Saturday, July 30, 2005
All-Star Misconceptions ...
I think the outpouring of venom about the MLS All-Star Game is misdirected and that a lot of the people who don't really enjoy MLS' version of the midseason classic are missing the real point of the game.

It has nothing to do with the game.

In most industries there is a yearly convention which allows people from disparate locations to come together, meet face-to-face and do the deals away from the convention hall that are really impossible to do over the phone or via email. Most conventions (and I've been to a lot of them) have nothing to do with the actual stuff on the showroom (or convention room) floor. Sure, you'll walk around and see what the latest gizmos for the industry are but that's not the real reason you're there. The real reason is that Joe from SuperCorp on the West Coast that you don't get to see except once a year is going to be there and you just know you can push through a deal to be their supplier. That's why you're there.

The MLS All-Star Game is the same thing. It's a point during the year to get a large number of media, agents, players and decision makers in the same place so they can talk, do interviews and schmooze sponsors with everyone in the same location. This kind of personal interaction is invaluable and having it during the middle of the season, instead of at the end of the season when all the good feelings dissapate within a week, the gains display themselves over the course of the second half of the season.

Oh, and it's a game featuring an MLS team broadcast nationally on ABC. Sure, the 3:30 p.m. start time sucks (especially when the game is in L.A.) and I'd love to see it be its current setup (MLS stars vs. a big team) broadcast at 8pm on ABC, but I like what we have.

It gets people talking about MLS and, if that's the only legacy of the All-Star game, I'm fine with that.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Can we get a hawg caller?
D.C. United is having a press conference tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in D.C.

No, they are not announcing a new stadium.

Yes, it is major news.

Good luck, Mr. Payne.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Nocigental dwarfism and other things I don't understand ...
Thoughts from a weekend full of soccer.

  • Chivas USA is on to something. I don't know what's changed in the back (aside from the removal of Suarez and the maturity of 'el Guzano') but they seem to be a doing a much better job than earlier in the season.

    With the addition of Paco Palencia and 'el Loquito' in August, they might be able to reach for a playoff spot. What's interesting is that the weekend of their biggest win they couldn't gain any traction as both RSL and Colorado won.

    I still think Chivas will win a playoff spot this year. I think Westerhof is the second best coach in MLS this season (behind Dom Kinnear of the Red Headed Earthquakes).

  • Here I was, being the good soldier, trying to watch the D.C. United - L.A. Galaxy game on Saturday. Granted, I'd been out late the night before and I was pretty exhausted but I was going to fight through it and stay awake for the entire match despite being full and the game being atrociously boring.

    With ten minutes left, I resigned myself to a nil-nil draw (good result for D.C., tough for the Galaxy) and left for work. Once I got to work, what happened but I found out that Freddy finally decided to be Freddy and won the game for United. I thought Hartman would have had the ball if not for the deflection but sometimes a superstar needs a little luck to get jumpstarted.

  • About Freddy: I see Freddy as the Barry Sanders of the #10 position. Barry was a great running back but he was the kind of guy who would get you 2 yards on one carry, -3 on the next and then break one for 80 yards. I think that's where Freddy's at. He doesn't have the solid skills and decision making enough of the time to start him over Gómez but Christian is not going to do what Freddy did yesterday. Just can't.

    So here's my thing with Freddy. He's a #10 ... he's not a forward and he's not a Bones-type winger. Just isn't. It sucks that Untied has an all-star in Gómez but I think the team is better off long term if Nowak can figure out a way to get Freddy on the field in the middle of the park. Yeah, good luck with that.

  • On the ESPN2 broadcast, and later the Columbus Crew radio broadcast, it was mentioned that United all but had a deal in place to build an SSS inside the district limits. Now, I consider myself pretty up on this stuff but has anyone heard anything concrete on this?

  • Where the heck has RSL been hiding all year!?! Three goals against FCD? I think it's that field (and boy did it look horrible with the gridiron lines on it). That's a team that needs a new stadium (or at least a real field). Good for Cleetus that he's off the shnide and scoring goals. Good that Jason didn't score ... I need some more time to build his 'Countdown to 100' graphics.

    And what's up with missing the sitter, Jamie Watson? Tarheels finish better than that. Would Michael Jordan haved missed an open dunk? Oh, well, I guess everyone is entitled to one. Make sure it was your last. I'm not posting Jamie's Journal if you do it again.

  • Columbus is on a nice little undefeated streak since the Polish Rifle took over. Looks like he'll probably get the deal at the end of the year as is Crew tradition.

    Just me thinking out loud here but it'd be nice if the Crew just cleaned house and started over. Though they did have 15,000 there last night I'm still shocked they didn't bother to start selling All-Star tickets until three or four weeks ago. And there's nothing much to leverage there so one of the big thoughts was to offer two tickets to the OSU-Texas college football game to a random person who had bought tickets. They might have sold out if they did that.

  • Is there any more depressing team to watch (or, in the case of last night, listen to) than Kansas City? Just depressing.

  • Knox Cameron should be required to participate in every match since he gives us so many great titles for articles (Knox holds down fort, Knox answers opportunity, etc.).

  • San Jose is in first place! Good for the little team that couldn't stay in the Bay Area. I'm pretty sure they're gone at the end of the year, too, but I'd really love for them to stay ... mainly because that's the only place that isn't 1,000 degrees in July in the U.S. and I'd like to keep them for that.

