Daily Sweeper, 11.6: Calling the Final (Wha? Already?) and Protection from the Draft

– A couple pieces out today are already guessing that we’ll get a repeat of MLS Cup 2006: Houston Dynamo v. New England Revolution. Jeff Bradley started his most recent First XI saying he “fully expects” a repeat while, less surprisingly, the Houston Chronicle sees the same thing…though they do acknowledge the potential for those “meddling kids” from Chicago and Kansas City to louse up the plan. I’ve already voiced hope that both Bradley and the Chronicle will be proved wrong in the comments of another, bigger forum and I stand by that down to the reasoning. More curiously still, it’s New England – who are my team, if only allegedly – that I don’t want to see. This may be hard to understand, but all I can say is not all fans support their team in the same way. For instance, I fall somewhere between the “Ever-Disappointed Parent” category and the “Next-Underdog Bandwagon Jumper.” In practice this means, if my team can’t be great and play beautifully, they shouldn’t bother being good; that would only mean I’ll start ignoring them to watch the plucky underdogs from the next town over (or, in very un-p.c. terms, “Why can’t you be more like your retarded brother? At least he tries. You make me sick!” Curiously, I’m not like this with my real kids – and, yes, I’m a big John Waters fan).

– Speaking of my oft-abused team – again, that’s New England, though you’d hardly know it – they seem to be getting more preview ink, probably due to the fact they play the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference final on Thursday. A couple things to update there: Red Card reports that Justin Mapp “could be available” for the game, something that have me shouting “hallelujahs” about picking Chicago to win if I didn’t have doubts about Mapp’s ability to seriously contribute after such a long lay off. Also, Frank Dell’Appa gave plausible reasons for both teams to feel confident heading into the Big Game.

– To pick up on a new story-line, people are already looking ahead to the expansion draft that will build the new San Jose Earthquakes. I’m thinking Steve Goff got the ball rolling on Monday, and he’s been followed since (consciously or not) by 3rd Degree, who talked about who they expect their beloved FC Dallas to protect and expose, and The Fullback Files, who did the same for DC United. For the record, 3rd Degree helpfully highlighted the expansion draft rules in their post. In the same spirit, I thought I’d do a half-ass job for two teams: the New England Revolution, because I spitefully support them, and the Columbus Crew because I’m not sure anyone else will. I’m only going to name the 11 players on each team that I would protect – the rest would, obviously, remain exposed. And, word to the wise, the likelihood that I’m going to screw up and protect a player who can’t be protected is somewhat high. I’m going through this exercise, I suppose, to identify the players on both teams who I rate – and I placed an asterisk next to any protected player I’d use as trade-bait opportunity permitting:

New England Revolution (the link goes to the roster)
1. Taylor Twellman
2. Pat Noonan
3. Steve “Dog Chow” Ralston (my wife’s nickname)
4. Matt Reis
5. Michael Parkhurst (even if he may leave; see below)
6. Shalrie Joseph
7. Andy Dorman*
8. Avery John*
9. Adam Cristman* (they’d have to pay)
10. Wells Thompson*
11. Jeff Larentowicz

Columbus Crew (ditto)
1. Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2. Eddie Gaven*
3. Ned Grabavoy
4. Frankie Hejduk
5. Stefani Miglioranzi
6. Danny O’Rourke*
7. Robbie Rogers
8. Tim Ward
9. Alejandro Moreno
10. Marcos Gonzalez (I had to)*
11. Jacob Thomas*

This is actually an educational process, figuring which players you’d expose. As you can see, I view a good chunk of the Revs’ line-up as expendable; moreover, I can’t believe how healthy they managed to remain this year. Good fortune of that sort makes me think they might win MLS Cup after all. As for Columbus, they have so many intriguing building blocks, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my list of un-expendable players didn’t end around #7.

– Finally, as we head into the off-season, one has to think that MLS Rumors will once again start cranking out content. They got off to a decent start today with posts on England coach (is it former yet?) Steve McClaren looking into the LA Galaxy job (or vice versa; I’m in a hurry) and one about Michael Parkhurst joining the U.S. Men’s Nationa…I mean, Fulham FC in the Premier League. On this last one, though, The Offside Rules found something debunking that one (and I join his “WTF?” on Brian Hall winning referee of the year). And, honestly, I can’t see the Galaxy hiring McClaren, never mind McClaren taking the job – which, again, hardly means I won’t happen; I can’t see a lot of things that come together.

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3 Responses

  1. Holy shit!!!! I’ve been without the interwebs for three days and the MLS world has gone beserk! The Bruce is gone? Yallop is headed to San Jose? Parkhurst is Defender of the Year (my favourite award) and could be on his way to Fulham? Justin Mapp could be back on Thursday night? Clavijo still isn’t fired? Half a post dedicated to the almighty JCO (Juan Carlos Osorio)? Man, I need to catch up! I’ve got so many podcasts to listen to as well.

    I made my Expansion Draft Protected List for the Fire yesterday during my World History class. I’ll post it here when I get my notebook back from my friend tomorrow. And maybe if I’m bored enough, I’ll make lists for the other teams tomorrow.

    Oh yeah, I also have quite a point of view about the playoff format that I haven’t seen anyone write about yet so I’ll share that with you tomorrow as well.

  2. Looking forward to hearing about both – the protection lists, especially.

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