Monday, April 30, 2007
While out there today, I was talking to Jesse Marsch about Disneyland and all that good stuff. He offered up this:
"I wanted to apologize to the Legion because after the game none of us went over there to thank them. I thought they were amazing at the game and they just come and support us so strong every game. Even though we were disappointed with the loss, I still think we owed them a little appreciation for everything they bring to us every game. I just wanted to kind of publicly thank them and let them know in the future we’ll let them know how much we appreciate them. They made the Galaxy fans pale in comparison. We obviously wanted to give them a little bit more to cheer for on the field but it was no fault of theirs."
So I wanted to put that here to hopefully get the message out to Legion that Chivas USA players appreciated their efforts on the stands.
Marsch is cool that way. He blew me off once after a training session last year. I asked him if he had some time and he said "No. Not today." I was like "Wha..." because that's so unlike him, unlike most guys actually. Most guys are happy to talk to us scribes.
But Jesse was cool about it. The next time I saw him was after a home game a few days after that happened and the first thing he told me was that he was sorry he blew me off.
When I first heard about Chivas USA's trip to Disneyland, I thought that some players would like it more than others. Some guys on the team, like Jesse Marsch and Amado Guevara, have families and probably have kids who enjoy Disneyland and theme parks and it would make for a good family outing. Others, like Ante Razov and Jonathan Bornstein, have no kids and I wondered if they would be nonplussed about the whole situation. It didn't seem that way, though. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, both the family guys and the bachelors.
He'll be riding the infamous 405 freeway. (If you don't believe the traffic can be that bad, google "infamous 405").
But that's what will make Becks a real Angeleno, dealing with the traffic and cursing the cars on the 405.
He's actually lucky. Frank Yallop starts Galaxy practices at 10:30 in the morning, which means Becks will miss the bulk of the morning rush.
In the summer months, though, it gets so hot that the teams often start practice early, to maximize working out when it's cool. That might be when it's time to hand the keys over and let the limo guy deal with the morning commute.
In our first of what we hope is a lengthy and interactive feature, a loyal reader shares with us their colors.
This comes from Mike Barloewen. Four-month-old Abby looks stunningly adorable in her green-and-gold colors. Abby, Mike and the entire Barloewen clan is undoubtedly excited now, after the Galaxy laid a whipping on Chivas USA and with Becks just around the corner. Mike shares with us that his daughter is the latest and greatest member of the LA Riot Squad. We are 138! And so is Abby!
Cheers to you, Mike for sharing this with us. And cheers to Abby for appreciating the beautiful game and supporting your local club at such a young age.
ADD: If you want to Show Us Your Colors, use this e-mail from now on:
I didn't get a chance to talk to Sacha Kljestan today. It was actually a bit strange in that setting talking to players. I talked to Ante Razov, Jesse Marsch and Maykel Galindo but I kept it to Disneyland talk. Their mind was off soccer for a moment and it was all in all a light day. Besides, I'm going out there on Tuesday to talk about some more on-the-field topics.
Anyway, Sacha Kljestan looked dapper as always.
I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland today to cover a Chivas USA function. It was actually enjoyable. The team seemed like they were having a good time. They must have been told to smile a lot because most of the guys were smiling. A lot. It was kind of strange seeing them at Disneyland. I hadn't been to Disneyland in at least seven years and had been meaning to save up enough scratch to take the family out. But on a freelancer's wages, saving up takes time.
Anyway, part of my trip today was to check out the park for a future trip. But I also got some pictures of Chivas USA players and did some interviews. I'll post links to stories when they are published.
Only problem is, there is a game tonight. RSL-Colorado are playing a game tonight, however uninspiring it may be to some outside of the region or the Western Conference. Still, a game is a game and it most certainly counts. What if someone has a hat trick? Shouldn't that give someone Player of the Week honors? What if one team wins 5-0? Wouldn't that have an affect on the power rankings for one or both teams.
I'm holding off my own power rankings until after this game.
It's that extra bit of fire and willingness to get "stuck in" that can elevate a player's game to the next level.
So I was glad to hear, when I talked to him about which team he'd like to defeat more than any other, a bit of a vendetta on his part for one team in particular. Those are the situations that motivate extra effort.
I love rivalry games. "
"Our little rivalry is
In a rare MLS Monday game, Real faces the Colorado Rapids tonight.
It's also going to be notable for the MLS debut of Chris Seitz in goal. Though he's the youngest goalkeeper to start for RSL (he's barely twenty) the youngest starting goalkeeper in MLS history was Tim Howard at 19.
