Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Friday, September 30, 2005
  Just a quick observation
Ok, so I'm happy I'll get to see LA take on Dallas tomorrow night. 3 times in 2 weeks is a bit much, but they don't really think the schedule-maker really plans for Cup competition.

However, even though I get to see LA...I'd kinda like to see the Revs taking on the Smurfs. C'mon, this is a legit #1 vs #2 match-up. The winner gets the inside track on the Supporters Shield and because I didn't kick-down for the PPV package it's not available on my box at home.

What's really interesting--at least in my opinion--is that this should be the marquee match this weekend--TV or not--and there isn't even much buzz around this game on the MLS site and--yeah, I'm still a dreamer--in the media. Maybe it's me, but I'd think that the brain-trust at MLS HQ would be pumping the heck out of this game. But then again, both teams are already in the playoffs and San Jose have already wrapped up home-field (the Revs might tomorrow)

However, both teams are within 2 points of each other with 3 matches left. If the league really pimped the Supporters Shield, this match would be huge. Maybe those "wierdo fans" are on to something here.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
  I can't believe I missed this yesterday
I'm a history buff. I love to find out how we got to where we are today. I read a lot on US and World History...but I've also read a lot on the history of soccer in the US. There's really not a lot of information out there, but if you have any interest, take a look the American Soccer History Archives. There are some great essays on there worth checking out. There are also a couple of books by Colin Jose worth reading.

The reason I mention this is Frank Dell-Apa did a great piece in the Boston Globe yesterday and it's well worth checking out. Soccer has been played in this country as long as--or longer than--the other "major" sports here and the Open Cup is the link to the past. MLS has done a lot to distance itself from the failures of the professional game in this country prior to '96. But there were a lot of successes which shouldn't be ignored. Ok, time for me to plan a trip to Oneonta.
  You know how it always rains after you wash your car...
Well I'm betting England will have a nasty winter to insure construction of Wembley is delayed. It seems, they may already be behind schedule.

A report has suggested that FA officials privately rate the chances of Wembley staging the final as only '50-50' but a spokesman said construction firm Multiplex are on course to hand over the stadium on March 31 as planned.

So you know the second something like that happens...the weather will turn awful and delay construction further. Wembley may end up looking 90% completed--like PHP when it opened--for the Cup Final...either that or everyone will head to Cardiff one last time.
  Sash 1 - 0 Hoops

If you see a Galaxy fan today with a strange look on their face, it's because the unbelievable happened last night. The words Champions and LA Galaxy can actually be used together this season. Ok, Dallas fans will probably complain about injuries or prima-donna strikers, but that's the beauty of the "win or go home" competition.

Anyway, a good announced crowd of 10k showed up at the HDC last night to see the unthinkable happen...and how sweet was that strike from my new hero, Herculez, Herculez, Herculez!??

The game itself wasn't a classic, but when you are in the final of a single elimination competition, you hardly want to make errors. It would have been very interesting if Dallas could have scored something...but I've a feeling that Herc would have nailed one of his other opportunities had that happened.

So, with a new Cup now probably sitting in the restaurant at the South End of the stadium, Steve Sampson can probably start planning for next season. Maybe it's just me, but it feels like the season is now over. Last night was more than this Galaxy fan had hoped for this season. But maybe I'm wrong...maybe this is the kick in the backside Steve Sampson couldn't provide that the team needs to play to their potential...but now, I'm sure his job is safe.

Did Cobi Jones find a fountain of youth or something? What got into him last night? I'm not complaining...but he sure stepped it up. By far, he was the Man of the Match. The guy was everywhere and caused the Dallas backline a lot of trouble.

Now, is it me or was the post-match stuff a bit unorganized? Watching on GolTV, they missed the actually presentation of the Cup (ad break) and that Lindsey/Leslie/Laura (or whatever his name is...it's a girls name that starts with an L) was on the mic down on the field constantly complaining about that things weren't working. He seemed pretty flustered the whole time. It's too bad really cuz on the whole, the broadcast was pretty enjoyable.

Anyway, there's another piece of silverware (glassware?) for the trophy case at the HDC. As a Galaxy fan, let's hope for more soon.
  If you think MLS has poor attendance...
...how would you describe this?

Only 19 fans showed for Sunday's first-division game between Santos and host Carmelita in Alajuela, about 12 miles from the capital, the newspaper Extra reported Tuesday.

Extra said 15 of the fans in the 2,200-seat stadium had come to root for Santos, which won 2-1. The gate receipts of $78 weren't even enough to pay security guards for the game.
I guess things could be a lot worse at the gate. Of course, MLS could count everyone on the field as well as 'attending" the match so that would boost the numbers by at least 22...but still even Open Cup here matches do better.

"We will have to go door to door, to the schools and colleges to invite fans because we need the support of the people," (team president Carlos) Gonzalez said.
Perhaps we can send them Doug Hamilton (and Steve Sampson...he's familiar with that country) to help boost things.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
  Some stuff of interest....while waiting for the Cup Final to Kick off
Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney is reporting...

"'The league is discussing a so-called 'Beckham Rule' by which teams will be able to lure glamorous stars under the proviso that the team, not MLS, pays the freight.'

'AEG president Tim Leiweke has already declared Beckham to be his target, assuming Becks will guarantee sellouts at Home Depot Center, as was the case in July when Real Madrid filled the place.'"
Sorry, I don't have a link to this. Personally, it's like MLS is looking more like the NASL every day. However, how effective will a 'big name' star be playing along side a bunch of 'also-rans'? The injury potential here seems pretty high as well.

Also from SoccerAmerica...
The tradition and prestige of the country's oldest soccer competition doesn't register with AEG president Tim Leiweke, unless general manager Doug Hamilton can somehow put 20,000 into Home Depot Center. And this Open Cup final on Wednesday will give observers an interesting opportunity to compare crowds: the announced figure of 22,552 for the Wizards game Sunday night seemed to double those actually in attendance.

MLS allows teams to include all tickets distributed in its crowd figures. That includes tickets sold as part of sponsorships as well as complimentary tickets. Since the league keeps mum on all revenue figures, how well a team is doing financially isn't necessarily revealed by attendance figures.

The Galaxy won the 2001 Open Cup title as host, drawing 4,195 fans at Cal State Fullerton and beating New England, 2-1, with an overtime goal by Danny Califf.

When Home Depot Center opened in 2003, the Galaxy set league records for local sponsorships sold, although another source says those records were broken when CD Chivas USA set up shop this season.

A league source says despite the large blocks of empty seats at some Galaxy games, the team is doing very well with paid tickets."

You can tell by where the empty seats are," says the source. "Those seats at midfield have been sold, people just aren't showing up. Doug is doing a good job."

