It's been a long time
So life keeps getting in the way of my blogging lately. However, I’m still around so count on a ramble from time-to-time. As always, here are my thoughts on some recent events.
- Will the real Steve Sampson please stand up? Okay, I know the answer to that. Sampson without Donovan is crap. LA fans are now getting Sampson circa 1998. Thing is, the MLS is structured, it doesn’t matter that LA will tank the next month. All they have to do is turn it on after the All-Star break and there could be a repeat. Any talk of replacing Sampson is premature. There’s no way Lalas will pull the trigger until the end of the season…of course, I said that about Schmid as well. What do I know? But Lalas does seem to agree with me. Bottom line, LA is crap right now and I don’t expect things to change until Donovan and Co. is back.
One other thing...that trade last week seemed pretty even. Haven’t read the spin yet but both teams seemed to get about equal talent…I’m thinking clashing personalities played into the mix with this trade.
- Oh, and speaking of MLS action during the World Cup, has anyone else noticed how many times DC and KC will see each other while their top players are in Germany? Obviously, the schedule makers didn’t notice that.
- MLS chiefs, please take note, the FA Cup Final and European Cup Final were both great games (not helped by a dodgy call by the ref). I was hoping West Ham could pull off the upset but that comeback by Liverpool was fun to watch—for a neutral. As for Arsenal, they have no one to blame expect themselves. Yeah, maybe the ref should have played the advantage there. However, it wasn’t the ref who left Lehmann in that situation.
- I see that the CONCACAF Champions League is going to happen--well, maybe. I’ll believe it when I see it. For the most part, I’ll be glad to see it. It’ll give MLS teams (possibly) at least six matches to sort themselves out. That should work much better than the two and done we’ve been seeing most of the time the last couple of years. My biggest concern is the money side of things. Where’s it coming from? The reason we’ve had the existing format and so few teams from smaller countries is that it’s a money loser. Are Telafutura and some Mexican station forking out a lot of money? Does CONCACAF have a title sponsor willing to fork out big bucks? Also, as it’s running during the MLS season, how will that effect scheduling? It looks like it’ll be mid-week games so that shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll see. I just hope it’s represented by more than eight teams outside the US and Mexico.
- Well, there is only 3 weeks until the World Cup starts. US Sports writers are sharpening their pencils and getting ready to write their pre-World Cup piece...if they haven’t already. In the past, reading them has almost made me question my love for the sport. Truth is I’m a proud American who loves soccer. But those writers seem to what to question my patriotism by enjoying the sport and hoping the boys to well. Funny thing though, maybe it’s me but these Op/Ed pieces aren’t as hard on the sport as they used to be. I wonder what the gang at ESPN will be saying. Perhaps I should check out Jim Rome…Nah. ;)
Well, that’s it for now. I hope it’s not this long until my next ramble.
Sportscenter...coming up next
This evening will witness a rare event in the life of your average American soccer fan. Every one of them will be tuned into ESPNs Sportscenter for the first time in...well, for me it's been a few years. Bruce Arena's roster for the World Cup will be announced at 6 PM Eastern.
For years now, ESPN has all but ignored the sport of soccer. There are various theory's floated around soccer discussion boards but I stick with the belief that the people calling the shots just don't believe there's enough demand to warrant more coverage than the occasional snide remark.
However, is it just me or has ESPN been pimping the heck out of the World Cup? Those World Cup ads are all over the place on their channels. Lalas and Wynalda mentioned doing some sort of studio thing during their 'kiss-and-makeup' session at half time during the LA-RSL match last weekend. Sounds to me like ESPN has come to believe that at least in terms of the World Cup enough people will be interested in what's going on...sorta like the Olympics I'm thinking.
Of course, they (ESPN/ABC) have plonked down a sizable amount of money for the rights to show the games. They have to promote the product in order to make sure the sponsors they've lined up to advertise are happy. Champions League highlights have made their Top 10 lists and other mentions have made it on the air. Perhaps things are turning...or are they just humoring the hardcore fans in this country until the end of July when things will get back to normal?
What's next? Will Jim Rome be doing a "soccer doesn't suck all the time" segment on his show? ESPNs recent interest in the sport is a sell out, but I'll take it. Baby steps.
Oh and as for Arena's selection, I think we can all pretty much name his first 11...it's the final 3 or 4 that are up for grabs. However, those spots probably won't make it on to the pitch at any time so does it really matter? I'll be watching anyway.