Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Monday, October 31, 2005
  Don't stop believin'
The PA played that tune by the 80’s Bay Area Wimp Rockers at Half-time of the match Saturday night in San Jose, but it could have been more for the visitors than the home side. The Journey tune seemed to spur on the Galaxy more than the Quakes. Ya gotta love it.

Ok, I know the Smurfans will come back with comments similar to Dominic Kinnear’s

"One team wanted to play tonight, and the other team wanted to get out of here with a result," Kinnear said Saturday night at Spartan Stadium after the Earthquakes' 1-1 tie with the Galaxy that ended San Jose's season.
"They [the Galaxy] just punted the ball long, they had two speedy guys [forwards Landon Donovan and Herculez Gomez]. That's the way they wanted to play. It's effective on this field. They were trying to kill the clock, guys were faking injuries, diving.

"I'd rather be with my guys. We take it on the chin and stand there. We don't crumble."
You may be surprised by my comment, but he’s right. Only one team did come to play on Saturday…only one team needed to because the team who only needed to lose by 1 goal got the result they wanted last weekend. That match 2 years ago that everyone has been talking about last week probably had as much to do with Saturday’s result as anything else. San Jose were probably feeling pretty confident in their ability to come back from a two-goal deficit, yet LA players were even more egar to insure they didn’t repeat the collapse they had in that match.

No, the playoff format isn’t fair, but those are the cards you are dealt. San Jose allowed themselves to get too far behind in the first leg…it’s that simple. And LA fans are loving the revenge.

How nice of “Fish” Ruiz to miss that penalty in extra time which allows my boys to come visit me next Saturday in Denver. I couldn’t have asked for a better matchup. Dallas still can’t kick the curse of their home record….it’s becoming as big an albatross as LA’s road record since moving to the HDC. Hopefully after that result in San Jose on Saturday, LA will now have kicked their albatross. Colorado have been getting their act together the second half of the season and are a good side…and they did the business on Saturday—did you take note San Jose?

Who says soccer can’t be played in the winter here? That was snow on the pitch Saturday night in Foxboro right? Yeah, not many showed up to the match, but look at the attendance for most of the other matchups, it wasn’t much better elsewhere. Great match though. I actually wanted the Metros to hold on, but the Revs looked sharp and deserved the victory—did you take note San Jose?

What the heck happened in DC? Did all the Adu distraction create that mess? They sure weren’t much of a team on the pitch. That was just awful…but props to Chicago for showing up to play—did you take note San Jose?

Anyway, I’m not making any predictions for the Colorado-LA match. I’m still not convinced that Steve Sampson knows what he’s doing (though he his team did knock San Jose out of both the Cup—on the road—and the playoffs). He made some strange substitutions…and I’m not sure knocking high balls into the box with Donovan and Gomez as your strikers is really a great game plan.

But knock them all you want, the playoffs gave us some entertaining football this weekend…and the one match we didn’t get (my local team) even went to penalties. MLS seems to have got what it wants. I'm still not a big fan of the playoffs, but if it means my team can come away with a double after having such an awful season.

But before you can achive, you've got to believe.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
  Pins and Needles
There should be some great matches this weekend. After last weekend's stalemate, team are going to have to open up a bit (ok, a lot) more. Win or go home time.

Now, there's been a lot of negative comments by the media this week about last weeks results. But feel that, for the most part, those comments are undeserved....at least with respect to the scores. The road teams (Dallas and DC) did what they had to do. Without the away goals rule, a 0-0 draw in the first leg puts them in a good situation. If the away goals rule were in effect, I've nothing to back this up, but I'm confident we'd have seen more goals.

The one match that did see goals had a ton of history which brought us those goals. Did anyone else notice how Herc Gomez didn't celebrate after scoring LA's first goal? He seemed more interested in getting on with things and bagging another. That right there told me the mind-set the team was in...and it showed in the final score. That match in San Jose a couple of years ago (and their recent road record) is fresh in the minds of the team and they wanted to make sure they were in a position to insure that doesn't happen this year. Tonight's match in San Jose will be classic...and it's the reason this LA fan in on "Pins and Needles".

I was surprised by Dallas last week. Sure, they created some chances but they really needed to do more in the first leg. Their home record since PHP opened is about as good as LA's road record of late. That match, in particular, is a great reason why adding the away goals rule to the MLS playoffs would be an incentive for teams. Dallas has to win tonight...but so do Colorado. A draw will just bring us extra time and maybe penalties. However, if the away goals rule were in effect, I believe Dallas would have pushed forward more opening up the game and probably leading to goals...which only adds to the matchup.

