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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Motagua 0-0 Pachuca: So, Who Wins a Tie?

Neat game – quite possibly because it wasn’t expected. That goes double for the second half. Between a couple Motagua players and the field, the Honduran team played the stronger game. Pachuca still looked the better team, but that’s only in the abstract: by the end of the first half, I would have pegged the Mexicans to steal it; by the end of the game, I’d say they were lucky things ended as if tonight never happened.

Put those big themes together and one has to think Motagua lost tonight’s game. They chased the Mexicans stupid over the first 15 minutes and showed they could play with them throughout the second half; hell, they showed they could outplay Pachuca from the 55th minute on. What was missing? Maybe that little extra bit of quality, the kind of professional cool and precision Pachuca’s players flashed in the first half? Or maybe it was what was there, namely Miguel Calero. For what it’s worth, Calero played his typical game, but he wasn’t outstanding.

As I see it, Motagua lacked a little in quality. Apart from two, three nearly sure-thing shots on goal that Calero, to his credit, scrambled to safety, they either wasted the chances they had or stumbled a step or two after an alert – and ragged – Pachuca defense. Continue reading

Daily Sweeper, 09.06: Amado Dreams, Fire Sales, Yanqui Rosters, My Tender, Tender Heart

OK…running behind…quickly, quickly.

– The Red Bull Offside was en fuego today…or it made me laugh out loud twice at the very least. How? By talking about Amado Guevara’s recently stated desire to return to Major League Soccer (MLS), specifically to New York (Dave Martinez’s post on RBNY’s hope of signing Francesco Coco made me laugh again, especially how he views competition from New England. The Guevara thing pops up a couple other places – Soccer by Ives and The Offside Rules, to name two – and all are worth the read. Where do I stand? Amado was always good for a laugh…sure, I’d take him back.

– I am so friggin’ ignorant as to the implications of those Andell people buying the Chicago Fire that I almost didn’t post on it. But, it’s big news, right? The Houston Chronicle ran an Associated Press piece (of poo), as did a couple other outlets (and, strangely, that plugged an upcoming movie…as if that’s frickin’ related?), which told one next to nothing. Luis Arroyave snuck in something for his Chicago paper, which usefully noted Andell picked up management rights to Toyota Park…that seemed significant, even if it seems the city of Bridgeview still owns (corrections welcome). USSoccerplayers.com ran a bit on it as well, but it took an older article they ran to make me feel remotely clued in.

– Speaking of Arroyave, he picked up an interview with Clint Dempsey, a player I like as much as anyone (had something on his blog as well with some more good stuff). And, if anyone ever doubted I’m a ludicrously soft-touch, doubt no more: I totally choked up over the connection with his sister.

– Even if I’m going to watch the U.S. v. Brazil game this weekend (to my shame! friendlies are for gullible twits!), I’m not doing any roster talk. Nope. Just refusing. This game won’t be educational in any way, dammit. Anyway, other people are doing this sort of thing, guys like Jen Chang and Jeff Carlisle (both for ESPN). But I posted it, didn’t I? I hate my weakness!!

– Finally, I want to give a big shout-out to Jozy Altidore for making me feel old with his latest post for the (vampiric) New York Times’ Goal blog. Thanks, kid. Like hairs jumping out of my scalp and the sagging of my once-proud pectorals didn’t confirm that, already. My favorite thing was my dignity till, oh, 25 minutes ago. Now…make this wretched feeling go away: who the hell is Paula DeAnda?

Well, hot damn!  Done in 15 minutes.  Talk at you tomorrow.