In “Investment Mode”: A Primer Made Possible by Way of New England

“Profitability is a function of what you spend, not necessarily of what you make. Our revenues are growing, but we are investing massive amounts of money in building the league. We are in an investment mode; it’s the best way to describe it.”

That came out of Q & A the Houston Chronicle ran with Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner, Don Garber, in this morning’s paper. Count it among the several items out today that (I’m enormously flattering myself, but…) follow-up on my shrill rant about MLS players being treated like rented mules. In a curious coincidence, a slew of articles out of New England describe the pitfalls facing MLS as it moves into what Garber calls, in the same interview, “the sort of second year of the relaunching of the league.”

Let me pause to chuckle. I’m just getting to a spot in Simon Schama’s excellent history of the French Revolution, Citizens, where the regular calendar gave way to the revolutionary. Ahem…tee hee hee….”year two.”

Getting back to the task at hand, that same piece saw Garber provide a kind of explanation of the logic behind MLS’s investment strategy: Continue reading

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U.S. v. Mexico: Parting Shot

UNDERRATED: Tequila shots for every goal.”

That came from a clever over/under feature from Goal.com and my only response to that is, “Sir, yes sir! What brand, sir?!”

The same piece included the following, which I appreciate:

OVERRATED: Refusing to call this game a ‘friendly.'”

Tee, hee, hee…

Now, I know I’ve spent the past week doing my level, if unconscious, best to deflate the hype on tonight’s U.S. Mexico game (see: LINK, LINK, and LINK). Happily, the hype machine carried on over all that. In my defense, however, I’m not totally obtuse. I mean, I understand why U.S. soccer fans – simple partisanship/nationalism aside – get up for games against Mexico. And this was framed very nicely by that cat, Landon Donovan (at the bottom of the WaPo’s preview: Continue reading

Bob: Commence the Experiment

A couple people are posting the U.S. roster that was called in to play Mexico this Wednesday – and at least one person is playing “the roster game” (and having a couple bites at as he does it). On the other side of the affair, Sideline Views’ Luis Bueno listed Mexico’s traveling party and added some analysis for good measure. Much like Luis, I think the Mexican roster looks pretty solid – as in, a whole lot like an A-Team…or maybe that’s just what I think when I recognize many of the names on a Mexican roster.

So, to kill some time on a slow Sunday (the Super what now?), I thought I’d take some time on the question of who should we play against this bunch. Given my present state of, um, underwhelmedness regarding the significance of the result itself, I’m still advocating on-field experimentation. And, in the event we do lose, we can adopt the Mexican tactic of blaming the loss on such externals.

So, below, I’ll trot out the starting XI I’d like to Bradley trot out on Wednesday…and I do so knowing this is not the line-up we’ll see. Before naming names, I should confess I tend to favor 4-4-2’s for perhaps the dumbest reason: I’ve played as a defender in my share of 3-5-2’s and I just hate how exposed I feel back there…absolutely prejudiced me against that formation. What can I say? I view myself as a midfielder…in spite of the few seconds I’ve received on that opinion from the various coaches I’ve had.

Enough preliminaries…here it is: Continue reading

Arrivals/Departures: DC Lands (some of) Their Fish

Welcome to today’s now-typical wrap up of trading/rumor action. For all the trades wrapped up, just as many seem up in the air. What the hell? Let’s start with the latter. No, wait. Can’t do that. Look at the title…another trap! And I set it for myself.

– Steve Goff posted something a bit ago about DC United wrapping the deal for Colombian defender Gonzalo Martinez; it also sounds like the deal to bring in Peruvian ‘ keeper Jose Carvallo should also wrap in time for him to start training with the rest of the guys. No word yet on Marcelo Gallardo…though MLS Rumors jumped ahead of the non-risking part of the soccer media world, declaring Gallardo to DC a “done deal.” We shall see…we shall see… (Against that and for the record, WVHooligan reads something in Goff’s copy that suggests to him that DC is out of the running…or, after re-reading his space, it’s more accurate to say he wrote “they may not be in the running”; subtle difference…my bad.)

What I do know is I’m a bit conflicted on this Gallardo-to-DC thing, assuming if pans out. Given how DC collects Supporters’ Shields, this one stinks of the rich getting richer (and dumbass clubs like New England approaching the season with their heads – I dunno – in the sand? Up their butts? Too intently craned toward their wallets? I think Jimmy Chowda of Blue Blooded Journo nicely sums up the emotions this provokes). At the same time, thanks to those Supporters’ Shields, DC rather often flies Major League Soccer’s (MLS) “freak-flag” in the international club tourneys, so, on the theory that MLS clubs doing well makes more players want to join MLS clubs, which allows MLS clubs to do well, which makes more players want to join MLS, um, etc., I can live with it.

