MLS Fangirl

Comments from a fangirl's eye-view on Major League Soccer, the American slice of the world's greatest sport.

Monday, August 28, 2006

From the wires

But before I get started, I just want to say that I've never been as happy to have missed a DC game as I was on Saturday night. 5-2!!! And with an own-gol on each side? Heavens to mergatroid, that's not a glich, that's a brownout.


Man, poor Dominic Mediate, who got injured in said wretched game with a broken right shank and won't be playing for the rest of the season. Which kind of sucks for him because he only played a handful of games so far. Let's light a candle for his return next season, shall we?

And so is Beckham coming to MLS or not? C'mon, folks, make up your minds. Did he sign the contract extention with Real Madrid or is he going to be shopping around? He is still off the English National Team, ain't he? So I wonder, exactly, at what point does he get out to pasture enough to head on over to the US.

Who else is doing fantasy futbol, and how is your team doing? I swear to all things holy, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that some of my most valuable players would be from Chivas, I would have laughed Sierra Mist through my nose. Juan Pablo Garcia is just eating up the points for me, as is Jonathan Bornstein. My most valuable player -- DC keeper Troy Perkins, who, again, I wasn't sure would be the main keeper this season when I bought him. But of course, the top scoring leader is DC's Christian Gomez, as it should be.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Howdy, Becks?

So superfutbolista David Beckham has been left off the roster for England's national team. It kind of makes me wonder, is his star starting to fade, or is this just a signal of a new era for England. And, exactly when do we start the clock ticking for his imminent arrival on the LA Galaxy?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

If life gives you gators, make Gatorade (tm)

With more than a month behind us since the USMNT's less-than-stellar performance in the Germany Mundial, I'm starting to wonder if maybe US fútbol destiny is less linked to the performance of the USMNT than previously thought and discussed to pieces. Everyone who said before the show -- and I'm including myself in this list, because heavens know I committed mental seppuku over that last game with Ghana -- that the future of fútbol in the US would rise or fall with the USMNT might have missed out on one of the more fundamental features of life, that being, sometimes what seems like a little defeat is really a step toward a larger victory.

I can't help but notice that since the World Cup jets have cooled, fútbol in the US has, actually, been doing fairly well. I mean, we've got the MLS All*Stars beating EPL powerhouse Chelsea, last night DC United drew with Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid, there are more than a dozen Yanks playing with teams in Europe and elsewhere, and they're doing rather well there, as could be evidence with Moenchengladbach naming everyone's favorite keeper Kasey Keller team captain for the season.

OK, so it might not amount to a real hill of beans. Both the MLS All*Stars and DC United were/are diverse teams with players from many different nations as well as the US, but still, they're representational of the state of soccer in the US. Of course, we have to throw down with the whole MLS teams=fit vs. European teams=unfit because they haven't started their season yet, but I can really recall when that wouldn't have been an issue. Maybe our players abroad are getting some notice because we're just coming off the World Cup where we as a nation -- and our sportswriters -- were forced to realize that we had talent overseas and at home as well.

Still, though, I think the dire prediction I and others made about the fútbol's future in the US is proving out to be dead wrong. What's happening is what always happens, that give a meme some legs and it'll run as soon as it learns to walk. US fútbol is slowly but surely toddling ahead, and I think it's proving out that the choking defeat by the USMNT in Germany isn't taking the air out of this beautiful US game.

On to quick picks

Dynamo vs. Dallas: Oooh, ouch, I guess I'm going to start loving Santino for the Galaxy, his trade certainly paid off for them in their defeat against Houston. Houston goes into the intrastate rivalry with that behind them. I'm thinking that against Western champs Dallas, Houston is going to continue to wilt. I'm going to have to go with Dallas on this game.

Wizards vs. Crew: I'm going to go absolutely nuts here and say the Crew is going to get it together and pull off a surprise win over KC. It can happen. And pigs can fly out of my ... well, it can happen. Why not.

Fire vs. Chivas: What's this, Midwestern Day? All the games are in the middle of the country, which means they're all in my time zone and they're all about at the same time. Man, I miss those midnight games on the West Coast, there is something cozy about watching a game in bed just before you go to sleep. Anyway, I want to say Chivas is going to win this one, but I'm learning more toward a draw. Scoreless.

