Monday, December 31, 2007

Hull In The Prem?

Square Football has a nice post about Hull and Plymouth. They're the 2 largest cities in England to never have a team in England's Premiership. If the season were to end today, which it is far from with 17 games remaining, Sturrock's Plymouth would be in the play-offs. Hull would miss out by a point. It could happen but with 17 games left a lot of things could happen. Will we see either of them fighting for a playoff spot come March? Or will they have already faded by then?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kirovski Retired?

Thanks to Class VI ( for catching this one. Did Jovan Kirovski retire from playing in the MLS and for the Colorado Rapids? The way this article is worded one has to wonder.

For the past 15 years, Jovan Kirovski has traveled the world playing soccer. And while the former San Pasqual High star, now with Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, has traveled all over the world to play soccer, he never forgot where he came from. Even when his home was elsewhere, Kirovski always returned to Escondido to spend time with family and friends during the offseason and holidays. But this year is different. For the first time since Kirovski left high school at the age of 16 to play for Manchester United's youth program, he finally has his own home in Escondido -- and the 31-year-old is making the best of it. "It is great to be home," he said, "and to have my family around has been wonderful."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Not A Total Bale-out

I'm on vacation right now but not loving it. I caught a stomach flu from my little nephew. Right now I can't keep any food down and I'm pretty sure while I was napping some hooligans beat me with a sack of nickels. At least that's how I feel right now.

Horsfield's little piece over at Sportingo caught my eye. He touches on nearly done transfer that would have Spurs buying Cardiff's Chris Gunter for up to £4 million pounds. He goes on to point out how much these lower clubs could use the cash.

I don't doubt they need the cash. Both Cardiff and Southampton are toying with administration right now. The problem is in quoting the full potential value of the deals and implying they'll help the clubs.

Rumors have it that the deal for Gunter will only be £2 million up front and possibly rising to £4million dependent on Gunter meeting certain benchmarks. The same with Walcott. Horsfield says that Southampton made £20 million off the deal. They didn't. They only made £5 million up front. And that cash is what is most important for a club that is hanging in the balance financially. Sure, they've gotten some of the up to £10million since then but there are no guarantees they'll reach that full figure.

As you may have guessed, the same applies with the transfer of Bale to Spurs. Horsfield again reports it as £10 million deal. Again it was actually £5 million up front and possibly up to £10m total if the right benchmarks were met.

This doesn't mean that the money doesn't help lesser clubs. But we really should get the amounts right if we are to talk about how much it helped. In the case of Southampton, had they gotten cash up front the way Horsfield reported they could have paid off most of their debts just from a couple players. Unfortunately Southampton still has well over £25 million in debt; these deals have helped them tread water but not gotten them out of the woods. And even if Gunter were to earn Cardiff £4 million up front, it won't make much of a dent in their debts.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

MLS' Best Bicycle Kicks

So which bicycle kick was the most impressive? Little Mauricio Cienfuegos' beauty against the ol' Dallas Burn? Marcelo Balboa against the Crew? Or was it just seeing Carlos Ruiz in a LA Cosm.... I mean, Galaxy uniform?

Upcoming USA Games

If you haven't already heard, Sam's Army has a new chapter and it's right here in Colorado. Sam's Army is a supporters club for the US national soccer team. Feel free to join them at the British Bulldog in Denver for the upcoming US Mens National team games.

January 19, 2008 6:30pm : US vs Sweden at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
February 6, 2008 : US vs Mexico at Reliant Stadium 7pm in Houston, TX.

Sam's Army Colorado web site :
British Bulldog of Denver :

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's You Brazil Name?

Ever wonder what your name would be if you grew up in Brazil and played soccer? BrazilName has a fun little name generator [link] that will give you yours. Mine was Graiano da Costa.

Some MLS players if they were Brazilian :
Brian Ching == "Briildo"
Bouna Coundoul == "Coundoisco"
Bobby Boswell == "Beca"
David Beckham == "Claudio Beckhson"
Taylor Twellman == "Taylinhosa"
Dema Kovalenko == "Demisco"
Lanny Cakes == "Lildo"
Eddie Pope == "Eddiildo Pau"

Monday, December 17, 2007

3 Southampton Board Members Resign

Some may label this as a shakeout after Wilde, Lowe and others rejected SISU's bid (original bid info, here). I'm not sure it's that simple. It's clear that the Chairman Dulie, Hone and Oldknow were brought in to a get a deal done. With SISU's offer withdrawn as they've now purchased Coventry and with no other known courters, they had failed at their task. Or is it that they still had a lot of work to be done? If you go with the stock markets reaction today, the story is that they're abandoning ship. Shares in Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC (LON:SOO) dropped $5 today to close at $36 / share. Could administration be around the corner for Southampton?

International Herald Tribune

Chairman Ken Dulieu, chief executive Jim Hone and commercial director Andy Oldknow quit after a deadlock with shareholders on the future of the club.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear Leslie, I Am Your Man

Dear Leslie,

I see that you have a love for cheese. That isn't surprising considering that you're from Brookfield, Wisconsin. The problem is, and you may not be aware of it yet, you grew up 300 miles from from Ellsworth, Wisconsin. How is that a problem? Ellsworth is the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin.

Luckily for you my sweet dairy addict, I am very familiar with Ellsworth. My father grew up on a farm just down the road from Ellsworth. And I grew up not far from it either. The next time you have some free time and are ready to experience what should be known as the best cheese curds in the world, give me a call. I'd be more than happy to meet up with you at the the Ellsworth Co-op Creamery so we can munch on some curds together in a clothing-optional setting.

Sincerely 100% In Love With Your Love For Cheese,

Liverpool - Manchester United Highlights

I'm not going to mention the score just yet in case you've Tivoed the game and don't want to know. But if you haven't, here are the highlights. More comments later.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Galaxy Looking For Some Maciej

The Los Angeles Galaxy are in talks with Polish international Maciej Zurawski. Zurawski hasn't been featuring in Strachan's plans at Celtic lately and has publicly expressed his desire to find a club that will use him as a starter. Surely this is the nail in the coffin for Carlos Pavon's short career at the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Capello For England

It looks like it's just a matter of dotting some I's and crossing some T's and Fabio Capello will be the next coach for he English national team. It's hard to see any problems with this appointment at this time.

Nevertheless it leaves me wondering if any of the members of the FA board have taken responsibility for things coming to this. After Sven's tenure was done, they got their panties in a bunch over appointing an English coach. And at that they decided upon a coach, Steve McClaren whose performance at Middlesbrough was at best average. That should have been evident before the board decided to hire him.

Worse there were moments like this one [link] where McClaren may have been making excuses for his inability to take a very talented group of players and get them to qualify. Not necessarily win every game or even place first in the group but surely there was enough talent, experience and know-how in the squad to get England to qualify for Euro08.

What's the point? Why haven't any heads on the board rolled? Or at least why haven't they shown that they've learned from their mistake of approving McClaren and are better for it? I don't question that Capello is a good choice. Fabio is a wonderful choice for the job. But at this point you have to wonder if they're doing it because of the quality he brings to the job or simply that they're going for a big name to distract from their inability to judge quality.

