Sloppy, Stadium Valentines!

To all the Center Holds It readers, Happy Valentine’s day.  We love you….and not platonically…

And, to borrow a headline (and concept…and the reporting; I’m only posting this for my own Valentine’s joke) from the Washington Examiner, DC United got a big sloppy kiss from the Washington D.C. city council in the form of a renewed interest/talk about funding a soccer-specific stadium for the club at the long-discussed Poplar Point site.  Kick ass.  Still, all cause for elation aside, a couple warps and wrinkles loom.  First, it appears this is just step one in a “three to four year process,” so, say hello to 2012!  Second, whispers of a potential political backlash echoed throughout the Washington Post’s write-up.  I’ll leave it to people better connected to the D.C.-scene to make sense of that.  Still, something to watch for…

Still, like getting a kiss from someone other than the perfect girl, don’t it all beat a kick in the head?

In case you’re not feeling good enough about the overall soccer-specific stadium situation, word coming out of Kansas City mentions good, steady progress on the “Bannister Mall-area” stadium for the Wizards – complete with talk of being on schedule for a 2010 opening.

Assuming these two fall into place, that will make…let’s see…nine plus two…eleven Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs in their own homes by 2012.  Comfortably over half the league=good stuff.

BONUS MATERIAL: Back with the silly today.

– Think of nothing but the shape of this toy.  Now, think that someone designed this, that it passed through multiple levels of approval, etc. without anyone catching the obvious problem.

– We all have to start somewhere…well, those of us who go anywhere that is.  Evangeline Lilly is no different.  And do note how she says “out.”

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MLS Daily Sweeper 12.19: Draws, Rules, Commentary…HUZZAH!

Here I am, bringing up the rear once again, but that makes some sense with the “sweeper” theme. A lot of the below is hours old, so here’s to hoping I’m bringing some fresh perspective to the discussion…even where I am transparently not…for instance, when I’m quoting others’ work.

– Let’s start with the easy thing: the powers-that-be conducted the draws for the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the 2008 Olympic qualifying rounds yesterday. Steve Goff’s Soccer Insider gave the most thorough presentation of both draws (e.g. he got to both of them – and first) while MLS Rumors provided the best layout for the CONCACAF draw. That noted, here’s what you, dear reader, need to know: the Houston Dynamo will face Guatemala’s Municipal while DC United drew Jamaica’s Harbour View FC. Turning to the Olympics, we’re part of an eight-team tourney and our specific group throws us in with Cuba, Honduras, and Panama; for the record, I think we done good. But the most important thing in all this? As you’ll immediately see upon looking at the schedules for both competitions, March is going to be a busy month.

– Turning now to more complicated matters, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a couple rule changes yesterday; Steve Goff knocked out a good, lengthy post on the changes and their apparent and reported inspirations. My first reaction – posted as a comment on WVHooligan’s write-up – hasn’t changed much, even if I missed a fairly significant change in the first several readings. But, bottom line, there’s not a whole lot to see here, folks. While I am gladdened by the end the evil, player-hating rule about a given MLS club retaining the rights to a player they waived – that’s simple justice, man – even the change I missed doesn’t amount to much. That change? The “asset” status of the foreign player slots, which allows them to be traded. It sounds neat-o, but as Yahoo! News’ Martin Rogers pointed out, the big-picture economics deflate this change quite a bit (and Soccer By Ives fleshes it out a bit more): Continue reading

Daily Sweeper, 12.14: Fun on the Rumor-go-Round…and it is fun, dammit

– Well, contrary to what was written in so many places earlier today (and on this site – wow – Wednesday; and the preceding ain’t a complete list, either) the deal to bring Juan Sebastian Veron to DC United is dead…for now. But I’d leave that last one in the big ol’, half-meaningless file titled, “Never say never.” Steve Goff has a bit of fun with readers in his autopsy report on the trade, but that misses the point. So…what’s the point? This is fun, dammit! This is the stuff daydreams are made of and, if nothing else, it gives us all something to talk about. What’s more wholesome than conversation ’round the ol’ virtual water-cooler? And, more to the point, figuring how and where a particular player fits in your team? That’s educational, man; it makes you think about how your team functions.

To be clear on this: I will shamelessly post rumors; I love the things. My policy on them boils down to rumor=good. I’ll mention the unconfirmed nature of what I’m passing on, but if you see MLS Rumors as my source, well, the title says it all. No sale is totally done till corporate – e.g. MLSnet.com – says it is. But don’t hide from rumors. They’re entertaining.

– Speaking of trade rumors, the Jared Borgetti to Kansas City Wizards/Colorado Rapids/Chicago Fire trade looks like it’ll go about as far in the end as the Veron thing did. Unlike Veron, however, I didn’t see much upside an a Borgetti deal. The man is 34 for crissakes. Yeah, I know. Blanco is about there too. Still.

3rd Degree had a decent piece today on player movement in and out of Big D. The “out” part of that seems the firmer: seems like they’re shopping Carlos Ruiz pretty widely, so I’m thinking they’re pretty serious about off-loading him. Also, check out where coach Steve Morrow is – and is not – going.

– Finally, seeing who Danny Califf selects as the three people he’d like to meet has grown my respect for the man. Sitting Bull, eh? Top-drawer.

OK, on to the Web junk now… Continue reading

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