Is MLS the NSA? Discuss…

Boy, do I have questions today. I found another question to pick at in a post on MLS Rumors. It seems an anonymous emailer button-holed New England Revolution Front Office Officers, Craig Tornberg and Brian Biello and managed to squeeze a few morsels of insider dish out of them. As with the post below, I’m less interested in the dish than I was in this statement:

“They have a lot of news they just can’t release because it’s not meant for it being made public.”

So, here’s the question: what happens if this news goes public? And I’m asking because I can’t imagine. Are they thinking floods, financial panic, a nation-wide freakout when we all learn that the Feds are actually locking down extra-terrestrials in Foxboro and will sit on them only provided the Revs never build a soccer-specific stadium?

The failed deal to bring Juan Sebastian Veron to Major League Soccer (MLS) is the most recent exhibit in why things/negotiations/etc. must be kept secret, but….in all honesty, why? This is a business built on a friggin’ game and that’s the case no matter how “beautiful” it may be. How did we get here? Some player deals I get (though, again, not really), but I don’t understand why the Revs don’t want to talk about what they’re trying to do to build the game in the Boston-area. Would news of these efforts be worse than the current silence and impression of near-total indifference? And I mean that even if they failed. I’m of the opinion they look dumber holding off. Then again, I’m a positive whore for transparency.

LA: If It’s Conventional Wisdom Is It Still a Rumor?

Sorry about the slow day…y’know, life.  MLS Rumors posted an interesting tid-bit over this weekend:

“Now we hear that sparks have been flying and fires stoked during the Galaxy’s Asia tour and World Soccer Daily is reporting that the rumor in LA is that Lalas will be gone by July. Gullit’s no non-sense approach to squad selection has rubbed Lalas the wrong way.”

I’m not so much interested in the truth of this one – though it would shock me about as much as the sunrise – as I’m wondering where rumors end and conventional wisdom begins.  The real question is how this hasn’t happened already.

La Liga: ”If the players are sick, they should go to the shrink!”

Javier Clemente, new coach at Real Murcia after the sacking of Lucas Alcaraz, did anything buy shine in his debut on Sunday, falling 3-0 to Getafe. However, this former almost appointed manager of Iran had this to say after the loss.

“está enfermo, pero mientras hay vida hay esperanza”, que cree en eso “lo mismo que en Dios” y que “si los jugadores están mal, que vayan al psiquiatra”.

[the club] is sick, but while there’s still live, there’s still hope. [The club] believes in this “the say way they believe in God” and “if the players are sick, they should go to the psychiatrist.”

So apparently Clemente thinks all of his problems with the club might be solved by a little trip to the shrink. Or maybe Clemente realizes they are currently sitting in 19th place on 23 points, six behind 18th place Recreativo and a chance to stay in the top flight this year.

Clemente does know what he’s doing for those of you who think he may be a bit mad. This is the man that managed the 1983 and 1984 Athletic Bilbao team who won back to back La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey crown as well.

He’s also the manager involved in what Four Four Two called one of the top 50 best fights in soccer history, when Andoni Goikoetxea annihilated Diego Maradona from behind, solidfying the feeling of his ‘hardcore’ Athletic team at that time.  The following meeting between the two clubs, and after 106 days on the sidelines with a shattered ankle, Diego Maradona extracted his revenge with a bicycle kick to the face of Bilbao’s keeper.

Maybe Maradona should have went to the shrink.

Olympic Qualifying Breakdown – Who’s Your Best XI?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Cuba

Thursday, March 13, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Panama

Saturday, March 15th, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Honduras

Roster was released – as I am sure you have seen – over the weekend and some notable omissions include Gold Cup hero turned Derby County wantaway Benny Feilhaber, last summer’s U-20 standout Robbie Rogers, and FC Dallas’ creative midfielder Arturo Alvarez. Michael Bradley of Heerenveen was left out due to club obligations. Heerenveen is still in the fight for the Dutch Eredivisie title and/or European contention with Ajax and PSV and Bradley is no doubt a huge part of that. The goal is to finish in the top two of their group, beat their opponent in the semifinal and make it to the finals which guarantees them a spot at this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

GK (2): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders (6): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

Midfielders (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)

Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg)

With this roster, I would certainly expect Piotr Nowak to go with Jozy Altidore as the lone forward, putting Freddy Adu right in behind them as they did at the U-20 World Cup. Zizzo has got to go on one of the wings as I remember his dismantling of the Brazilian defense in Canada as well. Expect either Eddie Gaven or Stuart Holden to patrol the other wing. I, for one, can’t understand the necessity of carrying a Chad Barrett over an Arturo Alvarez, who is versatile and serviceable on either of the wings, in the middle, or up top as striker. Then again, I also can’t understand the choice of 5 strikers when the tactic should be tailor-made for Jozy. Robbie Rogers has apparently been fighting an injury which makes his absence a bit understandable. I am just hoping that due to the lack of a Zizzo-like left winger, we don’t see Freddy Adu put out there. He needs be tucked in behind Altidore where he can dictate the run of play and roam freely. What I really like about this group, though, is the attacking presence in the back. At the Olympic level, I think this crop of fullbacks – with only one appearing regularly for the senior national team – could make a play for the weakest spot on the field for our Nats. Wynne, Freeman, and Spector should do well (Spector won’t be joining them until after the Group Stages though so Freeman and Wynne will be left to prove themselves).

The XI see being used:






First game is Tuesday at 8:00pm EST on Fox Soccer Channel. What’s your take on the Starting XI?