Foreign Invasion Continues

It seems a bit of a lop sided war going on between the Non-Americans and America in the soccer world. The Yanks invade England with the Glazers buying Manchester United. So the non-Americans retaliate by adding a team in the MLS, Chivas USA. Cleveland Browns owner, hungry to buy another mediocre team in a stagnant city buys Aston Villa. The non-Americans think they fight back by having Ajax add a PDL team in Florida. (BTW, Platini was heard mumbling in French We'll show them by fielding a team of players that don't get paid!). Then George Gillet and Tom Hicks decide to risk their wallets, quite literally, and buy the fabled English club Liverpool. So the non-Americans countered by putting a USL-2 team in Baltimore. Why Baltimore? Well, it was Crystal Palace making the location decision. Just be happy they didn't go with either of their other top choices, Toledo and Chattanooga.

It seems the Non-Americans are waking up to that they're getting their asses handed to the in this tit for tat stand-off. They need to step things up a notch and get ahead in the game. So they've turned to West Ham to establish a USL-1 team in Tampa, Florida. They say they're in it to improve their football (better players). Or are they just looking for a nice place for Curbishley to retire to next year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Soccer 10

I got home tonight and I had my order for 3 new jerseys waiting for me inside my door. They're from a store in Argetina, I got a Lanus jersey (champs and it's maroon... I mean, off-burgandy). I also got Rosario Central. And I got a Banfield away jersey. They didn't have the ol' 05 one I ordered so they replaced it at no extra cost with the new Banfield away jersey. Very nice of them to do. Oh, and they did email me about not having the 05 and gave me options first. I'm impressed.

I think the Banfield away jersey, below, will come in handy when I go biking. :)

Just a warming for you guys out there like me who aren't small. The sizes tend to run a bit smaller than what we're used to in America. If you normally wear an XL, I would advise getting an XXL (size 5).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Let's Talk About Football!

Gordon Strachan after Celtic beat AC Milan in the CL (the Dida incident game). Can you blame him for just wanting to talk about the game?

Mooch Myernick Memorial Fund

I just want to take a minute this Sunday to remind you of the Mooch Myernick Memorial Fund. Please take a moment to give a $1, $10, $100 or whatever you see fit. Sometimes we don't give because we don't feel we can give enough to make a difference. But the difference isn't just in the large sexy donations, it's in the little ones that every one of us can give. Those little donations add up fast.

The Foundation has established the Mooch Myernick Fund per a request from the Myernick family, to honor the life, career and years of distinguished service Glenn “Mooch” Myernick dedicated to the sport of soccer. Proceeds from the Mooch Myernick Fund will be distributed through grants by the Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, to soccer clubs and organizations in urban areas to help create and sustain soccer opportunities for local underserved children.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saints Beat Hull

Southampton handled Hull, Jay-Jay Okocha's current club, this morning beating them 4-0. Stern John had a hat trick for the Saints. After Tuesday 0-0 draw at Wednesday at St. Mary's and last weekends 2-1- win at Leicster, Saints find themselves 3 points out a playoff spot. 2 shutout in a row and 1 goal allowed in 3 games may not seem like something to be excited over but Southampton is a squad literally devoid of defenders that can play right now. Christian Dailly returned to West Ham early from his loan at St. Mary's. Defenders Claus Lundekvam (ankle), Wayne Thomas (Achilles), Chris Makin (hip), Darren Powell (calf), Phil Ifil (ankle) and Alexander Ostlund (hamstring) are all out injured. That's right, Southampton are missing 6 defenders to injury.

Injuries aren't the main problem facing George Burley and Southampton in trying to get themselves back into the playoff race in the Championship. The main one is finances. They had to sell Gareth Bale and Chris Baird in the off-season to help make ends meet. Without a new investor, come Boxing Day Burley will have to be deciding which players to sell to help balance the books yet again. More on Southampton's poor finacial situation here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pablo on the Move?

According to Goff, the Rapids are shopping Pablo Mastroeni around the league.

Coaching Salaries

It's not as nice as the data the MLS players union puts out on play salaries but it'll have to do for now. 3rd Degree was kind enough to put out the best possible data for coaching salaries in the MLS. Note how many have a greater than or less than symbol.
Rudd Gullit (LA) = $4 Mil over 3 years = $1.33 Million a year.
Bruce Arena (NY) = $600,000 a year, $1.2 Mil buyout.
Dominic Kinear (Hou) = $250,000
Frank Yallop (SJ) = $210,000
Juan Carlos Osorio (Chi) > $200,000
Mo Johnston (TFC) > $200,000
Jason Kreis (RSL) > $200,000
Sigi Schmid (Clb) > $200,000
Curt Onalfo (KC) < $200,000
Preki (CUSA) < $200,000
Tom Soehn (DCU) < $200,000
Fernando Clavijo (Col) < $200,000
Steve Morrow (FCD) < $200,000
Steve Nicol (NE) = $175,000

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Poor Nephew

My poor nephew. I had to break the news to him that Enos Kroenke and Jeff Plush didn't have the stomach to fire friendly ol' Fernando Clavijo.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hey Fernando, You Can Leave

Dear Fernando Clavijo,

Let's face it, you're not very good (to say the least). There are only a few other coaches in the history of Major League Soccer that have managed to perform worse than you have. You've traded away great players for bupkiss, tied up large amounts of salary cap in unproductive players, in 3 drafts failed to unearth any players that remotely resemble Twellman, Joseph and other New England players you claim to have unearthed and flat out failed to win the vast majority of the time. It's an unfortunate reality that you're just not good enough even for a mickey mouse league like the MLS.

Fernando, if you ever realize that you need to do the right thing and resign, here are some jobs that are better suited for you.

DUKE John Rennie ... TBA
SIENA Charlie Curto ... TBA job posting
VILLANOVA Larry Sullivan ...TBA job posting
WOFFORD Matt Kern ... TBA

ALABAMA Don Staley ... Todd Bramble (Clemson head coach)
BAYLOR George Van Linder ... TBA
BUFFALO Jean-A Tassy ... TBA job posting
CINCINNATI Meridy Glenn ... TBA job posting
CLEMSON Todd Bramble ... TBA
ELON Chris Webb ...TBA job posting
GREEN BAY Quinn Ross ... TBA job posting
IOWA STATE Rebecca Hornbacher ... TBA
LAMAR Matthew Dillon ... TBA job posting
MICHIGAN Debbie Rademacher ... TBA job posting
OKLAHOMA Randy Evans ... TBA job posting
SAN JOSE STATE Dave Siracusa 4-15-2 TBA
TROY STATE Diana Niland ... TBA
TULSA Rena Richardson ... TBA job posting
VERMONT Kerry Dziczkaniec ... TBA job posting
WYOMING Anne Moore ...TBA

Fans Concerned For The Beautiful Game

Monday, December 03, 2007

Penis Humor

This one is from the Euro08 qualifiers a couple weeks ago when England crashed out after losing to Croatia at home. As you know, they sing the national anthems before the game. Props to Who At All The Pies for catching this one. Instead of singing 'Mila kuda si planina' ('You know my dear how we love your mountains'), he sang 'Mila kura si planina', which translates as 'My dear, my penis is a mountain'. Immediately after Henry sung the line, a few Croatian players started grinning, as well as the team's child mascots.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The MLS Is....

