Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Friday, September 29, 2006
  I'm bored this year

To be honest, I’m pretty under whelmed about the MLS season this year. And it looks like I’m not alone. Granted, the fact that my boys have not really played great and will miss the playoffs for the first time in their history doesn’t help. But it’s more than that. I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why this season more than any other MLS season; I’m just really not too bothered.

OK, so events in my personal life (moving cross-country, baby, job change etc.) may have a lot to do with this. But I’ve always been one of the leagues biggest proponents. I still want a successful professional league in this country, but why should I bother?

How many times have we heard the “every time can still qualify for the playoffs” line the last few weeks? Great, we are focusing on a bunch of teams having difficulty playing .500 ball. The fact that LA can manhandle DC like they did in RFK a few weeks ago yet are still not able to put together a string of results to get them into the playoffs shows.

So, DC is way ahead of the rest of MLS right now and a shoe in for the Supporters Shield. Well, they haven’t played well lately and Dallas sure isn’t mounting much of a challenge. I wonder if DC would be so far ahead right now if the league played a balanced schedule? The East sure seems weak this season…like the West was last season.

All we hear is the good news about new stadiums. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be great having almost every team in the league not have to share a stadium…but were those football lines on the pitch in Frisco last weekend? Things like that lead me to believe stadium scheduling will always be a problem for teams in MLS.

I was bumping around Wikipedia last night and came across something interesting about the early NHL years. (Yes, I know Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable source…but this is worth the read)

Some criticize the era as having a playoff system which was too easy (only two teams were eliminated after the regular season), for featuring too many dominant teams (Montreal never missed the playoffs between 1949 and 1967 and Detroit and Toronto only missed three times each, while the other three teams usually competed for the one remaining berth). The league was also criticized at that time for tolerating autocratic and monopolistic practices by the owners. At one point, for instance, the Norris family owned the Blackhawks and Red Wings outright and had a significant stake in the Rangers. They also owned two of the four U.S. arenas (the Detroit Olympia and Chicago Stadium) and had a significant stake in the other two (Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden).

Sound familiar? Did MLS not do any research? Let’s just hope they don’t expand too quickly.

Basically, I’m not sure the structure of the league is going to help things even if it grows. There was a huge outcry when my Padres made the post season last year…and they got what they deserved in the playoffs.

Now, there’s also the timing of the season. I will never agree that on any level it’s acceptable for league matches to be played during the World Cup…unless all the US players are playing in leagues that do have a break during the Cup. But I don’t see that happening either. Fernando Clavijo had some interesting comments the other day. For the most part, I agree with these comments. The thing is, changes do need to be made. The league has come a long way since ’96, but there is still a long way to go and more changes need to be made.

So, what does MLS need to do to get PZ’s attention back? Probably nothing. That Open Cup Final is a great example of how entertaining MLS teams can be if given the right setting. So, what is MLS going to do to make the matches in mid-season as entertaining? I’m guessing nothing for now. So we’ll be stuck where we are for a while. The playoffs are around the corner and I’ll catch a few of the matches and the final. By April, I’ll be anxious for the new season to start…I’ll be back.

In the meantime, if Adu had gone to Reading, would they have become the most popular EPL team in this country? I know I’m paying a lot more attention to them (and Fulham) than I would if Convey and Hannaman weren’t on the team.

Some smaller countries used to stack one team with all their best players (kinda like the parent Chivas does) so the foundation of their national team play together all the time. What if some American with deep pockets was to buy an EPL (or Championship) side and stock it with Americans? You’d have the national team playing together a large portion of the time and they’d be available for FIFA International dates. Yeah, it’s a silly idea. But it’s no sillier than expecting MLS fans to take games played while the best players are in Germany representing their country (and league) seriously.
Monday, September 11, 2006
  Yep...I know nothing
I'm sure most of you who read my blog on a regular basis will agree. But now I can't deny it any longer. I took an MLS quiz that Scaryice over at Climbing the Ladder created and...well...

Ultimate MLS Trivia Quiz

Your score is 30%

You are DIPSY SELOLWANE. You can get an answer right every now and then, but you're mostly bad.

Take this quiz

Dipsy Selolwane??? 6 outta 20. Ouch!!

Well, I guess it could have been worse and ended up Carlos Hermosillo.