So, looking at things as they stand, it looks like MLS has what they want, parity. All eight playoffs teams are still very much in with a shot of making the conference finals. So, maybe this is another situation where I don't know what I'm talking about.

Either way, I get three of the four games on TV that I'll be watching. Personally, my wish is for a #3 vs #4 matchup in the West next weekend so I can attend the match in Denver...but I'll stop short of predicting it as I don't want to jinx it.

Here's hoping for some entertaining matches this weekend.
Friday, October 28, 2005
  No Se Puede
The first time I heard the phrase "Si Se Puede" was while on vacation in Mexico during the 2002 World Cup Qualifiers. It was on an ad playing all the time right before the US headed to Mexico (watching that game in a bar only a few feet from a beach in Mexico was pretty sweet...of course, I was the only Gringo watching) Anyway, the "Si Se Puede" phrase now takes on a whole new meaning. I'm not sure it's as accurate a title as they intended. I wonder if the movie will get ratings as poor as the performance and attendance at Chivas games in LA?
  Catching up on some stuff
I hate it when I get busy and don't have time to post everything that catches my eye...but here's some stuff from this week.

Gazza is just a big puppy. Seriously, could his career possibly take many more turns? Now he's going to manage non-league Kettering Town. Good luck to him.

This is some sad news, it looks like George Best is going to lose his battle with the bottle. The guy was a fantastic player but enjoyed the excesses of life as a professional athlete...let's hope Gazza doesn't end up the same.

Back on this side of the pond. Boy are the MLS Playoffs taking a beating in the press. Honestly, I don't know how the league could possibly hold a playoff in any structure that would please everyone. One thing to remember though, if MLS didn't have the current structure, we never would have had that game in San Jose a couple years ago (though I'd rather forget it if I could) Here's hoping LA exorcize the demons of that game tomorrow.

Finally, it seems the media in Spain thing Barcelona may be buying the MetroStars. Here's a Google translation of the piece that appeared the other day. I'm not sure if I buy it or not...but it says they'll change the name and the team colors and use the team as a youth camp of sorts. I guess they haven't seen how well Chivas performed this season. We'll see how this rumor pans out.
  I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses...
Perhaps the future of the sport of soccer in this country is bright after all.

Wow, I almost missed this one. Thanks Google News for catching this for me. It seems that with the declining TV ratings for MLB, NBA and--of course--NHL, MLS's flat ratings don't look to bad.

Buried at the bottom of Michael Hiestand's Sports Television piece in Tuesday's USAToday is some interesting information about televised soccer in this country. It seems that NBC, ABC and Fox are all interested in obtaining the English Language broadcast rights to both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Wow! It was just a couple of years ago that MLS and the then owners of the league had to pony up the rights fee and buy time on ESPN/ABC to get the games on the air. Next summer we are getting all games on the Disney Sports Network in Hi Def and now it looks like there's a possible bidding war in the making.

Of course, Don Garber's got his hand out here...

"It's our view that FIFA will ensure that any decision they make will support overall growth in soccer interest in this country."
In other words--as suggested by the article--Garber wants any World Cup rights tied to a deal to broadcast MLS games. Can't say I blame him for trying. We'll have to keep an eye on this one.

The future (for soccer) is so bright, I've got to wear shades.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  Grahame Jones is in great form today
I'm usually a big critic of Grahame Jones' rehash of wire reports style of writing, but I've been finding myself agreeing with him more lately. Have I become bitter a jaded? Maybe.

He may be a bit harsh today, but for the most part, he's got some very valid points today.

His basic points are, the playoffs are a joke, they are poorly attended, they produce negative footie and there's no real advantage for teams who did well in the regular season.

How can you fault that?

Oh and he has some words of advice for Adu, Ruiz and Guevara and their antics...not that we'll be seeing them in MLS much longer.

Anyway, the season does seem to be finishing with a fizzle rather than a bang. Maybe they'll finish PHP in time for the final next month.
  An early prediction
MLS teams will once again fail in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Why, well aside from the fact that no MLS club has managed a road win outside the US in a meaningful match, the Champs Cup will start in February. Who's the blame? No one really, it's the situation that has to be deal with. I hope I'm wrong with my prediction but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for something different.