The youngest MLS goalkeeper ever? Come on readers, send in the answer, this one was infamous.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
For the second half, I had plenty to write about as Amado Guevara was taken out rather early and then Chivas scored. I thought we might have a repeat of last year when the game went from Chivas lead, tie game and Galaxy lead within a matter of 10 minutes, completely throwing off my stories. But Cobi Jones made sure I would file on deadline when he scored in the 78th minute.
So during the last 15 minutes or so, I was mostly writing my PE story and my MLSnet.com match report. Usually, I have to send both stories when the final whistle sounds and last night was no different. When the referee raised his arm and ended the match, I sent my first story to the Press-Enterprise, sent my second story to MLSnet.com and made my way down to the locker rooms.
I sat in on Preki's press conference, then went to the Chivas USA locker room. I didn't have the chance to sit in on Frank Yallop's post-game press conference which is why I only have audio clips of Chivas people. My brother Danny Bueno who writes for MLSnet.com and has a day job outside of soccer helped me out with Galaxy quotes and he got some good stuff for me (on an aside, that lucky punk has tickets for Coachella today!).
When I returned, I added some quotes to the PE story and re-sent it, then wrote another completely different story for MLSnet.com. I had a relatively light night - only four stories. Still, everybody cleared out early as usual. Andrea and I were the last to leave, and she had stories to finish once she got home.
I'll have to take a picture of it after the next home game, on May 12. I took this picture on Thursday when there wasn't anybody down in The Underground. Yesterday, the door was open and there were some people inside but I couldn't really see too far in there. Plus, I wasn't exactly paying attention to it.
If anybody has been to The Underground or wants to share info with us, that would be cool.
I think I spied some pizza boxes in the trash can outside the locker room, but otherwise, it was a typical scene - a few Gatorade bottles scattered around were the only liquid.
My topdrawersoccer.com story on the game is up now. So is my take on the "Super Clasico" en espanol.
So I was surprised to hear that Maykel Galindo would be at the press conference instead of Guevara.
After the Galaxy game, maybe there was a reason Amado wasn't the one to represent the team's colors in front of the media. After all, Preki questioned Amado's defense of the Chivas jersey after the 3-1 loss at the post-match press conference. Now, I'm just speculating here. I don't have any sort of reason or anything, but sometimes actions speak much louder than words.
Here's an audio link to what Preki had to say about the game in general and about taking out Amado Guevara.
Here's Amado's own thoughts on the matter (en espanol, por supuesto).
That was just a terrible, terrible loss for Chivas. Players said they came out flat and were lacking intensity but I wonder how that could be possible? Against the Galaxy after having won 2 of 3 and having played well enough to have won the other game?
Needless to say, coaches and players weren't very happy.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I talked to Brad Guzan, Amado Guevara, Claudio Suarez, Ante Razov, Lawson Vaughn and Alex Zotinca in the locker room. I'll have some audio later. Mostly, though, the Chivas locker cleared out quickly. Not that there was a lot of us media down there. Aside from myself, there was Jaime Cardenas of MLSnet, Joe D'Hippolito (I think I spelled it right) of the AP, Dave Denholm of AM 710 and a few TV people. I don't know if anyone else walked in after I left.
In the Galaxy locker room, the forward's torso was wrapped in ice as a result of that.
"It's like getting hit by a train," said Landon. "He's a tank. It was stupid of me to go for that."
But there seemed to be more optimism in Toronto than there was here with Chivas or even in Salt Lake that year. Toronto had a coach who many seemed high on, and they assembled a decent group of players to build around, like Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian, Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie O'Brien, Jim Brennan, Conor Casey...
Well, Mulrooney and Casey are gone. O'Brien foolishly hurt himself and now Buddle and Eskandarian look like the hapless Martins-Torres-Taylor-Romo quartet from Chivas USA 2005.
I just hope the fan support is more like RSL than Chivas USA. RSL fans, for as crappy as that team still is, are loyal. So the answer to Are You Loyal? is a resounding YES. Hopefully the losing doesn't discourage Toronto fans.
The next three games don't look very encouraging either. Chicago, Houston, D.C.
What I remember most about the team that year is the deadened look that crept into the player's eyes after the losses piled on. They went from frustration, anger, bravado, misery and anguish to a kind of numbed stoicism. It was depressing to watch.
Yet for all of Chivas USA's struggles, I think Toronto FC is in a bit of a worse patch now. Not only is the team still waiting for its first points (they've not even managed a draw), let alone a first win, but the team has yet to score a goal.
In fact, their current run of around 360 minutes played without a goal puts them near the MLS record books. If they don't score in their next game, they could land in sixth place on the all-time list for consecutive minutes without a team goal. Their victors today, the Kansas City Wizards, hold that spot currently with 427 minutes, set in a stretch of games between 6/24/2000 and 7/22/2000.
