MLS Rumors Watch, 1-1 (2-1 soon?) + Today’s Latest

Even though the ink is not yet dry on the trade that will send Alecko Eskandarian to Chivas USA, the content of Steve Goff’s direct communication with the forward makes me feel comfortable enough to say they got that one right. That takes them to 1-1 – and Esky sounds happy. Huzzah!

In other news, they’re “90% certain” to go 2-1 on the Claudio Lopez to MLS rumor.

To move this thing forward, I came across a late post yesterday: Toronto FC is after/working on signing some Argentinian dude with dodgy facial hair named Roger; they didn’t rate this one, but I’m going to call it live. This seems to be part of the grand, hush-hush project of making MLS the Argentine League Norte.

Anyway, I’ll post more of today’s rumors in this space as the day progresses…after this sentence.

UPDATE: Tricky, tricky, tricky, so much so that scuttling this Rumor Watch project is tempting. For instance, what to do with the Clint Mathis to Greece thing? For starters, they don’t really treat it like a rumor – it’s more of a report – and multiple sites are reporting it as such (which I’ll be doing myself shortly). So, that won’t count.

I get the same feeling about the Clarence Goodson to some Scandinavian team with a made-up name (IK Start? Ah, bullshit. That’s like IK Let’s Go! C’mon, tell me the real name). Mmm…maybe it’s not so hard. 3rd Degree’s report link to Soccer by Ives ran on something more solid than “making a run” at a job in Norway; then again, Ives’ headline reads pretty firm, “Goodson Says Goodbye.” So, all right, I’ll call this one live – and they’re rating it as a 5…and I’m guessing this will be an easy W for MLS Rumors.

For the record, I’m passing on the expansion city post and the one about Denis Hamlett refusing the first offer from Chicago (though, if he did, good for him). So, for today, I’m only clocking the Clarence Goodson and Roger rumors…plus the ones leftover from yesterday…getting confusing…

UPDATE: Because MLS Rumors tagged it with a 3, the Kenny Cooper to Houston rumor doesn’t rate; damn shame, ’cause that’s a really nifty li’l rumor.  And, because I thought it already happened, and because it seems inevitable, I’m going to spike (e.g. not count) the rumor that has Carlos Pavon out of LA.  This one, however, does rate:

– Joseph Ngwenya to some Austrian joint (rated: 4).

MLS Rumor Watch Update (0-1)

I’ll attach the site’s record to each update, just to let you know where things stand. And, for the record, I’ll only be clocking the rumors that MLS Rumors rates 4 or higher. Here are the latest. I’ll keep the Rumor Watch updated as they come to me (as opposed to breaking…I can lag behind).

So, with the site currently rocking a losing record (damn that John Spencer!), here are the latest rumors in the hopper:

Avery John (+ some cash and junk) to Columbus from New England: rated 4.

Alecko Eskandarian to Chivas USA from Real Salt Lake (hmm…where to put the cash and junk? The thing is RSL gets the cash/junk; Chivas just gets Esky): rating 5.

Seattle’s MLS team will be called Emerald City Seattle FC: rating 4…and, CHRIST…fucking awful name.

Claudio Lopez to MLS; MLS Rumors names KC or DC as likely destinations, but I’ll give them a wider berth and leave it at any MLS team: rating 5.

Gonzalo Martines to DC United: rating 4.

Shit, they’re busy today. That’s all of them that ain’t rated 3 or lower, or that don’t carry a rating at all.

UPDATE: It occurs to me now that, during the heavy-traffic off-season, I should just set up a link first thing in the morning and update it throughout the day.  Here’s the latest:

Jay Jay Okocha to the Columbus Crew.

Another point: this, along with the way MLS Rumors used the word “confirmed” in their post regarding Gonzalo Martinez and Jose Carvallo to DC gets me wondering whether the site merely wants to confirm that the rumor they’re passing on exists versus the likelihood of the rumor becoming reality; it’s a little of both in post, especially when you click through to the Steve Goff post to which they refer; Goff is just waiting on confirmation from his local sources.  For the record, I’m going with the latter – e.g. assuming they’re rating the expectation the rumor will come to pass.  If all they’re reporting is the occurrence of talks, that’s not a very high bar.

