Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Saturday, October 21, 2006
  Finishing in style
Ok, where has that Galaxy team on saw on Saturday been all season? Heck, where have they been the last 5 seasons? Seriously, the last time I can recall LA moving the ball forward with that much ease was in '98. I guess that's a good sign for the new season. At least Yallop has the team playing a much more attractive style of soccer.

There's been a lot of discussion on various message boards and even from several columnists about the playoffs. In my opinion, the only way to judge who is the best team is by looking at how teams did over the course of the entire season. However, my problem with the Supporters Shield is that the schedules are unbalanced. If there was a balanced schedule, I don't think DC would have won the Shield because the East had some pretty weak teams--I wonder who would win a tie-breaker between NY and LA this season as they finished level in the standings and had same goal difference. Then again, last season San Jose probably wouldn't have won the Shield...and LA wouldn't have had the eighth best record either.

Did anyone else see the Besiktas-Spurs match on Thursday? Great performance from Spurs on the road like that...but those Besiktas fans were something else!!! All the talk a few years ago about MLS stadiums needing a roof in order for there to be some atmosphere created by the fans is now (in my opinion) BS. Those Turks were loud the entire match...even when their boys were 2-0 down. Wow. I've never heard a stadium so loud before.

Rumor has it that some stadium called Wembley may be built soon. Not sure if I believe it. It's taken longer than the Metr...err Red Bulls to get that thing built.

The playoffs start today. Right now, I'm thinking Chicago and Houston could be the teams to watch. However, I'm reserving the right to change my mind on Monday.

Is it just me or is the best matchup (well, in my opinion) of the first round the only one not being shown on national TV? I guess if questioned about it the guys who call the shots will explain it's because neither team has their own stadium and scheduling conflicts and...well, the same excuses we hear all the time.

Anyway, my DVR is set and I'm hoping to see some good matches this weekend?
Friday, October 13, 2006
  Trying to Spice things up.
Am I the only one who isn't convinced that adding Beckham to MLS (either in LA or New Jersey) is a good thing? I'm sorry, but I've always said that Spice Boy is a one trick pony (free kicks) and isn't as great a player as everyone seems to think. Yeah, he's only just finished his England career but was (is) the England team really as good as the English would like to think? So, he'll sell a few tickets and bump ESPN and FSC's ratings a bit. But for how long? I remember when Luis Hernandez arrived at the Rose Bowl. The Spanish speaking part of town turned out in massive numbers for his debut. Then the novelty wore off and they went back to watching Chivas and America on TV. Should Becks and family try to 'make it in America' I've a feeling it'll be a similar story. After all, Becks is no Pele. He's just a good player who's now fast approaching his sell-by date.

Then again, after the recent San Diego U-T article about the true attendances in MLS I guess something does need to be done to get some 'paying' customers. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I'd much rather see three young guys hungry to succeed in the sport signed than another player taking an early retirement. After all, does LA need another player who wants a piece of the easy life? They already have Donovan. And it's not like NY haven't had their share of big names running out on the plastic turf in the Meadowlands...none of them really boosted attendance...why should it be different with Beckham?

I've said it for 11 years and I'm sure I'll be saying if for a lot longer, put the 11 best players each team can afford on the pitch regardless of where they are from or who may buy tickets to see them once or twice and fans will start to show. Besides Chivas, no MLS team has really marketed the team...all you hear about is seeing Landon vs Freddy or some two other individuals matched up against each other. That hardly sells long-term loyalty to a team. If fine for a quick return, but will those ticket buyers be forking over their cash in five or ten years?

I haven't posted in a while but it would be wrong of my not to mention the passing of "Mooch". The sport in this country just lost another great asset.

So, rumor has it that AEG have finally found a buyer for DC United. Is it me or is it just a coincidence that so many new owners are also involved with owning other sports teams? Perhaps an MLS team is starting to look like a decent investment. What ever happened to the naysayers back in '96 who said the league wouldn't last? I guess they didn't count on the large bank accounts of Anchutz, Hunt and Kraft. Their certainly getting that investment back now.

Speaking of new investors, I'm a little bummed that Toronto Lynx are dropping to PDL next season not that they'll be competing against an MLS team for many of the same fans. I'm waiting for an established USL side to take on an MLS team. Part of me wants to believe that fans will remain loyal to the team they've followed longer. But it's not my money on the line if I'm wrong so who am I to ask someone else to take the chance? ;)

Ok, I've got to say it, yes, LA will not be in the playoffs this season for the first time in their history. Part of me is bummed but if I'm being honest, I knew it had to happen sooner or later. Bottom line is, Sampson screwed things up so bad at the HDC that there was just too much for Yallop to do. I don't blame Yallop for the missed post season. Heck, I commend him for turning things around like he did. He got the team to the Open Cup Final and he had the team in with a shot at the playoffs up until last weekend. If Sampson were still at the helm, LA would have been out of contention a month ago.

I guess getting a new stadium is an opportunity for teams to rebrand themselves--yeah, Chicago didn't and NY has already done it but you know what I mean. I'm just not sure about the new Colorado stuff. Are they Villa, West Ham or another Denver based team owned by Kroenke? Personally, I think they should have kept the Green from a couple of years ago. It was unique and stood out. But I'm sure they had some focus group trying to give the team a "Euro" look...or something like that. Here's an idea, how about building some tradition...oh yeah, sorry, Colorado has now tradition. ;)

Did Eddie Johnson take lessons from Clint Mathis on how to quickly kill your career?

Does anyone else find the recent performances by England amusing?

Then again, at least they are playing. I hope there's someone at the helm of the US soon. We should have had at least one international even if it was using only European based players.

So, MLS teams can sell advertisement space on their jerseys next season. Honestly, I'm surprised it hasn't already happened. It's a good source of income and if the Beckham rule doesn't arrive, they'll need the money. Actually, it's not as if there isn't a good deal of money suddenly floating around. I keep reading than teams with their own stadiums are now making a profit. The new TV deals sure don't hurt things either. Yeah, some of the new income should be spent setting up these new Academys...but c'mon, let's improve the talent across the board. It's the only way to improve the quality of play. Of course, no not talking about signing one or two aging foreign players. Why can't the league now go after American players who've played in Europe for a while...have gained from the experience but are still at a point in their career where they haven't peaked yet. I'm sure there's more than a couple of guys who would be willing to return home if the money was about the same.

Well, that's enough of a ramble for today.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
  Tabloid Fiction
I nearly fell out of my seat reading about Becks heading to NY. I hope no one believed the piece. There's no way MLS can afford to pay anyone $100 million (or is that Euros?). And even if they were, why would Anchutz pay for him to play at a team he doesn't own (though AEG does run the stadium...or something like that).

I love when an article lists every single quote as coming from "a source". In other words, the source is some fictional character the author created to make the story sound factual. Still, you have to admit that the tabloids in the UK are better than the ones here...or at least more entertaining. (Not that I thumb through them or anything while waiting in the checkout line)
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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