MLS Daily Sweeper, 03.27: Josh Wolff, Punishment, Ugly Distractions

I am slowly killing myself…most slow down…

– One left over piece of business from the U.S. win over Poland, something I forgot to mention in my earlier post: I would take Josh Wolff over Eddie Johnson at forward.  Yeah, he’s older, but I think he is also a better player.  And, no, I am not kidding. J Hutcherson hints at why in his write-up for USSoccerplayers.com.

Soccer y Futbol reports that Deportivo Saprissa avoided a stadium ban for the, um, “monkey shines” their fans got up to when Mexico’s Atlante FC came to visit for the CONCACAF Champions Cup.  There’s stuff in there about how they intend to cope (pleading, mainly, backed by some security measures that seem pretty hard to enforce…so…hope is your strategy?).

– Luis Arroyave’s Red Card blog (finally) gives the latest on the Wilman Conde situation…and it ain’t good, at least not from his teammates’ point of view.  And, for the record, the fans aren’t wild about it either.  He also posted some nifty Q & A’s with plentiful of points of interest for Chicago (and Lost) fans – Part I and Part II.

– Finally, a couple sites posted “bold predictions” – and I say, good for them!  I liked what I read from 3rd Degree, but only got to the first couple on WVHooligan’s post before coming here.  Gotta get the hell offline, man….I’m going crazy….kinda like this guy (not soccer-related and long, but pretty worth the read).

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Richards + for Conde? Asking Anyone Who Cares

Soccer By Ives reported this morning that the Chicago Fire turned down a swap proffered by Red Bull New York that would have sent right-sided lightning bolt Dane Richards to Chicago and disgruntled defender Wilman Conde to NYC (or thereabouts).  Further down his post, Ives concocts a couple other formulations for separating Conde from the Fire – and there’s some interesting arrangements in there.  A few of those would tempt me, anyway, but Chicago seems determined to spurn the advances.

As I’m turning this over in my head, a lot of the same questions that occurred to WVHooligan’s drew epperley are occurring to me as well; rather than reformulate/re-type those questions here, I’ll ask that you read his post.

More generally, though, I’m asking because 1) I’m curious and 2) I’m not sure: What do all y’all make of, not only this trade, but of the entire “Conde Situation”?  Any answers will do….even some kind of comment spam for penis enlargement could lead to enlightment.

BONUS
More from The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  I like this one for its blasphemy.  Milan Kundera goes on to allude to the same later in the text, but it’s a common enough concept that they made a movie about it and David Duchovny played the lead.  Here’s the bit I like:

“Surgery takes the basic imperative of the medical profession to its outermost border, where the human makes contact with the divine.  When a person is clubbed violently on the head, he collapses and stops breathing.  Some day, he will stop breathing anyway.  Murder simply hastens a bit what God will eventually see to on his own.  God, it may be assumed, too murder into account; He did not take surgery into account.  He never suspected that someone would dare to stick his hand into what He had invented, wrapped carefully in skin, and sealed away from human eyes.”

Conde and Juan Carlos…serious man-love…

The (for-now) Chicago Fire’s Wilman Conde going public about wanting to ditch Chicago to follow Juan Carlos Osorio to Red Bull New York is, quite simply, fascinating. A couple reliable sources report the very open airing of this…well, cry for help…where one would think no such cry is needed. (Another less reliable, but highly intrepid, site flagged this as well…and, in the blink of an eye, took the speculation just that special little bit farther.)

Chicago fans, already suffering a bitter off-season, must feel something between spittle-flecked rage and the profoundest despondency on reading the news.

I don’t know how this one will end. I only suspect that it can’t end well. The hard thing, though, it’s been said now. Can’t really be unsaid, now can it?

UPDATE: ..and just minutes later. Luis Arroyave, banging away on his Red Card blog, weighs Chicago’s options. This is mainly a man thinking out loud…and there’s nothing wrong with that. If there was, I wouldn’t be here.

UPDATE: More informed thinking out loud.  (Whoops.  That’s not as in “more informed” as in he’s smarter and gooder than Arroyvave, but “more informed” as in there’s more of it and this cat is informed as well.  And it only occurs to me now that I’ve already linked to this article…this is what happens when I “post in my pajamas.”)

