You Know You Have a Soccer Problem When...

I love the game, I really do. But this fool has his priorities seriously out of whack. I can't beleive I'm saying it but she should divorce him, he is deeply sick man.

Galaxy v. Whitecaps Game Postponed

With Goldenballs' being banged up promoters in Canuckistan are putting off their date with the Galaxy until Becks can play again. Good move on the part of the Gals and the Whitecaps to recognize that this match would be about as awesome as that time Oasis went out on tour without Noel Gallagher.


Ex-Cosmos, Minutemen Keeper Dies

I never read the obituaries but I happened to glance at them this morning (long commute, short newspaper) and noticed one for a Bronislaw K. Sularz. Also known by the name Jerry Sularz, he was an NASL and ASL goalkeeper in the 1970's; from 1973-1974 he was the starting keeper for the New York Cosmos with a 1.22 GAA, and a backup named Shep Messing. Sularz was also named NASL Goalkeeper of the Year in 1973. He would also stand between the pipes for the Boston Minutemen, and Gornik Walbrzych of Poland.

Please pour a little out for one of North American soccer's old soldiers. R.I.P.

Andy Williams Drops 50 yd Bomb

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From this distance Ray Charles could have seen this ball coming, yet the keeper didn't. Ok maybe he saw it but was too far off his line to do anything about it. Yet another graduate of the Fabian Barthez School of Eccentric & Dangerous Goalkeeping has made good.

CNN: T-Rex Could Out-run Becks

"Our research, which used the minimum leg-muscle mass T-rex required for movement, suggests that while not incredibly fast, this carnivore was certainly capable of running and would have little difficulty in chasing down footballer David Beckham, for instance," said Phil Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, who worked on the study.

OK but so can most players with 2 healthy ankles. Sure he's slow but at least his arms are somewhat in proportion to the rest of his body.

And British people, is this what you pay 28% tax for? [via CNN]

This Just In: TFC's Andy Welsh Transfered to Blackpool

Hey man, sorry that MLS wasn't the best experience for you and I hope that things go better in Blackpool. And look at the bright side though; if this whole footballing thing doesn’t work out they are always looking for carnies to run the dodgems on the pier (for those of you lucky enough not to know, Blackpool is the UK equivalent of Seaside Heights, NJ ).

Holla at ya, eraserhead.

Lost Angeles Galaxy

Talk about one hell of a goal in one hell of a game. Too bad it was all for nought.

We'll keep the Superliga talk to a minimum out of respect for those who have a busy day of licking wounds ahead of them. But that was a great final; the intensity was high and the crowd sounded MUCH larger than the 12K that were in the house. Well, maybe it was great for everyone but Becks (is dude the new Reyna?), Landon (your wrist kissing voodoo has finally failed you), and Peter Veganas (Carlos Mendes is looking for your number as we speak to give you a "thank you" call for making him look like less of a goat).

And if you need proof that Frank Yallop is at the end of his tether (or should I say tenure) he swore his way through the post-game press conference Some dude posted the entire epic on Youtubeif you're a Gals fan and want to relive it while crying your tears into a bottle.


LA-Wellington Descision Coming Soon

LA Galaxy's proposed match vs. Crowded House's favorite team Wellington Phoenix could come as early as next week says this article from New Zealand. Not really much of interest (unless you are interested in the inner workings of Kiwi fiscal responsibility) other than the fact that this bit of news came from the future; it is dated 8.30.07 which is tomorrow. Is that due to the international date line or some magic power that the ring-bearer holds?

Dwight Schrute is Looking for a Job in Soccer

Talk about quick return. Someone over at Nike read my semi-coherent marketing rant this morning, made a bunch of calls, and spit out a new campaign in less than 3 hours. That is American ingenuity and determination at it's best...it's what they hate us for, along with our freedom.

The swooshers out in Oregon have done a bit of coffee drinking and chain-smoking trying to figure out a way to get me to pay more attention to the ladies team. Someone came up with the idea of getting Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office to apply for the job of PR manager for the team. That person should get a raise, an extra 2 weeks vacation and a really attractive, hard-working assistant.

I (along with 5 million or so other people that watch this show) love awkward funny and anyone who has been on The Office holds a PHD in that shit. Hopefully he is a better PR guy than he is a CIA agent.

Angel, Advertising, and Adults

Not to keep bringing up olde shit but I really can't stress enough how much I love the Jaun Pablo Angel cover series that RBNY has run in The Daily News. The photo above is from today's issue and it's probably the best bit of marketing ever from an MLS club in a while, if not ever.

Everything from the mugshot to the in-your-face headline screams "tacky, 6th grade reading-level NY newspaper that is not The Times" and provides camouflage that does not tip off the reader immediately that this is a paid advertisement. Most cover wraps aren't nearly as successful at this and subsequently get as many looks as Jason Kreis has caps. This one though is executed perfectly. I think sometimes we only talk about what is wrong with things and not what is right so I wanted to start out the day on a positive note.

So with that in mind I shall now embark on a semi-unfocused rant about marketing. Feel free to turn away now.

More of this is needed in the league; not necessarily print ads, but more marketing aimed at adults (like the Adidas Represent campaign). Don't get me wrong...I'm in the Whitney Houston "I believe that children are our future" camp but what other sports league in the world is so focused/dependent on group sales to youth teams? Not the PGA, not the NBA, not even the WNBA.