What would be nice though is to know which two MLS team will be involved. Yeah, one will me the MLS Champion, but will they go with the MLS Cup loser this year, or the Open Cup winner? How 'bout the Supporters Shield winner? If MLS really cared about this competition, they'd put a carrot out there earlier in the season for teams to know that if they do X, they'll get some international competition next season.
  Westerhof stays in LA
Chivas took the first step to being a serious MLS team by announcing that Hans Westerhof will stay as head coach and give up the Director of Football title with the rest of Vargara's teams.

"I talked to (president and co-owner) Antonio Cue and he said he wanted me to stay but I first had to talk to Jorge (Vargara) about not only the situation here but also in Guadalajara.

"He asked me what I had thought about the project and if it could be successful in Los Angeles and I said yes; he said in that case then I'm the right person to do it (coach)," Westerhof said.
Now, we all know Vargara's gang seriously underestimated the level of MLS...now it seems they are taking things more seriously and are looking to put a better team on the pitch at the HDC next season. We'll see what happens.
  I can use the money...

My blog is worth $10,161.72.
How much is your blog worth?

Now, I'm not sure if that's the value if I were to sell the blog or if that's what I should be able to get if I were to sell ads (more than the Google things on the right...down a bit) But, email me if you wanna send me money.

Scaryice, who does the Climbing the Ladder blog, has been rolling out the BASAs (Blogosphere American Soccer Awards) this week. It's worth checking out what a bunch of unpaid "experts" think (as compared to the paid "experts" who vote for the official awards) I voted...and to be honest it was one of the toughest things I've done in a while. I kept changing my votes up until I submitted them...and even then I wanted to change my mind again after. Oh well.

It seems that by not being able to watch the Chicago-DC game on Saturday I missed the start of a whole new debate. I don't usually like to link to BigSoccer on here but in this case I'm making an exception. I guess Section 8 fans at Soldier Field had flares they lit and a bunch of paper to throw around. The link I just posted is an amusing debate on the pros and cons of that type of support. Personally, I go to games to watch them and shout at the players, ref, coaches and anyone else that comes to mind. (I got some surprised looks from soccer moms at Invesco this year while hurling abuse at Steve Sampson while wearing Galaxy gear) However, I know that some people want to support their teams in different ways.

Various fan groups (both in the US and elsewhere) have developed different ways of supporting their team. As far as I'm concerned, to each their own. I enjoyed watching Galaxy games from the upper deck sitting right on the halfway line. I was surrounded by other season ticket holders who were much the same as I. I've spent time with LARS (and even the Galaxians a loooong time ago) and found I wasn't able to watch the match the way I wanted...so I moved. The point I'm (slowly) getting to is that MLS is still young. In other parts of the world, teams have been around forever. Depending on how you want to support your team, you buy tickets in the area that allows you to do so. For most regulars to games, they've probably figured out where they want to sit. However, part-timers, the bulk of ticket buyers, don't attend enough games to understand what's going on...who's fault is that?

MLS officials say they want to fans in this country to develop the same passion for the sport and their team as they see in Europe and South America...but they really don't want too much passion or the Soccer Mom crowd might get scared off and not buy tickets. I've been saying it for years and this seems as good a time as any to say it again, most MLS games don't sell out...why not create different sections based on more than just price to allow people to watch the game the way they want to without creating any friction? Everyone is happy, everyone has a good time and everyone wants to come back (as long as Sampson doesn't give them reasons not to).

Anyway, now that the league has pretty much abandoned the idea of Americanizing the sport, it's time to create family sections and other areas to encourage better attendance.

Boy, I rambled longer than I'd expected there.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
  Herc does it again

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

After a great game...Herc Gomez adds to his trophy case with the LARS (LA Riot Squad) Player of the Year award. Yeah, I blogged last week that he'd been named the media's Player of the Year award...but you can tell from his reaction that this award meant much more. You can see more pix of Herc getting the trophy from my buddies back in LA on the LARS Boards.

Monday, October 24, 2005
  The playoffs as seen from my couch
Thank God for the LA-SJ match yesterday. Otherwise, one would have been lead to believe that all playoff matches were boring. I watched 180 minutes of playoff footie on Saturday night and if it weren't for Amando Guvera's strike from no where, I wouldn't have seen a single goal all evening.