And that is why Hamilton will probably keep his job even if Sampson loses his.
Of course, there's not much there we didn't know.

"El Gusano" ("The Worm"...what a nickname!) Brad Guzan is out for the rest of the season. What a season he had. He's probably the best player to get no respect this year. Hopefully, things will go better for him next season.

I had more...but it's getting close to game time so that'll do it for now.
  Grahame Jones does it again
I've commented on Grahame Jones numerous times here. It's painfully obvious that he doesn't to any research beyond reading wire reports and press releases. Today is themost classic example yet.

Elsewhere in the soccer world, fans would be berating an underachieving team. They would be all over a highly paid star who fades in and out of games and plays only when he feels like it. They would rip into a coach whose constant tinkering with lineups and formations suggests that he has no clear vision or plan.

In short, they would be angry and demanding change. But there is far too little anger at the Home Depot Center.

None at all, in fact.

Galaxy fans are a forgiving bunch. Timid is another way to put it. Their team wins one week and loses the next. The pattern is repeated all season long, with a few ties thrown in for good measure. The fans shrug and wander off into the night. Passion is sadly lacking in Carson.

They don't expect much and, as a result, they have not received much. A .500 team is what they have and it's about all they deserve.
Obviously, Mr. Jones hasn't read my blog...or any online message board. I'm guessing he's not been to games and seen how many fans are showing up as empty seats.

But that is the problem. Besides a few wierdos like me, most people attending Galaxy games just don't care. They are in it for a night out with the family. Most probably don't even know what position the team is in, how they are doing or when the playoffs are. Honestly, I don't count them as fans, they are simply people who help pay the Galaxy's bills.

Of course, that will be very evident tonight when LA host the Open Cup Final in front of a less than half-full HDC. That's the problem with so much focus on the team selling group tickets...the real fans who should be up in arms (according to Grahame Jones) have just given up going to games. Perhaps this is a good thing for the team, no pressure to provide a team that does well.

Anyway, tune into GolTV tonight and catch the final. It should be a good game.

Oh, and for some pre-match coverage, make sure you check out the Daily Breeze piece on Herculez. Why MLS hasn't decided he should be a poster child yet is beyond me. His rags-to-riches story this summer has been the highlight of the season for Galaxy fans.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
  Another ground breaking
The stadium projects in Chicago, Dallas and New Jersey have been getting a lot of attention. However, the Rapids stadium project seems to be running in stealth mode. The good news is, they are breaking ground tomorrow.

Based on the report, they've now increased capacity to 26,000. They'll share the facility with the local lacrosse team as well as allow youth teams to use their practice facilities.

What I still find amazing after living in Colorado for almost a year is that the team runs under the radar a lot on the local sports scene. I found it difficult finding news coverage of the Galaxy in LA...but they seemed to get a ton compared to what the Rapids get--though to be honest, I had no clue there was a lacrosse team here...so I guess it could be worse.

No mention in the report of Don Garber being there either. I guess that's another reason for the media to avoid this story. Still, in '07 there's going to be another sweet location for MLS fans to watch games.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
  There's a right way to do things...
...and there's a wrong way to do things. I'm putting this is the latter. It seems that Man U's desire to protect their copywrite has lead them to threaten their own fans with litigation.

Now, I can understand the club wanting to control the clubs image and when and wear their badge is used...but MUFCUSA's sole purpose is the promote the club. Why upset fans who may already be concerned with the direction things are going? Heck, this has PR mess written all over it.

Wouldn't it have been better for the club to reach out to the group and work with them on a better solution? Certainly, having legal representation send a cease and desist letter can't be the best option here.

I've been on the side of Glazer's take over (from a neutral perspective) all along, but bad business decision like this might get me to change my mind. This is something I'd expect from AEG.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
  If you can't beat them....try and change the rules
Maybe I've just heard Arsene Wenger complain too much the last few years, but I love this one.

'In France, we had a system where you got a bonus point if you scored three goals in a game but it didn't work at all as, even if you lost and scored three goals, it was the same as a draw,' he revealed.

'But what could happen is that the difference between goals scored and goals conceded gives you more points - for example, if you won 6-3 or 7-2.

'If you won by three clear goals, you could get another point. That would encourage the team that was leading 2-0 or 3-0 to carry on going forward and the team that was behind not to concede any more.

'It's important that the team which takes the initiative wins. Your intention at the start has to be to try to win the game. You can still end up with a poor game, but a negative attitude is to say that getting a point would be fantastic.'

Chelsea have started the season well (ok, that's an understatement) but have been attacked for what many call "Boring Football". Funny how I'm talking about something the Boring Boring Arsenal manager said. ;)

Of course, this would help Arsenal at this point. If the bonus point were in effect now, they would only pick up one additional point...so would Boring Boring Chelsea.

Funny thing, didn't the NASL have some bonus point system based on the number of goals you score? I'm not saying something like this wouldn't work...it's just ironic that something which was viewed as a silly Americanization of the sport is now getting some attention in England. Personally, it could be worth trying. I know if FIFA brought up the idea...MLS would be the first brownnoser to volunteer to try it.

Speaking of Americanization of the sport...Wenger goes on to talk about the salary cap idea they've been throwing around over there.

'I don't think it would work. It is incitement to cheat because you couldn't control it. How can you stop someone with an international company from paying our grandfather who lives in Belarus £2million a year?' he asked.

'Secondly, unless you did it in every country in Europe, you would soon see all the best players moving out to a different country. If you want to entertain people, you want the best players in the best teams.

'We have to accept that if Manchester United have six million supporters in the world, they will have a bigger income than Coventry because their success has decided that.
I have to agree there. Unless there's a FIFA mandated cap, it's just not going to work. Of course, the cap that MLS has in place in part explains why teams have difficulty playing teams in regional competition.

And then Wenger has to get one last jab in at Chelsea
'However, the problem in English football with resources is that Chelsea's resources are now not linked to their natural potential.'
Actually, that sounds like the plan the Championship chairmen proposed a couple of years ago when they set a voluntary cap at something like 15% below their income.

Oh, and what's up with the former Big Guns Man U today? They are miles from where they were a few years ago. Drawing at home to Man City...losing at home to Blackburn!!! Just like the Ferrari F-1 team, all dynasties come to an end eventually...Arsenal's has...and so will Chelsea's.
Friday, September 23, 2005
  Nothing to be down about
After the first leg against Catolica, DC fans probably didn't give their team much hope in the away leg. However, after DC went up 2-0 I know I was hoping for a DC win. Things were looking pretty good at that point. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. But the fact is, DC played a solid match in hostile surroundings.

Last night's match was certainly better than the last time they played international competition outside of the US. That 5-0 spanking at the hands of UNAM was awful. But last night, Catolica had to score a last minute winner to insure their passage to the quarters. Ah...so close but not close enough.