Ever since the Canucks came into the league there has been a lot of talk about the "atmosphere" in Toronto. Next time you go to BMO Field or watch them on TV note the makeup of the crowd. Now I've only seen about 7 games of theirs on TV but I have not seen many crowd shots showing groups of precocious youngsters all decked out in their matching Dragons U-10's kits. At most MLS games the only thing that outnumbers the youth teams is the empty seats.

That place rocks because it is mostly full of adults. Young adults and soon-to-be pensioners alike. Beer drinking dudes with their buddies and their ladies out for a day at the ball game, just like you see at an NFL or MLB game. But for whatever reason there seems to be a schism (and as Ferris Bueller once said "isms in general are bad") between catering to the kids or to adults.

Perhaps a lot of this boils down to the game day experience. Many people are sensitive to having children's ears infected with the vile sounds of pissed up supporters, and as a parent I honestly get that. But have you ever been to a Jets, Red Sox, Raiders, or Mets game? It's just as bad if not worse but no one seems too concerned, chalking it up to the game day experience (seriously, the Eagles had fucking jail at the Vet..they are that buck wild in PA!).

So why is it different for soccer? Is it because America has somehow managed to turn the sport of the people into the sport of the privileged, who's youth must be shielded at all cost? Is it because the powers that be are reluctant to change tactics? Or maybe (and hopefully I am wrong about this) they aren't sure how to reach the mainstream?

These are just 3 of the many half-baked theories I have. The action in the comments has been heating up lately so let's see if we can keep that fire burning; tell me what kind of marketing you think they should be doing or what you think of the youth/adult fan divide or if you think I'm full of it.



Alexi Lalas Blames Everyone But Himself

“This ridiculous schedule that we have been saddled with in an effort to appease everybody, on and off the field, has taken its toll. We have bent over backwards to help everybody but the Galaxy. A lot of people have made a tremendous amount of money on the back of what the Galaxy, with David, has brought to their markets this year and I hope that they remember that."

The preceding message was brought to you today courtesy of Alexi Lalas via The London Times. His Ginger Majesty ™ would like you to know that he has had nothing to do with the mishandling of Goldenballs or his club's season...after all he is only the GM of LA Galaxy. It's not like he runs the team or anything.

Is he for real? Is he having a bit of a freak out due to the hotness of the seat he sits on? Is he smokin' that shit? Two of the three are a real possibility.

MLS is not solely to blame for the cramped schedule. He can't claim innocence with the meaningless friendlies the club, not the league, has scheduled in
Vancouver& Minneapolis in the midst of the playoff run (that is if his team had a shot at the playoffs still)? And while other teams in the league may have had a 90 minute Beckham-induced financial windfall, it is nothing compared to the fat stacks that LA have made since his arrival.

I have a lot of love for Lalas (he bought me a beer once so I'm down for him) but this all sounds like the 11th hour ramblings of someone who can feel the axe tickling the hairs on the back of his neck. Someone whose team he (and the coach that he brought in) spent a good part of the season assembling then dismantling, then reassembling through a series of questionable trades. Someone who after different 3 GM jobs still comes across as more of a mouthpiece than a decision maker. Someone who may soon be asking "do you know the way to San Jose?"

Wizards Still Looking for Couch to Crash on in 08

"Oh give me a home where the T-Bones roam, and the Kansas City Wizards might play"

Would it be unfair of me to refer to the "situation" in Kansas City a debacle? I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm just really on the fence about it. On one hand I recognize that it's probably not the best thing for the league and for the loyal KC fans to go shifting clubs from city to city; it seems to have panned out (so far) for San Jose & Houston but it's not a gamble that should be taken with any regularity.

On the other hand there is more support in a pair of dollar store pantyhose than in Arrowhead, which they can't play in next year. Several of the surrounding municipalities have flirted with building a home for the club, but no one seems ready to take them home just. And although the new ownership group is stellar, the don't seem to be ready or able to pay for the whole thing themselves.

The housing issue is so desperate that there is talk of the Wizards setting up shop next year in a minor league ballpark. Who even knew KC had a minor-league team (insert Royals joke here)?

It's hard for me to talk considering what team I support and the overly long-running joke that is the Harrison stadium project. But a team in the New York area is as vital as turkey on Thanksgiving; you aren't major league if you aren't in New York. But if you are sharing a minor league stadium in Kansas City I'm not so sure.


Rumor: Miami Wants Back in MLS

And they want to play in this proposed baseball stadium.

No. No. No. Not even for old times sake. You can read about it half way down the page here. I'm assuming there weren't Jai Alai facilities large enough to accommodate a pitch so this was the next best (or is it worst) thing.

What do you think? Would you be cool with an RFK redux or is the time for begging for a seat at someone else's table over?

Chicago Blackout

Hands up if you saw Blanco play this weekend?

TOR would like to take this opportunity to issue a public appeal for any footage from Saturday's Chicago v. KC match. Word is that the Hunchback of Bridgeview ™ ran things once again for Chicago. I know it was on HDnet so at least 6 people saw it and may have footage to upload. For some odd reason there are no highlights available at MLSnet.