Chicago Fire 2007 Review: Lazarus Rises, Plays Stubborn D…and…

Chicago Fire
Record (W-L-T): 10-10-10; 31 GF, 36 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster

Overview
Do you remember, kids, just how goddamn awful the Chicago Fire seemed in May? It wasn’t so much that they handed Toronto FC their first win in franchise history, but the utterly supine crouch from which they did it. That was only one of several lopsided losses (ouch!, ouch!, ouch!) – e.g. any game in which a team gives up three goals and loses by at least two – from the first half of the season: May featured three such losses and the Fire added one in June, as well as a 4-0 collapse to the Houston Dynamo in July.

As MLSnet.com’s review of the Fire’s 2007 points out, that big ol’ loss to Houston also happened to be Juan Carlos Osorio’s debut as a coach in Major League Soccer (MLS); he took over from former coach Dave Sarachan in early July. Given what the rest of their season looked like perhaps it’s fairer, then, to credit that loss to the Sarachan hangover – a period characterized by what looked like racking self-doubt among Chicago’s players. But those lopsided games left after that loss to Houston, never to return for the rest of the year. There’s no question that Chicago turned around their season under Osorio, but the extent to which they did so, as well as how they did so, bears noting.

Looking from the outside in, I assume 2007 was hell on Chicago fans. Sure, they started well, but when they went down – holy shit – did they go down. It played out on the field like some kind of unspoken campaign in support of relegation in the American game. Their late-ish summer rally (August, September) only looked impressive against what came before; that the teams they beat – Toronto, the Columbus Crew, and the Kansas City Wizards – impressed fewer than most always left open the question of whether Chicago was for real. No less significantly, they followed this with a string of ties – four straight, in fact – that, at the time, might have been mistaken for little more than slow steps toward respectability. Continue reading

10 Bright Spots of Week 23: things got weird when Jaqua hit for hat-trick

1. Nate Jaqua – it seems every time Luciano Emilio has a great week, someone has an even better one; Jaqua scoring a hat-trick was certainly not something I was expecting from the big man; he scored one in the first half and added a brace in the second to help Houston squeak by Real Salt Lake 4-3 – kind of an odd game

2. Luciano Emilio – four goals in two games for the machine as his rate is skyrocketing and he now sits solely at the top of the scoring tables with 18; none of this would be possible without the service of Gomez, Fred, Olsen, and recently Brian Carroll

3. Maykel Galindo – are defenders worse this year or are the new additions of Angel, Galindo, and Emilio just enough to outclass a plateaued level of defensive talent? after being kept quiet against DC United, the Cuban struck for two against a tired and undermanned Red Bull squad

4. Wilman Conde – a really inspiring first game for the Colombian as it looks like everyone of their summer signings have started strong; he added an assist in Chicago’s 1-0 win over Columbus; I think Conde is the guy that’s gonna put the Fire through to that last playoff spot

5. Marc Burch – this guy has become D.C. United’s most consistent performer day-in and day-out and a damn-good defender at that; the 23-year old former Terp has certainly proven to be a bargain (3rd Round Supp. Pick) plucked from Columbus

6. Corey Ashe – had himself a phenomenal weekend and introduced RSL to his newfangled partnership with Nate Jaqua as he provided the target man with everyone of his services; between Ashe (a rookie) and Stuart Holden (2nd year) Houston looks to have a promising corps of youth for the future

7. Pete Vagenas – he must have been channeling the injured Beckham as his passes were accurate and good enough for two assists – one to Alan Gordon and another to Edson Buddle: hopefully he can channel Goldenballs for the rest of the 10-game stretch they have as it might be helpful to end the year on a good note

8. Brad Guzan – a 3-0 shutout of the Red Bulls made up allowing 2 goals against D.C. United; Guzan has also been Chivas’ MVP all season, even more so than Galindo

9. Cobi Jones – he seems to really help out when the Galaxy are otherwise in dire straits but it would probably be better if the veteran had evened the ship before it hit rock bottom

10. Christian Gomez – two assists and a smidgen of his former self showed this past week; if Gomez wakes up to the tune of last year’s performances, we could see ourselves one hell of a postseason