Friday, March 20, 2015

A Day With Dos Guapos and Sleazy El

        "What is that smell?  It stinks like fish!"  I said to Dos Guapos as we sat in his car behind the horse stables at the beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds.

"Bait my brotha!" he said with a coy smile on his face, "Mackerel to be exact."

        "Geez, don't you know it is like 90 degrees outside, and here we are sitting in a hot car, full of dead fish, behind a horse stable.  The smell is atrocious.  What are you trying to do?"  I asked.

        "Don't worry about it, " he said as he pointed to a horse jockey jogging up with paper bag under his arm.  The Jockey's eyes darted around as he approached the car to see if anyone was looking, "there is my guy right now."

        The horse jockey came up to the window and handed Dos Guapos the bag, and Dos Guapos handed him an envelope and said "It's all there man.  Thanks again.  Oh, by the way" he said as he gestured with his other hand in my general direction, "This is my buddy Lavishly Handicapping."

        "Hey, aren't you the one who accurately picked Monterrey and Baltimore to be the number 1 and 2 teams in your Postseason Power Rankings?" the jockey asked.

"Yes I am"  I replied with a smile on my face.

        "Nice Job!" he said. "That is pretty good, picking the last two teams standing before the playoffs even started."

"Well hey, thanks for reading." I said as the jockey waved and scurried back into a stable.

"And what the hell is in the bag?"  I asked.

        "You will see!"  said Dos Guapos as we pulled out of the stable area in his 70 something white Cadillac with gold trim.  "It will all make sense later."

         As we drove north on the 5, I told Dos Guapos about how exciting the Baltimore at Missouri game was.  How the first half ended with an amazing Sosa goal that sent the Comet into the locker room riding a wave of momentum, but then Dantas killed the Comets momentum shortly into the 3rd with a quick goal.  I also told him about how the game was full of crazy goals, amazing plays, and a ton of emotion.  I also explained how Missouri went to the sixth attacker and scored two goals to come within a goal of the Blast before giving up a goal that ended their hopes of an amazing comeback.

"After that goal I turned off the game and walked down to the beach."

        Dos Guapos looked at me with big eyes and a look of shock saying "so you didn't see the hard foul that received a red card?"


"Or all of the bickering in front of the ref box?"


"Or the head butt after the game?"


        "Holy Smokes dude!"  he said as he guided his land yacht into Sleazy El's driveway, "I didn't even watch the game, but I heard all about that."  Sleazy El came stumbling out of his house with a cooler in his hand and jumped into the back of the Caddy.

"What are you guys talking about?" asked Sleazy.

"The Baltimore Missouri game."  answered Dos Guapos.

"The game that you correctly predicted despite some naysayers giving you guff?" Sleazy asked me.

        I explained that he was thinking about the Friday game in Baltimore, and that we were talking about Sunday game in Missouri.  I also told him that "even though I accurately called the Blast winning on Friday, that I was wrong on the Las Vegas game. I thought the Legends would win at home and that the Flash would win at home, and the game would have gone into a mini game, but I was wrong about the mini game."

        "Wow"  Sleazy said, "That is the first Las Vegas game you got wrong in a long time.  I mean, you picked them to beat San Diego at the Orleans, and you picked them to beat Sacramento, and then you picked them to beat the Fury in the first round of the playoffs, and then to beat San Diego at home.  You were on a roll."

        "Yeah I know, I was surprised to see them lose at home to the Flash, but they did almost mount an epic comeback."  I said.  Just then we pulled into the Oceanside harbor.  Dos Guapos parked his white and gold land yacht, taking up two spaces like a jerk, and we walked out to the dock where all of the boats were moored. 

"Whose boat is this?" I asked as we climbed into it and prepared to cast off.

        "Mine," said Dos Guapos, " I won it in a card game from a degenerate, he wanted to give me his car, but I was all, I got one of those, what I don't got is a boat.  So here we are."

        We cast off and went out a few miles into the ocean.  Sleazy passed out the beers, and Dos Guapos pulled out that paper bag that he had received earlier from the horse jockey and opened it up, reveling that it was a bag of pills

"What is that and what are you up to?" I asked.

        "Horse tranquilizer, watch this." he said as he opened up the box with the Mackerel and took out a fish.  He open the mouth, put in a pill, poked it down its throat with his pinky, and then turned and threw the fish out into the water.