There are only 6 games a week in this league, surely it can't be that hard to get footage of them all. I'm sure that there is some reason for this, most likely related to broadcast rights or technical difficulties, but it really is a shame that this game seems to be a myth. Blanco is making the impact on the field that Becks should be (and probably will next season should he be healthy) and people need to see that; if Sportscenter isn't going to show the highlights have them all available online at least.

Chicago were playing some of the worst soccer in the league at the beginning of the year; since Blanco's arrival they are 3-1-1. I won't (and can't because it will soil my soul to do so) give him all the credit, but it's got to be said that he has been a much-needed kick to the ass of this team. Any player that can make that kind of impact needs to be pimped out hard, even if his name is not Beckham.


Portland Packs PGE Park

Rose City had over 15K+ souls in attendance last night for their last home game of the season (vs. Charleston Battery). And this is after gone without a win in the last seven matches. Folks, that is true passion. That is true support. Those are true fans.

Soccer City USA has an incredible photo of the scene here. Kansas City, New York, and Columbus you are officially on notice....support your local side.


This Ain't a League it's An Arms Race

Sorry for the Fall Out Boy reference in the title but I have been waiting for the day to use that line since February. I knew that before the season was out the events required to have it make sense would transpire and that the right time would come. That time is now.

It's taken a little while but the onslaught of foreign talent that some thought the Designated Player Rule would bring about seems to be coming to pass. With ESPN reporting that FC Dallas' signing of Brazilian midfielder Denilson is to be announced on Friday, this will bring the total number of DP's in the league to 5. And while Claudio Reyna has been a disappointment that is on par with the final episode of The Sopranos, the remaining DP trio of David Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel, and Cuauhtémoc Blanco has done the business.

But it's not just the DP's that have had nipples hard from Columbus to California. Several clubs have come up trumps with Kristal talent at Moet prices; the phenomenal Juan Toja in Dallas, KC's Marinelli, Boca Juniors legend Schelotto in Columbus and LA's signing of Portuguese international Abel Xavier (which still has people wondering how they got him for only $156,000) have all paid off dividends on the field.

Even a couple of bottom shelf imports that have been brought into the league like the Korbel-priced Maykel Galindo and New York's speedy half-bottle of Asti, Dane Richards, have made an impact that are well above their cost. In a nut shell it don't matter if it's moonshine or Manishevitz, just get some liquor for the party.

MLS hasn't seen this much non-American talent since the days of the Clinton administration and dare I say it, it's only going to get better with the coming of each transfer window. This year everybody is stocking up on canned goods & shotguns and are just trying to ride out the latter half of the season in hopes of scrapping it out in the playoffs. Next season when Becks, Blanco, Angel, Xavier et al have full seasons to bump heads with next year's class of off-the-boat ballers....pffft, it's gonna be on like Donkey Kong.

Mark my words, if you think this season has been good next year will have you sending chocolates to Dan Courtemanche and getting "I Heart MLS" tatooed over that lame-ass tribal thing you got down in Cancun on Spring Break.

This Just In: Fulham Sign Keller

Ok so it has just gotten ridiculous over at Craven Cottage. Apparently Chris Coleman isn't the only person who wants Fulham stocked with yank players as new manager Lawrie Sanchez has signed Kasey Keller. Seriously, they are one Oguchi Onyewu away from officially being "the cat lady" of the EPL.

As a former resident of SW6 and long time supporter I am sooooo stoked; it's been shit between the posts since Man U. poached Van Der Sar. But with 4 Americans on the club now (the club also has for N. Ireland players) I'm waiting for notification of a press conference where Don Garber will announce Fulham as the newest MLS expansion team.

Zero Angle: Lighting Struck Twice

Wanna see something freaky? Check out these clips of Youri Djorkaeff's no angle game-winner vs. New England and Juan Pablo Angel's no angle game-winner vs. Los Angeles. Both occurred after the 85th minute in games that were won 5-4, and fumbled into the net by the keepers.

Kinda creepy innit?

Also, my boy Binks pointed out to me in a possibly drunken late night text message that 5 of the 10 highest-scoring MLS games have featured The Team Formerly Known As Metro.


Found: Danny Karbassiyoon

Remember that young American kid Danny Karbassiyoon who was briefly at Arsenal a while back? He had a dream start to his career by scoring the game winner in the 90th minute of his 1st match for the London side (which BTW would be like losing your virginity to Selma Hayek & Penelope Cruz at the same time), but then disappeared into Championship League obscurity with Ipswich Town and Burnley. Then things really went tits-up when his knee went out repeatedly; dude was forced to retire at the tender age of 22.

So what happens to a retiree who is still 30+ years away from his AARP card and a condo in Boca Raton? He gets a job as
a scout for Arsenal. It sho 'nuff ain't the high of playing at Highbury but it's still pretty rad that he's involved in the game at that level.

I was really wondering what happened to that kid; thank God he is alive and well, which is more than anyone can say for John O'Brien...where the hell is he? I swear he is the Richey Manic of the sports world.

Why Not Colina?

A sheep, yesterday: "Collina son, what?!"

Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers (who incidentally looks like the love child of Liev Shriber and Paul Rudd) has put together a hit list of big-name foreign players that MLS should hitch it's wagons to. While most are not too surprising and would definitely be Beyonce-sized hits on the pitch, it's the final name that might be the most interesting.

