Is Up!

Yippee! I feel like that guy! We can all subscribe to more online soccer programming than any of us should need! Divorce, ho!

To be honest, the motivation for this post has at least as much to do with advertising the wonderfully scatalogical post I composed on this below as the announcement itself. And to, once again, give props to the woman at MLS HQ who answered my call.

Ah, off to waste money so’s I can waste time…and to think I almost missed the Crew’s opener.

Is MLS the NSA? Discuss…

Boy, do I have questions today. I found another question to pick at in a post on MLS Rumors. It seems an anonymous emailer button-holed New England Revolution Front Office Officers, Craig Tornberg and Brian Biello and managed to squeeze a few morsels of insider dish out of them. As with the post below, I’m less interested in the dish than I was in this statement:

“They have a lot of news they just can’t release because it’s not meant for it being made public.”

So, here’s the question: what happens if this news goes public? And I’m asking because I can’t imagine. Are they thinking floods, financial panic, a nation-wide freakout when we all learn that the Feds are actually locking down extra-terrestrials in Foxboro and will sit on them only provided the Revs never build a soccer-specific stadium?

The failed deal to bring Juan Sebastian Veron to Major League Soccer (MLS) is the most recent exhibit in why things/negotiations/etc. must be kept secret, but….in all honesty, why? This is a business built on a friggin’ game and that’s the case no matter how “beautiful” it may be. How did we get here? Some player deals I get (though, again, not really), but I don’t understand why the Revs don’t want to talk about what they’re trying to do to build the game in the Boston-area. Would news of these efforts be worse than the current silence and impression of near-total indifference? And I mean that even if they failed. I’m of the opinion they look dumber holding off. Then again, I’m a positive whore for transparency.

MLS: About that Tipping Point…

Yahoo! Sports’ Martin Rogers wrote an interesting piece about the mini-exodus of American players leaving for foreign fields…Scandinavia, in particular.  His piece mainly reports on the semi-perverse euphoria among league honchos, who view where Major League Soccer (MLS) is today as as much as they could hope for.  The conclusion to the piece, pulling quotes from that Ivan Gazidis fella, captures this most succinctly:

“But where is it all leading?”

“Well, Gazidis, the South African-born, UK-raised, lifelong Manchester City supporting visionary carries the blueprint for the future inside his brain and believes he has the answer.”

“‘I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that MLS will be a major soccer league in the world,’ he said. ‘Growth is inevitable, both because of demographics and because of how the world is bound together.'”

“‘It is happening under our noses right now. I have seen it from the beginning. We have been pushing to the tipping point for years, and we feel it has tipped already.'”

Rogers’ piece is a fascinating read for what it is, but there’s this irksome feeling that should lurk in the back of all of our heads when we read things like this.  And it arises from something very similar to what J Hutcherson describes in what is really just the latest piece to gripe about MLS and its relationship with the media.  Starved as we are of hard information on the league’s finances, what it spends on players and travel, versus what it takes in on ticket sales, advertising, transfers, etc. how does anyone independently assess the reality of that tipping point?

Is Televising the SuperDraft Smart?

Here’s a question: how many articles/posts/message board items have you read since last Friday that questioned the value Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs get through the SuperDraft.  Jamie Trecker posted a mildly frustrated kick-around on the subject just this morning over on Fox Sports and it covers familiar ground – e.g. not-ready-for-primetime players; the soft perversity built into the balance between value versus talent, the growing importance of the transfer market, etc.

Those points not only matter, they raise a pretty obvious question: does having this event on television actually help MLS?  If the majority of players who enter the league through the SuperDraft aren’t tomorrow’s stars, does the event create hype or fizzle?

I don’t know.  Maybe a single event is all the league can squeeze out of ESPN.  If that’s the case, though, perhaps MLS would be better served by going to, say, Fox Soccer Channel and pushing for a weekly half-hour program that starts in, oh, mid-January or even February and goes where the news really seems to be in the off-season: the transfer market and trades within MLS.

