Expansion Draft: Yallop v. Me

Well, MLSnet.com finally posted the list of players Frank Yallop picked up for the New Model San Jose Earthquakes in today’s expansion draft (and thanks to all the good people out there who forwarded the list while I was blab, blab, blabbing away in another post). Here’s that list:

1. Ryan Cochrane (Houston Dynamo)
2. Clarence Goodson (FC Dallas)
3. Ned Grabavoy (Columbus Crew)
4. James Riley (New England Revolution)
5. Joseph Vide (New York Red Bulls)
6. Ivan Guerrero (Chicago Fire)
7. Brian Carroll (D.C. United)
8. Jason Hernandez (Chivas USA)
9. Gavin Glinton (LA Galaxy)
10. Chris Pozniak (Toronto FC

Now, let’s compare that to the list of players I selected yesterday (the picks we shared are in red):

1. Kevin Hartman: good veteran in goal.
2. Ryan Cochrane: only because he’s younger than Waibel.
3. Ned Grabavoy: What can I say? I’m a fan.
4. Abe Thompson: good depth at forward, instantly granted.
5. Willis Forko: He seemed useful.
6. Kelly Gray: hard, but instant depth tops Glinton’s super-sub upside.
7. Ivan Guerrero: unless the recent injury is serious.
8. Andy Dorman: I’ll take a flyer here and hope for a rebirth.
9. D. Mediate/J. Moose: flip a coin; this is getting hard.
10. John Wolyniec…on principle.

Now…to discuss…with myself…Frank left the building (actually, he was never in it).

RP, who commented on my original post, pointed out the biggest hole in Yallop’s picks: where are the forwards? Sure, there’s Gavin Glinton, but he’s a depth forward in my book. Even among the midfielders Yallop selected, one doesn’t see much in the way of attacking mids. This makes me think two things: 1) Yallop is building from the back; 2) he’s looking elsewhere for attacking talent. On one level, that’s a heck of a gamble.

On another, though, there were few of what I’d dub a lot of top-quality attacking players in the mix, at least not reliable, or reliably healthy, ones (see: Casey, Conor). Another thing on the credit side of Yallop’s picks comes with the fact that he essentially picked up a starting defense (Goodson, Cochrane, Riley, and Hernandez), entirely credible options at holding mid (Grabavoy, Carroll), plus a nifty player in Guerrero, while leaving plenty of money available for those attacking players he’ll find elsewhere. A quick check of each player’s 2007 guaranteed pay (and a little rounding) puts Yallop’s current total at $622,617. After accounting for a designated player (or two) and assuming a $2.3 or so salary cap, it looks like Frank got the New Model ‘Quakes off to a respectable start on the field and has some room to spend.

Pre-Turkey Day Sweeper: The Revs Won’t Win in ’08; Houston & The “D” Word; MLS Irks Indy Media, Editorial Decisions, etc.

Well, as I’m waiting for the 2007 Expansion Draft to get posted I thought I’d flag a couple points of interest from this week’s news.

– The headline reads, “Nicol sees no need to overhaul roster” and that tells me what I need to know about the New England Revolution for 2008: 1) they’re not going back to MLS Cup; 2) if they do make it back, I don’t want them there. Staid empiricist that I am, what could possibly lead me to conclude that the 2007 team, plus a few prospects out of college, will make the fourth time the charm? With key players like Steve Ralston a year older and the prospect of Michael Parkhurst bugging out for Europe, those odds only grow a little longer. My guess is Revs coach Steve Nicol won’t see a player, as he puts it, “who’s better than who we have”; the man has essentially stood pat for the past four years. But something is keeping these guys from going over the top. Because I don’t believe in jinxes (well, not really) I’m thinking it’s Nicol and the kinds of players he prefers and the system in which he employs them.

– Even if Greg Lalas only slipped it in at the end of his MLS Cup write-up, the word “dynasty” has come up several times around the Houston Dynamo. For what it’s worth, put me in with the “yes” crowd – as in I count Houston to be a dynasty. I don’t know what else one calls four titles in seven years time with the same-ish line-up taking the field. At this point, I’m lurking at the fringes of the camp who count the 2006-2007 Dynamo as being in with a shout as the best-ever MLS team. OK, DC fans, bury me in statistics… Continue reading

What’s Yer Off-Season Methadone?

I’m asking because I’m trying to figure it out myself.  My original plan was to follow the Mexican Primera, an interest stoked by CONCACAF Champions Cup play and the SuperLiga…know the enemy and all that.  And that’s in spite of the fact that hearing Spanish spoken on TV makes me fall asleep…kind of like NPR…I don’t understand it either.

Then again, I don’t have the channel set up to follow the Mexican league well.  My cable package only provides for Telemundo and Univision and, if I’m understanding things correctly, those two channels only have the rights to specific teams; for example, I think Univision gets to broadcast UNAM and (maybe) Toluca.  Well, what if I don’t like those two teams?  It’s all very confusing to my slow mind (Calling Luis Bueno!  Calling Luis Bueno!  Help me sort out this business.)

Try as I might, I just can’t get excited about the English Premier League.  It’s the whole thing with will it be Arsenal,  Man U, or Chelsea?  (Liverpool?  Ha!  They’ll tank.)  Um…the rest of  you need not apply.  I could try to get riled about America in England FC (Fulham) avoiding the drop…see how that goes, I guess.  There’s the Champions League as well; that’s usually fun, even if I have to watch the things tape-delayed (where are we in that tournament, by the way?).

There’s the upcoming NCAA tournament – worth watching for those future MLS stars (as well as the guys who skip town when they realize that a developmental contract means living on pork ‘n’ beans) – but that’s just a short weekend.

So, yeah, I’m curious as to what people out there are going to do over MLS’s off-season.  For all I know, I may be moving….which could mean a new cable package.  And I’ll learn Spanish one day, I swear.  It’s right there on the to-do list next to inventing something totally killer or making the world’s catchiest jingle.  Maybe I won’t fall asleep if I know what they’re saying…

Anyway, how are people out there coping with the off-season?