It might be some consolation to Toronto FC fans to know that the Wizards actually won the MLS championship that same year.
#1 on that list of most consecutive minutes by a team without a goal belongs to Real Salt Lake, at 557 minutes, set during a bad stretch of their inaugural year.
Real Salt Lake fans, bless 'em, marked the moment their team set the record by throwing black streamers onto the field.
"He’ll see the game tape," Frank explained. "He’s had a few derbies in his time, and clasicos, as well. He’s excited. He’s anxious to get over here."
"Yeah," Yallop agreed, then added, "Dominic’s done ok, hasn’t he?"
The reference was, of course, to Yallop's former protege, Houston Dynamo coach Kinnear.
"I'm just kidding," said Yallop of taking credit for Kinnear's soccer savvy, while Llew and I laughed.
Of course there's always that saying about jokes holding a grain of truth.
I try to talk to enough players and gather enough information to make every story unique. For the PE, I usually try and take a more general look at a team or a player feature or something. In this story, I wrote about the level of respect both teams garner from one another.
Friday, April 27, 2007
So maybe now I'll stop leaving audio links out of the item I'm supposed to put them in.
Frank Yallop talks about the Clasico here.
I was actually going to write up a story on it but I had a kick-ass workout this morning and it pretty much wiped me out. So I was tired and I'd filed all my paying stories. Anyway, I just decided to throw up the audio here as a little Sideline Views exclusive (or semi-exclusive anyway; I did use some of this for PE stuff).
Among the more interesting things he said:
On Chivas USA:
They’re a very good side in MLS. I like the way they play. I actually like watching them play when they’re not playing us, to be honest. They play the correct way. I feel that the two teams that are going to play Saturday night want to attack and want to do the right things. That always makes for a good game.
On the games he lived through last year:
I think the nil-nil tie was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever been involved in as a player and as a coach. It was great. It had everything.
I actually concur on the game. That one is the most memorable for me. I remember being on the edge of my seat the entire game. That was probably one of my favorite games I've covered in the last couple of years.
Then, he spoke some at Thursday's press conference. This one has an English translation after it, but not from me.
Well, let's keep this Spanish theme going.
Here's an interview with Amado Guevara that I was a part of. Toward the end, I asked him about life in L.A. and the atmosphere over here and he said:
"Nueva York es como el clima: frio."
That part is toward the end of the chat.
A couple of the more interesting quotes:
I'd actually never interviewed Lawson Vaughn before Thursday. I can't believe it. I felt stupid. We had a good five-minute chat. I sat on the team bench next to him after all the starters were done for the day, on the field anyway. We talked about how the team was going to mark Landon Donovan, about his own motivation to succeed in MLS after he slipped to the Supplemental Draft and his future.
Anyway, about the Clasico:
"Before the season starts," Chivas USA defender Lawson Vaughn said, "we look on the schedule to see when we're playing the Galaxy."
I also jumped in on an interview with Claudio Suarez on Tuesday. Colleague Troy Santiago asked Suarez if he felt that Chivas should be the favorites going into the game:
"From the way we've played and the results we've gotten, we're the favorites coming in and we're not going to back down from that responsibility."
Which is not to say that the move doesn't have appeal, in particular easing the fixture congestion for international matches and MLS games. But the weather remains a mighty big, cold obstacle.
It's a bit of a conundrum.
If so, she'll have to share with the guys.
That's because inside the press suite at the Home Depot Center, the restrooms are small, single use rooms. There are no stalls. (There are a bunch of public use restrooms nearby, but for those who want to stay in the cocoon of the press box, there's only one room for each gender).
Because there's a rush to use the bathroom during halftime, the male reporters often use the one marked "Women".
I remember once when I was washing my hands, an insistent knock on the door startled me a little. I opened the door to find TV announcer Rob Stone with one hand upraised to knock again and the other holding a beige compact.
He looked surprised - I think he thought one of his coworkers was inside.
"Sorry," he apologized, indicating the compact. "I've got to put my makeup on right now."
Kansas City 2, Toronto 0
Columbus 2, D.C. United 1
Galaxy 2, Chivas USA 1
FC Dallas 1, New England 1
Chicago 1, Houston 0
Colorado 2, Real Salt Lake 0
Kansas City 0, Toronto 0
Columbus 1 DC United 1
Galaxy 1, Chivas USA 0
FC Dallas 2, New England 3
Chicago 1, Houston 2
Colorado 0, RSL 0
Standings before the picks:
Chivas USA has one of the three most productive goal scorers in MLS history on their side while the Galaxy features the United States' biggest ace. How each club's backline handles Ante Razov and Landon Donovan will be one key to the game.
ADD: Here's what Landon had to say about the Clasico and Ante's thoughts on the rivalry.