Thing is, it was a good match to watch...even if the ref was handing out cards like a blackjack dealer. DC fans must have been on a wild emotional roller-coaster...almost to the extent of the one Galaxy fans were on a couple years ago against San Jose in the playoffs.

Just to take this off onto a tangent. Last night we got to see the drama that the sport of soccer offers without all the artificial excitement American sports feel the need to create. It was a simple home/home series and it produced some great drama and entertainment. Let's just say it's proof that the sport is great and doesn't need to be tinkered with.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
  Something to celebrate with
German Brewery Bitburger has offered 10,000 liters of beer to the fans of the first team to beat Bayern Munich. Besides being a really cool promotion for the company, it's also good for the league as Bayern have now won 15 in a row. And to add spice to the offer, every time Bayern win, Bitburger will up the offer by a 1,000 liters.

I wonder if MLS Sponsor Budweiser would make a similar offer for LA fans? 10,000 cans of their piss for the next road win they have and upping the offer by a 1,000 cans every time they lose. By the time they do get another road victory there may be enough of the swill available for about a dozen fans to get a buzz.
  Do or die time for DC
I'm looking forward to this one. DC are in Santiago tonight to take on Universidad Catolica. DC are in Santiago tonight to take on Universidad Catolica. I just hope they do better than their last Champions Cup matches against UNAM Pumas. They drew the first leg at home 1-1 (like they did against Catolica a couple weeks ago) and then got smacked in Mexico City 5-0 by Hugo Sanchez's side.

DC are without Jamil Walker which doesn't help their cause much either. However, regardless of the result, it's a step forward for MLS as a whole. My hope is that eventually we'll see more of these "real" matches against international competition. Maybe one day an MLS side will prevail outside of the US.
  Anyone else as fed up as me today?
So I ended up watching some of the Dallas-LA game online before leaving work last night. I wish I hadn’t. What an awful display. Dallas didn't even have Fish or Johnson playing! If that match isn’t proof that Steve Sampson wasn’t a great choice to replace Sigi Schmid, that Doug Hamilton has no business being in a position were he’s responsible for hiring and firing a coach, I don’t know what additional proof is needed.

I think what really has this fan upset the most was after seeing an awful first half display, we see a half-time interview with Hamilton which was nothing more than an infomercial selling tickets to the Open Cup Final next week. It was as if the first half never happened and selling tickets was the only thing of importance here.

As my hero, Alexis Lalas, likes to remind people, the “E” in AEG stands for Entertainment. But, as a fan, I’m failing to see where the Entertainment in LA is. Hamilton told us the reason he replaced Schmid was that he was looking for more than just a winning team…but a team that entertained as well. Guess what, it’s been a year now and fans in LA aren’t getting either.

But here’s the problem, LA are still selling tickets. Granted, larger numbers are going unused but that’s not a problem in the eyes of those paying the bills. As long as they are finding money to pay the bills, they’ll be doing more of the same—focusing on selling tickets to AYSO Groups, Family packs and Businesses.

Jamie Tracker is picked up the attendance numbers discussion lately. His article this week has some comments from Doug Hamilton and Peter Wilt. Hamilton didn’t really say much but Wilt nailed the situation for mid-week ticket sales for Cup games.

"I think the reason that attendance at these games is smaller is a function of the fact that many of our crowds are being generated by promotions, season tickets, group sales and youth sales. We don't have long, long leadup times to sell them and we don't have the weekend base. But, in general the word isn't out there for these games."
There’s too much reliance on the type of fans who may show up a couple times each season. I can’t speak for all 12 MLS teams, but my experience in LA was that once you’ve bought your season ticket, the organization could care less about you…until it’s time to sell you something else.

Why am I going on this tangent? Well, because it goes back to putting the best possible team on the field. There’s no priority for doing that. If most people buying tickets only show up to a handful of games each season, there’s no pressure to improve and those that are loyal and follow every match and see how poorly a team is doing are left to suffer.

Did anyone else find it interesting that the Galaxy will be capping sales for the Final at 10k? Hamilton said it was because there were night classes at CSUDH but I’m thinking it’s more to drive demand…limit supply and make it appear that the ticket is worth more…it also insure there’s fewer people waiting until Wednesday night to buy their ticket at the door.

Bottom-line, fans in LA are stuck. LA has made it to the Open Cup Final which they’ll be hosting. Until more people (fans) are attending their games on a more regular basis, there’s no urgency on the part of those running teams to put the best possible team on the pitch. Until then, we suffer performance like we saw last night.
  Great news out of Mexico City
Cruz Azul coach Ruben Omar Romano has been freed from his kidnappers after 2 months. It seems a special taskforce (SWAT like) made a raid on the house where he was being held and they now have arrested several people involved in his detention.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
  Note to self: Buy the MLS PPV package next season you dork
So, here we are on a Wednesday with 4 games on tap tonight...and no way for me to watch them on TV. They should make interesting viewing.

Top on my list would be the Dallas-LA encounter. Dallas have a tough time winning in their new home while LA have a tough time winning on the road. This should be interesting. What makes this even more interesting is that Dallas head to LA next Wednesday for the Open Cup Final against LA...and then will probably stay in town for a league match back at the HDC. On top of that, it looks like the two sides will be facing each other in the first round of the playoffs next month. Guess they'd both better get used to seeing each other.

The blue boys in No Cal could wrap up the Western Conference title tonight against Chicago. I wonder what Ann Killion will be reporting tomorrow?...though I won't read it.

Will Columbus be removed for the playoffs tonight or will New England give up another 5 goals?

Heck, even the Colorado - RSL match-up could be worth looking into. If RSL is to make the playoffs, they have to beat the only team they can catch. If the Rapids gain a point on the road, they wrap up the final playoff spot.

But the only way I'll see these games is on the net and with only a dialup connection at home right now, it's not worth the effort. So, there's no chance I'll miss out on buying the package next season.

On to some other things I've noticed this week.

Life sure can be difficult for soccer stars in this country. Actually, it's a very interesting piece on the financial situation Andy Williams has got himself into during his journey around various MLS teams. I know I've had jobs that moved me around a bunch...but not to the extent that Andy has moved. I seem to recall that young NBA players had to take classes in Financial Management a few years ago. I wonder if the MLSPA would think something like that useful. With all the youngsters coming into the league these days, it might be a good idea. Players making good money should suddenly be in money trouble just because they are forced to take a massive paycut.

I'm not condoning their actions...but these have to be the most hardcore and innovative soccer fans around.

A chartered jet carrying 289 Gambian soccer fans pretended it needed to make an emergency landing so they could watch their team compete in the FIFA Under 17 World Championships, officials said Wednesday.