Colorado vs. LA: *sigh* So Santino Quaranta is with the Galaxy, along with Landon and Cobi and Cornell and all the other guys who do so well when you put them all together. Yeah, it'll probably be LA on this game.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Roll call

I've made some additions to the blogroll over there on stage right. Say a hearty hello, how are ya, to Are You Loyal? (An RSL blog, but I won't let that get in the way), Footcer Socblog (which gets an award for most interesting name), Goal Posts, It's a Simple Game, Poplar Point Perspective and Ziga Zoga (which I'm allowing on there even though the name is bringing back some Spice Girls flashbacks).

My daily dose of heartbreak comes from dcsundevil -- Oh My God, They've Killed ... no, wait ... They've Traded Santino! Man, I really liked Quaranta! I've been missing him for most of the season, seeing as he's been out nursing that injury and walking his dog. Oh well, I guess I'll have to learn to love him in LA, if such a thing is possible for me.

Later add: AP finally moved a story on the trade, which says Santino was traded for "partial rights to a future player and a conditional 2008 draft pick." How's that gotta feel, I wonder. "Yeah, Tino, we traded you for, well, no one at the moment." Upon later thought, I can't really feel too bad for him leaving. With Alecko back and in black, along with all the other starting talent, a young gun like Quaranta wouldn't see much play, I suppose. Lord knows the Galaxy needs all the help it can get.

And what's this? Thanks to It's a Simple Game we have news from the NY Times about the pending return of ex-DCer Dema Kovalenko to the US, to play for RBNY. I have to say, New York's really really trying to make me get over this inexplicable dislike I have for them, what with Coach Arena and now Dema going over there.

And look, there's games on tomorrow!! Wouldn't you know that there'd be games on my night off, except I've already got a date with Ricky Bobby and a large popcorn. I really have to get over this recording delay/archive allergy I've got.

Quick picks:

Revs vs. Wizards: I'd really really like the Wizards to pick it up this game, because I actually think they're due to recapture the good run they had at the beginning of the season. Of course, the same can be said about the Revs. I'm going against all logic to root for the Wizards to win.

Dynamo vs. Galaxy: Again, I've got to go with my regional favorites here, even though I think there's a better chance of a Galaxy victory. The Galaxy has been pulling its head out of its collective butt since it got its World Cup guys back, whereas the Dynamo's been ticking along like a good piece of machinery. I'm all about Houston for this game, and really wishing I had time and a heatstroke death wish to sit through eight hours of futbol in order to watch this game and the FC Barca/Club America game.

Colorado vs. Salt Lake: RSL has als been working on making me dislike them less, and even though they recently put the kabosh on my darling DCU, I'll give them my favor for this game over Colorado, for no reason other than just because.

Another later add: Oh, man, I forgot about DC playing against Real Madrid. Um, I hate to say it, but let's keep that Chelsea victory in mind, it might dull the pending sting ...

Monday, August 07, 2006

If 40 is the new 30, then Thursday can be the new Saturday

I'm jumping on the Thursday Nights at the Pitch topic a litte late, but I figure that's OK, since my local newspaper just put that article in the paper yesterday, at what I imagine was the expense of the MLS All*Star game results. Better late than never, I suppose, especially since I'm not exactly running with the general opinion.

I, for one, am pretty damn happy about the change, and I foresee a lot of beer, pizza and watch parties on my future Thursday nights. Why? Because, like a goodly portion of the world, I work the weekends, and I work nights. I haven't had a day job since 1996, and while I do get Sundays off now, it took me seven years to get that. This isn't a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday kind of world, and it's been tough for me to watch my futbol on ESPN2 every Saturday. Even with the subscription, I had a hard time juggling game watching and my Saturday work, and many times the game had to go by the wayside while I actually earned my paycheck. I know I can watch the archived game later, but I just can't get into that. I've got this little mental block that says if I don't see it live, just catch the highlight reel.

Most of the criticism of the Thursday night deal has had to do with expectations that stadium attendance will be lower on a weeknight than on a Saturday afternoon. That criticism has been answered right back with some pointing out that this is an actual TV deal, which means money, money, money, so promotion, promotion, promotion.

Here's my thinking -- obviously MLS and ESPN are trying to turn Thursday night into what it already is for almost every college student in the country -- party night No. 1. You know how it is. You're in college and you either go home on the weekends or your friends go home on the weekends. You've go to party, got to hang out. So what do you do? You head over to the bar on a Thursday night and live it up until the wee hours of the morning, then show up for class on Friday morning hung over, if you show up at all. If you stay in town, you party it up on Friday/Saturday and recover on Sunday. That, friends, is how I spent my sophomore year and why I nearly failed Algebra. In any case, putting MLS on Thursday nights starts gives futbol its own night to live it up, and people who are fans of other sports, too -- I've heard such creatures exist, who love other sports than futbol, but have never actually met one in person -- don't have to choose between which ball they want to follow on Saturday or Sunday. MLS on Thursday night just gets your weekend started early. Bring on the pizza and beer and ThunderStix.