        "Help me out." he said.  So we started grabbing fish, stuffing them with horse tranq, and tossing them out to see.  When we were done we cracked some more beers and sat back and talked about the upcoming games.
"What are the lines on the first game?" I asked.

        "Baltimore minus one and a half, over under fourteen and a half."  he told me.  "What do you think about the game Lavishly?"  he asked.

        "Well," I said, "Baltimore has the advantage in the first game because they are playing at home.  Even if Monterrey gets there early, nothing beats the familiarity of sleeping at home, playing on your home field, and not having to travel.  On the other hand, Monterrey travels well.  They have never lost on the road, and they have plenty of veteran experience that will help with the mental side of playing in such a big game.  Genoni Martinez is a salty player that will have the Flash defense ready for the Blast, and if Erik Tovar keeps up his play, he will have the attention of Pat Healy.  Tovar had a hat trick and an assist in his last game, which against a good defense like the Legends is no easy feat.  Baltimore is going to have to stop Tovar, and find a way around Genoni.  Baltimore, on the other hand, will need to get the ball to their three D's, Donatelli, Dantas, and Dos Santos.   Those three have had a strong post season and need to see a lot of the ball.  Vanzela and Healy are going to have to be on their game against the Flash because they move up and down the field quickly, and they can fire off shots from anywhere.  They key in this whole series is the mental side of things.  Both teams have their agitators and emotional players that can either throw or be thrown off of their game when tensions are high and emotions are running wild.  I think the game goes over, and the Blast cover.  But that is only in the first game.  I will have to see what happens in the first before I can take a guess the second game."

        Just then Dos Guapos jumped to his feet with a whoop and pointed out into the water.  "Here we go baby, mira! mira!"

        I looked out and in amazement I saw all sorts of fish floating up to the top of the water.  Yellowfin, Big Eye, Dorado, Bonito, Rockfish, all sorts of fish were floating up to the top of the water.

"Are they dead?"  I asked.

        "Nope," replied Dos Guapos "just stoned out of their freakin' minds, they don't have a clue what is going on,"  he said as he laughed

        We drove the boat around and picked out the biggest fish, and left the ones we didn't want.  Then we went back into the harbor, cleaned up our catch, drank the rest of the beer in the cooler to make room for the fish, and split before the game warden showed up.  The last thing we needed was a federal official asking about doped up fish lying around the water's surface, and why all of these pelicans who had eaten some of those fish and were now flying in erratic patterns, crashing into each other, and lying around on the beach letting children pet them.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Monterrey Flash +1.5 @ Las Vegas Legends -1.5 over/under 13.5
        The Legends don't lose in their practice facility.  Legends cover and the game goes over.

Missouri Comets +0.5 @ Baltimore Blast -0.5 over/under 14.5
        The Blast won't lose at home to a team that just played a game and traveled out to the East coast on a red eye.  Baltimore wins and the game stays under.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Central Division Championship

Milwaukee +2.5 @ Missouri -2.5 over/under 14.5
        MKE Wave are in for a tough battle against a mentally tough Comets team.  Missouri is a great team in every aspect of the game, offense, defense, penalty kills, set pieces, powerplays, you name it, they do it well.  Missouri did have a tough battle against the Wave earlier in the season, and I expect the same tonight.  The only thing hurting the Comets is the fact that they have not played a game for a while.  MKE needs to take advantage of that rust and try and jump out to the lead early and make the Comets battle back from behind.  Much like the Baltimore vs Rochester game, I think that the second half in this game will be key.  This will be a lower scoring game, so I will go with the unders and I will give the Wave the 2.5 points, because I think that they will be able to step up to the challenge on the road and play a good game against the undefeated Missouri Comets.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eastern Division Final