Number 10 on the list is Pierluigi Collina. Aka "The Alien". Aka the best ref to ever call the game. Sure it's a long shot but call him up. Judging by the adverts he's done, he'll do anything for money it seems...why not school a nation on the art of controlling a game?

At a stroke the glaring inadequacies of Kevin Stott and Mauricio Navarro would shine as big and bright as George Hamilton's teeth. Once he called a game there would be no going back to the land of unjustified yellow cards and unseen muggings which is sadly frequented by a few MLS refs. I'm not saying he's perfect, but he would bring justice not seen since the Nuremberg trials.

And we could all use a little Justice in our lives.

FC Dallas: Shaka's Out but is Denilson In?

In an announcement that sounds like it came down from the Vatican or La Costa Nostra, FC Dallas are 'allowing' Shaka Hislop to retire. What a bust that signing was, right? It's the goalkeeping equivalent of the Sergio Galvan Rey debacle.

The article also states that reports out of France are that Denilson has agreed to sign with the team. If this comes to pass every other club in the league should start outfitting their backline with Depends as the thought of him and Toja in the midfield feeding balls to El Pescadito and FrankenCooper will surely leave a few defenders with soiled shorts.

ESPN to Air NY-LA 'Instant Classic'

It's been almost 5 full days since the Mayhem in the Meadowlands™ and we should all stop talking about it because it is only going to make it that much harder to watch a nil-nil draw between Chivas USA and Columbus but I have just one thing to add. That match was so ill that ESPN Classic has made it the 1st "Instant Classic" for MLS and will rebroadcast the match on Thursday at 7pm EST.

Not only is this an impressive feat for MLS but for soccer in general; the last time I recall them granting a footie match Instant Classic status was that insane Liverpool come-from-behind Champions League match against AC Milan a few years back. Set your DVR's to stun.


Will the MLS Win By LA Losing?

Last week I was taken with the notion that Landon and Becks would soon get to beefin' with one another and that they would become the new Shaq & Kobe. In the days since Landycakes has handed over the captain's armband and has sung David's praises in the press so I think that prophecy may not come to pass.

Instead of the Lakers I now think they are looking more like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals at the same time. I mean they bring the crowd (Harlem) but they've let the home teams of DC, New England, New York get the win (Washington). It sounds, and is, a bit half-cocked and wishy-washy, but it's kinda the truth.

And it's a good thing too; instead of LA coming to town and wiping the floor with the home team's blood spilled all over it a la Michael Jordan's Bulls, you get a good show with the home fans possibly leaving with some interest in checking out the home team. All in all it might be the best thing for the league if they carry on their losing ways for the remainder of the road games this season, win at home and win the Superliga final; next season they come out guns blazin' and looking for vengeance on the road all season long.

Just something to think about in between episodes of
The Real World….18 years and they still manage to find the 7 most attractive sociopaths ages between 18-26.

Coffee Table Bookings

So just last week my missus dropped the opening salvo in her bid to get a new coffee table. She tends to be the one to take the reigns on issues of home décor, and she's got pretty good taste so I don't put up much resistance (much like PYT-era Michael Jackson "I'm a lover not a fighter").

After coming across this sweet, multifunctional number I stand behind her 100% that we need a new coffee table as long as it is this one. This steel and oak table has a working mirrored foosball pitch underneath the glass table top is hand made so it ain't cheap…but $7600 is such a small price to keep a happy home isn't it?

MK Dons Kit Sponsor Goes to 11

For my money (of which there is shockingly little), English League Two side MK Dons aka The Club Formerly Known As Wimbledon FC have probably got the TOR Award for Best Kit Sponsor (professional side) on lock this year.

That's their new kit pictured above with Marshall Amps on the front and it's about as awesome as having scotch & chocolate at the same time .

Still though, they have nothing on these little heathens who currently hold that amateur title. Can't wait to see them in ten years time, post rehab in the Sunday pub leagues.
Thanks to Patient Boy for the tip off.

RBNY TV Ratings More Horrific Than Attendance

I hate to put family business out in the street but like my therapist says, sometimes you just have to tell someone. I love my RBNY but I may be one of the few.

It's no secret that Red Bull New York has not been lighting up the numbers attendance wise (their most recent home game aside). And it's fairly well known that their on-air ratings for local tv are less than stellar. But damn if seeing the numbers in the flesh doesn't make you a little queasy then you should start astronaut training now as you have the type of iron-stomach that NASA would pay dearly for.

The New York Times soccer blog
Goal is reporting that "this season, the team is averaging a meager 1,031 households on MSG and FSNY, which is still 40 percent higher than last year’s 736." How depressing is that? As depressing as this.

1,031 viewers. In the nations largest metropolitan area. Pathetic. Seriously, Guy-Roland Kpene has probably shagged more people than that. And he's got a horrible left foot and even worse hair.


PTI Talks MLS, Materazzi`

Ugh, Kornheiser. To watch him play the dinosaur sportswriter role is really sad. We're talking Bambi's mom dying sad. He wants to change the rules of the game to make it, presumably, more palatable to American tastes; he's never heard about the failure's that were the NASL's 35-yd line or the MLS shootouts apparently.

