How relatively boring was Major League Soccer this week? The biggest headlines were reserved for Dom Dwyer's goal celebration. And what did Dwyer do to get so much attention? He snapped a seflie.
Yes, Dwyer celebrated his goal against the Chicago Fire by retrieving a camera-phone he had apparently stashed with a photographer and then snapped a picture of himself along with some fans and teammates.
Naturally, Dwyer's photo was uploaded to social media and has begun making the rounds.
Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) July 6, 2014
For his efforts, Dwyer was given a yellow card, which should not be entirely surprising. Although there is no rule that specifically bars players from snapping pictures of themselves -- the way, say, removing their shirt is -- the use of props is often punished as it vaguely falls under "delaying the restart." Dwyer's celebration did, in fact, contribute to a longer delay than Mike Magee's goal a few minutes later by about 30 seconds.
That Sporting Kansas City and the league's editorial outlets were only too happy to highlight the yellow-card worthy celebration -- it's clearly a hit among fans -- there's also something slightly unseemly about encouraging a celebration that ultimately hurts the team. While Dwyer isn't exactly a regular yellow-card offender, he does have three now and it's not impossible to imagine him picking up two more, which would force him to miss a game on accumulation.
It also seems a little ridiculous that the league is promoting this behavior when it has the power to loosen the rules around celebrations. There's absolutely nothing stopping MLS from issuing a direction through PRO that instructs referees not to issue yellow cards for celebrations unless they endanger other players or cause some other kind of significant disruption. Of course, this is the same league that is only too happy to use promotions featuring images of fans setting off smoke bombs who were ultimately punished by stadium operations for using said smoke bombs.
World Cup veterans return
For the most part, any of the United States national team players who actually played in the final game against Belgium were given the week off. Omar Gonzalez, Clint Dempsey, Matt Besler, DeAndre Yedlin and Chris Wondolowski all failed to even suit up for their MLS teams over the weekend. Graham Zusi played, but only 28 minutes. The big exception was Michael Bradley, who went all 120 minutes against Belgium and started for Toronto FC in their match against East-leading D.C. United.
It's hard to say if that was a net gain for Bradley or Toronto FC. Surely, TFC wants to get as much use out of their high-profile Designated Player. Bradley, for his part, was apparently itching to get back onto the field after a somewhat disappointing performance in Brazil.
Bradley wasn't bad against United, but he was only able to go 61 minutes and couldn't keep TFC from surrendering a late goal that sealed the defeat. Only time will tell if he rushed back unnecessarily.
On the other side of the coin is Clint Dempsey, who still hasn't rejoined the Sounders. After playing with a broken nose for virtually the entire tournament, the Sounders have always said they planned to give him some time to recover both mentally and physically. He'll miss the Sounders' U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against the Portland Timbers while appearing on Letterman, but is expected to join the team shortly after. If he misses the Sunday MLS regular-season game against the Timbers, questions are going to start being raised, though.
How about another shoutout for Cubo?
Erick Torres is a treasure and deserves to be treated as such, especially since so few seem inclined to give him the attention he deserves. Are we overdoing it? Maybe, but only because there's such a void.
Torres scored another great goal this week, this time a three-quarters bicycle in stoppage time that gave Chivas USA a win over the Montreal Impact. He's got 12 goals this year and has to be considered one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot if he sticks around.
But will he stick around? If Chivas USA finally gets new owners, making his loan a permanent transfer better be at the top of their to-do list. A league without Torres is a league that's a lot less fun.
Speaking of the Golden Boot...
Bradley Wright-Phillips just can't stop scoring. The one-upon-a-time Manchester City prospect scored two more goals in the New York Red Bulls' 2-2 tie with the Houston Dynamo. He now has 14, two more than any other MLS player, and all but one of his goals have come in his last 10 games. To put it mildly, there's no player currently hotter than BWP.
If this all seems like it came out of nowhere, you're not alone. The last most people had heard of Wright-Phillips was that he was bouncing around between the English Championship and League One. That's not to say that perception is entirely fair, though.
From the 2010-11 season to the 2011-12 season, Wright-Phillips scored 43 League One goals while playing for Plymouth Argyle and Charlton Athletic. Say what you will about the level of competition, but the guy knows how to find the back of net.
It's a lot to ask, but if he can keep up this pace he'd be in position to break the single-season scoring record that is currently shared by Chris Wondolowski (2012) and Roy Lassiter (1996), who each scored 27 goals.