After reading Christian Miles' (yes, the one from FSC) piece for the New York Times on Brad Guzan's European chances I was feeling all happy for the kid and whatnot; what young player wouldn't benefit from playing for Martin O'Neil in the EPL? Then I flip over to SBI and Ives is saying it's curtains on the Aston Villa deal and dudes chance to rule Britania is gonna have to wait.
Maybe the EPL is just saying "enough is enough" right now in regard to American players…and maybe to keepers in particular. So I start thinking he could still go to Celtic or even Auxerre. But then ESPN says he's going to stay at Chivas USA and continue to rule southern California which I selfishly wouldn't mind seeing.
Just check out the list of guys who have left the league for the discos and fine motorcars of Europe this off-season:
Eddie Johnson (Fulham)
Joseph Ngwenya (SK Austria Karnten)
Clint Mathis (Ergotelis FC)
Nate Jaqua (SC Rheindorf Altach)
Andy Dorman (St. Mirren)
Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin)
Pat Noonan (Aalesund FK)
Clarence Goodson (IK Start)
Troy Perkins (Valerenga)
Will John (Randers FC)
Chris Gbandi (Haugesund)
That's a starting XI with a few guys playing out of position. And if Matt Pickens and a couple of others who are currently on trial make the leap it'll be a jailbreak the likes of which have never been seen in this league. So I'm down for Guzanito staying and keeping it quality at here at home and hopefully he is too. It'd be a real shame if he's already done something really Euro like buying a Vespa or something.
You may not know who Michael Hitchcock is but he's kinda like a genius or something. Less than 10 years ago he was an entry level Corporate Ticket Sales Representative for DC United. By 2005 he was General Manager of FC Dallas. Folks that's like going from McDonald's fry guy to VP in about the time it would take you to get through med school, but much harder because you're not paying anyone for this privilege.
A fine example of him being smarter than the average bear was his insistence on a rain-check appearance by David Beckham's Galaxy after our kid was marked absent for their Superliga match. He struck while the iron was hot and got a quick commitment on a charity match before the powers that be were able to put the kibosh on any make-up dates. Nice move on his part to exploit the situation; if this soccer thing doesn't work out he'd be one hell of a lawyer or an accountant.
Anywho, the date for the charity match has finally been announced as March 15th at Pizza Hut Park. Women and children beware, the first MLS ticket rush of the season is about to commence!
I don't know who this Canadian-Brit kid Kayvon is but, holy ADD can this nutter ask a lot of questions in a short period of time. He also possesses a shocking amount of knowledge on the Clinton-era US National Team for a foreigner. I can think of a couple of announcers that could use a history workshop from this guy for reals.
This video cracks me up because I can't tell if the interviewer is taking the piss or if Alexi even knows he's being interviewed since it looks the dude just ambushed him Việt Cộng-style outside of his Vancouver hotel room. I also can't tell if Kayvon is serious when he says he's going to on the road to follow UB40.
I mean they had a couple joints way back when ("One in Ten" was my jam) but son you are too young and they are too over...go listen to something current that will make you seem relevant to women, like Collin Munroe's Kanye-jacking "I Want Those Flashing Lights".
The only man to ever rep for the Yanks and El Tri is following Juergen Klinsmann to the Bundesliga. Chivas USA assistant Martin Vasquez has been tabbed to aid the German coach with his newly acquired Bayern Munich side.
Congratulations to you Martin. May Europe treat you well then send you on your way back to a head coaching job in the States a la Osorio. We can always use the help.
See that fresh ink? Swear to God it's only a matter of time before our kid starts looking like Mike Ness out of Social Distortion. If tough is what he's aiming for, he's getting there.
It appears that Becks found some chair-time whilst traveling the world this off season to train with Arsenal, visit Sierra Leone and open a new Academy in Brazil. And judging from the smile on his face he's happy with the work. As for the other picture, dude looks like he'd clock you in a minute if you messed around and said the wrong thing, so maybe he doesn't need the tat's to look tough...but it does beat having to walk around everyday with that positively psychotic look on his face.
Becks if you're reading (and we all know you're not but maybe you have an assistant or back scrubber who is) be careful; Santino Qauranta was the shit until he got those three stars on his left forearm. Now where is he? I really believe that there may be an MLS tatoo jinx.
The Rochester mystery investor mentioned yesterday has come forward. He is a 31 year-old New Jersey-based Britain by the name of Dan Williams and he's as serious as a heart attack about investing a chunk of his cash into soccer, most likely in the Rhinos.