John Ellinger has decided (hat-tip to our reader), to give talented rookie Chris Seitz the starting spot.
Earlier, Ellinger appeared more concerned about continuity in the net than he did about Seitz' actual ability. But sticking with Nick Rimando for the sake of consistency could have had futher dire consequences.
However, there was some confusion and a few places reported a sellout because the Galaxy website carried the news that the Galaxy Clasico, the adult tournament that the team runs, has sold out.
The matchup between Chivas and the Galaxy is known as the Honda SuperClasico, and that was close enough that some news outlets confused the two and began reporting the SuperClasico was sold out. It is not, not yet.
If he plays, he said he would be more excited for them than for himself.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Now, I'm going to try and transcribe all of my interviews. I gotta take a deep breath though because it's quite a lot. At least my daughters are asleep.
Anyway, I wanted to find out from some Galaxy people what it takes for Chivas USA to gain true respect because even though they played well last year, they're not there. Certainly they're not in the Galaxy's class when you compare franchises, from top to bottom. They're just not. It's not possible.
MLS and the Galaxy are in year 12, Chivas USA is in year 3 and those are just facts. Which is kind of what I wanted to investigate this and ask 'What will it take for Chivas USA to really truly gain some respect around the league from players, coaches, other franchises, fans, media, etc., etc.
Anyway, listen to what he had to say. He mentions New York.
Listen to this audio clip here where he talks about the Super Clasico, what it means to the Galaxy and how it compares to another rivalry.
I rode in the elevator with Jesse Marsch after that game. "Damn Landon," he complained to a quiet Ante Razov. "I thought I had him covered on that play, but somehow, he was able to get up and head the ball." (Jesse was referring to Landon's assist on the tying goal.)
Still, out of all the goals I've seen scored in the derby, the most impressive ones were the pair Ante scored last year when Chivas finally won. Both were absolute jaw-dropping finishes.
While I think the Chivas USA/Galaxy rivalry would still be heated and in some ways, even more special if Chivas USA had claimed a nearby city, such as San Diego or San Bernardino, as their base, I really enjoy the local rivalry and I have from the first contest.
It's great to see the colors for both teams out, and fans reacting to every play on the field. No good local fan is ever going to cheer a goal by the opposition, but as someone who appreciates the beautiful game in general, it's always nice to see deserving goals by either team get their cheers.
Plus, the energy at matches where the fans care so much about the outcome is amazing, especially since Chivas USA fans have pushed the normally docile LA Galaxy fans to be more vocal and demonstrative.
I had to read it more than once to really grasp it. I've known Mike mostly through his stories. I was first captivated by his writing when he covered France 98 for the LA Times. Along with Grahame Jones and Helene Elliot, Mike was part of the great coverage the Times had for the World Cup that year. I liked how he interjected some wit and how his stories flowed seamlessly through the end.
After the tournament, he wrote a story about why loved soccer. He said he was covering a Romania World Cup game at the Rose Bowl and was mesmerized by a goal George Hagi scored. I can't remember if that was against Colombia or Argentina, but it's a famous goal. Hagi swerved that shot in from about 35 yards out or so, and I remember Mike saying he was hooked on soccer after that.
Even though he has covered other sports, he's always been one of us, a soccer-loving media member so I always looked at him as an ally. I met him in Japan during the 2002 World Cup but only spoke briefly to him. I still follow his writing though it's been a while since we've crossed paths.
So I sat dumbstruck while I read the story. I had to laugh, though, when I came across this part:
When I told Robert, the soccer-loving lad from Wales who cuts my hair, why I wanted to start growing my hair out, he had to take a seat, blink hard a few times and ask, "Does this mean you don't like football anymore, Mike?"
No, I had to assure him, I still love soccer. I will continue to watch it. I hope to continue to coach it.
I think it's great that Mike came to a realization about himself and that he had the courage to stand up and deal with it. I don't know if I would have that same courage if I was faced with similar circumstances. As a sports writer - particularly a soccer writer - you need to have thick skin. You need to be able to deflect insults from readers and non-soccer sports writers, with non-soccer writers/editors making fun of soccer and bashing it every chance they get, with people who ask you what you do for a living and then ask 'Oh, is there a soccer team out here?'
But that pales in comparison with what Mike has had to deal with and what Christine will deal with from now on. I think it's courageous and I truly respect his ability to share with us his struggles.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Conan on the Galaxy.
After all, it's pretty impressive that Max pronounced Quavas Kirk more or less correctly.
For that matter, Hugo Sanchez once played for the Sockers as well.
But the comment implied that person is still working for an MLS team. Of course, it could just be a ticket-seller who left the message. It's no fun to imagine that, though.