Once again Wilbon gets to look like the voice of reason amongst the mainstream sportswriters when it comes to American soccer. He seems to be one of the few who get it; Bryant Gumbel and he have become our advocates and someday in the future we shall erect statues of bronze in their honor.

One last thing about Kornheiser; is he a boozer? Dude looks like he just rolled out of a Reno casino at 5a.m. Tony if you have a problem it is never too late for help...seek it.

Jozy is "the Black Beckham"

Please excuse me for regurgitating this image; I created and used it months ago but I think only 30 people read this blog at the time so I'm ok with going back to the well if you are. It just goes with this entry.

At the tail-end of this NY Daily News article it is mentioned that Jozy jokingly refers to himself as "the Black Beckham". While I think the kid has the potential to be a truly great player in the future, I think he has a hell of a way to go before he is comparable to Goldenballs off the field.

I'll give it up to him for hanging with Petra Nemcova but even though it's not a bad celebrity score for an MLS player anyone can get a cameo with Wyclef these days.

Um, Can You Say "Holy Innuendo"?

Another classic from the David Beckham erotic photo collection.

Ladies and bi-curious gentlemen, if you've ever spent a lonely evening with the marital aid of your choice wondering to yourself just exactly how David Beckham "hits it", wonder no more. The Fieldturf at Giants Stadium can join Posh, and (allegedly) Rebecca Loos on the list of carpets that Goldenballs has brushed up against.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City

I know we're all (myself included) still sprung on that thing that happened out in Jersey over the weekend but let's not forget that there were other games going on as well. One of which was going on out in Salt Lake City and featured what might be the goal of the year.

The Hunchback of Bridgeview ™ cracked one left-to-right into the upper 90 from 24yds out. When you watch this clip it feels like some sort of gravity beam was used or that the ball was at the end of a retractable string hidden inside the goal post. Unbelievable.

I can't stand the old bastard when he lines up for El Tri, but in an MLS uniform I appreciate him a drunken 2 a.m. trip to McDonald's (because that's when the true flavour of a quarter-pounder is revealed).

About That LA-NY Goalfest the Other Night...

Where you there? Where you watching in a bar? Where you screaming at the television at home? Either way you saw one of, if not THE most exciting MLS games ever. PEER-EE-UD. Seriously, this game was like when Public Enemy put out Fear of a Black Planet and you just knew that you had seen the future. 2 days later I am still hoarse and I am still getting calls from people who hadn't been to an MLS game before but are now down like clowns for the next one.

Saturday night was a realization of what this league has wanted to be for the past 12 years. Call me an optimist or merely delusional but this match feels like it might be the turning point and I'm not the only one who this so. NASL historian Dave Brett Waser told me it was "one of the greatest matches I've ever seen, and I've seen a few." He sent me this note over the weekend:

"There could be some parallel history developing here. June 19, 1977 was the first time the Cosmos drew over 60,000 fans. Pele scored all three goals, and the Cosmos beat the Rowdies 3-1. The enthusiasm for soccer in NY lasted long after Pele retired. Thirty years ago, a great game in front of a huge crowd helped make the Cosmos the "it" thing. Will history repeat itself with the Red Bulls?

I used to think that MLS had to have a team named "Cosmos" to draw huge crowds in the New York area on a regular basis. I just thought that NY fans would never accept a team other than the Cosmos. Now I am not so sure.

Dave Wasser Austin, TX "

Will history repeat itself? I hope so...the vibe was electric, the goals came in bunches, the home team won and Becks didn't disappoint. Seems to me like everyone got what they wanted. Something that does temper my optimism is the amount of people rocking Beckham jerseys; it's great that the league finally has a superstar that is identified with it that can sell merch, but it is bizarre and worrisome to see so many people who are there to support a player, and not either one of the teams. Hopefully these fans don't leave when he leaves.

The other unfortunate thing is that NYC didn't do too well in the celebrity fan stakes. In LA they get Eva Longoria, Katie Holmes, and Jennifer Love Hewitt; in New York we got this guy.

And in case you didn't know, you know now that Ed Hardy gear is officially as over as Von Dutch.


I Got Nothin'

I'm swimming. If you happen to be at Beckhampalooza tommorow at Giants Stadium stop by the 1st annual TOR Champagne Tailgate at the ESC tailgate in lot 16A. Holla.


Superliga So Good it Needs a New Logo

Altidore Can Write as Well as Play

Jozy Altidore is blogging for the New York Times Goal blog. Outstanding...the kid is just so polished (and skilled and big) you just can't believe he's only 17.

Houston Gets $7.5 Million from Shirt Sponsor

So much for not disclosing the financial terms of this deal. Amigo Energy is shelling out $7.5 million over 4 years for the front of Houtson's kit. God damn, that seems like a lot of money to me. The league is getting about that from ESPN a year though, so maybe it's not.

Houston so far hasn't given the impression that they are looking to bring in a big name DP, but that's a good piece of scratch to go shopping with if you were. If they can make it to MLS Cup again with the crew they have assembled right now I think they might sit tight and forgo making a splash with the cash. Also if LA wants a second DP slot for next year (which we all know they do) AEG shenanigans will be in full effect to make Houston give them theirs if they still aren't expressing interest in using it.

