Daily Sweeper (DS), 10.10: US Roster Talk; MLS to PDX (Still?); SEVERE TV Issues; Best Dang DP

I’m going with an acronym for this feature: DS. That way I have more room for witticisms in the title…

– My colleague Breton already tackled the heavy lifting and thinking regarding the just-named U.S. roster for next Wednesday’s friendly against Switzerland. Read his stuff, of course – he thought about it more, after all – but I stand by the comments I made to close his post, particularly that these out-o’-the-ass lineups make these friendlies worth watching; real shockers like Robbie Findley and Maurice Edu only add intrigue…

…and then along comes USSoccerplayer.com’s Ian Plenderleith to take a big ol’ poop on my fun by pointing out that a few of these players owe a debt to circumstance for their call-ups (thanks a lot, friend). Looking elsewhere, Goal.com’s Ben Brackett seems wary of fielding such a green lineup given his opinion that the U.S. Men need to start winning on European soil. Eh, maybe. I’m not to worried about that, nor am I much concerned about building team chemistry for World Cup qualifying. Sure, we’ll have to get to latter one of these days, but with qualifying not starting till some time later than early 2008, I figure we have time to experiment. As for the European soil thing, it’ll come.

– It looks like the possibility of Major League Soccer (MLS) coming to Portland remains live. Better still, some relevant parties seems interested in placing the team in PGE Park and moving the Portland Beavers (baseball) to another facility. This would be a good thing. No, a great thing. The only piece to the conversation I think they’re missing is what happens with Portland State University’s football team? Then again, since they’re not mentioning it, maybe it’s not the issue I think it is. Anyway, great to hear that Portland’s still in the hunt.

– The way things are shaping up, the very final game of the season – the Chicago Fire v. Los Angeles Galaxy and playing for all the marbles – could be one of the games of 2007, if not the game. The Offside Rules masterfully frames this game and ends the post by asking that which must be asked: will MLS honchos and ESPN make room for this game – a game featuring the highest-profile players the league has to offer – anywhere but the current, Spanish-language, backwater-channel broadcast? (Well, it’s backwater for me.)

If I may digress for a moment, why does the league arrange the televsion schedule prior to the start of the season? Or, rather, why do they pre-load it down to the final details? I’ve never understood this. Is it really that hard to move the necessary equipment with a week’s notice? Don’t the pre-position this crap to a large degree? Anyway, that’s a long-time curiosity of mine. A little flexibility this weekend, for instance, could give us DC United v. Chicago Fire this weekend on FSC, which would spare us from Toronto FC v. Red Bull.

Whatever. I just know I’ll be pissed if events conspire to make Chicago v. LA one of the year’s best and I can’t see it.

– Speaking of one of the league’s highest-profile players, USA Today (ht: du Nord) did “Blanco-by-numbers” today – e.g. attendance numbers, goal numbers, etc. And, for my money, he’s the best DP signing. I’d even say hands-down given the on-field. And, well, acknowledging this requires I admit I was totally wrong about Blanco when I first heard about the signing (I’m not going to find the posts, but, yeah, I thought he’d have trouble with the fouling – and he does; he’s just coping with it pretty dang well so far.

– Finally, from the Department of Duh, Frank Dell’Appa says MLS needs larger rosters if they want to meet their international ambition. Then again, if this is so obvious, why hasn’t it happened, right?

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2 Responses

  1. Because getting stuck on PDX discussions is what I seem to do, what are the Portland State implications? Gridiron lines and/or scheduling? I would think that they would be all over a better facility w/real grass. Are there some unknown right-of-refusal clauses that come into play?

    I’m tellin’ ya, either the MLS team or the Beavers/Vikings should jump on the Portland Meadows location. Expand East Delta parks’ ballfields, lots of parking/training areas, great accessibility (well, ok, not if you’re driving from Hillsboro in rush hour).

  2. Yep, gridiron lines and/or scheduling. There may also be some implications with the nearby high school (crap…is it Lincoln?): I’ve been seeing a girl’s soccer team practicing on the field every day for the past week or two.

    In past scrums over what would keep a Portland MLS team from shacking up in PGE, one thing that stuck in my head was the seeming parade of events – high school football, PSU football, soccer, and ____ – that I always see advertised on PGE Park’s stadium board. Then, of course, there are the Beavers – but, if the Oregonian article to which I linked can be believed – plans to move them have been discussed at the very least. In other words, if a Portland franchise comes, they may be able to massage some tenants out of the picture to make an MLS team the primary tenant. I think that holds with everyone but PSU who, based on my observations, really don’t have anywhere else to go for their games. And the combination of grass, football Americano, and start of fall weather would rip the crap out of a natural surface.

    So, killer as PGE Park sounds, that facility seems to have more occupants than the fabled tenements of Gilded Age NYC. Get that sorted out, though, and you only have to worry about two things: the combination of the fact that Portland doesn’t strike me as much of a sports town and the issues with parking around PGE Park (i.e. there ain’t much). That second piece feeds the first in that, ideally, you’ll want to make it easy for the maximum number of interested people to reach the facility. Of course, you’ll hear from the Timbers Army crowd that they don’t need “suburban soccer moms,” look at Toronto, etc. They could be right, of course. But they may also be wrong…

    I’m to the point where I want Portland to get a team just to see if it will live as much as anything else.

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