DS, 10.11: Chivas Notes; Single Table Rumors; It’s Gotta Be St. Louie + More

There’s so much good stuff out there today…let’s just say I had to cut more than I wanted up to and including those Seattle announcement rumors (crap…there it is; for the record, I don’t buy them). Moving on…

– A half-mysterious injury to Maykel Galindo makes for one of the less-reported items coming out of the Chivas USA camp. As much as that impacts tonight’s game against FC Dallas (great preview), there’s the longer term to consider – as in what this does to Chivas’ MLS Cup chances.

– “Operation: Improve MLS” gets a quantity of suggestions equal to or, possibly, exceeding the number to fans of the league. Believe me when I say I’m not making fun; I come up with an idea per day on my own. But the hoariest of these tinkerings got new life today when the ever-entertaining MLS Rumors floated another one about MLS going to a single table in 2008. It occurs to me now that I should one day track MLS Rumors’ record against reality, but for now, I’m just going to point readers to a semi-formal single table v. status quo poll set up by the Toronto FC Offside. Let’s just say I surprised myself with my answer:

“I never thought I’d write (or say) this, but I’m going with the playoffs. I think it was Craig who helped me see the light. At the same time, I’d shrink Craig’s playoff pool, even as I have to admit that in a 20-team league, eight teams making the playoffs wouldn’t look f-ing ridiculous as it does with 13 teams. Fundamentally, though, I like how baseball, the most patriotic of all American sports, limits the post-season party to a few teams. I’d go with a four-team post-season, two from each conference. We’re looking for the best of the best, right? “

Inexplicably absent from all that is the central reason for sticking with the status quo: the U.S. is f-ing big y’all; conferences make sense given that reality. Whatever you think, All y’all should head over to join the fun.

– In one of my favorite pieces of the day, Bill Urban wrote up all the reasons why David Beckham should NOT make a “glorious return” for LA Galaxy’s post-season run. My favorite line:

“Instead of admiration for their surge into playoff contention, the work the Galaxy players have done to get into that position would be cheapened, denigrated, and lost in the media spasms of the Return of the King.”

Yes, yes, yes. One other thing puzzles me – and I noticed it from the earlier Beckham games: what the hell was Pete Vagenas doing riding pine when Beckham is on the field? That doesn’t add up for me.

– Whoops. Botched my order. More good news out of St. Louie, though of the variety that comes short of guarantees. Even so, I don’t know how they don’t become MLS’s 16th franchise, I really don’t…which isn’t to say I’ll be surprised when they get skipped (and Portland is out there as well; a lot of people are picking up on that today; sorry, no links though).

– Finally, I didn’t think I’d like this, but it left me grinning so it must be good, right? Dave Martinez, who toils (what other verb applies when it comes to Red Bull?) on the Red Bull New York Offside, got to play FIFA ’08 with Josmer Altidore. An entirely charming story, as well as a good interview, came out of that….and, yeah, he’s a nice kid and all, but I think Jozy is a bit nuts for thinking Red Bull has a shot at MLS Cup.

For the record, I’m still rocking the Stone Age with FIFA 2004 – and I suck at it. FIFA ’08 sounds too hard.

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Expansion: Cities, Odds, Dead Ends?

With so many people already commenting on this, I feel a little silly linking to the Las Vegas Sun article clocking the race to be one of the next two – or is it four? – cities Major League Soccer (MLS) will welcome into the league by 2010…or is it 2012? But there’s one item in the article I don’t think anyone else flagged, so I thought I’d do it here as a public service of sorts:

Even though we post odds purely for entertainment reasons, heed them. Pay close attention to the four with the lowest odds and you might have the next four MLS franchises.”

And those top four are: Seattle, Washington (3-2); St. Louis, Missouri (4-1); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6-1); and New York, Mark II (8-1).

Normally, if you see a 3-2 anywhere other than horse racing, you consider it a sure shot (in horse racing you 1) know the bookmakers just doomed the horse attached to those odds for this year’s Kentucky Derby, and, 2) you avoid that horse like the plague ’cause it won’t pay for shit). Roughly the same applies on a 4-1. All the same, I find the order of the odds interesting given my sense that both Philly and St. Louis got out ahead of Seattle in terms of having firm stadium plans. Then again, in the particular section discussing Seattle, there’s this line:

MLS has repeatedly tried, and failed, to court Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Look for that courtship to succeed this fall.”