       Fresh of the yacht that just returned from international waters, Dos Guapos is back in So Cal after participating in an illegal Kendoslavian knife fighting tournament.  While he was out to sea he met up with his bookie and was able to pass down some lines for this weekend's games, even those that popped up out of nowhere in rec centers, so have no fear all of you degenerates out there who are hooked on MASL action.  I will give you a break down on tonight's game, and release my picks for the rest of the games later.
Rochester Lancers +5.5 @ Baltimore Blast -5.5 over/under 20.5
        Lancer fans are praying for a miracle, and they should be, they are going to need it.  According to my Baltimore insider, the people's champion and defender of all that is good in world of Baltimore sports Dave K., Rochester is 0-17 all time against the Blast.  If Rochester is going to have a chance at winning this game they are going to need to go blow for blow with the Blast.  If the Blast score, the Lancers need to answer right back with some points, because a come from behind win for the Lancers in Baltimore is unlikely.  The best thing that the Lancers could do is score two quick goals like they did last Thursday against the Silver Knights and get the momentum and control early in the game.  If they get behind early it will be difficult for the Lancers to climb back into the game given the Blast's powerful defense and ability to control the pace of the game.  Baltimore is going to be all over Salles, so other Lancers need to step up and have a big game and net some goals.  If Rochester could draw pressure off of Salles and give him opportunities late in the game that would be key.  This game goes over 20.5, but I think Baltimore covers the 5.5 in the second half after they get the rust out in the first.

Thursday, March 5, 2015



Chicago Mustangs 6  Milwaukee Wave 3
        This was a great game to start the MASL postseason off with, and a big win for the Mustangs, who came into the game riding a 3 game losing streak.  One thing that Chicago added to the team for the playoffs, which they were missing during their three losses at the end of the regular season, was Guilherme Veiga.  The intangibles that he brings to the table adds a boost to the Mustangs bench, and that was evident in how the team kept their heads after the Wave took a one point lead into halftime.  The Mustangs came out of the locker room and dominated the second half, scoring 4 unanswered goals.  The third goal, which was a perfect touch and assist by Veiga to Bond, was the nail in the coffin.  Milwaukee played a good game, but it was the physicality and defensive pressure of the Mustangs in the second half that paid off.

Dallas Sidekicks 6  Oxford City F.C. 5     
        I was looking forward to watching this game on ESPN3, but it didn't work out, so I was forced to follow the box score.  I was actually out in the parking lot of the CBBA arena in Ontario drinking a beer and watching my son play soccer as I continually checked the score of the game.  When I first tuned into the game Dallas was trailing Oxford 2-1 at the half, and then shortly into the 3rd Oxford scored again making it 3-1.  When I saw this I immediately thought, "Dallas is going to lose 4 playoff games in a row, unbelievable!", but of course the Sidekicks won in the end.  Later, when the replay was available on Go Live Sports, I went through and watched the game, and I got to say, both teams played very well.  When Nestor Hernandez went down clutching his knee my heart sunk to my stomach.  He was writhing and screaming in so much pain that I thought that the season was over, but he was miraculously able to come back and score the game winning goal.  Oxford played a very physical, sometimes dirty, style of game, and sometimes it was even comical.  I saw twice where an Oxford player completely threw his body into a Dallas player with out even feigning playing the ball, an obvious foul to all who witnessed it, and after the whistle was blown, the player would look at the ref like he was an idiot and argue the call.  The better team moved on and I am glad that the Sidekicks were able to end their playoff drought.

Las Vegas Legends 6  Ontario Fury 5
        I packed the family into the car and headed up to Ontario to watch this game, because we knew it would be a good game to watch, and it was.  Las Vegas came out early in the game and controlled possession and did a good job pressing the Fury, who were playing a defensive and cautious game to start.  Later in the game Ontario did more pressing on offense, but struggled to defend against the Legends attack in transition.  It was a wild game to watch with plenty of action, and in the fourth the Fury were able to score two goals to tie it up at 5 with 7 mins left, but it was a Gonzalez header off of a Tovar chip that put the game away for Las Vegas.  What killed the Fury was the fact that they kept on giving up goals immediately after scoring.  After scoring their first goal, Las Vegas was able to answer with their own goal 20 seconds later.  Then, when Ontario scored their second goal, Las Vegas was able to net another goal 32 seconds later.  When the Fury scored their third goal, the Legends put one in the back of the net 24 seconds later.  Finally, when the Fury scored their fifth goal to tie the game up, Las Vegas again scored 94 seconds later.  After the game I went on the field and caught up with Las Vegas coach Pete Sharkey, and he told me that the Legends were careful not to let the Fury score quick turn around goals in this game since it was something that they had done in the past.  So I went back and looked at old score sheets, and I found that when Ontario and Las Vegas played before, Ontario answered with goals 7, 61, 67, and 90 seconds after the Legends notched a goal.