After that, the league can do with the SuperDraft what they’re doing with today’s supplemental draft.  And that would be burying it….very, very quietly.

Give ‘Em Hell, Andrea!

I don’t often do simple plugs, but Andrea Canales penned a good post over on Sideline Views, ripping into the Los Angeles Galaxy management, along Major League Soccer (MLS) in general, for being psychotically close-to-the-vest in their dealings with the media. Worse, league management, in collusion with players’ agents, get players to go along.

Good for her. One can only hope the league, agents, etc. realize this is a friggin’ game we’re talking about as opposed to state secrets. Yeah, there’s money involved, but what’s the harm of fans knowing this or that player might go abroad or that this or that player might come to play? It generates this thing called excitement, ya silly shits, typically a good thing when you’re trying to pique and, god forbid, maintain interest.

Andrea doesn’t touch on this but it’s a related issue. Who’s the frickin’ twit who thought it best for players to talk like lobotomized robots? Think of your friends: do you associate with fucking stiffs or do you do your damnedest to find interesting people? Relating to players as normal human beings, as opposed to, say, “on-field product,” deepens the emotional bond between fan and player. Again, this is a good thing.

As always, the larger the entity, the more you can rely on them to take aim at their own feet and start shooting…


Not to alarm anybody – least of all me – but the existence of Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) Broadband gets me wondering whether Major League Soccer (MLS) will um…produce? use? keep available? I became quite (OK, entirely) dependent on that service last season and had a pretty positive experience with it (though it must be acknowledged that not everyone did…cough…cough…Laurie!…cough).

In any case, I’m looking at what FSC Broadband costs for their All-Access package – $49.95 – which isn’t bad. And I’m assuming they could just kick MLS’s content into the same package, thereby either sparing MLS the expense of running the service on their own or, God forbid, Fox would pay MLS for the content. Another thing to consider: cost only $19.99 (or was it $19.95) for the entire season, making that one of the best dollar-to-hours $20 I ever spent. $50 isn’t so bad either, but who wouldn’t rather pay $20 for something instead of $50.

A second possibility: these two video products could remain totally unrelated. Then again, if MLS could get FSC to pay for the rights they’d be kinda stupid to not take the money. Just something to think about…

Hat tip for pointing this out to me goes to The Offside Rules (LINK).

MLS Daily Sweeper, 12.13: A Contribution to MLS Underground’s New Direction; Stadiums; Collapsed Rumors; Parsed Trades

– For those who haven’t seen it already, MLS Underground is under new management and, with that, is headed off in a new direction.  And this isn’t so much a sharp right-hand turn as it’s a three-to-four-point turn with an e-brake slide.  Rather than deal in its former insider-dish/rumor-hawking stuff (and I’m still baffled by the commenter to the post who said “there are enough rumor blogs out there…says who?), MLSU is changing its focus to supporters’ groups, whether it’s history, circulating their songs, or making them go national.  It’s a cool idea.  So cool that it triggered something I was thinking about, maybe last night, maybe another night…or maybe I just dreamed it.

That can be found in the comment left by manlyferry – who happens to be me, though I’m leaning toward a change in handle (not yet affected): the basic idea – and I give this with my blessing to anyone who can get their shit together and get it off the ground before I can get my shit together and get it off the ground (should give you, oh, a decade or three; and that assumes it’s even possible, or even desirable) – is to build up a database on places for visiting fans, even away fans, to stay as they visit MLS and, what the hell, USL-1 cities.  These should be cheap options at most, free at best – e.g. places with people who are willing to put up other people (he writes, knowing he has no space of his own); but a simple guide to cheap hotels, contacts in the city to help people with getting around, etc.

The idea is to facilitate, say, summer tours for people wanting to follow MLS teams.  As I said in the comment, it’s like following the Grateful Dead, but without all the shitty music…yeah, you’d lose the drugs, but, on the upside, you get to keep your kidneys.  Pie in the sky?  Quite probably.  But a fella can dream, can’t he?