The plane, claiming to be low on fuel, landed Tuesday near the stadium in Peru's northern coast city of Piura.
...and this was only the U-17! What would they do if their boys ever made the World Cup? What the article doesn't explain was what lead them to take such drastic action. Couldn't they have just filed a flight plan or something?

Ok, so I've read a lot of opinions elsewhere about John Harkes' comments in the NJ Star-Ledger yesterday. What I'm wondering is, where's the news here? It's been no secret that Harkes wants to coach...preferably an MLS side. Rochester was working overtime last year to get him on board...but he turned them down. The Metros have been disappointing this (and every) season and Bradley's days could be numbered. But I wouldn't jump so fast if I was Metro GM, Alexi Lalas. After all, Bradley has been successful in the past, he's taken over a mess that needed some serious cleaning up and, in my opinion, he's making some progress. On top of all that, Ives Galarcep agrees with me.
In the end, the Metros should keep Bradley because he is still one of the best coaches in the American game and replacing him just for the sake of making a change would be foolish.
I guess this will be an interesting story to watch in the next few months.

San Jose are on the brink of a first in MLS. Of course, I have to point out that a certain rival knocked them out of the Open Cup on their own turf just a few weeks ago, but that's only a minor point. One key to their success this season has been the performance of Alejandro Moreno. I always thought Moreno was much better than the time he got on the pitch in LA. I was sad to see him leave, but with the need LA had for Todd Dunivant I can understand why the trade was made. I'm glad he's doing well, I just wish he was now with any other team.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
  Back to the grind
So I take a three-day weekend to get things done. Of course, all my teams had poor performances (Fresno State lost, Galaxy had a come from ahead tie...way to go Sampson...Ipswich lost and of course the Chargers lost to a Broncos team that did everything they could to gift the game to them...what a crap weekend) and that made for a long weekend. But then, I come back and find that Grant Wahl seems to think my blog ain't too bad!! Wow!

Of course, he questions my spelling--he's not the first and won't be the last.

Anyway, it's kinda neat as I started this just for the heck of it and find it amazing that anyone would be bothered enough to read what I write. Now someone who gets paid to write actually thinks what I have to offer isn't awful enough to leave on the bench.

Anyway, the weekend brought the usual mixed back of results.

I believe Columbus are now out of any playoff chance with their lost at home to Chicago on Saturday.

DC insured LA have a playoff spot by beating Colorado. Isn't it funny that the West has already decided their playoff teams--well, Colorado still need 1 more point or an RSL dropped point--yet the East still has 4 teams capable of of taking the Conference Title?

What happened at the Meadowlands? 9 goals in a game....and New England lost!! (Yeah, I was more shocked about the Pats losing but the Revs shouldn't have either) So now, the Metros are still in a dog fight for a playoff spot and the Revs, well they are still in the drivers seat. But are we used to them losing this late in the season? It's been a while. Have the Metros ever scored 5 in a game before? Have the Revs ever scored 4 on the road before....and lost. Soccer is such a cruel game.

Can someone explain to me how Steve Sampson is an improvement on Sigi Schmid? Perhaps Doug Hamlton can shed some light. (Mr. Hamilton, please pick up a white courtesy phone) I've now lost count of the number of times this season Sampson has been outcoached. Even better, a team he is leading lost a 2-0 HT lead to a team with the most defensive minded coach in the league!

San Jose get a scare from Chivas...but normal order is restored at the end. Good to see Brad Guzan back in the net. The score would have been much worse without him.

Dallas won at PHP in the league!!! Nope, you read taht right. Of course, they were only playing RSL. Let's hope the expansion teams next season do a little better. They won't be the newest teams for long...looks like we'll be seeing a couple more expansion teams in the not too distant future...between Chivas and RSL this season, it doesn't make the thought of seeing a couple more teams started from scratch sound to interesting.
Friday, September 16, 2005
  MLS bringing NFL to San Antonio
Long before the city of New Orleans flooded, the city of San Antonio was making another effort to fill their empty stadium with an NFL team. Of course, thanks to Katrina, the Saints will be making their home near the Alamo for a few games. But according to the local media--the same media that bitched about MLS playing at the AlamoDome--are giving MLS some credit for things happening. Ya see, they've got to get the stadium cleaned up quickly so the Saints will have a nice place to play.

By the time the last stroke of paint is applied, the final leak in the roof is patched, the ultimate silky banner is strung from the rafters and the definitive luxury suite is opened sometime next year, roughly $11 million will have been invested in improvements to the dome over a relatively short stretch.

Of that, nearly $3 million will come from certificate of obligation bonds issued in May during the failed flirtation with landing a Major League Soccer franchise.
So, the question is, if Garber hadn't been visiting San Antonio earlier this year, would the Alamo City be as able to host the Saints? Probably, but it's worth taking the credit.

Now, if only more cities would be more interested in having an MLS franchise in their backyard...
  Too bad it's for the EPL....
....my boys are in the Championship...but I took the Premier League's Global Fans Survey in the hope of a free trip to the UK. Fulham (full of Yanks) vs Charlton (full of former Town players) wouldn't be a bad one to see.

I'd still rather see Ipswich play...but I won't win anyway.

BTW, some of the choices in there are strange. Giant Stadium is listed in the "favorite non-EPL stadium" question...but not the HDC. How dare they. But they did list the Azteca (spit).

No idea what kinda information they were looking to get...but I won't complain if I win. But I've got about as much chance of winning this as I do the Colorado Powerball this weekend (got my quick-picks...it's over $90 Million)
Thursday, September 15, 2005
  Chivas will continue to be a mess
So, your team is crap. They haven't performed well at all this season. You bring in reinforcements didn't to anything. So, what do you do? Have the coach tell the league's website that there's more uncertantiy for the team.

Seriously, reading that, it sounds like Chivas think of their team in LA as an after thought. Again, no respect for the team in LA. Jorge Varga wants to expand his Chivas brand...but is it really wise to continue to try and do that with such a poor product? Ok, so the team in Mexico is their focus (not that they've been doing well of late) and the team in Costa Rica is playing in the World Club Championships...but the team in Cali is crap...any way you look at it, they've done a poor job this season.

With three games left in the season, they are looking at finishing with one of the worst records in league history. On top of that, they've been swept by their roommates 5-0. It's no wonder that the fans they counted on flocking to the HDC to see them have stayed away. Ok, so they've been showing up at road games...but on their current form, how long is that going to last as well.