In an informative interview published in the Rochester Democrat & Herald, Williams says that "if we were to go ahead and say Rochester will be our first choice of investment in U.S. soccer, there's absolutely nothing I can foresee that would stop that from happening." To upstate NY fanaticos, that's got to sound as good as the new VHS or Beta single.
Also worth noting is that Williams recently spent 7 months negotiating to buy EPL side Blackburn Rovers but according to him those talks are currently "on hold". Which is good because he he'll then be able to fully concentrate his efforts on the current trend of Brits buying American teams and Yanks buying British sides. May the circle remain unbroken.
Not an hour after I'm thinking Philly's got it locked up, St. Louis Soccer United drop a full-on, finger-waving "oh no you didn't" on the proceedings. As if on cue the Centre Daily Times runs a story trumpeting the city of Collinsville OKing a Tax Increment Financing plan to help fund the proposed stadium out there. I guess this ain't over (or at least some folks in Missouri & Illinois don't think so).
Which is hot and all but still doesn't solve the issue of a potential lack of depth in the ownership group's pockets. Regardless, you can read the article about it here but be warned that some of the wording and the timing makes this read more like paid editorial than a proper article.
This thing is going to be an Obama-Clinton style horse race down to the wire. Hopefully whoever loses will be the favorite in the next race...truthfully I'd like to see them both in the winners circle.
If you happen to reside in or around Gotham, keep an eye out at the airports and train stations for Don Garber. If you see him headed toward Philly, or making lunch plans with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on his Blackberry give us a holler. Somethings brewing in the Illadephia and it ain't a new Roots album.
If the Delco Times has got it right and haven’t fallen into the ever-perilous world attempting to break a soccer story, it seems that 'Peanut Butter Jelly Time' may have finally arrived for Philly's fanaticos. According to today's paper the state of Pennsylvania is poised to release $45 million in aid of constructing Chester's SSS. And if that's the case hearts will be breaking in St. Louis while the SoB's are singing out.
The caption is not a swing at Beckham. His plan to benefit the local youth through scholarships to his new Brazilian academy is totally admirable. But seriously, what does the Brazilian youth need to learn from him aside from the obvious superb free-kick skills? Not creativity. Not ball-handling skills. And certainly not playing with style. I think this may be the biggest case of 'coals to Newcastle' since....well ever.
Now what David can offer these kids is classes in making money. Seriously. Teach them about contracts, endorsements, and branding. Because when it comes to that no one does it better than Goldenballs. He also ain't bad at playing keepy-uppy in the South American surf.
The following is an actual song from the terrace's. Never thought -and certainly don't wish- it could actually be applied to anyone in the game but sadly life is full of disappointment.
There's only ooooone Jo Okoh
There's only ooooone Jo Okoh
With a packet of sweets
and a cheeky little smile
Okoh is a f___ing pedophile
If you happen to be a child of the 80's, had older siblings from the 70's or just have a thing for smooth music you have to get into Yacht Rock. That is unless you've already discovered the greatest, most awesome thing ever commited to video that does not involve free kicks or girls who have gone wild. So if you haven't met the show's host Hollywood Steve, get caught up on all his ridonkulous tale's of 70's/80's pop schlock at YachtRock.com.
The video above is the most recent episode and within it you will find Jason Lee portraying Kevin Bacon, James Ingram and Michael McDonald on a drunken, rum-fueled machete massacre and Kenny Loggins firing pastel pink lazer beams with a single pelvic thrust. Not sold yet? Then screw you; you're probably a Parrothead and you don't know a damn thing about smooth music!
Back when house music was the end-all be-all for me there was a really ill record out of Chicago called "Shit Done Changed". The dudes behind it were called Children of Divorce and just thinking of the twisted absurdity of the name still makes me cracks me up. The Rochester Raging Rhinos is a name that I've also found absurd but whatever, you get used to things. And as far a shit changing, you need to look no further than what this team used to be perceived as verses what the current reality is.
I've touched on this before, but it used to be that Rochester was the perennial MLS expansion team-in-waiting. It was not even 2 years ago that a brief bit of relocation panic had people thinking RSL might trade in the Great Salt Lake for Lake Ontario. But as of the last year things have really done tits-up for the Rhinos; people aren't getting paid, they almost got evicted from their storage facilities, and they've got multiple lawsuits on the boil.