        Since Massey Ratings is not putting up odds for the playoff games, I was forced to go to Sleazy El to see if he could bird dog me a bookie for the MASL playoffs.  He suggested Hector Dos Guapos.  I said "you mean our go to guy in Tijuana for cockfighting?"  Sleazy El said, "that's the one, he just got out of the poky."  I have known Dos Guapos for a long time.  His first time in the slammer I did him some favors, mostly I smuggled him cigarettes in my keister, but he was out now, and hanging out with a felon after he is fresh out of prison can be a volatile situation, especially when he is drunk, and he was savagely drunk.  Dos Guapos had picked up a taste for toilet wine after he learned how to make it on the inside, and he was throwing that foul stuff back like a true wild man.  Luckily he knew that I was coming, and that he owed me a favor for going through the shame and embarrassment of being his mule for smokes back in the day, so he already had the lines written down for this up coming weekend of playoff soccer in the MASL.  After I enjoyed a jar of the finest toilet wine I have ever had in my life, listening to some harrowing stories about being locked up, and receiving a very long awkward hug, Sleazy El and I got the hell out of Tijuana and headed back home.  I am not looking forward to meeting up with Dos Guapos next week for the odds.

Syracuse Silver Knights -3.5 @ Rochester Lancers +3.5 over/under 25.5
       Syracuse is my dark horse out of the East in this whole thing, but getting through the Lancers in Rochester will not be easy.  In fact, I am betting that Rochester pulls off the win at home.  I am excited for this game because these two teams know each other well, and I am sure there will be fireworks throughout the whole game.  Doug Miller will have his team fired up for this one, and Soccer Sam and his crew will be packing Lancer fans into the arena, making it a great indoor soccer playoff atmosphere.  Tommy Tanner will be bringing a well prepared Silver Knights team to do battle, and I expect the best play out of both teams.  If Joey Kapinos is in goal for the Lancers, and Rick Pflasterer is in the net for the Silver Knights, then I would expect a low scoring game, so I will go with the unders in this game.  Since I think that Rochester is going to win this game I will go with the points for Rochester.
Chicago Mustangs +1.5 @ Milwaukee Wave -1.5 over/under 11.5
        After pulling off the win at home against the favored Milwaukee Wave, Chicago now travels into the Panther arena to try and win game two of the series and move on to take on the Missouri Comets.  Chicago did a good job of throwing MKE off of their game in the second half, but the Wave will be better prepared for what the Mustangs will try and do.  One of the keys to the game that Milwaukee needs to do is put pressure on the Mustang goal keeper Flores.  Missouri showed that when a lot of defensive pressure is applied Flores is prone to make either bad passes witch result in turnovers, or he will panic and commit a defensive clear, which results in a top of the box set piece.  MKE prides themselves in being one of the best teams with set pieces, that is one of the ways they scored on the Mustangs in the last game.  The Mustangs need to play to their strength, which is a fast paced style of game that capitalizes on forced turnovers and quick transition play.  I think that I will give the points to the Mustangs, if they lose it will not be by more than one point, and I will take the overs.  There were a lot of missed offensive opportunities in the last game that will be converted in this game.

Las Vegas Legends +0.5 @ San Diego -0.5 over/under 11.5
        Las Vegas can beat the Sockers, and they will beat the Sockers in this game.  Las Vegas beat San Diego late in this season, and they beat us in the playoffs last year, and the Vegas team is better this year than they were last year.  In the Ontario game last Sunday, Las Vegas played so well as a team, and they played such a smart game that they kept the Fury from really ever taking control of the game.  San Diego will play a tough game though, don't get me wrong, but it won't be enough to crack one of the best defenses in the league.  Zeke Sanchez will be standing on his head, Tovar will be dishing out assists left and right, Ricardinho will be dancing with the ball, and the Legends talisman, Dominic Scicluna, will be directing traffic from the bench.  Two things that the Legends do very well is defend against the power play and halt the momentum late in a game.  The last time San Diego lost in Las Vegas they fouled often late in the game to keep the Sockers from getting any sort of rhythm going.  Las Vegas doesn't mind going a man down because they are so skilled at killing penalties.  The biggest reason, the deal breaker, the crux of my whole reasoning why I think that the Sockers will not win come Saturday night is the fact that my unlucky cooler of a brother in law will be in attendance.  He is cursed I tell you.  Last year when I brought him along to watch two games, the Sockers lost both of those games.  Las Vegas gets the +0.5 in this one, and the game stays under 11.5.  Maybe I should have Father Guido Sarducci perform an exorcism in the parking lot before hand.