Unless Omnilife FC focus on imporoving their team in LA, they are going to continue to stink up the place. But with the structure of the league, everyone else will help cover those losses so I guess it's not that big a deal. How 'bout doing a rebrand Mr. Vargara? Rename the team "LA Latino"....wear the tri-colors and get a few decent players on your roster. Oh yeah, and lock down a coach who will be around for more than a few months. You can have Steve Sampson if you want. But it's not my money...at least for the time being, it'll mean 4 league wins and a bye to the Semi's of the Open Cup.
  Just move them already
As much as I complain about lack of media coverage, I may have had my fill of Ann Killion and her 'homer' view of all things in Smurfville. I may have had my fill of Ann Killion and her 'homer' view of all things in Smurfville. Her editorials have just gone over the top.

They've been knocked down, kicked around, ignored, neglected, all but abandoned.

But when you look at the standings, there they are, right on top. Your San Jose Earthquakes are in first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, the only team in the league to have clinched a playoff spot.
Doesn't that make you wanna puke?
Kinnear and his Earthquakes are making AEG look bad. Laughable, almost. This is the team AEG hates, wants to abandon, would prefer to move to a sexier market. AEG has stripped the team of its star and its general manager, has tried to scare fans away from its stadium by constantly reminding everyone how woefully inadequate it is.

And yet, all the Earthquakes do is win.

Earth to Ms. Killion, Smurf Stadium is a dump. Pure and simple. Granted, the Rose Bowl wasn't great, but it was still miles better than what's being offered in Smurfville. If no one in the area is willing to step forward and help with a location to build something, why should AEG keep the team there? Heck, how long have they been trying to find a buyer for this "storied" franchise? No one wants them...at least in San Jose.

...In an ironic twist, the Earthquakes may have been temporarily saved by a hurricane. As late as Aug. 23, AEG reportedly was talking to Houston about moving the Earthquakes there. But a week later those talks became virtually irrelevant. Houston is busy responding to the needs of thousands of displaced New Orleans residents. Its government would look a little foolish right now, making acquisition of an MLS team a priority.
Don't you love it when someone in the media reports rumor or speculation as fact?

So the Earthquakes remain in limbo -- winning, drawing crowds (22,311 last week), heading to the playoffs and perhaps another championship. Certainly it's a worst-case scenario for AEG.
I'll give you that the boys in blue are playing well, but c'mon, that's one game's attendance. Let's look at attendance over the entire season and then let's talk.

Donovan, of course, wanted to defect to Los Angeles, in part because the Earthquakes' situation was so wretchedly unstable. The insecurity has hurt the Earthquakes in other ways. When top players become available -- Clint Mathis, Eddie Pope -- they have no interest in coming to San Jose for much the same reason.
Do you have once single shred of evidence to back up anything you said in that paragraph? The fact that San Jose is an over-priced dump just just as likely a reason no one want's to play there. After all, you said yourself earlier in the piece that San Jose is hardly glamorous.

Kinnear has done such a great job that Earthquakes fans have no choice but to be nervous. Alexi Lalas, who moved to the MetroStars -- a more important AEG team -- is expected to fire his coach, and he probably would try to hire the league's best. That would be Kinnear. That worst-case scenario would fit perfectly with AEG's Machiavellian master plan.
So, Bradley is going to get fired and replaced by Kinnear? I don't see it. Now that I think about it, perhaps Ms. Killion should move to LA and become a screenwriter. Her fantasy and fiction here should could make some interesting movies.

The Earthquakes, sadly, are accustomed to such mistreatment. They also are accustomed to something else: success.
Ok, there went my lunch.

Note to self: stop reading the Smurfville Mercury News....and least any editorial written by Ann Killion.
  Well, half my prediction came true
My hero, Herculez Gomez did the business again as LA stormed past the Thunder (did I really type that?) last night. LA will host Dallas in the Final on Sept 28. Wait a second, Dallas is in the Final? Did they really win a game at PHP? Well, LA won in San Jose last round. I guess the Open Cup doesn't work like the league...and it shouldn't.

So, you have San Jose and New England within a point of each other in the league and easily the best two teams over the entire season. However, San Jose and New England both were dumped in the Cup in the Quarter Finals. Were they too focused on the league? Maybe. Of course, International commitments didn't help their squads much. But isn't it great that two other teams will be fighting it out for the first piece of silverware this season?

I don't see LA nor Dallas doing well in the playoffs...so this is their only chance of winning anything for their fans this season. Dallas should be hoping for more, but their form in the league recently has changed a lot there. But you never know what'll happen in the playoffs.

Hopefully a good crowd will show up at the HDC for the Final. My prediction could still come to fruition, LA will win the Cup and Sampson will stay as Galaxy head coach next season.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
  Taking one for the team
Put this on in the "above and beyond the call of duty" file.

You've probably never heard of Hanover midfielder Chavdar Yankow but he's now a cult hero in the northern German town. In their match against Frankfort last weekend, he suffered an injury in the first half that any man would forgive him if he were to have understood if he decided he couldn't play on.

"I ran towards the ball and my opponent, the Frankfurt striker Kohler, kicked his foot into my penis," the player said.
The resulting blow created a 4 centimeter gash in his...errr...manhood. So, what does dude do? He has the wound glued (yeah, that's what I thought too) and he rejoined the match. And, if that wasn't enough, he went on the score the second goal in Hanover's 2-0 victory.
  Sampson dumps more deadweight
I'm surprised but not that shocked that Jovan Kirovski was traded to Colorado. I was honestly excited about his arrival prior to last season but he's been a pretty big disappointment for LA fans. The guy has all the talent in the world...he just hasn't seemed to 'click' in LA. He could become the next former Galaxy player to hit his stride after leaving So Cal.

This has to mean that Herc Gomez is now going to be on a better contract. You have to love this story...the guy is on fire and he's earned his spot in the starting line up.

Also interesting is the return of Marcelo Saragosa. I don't there's a single Galaxy fan who doesn't see his readmission to the squad as a positive. Though, what does this do to Vagenas? Could he be expendable now? Interesting shake-ups in LA. But, as long as Sampson produces results, I don't care who's wearing the jersey with the sash. We'll see how all this pans out.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  If it were up to me...he'd have been fined more.
How disgusting. You're GM for a well known team in Brazil and your star player shows up to a Press Conference wearing a Man Ure jersey!

When asked why he wore the shirt, Tevez explained that he was given it by his sponsors.

"I wear what Nike give me, without any problems," he said.
Boy, Nike sure are getting their investment from him. How long until Nike organize a move for him to one of their teams in Europe?
  LA will win some silverware this season
Yep, you've heard it here first. LA will win the Open Cup. Why? Cuz Steve Sampson has to, that's why. He's not going to take Minnesota lightly tomorrow. Even with their ringer from RSL, the Thunder will have a though time at the HDC. LA will get the Final at home--the only place they can win--and Sampson will have a great argument to keep his job next season. Not that winning cups helped Sigi Schmid, but I've a feeling it'll be enough.