The situation is so ugly that the latest news out of there is that the city might be taking control of their still-newish stadium, PAETEC Park. According to papers filed with the State of New York, loans to the tune of $11m have been defaulted on by owners Steve Donner & Frank DuRoss (and I thought my student loans where out of control). The duo have said that they have a mystery investor lined up, but he or she has yet to reach an agreement with the strapped club.
With any luck whoever they have lined up will have deep pockets and a few more business smarts to add to the current regime. Rochester could once again be the flagship USL market -you could argue that Montreal holds now holds that crown- but without a wealthy, winged angel it could just be another folded soccer club...and USL's biggest tragedy.
Here's a name that we haven't heard in while outside of career obituaries. Il Bruce is getting top billing amongst the list of names on the Builders Ballot for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008. The man served both his clubs and country well so it's good to see him get the props.
Short of getting some hot-shot coaching gig this could be the best thing to happen for him. Why let the last line of the man's bio be about his tumultuous breakup with RBNY? Wouldn't it be better if that last line reads "Member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame"?
If you have a vote and you read this blog, please vote for The Bruce...it may be the only way that he will not be looked upon as the Zidane of coaching.
If I could, I would like to give praise to AOL's Fanhouse video bloggers. Ever since the draft a few weeks back they have been bringing the goods on a semi-regular basis. And as of late they have added a little seasoning to it and are now bringing the funny as well.
The clip above is entitled "The Galaxy, salary caps and YOU" and it's a one minute buzzer-beater of a video. Any video that uses still photos of Mr.T, and a kid with a cannon to get it's point across is doing it different; and that's something I can usually get behind.
But then again, Hitler was doing things different so maybe I should revise my criteria for endorsement.
DC United will unveil their latest foreign friend, midfielder Marcelo Gallardo today at The National Press Club. This comes on the heals of yesterday's unveiling of four other South American signings for United; Argentine central defender Gonzalo Peralta, 27, and Peruvian goalkeeper Jose Carvallo, 21, along with forward Franco Niell and defender Gonzalo Martínez.
It is also rumored that following Gallardo's press conference, *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys impresario Lou Pearlman is expected to announce his plan to help DC offset some of the financial costs of these signings. The five players will form a new musical group called Man-udo whose performances will then be double-booked - or "packaged" in music industry parlance- at select soccer specific stadiums during the 2008 season. No word yet as to whether Timbaland will produce, but NYRB defender Carlos Mendes is hotly tipped to handle guitar duties.
If you could see me right now I am laughing and banging my fist against the desk hysterically. Take a very close look at the image above. It's from a gallery of RSL stadium construction photos on MLSnet. All I can say is that the guy in the orange shirt is doing none of his neighbors any favors in the shedding of stereotypes department; you couldn't make this up if you tried.
I don't know why Forrest Gump has an Aston Villa scarf at the U.K. premiere for his latest film, Charlie Wilson's War. Maybe he was cold. Or maybe he's a secret celebrity glory-seeker and was sending a secret message as to where Brad Guzan would end up. Maybe his vacation house in The Hamptons is next to Randy Lerners or something.
Regardless, Aston Villa is the most recent Euro side to put in a bid for Guzanito's services and are allegedly putting forward twice the cash as Celtic for a piece of his pie. Is there any American keeper that can't get a gig in Europe?
I'm down with Obama and all but a West Ham fan, really? Someone needs to tell my man that the Jonathon Spector endorsement does not carry that much clout. If his advisor's were worth their weight in Adidas Samba's ™ they'd have him on a junket to Craven Cottage; there's more votes available in Fulham than in the states of Delaware & Rhode Island.
Someone at MLS HQ might want to get a restraining order against Preston North End. With the transfer window closing quick, the UK club has not given up hope of landing TT. Thier gaffer was qouted in the Lancashire Evening Post sounding all Jesse Jackson, talking keep hope alive and whatnot.
Maybe this is all part of the plan. Maybe the earlier rejections by the league where all part of the plan. It would be a hell of a gamble if they where bluffing for more cash, but one that they come out on top of either way; if PNE calls them on it they retain a marquee player, but if PNE bites they make a hefty transfer fee for a guy who has done his time in the league. It's a win-win, but I'm sure than Taylor might have a differnet opinion.
Baby Bradley has struck again...and again. With two scored this weekend his goal tally on the season is now 115 (it's actually 15 but I always like to round up by 100 for dramatic effect). It's occurring with such frequency that I just may stop mentioning them.
