MLS: Every Teams’ Remaining Schedule + Analysis (because I like you and hate me)

Not to go all nelly on all y’all – though I can do that from time to time – Fire_Juve10 acted as my muse for today.  After reading (and saying nice things about…yay!) my post on last weekend’s Chicago v. Columbus, he listed Chicago’s upcoming games.  Prior to seeing those, I would have listed Chicago the clear favorites for the eighth and final post-season spot – a notion that precludes such entirely plausible scenarios as a third consecutive flameout from the Kansas City Wizards (just answer this: is their last game against Red Bull New York?).

So, inspired by that, I’m listing all the upcoming games for all the teams in Major League Soccer (MLS) – a decision that necessitates ditching the Daily Sweeper for today.  Also, I did think of linking to the source material – e.g. the “schedule” part of each team’s official website – before thinking about the time it would take to add all the links.  So, if you want to check my work – and I’d recommend it – just go to your favorite team’s page and click on “schedule.”

Here goes – and, shockingly, I’ll sneak in some analysis.  And, one more thing, here’s the key I’ll use to shorten team names:

Chicago Fire: CF
Chivas USA: CUSA
Colorado Rapids: CR
Columbus Crew: Crew (don’t ask)
DC United: DCU
FC Dallas: FCD
Houston Dynamo: HD
Kansas City Wizards: KC
Los Angeles Galaxy: LA
New England Revolution: NE
Red Bull New York: RBNY
Real Salt Lake: RSL
Toronto FC: TFC

Right…now, here goes: Continue reading

MLS Week 23 Perspecto-Scope: Of Cream, Milk, and Curds

I’ve been struggling to come up with a theme for the past week’s action in Major League Soccer (MLS).  “Big Cities Rising,” “Eastern Conference (and Chivas) Rising”: none of them quite captured the essential dynamic of the week with the due touch of “pizzazz!”  And writing out “DC and Chivas are really good; everyone else, not so much” accurate as it is, doesn’t exactly sparkle as a headline.

Reality is reality, though, and the two-game, four-point performances turned in by both DC United and Chivas USA are the stories of Week 23.  Add the fact that these teams tied one another to open the week and it’s hard to shake the sense these two float delicately above the rest, the Cream of MLS.  While several relevant teams also pulled out wins this weekend, each contained some admixtures of dirty, disgusting milk (sorry; got tripped up in my metaphor; cream does rise, right?).  And that’s when the title, for what it’s worth, came to me. Continue reading

What the hell is happening in Spain???

Warning…uncontrollable rant ahead.

I had to take a break from my studying today to write a unusual mid-day post for me.  And note that this might will take a ranting form.

But what the hell is Luis Aragones doing with the Spanish national team???

I’m seriously getting sick of this.  I know some of you are asking, Why does the American kid care about what happens with the Spanish side?  Well, I’m basically an adopted Spaniard, so thats why.  I’ve lived there so long, so many times that I follow everything Spain, hence my love for La Liga and my utter dislike, along with most Spaniards, of everything Luis Aragones.

But really, it’s time for the Real Federacion Española de Futbol to just get rid of the aging old man that is Aragones.

Luckily the Spaniards draw in Iceland was not the death blow, as both Sweden and North Ireland drew their respective games on Saturday, leaving Spain in third place on 16 points.

Sure, Spain drew Iceland with 10 men as Xavi Alonzo was sent off unluckily in the first half for an apparent ‘stomp’ on an Iceland player, but that doesn’t matter.  You were playing Iceland for God sakes.

Who does Iceland have on their team besides Eider Gudjohnsen, no one!   They do have a few Reading players and one for Burnley, so lets hear from you Burnley fans just what you think about your Icelandic star.

I know that ‘la furia roja’ have never been a real powerhouse in international football, but seriously, it’s time for him to go.

