Mathis to Ergo…wait…Ergoto…hold on, I can get this…Ergotopolis…no…

OK, I think I have it now: Clint Mathis is heading to Ergotelis FC, or, as someone put it (this guy, in fact) the “other team” from Crete. Now, what the fuck is Ergotelis FC? And I don’t mean that in a bad way: in the LA Galaxy’s BG era (that’s “Before Goldenballs”), I’m pretty sure some Ergotelis fan would have written, “Now, what the fuck is the LA Galaxy?”

What to make of this? Well, here’s what fans from the LA Galaxy’s Riot Squad thought of the move (hat-tip to Nick Green for the link). Speaking for myself, I’m still a fan of Mathis’ – as, apparently, were quite a clutch of Riot Squaders. As for where he’s headed, I dunno, Greece is Greece. For me, the Greek first division is Olympiakos, Panathanaikos and a collection of nameless teams I play on FIFA whenever a wild hair sneaks up my ass. I only know what I read – in this case, that Ergotelis is somewhere near or at the bottom of the Greek first division. On the other hand, it’s Europe and Greece’s big teams ain’t pushovers….so far as I know, that is (when, oh when, does the UEFA Cup start again?).

Given all that, will the move work for Mathis? Like SF at The Offside Rules (see link under “this guy” up top), I’m dubious as to what the Mediterranean sun will Clint’s work ethic. No, I’ve never been, but unless movies like Summer Lovers and books like The Little Drummer Girl are lying to me, life in Greece is a string of orgies washed down with sangria and ouzo on the beach, an atmosphere that I can’t help but think Clint – even the older, wiser model – will find distracting.

That said, I’d go in a fucking heartbeat if I were Cletus. With his national team days probably over, why not wind down someplace totally friggin’ killer? So, god speed, Cletus. You keep running with the devil and hope the angels can’t keep up.

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).

TRANSFERS: Klinsmann to Bayern, Anelka signs for Chelsea

JURGEN KLINSMANN: The former German national team coach has come out of hiding and spurned speculation that he would take over for Rafa Benitez at Liverpool. Instead, starting in July – Klinsmann will focus his efforts on returning Bayern Munich to dominance in the Bundesliga and Europe. Ottmar Hitzfeld is set to step down at season’s end.  Munich is at the top with company – Werder Bremen keeping pace and HSV 4 points behind.

NICOLAS ANELKA: $30 million is what it took in the end as Bolton’s French striker and leading scorer is out the door to Stamford Bridge. It is Avram Grant’s first signing in charge of Chelsea and there’s no doubt this will be a good one – Anelka seems to have found his old stride (Arsenal days) after bouncing about for a good 10 years. Maybe the years have tempered him. Either way, Anelka should provide support for Shevchenko in the goalscoring department and his signing was almost a necessity for Grant as Chelsea are nursing stars John Terry and Frank Lampard, missing four in Kalou, Drogba, Mikel and Essien to the African Nations Cup, and dealing with a somewhat suspect backline. Anelka’s department of scoring goals – if efficient – could jumpstart Chelsea to a second-half run. Chelsea currently sit in 3rd – six points behind the leaders.

Other key transfers so far today: Liverpool finalized the signing of Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel for $9 million; Derby captured it’s fourth in Tottenham wantaway midfielder Hossam Ghaly (on loan)

And yes, we have heard that Clint Mathis is on his way to Ergotelis of the Greek SuperLeague on top of Clarence Goodson to IK Start in the Norwegian second division (Adeccoligean). I’m sure my colleague Jeff will have something to say about that. Eddie Johnson’s transfer prospects have taken a hit as well with Peter Vermes saying that no new bids have been tabled for the striker since Derby last summer.

Red Bull New York 2007 Review: An Atypically Typical Year

Red Bull New York
Record (W-L-T): 12-11-7; 47 GF, 45 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster

All in all, and perhaps a little sadly, this was a pretty typical year for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New York franchise: uneven, unsettled, and, as always, unrewarded.  But a couple oddities put a fresh twist or two on the familiar: a start to the season strong enough to convince a few that the team had rounded a corner; the simple, frankly shocking presence of a reliable scoring tandem; finally, the year of the designated player, the Year of the Bruce and how those factors interacted.  In a sense, then, the narrative for 2007 was all wrong in that it offered Red Bull New York something positively foreign: hope and promise.  That they kept that alive until, arguably, August inches a little bit further from the “typical.”  But Red Bull’s season ended as they always do, which means that even if things didn’t quite go to Hell after August, they got close enough to make legible the famous statement about hope posted on the gate.

Now, where does that leave us?  It was a typical year, but it wasn’t?  Damned unsatisfying, that, but it seems accurate.  For instance, in the typical column you had Clint Mathis back with the team and starring in the early going (not to mention getting sent off twice by early June – neat trick for an offensive player).   In the atypical column, the Red Bull roster featured one of the hottest American prospects in Josmer “Jozy” Altidore and one of the league’s deadliest forwards in Juan Pablo Angel.  Back in the typical column, Bruce Arena played the role of high-profile coach, while, almost tragically, Claudio Reyna played the too-familiar, over-priced under-achiever. 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