Of course, LA will be playing Chicago in the final (ah, memories of those Semi-finals from a few years ago in Fullerton...great matches) and LA will prevail. Why Chicago? Well, Chicago play Dallas at PHP tomorrow. Dallas don't stand a chance. Besides, I heard a rumor that Ruiz will be hoping a new Hooters instead of showing up to the match.

Anyway, you heard it here first and I accept no responsibility for any lost money anyone places on the games based on my predictions here.
  Is it Tuesday already???
Damn, my life is just flying by right now.

So, the English (and all Euro) season is now in full swing and MLS is finally heading for the playoffs. So, why didn’t I watch much soccer last weekend? Well, probably because Ipswich got spanked Saturday morning and I couldn’t bring myself to watch any EPL matches and I know Bruce Arena would give me grief, but the Ohio State – Texas game just couldn’t be missed. So, I only caught pieces of the Dallas-DC match-up on FSC. Thought I did make a point of watching MSL Wrap…damn, why couldn’t the Colorado road game have been available on TV?

Anyway, looks like there was some decent action.

First off, LA, lead by my boy Herculez Gomez, smacked 4 past Colorado. It’s true that as Landon goes, so goes the Galaxy. He showed up to play on Saturday and LA put together a good game. As for Herc, the kid rocks! If I don’t read a Press Release from the Galaxy, MLS or someone that he’s no longer a Developmental Player and that been offered and accepted a Senior contract….well, I can see Doug Hamilton blowing this one too.

Steve Nichol and the Revs seem to have found their usual late season form. Will they sustain it this year, or will they crash and burn again? They didn’t seem to have too much trouble collecting all that points against Columbus on Saturday.

Is it me, or have the Metros seemed to have figured things out? Their results have improved lately. Heck their improved form seems to have coincided with the arrival of my hero, Alexi Lalas. A 1-0 win in KC isn’t easy. However, it may be too little, too late. I’ve still got a feeling they’ll be on the outside looking in when the playoffs start. Which is a shame really, they have only one point less than the second place team in the West (LA) with a game in hand. Boy the West sucks this season. Heck, if last-in-the-East Columbus were in the Western Conference, they’d be only one point out of a playoff spot. I blame Chivas as usual.

So, LA have been cursed on the road since they moved to the HDC, what do you call what’s happening in Dallas? They’ve yet to win at PHP and they’ve now dropped from first to third in the West. They’ve gone from having a shot at the Supporters Shield to….well; RSL won’t catch them so they’ll be in the playoffs. What a match-up it could be between LA and Dallas. Forget the Fish factor…how about LA—who can’t win on the road—at Dallas—who can’t win at home? Something will have to give there.

Oh yeah, and San Jose beat up on Chivas. Anyone know why Guzan was brought on with 10 minutes left? Is it time for the Goats to throw in the towel yet?

Anyway, tonight we get DC against U Catolica at RFK in the Copa SudAmericana. It should be interesting. Sadly, I’ll be sitting in my GMAT Prep class trying to remember all the stuff I’m managed to forget since leaving school. But I’m sure FSC will be kind enough to replay the match several times. I’ll watch it then if it was a good one.
Friday, September 09, 2005
  This will probably save Sampson's job
LA can't win on the road...so they'll get to play the rest of their Open Cup games at home. Should LA get past Minnesota in the Open Cup Semi Final next week, they'll get the final will be at the HDC. There's no chance Sampson will be taking next Wednesday's match lightly.

Only playing one road game in the Cup sure seems like a 'get out of jail free' card to me. But then again, I've argued that the Cup is a great way for a team that hasn't had a great season to turn things around and win something. Guess I can't have it both ways...would I trade the Cup for a new coach? Probably not.
  Some more expansion news
With Peter Wilt involved, it's really no surprise that Milwaukee is a prime candidate for the next round of expansion. MLS Boss Don Garbar visited the town yesterday and set some deadlines for the stadium. Really none of that was surprising. However, a comment from Garber about the Kansas City team seems to hint at something.

In addition to Milwaukee, other candidates for the 2008 slot are Cleveland, Houston, Philadelphia and Rochester, N.Y., Garber said. The league is also seeking to move its Kansas City franchise to a city with a soccer-specific stadium, although Garber indicated that should happen before expansion occurs.

The emphases was added by me. Does anyone want to take a guess at what's going on here? Could we be seeing the Milwaukee Wiz (well, they are hoping to build the stadium on the site of an old Brewery) playing in 2007?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
  Look how far we've come
Let’s cast our minds back four…or even better, eight years. Remember when the US getting a point on the road in Central America while dodging urine bombs was a big deal? Back then, the media were all over the ‘hostile environment’ story and spelled out how difficult it was for any team—especially the US—to get a result in those places.

So, here we are in 2005. The US is even being considered by the most Yank-Bashing of Euros to be an ‘emerging football’ power. The US just qualified for the big dance next summer with a convincing 2-0 victory over—a rather half-assed—Mexico.

So, what does Bruce Arena do with 3 games left in qualifying and a ticket already booked for Germany? He sends the JV in of course.

Now, Guatemala are fighting and scratching for a spot at the dance. They are in a dog fight with Trinidad & Tobago for the 4th place in the region…and a chance to play against either Bahrain or Uzbekistan for the final spot at next summer’s party.

So, how did the kids do against the hungry Guats while playing piss-bag dodgem? Actually, quite well I thought. I’ll agree it wasn’t a classic—nothing like Saturday’s showdown in Columbus—but for a developmental game, I thought we did ok. In qualifications past, knowing Arena was playing a JV line-up, I’d have thought he was just giving the Central American’s a hand in qualification. Sending the kids to the lions figuratively. But it wasn’t at all like that. The kids, fighting for a spot in next summer’s roster, more than held their own.

Playing in Central America is still never going to be easy. The chance to take a team of mostly young players into a situation like that (with a mix of some more experienced players) and get a point shows just how far out National team has come…and in a relatively short time.

In my view, last night’s match was even better than Saturday’s match as an indication of where the US is as the power in this region. The kids never looked very out of their depth…one of these days, Twillman is going to score…and it’ll lead to an avalanche like we saw from Eddie Johnson.

Anyway, all is good with the national team and despite all my complaints; we have MLS to thank in large part to that success.

Now, if only we can win at the Azteca...
  A downside of the Chivas franchise in MLS
What does Brad Guzan have to do to catch a break? After all, the guy has done nothing but be the best, most consistent keeper the team have had. Granted, they don't have a long history, but from the matches I've seen, he's not been the the cause of their results. However, he's been benched again due to politics (possibly jingoism) not performance. This, in my opinion, is sad. It reminds me of '97 when Kevin Hartman played backup to Jorge Campos. Once Campos was traded to Chicago (ironically, for Hartman who was taken in the Expansion Draft) Hartman proved he was the right choice for the #1 keeper in LA and has only briefly given up the spot to a keeper who was the All-Star team starter this year. Ah, those were the days...when LA had the best two keepers in the league.