How much of a mess was the game at the Meadowlands. It's bad enough playing on the plastic...but with that rain...

Anyway, we got to see how closely matched teams were. Everyone was more afraid to lose than anything else. Nervous midfield battles were the result. I'm guessing the Chicago/DC game on Friday was much the same. It's bad when the big news of the weekend was Adu's suspension. Heck that story got more press in my local rag than the local team's 0-0 draw.

So, we've got a pair of 0-0 draws in the #2 vs #3 battles and a #4 seed leading a #1 seed 1-0...but then there was the California Classic.

Has Steve Sampson seen the light? Probably not. But his lineup is starting to look more like what Sigi Schmid would have had. LA--probably with memories of "that game" in their head--took it to San Jose from the start. The entire 90 minutes we saw what LA should have looked like all season. I loved the fact that after scoring the first goal, Herculez didn't want to celebrate. He knew one goal wasn't enough and ran back to the half-way line ready to get another goal. Landon is now Mr. Playoffs in my book. Where's he been this season? Why does it seem like Sampson let go of the leash and let the guys play for once.

Ok, well, at least a quarter of the matches this weekend were entertaining...let's hope for more next weekend. Oh, and I'm still not getting my hopes up too high after yesterdays win over San Jose, but wouldn't it be amusing to see both #4 seeds play at PHP on Nov 13? We won't but it would be a smack in the face of the whole playoff system.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
  Put this one in the "huh?" category
Hearts manager George Burley has left the club after leading them to the top of the SPL...ahead of the Old Firm.

It is understood Burley's relationship with Lithuanian major shareholder Vladimir Romanov had completely broken down. The initial problems surfaced over the club's transfer policy, with players signed without the manager's knowledge.

Wow, so maybe Doug Hamilton isn't the only boss who runs off successful managers when the team are at the top. Could Burley end up at the HDC? I doubt it, but I'm sure Frank Yallop would give him a solid reference.

I still find it amazing that business people--either in Europe or in the US-will make decisions which should be left up to people with better knowledge who they hire for that expertise. But what do I know?
  It's Playoff Time!
What a crazy couple of weeks for me. Sorry about the lack of rambles recently...but family and career come first.

So, the playoffs started last night. DC were in Chicago for their first leg. Like many of you, I didn't get to see the game but with a 0-0 scoreline, I can only assume it was a nervous match-up. We'll see what happens at RFK next weekend.

Speaking of the playoffs, DaMarcus Beasley had a comment which cought my attention in a recent interview with SI:

We know we are not supposed to lose games in Holland. The mentality is very different. I went from being in Chicago where just making the playoffs is considered a good season to if we one lose one game, the whole city shuts down.
*sigh* we still have so far to go.

Check out the whole article, it's worth the read.

More on Adu's comments about his lack of playing time in the Washington Post.

Not only did all this hype surely turn off some people who might want to simply go and watch a prodigy, but it had to jack up Adu's expectations as well. No kid, no matter how great he is (LeBron James is Exhibit A) needs to hear how great he is all the time. Undoubtedly, Adu has his own set of expectations, which include making the 2006 U.S. World Cup team. And now that it appears unlikely, he's upset. What's happening to his timetable? How could this trip to the top be derailed so early?
*sigh again* Yep, this is pretty much what I've been saying for a while. Thank you Mr. Welbon for saying this much better than I could. However, I'm not sure all the playing time he can get would be enough to get him in Arena's squad for next summer but selling him, MLS fans and casual sports fans a false bill of sale (bait and switch?) is really good for the long-term success of the league.

So, Sigi Schmid is now in Columbus. Congratulations Sigster. You were treated poorly by AEG after bringing the team the only titles the team had until recently. I've a feeling fans in Ohio will be glad you're in town now.

This move brings up some interesting possible moves now. As Mr. Jones reports in the LA Times, now that the U-20 spot is open, who goes there? Who will fill the spot in New York? (Yallop's been quoted saying he hasn't spoken with Lalas) And, most importantly to this Sashfan, who will replace Sampson if/when Doug Hamilton pulls the trigger?

Oh, and Jones does include an interesting exchange between Schmid and a reporter from the press conference the other day...

Meanwhile, Schmid managed to bring a smile to Ohio faces Thursday morning when he misheard a question from a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter.