  • The MetroStars. Dunno what more you can say.

  • We're going to pretend that Chicago game didn't happen. Everyone's allowed a do-over, right? Can't wait to see the game on Wednesday.
  • Friday, July 08, 2005
    Thoughts from the USA - Cuba Gold Cup match
    I'm surprised this didn't get more play in the mainstream press (read: non-sports press) because it's America vs. Cuba. Certainly I mean before today's events in London.

  • They played the Cuba national anthem before the game! That's gotta be a first in a recognized setting. I know that the Cuban baseball team played the Orioles in an exhibition game in 1999 but I don't know if the Cuban national anthem was played before the game at Camden Yards.

  • An interesting 3-5-2 for the US using the vaunted V formation. Telefutura says (I think) that Brad Davis is the point and that Bones is at forward. Five minutes into the game this is no longer the case as Brad is out left and DMB is pulling the strings.

  • Someone tell Tony Sanneh the game started.

  • The U.S. looks uninterested in the first five minutes. The three-man backfield looks weird.

  • Goal for Cuba. And they lead 1-0. Someone said (and I've spent 10 minutes looking for the link even though I work for the site) that if the Yanks didn't score a touchdown, it was because they were bored. Forget the touchdown, I'd just like to get the win.

  • Someone tell Tony Sanneh it's ok to jump for a ball.

  • Brad Davis! What are you doing shooting from 30 yards out!?!

  • Bones is by far the most skilled player on the field. It's a shame no one can seem to get him the ball.

  • 'Tino has looked pretty good so far. He's going hard after the ball and making some creative runs.

  • Ben Olsen? Hello? You there, lad?

  • Goal Clint Dempsey off a great Bones feed. Excellent replay confirms Clint is onside. 'Bout time we got a goal.

  • Tony Sanneh ... I know you want to be a midfielder, and you can cross the ball decently well with your left, but if I watch you out of position one more time, I'm taking back your kit.

  • This second half has been totally devoid of anything noteworthy except that we continue to miss wide open chances.

  • Looks like Il Bruce wants to win as The Talisman enters the game in the 65th.

  • Look, Frankie Hejduk drives me crazy, too, but nothing shows more why I love having him on the team then him delivering not one, but two great crosses all while MISSING HIS RIGHT SHOE! I found that incredibly impressive.

  • Great to see John O'Brien back on the field. A bit unlucky for Brad Davis to be the odd one out because he had an admirable game but Ben Olsen, I'm sorry it didn't work out.

  • Goal for Landon Donovan on a brilliant free kick from 20 yards out! My question is this ... if I saw Josh Wolff point at Wolff's right shoulder while looking at Donovan (put it in the left upper 90, he seemed to say), then how come no one on Cuba's team noticed that?

  • Uh oh, here comes the prison break. Goal for Bones (who deserves one tonight) on an assist from the Talisman.

  • Donovan's free-kick goal is what one would find if one looked up "back-breaking goal" in the dictionary (assuming that term were actually in the dictionary). Goal for Donovan on a pretty little number from Bones. Let's see Donovan's line: 25 minutes played, 2 goals, 1 assist, seven points. Nice fantasy numbers if you had him.

  • Wrapup: Everyone in the world knew we should win this game except the Cubans. Valiant effort by them but, really, we should have scored the touchdown Tino Palace predicted. I think Dempsey's miss almost rivals Vagenas' against RSL or what's his name from West Brom who missed off the goal line.

  • What we learned: The U.S. doesn't have the manpower to run a three man backline just yet. Il Bruce has not lost his mind calling up Quaranta but 'Tino is probably two years away from regular senior team callups. We can play well with our C team but we can't win with it. As goes Donovan, so goes the U.S. Beasley has developed tremendously since going to Holland. You listening, Eddie Johnson? Brad Davis has a future on the left side ... excellent crosses. Tony Sanneh? Done. Unless we need a really, really slow midfielder. Goalkeeper? Please don't get hurt, Kasey.
  • Wednesday, July 06, 2005
    I live by the riiiiiver ....
    So London has officially been "elected" as teh host city for the 2012 Olympics. Why is this important to me?

    Well, for the following three reasons:

    1) I would love to work for the Olympic games and I would love to live in London. Perhaps my company, which has opened the possiblity (however remote), might work on the Olympic website. We'd need a London office, right?

    2) I live currently in New York so it means I'm up early this morning with thoughts of going to Rock Center for the announcement. Doesn't do me any good when I'm up for 20 minutes, and before I leave, to find out New York's been eliminated. So I'm in work early.

    3) This is one the one that actually relates to MLS. As the Soccer Junkie pointed out, AEG is heavily involved with the London bid and stands to make a lot of money off the projects in the dilapadated East End of London during the course of construction for the Olympics. If AEG is doing well, so is MLS. And that's good for me.

    3b) As Incendiarymind over at Footcer pointed out, the Olympics won't allow the U.K. to enter four teams into the Games for football (soccer, footcer ... whatever), only as a whole. Up until now, the municipalities haven't agreed to do that. However, Becks and Sven have said they'll support a united, er, United Kingdom soccer team for the 2012 Games if London was to win. It'd be neat to see a unified, er, United Kingdom soccer team featuring a 37-year-old Beckham holding down the last spot on the bench.