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Soccer Science: Jellyfish stings

Now that the palpitations have settled, and our eyes turn towards the northeast, I, like everyone else, can only think about the metaphorical use of jellyfish stings as they apply to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

I strongly disagree with your assertion, miss.
I strongly disagree with your assertion, miss.

There were a couple strange thoughts that came into my head as I watched our second leg matchup against Sporting KC. They came 30 minutes apart, and once they popped into my head I was positive that they were the truth. That being said, they were both completely opposite of one another.

At the end of the first half, as SKC had just played 45 minutes in complete domination, but without a single goal, the camera panned to Jimmy Nielsen. The uber-Scandinavian man picked up his towel from the net, turned to the crowd behind him, and applauded as if he had just won the MLS Cup. Even though we were still up 2-0 on aggregate, and were 75% through the aggregate matchup, I was positive that we would give up two goals in the second half. It was horrible. I just... knew. It wasn't that we were defending poorly (on the contrary, we were playing really well given the circumstances) or that they had come excruciatingly close to scoring ( I just saw the confidence in the goalie's eyes, and knew that same feeling radiated throughout the whole team.

But 30 minutes later, with no nails left on my hand, a funny thing happened - SKC scored. Zusi did what he had been doing all game, and would continue to do: he put a delicious ball into the box just begging someone to smash it in. And Sinovic did. You would think that the goal would have just compounded my woe, and driven me closer to the warm confines of bourbon on a school night, but it didn't. As Sinovic sprinted back to midfield, and spiked the ball at the center circle, I knew that we would prevail. There was an air of frustration in SKC's body language that reeked of unfulfilled entitlement. Thirty minutes later, after many obscenely-close attempts on goal, we won.

And my heartbeat slowly, but surely, returned to healthy levels of activity.

When I wrote a paragraph-long thought about the SKC series a week ago, I said that two things were certain - SKC would score, and our back line would have to hold on for dear life if we were fortunate enough to hold an aggregate lead before that. This bend, but not break, attitude was just what the doctor ordered (if you're a masochist), and has seen us once again into the Conference Finals.

The Science

Our success in this series came down to striking a damaging blow quickly, and holding on before SKC could return the favor. Similarly, the jellyfish depends on a potent neurotoxin to paralyze its much heavier prey before it can hurt it. The jellyfish may lose a tentacle or two, but sure enough its prey will eventually succumb to delicious sleep as the jellyfish weirdly digests the thing inside its head.

Each tentacle on a jellyfish is lined by hundreds of tiny nematocysts, which are just glorified biological harpoons. When something touches its trigger, there is a chemical reaction that shoots out a high velocity spear loaded with toxin. The jellyfish then drags in its prey. If you had any semblance of a childhood, you know exactly where I'm going with this:

That Time When The Radical Arsonist Became Chicago Fire Department Chief

Its always weird when a character from a show I love appears in something else. Sometimes its not that big of a deal - like when you see a character from one genre essentially playing the exact same character in another. A good example of that is HBO's use of Aiden Gilley as Tommy Carcetti in The Wire, a guy who sorta means well but is generally a jackwagon, and as Petyr Baelish in Game of Thrones, a guy who is a complete and total jackwagon. It makes sense. Two politically influential people who are doing what they deem profitable no matter what the consequences are for others.

But then there is Eamonn Walker, who played Kareem Said - by far my favorite character in HBO's OZ. He was a radical, modern, Muslim cleric trying to make a political difference while being held in the Oswald State Penitentiary. His crime? Setting a bomb to burn down a building. Cut to 2012, and Walker is now playing Chief Wallace Boden of the CFD. Fighting fires, etc etc. Sure, the self-righteousness and do-goodery are all the same, but it just strikes me as odd.

Music Video of the Week

I am quite literally running out of my apartment right now to drive to an Alumni Weekend event at Trinity University. Try as I might over these last few minutes, I haven't been able to think of an apropos music video to leave y'all with before my trip. So as the ultimate cop-out of the day, lets make this a Dynamo Theory community event - post what you think the music video should be, and why. Because...I'm too lazy. That's pretty much why.

Back to soccer...

We did what we needed to do against SKC - strike early and hold on for dear life. Now, while the Sporks are left peeing on their wounds, we have a short turnaround for the Eastern Conference Final. To get past DC, we'll need the same type of effort.

Sadly, I won't be present for the match Sunday, so no retrospective stories about verbally assaulting DC fans (probably for the best). However, I expect a full stadium to push our boys in orange to a big first leg aggregate lead.