However, Rob was in Ohio, and here's his take.
Ante Razov (three goals), Ramon Ramirez (two), Douglas Sequiera.
- Galaxy players who have scored against Chivas USA:
Herculez Gomez (four), Peter Vagenas (three), Cobi Jones (three), Landon Donovan (two), Cornell Glen (two), Jovan Kirovski, Chris Albright, Alan Gordon, Joseph Ngwenya, Pablo Chinchilla.
Kansas City 3, Toronto FC 0
FC Dallas 0, New York 0
Kansas City 2, Toronto FC 1
FC Dallas 1, New York 0
Okay, just checked the RSL web site and it turns out I'm not losing my mind (even though it's late and I've got to get up early later today). He's played all of two minutes this year.
If any RSL fan wants to fill us in on Tejada, feel free.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Anyway, one more interesting thing Frank Yallop told me about the Open Cup:
“It’s great to have that run to make that final,” Yallop said. “But when you don’t win it, you kind of look back at it and ask ‘Did it get in the way of our run to the playoffs?’”
Then he pretty much said yes, which was the quote I previously posted.
As far as Tuesday's Galaxy win, they'll be hosting the Red Bulls which means one more game to cover and more money and a chance to see Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore and my boy Todd Dunivant in person. So I can't complain about that. No date yet has been set, at least none that I've seen but it will probably be in May. I just hope it's not at the Track and Field Stadium. Say what you want about quaint. I want comfort.
Martin Zuniga was 0-1. Brad Guzan is 0-6.
In fact, the only Chivas USA goalkeeper who has not lost to the Galaxy is Preston Burpo. He was in the nets for the lone Chivas USA win ever against the Galaxy and he also shut them out in the only ever shutout Chivas USA has had against the Galaxy.
Burpo showed up to training with a clean-shaved head on Tuesday. I was just thinking too last week how scruffy he'd gotten since he was working on a bushy beard but the bald hair suits him well.
That, unfortunately, will hurt the Galaxy and take a bit of the luster away from the Galaxy-Chivas USA game on Aug. 23. Of course, that will in all likelihood be David Beckham's first home regular-season match as a member of the Galaxy.
The Galaxy's first regular season home match with Becks and Landon together on the field at the same time should be Sept. 1 against Real Salt Lake.
I admit, I like Preki. I used to love watching him play and admired his ability to create space and unload from anywhere on the field. He was my favorite player for a while. It's kind of strange dealing with him on a daily basis. The first time I interviewed him, which was sometime in 1998, I told him how great I thought his goal against Brazil in the Gold Cup was, a game I was fortunate enough to watch from the stands. I forget sometimes how much I admired him as a player.
Anyway, he's a unique person. He's still got a passion for the game but he's not like most coaches I've dealt with. Today, for instance, while the team went through their drills, he jogged around the field, occasionally stopping and taking some of it in.
He seemed sincere when he told me he felt bad about it and that it was a silly tackle. The damage has been done, though, and hopefully he learns from it.
As far as the significance goes, I do think the tournament carries weight and should be taken more seriously by MLS in that there should be specific weekends set aside for Open Cup. But that typically brings about another debate on how there are only a handful of weekends available and space is limited and all that other gobbledygook.
Usually when I've talked to players and coaches about it, they seem sort of tempered in their remarks. Frank Yallop, though, told me yesterday that last year's Open Cup run probably cost them the MLS playoffs.
“It stopped us from maybe making the playoffs,” he said. “We had some good results obviously in the Open Cup against MLS teams… If it was the other way in league games, I felt we would have gotten enough points to make the playoffs.”
(Unfortunately, the link to this story - it ran in the Press-Enterprise - is not up yet but this is what he said. It's not me in what should be obvious sarcasm; it's Frank being frank.)
Monday, April 23, 2007
- It's a good thing FC Dallas is off to a good start. They've already been on national television three times (TeleFutura twice, ESPN2) and there will be no shortage of nationally-televised FC Dallas games in the next week. Thursday, FC Dallas-New York will be on ESPN2 while Sunday it's FC Dallas-New England on TeleFutura. FC Dallas, America's Team.
- Toronto FC will play at Kansas City on Wednesday in the Wizards' home opener. I kind of get the feeling that Toronto is like the team that everyone wants to schedule for their homecoming game. You want to win your homecoming game, and MLS teams want to win their home openers so it makes sense to schedule a lightweight. Early prediction: KC a lot, Toronto a little.
- Speaking of Toronto FC, they've already dealt Richard Mulrooney and Conor Casey and brought in Marvell Wynne and Kevin Goldthwaite. Looks like they've learned from Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake of 2005 and are hitting the panic button now instead of later.
