Thursday, April 28, 2011

A little more info...

As you may (or may not) know, there has been a shakeup on the Sporting KC television broadcasts. Starting immediately, Sasha Victorine will no longer be traveling for road games. He will still be working home games after the new stadium opens on June 9th against Chicago, but he just won't travel. This time, the line about wanting to spend more time at home with the family isn't just a line, and anybody who can't understand that needs to get their priorities straightened out.

So, who's taking his place? For this weekend, at least, Fox's Brian Kilmeade will be joining Cal Williams in the broadcast booth. He used to be a sideline reporter for the Metrostars (now the New York Red Bulls) and is currently a co-host on Fox's "Fox & Friends." After that, it's anybody's guess, but the fact that there's another bye week next week gives the team two weeks to figure it out.

Some good news, for once, on the injury front. Forward Omar Bravo is ahead of schedule. He was jogging around the field during practice and when I asked him how he felt, he said he felt pretty good. On his next lap around, he said he'd play in the week after the New York game. That would put him on target to face the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on May 14th. When he was asked about it during the weekly press conference, Coach Peter Vermes said that LA would be the soonest, but he may hold Bravo another week to be a little more conservative. In that case, Bravo's return would be May 21st in Seattle against the Sounders.

After the press conference was over, Thad Bell and I had a long conversation with Vermes about Collin's red card (which was rescinded, making him eligible for selection this weekend), among other things. It started when I asked him, knowing how superstitious some guys in sports are if he'd thought it was odd that, during last week's press conference, he mention's Zoltan's red card in his debut and Collin gets sent off during his. He said the difference was that Zoltan's red came from a combination of a couple of things. Zoltan was trying to commit a tactical foul, but was just a little overzealous in the way he went about it. The ref, having had a league initiative about protecting the guy on the ball drilled into his head too much, gave the red. Vermes said that these officials are thinking so much about the league initiatives (such as protecting the man with the ball, penalizing blows to the head) that they're forgetting to officiate the basic game that underlies that. As a sports official myself, I understand that. If you're told over and over to look for a certain thing, you're trying to make sure you don't miss that one thing, but you may end up missing something else.

With regards to Collin's red, Vermes said that if the ref had said in his report that he had given the red for the challenge with Reis, the red would not have been able to be appealed. What he did say in the report was that he gave him the red for striking another player. First, as was obvious from the replays, Collin didn't touch anybody. Secondly, the player who did make contact, Birahim Diop, didn't make contact that hard. Thirdly, the player Collin supposedly "struck" fell over like he'd been either hit with a truck or you should be on the lookout for the sniper. The team was able to pull up video of the play, an angle MLS hadn't seen, and send it to them and the USSF. That led to the card being overturned (I'm skipping over a few steps, but it's basically the same idea).

Anyway, that's all for now. See you soon.

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