Daily Sweeper, 11.8, Game-Day: Gullit to LA; Flagging an Oversight; Burnishing Soccer-Nerd Cred

This monkey is breaking out of his cubicle early in order to catch tonight’s Eastern Conference Final between the New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire.  And, no, I didn’t play sick, but simply said to my boss, “Sir, I must go home, strap a foam-dome on my head, and watch soccer.  I bid you good day!”  Such displays help me hang onto what was once a crazy stockpile of Soccer-Nerd cred.

– Speaking of tonight’s game, credit to Jimmy Chowda of Blue Blooded Journo for catching a possible – and possibly major – “X-Factor” in tonight’s game.  The turf, man, Gillette Stadium’s lush, and comparatively inexpensive expanse of green!  He flagged that in a tidy preview for tonight’s bloody-knuckles brawl…or, at least that’s what we’re both expecting.  Then again, Mike H on My Soccer Blog flagged the turf angle as well; more significantly, he called the game for New England, something I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else do, not even Ms. Mike H.

– More on tonight: USSoccerplayas.com’s Ian Plenderleith offended the Revolution Front Office’s self-image, inspiring them to defend the Revs’ approach to the game over email.  Polite as the tone may be, the Revs’ flak’s apologies for Revolution soccer provides a moderately embarrassing read because it kind of misses what people find so unappealing about the Revolution.  Count me very impressed with how well Plenderleith describes it:

“There are enough talented attacking players in the Revs’ line-up, but it’s a tactically tight ship that Steve Nicol runs.  He has no time for players who don’t stick with the game plan, and as a coach that’s his prerogative.  There are many good New England players, but rarely ones that produce breathtaking moments.  You won’t find a Revs player who regularly takes on, and beats, defenders, for example.  Sure, it’s a quality and consistent team on many levels, especially in the context of MLS, but it’s also a team that, to me at least, lacks a certain character and passion”

All I can say to that is, “yup.”

– Moving to what should count as The Big News of the day, it appears that former Dutch great Ruud Gullit will coach the Los Angeles Galaxy next season.  There’s a Daily Telegraph article floating around that says so fairly definitively, but the most confident article I remembered to flag was Martin Rogers’ column for Yahoo! News.  So, is this good?  Bad?  What is it?  I figure it could be either; neither walloping failure nor torrid success would surprise me…though I expect the former if LA doesn’t upgrade their line-up between now and next April.  I mean, did you read what happened in Vancouver, BC last night?  Two articles tell me the Vancouver Whitecaps “dominated” the match.

– Good news out of Kansas City: the team cleared another hurdle on its way to building a soccer-specific home.  Something called the TIF Commission voted unanimously in favor of a development plan that includes a Wizards’ stadium.  Good stuff.

– Speaking of KC, Jeff Carlisle, in the Western Conference Final preview he wrote for ESPN, flags the New Restraint in the Wizards’ approach to the game.

All right.  It’s almost game time.  Wish the team of your choice luck – and a pox on yer ding-ding if you pick the wrong one!