- Schedule complainers of the week: the Galaxy. "Hey MLS, why are we getting so much time off right now? We didn't play last weekend. After our game this Saturday, we won't play until May 12. What gives? Okay, we know we'll be far more of an attraction with Beckham in August than without him in April and May but more games now and fewer games later would have been nice. Between our season opener on April 8 and our May 20 game against Chivas USA, you guys have us playing five league games. That's five games in 43 days. Now, take a 43-day span beginning on Aug. 5 and we've got 10 games in that span. 43 divided by 10 is 4.3, which means we'll be playing roughly one game every 4 or 5 days. And we'll be playing in five cities as well as a few home games. Thanks a lot."
- Colorado needs goalkeeping help. Trading away Joe Cannon was good in that it brought in Herculez Gomez and Ugo Ihemelu but it also left a gaping hole that the Rapids did not addresss. Bouna Coundoul is a liability.
- Shaka Hislop still hasn't recorded an MLS shutout.
- Maykel Galindo scored his first goal on Saturday 28 seconds into the game. None of us reporters in the press box saw at exactly what second the ball crossed over the goal line. Either a statistician or a Chivas USA official said it was 28 seconds so we went with it. I watched the highlights this morning and the ball actually crossed over 27 seconds in. Yes, I know it's nit-picking but that would have tied him with Jamar Beasley as the fifth-fastest goal in MLS history. I haven't taken an official poll yet but I think I'm the only person who cares about this.
Columbus 2, NE 2
Houston o, New York 1
Chicago 2, Kansas City 1
Chivas USA 4, RSL 0
FC Dallas 3, Colorado 1
L.B. Week 3
Columbus 1, New England 0
Houston 1, New York 1
Chicago 2, Kansas City 1
Chivas USA 2, Real Salt Lake 0,
FC Dallas 1, Colorado 1
A.C. Week 3
New England 2, Columbus 1
Houston 1, New York 0
Kansas City 3, Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 0, Chivas USA 0
Colorado 2, FC Dallas 2
Meh, my powers of prediction took a big hit with this weekend's results. Luis actually called the Chicago game exactly.
However, there are ways of fighting back, and Ante Razov is one who refuses to go gently into that goodnight of leaving the pro game. Who better to learn every trick to prolonging competitive usefullness from than Preki, the longevity legend?
I was going through some of the pictures I took last week during Chivas USA training and came across two more interesting pictures. Yes, it's our favorite KWHY-22 reporter talking to Claudio Suarez. Just like in the one I posted last week of her interviewing El Emperador, Brad Guzan is in the back staying focused.
I guess that kind of focus and ability to ignore a pair of big, uh, distractions is why he got a shutout against RSL on Saturday.
1. Chicago. Attack coming along nicely
2. New York. Angel-Altidore pairing downright frightening to rest of league
3. Chivas USA. Galindo gives Goats goals galore
4. FC Dallas. Nunez more than able to replace Mulrooney, O'Brien
5. Kansas City. Offense vanished in Chicago
6. Colorado. Clock's running out on Bouna Time
7. New England. Road draw okay, but not how the Revs went about it
8. Columbus. Cupboard not completely bare for Barros Schelotto
9. Galaxy. Club still has giant question mark hanging over it
10. Houston. Shameful handball by De Rosario; completely unacceptable from player of his stature
11. Real Salt Lake. Just when you think it couldn't get any worse, Matt Taylor scores on you
12. D.C. United. Just to refresh your memory, six goals allowed in two games
13. Toronto FC. At least RSL and Chivas USA had each other to point to for league's most pathetic club in 2005
* More thoughts on Houston. They are showing absolutely nothing to suggest that they will even be a playoff contender. They are lucky not to have zero points right now. That De Rosario handball was just plain pathetic. Is that what they've been reduced to? So far, I've been severely underwhelmed by these defending champs.
I still can't figure out what they're going to do with so many stadiums after the event.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Jordanian national team made history fairly recently by qualifying for the Asian Cup for the first time. The youth team also achieved an impressive feat, qualifying for the U20 World Cup in Canada later this year.
They're drawn into Group B, with Spain, Uruguay and Zambia.
"Nashama" is the nickname given to the national team. In Arabic, it translates roughly into "bravery, showing courage, initiative, heart and gallantry".
After Real fell behind by three goals in the first half, I questioned The Deseret News' James Edward and The Salt Lake Tribune's Martin Renzhofer about whether RSL coach John Ellinger could possibly get fired this season.
Their clear consensus opinion was, "No."
"Utah's not like here," James tried to explain. "It's just not the way things are done. They'll wait until the end of the season, and then decide."
On these game reports, writers rate the players numerically. It may not make sense to some that I have Sacha Kljestan so low, since he played impressively in the main. But I was pretty appalled at his tackle on Andy Williams.
