Thursday, August 2, 2007

BDR's Post-Dynamo Analysis

Check it out. BDR's analysis concerning Soehn and Nowak are spot on.

I am of the opinion that this season was always going to be transitional, Soehn bringing in simultaneously the future stars (Fred, Emilio) and the seasonal gap-fillers (Kpene, Addlery). I think that if Soehn can push the team into a taste of silver with the SuperLiga, or at least a goal-scoring appearance at the final, the team's mediocre league performance will be somewhat counterbalanced and he'll be given the go-ahead to continue next season, where he will make more transfers that suit his system and release more of the players that were the cogs of Nowak's.

Speaking of Nowak's cogs, am I the only one that thinks Boswell is on his way out??

SYN and SuperLiga 2k7

Disappointed with my coverage of the SuperLiga so far? Yeah, I am too. I've been busy on all three matches United has played so far, something I'd call a bit of bum luck.

But mark my words: August 14th there will be a SYN representative in front of a TV watching United beat LAG to move on to the finals. F*** yeah!

I did happen to catch a bit of TiVo'ed United-Dynamo action last night. My thoughts:

- We couldn't string more than three passes together to work it upfield. Then again, someone changed channels right when Moreno was coming on.

- Gomez looked great.

- I'm glad someone realized Dyachenko wasn't doing much. He was exchanged for Kpene around the 35th minute, a move I'd normally praise. Thing is, Kpene was moving around like he was still injured or still afraid of being injured. Whether this continued once Moreno hopped on is a mystery to me.

- Bobby Boswell was the weakest link in our defense. Burch, however, continued to show well. McTavish has a knack for stupendous blocks in clutch situations.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

By the way...

... if you ever find my opinions or articles to be ill informed in any way, please comment me about it. I can't stop being a misinformed jackoff if you don't take the time to correct me.

Thanks.

-QJA

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Picks: Next MLS Expansion Sides

San Jose in 2008 is official, making the West Coast just as hefty as the East with a grand total of 3 MLS sides. Here's who I would pick next:

1) Philadelphia

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are the next expansion side to join USL Div. 2, where the Harrisburg City Islanders have already staked a claim. I am positive there would be financial backing, and if the team were sound enough, I think a significant contingent of southern New Jersey fans and northern Maryland fans (and think about Delaware!) would siphon off the NYRB/DCU bandwagons and head Philly-ward for some MLS action. But here's why PA is on the top of this list: Pennsylvania is a phenomenal soccer hotbed with more than its fair share of youth (read: ODP, Super Y-League) teams in place. With perennial powers NYRB and DCU as rivals right off the bat, I think Philadelphia would blossom not unlike a certain Canadian side that has skyrocketed this season.

2) Portland/Seattle

Footy fans in the Pacific Northwest are positively rabid for an MLS expansion to come their way. Fed up with the hype-fest that is Los Angeles, they've lined up not one but two potential corporate backers, the latter of which displaying typical American panache by using the moniker 'Atl├ętico Seattle.' Furthermore, the Pacific Northwest is a proven soccer breeding ground as the Timbers, Sounders, and Whitecaps all play USL Div. 1 soccer in Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver respectively. The only reason I don't place Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington at the top of this list is because I'm not sure how enthusiastic MLS will be about a fourth team on the West Coast on top of San Jose, Chivas, and LAG.

3) Miami

Well, if we're going to talk about reviving the Earthquakes, we have to talk about reviving the Miami Fusion. There is a fantastic Latino market that yearns to be catered to again, and with the disgustingly impressive amount of disposable income floating around down there, I have to think that Miami is the perfect tropical location for a soccer team to grow. Rather as a side note, Miami F.C. plays USL Div. 1 soccer down there already, though they don't enjoy stellar game attendance.

4) New York

The soccer gluttons in the Big Apple are already clamoring for another team besides the New York Red Bulls, and I happen to know that Red Bull isn't filling the stands at Giants Stadium. NYRB hasn't monopolized the New Jersey soccer market, either: St. Benedict's Prep of Newark, NJ has established itself as the premier high-school soccer development academy outside of Bradenton, and NRYB aren't snapping up all of its graduates. Furthermore, the immigrant and low-income populaces of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens in NYC have foundered a fantastic place for a star to be born, replete with concrete futsal pitches and infinite gringo ankles to be broken. The only reason I don't put NYC higher is because I'm not sure how gung-ho MLS will be about bringing up another side catering to the NYC market-- but hey, it's working for Los Angeles, right?

5) Las Vegas

I'm positive there would be significant financial backing for a potential MLS side in Sin City, but I'm just not sure how much fan support LV could generate. That, and all the potential stadium plans I've heard about, no matter how often they endorse the term "family friendly," involve a casino of some sort. A few intrepid souls have already laid the groundwork for an MLS side to arrive, but really the only thing attractive about an MLS team in Las Vegas, Nevada is Las Vegas, Nevada.

6) Somewhere in the Carolinas

The only reason I say this is because both North and South Carolina boast Div. 1 sides (the RailHawks and Charleston Battery, respectively) which enjoy outstanding fan support. From what I've heard, though, there isn't any corporate backing and the amount of support for both teams seems to have hit a glass ceiling. On the other hand, NC, much like PA, has a healthy amount of youth sides fostering support for the USL teams. I'm on the fence with this one, I guess.

7) Milwaukee

I don't think this is going to happen, but I'll put it on this list if it will help Peter Wilt calm down a bit.