Try it for yourself. It ain't easy.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
  Thank you Mr Checketts

I really had not much in the way of MLS opinion to comment about the last few days. Nothing positive, nothing negative. As far as I was concerned, the matches over the weekend proved little with regard to the overall outcome of the season. It was just another weekend in a fairly uneventful season.

Yeah, there are some close races in each conference to make the playoffs. That’s what I keep reading. However, I’ve read endless reports this weekend how DC has clinched a playoff spot. Wow, they are part of the 66% of teams that will reach that goal. With almost two months until the playoffs start, is that a good thing? After all, the second best team in the East is only 3 points ahead of the worst teams in the West. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if MLS decided to give some recognition to the race for the Supporters Shield? DC hasn’t clinched that yet. Maybe it’s just me, but following the top of the table is much more interesting than looking at the bottom spots to see who is out (as long as LA make it into fourth spot).

But enough of that, the league structure is what it is. We aren’t going to see change there any time soon. So, I just deal with it.

So, what did Mr. Checketts do that got me so excited? I’m sure you’ve all read about his mini tirade regarding the end of Saturdays match. Now, I’m all in favor of acting in the best interests of the home fans. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, the way he did it and what he voiced his opposition to made me question things.

I watched the match. It was a heated match. Both sides where pretty aggressive. There was plenty of lovely physical play. Also, it wasn’t as if the RSL fans were just watching the match and adding a golf clap where appropriate. Heck, I saw objects that appeared to be thrown from the stands in the general vicinity of Colorado players.

It was what a derby match should be, heated. Given that both sides are fighting for a playoff spot, it should have been. Ok, so players should show some restraint when playing in hostile situation. However, I can’t see how Mastoreni’s antics after the final whistle were any more unfamily friendly than what was going on in the stands.

This is just more doublespeak from those who run the league. The league wants to present itself as family friendly entertainment. However, they want to attract the sports fan, which are usually 18-35 year old males. I’m sorry, but to a fair extent those two groups are pretty mutually exclusive. If I want family friendly entrainment, I’ll book a trip to Disneyland….not to a sporting event.

The way I see it. RSL fans now have even more reason to hate the team from Denver. What Mastoreni did was give Checketts crew a great marketing tool for the next episode in the series. Just remind fans what happened Saturday night and I’m sure you’ll see more tickets sold next time they are in town. Instead of asking for him to be fined, Checketts should be thinking Pablo for helping him sell more tickets.

One day we’ll have a real league here.

Friday, September 01, 2006
  More Stuff
A few things I forgot yesterday...and a couple new thoughts today.

Big news, KC has a new owner(s). I believe that makes 9 different owners in the league. Now, AEG only needs to sell 4 more teams. Who's next?

I missed this one, not only are MLS stopping Dempsey from leaving, but now Shalrie Joseph is being stopped as well. I wonder if any of the media types are going to get answers as to why so many players are being held onto like this. Ok, I can see the argument that two top players from the same team is not a good idea. Fair enough. But I don't understand how keeping the players this way is really adding that much value to the league. If anything, it's hurting the league in the long run as players looking to come to MLS for a few seasons in the hope of moving on to Europe after will think twice.

San Jose still isn't getting a team anytime soon. I can't say I'm really surprised here. If AEG couldn't get it done over several years, how is this group going to do it in one year?

Anyone know anything about this? Looks pretty sweet. I wonder how much we'll be charged once it's out of beta.

If you ask me, the English FA is being petty here. C'mon, what's wrong with the team testing players in addition to whatever testing you do? True, Chelsea could catch one of their players...keep the result secret and clean him up before the FA tests him. But honestly, I don't see what is wrong with that--beyond the fact that a player was doing something he shouldn't.

Has Roy Keane slept at all this week? The guy gets the job of manager on Monday and yesterday he adds 6 new players!!! Yeah, that's a pretty big investment and yeah, it'll take some time for the new squad to come together. But I'm sure he'll have time to sort things out. After all, Man City spent a year in the 3rd tier and they aren't doing too bad these days. ;)

Setanta have tomorrows England Andorra match on PPV. That means, the closest pub to me that's showing the match is an hour and a half drive and then I'd have to pay to get in. C'mon. England aren't that great right now and playing Andorra...why bother?

Is it possible for Rooney to stay out of the press?

Can the NBA Champs still call themselves the World Champions? The Greek team didn't have a single NBA player on their roster. Perhaps the NBA Champion should play a series with the Euroleague Champion to decide the "World Champion" title.
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 /

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]