It's likely that Williams could be out for the rest of season - if his leg is in fact broken, which is what the medical staff thought happened.
Last season, Dominic Mediate broke his leg landing awkwardly from a Ugo Ihemelu tackle, one which didn't even draw any card from the ref, but the MLS committee, upon video review, handed down a two game suspension, calling it a dangerous tackle.
Williams didn't fall, but cried out on the impact of Sacha's tackle, then crumpled to the ground. So if William's leg is broken, it's from the hit of the tackle itself.
Sacha's own coach called the play "silly", and it could haunt Chivas USA if the disciplinary committee hands down a suspension, leaving Sacha out of games like the Superclassico.
Of course, RSL is worse off in comparison in losing Williams.
"You don't expect to see that," said RSL coach John Ellinger. "Sacha's not a malicious kind of guy. He just made a poor decision."
Saturday, April 21, 2007
It looks like my 8,000-12,000 prediction is a bit off. It's an hour before game time and there are probably 200 people in the stands or thereabouts. I'd take a picture but I don't have my camera with me.
I'll keep you posted on the attendance as the game draws near. I gotta go find some coffee, or a blanket.
In the past, they were practically giving tickets away. This season, they have the Chiva Pass that allows you to get kids tickets for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. It's just the latest in an attempt to lure fans out to games.
Anyway, I don't want to get into it too much here but I'll have something about it in the coming days on how they completely dropped the ball on their efforts to build a strong fan base.
In the meantime, I'll enjoy MLS action with a solid 8,000-12,000 hearty supporters tonight.
Friday, April 20, 2007
As accomplished as Keller is, he happens to play a position where the U.S. actually has a nice pipeline of upcoming talent.
Don't ask me how FC Dallas got roped into paying so much money for Shaka Hislop, though.
But Keller doesn't want just a big contract. He wants a committment.
Frankly, I think his best bet is hanging on until 2009. I think the Pacific Northwest is getting an expansion team. Keller could be their anchor player.
Keller is practically begging Real Salt Lake to take him once his deal this summer is over. Keller has never played in MLS before - like Claudio Reyna - and could be signed with the new designated player rule, like Reyna. RSL has its slot open -though Freddy Adu will have to be grandfathered in next year.
What's interesting is that Keller wants to settle down and plant some roots. His kids have been to three schools and Keller wants something a bit more permanent than that. He wants to be close to his Washington state roots and family but it sounds like his options are open at this point.
If Salt Lake bungles this one - and history suggests that they could - a team that should look long and hard at Kasey Keller is Houston. Pat Onstad is old - oldest player in MLS actually. Keller also won't be around for just another season or so. He's still going strong with the USMNT and will probably want to stay at top form in the hopes of prolonging his national team career as long as possible. And Houston is backed by AEG which won't haggle with a few dollars if it means their club would benefit.
A few quotes that didn't make it into the article:
Any defenders you looked up to growing up?
"Alexi Lalas would be one of the names of players I looked up to. He was a
What's it like playing for a team that's bringing in David Beckham later this year?
"It’s definitely added a lot of excitement. It’s going to be crazy. It’s already been crazy. There’s a lot more media attention on us. It think it’s a big opportunity for everyone on the field, because it’s a lot more exposure for every player."Would you like to play in Europe one day?
"I would love to play abroad, but I’m happy to be here in MLS and I feel comfortable in LA right now."
So I figured I'd get out another player to see if you guys are as sharp as you've been today.
"I played from 1996 to 1998 with Kansas City, though I barely played in '96. I was a first-choice player my next two seasons there, though, before joining the MetroStars for the 1999 campaign. I was a regular in New York for two seasons. I played my last MLS season for D.C. United in 2001 and appeared in 19 games, my lowest total since I played four games in '96. Who am I?"
"I spent my entire six-year career with Columbus. My best season was 2000 when I scored six goals. I had at least one goal every season with the Crew. I think I also got called into the U.S. at some point, though my memory's hazy but I think L.B. and I shared an elevator once out in Pasadena and I think that's why that sticks out in my head. Anyway, who am I?"
Let's try again:
"I spent five seasons with Kansas City before moving to New England in the middle of the 2003 season. The next season I was with San Jose before joining Real Salt Lake in 2005, where I am now. What's my name?"
Well here goes:
"I started off my career in 1997 with Colorado and played 19 games for the Rapids while scoring two goals. I had 10 goals the next year and went on to play two more seasons with Colorado. In the middle of my fifth season, I was traded to the MetroStars. In 2002, I started 26 games for the MetroStars before finishing my career with two seasons with Columbus. Who am I?"