Anyway, back to Guzan. He's taking the situation like a pro.

"That's not for me to decide," said Guzan. "All I can do is go out and give everything I have to the team, and the rest will take care of itself."
You've just got to hope he's traded to a team where he'll get a fair shot at the starting gig.

From Robledo...

There's no secret the United States' goalkeeping colony is one of the best in the world, especially compared to Mexico.

With foreign slots limited on Major League Soccer rosters, and because of salary constraints, it doesn't make much sense to seek a foreign goalkeeper when there are so many quality U.S. goalkeepers.

But Chivas continues to experiment, even though the results keep pointing to Guzan.
When Sampson was hinting he might be bringing in a keeper from Costa Rica prior to this season. I couldn't understand why he would even think about using an SI (or even TI) spot on a goalie when he's got Hartman between the pipes. Campos and Zenga (in New England) have shown that US Keepers are more than adequate to fill the spot on the roster...at least 2 deep.

No wonder Chivas will probably be out of playoff contention by the time we head back to work next Monday.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
  Which "S" gets sacked first, Sven or Sampson?
I've ranted a lot lately about Steve Sampson. Pat Walsh did a nice piece on the situation at the HDC. Bottom line there, you can't argue (or spin) facts.

...He [Galaxy GM, Doug Hamilton] had an "extensive search" for a new coach which resulted in hiring the definition of mediocrity when it comes to U.S. coaches. Perhaps someone needs to buy Hamilton an updated version of Webster's Dictionary for these terms he keeps using.
How extensive a search could it have been if Sampson was hired 48 hours (well, the announcement made) after they announced Sigi had received his pink slip? I don't think Webster's would define a search that is extensive as one which could be completed in 48 hours.

This season has been even worse under “Mr. 3-6-1” as the Galaxy have gone 10-11-5. And when you toss out games against the two expansion teams, they’re a pathetic 4-10-4. Are you kidding me? If sitting at the top of the table wasn’t good enough, what is it now that you’re at the kiddies table?
Bottom line, not only should Sampson's time be up...but Hamilton's days should be numbered as well.

But then again, most Galaxy fans were saying that even before Sigi was fired. But Hamilton is still Executive of the Year...not that it helped Alexi Lalas when he won Defender of the Year right before being shown the door...errr...given the GM job in San Jose. Talk about a backward way of running things.

Anyway, another manager on the hotseat is Sven Goran Eriksson. After losing 1-0 in Belfast to Northern Ireland, there really can't be many excuses. The Telegraph had a good piece which seems to sum the match up well.

Humiliation. As Windsor Park crowed "easy, easy", England slumped to their most embarrassing defeat since the 1981 reverse to Norway. Bereft of thought and fight, strangled by a system they clearly did not enjoy, England's players lost their first qualifier under Sven-Goran Eriksson, who faces an autumn of deepening discontent. "Sack the Swede," chanted England's fans.
Confusion. In a loss to rank alongside the 1950 defeat to the United States, England kept disappearing down cul de sacs, struggling to trouble the resolute Northern Ireland back-line in which Aaron Hughes was outstanding. Beckham struck a post with a trademark free-kick but otherwise England hit only low notes.
Gee...another reference to the match in Brazil.
Disgrace. As well as England losing the tie, Wayne Rooney spectacularly lost the plot, telling Beckham and Rio Ferdinand to "f***" off".
Ouch! Talk about how to win friends and influence people. Rooney is a headcase anyway.

As dark clouds swirl around Eriksson, sunshine plays across Lawrie Sanchez's life, his reputation as a shock-maker supreme was complete. First Wimbledon, then Wycombe Wanderers, and now Northern Ireland. England's culture were run out of town.
Boy has Lawrie's stock gone up. I've rated him as a manager since his Giant Killing days in Wycombe...now he's doing it at the international level. Wasn't it only a couple of years ago that Ulster hadn't scored a goal in....well it seemed like forever.

Anyway, one or both of those two coaches have to be replaced in the not too distant future. The question is, which one will be first? Answers on a postcard....
  Now this is dumb
Thanks to Daz over on Argie-Bargie for catching this injustice.

It seems the AFC is every bit as clueless as the other Confederations. Apparently, the Japanese ref for the match between Bahrain and Uzbekistan goofed and after disallowing an Uzbek penalty, awarded a free kick to Bahrain rather than having the penalty retaken. OK, well Uzbekistan one the match 1-0 and the match has been voided.

So, I need someone to explain this to me. Uzbekistan won the leg. However, because they didn't get the chance to retake a penalty, the match no longer exists and they have to play the away leg again. Something isn't right here.

Of course, this has importance to those of us in this part of the world. The winner between the two Asian sides will play the 4th place finisher in the CONCACAF region.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
  You've got to love a good rivalry
Ah, the quotes after Saturday's US-Mexico game are still worth discussing. Ives Galarcep does a great job of recapping the post-match quotes on ESPN.com.

I focused on Levolpe's quotes the other day. I still maintain my comments. However, Galarcep paraphrases some other comments from the Mexican delegation.

...The Americans didn't want to play soccer, they contend, the gringos were content to defend and 'got lucky' with their two goals. When will Mexicans figure out that just because the Americans don't want to play the game the way the Mexicans do doesn't make the U.S. team inferior. Should the Americans apologize for fielding a team of superior athletes and for playing to their strengths, rather than knocking the ball around and playing the possession game preferred by Mexico?

I'm actually at a loss here. Do they honestly believe they even came to play? I'm having a tough time remembering when the last time they beat the US outside of the Azteca. I wish Galarcep had published some direct quotes here so I could pick them apart better.

He also discusses some comments from Donovan.

"I just hate all the talking, all the blah blah they always talk," Donovan told Mexican reporters. "(Mexicans) think they're the best, even though we've beaten them over and over. Hopefully this shuts them up."
Fortunately, it won't shut anyone up. And that's what a good rivalry is about anyway...bragging rights. Hopefully, the US media will catch up by the next go around in 4 years. Until then, we still get to claim bragging rights for now. Hah! :)

I wonder what will happen if the US ever wins in the Azteca? Now that would be fun.
  pssst....didja hear....
...there were MLS matches over the 3-day weekend. Yeah, I got caught up in the World Cup matches as well and pretty much forgot about them.