Do I know this for sure, nope. Could I see it happening, absolutely.

The Rapture, Bad Brains Rock for MLS

You people can't score no more
You just stand there like this
You cross your arms and stare around
And whinge and moan and diss

The Rapture "Whoo! Alright, Yeah… Uh Huh" (RBNY Remix)

Seriously y'all I am fucking speechless. One of my favorite bands, The Rapture, has reworked one of their singles into a RBNY anthem I just don’t know what to say. I have been saying forever that MLS needs to some things marketing wise that are a bit sexier than group youth sales; now that they've done it I am paralyzed with confusion. For months I've been seeing all these ads, posters & stickers for the Adidas Represent but never checked out the website. I finally get my ass over there and check it out only to discover that it kinda rules.

Each club has had an 'anthem' created for them by some band or other. You can download the song, and even make a video for it using Jumpcut. Click the thumbnail below for the TOR remix for RBNY…which is probably the 1st time I have ever done anything remotely related to my film degree.

I may lose any cred I have as a fan of The Team Formerly Known As Metro by saying this but I am envious of DC United. I don't know who the old school anarcho-punk is in their front office but they somehow got Bad Brains (fucking Bad Brains!) to their anthem for them. They even titled the song "D.C. United" and name drop Luciano Emilio, which is somewhat cheesy but I am nonetheless completely jealous. But dud they get a little too bourgie by giving props to P.G. County?

jumpcut movie:RBNY 2007 The Offside Rules Remix
Watch the TOR video remix.

Download: The Rapture "Whoo! Alright, Yeah...Uh Huh"


Video: Freddy Adu's Takes the Field for Benfica

You never forget your first time (unless you were ruffied). The Biggest Midget in the Game debuted for Benfica vs. Copenhagen in the Champions League yesterday. I'll bet Salt Lake City seems like so long ago.

Kiwis May Get Bucks for Becks Tour 07 Stop

Some hobbits, yesterday.

Why fly halfway around the globe to the land of OZ for a single game when you can make another cool million by getting off the plane for a kick-about when you stop to refuel? That seems to be the question Alexi Lalas and Team AEG are asking themselves as they mull over a match in New Zealand in November.

I'd do it just to go to the land of hobbits, screw the cash. Well I'd take the cash since it's on offer but how rad would it be to go New Zealand? Any country that produced Crowded House and Anna Paquin has got to be worth a pit-stop.

Oh, and Flight of the Conchords are from there! Billing themselves as "New Zealand's fourth most popular folk-parody duo" this show is the best comedy on TV right now (but we'll see who holds that title once The Office comes back on in the fall). The line "You're so beautiful, like a high-class prostitute" from the song in the clip below has me howling everytime.

Scarves: Not Just for Ultras, Cold Grannies

It's hard to start talking fall fashion and shit when it's hot as balls outside, but let's talk scarves. If you resemble anything close to hardcore you know that there doesn't need to be leaves on the ground to support your side through neckwear. It is a custom amongst supporters the world over that is as beloved as a final boozy sing-a-long before making your way home after a game.

New Jersey indie-punk stalwart & serious soccer fan
Ted Leo adapted this tradition to fit his own agenda; he wants you to represent for him and his band The Pharmacists by eshewing the played out band T-shirt and getting yourself wrapped up in one of their own kick-ass scarves. They were created to promote thier new album "Living With the Living" and you can buy one here. I've actually got one hanging on the back of my chair right now.

Ted also had an album out a few year's ago called "Hearts of Oak ", which if you don't know his music is probably the best place to start short of hiding in his bathroom to hear him sing in the shower. Incidently,
Hearts of Oak is the name of one of the most popular clubs from Ghana . It's also the title of the official march of the British Royal Navy, but one look at the album cover tells you which one dude was paying hommage to.

And as a random aside, there was
this post about him on Brooklynvegan today with a photo that I can't explain. I have no idea what is going on here but it looks too intimate to occur on a stage in front of 4,000 people.

Houston's Facial Scoring, New Shirt Sponsor

Did you see last nights 3-hour Superliga marathon match? At around the 4th minute Houston's Dwayne DeRosario scored off his face. Not "off his face" like he was all liquored up (although that is always a possibility, and would explain some of his later finishing attempts), but HE KICKED THE BALL INTO HIS OWN FACE AND SCORED from about 9 yards out. How do you even physically do that? Sadly though the parlour tricks weren't enough to keep the Orange Crush in the tournament and they have now given up their shot at $1million dollars.

They shouldn't fret too much as they are due to announce that they have found a shirt sponsor in Amigo Energy. I have no idea what Amigo Energy is paying for the privilege but I'd guess that the opportunity to have Craig Weibel's nipples underneath your name would not come cheap.

Supporters Clubs Getting Mainstream Press Love

For whatever reason, the non-soccer press has decided to converge on the Ultras of MLS this week. The Washington Post and the New York Observer both ran stories this week about the hardcore fans in their respective cities; The Post piece seems genuine and largely positive, while the Observer article has a lot of truth but is told in the snide condescending tone that is seeming innate to New York writers. (EDIT: When it rains, it pours buckets of Stella...The Guardian got the memo today as well and ran a story on TFC supporters.)