I got a good laugh from this comment about the MLS.

Well Nicol's a Scot. Spencer's a Scot. Clarke was from N. Ireland, as is Morrow. MLS is turning into a barbarians league.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Saggy Cheeks Brain Has Checked Out

As you may know, for the last year or two there has been a series of investigations into allegations of what amounts to bribery going on in England. If I'm remembering right off the top of my head it was a year ago that a big list of managers, assistant managers who were being investigated for this came out. Harry Redknapp was one of them. So it shouldn't be surprising that he along with 5 others including ex-Portsmouth owner Milan Mandaric were arrested. The amazing thing is that somehow ol' 'Arry seems to think that if one has been arrested and charged with a crime that they can somehow say with a straight face "nothing to do with me whatsoever". WHY IS THE MEDIA NOT CALLING HIM OUT ON THIS BULLSHIT?!?!???

Now keep in mind that there is a difference between him being guilty and him claiming that he has nothing to do with things. I'm not saying he is guilty. I'll be more than happy to let the courts decide that issue. What is going on here is that he's claiming that England's legal system can just willy nilly arrest and charge anyone they'd like. Really? Does anyone believe that Arry was arrested and charged for a crime for absolutely no reason? That there is nothing out there that would lead anyone to think that he may be involved? None at all? Of course not, there is some level of evidence that has lead to this. It may not be enough to convict him but it is enough for him to be charged. If there wasn't enough for charges, his lawyer would be able to get those thrown out and he'd be a free man.

Harry Redknapp may not be guilty of anything at all. The same with Milan Mandaric and the others that were arrested. But they were arrested because there is at least enough evidence out there to not only suspect they did something wrong but charge him with a crime. Note to Arry ---> You don't deserve our sympathy; especially not when you're crying like a baby. Grow some balls and deal with it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hold On To Your Seats!

That's right, hold on tight otherwise you might just end up launching yourself into orbit from the excitement. Tomorrow, Thursday November 29th Major League Soccer (MLS) is holding their waiver draft. Wooo-hooooo!

.........ya, it's really not very exciting nor interesting. It's a chance for teams to pick up a mediocre player to address a roster need. Only that it's being held a couple weeks after the season is over and a few months before training camp for 2008 begins. So how are teams to know what needs they'll have?

Here is the draft order :
1. San Jose
2. Toronto
3. Salt Lake
4. Los Angeles
5. Colorado
6. Columbus
7. New York
8. Dallas
9. Chivas USA
10. DC United
11. Kansas City
12. Chicago
13. New England
14. Houston

Here's the list of players available according the MLS's web site
David Arvizu, Desmond Brooks, Carlos Llamosa, Rodrigo Lopez, Laurent Merlin, Justin Myers, Ramon Nunez, Orlando Perez, Eder Robles, Erasmo Solorzano
Zach Thornton
Ben Hunter
Juan Botero
Shawn Crowe, Mira Mupier, Brad North, Kiki Willis,
Kenneth Hoerner, Jordan James
Edson Edcock, Aaron John Godbolt, Willy Guadarrama, Chris Konopka
Mike Caso, Lance Friesz, Carlos Pavon, Kyle Veris
Blake Camp
Bryan Byrne, Miguel Gonzalez, Marshall Leonard, Chris Loftus
Chris Brown, Steven Curfman, Christian Jimenez, Jean-Martial Kipre, Jack Stewart
Adam Braz, Maycoll Canizalez, Srdjan Djekanovic, David Guzman, Stephen Lumley, Cristian Nunez, Marco Reda

LA, Lalas, & LannyCakes

SF over at he The Offisde Rules has fun today mocking the Los Angeles Galaxy for strutting their stuff as though they were some super club. I love it. It's as though Lalas and the rest of the folks at AEG think they've turned the Los Angeles Galaxy into the new New York Cosmos. They got Beckahm and now Ruud Gullit so.....just a few more years of this and they'll be a mega club like Manchester United or AC Milan, right?

Bah! They'd be lucky if they're rivaling Padova in stature right now. I hope their 2008 season is as uninspiring as they were in 2007.

Friday, November 23, 2007

MLS Coaching Records

This was from earlier this year in July 2007. Anyone know of some updated stats for MLS Coaches all time records?

All time MLS Coaching Records
There aren't many that have been in the league that have done worse.
MLS Coach Wins Loses Ties %
Dominic Kinnear 38 22 34 63%
Bruce Arena 68 43 5 61%
Frank Yallop 50 32 23 61%
Peter Nowak 42 27 25 61%
Octavio Zambrano 79 55 8 59%
Bob Bradley 124 92 55 57%
Steve Nicol 61 47 39 56%
Sigi Schmid 87 68 41 56%
Dave Sarachan 51 44 29 54%
Greg Andrulis 49 43 32 53%
Ray Hudson 46 41 20 53%
Mike Jeffries 22 20 12 52%
Dave Dir 81 75 4 52%
Tom Fitzgerald 70 67 7 51%
Glenn Myernick 63 61 4 51%
Bob Gansler 90 89 57 50%
Ron Newman 50 50 0 50%
Tim Hankinson 78 83 34 48%
Alfonso Mondelo 17 19 1 47%
Brian Quinn 35 41 0 46%
Thomas Rongen 83 98 9 46%
Colin Clarke 45 55 24 45%
Fernando Clavijo 46 59 29 44%
Lothar Osiander 31 40 8 44%
John Kowalski 20 27 0 43%
Laurie Calloway 20 27 0 43%
Ivo Wortmann 21 29 4 42%
Steve Sampson 17 24 10 41%
John Ellinger 15 35 14 30%
Numbers current as of June 28th. Clavijo's stats are current as of 07/13/2007.

England Fail; McClaren Given The Boot

If you didn't already know, England lost to Croatia 3-2. It was their last chance to qualify for Euro 2008 next summer. England's coach Steve McClaren has now been given the boot and is unemployed. Don't worry about him though. I'm sure Russia's coach Gus Hiddink will be sending him a nice Christmas gift to show his thanks. England's loss was Russia's gain as they qualified for Euro08.

As I've said before, I just don't understand why England hired McClaren in the first place.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Expansion Draft Guesses & List

Today Major League Soccer is holding it's expansion draft for the new San Jose Earthquakes. The new eQuakes will have 10 rounds to choose a player from the 13 existing teams. They can only choose one from each team. 3 teams will get through the expansion draft without loosing any players. A list of the players they've left exposed is below.

The question is, who will they pick? It's hard to say who Frank Yallop will go for. Is he being pressured to get results the first year? Or is the team looking at other recent expansion teams, going for 7 - 8 wins, and looking to make sure a good team is in place for a making the play-offs in their second year?

Just for fun, I bolded and highlighted some players I'd pick today if I were Yallop.