If you already live in an area that's got its own MLS team -- you lucky bastards, you -- will it be such a hardship to go over and watch your favorite equipo on the pitch, and maybe get on TV, too? And for schmoes like me who have to travel 180 to 300 miles to see a game live and who have Thursday nights off, this deal makes it more likely that I'll get down to Dallas or Houston or up to KC.

I'm lovin' the idea and I'm going to do what I can as a fanatica to get it goin'. And no more TV drought in August and September, that's what I'm lookin' forward to. And I can get into the futbol frame of mind two days earlier than normal and still enjoy the pleasures of the Saturday and Sunday games, too, just stretches out the futbol goodness to most of the week. I'm all for it, man. Can't wait for it to start.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

All*Star thoughts

6:30 CDT: Who's earing his paycheck this game so far? Yeeah, boy, Troy Perkins, that's who.

And you know what kills me? That a goodly portion of the spectators who are at the stadium are there to watch Chelsea. I'm quite very pleased with the game so far. Oooh, better not say that too loudly, lest the soccer gods hear me and make things all fall apart.

7:30 CDT: Huh, what? You replace just about everyone but you leave in Facundo? OK, I love Facundo and his eyebrows, and some of the stellar stars came in, like everyone's favorite adolecent Freddy and my favorite of the favorites Alecko Eskandarian, but what the hell, you take out Troy, who's doing so well? Troy, who, by the way, is my pick for MVP. God, this Internet connection is slow. Nice gol by DDR, though.

Afterward: OK, so Joe Cannon does a nice job, too. Yay for the All*Stars! That's two in a row against an EPL team, which, I know, doesn't seem to mean anything in the way of respect on the world futbol stage, but to me it's something. I liked the red kits that the All*Stars were wearing, too, much better than the blue Sierra Mist threads from last year. Red is the US color, and MLS, with it's little Embrace the Colors campaign, should just go with it. Keep the red. All in all, a good game.

Much later: Gah, don't you just hate how no one can just lose gracefully to a US team? Yes, Coach Mourinho, we get that Chelsea hasn't started up its season yet, but to just write it off as a "training session" is just a little snotty, don't you think? It reminds me of when the USMNT beat Mexico last September to qualify for the World Cup, how Coach Ricardo LaVolpe snarked off that the only reason the US won was because no one in the US cared about soccer and therefore they were under no pressure. OK, so yes, it's also a little true that it doesn't mean anything to Chelsea to lose to the MLS All*Stars. But you know what, it means a heckuvalot to MLS to win in a staunch game against an EPL great.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Only shooting stars break the mold

Hey, look, it's my favorite defender who thinks he's a striker, plonked down on the All*Star list to gave EPL great Chelsea a hard time -- DC's Facundo Erpen is replacing Eddie Pope on the roster. That's yet another USMNT player, including Landon Donovan and Pablo Mastroeni, who won't be on the Bridgeview pitch. It kind of looks like my plan to keep USMNT players off the All*Star team is inadvertently working out. Yeah, Chris Albright, Jimmy Conrad and Brian Ching will play, but since I only saw Conrad play for about a second and didn't see the others at all, I'll let them slide.

Well, I can't complain, as the All*Star roster is just overloaded with DC United deliciousness, although at this point I'm wondering if we can really call it an All*Star team and just call it DC vs. Chelsea, to put it with all "world futbol comes to the US" action that's happening this season. I have to say, I'm not much of an EPL fan and would actually prefer to see FC Barcelona play in any one of their spots this month. And if I had the money and could stand the 100+ heat, I'd definately had made it to Houston to watch.

But, here we are on the waning side of the season, all hail the All*Star game to give MLS that little extra bit on oomph to gets us into the fall. I have to work tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure I can comandeer the office TV to watch the game. After our rather lackluster World Cup appearance and all the blame slinging people threw at MLS, I'd like the the team to do well and show the US and the world that MLS isn't a training ground or a retirement home. We did pretty nicely against Fulham last year -- yeah, I know, big difference between Chelsea and Fulham -- but still. We're with ya, DC ... er, I mean, All*Stars!