Anyway, for the record, DC and KC tied 2-2. Dallas still can't win at home dropping a 2-0 decision to SJ. Colorado beat DC 1-0 at Invesco. RSL lost at home again...this time to NE. The Chivas revival took the weekend off at the HDC as they got smacked by Columbus and LA lost another one at home on Sunday to Chicago thanks to a last minute winner from Mapp.

Of course, the fact that most of the games overlapped the KO time in Columbus didn't help matters. How could FSC not convince Colorado and DC to move their match back an hour so that fans watching the match on Disney Sports History Channel could switch over?

Is it me, or are some people just missing the big picture? Maybe it's me and tons of people showed up at these matches...anyone know how empty the stadiums were on Saturday?

Oh well, it's not like the regular season games mean much...all it does is weed out the really bad teams from the playoffs.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
  Who plays like a girl?
What an enjoyable, nerve-wracking 90 minutes we got to see last night. After all the talk coming from the Mexico camp over the last week, I was shocked though to see the tactics employed by El Tri. They seemed happy to head home with a 0-0 draw and only mustered a defensive, move the ball around the midfield while the fans in green shout "Olé!" and then when the US (I think they though Beasley was a piñata) has the ball, resort to the "Hack-a-man" defense (heck, if I can see the off the ball cheapshots watching on TV...there had to be a ton more I couldn't see) to insure nothing gets past them. How did that plan work Señor Lavolpe?
"The U.S. is a small team," he said. "They play like my sister, my aunt and my grandmother."
Huh? I was shocked when I read the AP Report of the match in my local fishwrap (ever order Fish n Chips in England?) and saw that quote. What match was he watching? Perhaps something is missing in the translation from Spanish to English...but I doubt it.

Now, I know there are some great players out there (at least in this country) who are sisters or aunts or even grandmothers...but coming from someone representing a male dominated chauvinistic country, it was intended as an insult.

I've got to respond to that. Who's team was it that came into the match intent to just lay down and hope for a single point rather than play for a win? Which team could only create attacking opportunities when they took a dive on the edge of the box and got a free kick in a dangerous position? Who's star player was marked off the pitch by a youngster who still only has single-digit international appearances allowing said star striker only a handful of touches the entire match?

Well, I'm sure the media in Mexico are tearing him apart right now and pointing out many of the things I just did. The Mexican team really didn't seem to have a plan on how to breakdown the US.

Wasn't it fun to see a packed stadium like that full of US fans? I wonder if the Mexican fans who paid highly inflated prices for their tickets on eBay are feeling they got value for their money today?

Once the US took the lead, Mexico really had no response. I honestly thought they would take a more attacking posture...especially when they went 2-0 down. But they seemed to just stick to the gameplan they had before kickoff. Arena seemed to make a few changes at half-time which seemed to make the difference as the two goals came early in the second phase. There was never any sense of urgency on the part of the players in green.

So, the US are through to Germany '06 and I couldn't be happier. To qualify by beating our biggest rivals convincingly is the only way to do it.

Highlights of the match for me...

All fun...and thankfully made available to fans in this country on Live TV...though on a channel I never watch. Hopefully, the ratings the game got will show ESPN they did the right thing to make it happen.

Anyway, it was fun and I could only have enjoyed it more if I were there. Donovan summed things up well though.

"At least for three or four more years they'll shut up. They can't say anything and I love it."
He and many of the other players on the team take this rivalry very seriously and love to beat them every chance possible. The match in Korea three years ago was great...but this one was pretty darn special too.

If the US plays like girls, how do you explain your teams performances against them outside of the Azteca Señor Lavolpe? That's the only thing you can brag about now...and it's only a matter of time 'til that's gone as well.

Next stop...Germany '06.
Friday, September 02, 2005
  A marathon tie
In the English FA Cup, if the first match finishes level, the match is replayed at the other teams home. If that is tied, it then moves to penalties. What if penalties doesn't resolve things easily?

An FA Cup preliminary round replay between non-league Tunbridge Wells and Littlehampton Town took 40 penalties to decide. Tunbridge eventually won 16-15 on penalties. This was after the first match in Littlehampton finished 11 last Saturday and they drew 2-2 in the replay before moving to penalties.

But it's not the record...it's only the 3rd highest penalty shootout in footie history.

For many clubs in England, a run in the FA Cup can make or break their season financially. The Tunbridge Wells chairman had a great quote...
"It was nail-biting stuff and we have been told it is an FA Cup and European record. We charged £5 on the gate and our fans certainly got their money's worth. Perhaps we should have charged them again on the way out."
I guess Doug Hamilton isn't the only boss looking to make money where ever possible.
  Wiz Stadium
Fresh on the heals of the Metros getting official word their stadium is a go...and all the talk involving a new stadium for DC, the 'Zards are now making plans for a stadium. Well, a study has been done and it still looks like it'll be a while before we see much happen here. But this could be a good sign the team may stay in the Kansas City area.

Looks to me like San Jose will be the only team with an unfavorable stadium situation once all is said and done.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
  It's all about the North American Derby
In the pregame press conference yesterday, the media picked up on one comment in particular.:

"I'm happy first of all it is live on an English-speaking channel," Arena said during a telephone conference call. "I'll be honest with you, it's the job of supporters of soccer in this country to be better supporters of the game, not only U.S. games on television but MLS games, and be better consumers.

"When we demonstrate ratings, I think we will have an argument for prime time. I can see both sides of it. I understand where television is coming from. I understand where supporters are coming from. But the bottom line is television companies don't put these games on as nonprofit exercises. And I think it's time that the American public that supports the sport of soccer steps forward and supports our game by watching on television, getting ratings, by attending games in the stands, and by buying soccer products - being good consumers as we see in other sports, whether it's college football, the NBA, what have you. It's time for us to put up or shut up.'"
And of course, he's right. I commented the other day the US fans were upset about tickets being sold on eBay. I wonder if Mr. Arena was in some way alluding to that as well. If he wasn't, it fits. But it's still a good thing the game is on one of the Disney Channels. The fact that it's one day one of the College Ball season shows how tough it must have been to make it happen and how far the game has come in this country. So, don't blow it, make sure you (and all your friends, family and pets) are watching.

The big news (or rumor) from the US camp camp is that Landon seems to have taken a knock in training today.

Spanish language radio in LA have been reporting this. Of course, I wouldn't put it past Mr. Arena to be playing the "gamesmanship" card.

Finally, Chivas are expecting their largest crowd of the season (ever) for a home game not involving the Galaxy. Is it:
  1. The fact they'll be playing the US - Mexico game on the bigscreen and various other TV around the stadium before the game, or...
  2. The new players from Mexico playing their first game in LA...

...that's bringing in the crowd? And if it's #2, will the be like the Luis Hernandez fans who showed up once and never returned?

An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 /

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