Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Uncomfortably Numb

I was away for the weekend, and grimaced when I saw the NY-RSL scoreline pop up on ESPNews on Saturday night. I erased the game from my TiVo without watching it upon my return home. Then I grimaced some more when I read the news yesterday morning that Alexi Lalas was indeed heading to LA to helm the Galaxy. Lalas left NY after telling fans and the media repeatedly that he wasn’t leaving. Did he lie? Well, he was looking out for his own “business interests,” but the whole thing leaves me feeling like I’ve been taken for a ride. It’s been a long ten years already with the Metros/Red Bulls, but it seems like the last two months have tested club fandom to the limit. Lalas did a lot of things right while he was in NY. He was a presence in the local & national sports media and drew attention to the club. He listened to adult fans’ concerns & responded in kind. He got rid of those awful horns.

Now he’s gone, and while the RB nation waits for who’s next, an unsettled air hangs over the club. Who’ll be running the team? Will Mo coach past Saturday’s game vs. DC? Will there be a mass dumping of players? There probably should be, because off-season adds Canero, O’Rourke, and Henderson apparently sucked it up big time at Salt Lake.

After generating some serious buzz for the home opener on April 8th, there’s no marketing whatsoever ahead of this week’s DC match (forecast is for rain, of course). Will attendance break 20K? 15K? 10K?

The more important question is, why should anyone continue to care? Underachieving malaise on the field vs. constant turmoil off the field has left this 11-yr Metro/Red Bull fan uncomfortably numb.

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