OK, I think I’ve settled on my two teams for 2008 as well as a proper theme to unite them…beyond the fact they both hail from places that start with the letter “C”.
The teams will be the Columbus Crew and the Colorado Rapids. While this will mostly involve watching them at every chance I get once the season starts*, I’ll also pay more attention to both teams’ 2008 draft, their signings, etc. For now, though, there’s no time like the present to start reading up.
As for the theme, it’s two-fold: part one is a coach’s death-watch for both Colorado’s “10 Lives” Fernando Clavijo and Sigi “He Ate the Damn Pie Store” Schmid; OK, and where Clavijo is concerned, I have to admit to a modest longing for justice. Part two comes with seeing which of these MLS originals will re-join respectable post-season company at the end of 2008 – a notion that assumes one of them will. I know I’d put my money on Columbus today, but things could change abruptly if, say, Colorado drafts well and dumps “10 Lives” Fernando early – or, against all that is holy, he actually does a good job with the team in ’08 – while Columbus holds onto Schmid through August and loses Guillermo Barros Schelotto by June or July.
Anyway, the basic story is to see which team can avoid getting overtaken by the several recent and incoming expansion teams for the (thankfully) ever-dwindling supply of post-season spots. For what it’s worth, I think this story takes on a kind of urgency amid talk of Major League Soccer (MLS) expanding to 18 teams by 2010; if these teams keep falling behind one has to wonder how they’ll catch up.
One final note: I’m pretty stocked up on resources for the Colorado Rapids (Rocky Mountain News, FC Rocky and hard-copy; The Denver Post; Class IV; Black Panther, etc.) and I do all right with the Columbus Crew (Columbus Dispatch; Hunt Park Insider; some Columbus-area weekly, etc.), but I’d be obliged to anyone who can pass on further resources (and, please, don’t make me go to BigSoccer…so much bullshit to wade through…).
(* All of this is 100% contingent on MLSnet.com again offering MLSlive.tv. Failing that, this whole “two-team” project will fail and I’ll just watch and comment on whatever MLS deems fit for national broadcast.)