Note : The new San Jose Earthquakes is not to be confused with the old San Jose Earthquakes. The old San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston after the 2005 season and became the Houston Dynamo.
[Below list from MLS's web site]

Chivas USA Arvizu, David Brooks, Desmond Burling, Bobby Burpo, Preston Cunliffe, John Flores, Jorge Guevara, Amado Hamilton, Anthony Llamosa, Carlos Lopez, Rodrigo Hernandez, Jason Merlin, Laurent Myers, Justin Nunez, Ramon Perez, Orlando Robles, Eder Solorzano, Erasmo Zotinca, Alex

Chicago Fire Busch, Jon Banner, Michael Curtin, Jeff Curtin, Jim Franks, Floyd Guerrero, Ivan Gutierrez, Diego Marques, Bruno Noble, Nick Plotkin, Brian Russolillo, Jordan Telesford, Osei Thorrington, John Woolard, Daniel

Colorado Rapids Cancela, Jose Casey, Conor DiRaimondo, John Gargan, Dan Harvey, Jordan Hernandez, Nicolas Hughes, Justin Keel, Stephen Kirovski, Jovan LaBrocca, Nick Petke, Mike Prideaux, Brandon Sanneh, Tony Thornton, Zach Wilmes, Clifton

Columbus Crew Garey, Jason Gaudette, Bill Grabavoy, Ned Griffin, Leonard Gruenebaum, Andy Herron, Andy Hunter, Ben Junge, Ryan Miglioranzi, Stefani Moffat, Adam Moss, Brandon Pacheco, Andrei Peterson, Andrew Pierce, Rusty Thomas, Jacob Virtuoso, Ricardo

FC Dallas De Oliveira, Denilson Botero, Juan Daniels, Andrew Dello-Russo, Michael Gbandi, Chris Gbandi, Sandy Goodson, Clarence Jones, Scott Mina, Roberto Oduro, Dominic Pitchkolan, Aaron Rhine, Bobby Sala, Dario (GK) Thompson, Abe Wagenfuhr, David Wileman, Chase Yi, Alex

D.C. United Addlery, Nicholas Carroll, Brian Carroll, Jeff Crowe, Shawn Deroux, Stephen Dyachenko, Rod Gros, Joshua Kpene, Guy Mediate, Domenic Monteiro, Jerson Moose, Justin Mupier, Mira Nolly, Jay (GK) North, Brad Vanney, Greg Walker, Jamil

Houston Dynamo Ashe, Corey Chabala, Mike Cochrane, Ryan Dalglish, Paul Ebert, Eric Hatzke, Nick Hayden, John Michael Hoerner, Kenneth James, Jordan Onstad, Pat Ustruck, Erik Waibel, Craig Wells, Zach Wondolowski, Chris Wondolowski, Stephen

Kansas City Wizards Burciaga, Jose Colombano, Eloy Elcock, Edson Godbolt, AJ Guadarrama, Willy Hartman, Kevin Hohlbein, Aaron John, Will Konopka, Chris Kraus, Michael Kronberg, Eric Lowery, Amir McMahen, Ryan Pore, Ryan Raybould, Ryan Wahl, Tyson Watson, Lance

LA Galaxy Cronin, Steve Caso, Mike Friesz, Lance Glinton, Gavin Gordon, Alan Gray, Kelly Harmse, Kevin Martino, Kyle Mathis, Clint Tudela, Josh Vagenas, Peter Veris, Kyle Xavier, Abel

New England Revolution Byrne, Bryan Dorman, Andy Flood, Gary Franchino, Joe Gonzalez, Miguel Helton, Kyle John, Avery Knighton, Brad Leonard, Marshall Loftus, Chris Mansally, Abdoulie Nyassi, Sainey Riley, James Sims, Willie Warren, Doug

New York Red Bulls Doe, Francis Caccavale, Sal Camp, Blake Cepero, Danny Goldthwaite, Kevin Ikangu, Elie Karcz, Chris Laventure, Jerrod Leitch, Chris Magee, Mike Patterson, Randi Quaranta, Santino Schopp, Markus Ubiparipovic, Sinisa Vide, Joseph Wolyniec, John

Real Salt Lake Brown, Chris Brown, Kyle Curfman, Steven Cutler, Kenny Forko, Willis Hashimoto, Duke Jimenez, Christian Kipre, Jean-Martial Kirby, Dustin Kotschau, Ritchie Lancos, Chris Reynish, Kyle Stewart, Jack Watson, Jamie Williams, Andy

Toronto FC Boyens, Andrew Attakora-Gyan, Nana Braz, Adam Canizalez, Maycoll Djekanovic, Srdjan Gala, Gabe Guzman, David Hemming, Tyler Lombardo, Andrea Lumley, Stephen Melo, Joey Nunez, Cristian Pozniak, Chris Reda, Marco Stamatopolous, Kenny

Monday, November 19, 2007

Where'e The Beef?

It seems to be everywhere today; that is people having a beef with the league and the Galaxy after the New York Red Bulls traded Clint Mathis to LA for a 3rd round pick. There has been a lot of complaining by New York fans that they've lost a great player. More grumbling has been about how the league is playing favorites with Los Angeles yet again by letting them get Mathis on the cheap.

First off, I can't blame anyone for accusing the league of playing favorites. The DP-rule should have been a big step toward putting that sort of claim to rest. However, the league just went back on it's original DP-rule and said old signings like Landon Donovan wouldn't count as a DP in 2008.

As you can see below, Clint's output wasn't bad. It was a clear improvement over his time in Colorado and Salt Lake City. But it was still nothing near what one would expect from a player on a $400,000 salary in the MLS. Getting a that sort of production for a 3rd round pick may seem like a steal. But remember NYRB didn't give much for Clint to begin with, just a 4th round pick plus a conditional pick in the 2009 draft.

The real kicker in all this is that Mathis is out of contract. That's right, NYRB's technical director Jeff Agoos just gave the thumbs up to trading a player they have no way of guaranteeing that they'll have back in 2008. Los Angeles just gave up a third round pick for a player that hasn't shown he's worth $200,000 a year in the league; a player coming off of $400,000 salary that will surely still be looking to make a healthy six figures. Now exactly how is that a steal?

Clint Mathis
Regular Season Stats
2007New York26191,723624722161522
2005Real Salt Lake27272,123344517262871
Los Angeles8872431331691100
1999Los Angeles27201,890766319222611
1998Los Angeles30151,5505105014231951
Playoff Stats
2007New York206800311000
1999Los Angeles6650901114171000
1998Los Angeles304910213000
All-Star Stats

Sunday, November 18, 2007

MLS Cup Final (Spolier!)

Well, the Houston Dynamo do it yet again. They didn't really do anything spectacular in this game. They took care of business and kept knocking at the door. Their reward for consistency was winning the game 2-1. Congrats to Houston for winning another title. The questions I'm left with : a) How did Khano Smith not get a red card for head butting Brian Mullan (at least I think it was Mullan; I was at the bar watching the game)? I try to avoid criticizing referees. Too often too much is made out of things they do. But here we are in the MLS Cup final, the title match of the season with what should be the best referee on the field. Head referee Prus was right there to see what happened and yet he only produced a yellow? Since when is a head butt a yellow? I'm all for stretching the rules especially in a title game but I fail to see why that should be done when violent conduct is involved. b) Will Paul Mariner or John Spencer find themselves coaching a new team next year? Just last week on From The Pitch Mariner said that he was ready to take the right head coaching job if it was there. Could New York now make a move for him since moving for the Fire's head coach Osorio doesn't appear to be going anywhere? And what about John Spencer? Yes, rumors are floating around that the Rapids are not about to give Fernando Clavijo the boot despite the team getting worse the last 2 years. Could it be that the Rapids and Dynamo were waiting until after the MLS Cup to make things official? c) Could Garber have asked for any better weather in DC in late November than they had today?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No DP???