Thursday, April 19, 2007
It's just a joke that league official Jeff Thiffault would write to Herculez Gomez and his agent a denial of the request for putting "Herculez" on his jersey by saying there were only "two exceptions" in the league to this rule. Does he not pay attention?
Thiffault isn't just off by little bit, he's off by more than twice as many. He says the two exceptions are Fred and Cobi - there's also Thiago, Sinisa, and Ezra.
But, thanks to Thiffault, there's no Herculez.
That doesn't mean there wasn't some disappointment involved. After all, at one point, Chivas USA held the number one pick in the 2006 draft, and Wynne was hoping to stay in his home state of California. He adjusted to New York, though, and I'm sure he'll do the same with Toronto.
The move might be hardest on his mom, according to what he told me.
"When I was drafted, I thought, 'Yeah, I’ll be far from home, but I’m in
Our weekly MLS picks to see who the better prognosticator is, myself or Ms. Canales. I'm not a betting man but if you are a gambler, you might not want to use my picks as a guide because I hit about 50 percent during the NFL season.
L.B. Week 3
Columbus 1, New England 0
Houston 1, New York 1
Chicago 2, Kansas City 1
Chivas USA 2, Real Salt Lake 0
FC Dallas 1, Colorado 1
A.C. Week 3
New England 2, Columbus 1
Houston 1, New York 0
Kansas City 3, Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 0, Chivas USA 0
Colorado 2, FC Dallas 2
I'm a pretty conservative gambler myself. I go to Vegas with ten bucks and amuse myself with the nickel slots until it runs out.
Anyway, I wrote up a feature on him for MLSnet.com now that he's all official. I also figured I'd shoot some training shots of his so people could see him run around and kick the ball a few times. It's short but he does score a goal, right at the start.
Yet Lalas emphased recently that no one is untouchable. With the likes of Zinedine Zidane perhaps waiting in the wings, Donovan may be considered by some as expendable.
However, though Lalas said the "untouchable" bit, he also added something else.
"I hope Landon’s here for years to come and I hope Landon finishes his career with the Galaxy."
I think that means that as long as Landon performs well, he's likely to stay.
Got this release in my inbox
GUILLERMO BARROS SCHELOTTO AVAILABLE VIA TELECONFERENCE TODAY, APRIL 19
COLUMBUS (Thursday, April 19, 2007) – The Columbus Crew will make its latest player acquisition, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, available to the media today, Thursday, April 19, 2007, via teleconference at 1:00 p.m. ET following the player’s press conference in Argentina.
WHEN: Today – Thursday, April 19, 2007 – Approx. 1:00 p.m. ET
WHO: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew
Mark McCullers – General Manager, Columbus Crew
Sigi Schmid – Head Coach, Columbus Crew
Toll-Free Dial-In Number (US & Canada): +1-877-GUILLE-1
International dialers to call: +1-706-MELLIZO
Conference Code: DE-BOCA-AL-CREW
I, uh, changed the numbers a little bit.
I got the chance to talk to John Cunliffe on Tuesday. He's kind of a quiet guy. I don't know if he's just trying to get used to playing out here or if he's just sort of quiet by nature but he's always just been a little on the reserved side, as long as I've been dealing with him anyway. He seems like a nice enough fellow and answered all my questions recently.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Since the announcement had just been made about Toronto, I asked him if he was going to play there.
He admitted that it would be nice and mentioned that he considered it his hometown.
When Kasey Keller mentioned recently that he was less inclined to take a pay cut to come to MLS because no team existed near his own hometown in the Pacific Northwest, it reminded me, of all things, of DeRosario, who is at a contract impasse with Houston.
It might be that DeRosario would take less money to play for Toronto. It might also be that Houston picked up Richard Mulrooney precisely on that basis - Mulrooney wanted to be near family in Texas. He could provide cover in the midfield if DeRosario does go to Toronto one day.
It's part of a new wrinkle this year as some clubs will have to qualify to participate. In case you need a refresher or are unaware of the new format, here it is:
The top three clubs in each conference from last season qualified directly to the tournament proper: D.C. United, New England, Chicago, Houston, FC Dallas, Chivas USA.
The remaining six clubs will have to qualify. The non-playoff clubs - Galaxy vs. Columbus, Real Salt Lake vs. Kansas City - will have qualifying matches. The winners will play one more game (Galaxy-Crew vs. New York; RSL-KC vs. Colorado) and those winners will reach the tournament.
RSL hosts Kansas City today while the Galaxy is at the Crew next Tuesday.
I thought the Galaxy, as 2006 finalists, should have gotten a direct bid to the tournament. Still, the way it turned out, if the Galaxy beats Columbus, the Red Bulls will come out here to Carson to play the Galaxy. Suddenly, that's not a bad thing.