It was allegedly style — or the lack thereof since it could not have been his winning record — that got Schmid fired as coach of the Galaxy last year, and it was style that tripped him up again on his first day as the Columbus coach.

Asked what style the Crew would play, Schmid, who has lived for 43 years in Southern California, replied:

"All I know is I needed gloves last night. It's a little chillier in the evening than it is where I lived before.

"We're not going to have an NBA-style dress code because in our league — unlike what one NBA player said — there is a difference in income."

The reporter interrupted. He had meant style of play, he said.

"Oh, style of play," Schmid said. "I thought you meant style of clothes. You see what [NBA Commissioner] David Stern has done to me? He's, like, got me all concerned about that stuff."
You've gotta love the guy. I'm sure he'll be very popular in Ohio and will add to their trophy case. BTW, the entire collection at Hunt Stadium is a single trophy won by beating a team coached by Sigi. Ah, how small the league still is.

So, the big matchup--as far as I'm concerned--this weekend will take place in LA. Honestly, this is the best rivalry in the league. It has what other regional matches don't have, a great history. So I'm looking through articles in the local fishwraps about Sunday's game and have to laugh at the totally different angle it's being viewed.

First, there's the Smurfury News. Now, I know I said I'd never read Ann Killion's stuff again. However, I've had a chance of heart there. I'm seeing the humor in her work now. I'm actually starting to enjoy the chip-on-the-shoulder/underdog/David-vs-Goliath slant of their reporting--especally when it comes to matchups with the Galaxy. So, what is their (her) angle this weekend?
Dodgers-Giants didn't give us much this year. The bloom is off USC-Cal. Chargers-Raiders was a bust. Sharks-Kings is dormant. Lakers-Warriors remains to be seen.

But there's a gem of a SoCal-NoCal rivalry to get behind, starting Sunday. It's full of passion, hard feelings, physical play, crossed loyalties, evil owners, haves and have-nots.

It's the San Jose Earthquakes vs. the Los Angeles Galaxy. Building up over the MLS's decade of existence, it has turned into one of the nastiest, most intense rivalries in sports.
Ok, I'll buy that. I think both sets of fans will agree there.

"I absolutely believe the league should put some money and resources into promoting it, because this rivalry is unmatched in this league," Landon Donovan said during a conference call Thursday.

Oh yeah, him. Donovan has just a little something to do with how high the emotions will be running Sunday in Carson, when the teams play the first of a two-game playoff series.

Donovan's defection to the Galaxy (synopsis: he left San Jose for Germany, made a U-turn and wound up -- surprise -- with L.A.) is just the biggest affront in a long series of slaps at San Jose. Both teams are owned and operated by the same company: Anschutz Entertainment Group. But the Galaxy is AEG's precious darling, and the Earthquakes are the sad, neglected waifs.
There we go, there's the type of reporting I'm starting to get a kick out of. The poor downtrodden masses sitting amung the empty splinter-filled bleachers at Spartan Stadium. There can't be an LA-SJ match-up without Killion bringing up the Landon and red-headed stepchild angles. She's got it down pretty good too. This time she did it all in one paragraph.

So, while NoCal feels they are mistreated and that SoCal are the Evil Empire, what's going on South of the Grapevine?

Now this is classic.

Label this column the Steve Sampson Job Watch Episode 4: Earthquake Disaster Unpreparedness.

Mark the date on your calendar: Monday, Oct. 31.

On Halloween, the Galaxy coach could find the coffin nailed shut on his frightening MLS tenure if his team bows out in the first round of the playoffs the previous Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Well, we-Galaxy fans-were told by Doug Hamilton that first place wasn't good enough when he fired Sigi Schmid.

Sampson's team has four wins in its last 10 games, but only two in the 10 before that.

In comparison, Schmid managed eight wins in his last 20 games in charge.

Whereas Schmid had his team topping MLS when he was fired, Sampson's Galaxy ignominiously backed into the playoffs a month ago, courtesy of a Real Salt Lake lost to Dallas. This, in a weak Western Conference with two bad expansion teams among the worst the league has ever seen.
Though I doubt many will admit thinking it, I'm pretty confident that most LA fans are having secret thoughts that perhaps crashing out of the playoffs against the Quakes may not be a bad thing for the long-term success of the team.

So, quite a difference in the way both camps are looking at Sunday's game. I can't wait.

Ok, this has been a long ramble, but I do want to bring up a couple of stadium notes.

