With the countdown to First-Kick showing just 12 days+some minutes, it’s becoming jarringly apparent that Major League Soccer (MLS), um, soccer will commence seriously humping my brain…and several days before I’m prepared for the trauma. Here I thought I’d have time for as many season previews as I cared to type. It’s time to ratchet back and plan ahead a little – a process that starts with this week.
Today to Friday ought to be pretty easy: I’ll be watching and pondering the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) quaterfinal second legs. FOX Soccer Channel’s schedule tells me I’m only on the hook for three games this week: DC United v. Harbour View FC (that’s Tuesday, March 18, 8 p.m. PST (yeah, I’m watching the replay); Houston Dynamo v. CSD Municipal (Wednesday, March 19, 5:30 p.m. PST…going to be tight); and Deportivo Saprissa v. Atlante FC (March 20, 9 p.m. PST). Truth to tell, the absence of CF Pachuca v. CD Motagua disappoints just a little, but I’ll take the game off as well. Expect previews for the quarters involving MLS clubs at the very least – and feel free to read ahead with Jeff Carlisle’s CCC08 preview for ESPN.
But it’s the shape of the season coverage that really has me thinking. Whatever I do, I’m planning on a split that roughly follows this pattern: 1/2 my Columbus Crew/Colorado Rapids project; 1/2 everything else MLS. How to handle that remains a bit of a mystery. For instance, how to mention my piqued curiosity about Red Bull New York flirting with Claudio Reyna as attacking mid (receives some discussion in ESPN’s ’08 Red Bulls preview)? Or pointing to the factors I believe will make Real Salt Lake 2008 (or, RSL.08) the strongest team in that club’s short history? Or what about one-time #1 draft-pick Chris Carrieri’s retirement?
The more I think about it, the more I lean toward reviving the Daily Sweeper – that’s in spite of all the nasty things I’ve written and thought about it. Add that to the power rankings, collective power rankings, watching a bunch of Crew and Rapids games and, yeah, I think that’s enough for one hobby (what on earth will happen to my enthusiasm for collecting men’s room novelty condoms?!).
That’s what to expect for MLS coverage on my corner of Center Holds It in the year ahead. I’m guessing my co-authors will add some things of their own, but won’t make them promise anything.