Thursday, April 27, 2006
Virtual fellatio
Stephen Goff at the WaPo continues to be the best beat writer in the league.

The salary of every MLS player »

Quavas Kirk, Memo Gonzalez and Nik Besagno should be arrested because they are STEALING MONEY from their MLS teams.
Monday, April 24, 2006
The week that was ...
I guess it's only a good idea if I do it weekly ... so, here's another for this week.

Five and Five: Five things I liked from the weekend that was in Major League Soccer; five things I didn't like.

Things I liked:

1. Alecko Eskandarian. I don't really care that much for the guy (in that he's the guy I love to hate because he's a cocky sob) but fantastic goal celebration. Hell, it made PTI today. It gives MLS more of what I've always said it needs: sports hate. D has his take on it while many other people to whom I won't link because I'm lazy like that weigh in.

My thought. O'Rourke should have put a boot up Esky's ass. His not doing so proved to me all I needed to know about this year's Red Bulls.

2. Husting Hoops. Nice job by Kenny Cooper and Aaron Pitchkolan in Sunday's win over the Blues. Cooper should have drawn a penalty, and, yes, Bo Bo should have punched that ball somewhere into the vicinity of Plano, but neither happened and Cooper's husting gets him a goal (and the worst celebration ever ... more on that later). Pitchkolan made up for his lack of playing time by running full bore for his entire time on the field, making something happen and getting the Hoops the three points.

3. Crew Nation! I didn't get to see the game (yes, HDnet pays MLS a rights fee -- bet you didn't know that with all the hubub about the ESPN/ABC rights-fee deal for next year -- but would it kill you to make it available online if you're exclusive?) but it's nice to see the Bees pick up three points. That team will be good in two years or so ... they just have to get through this year.

4. 8,475 people in the NYC metro area. That's how many people Red Bull said showed up to the game. I was there and I think they're actually probably close. Kudos to you folks for braving a miserable day and coming out to a game (even if you did hide, like me, under the overhang). Also, kudos to the DC fans and ESC who gave at least a little energy (haha, I keel me) to an otherwise drab affair.

5. Ok, so it would have been nice if you could have launched this when you said you were going to launch it, and I'd appreciate it if you would not show me the score of the game in the player window, but the game that you did sell me for $20 loaded perfectly. I don't mind paying for the service. Just stop showing me the score.

Five things I didn't like:

1. You're owner manufactures an energy drink? Just a miserable performance by the Red Bulls. Even D noticed that New York never adjusted to the field which you think they'd be able to considering it's their home pitch. I can't remember how many balls were splayed out of bounds because no one seemed to notice that the ball might run a bit on the wet, slick surface. Just a miserable display. Hopefully they weren't fighting for their coach's life because if they were, Mo's a dead man.

2. Amado Geeeee-vara. I don't know what I can say about this guy other than just a miserable performance. I guess his performance matched the team's but he just deserves to be called out for a horrendous performance.

3. The Wizards big three. Eddie Johnson, Josh Wolff and Davy Arnaud had no goals on Sunday. At one point, the Wizzle had FIVE forwards on the field and only Alex Zotinca could get on the board. Speaking of Zotinca, at what point are we no longer going to have players in our top flight outdoor league who didn't come here to play indoor ball?

4. Real Salt Lake. I didn't think their performance was actually that bad ... but seriously, what does it take for that team to get a win?

5. Stoppage time. Someone was, rightfully, complaining about this on BigSoccer. Seven minutes in the Crew game. Five minutes in the Dallas game.

That's too much time! If the teams can't get it done in 91 or 92 minutes, then too bad.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Sorry for the disappearance; holidays and travel'll do that to you.

The lineup I expect to see Saturday at Giants Stadium:



              Guevara -- Djorkaeff


Henderson                                   Wynne

         Mendes -- Graham -- Canero


I don't see how this is going to work but it appears to be the case (after the rumored trade of Thiago Martins and a first-round pick to the 'Pids for JP).

Weird stuff, mang.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Can we still call them the Wizzle?
Good news from the Yellow Brick Roadsters. (video link)

Apparently the sale of the Wizards could go down in less than a month to Neal Patterson, founder and president of health-care giant Cerner. Also, there seems to be some public support for an FC Dallas-like Johnson County stadium project which is always a good thing.

If this goes down, this would get us to only four teams which didn't have individual owners: the AEG three (Houston, Chicago and D.C.) and Columbus/Dallas (whichever one HSG doesn't keep).

Exciting times. Does the 2005-2006 offeseason mean we get Garberhiño nominated for Sports Commissioner of the Year?
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Budgetary Considerations
There's been lots of hype, both within the league and from the outside, around the Red Bulls home opener. As well there should be.

The team, from what I've heard, could very well sell out the game. Now, a lot of this is directly attributable to Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull blowing it out for this one. Shakira and Wyclef, Pele and Franz won't be here for every game but of 80,000, if 25-30k come back on a regular basis then you've got the making of the new MLS attendance leader.

And when the team moves into a 25k seat stadium, then you've got the making of a hot ticket. It'd help if the team could win, though.

That said, something caught my eye the other day and has caused me concern. Apparently Red Bull and Ronaldo (yes, the Cup-winning Real Madrid striker) are interested in each other for after the World Cup this summer.

"I hope Dietrich and Red Bull can pull it off because it would be wonderful," Red Bulls coach Mo Johnston said.