Dallas Sidekicks +2.5 @ Monterrey Flash -2.5 over/under 9.5
        This is a rivalry. This will be a battle.  Both teams have declared war.  I can't wait to watch lay my eyes on this game.  Dallas scraped by a very good Oxford City team, and now they must travel down to Monterrey to try and slay the giant that is the Flash in their own house.  That is no easy task.  Monterrey handled the Sidekicks with the greatest of ease earlier in the season, but that was not the same Dallas team.  This time Dallas will be firing on all cylinders when they show up to Arena Monterrey to brawl.  Genoni Martinez will have his team ready for the Sidekicks though, and the Monterrey defense will be a tough nut to crack.  I think that this game will also stay under 9.5, but I give the points to Dallas since I do not see them losing to the Flash by more than 2 points.  What ever happens down in Mexico, you know that this will be one of the great games between these two epic teams.  

Rochester Lancers +4.5 @ Syracuse Silver Knights -4.5 over/under 21.5 
        Syracuse wins this one at home, and then goes on to win the mini game to move on to face Baltimore.  I don't think that the Silver Knights will cover the 4.5 points, but I do think that the game goes over 21.5 in a high scoring affair.  Rochester has a good team, but not good enough to win at home, and then go into Syracuse and win again.  Of all of the match ups in the first round of playoffs, this series has the most potential to be decided by a mini-game.  Rochester and Syracuse know each other well and I am very excited to see how this all plays out.  No matter which team wins the series, they will have to go through the Blast, which will be no stroll on the beach.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lavishly's Picks MASL Week #19

Baltimore -13.5 @ Harrisburg +13.5 over/under 29.5  Baltimore already locked up the number one spot in the division, so they wont be sportsing as hard today, and will most likely have some players who usually don't sports as much sportsing a lot tonight.  Baltimore has the formula to win, but I don't know if they will apply that formula.  The key for Harrisburg is scoring more goals than Baltimore, and keeping Baltimore from scoring goals.  Harrsiburg will really have to sports hard to win, or at least come within 13.5 of the Blast, but I don't think they will sports hard enough.  Baltimore covers and the game goes over.

Detroit -2.5 @ Harrisburg +2.5 over/under 27.5  Sportsing two nights in a row will be a lot for the Heat, and against a Detroit team, which you know will be sportsing hard, will be a tall order for the young Heat.  Detroit will sports hard enough to cover the 2.5 in Harrisburg, but neither team will sports hard enough to cover the 27.5 points.

Baltimore -4.5 @ Rochester +4.5 over/under 18.5  Since this game has no real meaning, I will go out on a limb and say that Rochester will sports hard enough at home to pull within 4.5 of the visiting Blast.  Baltimore will be sportsing hard, but the fact that they will have sportsed two nights before will work out in the Lancers favor.  This will be a good game with a lot of back and fourth sportsing, and I think that they will both sports hard enough to cover the 18.5 points

Detroit +5.5 @ Syracuse -5.5 over/under 18.5  Detroit will have trouble trying to sports two days in a row, especially against a fresh team like the Silver Knights who will be ready to sports it up in anticipation of the up coming playoffs.  Don't get me wrong, Detroit will be sportsing hard during the first half, but in the second half they will struggle to sports hard due to fatigue in the legs.  The Silver Knights sports a great game and cover the points, and the game goes over.  Sports on MASL fans! Sports on!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


1. Monterrey Flash  "Monterrey Flash at the top" you say.  Why yes, and here is why I think so.  The Flash have won the division with ease, and the two teams that the Flash might face to advance on to the final four from the Southern Division are teams that they have beat before, Dallas and Oxford.  They will also face which ever team advances at home, which gives them an advantage.  In the semifinals they will face a Pacific Division team, either San Diego, Las Vegas, or Ontario.  Monterrey has both beaten and lost to the Sockers and the Legends in the past, and played a close one against the Fury.  They have a very good chance to make it to the semis, but from there anything can happen.

