Daily Sweeper, 1/1: Building the Future and (A Little) Playoff Dish for the Saints

It’s All Saints Day, doncha know?

Before getting to the good stuff – e.g. the stuff about soccer – I’ve got to pass on something funny about trick-or-treating last night.  In case you don’t know, I live in Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb of Portland with a heavy Hispanic population.  I did go out as a nun last night and, let me tell you, the looks I got; the Hispanics, especially got a kick out of it; maybe it’s the Catholic angle.  Most people were amused, if to a surprising degree, and I got a few cold stares; some kids looked freaked, but that’s not so weird.  But having spent my entire life in, I dunno – tolerant, adaptive, maybe even “hep” – circles, I can only say I was neither prepared for, nor planning on, being a center of attention with a costume like that.  For Halloween parties past, a dude dressed as a nun is entirely unremarkable, if a little lazy.

Anyway…

– I still love reading this kind of thing, from Sacha Kljestan’s Q & A sit-down with USSoccerplayas.com:

Sacha Kljestan: I grew up watching MLS, so [Carlos] Valderrama, Peter Nowak, Preki, and [Marco] Etcheverry were my four favorite players.”

OK, so lumping “coach” in there may read like a brown-nose maneuver, but the cool thing is, we’re more likely to grow supporters when kids grow up following the league.  This, incidentally, is why getting families to the games matters: they may cramp your style by keeping you from telling the ref what you really think, but if you limit the attraction to the league to the young, the hip, and the barren/infertile, that can bite you on the butt.  Sing it with me….”I believe that children are our future…”  There is a second piece to this: namely, keeping the “fun young adult vibe” in the stadiums; after all, the little critters need something to which they can aspire once they get the yen to separate from mom and dad.

– Another quote, this one from Ryan Hunt’s playoff thinker for Sports Illustrated:

“Just like in 2005, none of MLS’ top four seeds enters the second weekend of the [2007] conference semifinals with an advantage headed into the home leg. And that was perhaps the most unexpected postseason in league history, with three lower seeds advancing out of the first round and the West’s No. 4 team (Los Angeles) rolling to the MLS Cup crown.”

So, you got that, New England, DC, Houston, and Chivas?  Get with it ya deadbeats.  And while you may look at the final regular season standings for 2005 and think, “well, yeah, the lower seeds went through, but that’s because the Rapids were one of the top seeds” (insert double-take sound effect).  True, but the rest of them were the usual suspects: San Jose/Houston, DC, and New England. Continue reading

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