Monday, January 30, 2006
Viva las Gringas Chivas!
I don't have a link yet, but word is The MetroStars agreed to ship Bob Bradley favorite Ante Razov to Chivas USA for Thiago Martins and part of an allocation. What are the Metros going to do with Thiba? Does he stick with the Metros or go somewhere else?

I remember when Ante used to be the shiznit. Surprised he got traded for Thiba.
We did win, didn't we?
Jeff Carlisle over at ESPN's American-only Soccernet posted his ratings for the American team for yesterday's friendly

Really, I have just one question.

We did win yesterday, right? Because reading his ratings I could have sworn that we lost 0-5.

I'm pretty sure the only reason Soccernet even covers the American game is to get bloggers like us all riled up. I don't think they could honestly assess anything if their lives depended on it.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
We netted five? In one game?
It's hard to rate performances of players in a game like this where we're basically playing another nation's U-23 squad. I think my highlight of the day (from a 'look who we're playing against' standpoint) was seeing Petter Vaagen Moen on the field for the Norwegian squad.

Though he doesn't know it, Vaagen Moen starred for my Liverpool team in Championship Manager '05, bravely racking up an 8.17 career rating.

That said, three things stuck out at me today.

1 - We didn't play down to the level of our opponents. One of the things that's always gotten to me about the U.S. national team (and the Georgia Bulldogs, for that matter, in every sport but gymnastics and swimming -- yes, I paid attention to those sports in college) is that we would always play up or down to the level of our opponents.

On Sunday, though, the U.S. team came out and absolutely demolished their opponents. I can't remember a time (well, ok, a short burst after we scored the second goal) where we not in control of the game. Excellent job all around.

2 - Taylor Twellman. The guy, who has for the most part been on the schnide (is that really how we spell schnide?) in the colors of the red, white and blue (as opposed to being MVP in his club's red, white and blue) broke out with a hattie against the Norwegians. He did the first one with his foot and then twice pumped them in with his head.

Not much I can say about this but based on Il Bruce's squad choices so far, Taylor seems to have one-up on the competition for the forward spot behind McBride and Johnson. The only bad thing I saw him do was come back too much to play defense. I imagine he was trying to impress Bruce with his hustle but in a World Cup setting he won't be able to play that much defense and realistically expect to start (I say this b/c he will take McBride's place in the event of an injury). He'd wear himself out.

3 - Clint Dempsey. I had heard that Clint had really improved during the offseason but I had no idea he thought he was MC Ronaldiñho out there. He had individual moves, played beautiful passes all over the park and even rifled one off the cross-bar that would have beaten even Petr Cech. He's my man of the match, not so much for what he did (which was brilliant) but that he, more than anyone else on the field, seems to have taken that next step over the winter.

Someone find out what's in his Wheaties and pass it around the squad. I wouldn't imagine we'll see much of Clint this side of the Atlantic once the World Cup is over. Someone in Europe is going to snatch him up.

4 - I know I said three things, but here's number four. Landon Donovan suffers from his own greatness. Here's what I mean: the guy absolutely runs the show for the American attack and is the primary reason I'm not worried if Reyna's hurt. Donovan works best as a #10 and seeing him distrubte the ball today just reminded me that he and Reyna play basically the same position and I think we're better with Donovan at the 10 than with Reyna at the 10 and Donovan at forward.

I think the strategy you saw today is how we will attack the bigger Czech and Italian teams. Spread the ball around, run 'til you puke and make them play defense.

Scoring early would help, also.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I'll see your bet and raise you 1000 ...
I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in D.C. and doing my pitch to get him to buy a ticket to one of the games once the schedule comes out.

He was perusing the the 2006 season ticket options and said something that I found very interesting.

Apparently, the season tickets he has for the Washington Wizards (NBA team) in section 402 (about halfway up the section --- I went to a game with him) are twice as much per ticket as the most expensive D.C. 18-game season ticket. Granted, there are 20 more games for a Wizards season ticket ... but his seats were way up there. And on the endline (er, baseline).

That just shocked me. I'm gonna keep working on him.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The next 10 years ...
Most marketing folks will tell you that a sports generation is about 10 years long. Every decade a new set of sports fan emerges and provides a new base/sucker/loyal supporter for those folks looking to make sports even more financially lucrative in this country than it already is.

At MLS, the new decade is of critical importance. Sure, the past score has been one of growth, of gaining a foothold and simply trying to survive. To become the league that most MLS fans want not only will it take time, it will take a new perception. Right now, for better or worse, soccer (and as a byproduct MLS) is viewed as a sport for those kids who couldn't hack it as a quarterback or defensive lineman.

The next decade of MLS will be defined by Marvell Wynne, the first overall pick at Friday's MLS SuperDraft, and those players like him who come into the league over the second decade of major professional soccer in the United States.

Don't believe me? Take a look at what Marvell said:

Well, shit. I can't find the quote and I've been drinking but basically it said something along the lines of him being the kind of player that soccer in the U.S. has been trying to attract. He's fast, strong (a tank is how our graphic designer responded to seeing him) and, let's not ignore it, African-American. He's the kind of guy I would expect to see being drafted by Houston ... the Texans, not the 36ers. He's not the 14-year-old prodigy and he's not the 17-year-old who won't play in MLS during his rookie year.

