanco dribbled into the left side
of the penalty area with the ball on his inside (right) foot, and Zotinca's lunge from that side appeared to get a piece of the ball as well as Blanco's foot to send the ball squirting over the goal
line. Multiple TV replays of the tackle were shown but the sideline angles were inconclusive. So the ruling on the field should stand, even if this isn't the NFL.
As is usually the
case, unfortunately, in MLS telecasts, the TV crew didn't show a camera angle from behind the goal. In some stadiums used by the league, no such camera location is readily available, and despite the
league supposedly planning its stadium configurations with TV in mind, in many telecasts there is no camera behind the goal. A goal-line camera could have also provided a much better look.
Though Zotinca was chasing Blanco, he didn't tackle from behind, i.e, he didn't slide into the ball from the rear. His lunge came from the side. Osorio, standing on the sideline, had the same
angle as the TV audience, and neither he nor the viewing audience got a better look from the replays. NEXT DATE.
If D.C. United advances to the Copa Sudamericana
quarterfinals, it would probably play the second leg of its quarterfinal series against Argentine club Arsenal at home.
United plays at Guadalajara Tuesday night, holding a 2-1
advantage from the first leg at RFK. United spokesman Doug Hicks
says Arsenal would host the home leg next week and United would host two weeks later, probably Oct. 23 or 24.
That would necessitate United playing a midweek Copa Sudamericana game at RFK and traveling for its playoff opener, but the alternative would be a long plane flight to Buenos Aires - Arsenal
is located in the Sarandi neighborhood - and a trip back to the United States.
The quarterfinals must be completed by Oct. 31, so one or both legs could be shifted. That's assuming
D.C. gets past Guadalajara, which fired head coach Manuel de la Torre two days after United's first-leg victory.