So I am taking a vacation day today, which means I can get my weekend match previews down, my RSL vs. DC United match preview done, working on a 3 questions post with the boys from Black and Red United, and of course checking out some of the many links that come my way via email and twitter.
Landon now says he might be interested in leaving MLS a little article from sportsillustrated.com. Of course none of this surprises me as you have to consider that Landon has done all that he can in MLS, Beckham is coming back to steal part of the spotlight from him, his team with him on the pitch just got embarrassed by div-2 team in a match that counts, oh and I imagine he didn't like "the Don's" comments about no offers being accepted for him. Fastest way to make someone one to leave is to tell them they can't.
Another link from thebleacherreport.com The reason I added this is one reason, this quote:
Right now, many people don't believe that Donovan will be moving away from MLS, as commissioner Don Garber is not keen to see his most renowned American player move overseas.
Why is Donovan so valuable to the MLS? Because the league would like, "to deepen the connection between the American fan as an MLS fan first and a Premier League fan second."
Garber also stated, "I'm the commissioner of MLS and for my goal, raising the profile of our league, we need our best players here and I will always fight hard to keep them here.
Raising the profile of our league, hmm did you see how MLS scheduled their All Star match? did you see how they have scheduled the CCL teams? I am sorry, I just don't buy his "lines" anymore.
MLS may add more matches to schedule, can you say 34? This one is also from sportsillustrated.com as Steve Davis reports from the All Star Match. With 18 teams the only way you can get to play each twice is to have 34 matches, of course MLS did have 32 matches until 2007, so this isn't a big change but it would mean that teams would have to deal with more midweek matches and in most markets that means smaller crowds. I believe the only way this move can be made is to increase the roster size and bring back the reserve division in some format. The demands of travel are more in MLS than in most leagues, then toss in things like US Open Cup, SuperLiga, CCL, and of course the friendlies and you end up with simply too much demand on the players, both physically and in time.
WVHooligan thinks it is time for Adu to come home, and I find myself agreeing with him if the terms are right. I think a big part of the problem with Freddy was two-fold, first everyone told him and treated him like he was special, and second, he acted like he was special. Freddy has talent, but without coaching and playing time in matches he will never become the player he could. He is just 21 years old and if he wants to get back into the picture for the USMNT, he needs to play every weekend. Could a return to DC United work for him? They need offensive help, but I am not sure the baggage would allow such a move. How about back to RSL, with Robbie Findley perhaps on the move to Europe, RSL will likely be looking to fill a spot up top. I think Jason Kreis is exactly the type of coach (along with Robin and the rest of the staff) that a young Adu needs, someone who will make him work hard everyday and not pamper him. I think the real issue will be, is Freddy ready? Ready to work hard and listen to coaches, ready to make less money (nobody is paying him a DP salary), and ready to start living up to the potential?
more stuff after the jump:
RSL drops a match to DC United in PK's Houston Dynamo coverage of the SUM-17 Cup held as part of the MLS All Star festivities in Houston, RSL made it to the final match and then to PK's and then to more PK's before finally giving up a goal to allow DC United to claim the title. The good news for RSL fans is that all of these young men on the RSL roster are part of our academy system and hopefully soon we might just see one or two claim the newly created "homegrown" player spots that were added this year.
An interesting look at soccers popularity and growth from thetowntalk.com. He talks about his own interest level over the years, but makes some great observations about the World Cup and the MLS All Star match. It is clear that he isn't a normal MLS writer or MLS fan, but he presents some points that a casual fan (and many eurosnobs) make. He is very wrong about the match results, oh the MLS team looked weak, and it was because of wasted picks by the coach and comish, that team wasn't close to the best 23 players in MLS, only half would make the cut on a team of my choosing.
Of course having one team unable to be represented because they were playing a tournament match, and two teams coming off matches the night before, and just two brief practice sessions for MLS players all can be used as excuses, but are all very legit reasons for a lack of performance. Man U is a quality team that has great depth and even with a makeshift roster, you have to remember that several of their players on the pitch make more money a year than the entire MLS side they faced at times.
He is dead on when he makes these points, it is what a casual fan thinks, the shame is that it really appears that "the Don" and MLS leadership were more about collecting the ticket revenue from 70,000 people than they were about presenting the league in a positive light. Which again is just one of my many reasons for thinking that some new leadership is much needed at MLS and SUM.
New faces in MLS
There are a bunch of new faces in the league this week, some big names, some not, and some going to be announced today.
Seattle adds a 3rd DP in Alvaro Fernandez Sounder at Heart talks about the signing, I think they went after him after seeing the success of RSL's Alvaro Saborio (come on it was a first name joke, kinda funny). No they are looking to replace Ljungberg who appears to have taken his ball and paycheck and went home, how a player who impressed so many last year with his grit, determination, and skill, could end up being the "heel" in most conversations now is beyond me, but it points out the fact that just because you have talent, and a team throws big "DP" money at you, that success in MLS isn't as easy as many think (are you hearing this in New York, LA, and Chicago? They have heard it in Seattle).
New England adding a pair of strikers Steve Nicol again is reaching into his bag of contacts and finding players that could become impact players for the Rev's who are suffering from injury and performance blues. Ilija Stolica, a 31 year old Serb and Roberto Moreira Linck, a 22 yr old Brazilian who had been playing in Romania (where every MLS scout goes) are looking to join the team as soon as their paperwork is completed.
FC Dallas is going to add 3 players today in a press conference, they will also be talking about their upcoming match with Inter Milan and their tour. The players are all development players (Ruben Luna, Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez), no big names. Here is a hint they are building a solid team of young talent down there in Dallas, it is a shame that nobody comes out to watch them play. FC Dallas is averaging just over 11,000 fans a match at home, which is a big jump for them from last year but still way behind what it should be for a team that has only lost 2 matches, fewest in MLS.
New York keeps on spending and they have landed yet another DP as well, you can check out "who is this Rafael Marquez Guy anyhow" from Once A Metro. I hope with a huge name from the Mexican National team and a huge name from the French National team, that New York can now fill up their new stadium. It will be interesting to see how to very big names share the spotlight, and how they will adjust to MLS.
OK that is it for now, some things to keep you busy at work today. For me it is time to get working on the weekend previews.
OFF MY SOAPBOX