I mean really, do you really want to know everytime someone in Maryland makes crab cakes or plays football? No, because that's what Maryland does. And what Michael Bradley does is score goals and generate assists.
And if you are doing, & doing it, & doing it well a la LL Cool J it's only a matter of time before the bigger leagues start calling. Everton and Blackburn may be the first to come knocking, but it certainly won't be the last. So he better get used to the prying questions on the subject from reporters like the one in the video below.
The video says it all so I'll be brief. Roberto Donadoni was it. Dare I say it but he was a Designated Player before such a term existed. A midfielder with endless creativity and better-than-average skills on set pieces he was exactly what Metro needed. Hell, for that matter he is exactly what Red Bull needs now.
People much more credible than myself have given a lot of time over to the African Cup of Nations as of late. For the American follower the two stories revolve around the Rapids; current keeper Bouna Condoul is minding the net for Senegal and former player Junior Agogo (if ever there was a name that just said "good times" that is it) scored for Ghana the other day.
So what else is there to know? Let Burly Sports hip you to things like baller-ass coffins, giant frogs and the highly questionable pet selections of Nigerians. Who knew soccer could be so informative in regard to the freakishness of other cultures.
More details have come out of the Far East about the LA Galaxy's upcoming Asian Invasion Tour ™. As previously mentioned, the Ruud Boyz will play in Seoul on March 1st with the opposition now confirmed as FC Seoul. The show will roll on to communist China on March 5th where they will play a match against Chinese Division 1 club East Asia in Shanghai.
Good for them. You have to admit it's pretty dope to see the MLS torch being carried into far off lands that probably know precious little about our league. Plus, they have really good bootleg DVD's and video games…somoebody bring me back some souveniers please.
Everyone's all gaga over stoking the US-Mexico rivalry at every level possible. Everyone is also gaga over making stacks of money for their coffers. The best way to achieve those goals are for MLS clubs to play Mexican clubs in meaningful competition (Superliga you get a gold star). When those opportunities are not available you have to get creative, which is what San Jose & FC Dallas have done.
The two Western Conference sides will present the Mexican Olympic team in separate friendlies on March 2 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. - site of the big-money 'Quakes' home matches - and on March 6 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. The Olympic teams are essentially U-23's squads, but with hot young bucks like goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (he of the perpetual 'wet look' hairstyle), Luis Angel Landin, Pablo Barrera and Cesar Villaluz on the roster it's hardly going to be little league game.
As for the oppostion, they take on the Olympic teams from two of the most isolated groups of gringos in the world; Australia in Oakland and Finland in Frisco. Tickets are on sale now for the Frisco.
The Seattle __________'s have made a hire. Former Red Bull, Rapid, Wizards, Crew, Fusion, teen model (judging from the photo) and US national teamer Chris Henderson has been hired as the club's technical director. What does that even mean?
Why did I just know that Clint Dempsey blowing up EJ's Blackberry was the jumpoff for this whole deal? This and more revealed in US Soccer's not-exactly-riveting-but-very-watchable one on one interview with Grown Ass Man. It looks like it was filmed in someone's leafy back garden somewhere in the Home Counties..Chairman Mo's perhaps? No sign of a mid-Atlantic accent yet, but it's early days yet.
Steven Goff says that if DC re-signs Gomez that you're not likely to see them bring in the much-talked about Argentine Marcello Gallardo, who says that he's coming despite United's closed lips on the subject. Veteran striker Jaime Moreno just got paid, so you know there's one guy who won't be going to make cap room. So is the writing on the wall?
And if Goff is wrong, Gomez and Gallardo turn the midfield into little-Patagonia, will that town be big enough for the two of them? Or will the Gallardo deal collapse a la the Veron deal? Will United sign any non-South American players ever again? What's in your fridge that could kill you? Find out the answer at 11.
See that one finger he's holding up? That is the number of times you will be allowed to foul him before he pile-drives you into submission.
You know what if Tottenham want to sign him I wouldn't be opposed. Make him a defensive midfielder...he'd be huge in the back and would be the most effective 'enforcer' since Dema Kovalenko's blood & glory years at DC United. Sure he'd lead the league in fouls but he'd do it with style...from the top rope of the ring that will be constructed around the perimeter of the pitch.
Trust me. This will be the move that will break soccer in middle America.
