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2012 MLS: Very Sporting


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#1 Infield Infidel


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:29 PM

Just looking around for world league rankings, and I stumbled across the IFFHS world rankings.
Does anyone know how reputable they are?

In any event, they see a rapidly improving product in MLS, ranking them the 32nd best league worldwide in 2011.

Although the Mexican Primera División has continued to lose strength (61 points less than 2010), the Mexican league is still the strongest league in the CONCACAF area. The MLS has improved for ten places in the annual world ranking when compared to 2010 and recorded an improvement of 72,5 points. The Costa Rican league is again gained strength and now 3rd ahead of league of Guatemala in this football continent.


On another note, a number of MLS players (Donovan, Henry, Keane, maybe Adu) are starting the new year on loan with overseas clubs. While it's good to keep them active, could it ultimate hurt the MLS if some of these players, especially young players, are tempted to leave MLS?

Edited by Infield Infidel, 18 April 2012 - 05:33 AM.


#2 Billy R Ford


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:26 PM

Considering their top five are Spain, England, Brazil, Portugal, and France, in that order, they can't be that reputable.


From what I can gather this is a purely statistical thing. Hence, Portugal's three Europa League semi-finalists last year = high ranking.

#3 Titans Bastard


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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:41 AM

Good timing on a new thread, Infidel -- the 2012 draft is today at noon. Here's a mock draft, although these sorts of things are usually comically incorrect in the end.

Just looking around for world league rankings, and I stumbled across the IFFHS world rankings.
Does anyone know how reputable they are?

In any event, they see a rapidly improving product in MLS, ranking them the 32nd best league worldwide in 2011.



On another note, a number of MLS players (Donovan, Henry, Keane, maybe Adu) are starting the new year on loan with overseas clubs. While it's good to keep them active, could it ultimate hurt the MLS if some of these players, especially young players, are tempted to leave MLS?


I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the IFFHS rankings. Any statistical formula that attempts to compare leagues on different continents is bound to fail and in any case even their rankings of European leagues are obviously untrue.

That being said, I do think that MLS has been attracting a noticeably higher caliber of player over the past year or two. I mean, it's not like the league is importing the world's finest, but there are fewer signings of out-of-contract European mediocrities and more signings of solid and/or up-and-coming talent from south of the border. We're getting the some of the better NTers from Central America and some borderline NT players from bigger South American countries like Colombia and Ecuador. The league is also poaching some good prospects -- not the next Falcao, but Portland was able to beat out some La Liga clubs for Diego Chara, for example.

The league will plateau again if our production of American players doesn't keep pace with these developments, however.



Outstanding info. Do you have a blog, TB? Honestly, you (and du Nord) keep me in the know about MLS/US personnel. Thanks for putting so much effort in.

Inspired by Kasey Keller's transitiin to broadcasting, I wrote up a bit about US Soccer tv commentary, and what (I think) it needs next - for better or worse, to me it looks a lot like John Madden. At: http://mwl.li/soccer-madden

(It's possible I still have a Keller boner after his performance against Brazil all those years ago.)


From the other thread...

Great post. Despite my general US soccer boosterism, I'm not a big fan of American announcers for the reasons you describe. I love Arlo White not because he has an English accent, but because he can elucidate the finer points of the game and point out the little things that fans might not see. I learn things listening to his broadcasts. A non-soccer fan like my dad views soccer as a boring game in which the ball pings endlessly back and forth and eventually someone might score. His mind hasn't been taught to recognize a DM great positional awareness or a team's attempt to exploit the right flank, or a forward making great runs off the ball. He can't appreciate a winger who does a great job tracking back and supporting a fullback defensively. And so on. And frankly, the vast majority of American announcers do very little to show him that his notion of the sport is incorrect.

There are two areas that need a big improvement:

(a) highlighting the small and interesting things that matter

and

(b) presenting the whole game as important. When the ball is in the midfield, that doesn't mean it's time to launch into a discussion of how Brian Ching is the first MLSer from Hawaii. There are things happening and when the announcer ignores them in favor of fluff and general league commentary, it leads the viewer to believe that what's going on is boring.


I agree that guys like Keller who have been pushed tactically more than the typical early-years MLSer will be a boon to the league as they enter coaching and broadcasting. As the first large generation of pros ages, we're really going to benefit from the increased amount of institutional soccer knowledge that we have as a country. I believe that that lack of built-up institutional knowledge that comes from generations of professionals is THE biggest thing holding back US soccer.

#4 dirtynine

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 10:03 AM

Great points. I hope it comes in time, just like the rest of US soccer culture.

Re. the draft - the sense I get from Revs fans is that they hope/expect to pick Wenger if he's there at 3.

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:35 PM

* Kenny Cooper traded to NY for a 2013 first round pick. Why would NY trade for a forward like Cooper who isn't a great value given his salary? Well, Jen Chang is reporting that Agudelo is on his way to VfB Stuttgart for $6m...

* The "always-reliable" goal.com is reporting that George John is definitely going to West Ham on a loan with an option to buy. FCD is certainly acting like he won't be back; they drafted a CB in the first round after picking up a COlo


Great points. I hope it comes in time, just like the rest of US soccer culture.

Re. the draft - the sense I get from Revs fans is that they hope/expect to pick Wenger if he's there at 3.


Absolutely, but there was never any way Wenger was going to stay on the board that long.

so far through the first round...

1. Montreal -- Andrew Wenger -- DF -- Duke
2. Vancouver -- Darren Mattocks -- FW -- Akron
3. New England -- