MLS Cup Boots GHSA, Acting AG Football and MASL Kicks Off

113018I have a few things to talk about in today’s blog that I’m going to mash together for you today.  Let’s start off with the ridiculous situation with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championships.  Last year the championship games for each classification was supposed to be played in the new Mercedes Benz Dome in Atlanta; however, a freak snowstorm created some unsafe travel conditions so some of the games were postponed and rescheduled at one of the participating schools in each of the finals.  This created a contingency plan devised before the season to avoid the same situation.  It isn’t snow that is the problem this year, it is the Atlanta United Football (soccer) team.  Their success has created a mess with the GHSA State Finals.  Atlanta’s Major League Soccer club eliminated their semifinal opponent last night and will now host the MLS Cup on December 8th in the dome.  This forced the “contingency plan” which now has the state finals being moved to December 11th & 12th.  If you look on your calendar that is Tuesday and Wednesday.  Dumb, dumb, dumb plan.  I have never been an advocate of playing the state championship games in the dome.  The smarter contingency plan should have been to play the games in alternate sites such as the stadiums at Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Mercer.  This is one time in Georgia that football has been booted because of a soccer game.

Yesterday I was in the same room with our acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker.  Whitaker, who played for the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football team in the early 1990s, got a little ribbing about this years’ team.  Whitaker graduated from Ankeny High School where he was pretty good.  He was inducted into the Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame.  At the University of Iowa, he played football for Hayden Fry.  In his career, Whitaker had 21 catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns as tight end for the Hawkeyes and played in the 1991 Rose Bowl.  One of his touchdowns came on a fake field goal against Illinois in 1990.

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) opens their 2018-2019 season tonight.  The league will field 17 teams.  The Mississauga Metro Stars and Orlando SeaWolves are the league’s newest teams.  The Baltimore Blast have won the last three titles.  The MASL represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world with teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  The SeaWolves open their inaugural season tonight at home against the St. Louis Ambush while the Ontario Fury will host the Turlock Express.   Last season’s top players were Ian Bennett (Milwaukee) with 50 goals, Kraig Chiles (San Diego) had 38 goals and Christian Gutierrez (El Paso) with 36.

Before I leave this blog post, I will tell you that I am tuning into the GHSA Class 5A semifinal playoff game between Warner Robins and Rome.  The two teams met in the 2017 State Final.  Yeah, I’d like to forget that game.  Rome overwhelmed Warner Robins 38-0 in that game.   Most folks say that Rome isn’t as good as last year’s team but the Wolves have only allowed their opponents more than 14 points in only two games this season and they are also riding a 40-game winning streak.  I’d say that’s pretty good.  Warner Robins hasn’t been too bad this season but tonight will be the first time I’m on the edge of my seat.  I’m hoping for a better result than last season’s game.


Seattle (Penalty) Kicks Their Way To The Title

The Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer (MLS) captured their first MLS Cup title Saturday with a grueling win over Toronto FC in Toronto.  After Justin Morrow’s penalty kick attempt hit the underside of the crossbar on Toronto’s sixth attempt, Seattle’s Roman Torres booted the cup winner past Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Seattle won the title in spite of only registering three shots on goal in the game and in extra-time.  Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came back to haunt his former team.  Frei kept the Sounders with a tremendous save in extra time on Toronto’s best shot.

The championship game was the latest ever in MLS history.  The cold weather in Toronto did not deter a record capacity crowd of 36,045 at BMO Field although most went home disappointed in the outcome.

The Sounders were near the bottom of the league standings in mid-July but rallied to become the 11th team in league history to win the cup.  Seattle defeated Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas and Colorado in the playoffs to get to the MLS cup.  They entered the league in 2009 as the third Sounders team to play professional soccer in Seattle.    


I will admit that I am not an avid soccer fan.  I watch it occasionally but I tuned in for the end of this game since it was the championship game.  I watched both teams battle through an exhausting and physical overtime period.  Then I watched it go to penalty kicks which created another level of drama but I felt like it cheapened it some.  I have never liked games going to this method of determining a winner.  I thought about it and came up with a few suggestions to settle ties:

  • Replace penalty kicks with corner kicks.  Teams would get alternating corner kicks until a goal is scored.  After a corner kick, the ball would be in play until the defending team could clear the ball out of the box.  This would still engage the entire team instead of a one-on-one contest with the goalkeeper.
  • If the game is still tied after extra-time, the team with the most shots on goal in the overtime period would be the winner.  This would encourage shots being taken.
  • Even go back to the old North American Soccer League (NASL) shootout.  This method was a much better competition between shooter and goalkeeper.  The offensive player gets the ball at the 35 yard line and five seconds to score.  The goalkeeper does not have to remain on his goal line but can come out to challenge the offensive player.