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I found this on duNord awhile ago: a map of all the MLS and USL Div. 1 teams in the US and Canada, so you can peruse the concentration of professional teams for yourself.

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Enjoy.

Peter Wilt Wants Footy at the Racetrack

Bring the beers and get some sunscreen from Costco because Peter Wilt wants to make a racetrack in Wisconsin the next MLS-ready soccer stadium in America.

The idea sounds farfetched: if it's possible that a soccer pitch could be constructed on a movable tray, Peter Wilt and his group, Milwaukee Professional Soccer, want to construct one on the Milwaukee Mile. It's a nifty idea, they say, because the pitch could be kept on the infield of the racetrack on the days a race is scheduled and move the pitch flush to the stands on the days a game is scheduled.

This absolutely confuses me because the last soccer team to play in Wisconsin was the now-defunct Milwaukee Rampage who played in the now-defunct A-League and who ceased to exist in 2002 for lack of financial backing.

Really the only reason I mention this is because Peter Wilt is campaigning hard for this damn stadium to exist. He's scouring the internet for public reaction to the stadium plan and posting on the blogs who make mention. Check it out:

The Offside Rules broke the story yesterday with a rational amount of skepticism and sarcasm. My Soccer Blog did the same thing, albeit with more sympathy, and soon The Offside had posted up TOR's article with some additional commentary of its own. But get this: Peter Wilt, renowned for fan-friendliness during his days as GM of the Chicago Fire, posted on TOR the next day with intimate details of the proposal and a plea for understanding. Furthermore, Thomas Dunmore, a Chicago journalist who blogs at Pitch Invasion and The Offside: Chicago Fire in his spare time, has written a piece vindicating the stadium project and Peter Wilt has posted there, too.

Wilt and the several articles chronicling his current endeavor mention that MLS has sanctioned him to pursue the project. It's now his job to determine whether the stadium would be feasible, attractive, profitable, or all three at once, and to do this he's immersing himself in public reaction and information available through the media. Posting on soccer blogs might be a backwards way of doing this, but he's capturing attention and turning what few heads he can to the possibility of professional soccer in Wisconsin. Indeed, Wilt is touting this stadium plan as "the last chance to bring an MLS franchise to Milwaukee." But if the last chance for MLS in Milwaukee is to graft it onto NASCAR and hope for the best, I think this is already a forgone conclusion.

Thomas Dunmore at Pitch Invasion and TO:CF seems to be the most authoritative source for information and developments concerning this project, so I'll be looking to him and only him for updates as time goes on. I'll post here what I discover.

Enjoy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Next Articles On Deck

Sneak peek:

My Picks: Next MLS Expansion Sides

- The MLS is growing on a yearly basis now. There are several places eager to get in on the action, and I'll lay them down in order of most to least likely.

It's in the Blood: John Hassinger

- A few days ago I met up with a young guy named John Hassinger, a promising player in the Super-Y league with SuperNova F.C. in central Pennsylvania, now quadriplegic through a tragic injury. He's wicked cool and he's got some wicked cool soccer paraphernalia, and I'm excited to tell you his story as soon as I get the chance.

Stay tuned.

The Moar You Know

A humble reference to the popular segment of Encyclopedia Dramatica. Good, old fashioned sophmoric humor, that site.

Anyways, pop quiz. In 2003, who became a star midfielder for the UCLA Bruins after being accepted as a walk-on?

Benny Feilhaber.

How about this: who did the same thing in 1996, becoming a star defender for the US men's national team three years later?

Jimmy Conrad.

And now that Sal Zizzo's over in Germany, I've developed a healthy respect for the soccer program over there at UCLA. Good stuff.

Oh, and by the way, for you Jimmy Conrad fans, which European team did he play for, seven years ago? Answer: Lech Poznan of the Orange Ekstraklasa, Poland's premier division. (I vaguely recall hearing something like that, but it never dawned on me until now. Hm.)

Enjoy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Yanks Abroad! Lichaj Signs for Aston Villa, Adu for Benfica!

Words fresh from Yanks Abroad:

"University of North Carolina sophomore defender Eric Lichaj has left school and signed with English Premier League participants Aston Villa." And get this: Eric has a broken foot. Villa liked this kid so much, they signed him injured.

I personally haven't seen this kid. I know that he's only 18 years old and that he debuted for the U-17 MNT at 14. He was the top defender in Parade Magazine's All-American High School picks last year alongside Brian Perk, Jon Villaneuva, and Jozy Altidore. I know he was called up to one of Rongen's prep camps for the U-20 World Cup but I'm assuming his foot injury kept him out of action.

Anyways, this kid is a standout talent. YA says he'll be playing with Aston Villa's reserves by September. He's signed for two years, so he'll have to impress Martin O'Neill in this short amount of time, but more power to him. I hope he makes the most of it.

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I don't know if you guys realize, but when I first posted about Freddy's move to Portugal, I kept mum about my prediction that the deal would be finalized by the weekend. Blimey but I was right.

Freddy Adu is finally headed to Europe. And Ives corroborates.

This is good for everyone: Freddy, Benfica, MLS, even United. Real Salt Lake get their 400k and DCU gets 150k as well as a draft pick. I'm mad about one thing though: Sal Zizzo made the jump before Freddy, haha.

Next to go: Danny Szetela. Put money on it. They're already talking about him over in England.

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While we're at it, I strongly suggest you check out Parade magazine's All-Americans for 2005. See how many familiar names you count.

Enjoy.