Power Ranking MLS Things - Week 1

Power rankings generally take current performance into account and then allow a writer to say whatever they want without much reasoning beyond whatever they feel like. As a jaded and often disinterested MLS writer, I enjoy having this ability. However, I did not want to just write your regular run of the mill “Power Ranking the Teams” content. Nope, I want to power rank anything and everything that has to do with MLS and I’ll do it in whatever order I choose based on a set of criteria known only to myself. Here are the top 5 things I love, hate, or want to talk about in a very particular order that doesn’t really matter.

Well, news reports and reflections over the past few days have unfortunately kind of tarnished what felt at the time like a dynamite opening weekend for Major League Soccer in 2017. Some teams came out firing on all cylinders, some teams laid a big egg, a beautiful new stadium was opened in Orlando and Atlanta had Yung Joc on hand to hammer a ceremonial golden spike. However, fan violence and misbehavior cast a pall over a lot of the proceedings. Let’s get into it.

5. What in The World Is This Post Game Tradition?

I’m not precisely sure what to make of this. Traditions are always hard to start- and I get that. Here we have Yamil Asad looking a little bit perplexed at what he’s being asked to do. It’s cool to be named Man of the Match, but it’s probably a lot less cool to be named Man of the Match after you blow a lead late. The hammer is small and awkward and Asad seems to be unsure just how far he’s supposed to nail this railroad spike in. I want to go ahead and call it here first that Brad Guzan is going to win man of the match sometime this summer and then accidentally hammer his finger missing the next match.

Post game traditions are kind of a bold move as one can never really predict what the atmosphere or attitude of the fans and players are going to be after the final whistle. This seems like a super cool thing to do after a win, and a tremendously empty gesture following a defeat.

4. FC Dallas is Giving Season Ticket Holders A Percentage of Transfer Fees

I’m completely undecided if this is extremely cool or deeply and tragically lame.  For those of you that are unaware, FC Dallas sent out an email saying that from here on out FC Dallas would be disbursing 1% of transfer fees gained from the sale of players evenly amongst all season ticket holders.  The first wave of checks to go out (which by back of the napkin calculations amounts to something in the neighborhood of $6 or so per fan), will be from the sale of Fabian Castillo. The email also encouraged fans to share how they were using their newly found fortune by using the hashtag #Cashtillo. What we have here is less a democracy in sports/profit sharing thing and more of an interesting online marketing campaign. That being said as far as online marketing campaigns go, this one is pretty damn brilliant and I’d love to get a check for even a few bucks from my team. I’m really looking forward to #Acostalivingadjustment and #SixFigueroa.

3. The National Anthem Rule is Bad

I understand loving America and thinking that respecting the National Anthem is a good and proper thing to do. I can totally get behind somebody believing that everybody SHOULD do it. However, I won’t accept the idea that making this mark of respect compulsory is any kind of demonstration of patriotism at all. This policy has nothing to do with loving America or respecting the troops or remembering the victims of 9/11 (although many people will try to tell you otherwise.) This is about US Soccer not wanting to look bad. This is about optics and optics only. US Soccer didn’t want an anthem controversy and since they’re US Soccer they went out and created one. Standing respectfully and placing your hand over your heart in reverence of your country is fine and good. Making those actions a requirement robs them of any actual significance.

Ugh. Boring. Let’s move on.

2. Fans Behaving Badly

What the hell is wrong with some of you? Most notably three fans were arrested following the match between NYCFC and Orlando City for resisting arrest and in one instance physically assaulting a police officer. We also received photograph of a NYCFC fan being detained by security for attempting to steal a seat from the brand new Orlando City stadium. Of course this isn’t the first NYCFC fan to try and redecorate an opposing team’s stadium. Furthermore a brilliant opening night for Atlanta United FC was somewhat tarnished when a fan threw a beer on the field at Mark Geiger and/or Sacha Kljestan.

Passion is good. Loyalty is good. Unity is good. Violence,  vandalism, harassment, theft, or even chants or signs that are racist, homophobic, or misogynistic are not in service of your love to the club. Please behave better.

1. Romney Got Punished For Diving and That’s a Good Thing

Naturally the disciplinary committee was in action right out of the gate handing out a suspension to Dave Romney for simulation. LA were awarded a penalty for Romney’s efforts. This once again brought up the discussion about whether or not it’s good for games to be “re-officiated” by the DisCo. If Romney had been rightly caught diving, he would have been given a yellow card, LA wouldn’t have gotten a penalty and Romney would be available for this week’s game against Portland. Ideally, the situation would have been that the ref had made correct calls in both instances and then we wouldn’t need to be weighing the value of a suspension versus an incorrectly awarded penalty. I get this viewpoint to a certain degree, but I think that if you maintain that what happened to Romney is bad or unfair then you’re missing the point.

I certainly would have preferred that it was handled at the time of the transgression, but unfortunately the offenders flop was suitably deceptive enough to warrant a penalty. The only reason we seem to be having this discussion at all is because LA lost the match anyway. If the penalty had resulted in a win or draw, there would be no question it was worth the trade-off of a one match suspension. If you successfully con the referee you get punished and we shouldn’t blame the ref. If a Nigerian prince swindles someone with an email scam we can roll our eyes at their naivety, but we can’t punish or blame them. If the suspension doesn’t seem worth the crime then I would recommend that Romney either dive less convincingly next time, or hey, how about not at all?