Sometime around mid, mid-early March you’ll be reading posts from me about how we’re all DC United and Houston Dynamo fans today…Is it time for outgoing? Yeah. Why not? Continue reading

A Trade that MUST Happen…plus a round-up of some others…

MLSRumors, god bless ’em – and do note the title, people – posted the coolest damn rumor today about a delicious mega-deal in the works between DC United and the Colorado Rapids. Here are the details and, so far as I’ve seen, they’re posted only on MLSRumors:

“The buzz now is that there may be a trade involving Christian Gomez and the Rapids’s Terry Cooke, Pablo Maestroeni or another player.”

Please, god, let this happen. With Cooke, DC fans would finally have the width they (or at least The DCenters) believe they need and, with Mastroeni, they should get valuable leadership and grit (and, yeah, the occasional unhinged, ejectable attack on an opposition player). For the Rapids, bringing Gomez to Colorado provides hope, if only of the slimmest kind, that fans at The Dick will witness something remotely resembling attractive soccer; add Pat Noonan from New England, perhaps even Ecuador’s Agustin Delgado (for the record, Black Panther seems cool to this one), and things get a little less remote….until they all pick up injuries and take Fernando Clavijo’s job with them to rot on the physio’s table (along with what’s left of his self-respect and his hair).

Most important of all, god, this trade needs to happen because we’ll have no way of knowing what all this would look like if it doesn’t. And I really want to know. Just passing on a wish, sir. The seemingly imminent influx of South American players is nice and all (according to Goff, who cites “sources and reports”: Jose Carvallo, Gonzalo Martinez, Franco Niell, and, possibly, Gonzalo Peralta), but the “Gomez Deal” just seems that little bit more special.

Now, the rest of the trading business for the day…including some I’ve neglected to mention in the past: Continue reading

Ives “F-Bomb” for Rapids’ Draft Day

And “F-Bomb” refers to the “F” Ives Galarcep awarded the Colorado Rapids for their SuperDraft decisions. Let’s go to the text:

“Fernando Clavijo has always been regarded as a good judge of talent, but that didn’t stop many from scratching their heads at the Rapids’ two picks Friday. Clavijo passed on a top forward (Nyarko) and can’t-miss defender (James) to draft a young and undersized defensive midfielder (O’Brien) who doesn’t really fill a need…Colorado’s second pick, Chevannes, is forgettable. O’Brien has talent, but the Rapids earn the worst possible grade for passing on so many players who could have made more of an impact.”

For those who didn’t see it, this contrasts rather sharply from my assessment of Colorado’s draft, which I’ll edit in this space to read, ” So, where Colorado is concerned, it’s arguable they worked with what they had.”

Whom should you believe? Well, Ives attended the Combine, probably watched a few college games last year, um, he gets paid to write about soccer, while I do it in my spare time…I dunno. It’s close. You be the judge.

Then again, maybe Clavijo is stupid…like a fox. Maybe he slept-walked through the SuperDraft by necessity, what with all the other fish he’s got in the fire (whoops, rumored “fish,” let’s be clear on that). There’s talk of Pat Noonan joining from New England, perhaps Christian Gomez coming from DC United on a Kee-Razy swap deal (more on this one later), and some defender named Chase Hilgenbrinkenschwarzwilderstein (sorry to dick around, but I love names that just seem to go on forever; they sound like the accountant alter-ego for a superhero).

The point is, maybe Clavijo knows something Galarcep doesn’t…which is not to suggest I knew what Clavijo knew when I wrote my more generous assessment of the Rapids’ SuperDraft. That’s also not to say you should trust Clavijo over Galarcep. I mean, we’ve established that Ives is, at the very least, paying attention. With Clavijo…I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, count this as part of the record Rapids’ fans.

Rumor: Rapids Making Play for Pat Noonan…and my affection

On his Red Card blog, Luis Arroyave tucked in a – what? rumor? report? not sure what to call it – about the New England Revolution’s Pat Noonan joining the Colorado Rapids…which, as we all know, isn’t Europe.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Anyway, that comes at the bottom of a post about Matt Pickens spurning the Chicago Fire’s advances (or, y’know, money; po-tay-to, po-tah-to).

In all honesty, getting Noonan on the Rapids would up my affection for a team I basically like.  I like the “quirk” in Noonan’s game and figure he’d bring one thing to the Rapids that team has really lacked – e.g. creativity.  Who knows?  Rapids fans could spend 2008 watching him ping those weird glancing headers off Terry Cooke crosses.  Not a bad way to spend a summer, assuming this pans out.

I know I’m pulling for it…along with Noonan’s continued health, of course.  Kinda sucks for New England, though…and Taylor Twellman.