They say if you love someone, set them free. Well at least Sting said it in that one song back in the 80's but there probably is some truth to it. But when you love something as utterly dope as Michael Bradley, how do you do it? How do you part with something as young, fresh, and new that is now scoring goals in Europe like it's his job (which it in fact is)? I don't know how Metro did it but, I'm glad they never loved me like that.
Remember when he was a Metro? Seems like ages ago but there where undeserved cries of nepotism even back well before big Bradley got the national team job. The kid proved he had the really had the skills in addition to the pedigree though when he scored the goal that put his team through to the playoffs.
But then the boy left to become a man. He's been killing it over in Holland all season long but as of late it's gotten absurd. Hat tricks, transfer talk, and even goals for the senior national team…seriously, are we talking about Baby Bradley or CR7 here? I mean look at this spin move, and sweet pass.
Vince Young dreams that he could do that. Did you see his whiplash-inducing header last weekend against AZ Alkmaar?
Straight fire. What about the one he scored yesterday (about 2 minutes into this clip), his 13th of the 2007/2008 campaign?
Somebody call Dr. Meredith Grey because this man is sick.
I'll say it again…how do you let this go?
Ring the church bells y'all, Chase Hilgenbrinck is coming home!
Who the hell is Chase Hilgenbrinck? Some kid from Illinois who's been playing in the 1st Division of the Chilean Witness Protection League. Undrafted by MLS, he's sort of like the Jay DeMerit of South America. Dare I say it but this guy maybe the most obscure current Yank abroad. Or former Yank abroad since he's just signed with Colorado.
If you want to get a flavor for the guy check out the piece that GolTV did on him a while back. I'll bet he's glad to get the hell out of Chile since he's got an aversion to their cuisine. He won't have to eat any odd cattle parts like stomach, utters, or kidneys. Just rocky mountain oysters aka bull balls. Say "aaaaahhhhh".
You see that? Young Jozy running through the Polish defence like it's was the finish line of the New York Marathon. Sure it's only on Winning Eleven, but is it an eery prediction of what's to come? I think so, but I also thought Kanye was a shoo-in at the VMA's this year.
Anyway, this digital dream has a chance to become reality in March when the national team does it's thing versus Poland. They also have a match lined up against the Spanish as well in June which has me thinking of changing my summer holiday plans. Who's down for tapas by the touchline?
Imagine you are a lesbian. That is of course unless you are, in fact, a lesbian. If that's the case then you can just imagine. So now imagine that your lesbian self was in love with some hot chick actress. Then said hot chick actress leaves you to follow her dreams in Hollywood. Once she's gone for a while you decide to quit crying your tears into a quart of Ben & Jerry's every night and get back on the horse. You ask out a new lady that you fancy. But then you find out that your 1st date is going to the premiere of a movie featuring said hot actress. You would have some conflicted lesbian emotions wouldn't you?
This is what I imagine it will be like to be a San Jose fan next month when Houston (aka the Used-to-be Quakes) go back to Cali for two pre-season matches against the new Quakes next month. Better get a good ref and an on-site shrink for this one.
And for the record I am not making a joke out of lesbians. I am however hoping to generate some Google search traffic by using the word "lesbians" 5 times in this post.
As fun as the Superdraft was for me and as important as it is for the teams, I think it's time we all admit that no one really knows as much about college soccer as they try to project. And when I say "no one" I mean the fans don't, the coaching staffs don't and the sportswriters don't. But that's OK because judging by their post-selection interviews none of the draftees know much about MLS so we're all square.
To help us fully understand the level of ignorance we have for scholastic soccer, the funny fools from Old Rich People have done what they do best; take the piss out of anything played with a ball. If you do anything at all today besides washing your pits and sack, make watching this video it. It's worth it just for the "Hey there's LA Galaxy owners Whoopi Goldberg and the guy from Spin Doctors" line when the camera pans over Cobi's ever-present dreads and Alexi's rapidly growing beard. Classic.
Big shouts to Robert at Murder By Baltimore for the hookup!
Our man Ives has done it again; the only person to get more scoop than him is the ice cream man. He's reporting that Eddie "Grown Ass Man" Johnson is officially joining the US soccer posse-cut that is Fulham FC.
It's so beautifully absurd isn't it? There may be more yanks at Craven Cottage now than there will be yanks in the DC United starting XI this season (if all the reports of off-season South American signings come true). And just to make it even more unlikely three of them are attacking players, so start stocking up on canned goods and shotguns because the end of the world may well be upon us.
