MLS Daily Sweeper, 3.18.08: Amado Guevara’s, Obsession; Cramped in CONCACAF; + One More

Knowing I not only buried this feature, but essentially chastised myself for ever creating it, it feels like I should acknowledge that – no links, though. That said, my New Year’s resolutions usually die a quiet death somewhere around January 10 and this one was no different. Well, there was my resolution to go bald…that one is going like gangbusters.

Moving on the stories I liked/that mattered today…

– You’ve all heard by now about Honduran midfielder Amado Guevara’s apparent, looming return to Major League Soccer (MLS). (UPDATE: Soccer Insider reported later today that this deal is in “long-shot” mode. Well…dammit, people.) But I haven’t yet read anything as his motivation. He’s not positioning himself for a hop to Europe, not at his age, and it sounds like things were going well enough in Honduras: so, what is it that keeps Amado coming back? And it’s worth remembering that he made some noises about wanting to return last year, so this isn’t exactly spur of the moment. Anyway, it sounds like he’ll head to Toronto, news that has the locals (somewhat over, perhaps even irrationally) excited. Some call it, desire; Amado calls it….obsession.

– Andrew Dixon, of Gol Noir and a contributor to USSoccerplayers.com, wrote a column this morning about feeling uninspired by the opposition in CONCACAF. He figures we’ve outgrown our small pond. On a coincidental, yet somehow related note, MLS Rumors passed on word (well, it actually appears closer to a comment of dubious context and significance, but let’s run with it) on MLS clubs getting into the Copa Libertadores. Doubt this is anywhere near happening, but count my corner of Center Holds It as four-square behind the (non-existent) proposal. Actually, count me a fan of merging CONCACAF and CONMEBOL for World Cup, and all other, qualifying, having the smaller nations do preliminary qualifying, etc. Does this mean we’d miss out on the World Cup – perhaps even more than from time to time? Yup. But the virtually automatic bid we’re now getting through CONCACAF leaves me feel cheap and dirty. We should earn our bid. It should make us stronger on the occasions we do arrive. Continue reading

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CCC08: DC v. Harbour View, on RFK’s Resplendent Surface

Given the stillfrequent references to the playing surface in Jamaica, I expect DC United will elevate their play to the realms art tonight, stroking the ball across the canvas that is RFK’s playing surface.

I kid, I kid. I imagine a plug-ugly win will send DC fans home happy.

We’re not far from the kick-off of the decisive second leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) quarterfinal series between DC and Jamaica’s Harbour View FC (HVFC). Only a couple minor changes to report: DC will, indeed, miss Jaime Moreno for tonight’s game, but the Jamaicans arguably have it worse: they’ll be missing Rafeik Thomas, a semi-hot scorer for the club of late, and Kemeel Wolfe courtesy of visa issues. And don’t forget the team chef…that one’s a killer. Otherwise, the preview that preceded the entire series covers the Big Picture…though, there’s that little matter of the first leg to cover.

(UPDATE: USSoccerplayas.com linked to a Jamaica Gleaner article that does really well with flagging HVFC’s players to watch, what to expect for tactics (more of the same).  And, to add a personal emphasis unrelated to that, I wanted to highlight my concerns about DC’s ability to get its offense firing.  They’re not exactly ripping the nets, with one goal per game setting the high-water mark in recent outings.  I get into my belief they need to score early below, but it bears emphasizing: finding the net is plenty hard, but trying on tired legs only makes it harder.)

I’d argue DC held the edge in both play and style over the first 50, 60 minutes, before pre-season legs undermined their efforts. One competitive game and one week’s further conditioning shouldn’t greatly alter that equation so pressing for an early advantage seems a good tack to take for the hosts. Their capacity to make that pressing count relies on their ability to score – which relies in turn on syncing their play, something Jeff Carlisle smartly flagged in his one-stop CCC08 second leg preview for ESPN.com: Continue reading