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.