There are so many questions here. Who's going to be the first writer to cash in and compose "An American Tale: The Unauthorized Story of Fulham's Yanks?" When will club owner Mohamed Al Fayed fuck around and open a Cheesecake Factory in the back of Harrod's? And how will London survive the relentless tornado of swagger that is the Dempsey-Johnson combo?
Sak pase! Jerrod Laventure (aka The Haitian Guy That's Not Jozy Altidore) has been called up by the Haitian national team for it's upcoming friendlies against El Salvador on Jan. 26 and 29 in Port-Au-Prince. Although he hasn’t played much fro the Red Bull 1st team, Laventure scored one of the most memorable and freakish goals of the 2006 campaign. Watch and wonder below.
Judging by some information on a Korean soccer site and my limited experience with itinerary building for touring rock bands, it seems like the Ruud Boyz may hit Asia after their trip to Hawaii. Never in the history of the league has a club racked up so many off-season frequent flier miles.
According to Korea.net, the Galaxy will touch down in K-town for a friendly at the 68,000 capacity Sangam World Cup Stadium on March 1. No word yet on on the opposition but it will come from the K-League (we suspect that this is due to the Harlem Globetrotters being booked that day).
I don't have a link yet, but I got a text this morning saying that out-of-contract Revs midfielder Pat Noonan is going to join ex-teammate Adin Brown at Norwegian club Aalesund. I'll update this post when I get more info, but good luck to him. I hate to see him go as there are several domestic sides in need that should have snatched up a talent like him (San Jose, New York, and Toronto for example).
UPDATE: Link via Soccer America
Now this is welcome news. USL 1 will field a team in Austin, Texas beginning in 2009 to be owned and operated by Stoke City FC (English Championship league) owner Phil Rawlings. Despite the horrible name, it's nice to see that things aren't all bad in USL-land.
If you haven't been keeping up they lost a franchise last season (Virginia Beach), Victoria BC is not interested in an expasion team anymore since Seattle is leaving and the once great Rochester Rhinos are having some serious financial problems. So news of expansion to a growing and completely rocking city like Austin is somewhat unexpected, but 100% hot.
This will be the only USL 1 side between Atlanta and the west coast and the 1st USL 1 side in the state since the El Paso Patriots of the old A-League.
If they can work the schedule so that there is a home game durring the ACL fest I am so there. As long as I don't have a conflict with any of the mainstage bands and as long as they sell Shiner wherever they decide to play.
Not to be too much of a corporate whore, but you should keep your eyes out for the limited edition Red Bull tall-boys. The "signature series" cans feature a bunch of action sports guys, but they're of little to no import. What you're looking for is the Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Alitdore cans. If you find them in your local 7-11 or bodega buy them and help my team pay for it's stadium, training facilities, and Reyna's next surgery.
Props to Binks for the heads up.
I sure as shit didn't. Apparently Fulham are so hot to cop Yankee players that they'll sign anyone with a hint of cheeseburgers and lite beer about them. Their recently signed fullback Brede Hangeland is one of us on the down-low. Even better, the Norwegian international with 41 caps is a Texan. But that's all I know. If anyone else knows his story please share as I am intrigued but can find precious little info on his background; he's not even listed at Yanks Abroad.
If they don't nab Eddie Johnson maybe they can pick up Giuseppe Rossi...although he'd probably refuse to be part of any American-aimed marketing at Craven Cottage.
Our man Dan from Metrofanatic sent us an email today that solves the mystery of "who in the hell was the leather cowboy at the MLS Superdraft?" It's hard to tell but that is actually former San Jose Earthquake and current alfalfa farmer Troy Dayak.
I know, I'm as shocked and confused as you are.
I have reached my limit with watching the EPL and Argentine leagues on FSC. Right now I have a serious jones for some domestic soccer so I'm actually (and surprisingly) pretty stoked on the Pan Pacific Championship which has kinda snuck up on me; the 4 team tournament starts in a month.
I'm not too sold on battling the fourth place Aussie club for $57,000 being the best competition, but in times of drought -like the off season- beggars can't be choosers. Besides, if nothing else it will be interesting to see how Houston looks ahead of March's Champions Cup. That and I'm certain LA will create some fantastic off the field photo ops for me to comment on.
So it looks like Jar Jar Ngwenya didn't latch on with that German club he was on trial with a few months back, but decided to keep it Krautish by signing with some Austrian club. That is a real shame because I think he really came into his own with Houston in '07. Not only was the kid scoring goals but he was doing it with flair; as great as Brian Ching is flair is not something he's going to give you more than once a year.
