Thursday, December 14, 2006

News Roundup

I'm posting less now that it's the offseason, and I thought I would summarize my thoughts on all the pressing soccer issues in one post.

Bob Bradley named interim USMNT coach

This is incredibly disappointing. Not because he's a bad coach, it's just that there's no way he will be able to bring something highly different to the table. We need a foreign coach to do that, someone with experience at the highest levels of the game. Why? Because, the goal is to win the World Cup. I think all Americans realize that there's virtually no way we can possibly win the 2010 World Cup, due to the fact that the players we have now are not good enough. Incidentally, that's why everyone goes crazy over every young kid and wants them capped, because we already know what the veterans can do (and it's not good enough).

So if our players aren't good enough to win it, the only super slim chance we have is to have a brilliant coach like Otto Rehhagel with Greece. Bradley is not going to be that guy. Why not hire someone who will bring in a different way of thinking? MLS (and the popularity of soccer) will not succeed or fail based on the national team results. The national team coach doesn't need to do any developing of players, so even if it fails miserably it's not going to set us back as a soccer playing nation. Bradley is more of the same and that does nothing for us. He's not even the best choice in MLS (Peter Nowak anyone?).

Freddy Adu traded to RSL

This is a good trade for all parties. First, Adu can easily do Andy Williams' job. RSL's defensive needs are far more pressing, but this and the signing of Luis Tejada should make them better. Nick Rimando should be an improvement over Scott Garlick as well. And of course, the media attention is a big part of this. RSL needs to do something after two bad years, and they have to finally get the stadium built. Also, the Utah Jazz are having an outstanding season, their first good one since RSL came into existence. They also gave up a major allocation, but given their track record they had a good chance of messing it up anyway. Now they need to sign a defender.

DC didn't need Adu, and now they can sign a good player from South America. As for Freddy himself, he finally gets to run the show with an MLS team. He probably should've been traded after last year. While he probably wasn't ready to start before, given the relative meaninglessness of the regular season, why not? I expect him to do well, though.

As Grant Wahl mentions, it seems like given how Dempsey's transfer is playing out, Adu will be here for the entire 2007 season. I don't agree when he says that DC comes out better though, especially when you take into account the off the field stuff.

RSL finances released

As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, some info was released coincidentally at the same time the Adu trade broke (yeah right). The article says that "RSL averaged nearly 10,000 in paid attendance its first two seasons at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium." Nearly appears to mean that it was actually less than 10,000, which directly contradicts the numbers leaked to the San Diego Tribune during the Summer. There, the 2005 paid attendance was listed at 12,689 although 18,037 was announced. So that means that either the 2006 season was much worse for the team (unlikely), or that the previous number was wrong (probably). Or RSL is lying, but they would be stupid to lie if they really want the stadium.

Anyway, does that mean that all the San Diego article numbers are wrong? There's no way to know. There's also the possibility that the Salt Lake Tribune reported something wrong, but in summary it seems like RSL is doing worse than previously thought. I should mention that 10,000 paid would still put them in the top half of the league, and is ultimately meaningless as long as the stadium is built. There's also an AP article with more stuff.

RFK will host 2007 MLS Cup

Ok, first of all as a Fire fan this just pisses me off. I really hope that MLS does not become like the NFL in avoiding having their championship game outdoors in cold weather cities. If there is to be a one game final, then Toyota Park, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, and BMO Field all deserve to get their turn. Is the threat of snow really that bad? Here's a list of average November temperatures for each MLS city, from

61.6-Los Angeles
47.6-New York
45.4-Washington, DC
43.1-Kansas City
42.9-Columbus (actually Cincinnati, the site didn't have Columbus)
40.8-Salt Lake City
38.0-Toronto (source)

Is a couple of degrees really that bad? With small stadiums, you should expect a sellout anyway. That to me is probably the most disturbing thing. Why change the SSS only policy (if there was one) now? Sure, DC is a great soccer city, but it's a freaking baseball stadium with a covered up infield. So the quality of the field and the overall soccer experience will be less. How can they effectively sell stadiums if they don't hold their championship match in one? After a great year, looks like a bit of the "old MLS" has reared its ugly head.

MLS execs must be thinking about the big crowds in the pre-SSS days. But with all the money that's pouring into the league, they really don't need it. Forget the money, I'll take 20,000 fans in a real soccer stadium over 60,000 in RFK anyday. The improved appearance on tv is well worth the loss of revenue.

The only reason this decision makes any sense is if you consider geography. The last MLS Cup on the East coast was in 2002. So if that's the reason, then I guess I can live with that.

Lamar Hunt dies

I'll leave the fond memories and tributes to others, but I just want to point out the differences in the Kansas City Star and Dallas Morning News articles today. I know he owned the Chiefs, but he also owned the Wizards until recently. So you would think that the KC Star would have more than a sentence or two about the Wizards. There's also very little about tennis or any of the soccer stuff, and the timeline at the bottom is missing so many important milestones, they should've left it out completely. No mention of his love of the World Cup either. The Dallas article does a much better job at encompassing everything that he did, and is also written more beautifully. Great job.

Comments on "News Roundup"


Anonymous Eric B said ... (4:11 PM, December 14, 2006) : 

A couple of points:

RSL finances: Remember, Checketts is trying to get other people to throw in money/labor for the Sandy stadium, so he'll need to play down successes so people don't say "You're doing well enough to pay for it all yourself", which he probably can't do or doesn't want to. As someone once said "profit is for suckers", especially when government money and labor unions are involved.

MLS Cup '07 @ RFK: The need for the match to be in the ET zone was an Dinsey demand due to the fact that they'll be airing the NASCAR race from Miami (the finale, in fact) later that day, so the match would have to start by 12:30 PM EDT.

Why RFK got the game as opposed to CCS or BMO is actually a good question, and probably because Payne and Co outhustled the other three I/O's, esp the Crew and T'ronto. I doubt it was because of the claim not uncommon on BigSoccer about wanting bigger crowds than SSS's could provide, considering that the second match at the HDC failed to sell out, bigger crowds aren't always guaranteed...


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