If you look at his record with the Spanish club, you might be surprised.  In 39 games he has 25 wins, 10 ties and 4 losses.  So you might be asking, why the criticism of ‘el viejo’

Look at what Spain has done in the World Cup.  First off, they almost didn’t qualify for the world cup, and had to beat Slovakia 6-2 on aggregate to even make it into the tournament, with a great squad.  They made it through the qualifying round unbeaten surprinsgly and looked like they were going to make a run.

But then they got beat 3-1 to France.  So one loss on Aragones record did them in.  It goes to show you that only having a few ‘key’ losses can be worse than having 20.

The Spanish team is full of talent, from Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonzo, Javi Navarro, Iker Casillas, and the list goes on.  But Aragones can never get the team to gel and to play up to their potential.  Whether it is some of the players fault is a valid argument, but we are not going to oust the entire Spanish side.

Which means Luis, it’s time to go.

(I apologize for the lack of accent marks, but these stupid UB computers don’t have an option for a Spanish keyboard) 

A Stadium to Saint Louis [Collinsville]!

I won’t paraphrase, I won’t analyse, I will just bask in the light of progress…[wow, that sounded profound]…links to the story are at the bottom as well as a revisiting of the actual project in question!

The one person who didn’t vote for it is worried that the Collinsville School District will be completely overrun by new students coming from the potential addition of over 1,600 new homes. The fear is legitimate, but ultimately a 4-1 vote won over and we should see attorney and lead investor of Saint Louis Soccer United get his expansion team within 90 days or so.

Clearly, if there is no team – the deal will most likely be off. This is exciting stuff either way!! Congrats to you St. Louis fans, I hope it continues to move in your direction.

Read it up. 

The proposed Collinsville Soccer Complex.

How Soccer Turned The Author Away From The NFL, and How The NFL Drove The Author To Soccer.

Since Center Holds It is really for the People (we love you all, we really do) we have a guest column tonight by Cliff, a Buffalonian just like yours truly. Let him know what you think in the comments section, and if you want to join attempt to join, be put through a rediculous hazing process at Center Holds It, email Ryan on the side of the page. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

For a while I really tried to keep both football and soccer close to my sports enthusiast’s heart, but it’s all over now. When the American football analyst for Sky Sports the other day proclaimed the NFL to be “the best league in the world” I ended up laughing (as hard as the Sky Sports anchordude and anchorchick laughed after they’d cut to the pre-taped capsule NFL preview) because 1) that’s as laughable as proclaiming Super Bowl and World Series “WORLD CHAMPIONS!” and 2) because frankly the EPL, La Liga and most of your European and South American top flight soccer leagues mop the floor with the NFL hands down. Without the insane amount of hype the NFL generates and garners with the help of Madison Avenue to keep us Americans convinced that football is our national religion and that the NFL is our church.


The NFL is back, but to be honest I couldn’t care less.


You see it’s not just the onset of SOCCER MADNESS over the last few years that has cleaved me from the NFL, the American sports mainstream, and American conventional wisdom. Soccer madness hasn’t even turned me against the Buffalo Bills, my local hometown team- a team I’ve shared much pain and joy with lo these many years (ok, more pain than joy) as I still maintain some level of perverse civic pride in the Bills and an interest in their fate. Plus I have far too many, many fond memories of playing football on the big lawn in front of the local community center and Kennedy style at family gatherings to hate on the game of football, so it’s certainly not that.


It’s the unholy marriage of the NFL to Madison Avenue. It’s the god-awful hype. Sure all sports fans look forward to the start of the league season, especially partisans of specific teams, who run on two calendars: the Julian and the color coded team game schedule; it’s our thing… OUR thing. But Madison Avenue and the NFL go way further. It’s not just sports fans they want to amp up, it’s everybody else who they are working on with football related commercials on every channel (even FSC, owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns DirecTV- which brings you the NFL Sunday Ticket) and the celebrity fest song and dances that precede the start of the season and the Super Bowl. It’s all phony baloney designed to sell more commercial time, and that’s what the NFL is now all about. I mean, they actually keep the game play stopped every 10 minutes or so to get in a bunch of commercials during the TV broadcast, and worse they make you watch commercials when you’re at the stadium! NFL games have become worse than a Pavlovian experiment: you stand and cheer, then you stop and sit down, then in a few minutes you do it again, and again, and then you all sit and watch commercials on the Jumbotron. It’s all hype and commercials for the NFL nowadays, and it’s become an anathema to this sports fan.


