With the calendar turning from January to February tomorrow – which, if you adopt a really broad definition of time, puts the kickoff to the 2008 Major League Soccer (MLS) season just one month away – now seems the time to organize myself for what’s ahead. And this all needs to fit within the scheme I chose for the year – e.g. following, and that verb is crucial, the Columbus Crew and the Colorado Rapids.
To refresh some memories, and to introduce the concept to anyone new, I’ve adopted the Crew and Rapids for 2008. The unifying theme in this little study is to observe these two clubs – both MLS originals that, for some time now, have seemed weak at best, marginally competent at worst – as they try to get back to winning ways. A couple details about each club make for significant sub-plots, which lends subtle complexity to stories that seem similar on the surface. To give an example, one gets the feeling the Crew would sack Sigi Schmid if results in 2008 don’t come early while, based on the past year, one really wonders how many puppies Rapids Coach Fernando Clavijo would have to kill before losing his job.
The central effort in following those teams will be the most straightforward: watching their games, as many as I can; and when I can’t see the games – as I suspect will happen in preseason in particular – I’ll have to read match reports (lord help me). But this post is intended to introduce and explain the secondary piece in this project: “This Shit Is Important” Reports, or TSII Reports.
I have a small number of sites I visit for news on both clubs (may as well plug them: Covering the Crew; Soccer by Ives (which, for some reason, does well with Crew news); FC Rocky; The Colorado Rapids Offside (when it’s operating); Black Panther: A Soccer Blog; Rapids Class VI; and View from the Couch. I’ll use those to keep current on team news, but I won’t pass on everything I read – which is where the TSII distinction comes in.
As I follow these teams, I’m mainly interested in things that effect on-field performance – e.g. the fitness and well-being of the players, what the teams are doing tactically, their respective forms, how they stack up against their conferences, etc. But things like what’s going on with each clubs’ supporters’ groups; front office personnel movement; player interviews or their happy accomplishments (e.g. Bouna Coundoul getting the nod for Senegal): I’ll generally ignore that….well, to the point where I can report open fan revolts against – oh, I don’t know – Fernando Clavijo, which has the potential to unsettle the on-field dynamics. In other words, the first category falls under the TSII label, at least in my view, while the second piece does not.
So, if you’re popping by for Crew and/or Rapids news, look for the “Crew TSII” or “Rapids TSII” labels. As for match reports, they’ll be pretty obvious – e.g. “Crew 0-0 Red Bull New York: Another Fucking Draw?” After that, regular service will continue. Hope this works for everyone…and me. And you’ll be seeing the first edition of one of these – a report on the Crew as it happens – pretty soon.