Hat's off to all of the DC and RBNY supporters in the articles, you now have your 15 minutes. As I was not mentioned in either article my time is still to come.

Even though they didn't light up the news stands this week I'd like to give a shout out all the other supporters groups doing it big week in, week out....without your songs, style, banners, and passion there would be as much atmosphere in an MLS stadium as there is at a children's piano recital.

Shout outs to...
Los Angeles Riot Squad
The Galaxians Fan Club

Hoops Nation
Kearny Army
Raging Bull Nation
Red Patch Boys
Section 8 Chicago
Sons of Ben (MLS fan club)
The Inferno
Centennial Firm Supporters Club
The Cauldron
The Casbah (Welcome back boys)
Midnight Riders Supporters' Club


Meola Quests to Play All Known Forms of Football

Did you know fat Tony from Jersey was playing around with Jets for a minute? After one of the World Cups but before the MLS he was flirting with pointy-ball for a minute but didn't make the cut if I recall. Since he's done with MLS he's going to try his hand at yet another form of football; this time it's the indoor game, as he has just signed on for MISL expansion side New Jersey Ironmen.

According to the linked article there was a press conference to announce his signing; no one even showed up for Bob Bradleys coronation as National team coach so I can only imagine how many, or how few, people show for an indoor club presser. And they probably don't have the catering budget that US Soccer has.

Oh well. Maybe once he retires from this he'll have a little something left in the tank to try his hand at Aussie Rules. Just so long as he doesn't try to reprise his role in Tony & Tina's Wedding.

This Just In: US Roster for Sweden Announced


Goalkeepers (2) – Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Tim Howard (Everton FC)

Defenders (6) – Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

Midfielders (6) – DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)

Forwards (5) – Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Kamani Hill (VfL Wolfsburg), Josh Wolff (1860Munich), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)

A few quick comments. Sal Zizzo has made the senior team and I for one am stoked. Will Alexi Lalas petition to keep Donovan stateside as LA's slim chance of making the playoffs would definitley fly away with him (he would miss 2 vital Western Conference games)? No EJ?

What do you think?

FSC Free-view: Better Than "Skinemax" Free-view?

If you read this blog you probably already have Fox Soccer Channel and there is no need to continue reading this post. If you don't have FSC listen up; there is a 10 day free preview beginning this weekend….just in time for Saturdays coverage of the New Jersey stop on the Bucks for Beckham 07 tour.

Genius move on the part of FSC to capitalize on what will be one of the marquee matches and biggest crowds of the MLS season. Keep an eye on the pre-game coverage as I may try to bum rush the show. But I might be too drunk since we're going to start the tailgate at 11 a.m. for the 7.30 p.m. kickoff. Excessive, maybe. Warranted, absolutely.

Check out some of the other top shelf matches that will be yours for the taking: start laying the groundwork now to call in to work Aug. 22nd.

Sat., Aug. 18
Major League Soccer:New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
7:00 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 19
Barclays Premier League:Liverpool vs. Chelsea FC
11:00 a.m.

Wed. Aug. 22
International Friendly: Brazil vs. Algeria
12:30 p.m.

International Friendly:Sweden vs. United States
2:30 p.m.

International Friendly:England vs. Germany
5:00 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25
Barclays Premier League:Arsenal vs. Manchester City
10:00 a.m.

Major League Soccer:Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
7:00 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 26
Barclays Premier League:Manchester United vs. Tottenham
11:00 a.m.

All Times Eastern Standard

Who the Fuck is Michael Enfield?

"I'd rather play with Juninho that sit on the bench with Becks"- Galaxy reject Michael Enfield

Guess what champ, you'll do neither playing in Australia. You may get to play against Becks in a friendly but from what I recall from your brief time in Galaxy gold & green, Sydney FC would be better served to have a wombat on the field.

And speaking of the Gals former colors, why the hell didn't they ever do anything with Bishop Don "Magic" Juan? No one worked those colors better than him...ever!


Galaxy Are the Lakers Sans Rape Charge, Winning

"It's been wild, but fun, and it's been good for us. The downside is, they're rooting for David, not for us." - Landon Donovan to the Boston Globe, 8/12/07

Landon Donovan is a very polished, professional player. He is also quite used to being a big fish in a small pond. And as cool as he has been about his replacement as Galaxy, AEG, and MLS poster child I can't help but taste a little poison in that last line; "They're rooting for David, not for us."

As you may or may not be aware, if Landon is to play for the Galaxy next season he will have to take a gargantuan pay cut or the Galaxy will have to acquire another DP slot, something so valuable that I honestly don't think they will spend it on Donovan. Not that he isn't talented, but the bar has been raised; a quality DP (not Claudio Reyna) needs to put asses in seats as well as balls in the net and I'm sad to say I don't think Landycakes is the guy for a club with LA's ambitions.

If you take all that and factor in a few more of these controversy-baiting headlines that say Landon plays second fiddle to Becks , and the City of Angels could potentially see a rehash of the days when two Los Angeles basketball players behaved like a couple that should be divorced. And with that I submit to you the following question:

Will Donovan & Beckham be the new Shaq & Kobe? Or will they behave like another great LA tandem of yore, Magic and Kareem?

Either way Chivas are now officially the Clippers (as if there was ever any doubt).

Yet Another Reason to Call Him "Cletus"...