Then the coach quipped with a laugh: "I don't think we can afford his hairdresser, and Ronaldo doesn't have any hair."
Now, I don't really think this is going to happen but this rumor, combined with the rumor that Donadoni (after being sacked in Italy despite being on the verge of UEFA) might come back to coach the team if Mo doesn't get the squad rolling, has me worried that fitting into MLS supposedly-rigid spending ways won't be possible for the Austrian Overlords.

If they can pay for Ronaldo's transfer fee, combined with fitting him into the salary structure (back loaded with a free apartment in Soho, etc.), who's to stop them? And how does Columbus (with Danny Szetela) and Salt Lake (Cunny's a stud, sure) match up with this? If they start trying to break the bank, does MLS turn into the NASL?

If they don't, does Red Bull really become the Super Club? And if MLS says nein to Mr. Mateschitz in bringing in Ronaldo, does he take his money and go home? Let's be honest, Pepsi offered him $67 billion for Red Bull ... he's not lacking for cash.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Gaste el dinero, Chivas
I like Chivas USA, I really do. They're one of my favorite teams to watch because I like the way they play and, admittedly, I want to see them succeed.

But the following occured to me yesterday while Las Chivas were announcing the acquisition of US International John O'Brien at the Home Depot Center.

  • Claudio Suarez: Mexican International

  • 'Paco' Palencia: Mexican International

  • Juan Pablo Garcia: Mexican International

  • John O'Brien: U.S. International

  • Ante Razov: Making at least $200k

  • Brad Guzan: US national team player pool

  • With five internationals and at least one more guy making the max ... how are they even close to under the salary 'budget'?
    Monday, April 03, 2006
    Five and Five
    Hopefully a new permanent Monday-morning look at the week just passed.

    Five things I liked from this weekend:

  • New fans. All of the games this weekend had at least 18,000 fans there and many of the stadiums had over 20,000. Houston by far was the biggest surprise as nice weather helped a healthy walkup and nudged (the) Dynamo over 25k.

  • New faces. A lot of the rookies from last year, as well as a few young'uns from this year's crop, played very well. Mostly I'd like to call out Roberto Mina, Kenny Cooper, Kei Kamara, Matt Groenwald and Sasha Klejstan. I thought all of those guys stepped into starting roles they didn't previously have and did a pretty good job. Especially Kamara ... I think that kid is going to be a very good player in this league. He's wicked fast.

    Another kid I was really impressed with is Marvell Wynne. I didn't think he'd adapt to MLS as fast as he did (no pun intended) but his speed cancels out a lot of his technical shortcomings. I think as he gets more comfortable he'll start moving forward more in attack.

  • Familiar faces. Aside from Eddie Johnson's ridiculous 8-pack, the former FC Dallas man and current Wizzle Wizard had a fine debut for the Blues on Saturday. In addition to the goal, just having him on the field really opened up space up top for K.C. and allowed them to attack mercilessly. That and a pourous Columbus D.

    ETA: Oh, I almost forgot. Welcome back, Esky. I'm not a big fan of his but it's nice to see him back on the field and healthy. Now I can go back to hating his game with a clean moral conscience.

  • Chivas USA. The laughingstock of the league last year looked lethal on Sunday, picking apart an admittedly lackluster RSL side. Ante Razov may very well catch Jason Kreis in the goal-scoring charts before Carlos Ruiz if he keeps up this pace though I should temper my expectations, I know, because I could have sworn Columbus would have won the league after last year's First Kick victory over the Gals.

  • Red Bulls. Bringing 800 fans to D.C. and upping the ante on an already good rivalry really accentuated the play on the field. Yeah, they're the same ol' team (can't protect a lead, can't hold the midfield) but at least it's a point in the first game.

    Five things I didn't like from this weekend:

  • Freddy Adu. The kid had an ok game notching two assists and when he looks up to pass the ball, he made great reads and even better placement on his passes (especially the one that set up the second goal). Still, would it kill you to pass more often, son? I know you have more individual skill than just about anyone else in MLS but you don't have to beat everyone off the dribble. You've got some other good teammates, too.

  • Real Salt Lake. Where was the fire, lads? Where was the heart? Where was even a semblance of tactical organization? Granted it's just one game, and L.A. came back from a 3-0 drubbing last year to do pretty well, but I don't see Landon Donovan falling in your laps this year. Does this start the Ellinger hot-seat watch?

  • Galaxy. After a touching tribute to Doug Hamilton, the L.A. Galaxy I remember finally stepped on the field. I don't like L.A. even when they are playing well so it goes without saying that I didn't like their gameplan on Saturday. New England manhandled the the gold and green and kept them from getting anything set up. You have this guy on your team named Landon. I've heard he's pretty good. Perhaps you should try and get him the ball.

  • Clint Mathis. Talk a bunch of crap about Ellinger and then go off after 19 minutes? If EJ's 8-pack made me embarrased, it should have shamed you and your pudgy self since you, y'know, get paid to be in shape.

  • BigSoccer. There were six good games, great crowds and beautiful color on TV all weekend and all these yahoos do is complain the whole time. Oooh, we're going to have to pay for games online. Oooh, MLS isn't on FSC. Oooh, the referees are horrible. MLS is back after what seems like a longer offseason than ever, has a bunch of great storylines and you guys can't just shut up and enjoy the weekend for a change? C'mon.
  • Saturday, April 01, 2006
    Eddie Johnson's 8-pack makes me feel inferior.