|1) My thoughts on how the 35 CONCACAF teams rank, in tier form. I've thought about ranking them 1-35 for a blog post, but that seems very hard to do considering that you never see them play.|
2) On the subject of MLS rookies who played in their team's opening game, I now have the data for all years. However, I don't want to post it because there's a few cases in the early years where I'm not sure if a player is technically a rookie. But I can say for this year 15 rookies saw action in their first possible game:
Allen (LA), Borman (NY), Braun (CHV), Cameron (HOU), Dube (NE), Edwards (TOR), Gavin (LA), Iro (CLB), King (CHI), Leathers (KC), McDonald (LA), O'Brien (COL), Salinas (SJ), Sassano (NY), and Stratford (DC).
The six names in bold started. What's interesting is if you look back over the past 12 years, 9/12 rookie of the year winners played on opening day. The only ones who didn't were Carlos Bocanegra, Rodrigo Faria, and Maurice Edu (injured). Also, 23/36 nominees played on opening day as well. So the odds are good that the winner will come from that group of 15 above.
3) I had forgotten all about San Jose's 14 game regular season unbeaten streak entering the season. The Earthquakes were only 5 games away from the record, not that I ever expected them to break it.
4) Sounders FC is the nickname in Seattle. I'm fine with that, although I don't like the logo. Messy looking with all the overlapping stuff. So I guess we can now add a few more entires to the list of nicknames reportedly considered by MLS teams but ultimately dropped:
DC-Force, Justice, Spies
KC-Bandits, Express, Outlaws
LA-Beat, Groove, Traffic
RSL-Alliance, Glory, Highlanders, Union
God, Nike sucked. Steve Pastorino has a great article on selecting names here.