Coverage of MLS Philly 10.22: One Step Closer!

CLICK HERE for the video coverage in Media, PA which some of the supporter group Sons of Ben was on hand for. The stadium looks awesome and a lot different than most of the Rosetti planned sites that MLS aficionados have gotten used to.

One step closer is all I can say – now it’s up to Ed Rendell. Make it happen……..please? Only real downside so far is the ETA of the project’s finish – 2010, with games beginning in 2011. It will take 18 months to complete an over a million labor hours but all in the name of sweetness and a house of our own (for those Philadelphians that read this).

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DS, 10.22: Attendance; Grading Beckham; DC’s Psyche; Why I Don’t Predict &$%t & (a little) More

I could wait on the whole Greg Ryan press-conference thing, but don’t think I’ll feel the need to post on that unless he keeps his job…and, at that point, the post would only read “Holy Shit!”  So, on with the rest of today’s points of interest.  To your left, you’ll see…

The Beautiful Game posted a blurb on Major League Soccer’s (MLS) attendance for the 2007 regular season, an item he picked up from Throughball; maybe I should credit the latter, but I like the idea of building daisy chains of attribution.  At any rate, attendance did pretty well this year, as we all know.  But the thing that most impressed me – the reason why I’m posting on this, really – was how well the numbers have held during the playoff push.  That normally doesn’t happen, which is something Ian Plenderleith flagged in his wrap of the weekend’s action.  I count this the best news of the year.

Yahoo! Sports’ Martin Rogers combined all the Beckham-related data points into a fair portrait of Beckham’s overall impact in 2007.  It’s a pretty good, and fair, read.  The bigger thing for me, though, is the fact Beckham will still be around next season (unlike Denilson) and I expect that, with a healthy body and a full preseason to get him with his Galaxy teammates, Beckham will earn higher on-field marks in 2008.  The Galaxy as a whole ought to be better next year.

– DC United v. Chicago Fire looks to be one of the best post-season pairings – which could explain why The Mouse Networks grabbed the series.  While the Fire’s solid-to-hot form helps, knocks/injuries to key DC players should tighten up things a little more still…then there are the clammy fears grown from defeats and humiliations in season’s past to make the Black & Red Faithful that little bit queasier.

– From where I am, that is, as a New England fan/abuser, history doesn’t mean squat this year unless it’s recent.  And that’s been bad enough that even the Red Bulls have me feeling anxious.

– Speaking of the post-season, a body doesn’t realize how short it is – in terms of games, that is – till he counts the games between the first round and MLS Cup.  Just four steps to victory…the end is coming.

– Finally, file this one under, why would I want to bury that?  Then cue an nervous grin pinched tightly to an aspect of innocence.  While wrapping up the season with a series of awards, The Fullback Files mentions taking a look back at his pre-season predictions with expectations of shame to follow.  Here my predictions – for the Western and Eastern Conferences – and shame doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I “expect great things from Colorado?”  Sweet Jesus….

MLS Playoffs: So Tied Up in Fits, Who Can Find Winning Ways?

Don’t be alarmed by the beeping sounds: that’s just the warning tone of nearly every Major League Soccer (MLS) team backing into the playoffs. And these don’t even forewarn of modest danger along the lines of having a big truck back over the unwary; no, these bells warn of jittery, low-scoring scraps on pitches across the league.

Well, it’s probably not as bad as all that, but I’ve got to ask a question I posed yesterday: does anybody want to win this thing? Judging by recent form among all the favorites, no. Even accounting for the teams who “stormed into” the post-season, picking playoff favorites looks like it will be more crap-shoot divination than statistical science.

Since September 20, the eight MLS playoff teams combined for an 11-10-21 record in league play; just to clarify, that’s arranged win-loss-tie. So, yeah, the combined number of ties overall matches the number of wins and losses. Some teams contributed more to this dubious cause, as the individual records show: Continue reading

MLS: Philly Peeking Over the Crest?

Answer: yes, if one anonymous tipster is reading several signs correctly.  To flag some just-behind-the-scenes details to my colleague’s Philly expansion post below:

“-reportedly, Gov. Rendell has already agreed to the Philly MLS deal. He is just waiting for the Senate/House to pass the bill to sign it.”
“-The senate majority leader, former Chester city mayor, is a champion of the Chester MLS stadium project. He is fully behind it.”
“-The House appropriations chair is also 100% behind it.”
“-Both the chair and the majority leader are from 2 different parties, but completely agree this is a good project”

So, will it be the Emerald City (Seattle) and the City of Brotherly Love?

EPL Daily 10.22: Weekend Results; Hamann Smashed; and a new Yank Abroad

EPL Para-Roundup

Dirk Kuijt converted 2 PK’s to beat 9-man Everton (Howard got his hand to both PKs but couldn’t follow through). Rooney scored a brace to lead Man Utd over Aston Villa 4-1 but he had 3 other sitters (one a PK) missing his chance for a hat-trick (that’s still 5 goals in the last 6 games). Elano (best fantasy league pick-up ever) scored yet again for Manchester City in a 1-0 shutout of Birmingham. Portsmouth, Arsenal, and Chelsea earned respective 2-0 shutouts with Drogba back and firing (keep watching the Drogba bit as it looks to intensify in the coming weeks and look up the Alex free kick strike). Blackburn used the formidable duo of Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz to fend off two Kevin Doyle goals and beat Reading 4-2. Fulham and Derby fought to a 0-0 deadlock (Dempsey and Lewis played all 90, while Boca came off the bench due to questionable recent form), while West Ham and Craig Bellamy hurt the feelings of Roy Keane and Sunderland in a 3-1 thrashing. Arsenal sit on top by 2 points with a game in tow over the Red Devils.

Other news:

Though many probably overlooked this – Manchester City midfielder and former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann went out – about a year ago, got soused, and crashed his $150,000 Porsche into a fence. Obviously intoxicated at the scene but swearing that he was not the one behind the wheel, Hamann refused to divulge info on who the driver actually was. In the most delayed case ever, Hamann had his license taken away for 6 months and fined a good chunk of change – a year later.

American goalkeeper Ian Joyce – who recently has spent trial time with Millwall and Conference side Grays Athletic – looks to pull a Jay Demerit and earn his way into Watford’s line-up after being picked up on Sunday by the surging Championship side. Born, raised, and educated in the NJ (a Seton Hall Pirate), Joyce played for the Watford Reserves recently. Watford currently sit at the top of the tables with a 6 point lead over Bristol City as they continue their effort for EPL ball again.

MLS: The Season Is Over; Long Live the Season

Major League Soccer (MLS) ended its…um…whatevereth season today, with the Chicago Fire at long last driving a stake through the heart of the vicious undead entity known as the Los Angeles Galaxy. I’ll begin by congratulating MLSnet.com for the restraint they showed by not running a headline like, “The Galaxy Lose, Communism Triumphant.” But, at long, long last, the playoff brackets are set and here’s what we’ve got:

Eastern Conference
DC United v. Chicago Fire

New England Revolution v. Red Bull New York

Western Conference
Chivas USA v. Kansas City Wizards

Houston Dynamo v. FC Dallas

There will be plenty of time between now and Thursday, when the first playoff game kicks off, to talk about the future. But, quickly as I can, I’d like to take a look at the regular season’s final weekend. To begin, however, with the big picture:

What’s to like? I have no idea who’s going to win this thing.

What’s not to like? Does anyone want to win this thing?

The individual games come after the jump: Continue reading