There will no be DP slots for Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz next year. Despite originally declaring that the grandfathering in of these players would only occur for one year, the MLS has gone back on it's word. Those 3 players won't count as designated players in 2008 despite making more than $400,000 for the year.

If you're thinking that's good news for all 3 teams, it really benefits Los Angeles the most. Kansas City did not have not used their DP slot. There could be several reasons for it but it's likely they didn't want to make a move for a DP that was beyond a 1 year commitment knowing in 2008 if Eddie Johnson was still around that they would need a 2nd slot for him.

FC Dallas brought in Denilson half-way through the 2007 season. But his contract was only guaranteed for 2007. Even if Denilson had performed wonderfully on the pitch, which he has not, FC Dallas wouldn't be committed to bringing him back in 2008. They wouldn't have had to give away an arm in the leg to keep Carlos Ruiz (well, assuming they'd actually want to do that).

The Los Angeles Galaxy were the only team of those 3 facing a situation where they would have had to secure a 2nd DP slot to keep their grandfathered player, Landon Donovan. It was highly unlikely that the Galaxy would trade away David Beckham. For 2008 they were, as the original DP rule stated, going to need a 2nd DP slot since Landon Donovan is making a something a bit short of a million a year. The problem is every team knows that to be the case. There was no poker to be played; no picking up a 2nd DP slot on the cheap like New York did last year. Worse, Los Angeles didn't have much to offer other teams. And what little they had to offer would also mean giving away what talent they did have on rather mediocre 2007 roster.

I'd love to know why they did this. As the season wound down there was a lot of chatter about the MLS adding a 2nd DP slot for 2008. That seemed odd since they hadn't made the 1st one permanent. It was a limited time deal (3 years, IIRC) that was to be reviewed in the future. More so most teams did not have a designated player, let alone were looking for one. The big three - LA, Chicago and NY - had all used theirs. FC Dallas was the only other team to do the same. And New York had already secured a 2nd DP slot from Chivas USA before the season started. Why would most MLS owner / investors be in favor of opening to a second one? Having a home game or two with a larger crowd would be nice but they're already losing the arms race; why did a bigger hole for themselves?

My two-bits worth on it is that Los Angles was the largest source of that push. Chicago may have played along seeing the attendance boot Blanco gave them. It seems unlikely that many owners were taking the idea of a 2nd DP slot seriously. They may have even recognized that LA was pushing it. And if they thought the league was taking it seriously, they may have felt it had a chance despite a lack of strong support by most ownership groups. So permanently grandfathering in Landon, Eddie and Ruiz may have seemed like a good way to dodge the bullet of having pressure to fill not only one but a 2nd designated player spot. If that's the case, chalk one up for LA in the sly politics column.

The remaining question is how this will be treated for the salary cap. I would assume that they'll be treated as a 2nd DP which means only $350,000 of their salary goes toward to the team's cap. The question is, what will that cap be? It'll be tough to put together a complete roster with $750,000 of cap space tied up in just 2 players when the cap is unlikely to be much beyond $2 million.

SI's article on this one is here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Naughty Roberto Carlos

Did Roberto Carlos mean to do it? Either way I got a good laugh from this one.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Free Ride For Revs Fans

The New England Revolution are offering their fans a free round-trip bus ride to go the MLS Cup final this Sunday at RFK in DC. It's a nice gesture and will save some folks money. More interesting to me though was seeing that the Revs site, one they maintain on their own, is still using ColdFusion. Woo-hooo!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Esky To DC; Bobby Says

Surely this incident needs to be thrown into the talk about how technology is changing things. In the old days you had your local newspaper sports columnist reporting some rumors he's heard maybe once or thrice a week. Then it was that person or a talking head on ESPN. With the web we have those along with bloggers. And now one of those bloggers reporting a as of now still officially a rumored player move is a player!

Bobby Boswell is reporting that DC United has re-acquired Alecko Eskandarian from Real Salt Lake. Although his role seems more fitting considering how he's been playing lately. And yes, that comment can be filed as an example of "sometimes the truth hurts".

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Every 4 Years? He Said That?

It's true. Drew Carey really did say that members of the Seattle team in the MLS will be voting on a general manager every 4 years.

Monday, November 12, 2007

MLS In Seattle...with a Marching Band...And Fan Input...

Folks, Seattle's MLS bid is real and will become official tomorrow when The Don travels to Seattle for the announcement. Today there was a big announcement made by the ownership at a soccer pub in Seattle specifically for the fans. Drew Carey was in attendance. Why? Because now that he is host of The Price Is Right and The Factor of 10 his bank account has fully swelled to large proportions and he can dabble in the professional version of his favorite sport. So he's an owner.

Amongst the announcements made at this pub today? Seattle will have a marching band. Ok, that is cool in a way...I guess. Carey demanded it so it be. The other neat detail? Fans of the club will be able to buy memberships that actually give them power to get rid of the General Manager. Folks, if that ain't balls I don't know what is. Do you think Jeff Plush would still have a job if the Rapids allowed their fans to vote out the GM? I doubt it. This will create the first MLS club with some sort of management accountability to the fans and some transparency, finally. It could also create a huge cluster FU$#%^@#^ but I'm into seeing it work...once at least.

So in 2008 we will get a reborn San Jose and in 2009 a new Seattle franchise. Next year the conferences will be balanced and a year later they won't without another eastern team. Combine that knowledge with the fact that MLS clubs are now listed across the top of and one can deduce that the prospect of a single table is closer then ever.

This is going to be a busy off-season, friends.

Rooney's First Big Goal

With Rooney out injured yet again, it's a good time to view old goals from his past. For some reason I actually remember this watching this goal. It gets me wondering again if Rooney wouldn't have been better off waiting a few years before leaving Everton (or just flat out sticking around).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

State Of The MLS :: 1996

This is woeful. - Frank Stapleton, then New England Revolution head coach commenting on the players at the first MLS combine in 1996.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not Dangerous Play? Really?

I was indifferent as to who was going to win Thursday night's semi-final (yes folks, it's a semi-final game) with the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution. I'm not asking this because I was upset the Fire didn't win. I simply do not understand how Taylor Twellman can nearly kick a Chicago player in the face and it's not considered dangerous play. Has anyone seen a good rules of the game explanation for this?

Seattle Announcement On Tuesday

According to the Seattle Times, Major League Soccer (MLS) will be announcing on Tuesday November 13th that Seattle will be getting an MLS franchise. This rumor has been accepted as fact. Tuesday it will become official. Is this a good move by the league?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Landon DonovanTo San Jose?