At any rate, cool concept for MLS Underground and tip of the hat to SF of The Offside Rules for making it happen. Continue reading

Pre-Turkey Day Sweeper: The Revs Won’t Win in ’08; Houston & The “D” Word; MLS Irks Indy Media, Editorial Decisions, etc.

Well, as I’m waiting for the 2007 Expansion Draft to get posted I thought I’d flag a couple points of interest from this week’s news.

– The headline reads, “Nicol sees no need to overhaul roster” and that tells me what I need to know about the New England Revolution for 2008: 1) they’re not going back to MLS Cup; 2) if they do make it back, I don’t want them there. Staid empiricist that I am, what could possibly lead me to conclude that the 2007 team, plus a few prospects out of college, will make the fourth time the charm? With key players like Steve Ralston a year older and the prospect of Michael Parkhurst bugging out for Europe, those odds only grow a little longer. My guess is Revs coach Steve Nicol won’t see a player, as he puts it, “who’s better than who we have”; the man has essentially stood pat for the past four years. But something is keeping these guys from going over the top. Because I don’t believe in jinxes (well, not really) I’m thinking it’s Nicol and the kinds of players he prefers and the system in which he employs them.

– Even if Greg Lalas only slipped it in at the end of his MLS Cup write-up, the word “dynasty” has come up several times around the Houston Dynamo. For what it’s worth, put me in with the “yes” crowd – as in I count Houston to be a dynasty. I don’t know what else one calls four titles in seven years time with the same-ish line-up taking the field. At this point, I’m lurking at the fringes of the camp who count the 2006-2007 Dynamo as being in with a shout as the best-ever MLS team. OK, DC fans, bury me in statistics… Continue reading

Daily Sweeper, 10.4: Where’s the USOC? Seattle, Rumors +, MLS Love

– Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports’ guy, wrote an article wondering – or, rather, explaining – why the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup gets overlooked year after year.  Lots of good points get in – notably, the familiar one about how the Open Cup looks too much like Major League Soccer’s (MLS) playoffs – including one I’ve never yet considered:

“Perhaps the Open Cup’s history is also part of its problem. Whereas MLS is a relatively young product that is confident in its future prospects, the Cup dates back to an era where there was little interest in the game.”

Elsewhere, as if trying to prove Rogers’ point both Sports Illustrated and ESPN ran the same Associated Press article.  Way to celebrate the tradition guys.  At least the bigger, soccer-specific sites came through (or at least  the ones I visit): and GOAL, especially, turned in swell write-ups.  The little guys – e.g. amateur blogs (like this one!) – did their part as well, but, twit that I am, I didn’t lift the links as I traveled.  My bad.  Still, I’ll link to the FC Dallas Offside’s lamenting write-up ’cause he deserves some sympathy after a tough loss.

– A couple MLS-to-Seattle tidbits to pass on: first, MLS Rumors (GOD!! I LOVE THAT SITE!!!), is doing its normal business of spreading, well, rumors (caveat, caveat) that a Seattle MLS club could start play early as 2008.  Mmmm…not the best idea, as I see it – or at least it’s one that will continue the lopsided conference issue…though that could be fudged by going single-table.  In related news, American Soccer Daily reminds all  of us about the big concern about a Seattle franchise:

“Plans for a soccer-specific stadium, a requirement for any new MLS franchise, have not been mentioned, making 67,000 capacity Qwest Field with its FieldTurf surface the likely home for the club.”

Yeah, that does suck…not getting around that really.  There’s also the issue with jacked-up security dudes at Qwest (NOTE: This comes from the Timbers Blog, which doesn’t mean it’s manufactured or unfair necessarily; it’s just that Timbers’ fans hold all things Seattle and Sounders in the same regard as a herpes rash.)

– Finally, Dan Loney really does Says It All by sharing what makes MLS so darn endearing.  All those precious mistakes…as fun as watching a toddler fall down…