We've always wondered what it would be like if the best American athletes played soccer and in MLS. Well, we're about to find out. With Wynne and EJ leading the way, MLS is going to have it do its best to market itself as a league to be taken seriously, not somewhere where everyone gets to play.

This isn't 8-a-side-for-the-fun-of-it-for-kids-who-are-unable-to-play-anything-else. Not everyone gets to play in this game. You're not guaranteed to get playing time. To be a real league, it's got to be about the players in the uniform, the colors on the badge.

Not the guys on 5th Avenue. Not the expansion and the business of soccer. It's got to be about the players and "will my team win this year?" not "will we survive until next year?". When it gets to that point, that's when I know soccer will have arrived. And guys like Marvell Wynne (and Clint Dempsey and Juan Pablo Garcia) will be the guys who get MLS there.

I'm looking forward to it.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
The Guevara soap opera...
The Amado Guevara soap opera that has transpired most of the winter took a turn for the incredibly interesting today when Guevara said he doesn't want to play for the Metros as long as Lexi is there.

He's backed up by his agent, Richard McCabe, who said the following:
"I haven't spoken to Amado, but I don't need to," McCabe said Monday. "It's pretty clear to me that the MetroStars want to get rid of Amado. They are doing their best to trade him."
This is important to me for two reasons:

1) MLS can use all the Hot Stove news it can get.

2) This is on the team's official site. It's long been an argument between the teams, league and the company providing the production of the websites (Baseball Advanced Media, the brains behind MLB.com) about what can go on the team sites. The teams, for the most part, want a straight Pollyanna view on the website while BAM wants as much interesting, and sometimes "bad PR", as it can get.

Perhaps the addition of Will Kuhns (former editor for Soccer America) as the new Director of Communication of the league is already having a positive impact on the stories getting out.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Yeah, Wizzle ...
More good news for the Wizzle (via US Soccer Players) and it seems to me, at this point in the process, that things are looking very good for K.C. area Wizzle fans.

I need them to stay around because I haven't come up with as good a nickname for any of the other teams.
Well, finally some good news ...
It appears the Toronto FC investment group is in New York at the league offices today.

With construction set to start next week on a stadium, things are looking very good for Toronto to be announced soon *coughcoughnextweekcoughcough* as the official 13th league franchise.

Exciting, I do say.

Also, other news that I've heard: Houston will announce their team/logo after SuperDraft. It may not be the one everyone thinks it is because a certain mogul wasn't that fond of it. Apparently it will be the name that everyone is thinking. Shows what I know.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Head scratcher ...
So it appears that Columbus is trading Chris Henderson to the Metros for Tim Ward. Which begs the question: I had pretty much decided that Columbus was going to trade up to the No. 1 spot to take Marvell Wynne.

But with Frankie on the right and Tim Ward on the left, do they need Marvell? I doubt Chivas would take Marvell (although what do I know about chivas with Bob Bradley there now -- Wynne would be an excellent wingback in a 3-5-2) and if they don't (David Arvizu isn't in the draft pool), the draft could get very interesting.

That said, Tim Ward is doing wonders for me with PSV in Championship Manager, and Chris Henderson is ancient, so even in the real world I don't understand this trade. Ward was the best option at left back for Metro last year, and is going to be a starter in this league for quite a while (if he doesn't go to Europe), so I don't see how giving him up helps Mo win a championship this year.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Flabbergasted
I am shocked, shocked I tell you that D Centers hasn't commented on the new DCUnited.com header and the new badge.

Shocked, I tell you.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Feliz Navidad
Happy new year to all who are still visiting this site. Now that I'm back from vacation and wild hinterlands south of America's most European city, I'm ready to rock and roll through all the exciting information MLS is pumping out on a daily basis.

Er, what's that? Nothing's happening?

Well, I'll do what I can.

One of the big things being railed about on that bastion of we-only-exist-to-cause-controversy-where-level-headed-people-can-easily-see-there-is-none, Soccernet's U.S. home page, is how MLS is making a horrible decision to play through the World Cup this summer.

Well, aside from us only losing about 20 - 30 players (if that many) for those six weeks (or, in T&T's case, four weeks --- two weeks to get ready, two weeks to go 0-3-0), what better opportunity to get people out to the stadium?

Where do people want to see World Cup games? On the biggest screen available. How much more perfect does it have to be for MLS to have World Cup/MLS doubleheaders? Get to the stadium at 2:00 p.m. in Columbus, watch the game on the big screen and then stick around to see the Crew players take on the Fire or something like that. People get excited about soccer during the World Cup ... if MLS gives them a reason to watch, I think it can be a real boon.

Now, the real reason we're playing through is the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. Because we're stuck having to fight them for scheduling (as well as UH and the Nationals), MLS can't afford to give up dates where the stadiums are free. Well, that and if you add six weeks on to the calendar, we're either starting in late February or ending in December.

It's not going to be that bad. I think it'll actually turn out to be good for the league in the long run.