First, will we be calling it Microsoft Stadium at Wembley Way? Will the suites be know as the Microsoft Windows Vista? Probably not, but it's a deal for both parties.

Finally, I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm not too confident we'll be seeing a new stadium in Toronto in time for the 2007 season.

At a meeting yesterday of the Canadian National Exhibition board of governors, Toronto resident Alan Kasperski spoke against the plan.

"This is plain and simple an example of taxpayers subsidizing professional sports," Kasperski said.

"MLSEL built the Air Canada Centre at a cost of $250 million using all private money," he said. "So why can't those same people pay for their own soccer stadium?"

Kasperski said there appears to be a rush to okay this deal so that MLSEL can get its MSL franchise in time for the 2007 season.

"Why can't they play in the Rogers Centre?" he said. "There are a number of MLS teams that currently share National Football League stadiums in their cities."
I don't know much about Canadian politics but I've a feeling the use of city funds could make this every bit as difficult as getting a stadium built in Harrison. I hope I'm wrong.

Well, time to settle back and get ready to watch today's match-ups...oh wait, I didn't buy the DirectKick packages....oh well.

UPDATE: I need to pay better attention to things and stop trusting MLSnet. I turns out both games tonight are on FSC. I just watched the first half of the Metros/Revs match. Time to grab a drink and watch another 135 minutes of playoff action.
Friday, October 21, 2005
  Herculez, Herculez, HERCULEZ!
All of my lobbying has paid off, the Galaxy have announced that young Herc is the Galaxy's MVP as voted for by the media. Ok, my lobbying probably didn't really play into things but for once, they got it right.

Oh yeah, and Landon got the Golden Boot (shouldn't Sampson get that...booted that is) and Tyrone got Defender of the year. Also, Kev got Humanitarian award cuz he wrote a kids book with his wife.

It's good to have others agree with me for once. :)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
  Wow, I go out of town a few days and fun things happen
So, young Freddy is a bit upset about his playing time...or rather, lack of.

Oh dear. If he wasn't the leagues darling, no one would care. MLS created the situation themselves. They hyped the heck out of this kid even though he wasn't ready to start at this level. But they still managed to sell tickets with his name.

So now he's getting frustrated at his lack of playing time...yawn. Sorry if I'm being negative here, but really he wanted to play in DC, he got everything he wanted but Nowak still calls the shots...and it's not like Nowak doesn't have a better track record as coach than say...umm...Sampson. ;)

So Freddy, you are a great player for a 16 year old, but it's time you shut up and got on with things. Prove to Nowak you should be in the starting line-up with your play...not with your mouth. That AP reporter you complained to isn't going to get you more playing time. Heck, it'll probably help you find more time on the bench.

Then again, is Freddy trying to force a trade to the Metros?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
  San Antonio all over again?
So, MLS held this great "put-up or shut-up" press conference the other day in relation to Toronto bid for an MLS team in 2007. Now local media up there is having their say.

Imagine, further, the nerve of these people, starting with one Don Garber, commissioner of something called Major League Soccer, who issued an or-else deadline this week. Either the locals pony up a 20,000-seat soccer stadium by Hallowe'en or his league will be forced to sell its next $10 million (U.S.) franchise elsewhere. As much as it, you know, pains him to have to miss out on this great market.
It sounds to me as if MLS will once again miss out on having a city build a facility.

MLSE would be willing to help out the cause by buying an MLS franchise, provided somebody else — meaning you and me — comes up with at least $50 million of the $60 million or so that a stadium will cost. MLSE reportedly will provide $8 million or 10 million of the stadium cost.
Ya know, the hack has a point. After all, it's not like LA is jumping at the chance to build a stadium for some NFL team. Why should Toronto pay to build a stadium for an MLS team?

Government should turn and run, rather than surrender another public facility to MLSE. The city, especially, should concentrate on picking up the garbage. There's plenty of it on this deal.
Sadly, I've a feeling that's what is going to happen.

Perhaps if they'll put up half like RSL are they'll stand a better chance. Or are the taxpayer groups there just warming up?

The Utah Taxpayers Association believes the project is not going to generate any new money for the state and believes the team should be responsible for finding private investors.