"As a person, I'm glad [FrankYallop] got away from this" Landon Donovan
Previously I didn't think much of the rumors of Yallop and / or Landon to the San Jose Earthquakes. There wasn't much behind them. But Yallop's left LA and joined San Jose. And now Lannycakes is publicly saying things like this. Will he be leaving Los Angeles soon, too?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

MLS All-Time Scoring Leaders : The Ultimate List

Did you know that Robert Ukrop was twice the MLS all-time scoring leader? Do you remember "Sneaky" Pete Marino? Eduardo "El Tanque" Hurtado? Vitalis "Digital" Takawira"? Those guys all made the all-time list, too. Climbing The Ladder has a list of the alltime Major League Soccer (MLS) scoring leaders as a time line. Check the list out for fun and see how many names you remember. I personally was surprised to see that Steve Rammel had made it on there. Then again, there are a ton of names on there from when the league was young. Are there any on there that you remember?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Southampton Buyout Offer

Sisu Capital Limited, a UK-based hedge fund, has declared their interest in buying at least 55% of Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC (LON:SOO). Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC is the company that owns the Southampton football club. It has a market cap £14 1/2 million and debts of £24 million.

It's an interesting move by Sisu. They're known for investing in companies with large debts and turning them around. It would be the first soccer team they bought. In the past they attempted to takeover Derby and Manchester City. While technically Sisu could reach their 55% stake without the support of the 2 biggest shareholders, one would assume they're looking to buy Ruport Lowe's 29% stake and Alan WIlde's 16% stake.

It was known in the off-season that the club needed money. Baird and Bale were sold to raise cash. But the talk now is that things may be worse than the club previously let one with talk of players needing to take large pay cuts if a new investor is found.

The question is, how will Sisu approach ownership if they do indeed carry through with this move . Sisu has made it clear they make money on this investment if they get Southampton back into the Premiership. They've said that they'd make £10 million cash available for players. But what will they do beyond that? Will they bring in a new manager to replace George Burley? Will they raise ticket prices? Sign a deal with a company like Nike or Addidas for kits (Saints currently put them out on their own)? What else may they do?

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Newest Coach Prevails

You have to give DCU some props for making it interesting and coming back to tie things up after being down 2-0 at half-time. But they were still down 3-2 in the series and lost out in the end. Both teams had new coaches with DC's Tom Soehn in his first full year as a head coach. Juan Carlos Osorio only had the last half of the season to turn Chicago around and get them into the play-offs. Major League Soccer Talk has a couple good points about managerial mistakes Soehn made that contributed to them losing the series. On the flip side, fans who watched the series should now be able to see that one of the most important things for Chicago bringing in a new coach was that Osorio was able to lure Wilman Conde to the Fire. Without Conde's presence in the back the Fire wouldn't have progressed in the play-offs. He only had 7 games at the end of the season to start to adjust to living the US and to his teammates. That may have been just enough time to work out some kinks and be ready to raise the MLS Cup on November 18th.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

DCU - Fire :: Half-time

Most folks weren't surprised when the Chicago Fire beat DC United 1-0 at Toyota Park. The real question was how DC United would play at home tonight for game. We're half way to answering that with the 2nd half of game 2 just underway. And at this point the Chicago Fire is up 2-0 on goals by Barrett and Rolfe just minutes apart. If the game finishes like this, I think it's safe to say a lot people will be surprised. Can DCU pull it off in the 2nd half and score 3 goals?

Lake Wobegon Is Nationally Ranked

I'm not a big fan of A Prairie Home Companion. The stories are entertaining but Garrison's singing grows old about 1/2 way through the first song he sings. And me his breathing into the microphone ranks right up there with listening to someone drag their fingernails across the chalk board. I thought of him when I saw his hometown Anoka boys high school soccer team was ranked 6th in the country in the latest NSCAA poll.

NSCAA/adidas Boys National Rankings
1 Evansville Memorial (Ind.) 23-0-2
2 Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) 16-0-0
3 Davis (Calif.) 23-0-2
4 Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.) 22-0-1
5 Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.) 21-1-4
6 Anoka (Minn.) 19-0-2
7 Westhill (Stamford, Conn.) 15-0-1
8 Brentwood (N.Y.) 14-0-2
9 Sacramento Jesuit (Calif.) 19-1-4
10 King (New York, N.Y.) 13-0-3
11 Magruder (Rockville, Md.) 14-0-0
12 Abington Heights (Pa.) 17-0-0
13 Washburn Rural (Topeka, Kan.) 17-0-1
14 Beavercreek (Ohio) 17-0-2
15 East Kentwood (Mich.) 19-1-1
16 Simsbury (Conn.) 14-0-1
17 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 19-0-0
18 Flint Hill School (Oakton, Va.) 16-1-2
19 Williamsville North (N.Y.) 17-0-2
20 Grandview (Aurora, Colo.) 15-1-1
21 St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) 23-0-2
22 Barrington (Ill.) 23-2-0
23 North Kingstown (R.I.) 16-0-2
24 St. John the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.) 12-2-1
25 Marquette Univ. High (Milwaukee, Wis.) 14-4-3

BTW - Props to Aurora's Grandview HS for makign the list, too. Considering how many MLS players have came out of Colorado it's a bit surprising there isn't a second Colorado team on the list.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Now That's Just Gross

At least PSV's Eric Addo was banned for 4 Champions League games for all his spitting. I understand how things can happen in a moment of anger. But Addo does it several times. Is he trying to get in the guy's head? Does he think it's some old Turkish custom that's supposed to be a sign of respect? Or does Addo have a saliva fetish?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who Should Be Fired?

The 2007 Major League Soccer season is over. Los Angeles, Colorado, Columbus, Toronto and Salt Lake all failed to make the playoffs. Who should be held responsible? Should Los Angeles fire Lalas? Yallop? Both of them? Why hasn't Colorado fired Clavijo after his failing to live up to his 3 year plan? Did Mo do enough to show that he's building a Toronto team that can make the playoffs in 2008? Why wasn't Kreis' record at Real Salt Lake any better than Ellinger's? Has Sigi been doing anything more than treading water at Columbus? Is it time for him to go?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Busy, Busy

Posts here have been extra sparse lately. My apologies. I have a lot of 1/2 done projects going on like looking at turnover on MLS rosters or wrapping up covering what happened to all the MLS combine players after the combine over at From College To Pros. Those will be appearing. But first I have a wedding in Milwaukee to attend and a new job to get settled into. In the meantime enjoy the last weekend of the MLS regular season. I almost wrote "race" but is it really a race when the suspense is more due to the failure of teams to win than teams winning?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chivas USA With Best MLS Home Record Ever?

The 2007 Major League Soccer season is almost over. Beside playoff significance, the upcoming Chivas USA - Colorado game is important in that Chivas USA could be on the way to set the MLS record for the best unbeaten home record. The 2005 San Jose Earthquakes, since then having relocated to Houston, own the unbeaten record having gone 9-0-7 for 34 Points in 16 games (2.125 points / game). As long as they don't lose either of their last 2 home games, Chivas USA will best San Jose's 2005 record.