(There’s actually a little touch of irony in that entry: every other “background” section of the individual city breakdowns talks about the given city’s soccer history…not Seattle’s…hmmm….)

This gets me wondering whether we’ll wind up in what I view as a kind of dodgy situation, one that grows in part from desperation to get an MLS presence in the Pacific Northwest: e.g. will a Seattle MLS team start in at Qwest Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks? This makes me skittish because I know a little about how Northwest people can be about taxes and, with Seattle especially, funding stadiums – assuming it comes to the latter. If memory serves (and that’s all I’m willing to go by right now), Seattle residents got burned pretty badly with cost overruns on Safeco Field; the same could apply to Qwest. If, as seems possible, a Seattle expansion team gets stuck playing in some capacious bowl of a stadium with fans dotting the inside like so many freckles, well…that’ll kinda suck.

I’ll still show up, mind you. But I’m a total whore.

But, as the Las Vegas Sun article says in its lead, it seems almost churlish to point this out. These are, indeed, heady times for MLS.

Daily Sweeper, 09.04: Ticking Clocks; Lotsa Open Cup (+ Blasphemy); Yallop’s Lifeline(?); St. Louis Update…Gasp!

– I’ll lead with a doozy of a concept. A Houston Chronicle article on the local team’s recent staggers pointed out that said local team has only SIX regular season games remaining. Nah, I said. Then I checked the standings. Holy crap. The same applies to Kansas City. It’s crunch-time, people. Good stuff.

– The semifinals for the Lamar Hunt Head-On/Activ-On U.S. Open Cup (LHH-OA-OUSOC) go down tonight – but all y’all knew that, of course, and planned accordingly. I know what I’m doing tonight (unless the wife says otherwise…yes, dear) and will duly prime myself with previews from both games:

FC Dallas v. Seattle Sounders
MLSnet.com
US Open Cup unofficial site
Nice bit from FC Dallas Updates – especially the crack about Seattle humidity

New England Revolution v. Carolina RailHawks
MLSnet.com
US Open Cup unofficial site

By time of posting, the New England/Carolina game should be close to underway – so I’ll be missing that one – but the Seattle/Dallas Super-Epic-o will air online tonight. Huzzah! I would live blog the game, but…well, I’m not sure how it’s done – on a practical level, I mean. That’s to say, I have an approach in mind – e.g. watch the game and write comments, posting them as they come to me – but that seems like such a pain in the ass. Is that how people do live-blogging when they do it?

Anyway, I’ll probably do my usual thing, wife and kids allowing – e.g. “Brain-Dead Blogging,” where I write down a bunch of crap in a whiskey-juiced haze and foist it on all y’all later. Continue reading

MLS News Wire, 08.13: St. Louis; Brazil; Chivas Rebuilds

Today was one of those days where I felt confined by the three-subject rule I adopted for this feature; that meant I couldn’t plug something entirely wonderful like the David Beckham drinking game proposed by Dan Loney. Shit…did I just type that?

– According to a saucy post – and I mean saucy in the sense that they’re ahead of couple other sites – MLS Rumors reports today that St. Louis, Missouri will be Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 15th franchise…even though they’ll build their stadium in Illinois…which technically makes them something like Illinois’ second franchise as opposed to Missouri’s first. In related news, the various groups trying to bring a team to Seattle, Washington continue fiddling around in their pants…

– A lot of places are noting that the U.S. “friendly” in Mexico’s Azteca Stadium fell through, which prompted the U.S. to schedule a game against Brazil; WVHooligan happens to be the first place I read of this, so I figured I’d link to him. That post closes by asking for opinions, so here’s mine: I’d rather play Mexico in the Azteca, mainly because there is no such thing as a “friendly” between the U.S. and Mexico. I’m thinking we’ll learn more from a good game against a good, motivated opponent in a tricky venue than we will against yet another home game against a great team phoning it in.

– A couple places clock Chivas USA’s plans to make a good team gooder – specifically, through the addition of d-mid Raphael Wicky and forward Oscar Echeverry (NOTE: That second one is a rumor, but it sounds like the deal for Wicky will go through). It’s been a good year in general for signings, but here’s to hoping these moves, assuming they come to fruition, add to the league overall.