Which is why I’m a soccer fan. I’m fully engaged for ninety plus minutes… and all of the commercials are on while I’m checking out the bog.* It’s all about the game.


Now let’s enjoy some Euro 2008 qualifiers and get ready for the start of the UEFA Champions League.**



* And let’s be honest, the concept of promotion and relegation elevates every game’s importance and how it’s played to a totally different level. I could go on for hours about this stuff but thanks to brevity I won’t.


** For my money the best league in the world.

La Liga Para Todos Sept 10th–Robben training, Aragonés Loves me not, Rijkaard takes it like a man

–Arjen Robben took to the training ground today for the first time with his Real Madrid teammates. Robben, who came over to Madrid for 36 Million Euro in the offseason, has had a knee injury that has kept him out of the lineup thus far. Madrid had a 2.5 hour training session today with all of the players that are remaining in Spain after the calls to international duty, which aren’t many.

Luis Aragonés aka the oldest coach ever, kept his love-hate relationship with Fernando Torres going strong after subbing out El Niño in the 59th minute in place of Iniesta. It just so happens that ‘el viejo’ finally got something right and Iniesta managed to put in the tying goal on 85 minutes to give spain a draw with Iceland. Torres is the leading scorer for Spain under Aragones, with 13 goals, but is goalless in over a year, with his last tally coming on September 2 2006 vs Lichtenstein. As I simply mentioned before, Aragonés just needs to go, period.

Frank Rijkaard is taking his part of the blame for Barcleona’s dismal last season.

I’ve always said, when something doesn’t work, I’m the first person to look in the mirror

Rijkaard’s Barça had a sub-par past season, being knocked out in the Champions League by Liverpool, being beat 4-1 by Getafe to be knocked out of the Copa del Rey, and finishing second behind Real Madrid for the La Liga title. He came under fire from president Joan Laporta and some were calling for Rijkaard’s departure in the offseason. Having a stud like Giovani Dos Santos or an offseason signing in TH14, can’t hurt his chances to save some face in La Liga this season.

–Speaking of Dos Santos, he’s played in ONE La Liga game,but the moneybags in the Premiership are looking to cash in on the 18 year old. I’m personally not sold yet, sure he won the Bronze ball in this years U-20 world cup and the silver ball in the 2005 U-17 World Championship, but you have to let the kid show a bit of talent against some veteran competition first. But Manchester United will sign a 9 year old kid to play, so 18 is surely not too young for Man Yoo.

La Palabra del día

Una vaselina–a vaselina is a cheeky chip over a keeper to score.

Vaya vaselina de Messi, joe tío, que crack.

EPL Daily 9.10: Leeds continues to roll; Hargreaves/Lampard out; and the Toffees sweat over Howard

Everton is waiting patiently for their key netminder to return from Chicago with only the knowledge that Tim Howard has somehow injured his finger making him questionable for the Everton – Manchester United derby coming up.

Stevie Gerrard has been given the green light to play in England’s upcoming Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia. Great news and all but it comes coupled with the ruling out of Frankie Lampard and Owen Hargreaves. Not good – but then again they handled Israel rather well (3-0) with a somewhat watered down squad. Just give Shaun Wright-Phillips 40 chances and he’ll most likely make one of them.

The much maligned Leeds United is back to a clean slate. Five consecutive wins to start the season has wiped out their 15 point deficit with a 2-0 win over Hartlepool. They now sit only 3 points from safety and considering their form it would be one hell of a story if they could pull off a play-off spot. Leed’s worst summer ever started back in late 1990s – read this.