"People are not going to spend more money because there's a soccer stadium in Utah," association vice president Mike Jerman said. Additionally, "subsidizing soccer franchises is not going to create high-wage jobs."
It's actually refreshing to see MLS run into similor roadblocks that the big(er) leagues put up with.
  Trinidad vs Bahrain
Just like the game between the 64th and 65th team in the NCAA Basketball, two island countries will fight it out to be the smallest team at the World Cup next summer.

Why do I get the feeling Guatemala and Uzbekistan were screwed here?

Mexico pulled a US last night. Well, I think they did. I didn't recognize any of the players names...but I don't really pay much attention to them so I may be wrong.

As for the Uzbek's. Could the Sultan of Bahrain (or whatever his title is) have financially helped this result?
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
  Winter hits the Rockies
Don’t you hate it when life gets in the way of fun things...like bitching about things on your blog? Anyway, I’m back. Hope I wasn’t missed too much while I was doing other things.

I wonder what happened with the Rapids practice on Monday? I know I couldn’t get to work because a foot of snow decided to take up residence where I live. It’s gone now but I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed practicing in that stuff. I’m sure they would rather it had been better weather leading up to their season ending game in Salt Lake tonight. Can you still believe they can catch LA?

Sepp Blatter is on his soapbox again. This time he’s complaining about “Pornographic Clubs”
"What makes this a matter of concern is that, all too often, the source of this wealth is individuals with little or no history of interest in the game, who have happened upon football as a means of serving some hidden agenda.

"What is interesting about a league whose champions can be predicted with confidence after about five games?

"Why is it good for football to take the excitement away from fans by overcharging them for tickets to see 'their' team?
I may actually be in agreement with him this time...well, there's a first for everything. But it's ironic he would feel the need to complain about greed.

Have I mentioned that I’m a huge Herculez Gomez fan? How can a Galaxy fan not love this kid?

"I was an L.A. Galaxy fan before I was a player," said Gomez. "When I was 14, 15 years old I got excited to watch Cobi Jones. I idolized the guy - now I get to play with him. It's definitely a big deal for me to be playing here."
"This is a great organization. I'd love for when people think about the Galaxy for my name to come up," said Gomez. "But I don't know. The Galaxy has things they want to do with their future plans. If I'm in them great, if not, I'll keep working hard and see where life takes me."
So, give him a contract already--he’s earned it.

"I think Doug (Hamilton) is a fair man, and Doug will reward those players that deserve to at the end of the season. The one thing he won't do, is get into contract negotiations during the season," said Sampson. "He's a businessman, and he'll try to do what's in the best interest of the Galaxy. Those players who have done well will be rewarded."
Oh yeah, I forgot who’s calling the shots. Do the right thing Mr. Hamilton, Herc has earned a contract and I can’t see how he won’t produce.

Ok, so Arena took some kids to Costa Rica over the weekend….and they got the result they deserved. Thankfully my Alma Mater was playing football over on ESPNU at the same time so I didn’t have to watch the entire match in San Jose.

Speaking of the Arena's Army, as much as I'm not a fan of Nike, they're Marketing folks have done their homework. First there was the TV ad. Now, the "Don't Tread on Me" campaign continues in the same vain. Just read the "So Says This American Game" manifesto. Yeah, lots of bravado...but I love it.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  I'll never understand AEG
I've waited 24 hours to post this....but I'm still baffled. Yesterday, my hero, Alexi Lalas fired Bob Bradley. Now, I'm not going to say that Bradley set the league on fire since joining the Metros...frankly, he hasn't. He's leaving was in the cards most of the season. However, I'm not sure I fully understand the timing. The team is only 3 points out of the playoffs with 3 games left. Kansas City (3 points ahead) are hardly looking like they will easily make the playoffs. Wouldn't it have been better to keep a coach who's had success in the past at the helm until it was certain that the closest the Metros would get to the playoffs would be their Direct Kick subscription?

Oh well, what's done is done. Chances are that even if the Metros did make the playoffs, they'd be out after the first round anyway. Besides, we don't need any more of those silly playoff ads they've had the last couple of years anyway.

So, what's AEG up to? Have they got someone already lined up to take over at the Meadowlands? Probably. I've a feeling Mo Johnson will be back as second-in-charge before the end of the season. Remember, Doug Hamilton's "extensive search" for Sigi Schmid's replacement only took 48 hours.