Real Salt Lake 2007 Review: The Riddle of RSL

(Clever sub-titles seem in order here…perhaps even too-clever ones; I mean, is RSL really a riddle?)

Real Salt Lake
Record (W-L-T): 6-15-9, 31 GF; 45 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports

Real Salt Lake’s (RSL) past two seasons have followed the Riddle of the Sphinx made famous by the story of Oedipus: “What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?” The relationship is, naturally, more conceptual than actual: RSL starts slow – albeit fatally so, unlike the baby of the riddle – then rallies strongly enough in mid-season for the word “playoffs” to get bandied about, but that’s only the tease that comes before they feebly squander their post-season hopes to a series of draws and ill-timed losses.

Oh well. At least they won the Rocky Mountain Cup this year.

Then again, 2007 seemed a crueler year, one in which a playoff race all at once exciting and pathetic combined with some modestly hopeful omens to suggest RSL could stick around the “man” phase long enough to make the post-season. The season even started with a glimmer of hope with a fresh-start Freddy Adu coming to town. Sadly, that arrangement that went South fast enough to lose head coach John Ellinger his job by early May. If it ever feels like only yesterday since Jason Kreis took over, consider that.

But the illusion of rounding the corner to a sunlit street teased RSL all season long. Kreis’ his first game in charge featured a fighting 3-3 draw against a seemingly potent Red Bull New York; then three straight losses to weak teams followed from there. In mid-to-late June, Nate Sturgis’ and Robbie Findley’s arrived from the LA Galaxy bringing with them the team’s first win of 2007 and, in Findley, the hope that they had finally landed a goal-scorer. The Kyle Beckerman/Mehdi Ballouchy trade came in July and, after that, the arrival of the “Three Argies” – Fabian Espindola, Matias Mantilla, and Javier Morales; these last two coincided with RSL’s best spell of 2007, a 4-4-3 run through August and September. That may not sound like much, but this is MLS, where a sub-.500 can still spell playoffs.

Each little dawn faded quickly, though none so painfully as that long, lingering slide away from a post-season berth. Of the four “life-line” wins compiled over August and September, only two were consecutive and the fateful losses and draws picked up all around them killed what little hope RSL fans could briefly cherish. In fact, the fourth win in that “glory run” came too late to do anything but help bring home the Rocky Mountain Cup and ruin Colorado’s season. Maybe those “little dawns” were just anomalies in the season of a genuinely bad team? Continue reading

RSL 0-1 Houston: Fine Pat Onstad

To the Powers that Be:

Fine that cheating geezer, Pat Onstad.  Do it for the integrity of the game and for the dignity of regional theater – and introduce your referees to those giant digital video boards most stadiums seem to have these days before they find themselves both embarrassed and obsolete.

What had been a half-decent contest between quality (Houston Dynamo) and pride (Real Salt Lake) unraveled during the second half into a cynical sham.  First came the decision to eject Eddie Robinson: hopefully, referee Tim Weyland knew beyond doubting that Robinson ran across Kyle Beckerman’s trailing leg, because absent perfect knowledge, a red card to Robinson shouldn’t happen.  On the other hand, Robinson might have thought he could get away with it given Weyland’s indulgence of a series of early, rough challenges from Craig Waibel and a string of cynical fouls by Ryan Cochrane that also went unpunished.  Maybe Robinson ran off the field as a scapegoat for Houston.

It’s a little bizarre to be writing this because one talking point that occurred to me as I watched last night amounted to dubbing Houston’s backline one of the best  in Major League Soccer (MLS).  There’s no question in my mind it’s effective, but every time I see them, I’m struck by the low-blow thuggishness with which Cochrane and Robinson, in particular, play the game.  This doesn’t quite reach the realm of, “kids, don’t try this at home,” but it’s hardly something to be encouraged either for reasons of player development or sportsmanship. Continue reading