Even if Chivas USA win out they'll come up short in 2 other measurements. The 2000 Chicago Fire have the most points overall at home, 40 in 16 games. The 2002 San Jose Earthquakes have the best points per game with 37 points in 14 games for 2.6429 points per game.

Current Record
2007 Chivas USA 10-0-3 : 33 points - 13 games (2.5385 points / game)

Below are the possible home records that Chivas USA could end up with in 2007. They have Colorado and Dallas at home to close the season out. Neither of those teams have been doing anything to show that Chivas isn't quite capable of winning both of them.

Possible final home records for Chivas USA :
10-2-3 : 33 points - 15 games (2.2 points / game )
10-1-4 : 34 points - 15 games (2.2667 points / game )
10-0-5 : 35 points - 15 games (2.3333 points / game )
11-1-3 : 36 points - 15 games (2.4 points / game )
11-0-4 : 37 points - 15 games (2.4667 points / game )
12-0-3 : 39 points - 15 games (2.6 points / game )

Previous MLS season best home records by points :
2006 Houston 12-3-1 : 37 Points - 16 games (2.3125 points / game)
2005 New England 11-2-3 : 36 Points - 16 games (2.25 points / game)
2004 DC United 9-2-4 : 31 Points - 15 games (2.0667 points / game)
2003 Chicago 10-1-4 : 34 Points - 15 games (2.2667 points / game )
2002 San Jose 12-1-1 : 37 Points - 14 games (2.6429 points / game)
2001 Miami 10-2-2 : 32 Points - 14 games (2.2857 points / game)
2000 Chicago 13-2-1 : 40 Points - 16 games (2.5 points / game)
1999 Dallas 13-3 1SOW : 37 Points - 16 games (2.3125 points / game)
1998 Chicago 13-3 : 39 Points - 16 games (2.4375 points / game)
1997 Tampa Bay12-4 : 36 Points - 16 games (2.25 points / game)
1996 Tampa Bay 12-4 : 36 Points - 16 games (2.25 points / game)

LA's Finally Hot

Kartik at Major League Soccer Talk took a look yesterday at the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy have finally figured out how to win games again just as the season's about to end. I say again because most people forget the team's hot start, going 3-1-1 to start 2007. They've now won 5 of their last 8 and Kartik picks out some key players during this run. The only thing I disagree with him about is re-introducing Beckham. To argue against it is, in my opinion, to argue that the chef that's finally learned to make a great meal should refrain from serving better wine. Beckham's a quality player in this league. Naturally there would be reason to ease him back into the picture given his fitness. But there's no reason to deny the team a weapon they sorely need if they're going to somehow pull off making the play-offs. Their chances are slim at this point. No need to make it any more difficult.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ajax Gives Chelsea The Green Light

Sky Sports is reporting that Ajax have given Chelsea the green light in having talks with current Ajax manager Henk ten Cate. It's not a surprise. Since Mourhino's departure Chelsea's been rumored to pursuing ten Cate. Now we know it's official. Is this a good move by Chelsea? Is this a sign that other big name managers like Capello aren't interested in the job? What are the chances of ten Cate getting 7th placed Chelsea back into the mix in competing for the league title?

The Rapids Win Something

Amazing that a team that can show so little promise has a reserve team that shows so much. According to From College To Pros the Colorado Rapids reserve team has for a 2nd year in a row won the MLS reserve league. Last year they did it under Steve Trittsuch. This year they did it under John Murphy. It's too bad the team doesn't have some more players developed into pros to go along with these titles. So far Colin Clarke is the best prospect to emerge from the reserve ranks. Although some would argue that Littleton, CO native Stephen Keel has shown enough to have gotten more playing time in 2007 than he did.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An Embarrassing Goal

Yes, yes Toronto FC chalked up another win at home Thursday night. And they're scoring goals again, winning 2-1. Nevertheless, how embarrassing is it that the allowed 5' 7" Dane Richards to score a goal off of a header. It's not just his height but also his slight figure that makes it baffling as to how any professional defense could allow the little guy to get in the air in a position that allowed him to nod home the ball for a goal.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Naked Nugent

That's right, Who Ate All The Pies has Nugent's naked pic. Quite a story, eh? Could be any young pup fresh out of high school doing something silly over a girl they met in a shopping mall. But this is England and it's a professional footballer so of course it's going to be news and the pictures going to make it's rounds. I just wonder if David's regretting having a camera phone.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Keeping Up With Everton

If you're looking to keep up with what is going on at Everton, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum is a good blog for it. They already have commentary on today's game in the UEFA Cup.

Surely Clavijo's Gone

FC Rocky picked up on Class VI, one of the Rapids supporters groups, posting some answers to questions it's members had asked Colorado Rapids VP Jeff Plush. He highlights Plush's comments about the Rapids poor form, damaging roster turnover, and the goals the team and coach Fernando Clavijo had going into the season that they fell far short of meeting. More interesting is the lack of support Plush shows Clavijo. Fernando Clavijo's in his 3rd year in charge of the Rapids. Even if they win their last 3 games, the Rapids record this year will be worse than the previous 2. 2006's record was worse than Clavijo's first year in charge, 2005. Is this Plush's way of letting the coach and the fans that Fernando will not be coaching the team once the season is over?

Class Vi Website :

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ruiz - Clark Videos

If you haven't heard, during Houston's 3-0 win over FC Dallas Ricardo Clark and Carlos Ruiz were red carded. Clark's snapping and kicking another player is sickening and inexcusable. Nevertheless Ruiz's punching him in the back and then acting as though he was kicked in the face is inexcusable in another way. The question is, what should their punishments be?

Quote Of The Day

I liked this one by Fire blogger Luis Arroyave on Wanchope's performance with the team so far.

I'm not ready to call Wanchope a bust -- he has only been with the Fire a third of the season. But I still haven't figured out how a guy scores two goals against Germany in Germany but can't score against the Columbus Crew.

Can Los Angeles Make The Playoffs?

Can the Los Angeles Galaxy pull off making the playoffs in 2007? Please share your thoughts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wynaldo for President?

Dan Loney has some fun here trashing Tommy Smyth and company for their commentary the other night I can't say that I blame him. I've caught Smyth saying some pretty stupid things even when he's had time to think about them. But naming your children after Eric "Waldo" Wynaldo? Calling for him to be president? Please calm down Dan before you do something rash. :)

Ives : The Worst Coach You Never Heard Of

As Ives puts it, Greg Ryan is the worst coach you've never heard of. What more needs to be said? How about that's just a being a bit too English for me? Can I say that? The English seem great at going over the top with their critiques of their national coaches. They're like a bunch of manic depressives swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other when it comes to how they talk about their coach. But at the core of their issue is expecting to always be the best of the best even when they don't have the talent to do it. Going into the women's World Cup the US had shown plenty of signs that they weren't the dominant team of the past. Let's acknowledge those and over simply the issue as being the coach's fault and only the coach's fault. Greg Ryan has his issues as coach but he's far from being the worst coach ever.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Clavijo Wanted Victorine

The word on the street is that the Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo wanted to trade for Kansas City's Sasha Victorine before the Sept 15th deadline. What and who was he offering? Two 2nd year players from the Rapids - Colin Clarke and Jacob Peterson. No word on if KC was willing to pull the trigger on this one or not. It's a moot point though. The way it was it was told, it was the Rapids FO that overruled Clavijo.

