I finally watched a soccer game. Canada vs USA, August 6th, 2012. Canada was up 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. And just as it seemed fate had our back, a phantom penalty is called. The announcers had no idea what it was for and later, everyone seemed incredulous that it was for a delay of game. While a goalie holds the ball for a few seconds, players can whither on the ground in seemingly near death distress, and the latter is fine. That penalty wasn't the undoing for Canada, but the very next play - and the ensuing penalty sure was. The penalty kick hit a Canadian's arm. Maybe two arms. So fast that you needed super slow motion to see it. Illegal? Not according to the rules. You see if you intentionally put your arms out to block the ball, then yes, that's a penalty. But to stand there and get cranked by a ball, kicked mere a few feet from where you stand, that is allowed. But not yesterday and not by that referee.
My take on it is simple. There are two feature matches that will ensure the most people watching - the basketball and soccer finals. If the USA did not make these finals the media that paid billions would be rather upset. NBC would not have much to be happy about if Canada faced Japan in the women's soccer final. Whereas USA-Japan has the makings of epic ratings.
While I am not about to go buy MLS season tickets, I was impressed and entertained by the game. I guess at the end of the day, that's all anyone can ask for.
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