Is it just me or is there more "MLS player on trial abroad" news this year than usual? Ngwenya, Guzan, Gbandi, EJ, Bryan Arguez, Noonan, Troy Perkins, Matt Pickens and slew of others have all had auditions for Europe in the past few months, and some even got the part. What, suddenly everyone it too good for a life of low wages an anonymity?
Whether you want to admit it or not, in the pre-Beckham MLS world DC United were our Dallas Cowboys. They were America's team. But now every kid in the country wants a Beckham kit (including my nephew in Kansas City who says "Eddie Johnson who?") and DC are just the Indianapolis Colts; a consistent title-contender.
DC has always had an international line-up that matched the city's multicultural populace. But being that they operated under the league's strict policy regarding foreign players it never seemed over the top. But looking at the names linked to the team in the transfer rumors this off season, it's almost like Tommy Soehn & co. have forgotten about the leagues role in developing American players entirely.
In the last 2 months Argentina's Juan Sebastian Veron, Marcelo Gallardo, and Gonzalo Peralta Peruvian goalkeeper Jose Carvallo, and Colombian defender Gonzalo Martinez have all been linked with moves to the Capital. If you add them to Bolivia's Jaime Moreno, Brazil's Fred and Luciano Emilio, and Argentina's ChristianGomez and you've almost got enough Latin heat for a starting 11.
I don't think it's a bad thing, just a curious development in the the leagues evolution. Right now there is a guy on some message board in Chile talking about how United are to South America what Fulham is the U.S.
At Friday's Superdraft, the Empire Supporters Club contingent broke out into a chant of "There's Always New Rules for LA" at one point when the Gals took more than their allotted 4 minutes to make a pick. Others in the room must have held the same sentiment because they received a standing ovation from Sons of Ben and a few of the other supporters groups for their effort.
And with news coming today that former Chelsea and Newcastle defender Celestine Babayaro will join the Ruud Boyz (allegedly) I think it might be true. There has to be at the very least some uber-creative math going on in Carson to fit him under a cap that already includes Goldenballs, Landycakes, El Pescidito, and Abel "Blonde Ambition" Xavier. But hey, if they can get away with it, more power to them. I can only wish that my side could come up with a way to fit in a player like that in the back.
Back from my brief bounce through Charm City and I thought I should give up a few quick hits before too much time passes and my mind gives out. As it's late, I'm tired and I'm lazy, you'll have to live with my scatter shot recap. And sadly I did not run ointo Spankrock down there, but as seen in the photo above I did drink the Natty Boh
-How serious is "sexy" new LA skipper Ruud Gullit taking his job? He only spent one day at the combine and I'm told most of it was spent speaking Dutch to Thomas Rongen. If that isn't concerning enough, guy couldn't even be bothered to show up for the draft. Now Galaxy fans let me ask you a question: how comfortable would you be on a plane where the pilot didn't do his pre-flight check his plane before takeoff?
-Giorgio Chinaglia looks like shit. Hard to believe the man below was once a feared striker. Now the only thing scared of him is a carton of Newport's and a plate of linguini.
-Sons of Ben have my utmost respect for the passion they show for their not-yet-real team. But I had to wonder how long they were going to hang out for at the draft. They knew they didn't have a pick right?
-The bird on the right is RSL 1st round pick Tony Beltran's old lady. The girl on the left is just banging for no reason whatsoever at 3.30pm on a Friday. An unexpected treat to be sure, but she had nothing on LA draftee Sean Franklin's bird. There was also a mystery chick with a black dress and powder blue heels that had necks breaking all over the room.
-The NSCAA convention was going on in the same building and was sea of grown men who, to my knowledge at least, were not engaged in actually playing soccer that day but felt the need to wear tracksuits and cleats everywhere. In my head I can still hear that symphony of polyester that would play every time they walked by.
-The supporters were loud and proud during the draft...so much so that The Don was inclined to tell everyone to take it down a notch during a commercial break.
-New York's ESC was seated almost immediately in front of ESPN's New Jersey boy & anchor John Harkes. This coincidental seating arrangement led to an afternoon-long battle between the 2 sides with ESC doing it's damnedest to break Harksey's on-air concentration. Now if you see the ESPN coverage knowing this bit of info some of Harkes smiles look more like strained laughs.