Please keep in mind this is a rumor. If it's true, it makes one wonder why the Rapids Front Office that in the past has given Clavijo the final say in these matters stepped in. Have they had more say in previous trades than they're willing to admit to? Do they no longer trust him? If it is a matter of trust, why keep around a coach they no longer trust?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Next MLS Team

It looks like the next MLS expansion team will be in Seattle. They will join the league in 2009. Will 3 years of expansion thin out the player too much and affect the league? Will the league go to a single table in 2009?

Soccer By Ives MLS Underground

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kroenke's In At Arsenal

Could Kroenke still take over Arsenal despite billionaire Alisher Usmanov buying a larger share? It looks like it could be with current Chairman Peter Hill-Wood saying that Arsenal isn't going to take any dirty money. Caught Offside has more on the situation here.

Those Things We Say

It's that time of year again. Major League Soccer's season is winding down and the last spots in the playoffs are being decided. There is one thing about this time of year that really bothers me though, the cliched statement about peaking too soon.

I don't have an issue with cliches as a whole. They're often useful in us having a common language to describe what is going on. For example if I told you that a striker was often coming back looking for the ball, you would understand that the striker literally did not have problems seeing the ball. You would know that they weren't having the ball passed to them and getting touches (another cliche we use for that is "seeing the ball"). So they start playing further back to try to get involved. We can say the player's coming back looking for the ball and we know what is meant.

The cliche that bothers me this time of year is that of referring to teams peaking too soon. To me it implies that there is some science to how teams play. There is some pre-allocated amount of wins, good play, accurate passes, and goals that each team gets for the entire season including the playoffs and they better use them well less they use them all up before they win the MLS Cup.

Team's don't have some predetermined number of wins, losses, good play, bad play or any of that. Any given game is determined by what they do on they accomplish on the pitch. A team could go 30-0-0 if they can get the job done in each and every game. They could play really well at the beginning of the season, guarantee a play-off spot and close out the season with a string of losses and still win the MLS Cup.

That aspect of the saying peaking too soon isn't so bad in itself. It also has the connotation that the season is a marathon and you don't want to wear yourself out too soon or go into the playoffs missing a couple starters. What really bothers me is the context in which it gets used.

The real problem with the ol' saying is that it's used to imply that some team that hasn't clinched a playoff spot yet is somehow doing something smart. The earlier a team clinches a spot, the more wiggle room a team has in how they use their players. They have the luxury of resting a player with a niggling injury. Or they may give a rookie a chance at getting some time to have them better prepared in case they're needed during the playoff run. And there also is the mental aspect of being able to relax going into a game knowing that a loss or a tie isn't going to ruin things; you can just worry about making sure you play well both as individuals and a team.

On the other hand a team that isn't peaking too soon tends to find themselves struggling to make the playoffs. They have to take risks to try to take maximum points. An example of this is when the Colorado Rapids played Chivas USA on September 16th. They started Mike Petke despite a nasty stomach flu. The result of that was not only an early substitution out in the 23rd minute but, I would assert, Facundo Erpen getting a deserved red card in the 14th minute. Petke was lost in no man's land (not something he's prone to do especially this year). It left a seam for Laurent Merlin to run down after a errant Rapids pass turned the ball over. Erpen wasn't able to catch up to Merlin until he was in the box. Why Erpen felt compelled to take Merlin down instead of letting Bouna Coundoul, arguably the most athletic keeper in the league, handle the situation is another matter (would it be Erpen if he didn't do one or three dumb things each game?). The point being the Rapids had to take risks to try to take points. Instead of walking away with 3 points from a home win, they squeked out a late goal for a point. What's the gap between them and the last playoff spot right now? It's just 2 points.

There are many other examples like this. I'd love to for you to share them in the comments. Do you remember a time late in the season when your team was forced to play an injured player only for him to make the injury worse? Were key players in need a rest after a string of club and international games but with the team apparently trying to peak at just the right moment, they were still played and at that looked absent?

I'd love to see the pundits stop using this phrase about a team peaking too soon. The beautiful game isn't some dry form of accounting with a ball and grass. There isn't some ceiling in place for a maximum amount of good play. Soccer is a classic case of chaos theory at work in the world. Encourage teams to go out there and get the job done. And please, please don't use this phrase to excuse a team that's procrastinating. They can't turn on and off good play as though it's regulated by a switch. If they haven't shored up a playoff spot, it's because they've made mistakes earlier in the season.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Crappy Day For A Game

I'm in Salt Lake City for the Real Salt Lake - Colorado Rapids game in just a few hours. It's raining out with a 50% chance of rain throughout the rest of the evening. It's in the mid 60s so not too bad but not too great. Going into this game with the Rapids injuries I had a feeling they'd play it safe and try to grind out a draw. Wait, let me phrase that more optimistically, I had a feeling going into this game the Rapids would approach the game cautiously, make sure their opponents didn't score and choose when to go forward wisely....

....ya, that just doesn't work. I thought Clavijo's approach in this game would be to not risk a loss. And with this rain on the turf I suspect it's going to be all the more likely that this is going to be a long boring match with a moment or three when tempers boil over a bit. So it goes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

World's Best Goalkeeper?

Who do you think is the best goalkeeper in the world right now? Who At All The Pies is taking you vote. Let them know who you think it should be.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oct. 7 Double Header

Thanks to FC Rocky for reminding us of the double header for the Rapids on October 7th. LET'S TRY THIS AGAIN: The Rapids Reserves will face the Toronto FC Reserves on Oct. 7 on the back end of a doubleheader with the first team at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Fans holding tickets to the Rapids game will be able to stay for free for the reserve game. The Rapids tried this before, but the visiting team canceled. FC Rocky was very disappointed. So this is a welcome defelopment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Amazing Accuracy

If you haven't already seen it, check out the 3rd goal. It's a 50 yard pass by Dani Alaves that goes exactly where it needs to go for Kanoute to put it away for Sevilla's third goal. It is an absolutely stunning display of accuracy on part of both players.

Mourinho Leaves Chelsea But....

As you know, Mourinho has left Chelsea. The question is, as Who Ate All the Pies points out, did he leave on his own accord or did Abramovich give him the boot? I wouldn't be surprised if Mourinho finally said enough is enough. It's been clear that a couple transfer windows that Chelsea hasn't been buying the type of players that Mourinho needs for his vision of the team.

What do you think? Did he leave on his own? Or is this own of those "mutual agreement" firings?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thunder To MLS Follow-Up

Last week I mentioned that the word on the street was the Minnesota Thunder were about to get new owners [props to Throughball for flaggin' it; and props to the usual MN folks, too]. The change in ownership still isn't official nor is it clear that the owners, if the deal goes through, can get the team a new stadium built in 2 years plus get the team into the MLS. But seeing it mentioned again, this time by the Twin Cities publication City Pages, helps one stay hopeful.

Dario Sala's Cousin?

Is this Dario Sala's cousin in goal? No, but the guy who decked the GK and started a huge brawl in the Venezuela - Panama "friendly" just might be.