Now I've no numbers to back this up, but I've always felt that teams with a new coach are more dangerous than they would normally be. Something about being fired up to prove themselves to their new coach...or something like that. Perhaps it's the kick in the backside the Metros need at this point. After all, they do have a lot of talent on their squad and are probably the second biggest underachievers in the league (playoff bound LA, in my opinion, are first there)

So, let's see what the Metro's do in Chicago tonight. Good luck to them...after that 4-1 come-from-behind loss in DC on Saturday, they need it.

Of course, when Lalas' playing contract wasn't renewed (or was it terminated?) he was offered a gig in San Jose. Could Mr. Hamilton be calling Bradley in the near future?
  Trecker got me thinking.
Yeah, I know you are all surprised that 1) I had a thought and 2) it was Jamie Trecker which lead to it...but it happened.

So, Bruce Arena is taking a bunch of youngsters to Costa Rica on Saturday. I've no problem with that...it makes since. Hell, I'll be thrilled to see Kevin Hartman get a cap.

But what's got me thinking is the situation which has lead to the inexperienced team heading south. Is it really fair to the teams still fighting for a spot in Germany? If one team gets to play a below strength team and another doesn't, where's the legitimacy in the qualification?

So, what's the solution? Easy, if FIFA were to say that the higher a team finishes in their qualification gets more points in the seeding process come the draw for the finals. Currently, the seeding is based on performances in recent (the last three) World Cup finals. If they were to add in a component which adds to the seeding process for next summer, it might be enough to counter Steve Sampson's (yeah, I can't post a blog without mentioning him) poor performance in France. The US could be close enough to getting a top seed to avoid the Brazil's and Germany's in the first round.

Well, it's just a thought and could certainly add something to the qualification process.
Monday, October 03, 2005
  A Herculean performance (yeah, I'm in a punny mood)
So I’m watching highlights of my Chargers beating the snot out of the Pats yesterday and I noticed those annoying soccer lines on the field…

Ok, that was an inside joke for those who post on BigSoccer. Actually, I just wanted to brag about the performance they had yesterday.

Speaking of great performances, how ‘bout that Herculez Gomez? Now I know a lot of MLS observers think he’s come out of no where this season. However, many long-time Galaxy fans will tell you that they thought he deserved a better shot than he got a few years ago. But if he’s isn’t the best possible advertisement for why the Reserve/Developmental squads are needed, I don’t know what is.

...and how ‘bout those two finishes he had on Saturday? How many times do we see an MLS striker go one-on-one with the keeper and either hit it straight at the keeper or push the ball off target? For him to score not one, but two goals like that on Saturday shows just how polished he is in front of goal. Oh, and how about the tussles he had with Greg Vanney? What a great match-up. That’s what the sport is about. It’ll be interesting if (when) the two teams meet again in the playoffs. Facing each other 3 times in less than 2 weeks is a breading ground for hostility and physical play…and we saw a lot of that Saturday.

Is it me or does the line-up Sampson is putting out now look more like the line-ups Sigi was naming when he was fired and very different from Sampson’s team we saw at the start of this season? Boy are Pando, and Naldo--and all the other foreign ‘do’s” be brought in—looking like total busts this season. Looks like now that Sampson’s job is probably safe, he and Hamilton need to go back to the drawing board working on a new plan for filling their International slots.

You can tell Galaxy fans are a bit spoiled for success. To be still in with a shout of second seed in the West and already have a shiny new trophy in the restaurant at the HDC and still have fans unhappy with the team just shows that in the stands, Hamilton has what he wants. Now if only he had the ability to hire a decent coach.

There were some other MLS games this weekend as well…but I haven’t watching MLS Wrap yet so I can’t really speak to them too much at this point. However,

Chivas won on the road? True, it was only C’bus…but still, 3 points is 3 points and it now looks like they’ll avoid having the worst record in league history…barely.

DC are finding their stride just in time for the playoffs and the Metros are collapsing just like they do every season.

I guess it was a double whammy for fans in Foxboro this weekend. The Smurfs are looking like a team ready to reclaim the title.

Will KC still make the playoffs? Guess they should be glad the Metros always stink at the end of the season—the beginning as well…but that’s history at this point of the season.

Oh, and I almost forgot that I took a nap while watching the Colorado-RSL game on Saturday. Nice to see fans travel over the Rockies to see their expansion team play their nearest rival. But I’m not sure I’d have committed that kind of time/money to see that performance. Hope they had plenty of beer.

Well, that’s enough of my “glass is half-empty” stuff for today.
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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