Clint Mathis and Joe Vide (who has been a "sparkplug" in the RBNY midfield recently) where in Pennsylvania last week for the running of the Poconos 500. Spotted here in front of the number 83 Red Bulls car, the boys took in lunch with the driver, toured the pits and presumedly drank beer.

I got nothing against NASCAR and have actually had a mild curiousity to go to a race ever since I saw Stroker Ace. My brother & sister-in-law do the whole RV thing and go to a few races a year. They always offer to take me but something in me feels that as a southerner it would just be horribly cliche...that and all the confederate flags everywhere makes my stomach turn.

Am I overthinking this? Seriously, let me know because I've quit seeing my therapist.

Jozy Altidore's Got Game

Jozy, Jozy
Jozy, Jozy
Born is the king of New York & Jersey

Henry "In Da Club" with 50 Cent

50 Cent meets Thierry Henry in Paris

Damn, y'all it just all thug life in here. About 1 minute into this video of 50 Cent's recent show in Paris he brings a special guest on stage by the name of Thierry Henry, who couldn't possibly look less street. I think his sweater is cashmere (and there is no cashmere in hip hop). He also looks a little tipsy, and possibly concerned for his safety as 50 has him in a Chris Benoit-style headlock.

Backstage, Henry gives grinning 50 a Henry-embossed Barcelona kit, which doesn't look that bad on him so look for hoodrats from Compton to Queens to start rocking La Liga gear. Too bad his stage show is a diamond-encrusted jewel of an example of why live hip hop should not be performed by anyone not called The Roots, Common, or Blackstar.


After the Show it's the Afterparty...

After the show it's the after party and
After the party is the hotel lobby and
After the Belve then it's probably Cris, and
After the original it was probably this

Jay-Z's verse on R.Kelly's "Fiesta"

Apparently Cobi & Becks are now the MLS Paris & Nicole and were out on the drink in Chocolate City last night after the game. You can read the whole silly story from tomorrow's Washington Post Style section; with respect to Rob & Big, they are probably the coolest "one guy is way more popular than the other" interracial couple since Crockett & Tubbs.

This photo isn't from the after party but a pre-game trip to Starbucks, so you know they are bros for sure. Getting caffeinated in public together is one step below going steady. Victoria shouldn't worry too much though because David is still rockin' cargo shorts...and if you've see Superbad you know that "no one has gotten a hand job in cargo shorts since 'Nam".

That's all I got for today, I need to go home kiss the wife & child and take a nap before the Black Rebel Motorcyle Club show tonight. Rock it out y'all.

Daft Punk and an Art Punk

This video is why today I am feeling, to quote Whithnail from Withnail & I, "like a pig has shat in my head"; I was out reliving my disco youth at the absolutely incredible Daft Punk gig at Coney Island last night. Equal parts rock show, rave and stadium house visual art installation, shit was like nothing I have ever seen before and I see on average 2 concerts a week people. Then I was up until 3am last night because I was watching the just above average DC-LA match on DVR. I should have skipped the DVR and just watched this clip from the local DC news station.

The star of this clip is not Goldenballs but quasi-legendary soccer agit-humorist Thomas Binkley. Did you notice the back of his custom number 23 Galaxy kit?

Priceless. Maybe you have seen one of his earlier pieces, such as his infamous Calvin-augmented DC United kit. The soccer dads love it, Barra Brava not so much.

Currently a resident of Northern Virginia and a New York Red Bull season ticket holder, Mr. Binkley is not only a friend but a hero. He was voted Red Bull fan of the year last season, no doubt due to the fact that he drove to every home game last season from Virginia. This year he's upping the ante by running the gauntlet with these licence plates.

Binks I think I may have just put out a fatwa on you in the capital area but I know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Report: Zidane Offer From Sydney

If you can't join 'em, beat 'em? That might be the mindset of retired French bad ass Zinedine Zidane who is said to be contemplating joining Sydney FC for a one-off match against LA Galaxy this fall . Not that he "can't" join them, it's more like "won't" join them unless a ludicrous salary larger than the GDP of Denmark can be agreed upon.

I'm not going to bag on organizing or attending friendly games as I have been know to shell out for many a meaningless match myself. But I do think that bringing non-roster players, no matter how great they are, cheapens the product a bit; with over 45K tickets sold for the match since Wednesday I don't they really need to resort to RBNY-esque sideshow gimmicks like this to sell the place out.


A Screaming Eagles Instant Classic

Good thing Becks isn't married to Christina Aguilera or the DC supporters wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Courtesy of AOL Sports.

New York Times Scores with "Goal"

One of my favorite blogs right now is Goal, the soccer blog of the New York Times. Originally created to follow this year's Copa America, it has now (thankfully) taken on a life of it's own and looks like it might stick around even though Copa is as over as John O'Brien's career.

Much like Adam Spangler at ThisisAmericanSoccer, NYT soccer stalwart Jack Bell and Jeffrey Marcus bring a cultured, learned sense of writing to the soccer blog table...the kind of chops that what serve them well even outside of the realm of sports writing. Needless to say Goal has become daily reading for me along with Soccer By Ives, Soccer Insider, Pitch Invasion and TIAS.

What are you reading daily? I'm looking to update my links soon with some new blood; let me know what's good.