2. Baltimore Blast  Baltimore has the number of both Syracuse and Rochester this season, and should be able to advance out of the division.  They will face the winner of the Central Division in the semifinals which could be either Chicago, Milwaukee, or Missouri, which will be no easy task for the Blast, but they have proven that they can beat the Mustangs and Wave at home.  The match up that everyone wants to see though is with the Comets, which I do hope happens, but who knows?

3. Missouri Comets  Missouri is carrying the baggage of being undefeated into the postseason, which isn't easy, plus they team that they will face is either the Wave, who have been battling injuries, or Chicago, who are on a losing streak at exactly the wrong time.  The fact that both the Mustangs and Wave are wounded animals that many have counted out makes them even more dangerous.  It will be a tough battle out of the Central and then a tough battle with most likely the Baltimore Blast.

4. San Diego Sockers  Getting out of the Pacific will be difficult for the Sockers.  If they face Las Vegas they will be playing a team that always steps it up against San Diego.  Las Vegas have beaten the Sockers in San Diego, they have beaten San Diego to move on to the semifinals, and they just got done beating the Sockers in the regular season. If Las Vegas makes it San Diego they will be riding a six game winning streak which gives them the momentum that makes them even more dangerous.  If San Diego faces Ontario it will also be dangerous, and here is my reasoning.  Ontario has never beaten San Diego, so eventually they have to win right?  If you are playing craps and rolling hot, hitting your numbers over and over again, feeling high and making money, things are great right, but eventually you will throw a seven, the fun will stop, and you will see that you have left a ton of money on the table that now belongs to the house.  Eventually the Sockers are going to roll a 7 with the Fury, but when.

5. Las Vegas Legends  They made it to the Finals last year, and they are hot right now.  They can and have gone into Ontario and won.  The thing that really seems to help the Legends is their new Talisman from Detroit, Dominic Scicluna.

6. Syracuse Silver Knights  The Silver Knights are my Dark Horse in this whole thing.  If they can get past the Lancers to face the Blast then they might be able to pull off the upset of the year and beat the Blast and move on to the semifinals.  I know from listening to Kick This that Syracuse want to get a shot at Baltimore and make it count.

7. MKE Wave  The Wave are quality.  Getting out of the division will be a challenge, but if they do they will be rolling with a head of steam making them tough to stop.  The think that hurts them is their keeper situation right now, but if they figure it out then watch out.

8. Oxford City F.C.  They have some good pieces on the roster, and if they can get hot they can do some damage.  Their fate depends upon whether or not Juan Gamboa starts standing on his head at the right time.  If Gamboa gets hot it will carry them far into the tournament.  They can beat Dallas, and they can hang with the Flash, but if they make it to the semifinals then I think it ends there.

9. Ontario Fury  They Fury are a damn good team, but they have yet to find their true success.  I am not sure if they can make it out of their first game with the Legends, but if they do they will be no push over for the Sockers.  Ontario has improved drastically from last year, and I don't think that this year is quite their time, but next year I expect the Fury to be not only a powerhouse in the division, but in the entire league.  

10. Rochester Lancers  I feel the same way about the Lancers as Soccer Sam does on his Kick This radio broadcast, that the Lancers are just a few pieces away from being a true contender.  They have some great players and a talented team, but something just is missing that, when they find it, will make the whole difference.  Maybe it is the Mohican Warrior not playing a full season, not enough players are rocking the Hoxie mustache, or maybe the team is eating too much good Italian food from Salvatore's.  Who knows, but I hope they figure it out.

11. Dallas Sidekicks  I watched the Sidekicks' last game against Monterrey, and it wasn't pretty.  Dallas has had a number of struggles all season that have set them back, but to their credit they have fought hard and dealt with the blows as they have come.  It will be a difficult battle for them this post season, and the fact they they have yet to win a playoff game since joining the league doesn't help.  Maybe they are better suited for the under dog position.

12. Chicago Mustangs  The wheels came off at home against Syracuse, then they went careening off the road in Syracuse, finally they slammed into a wall in Baltimore.  It doesn't look good for the Mustangs.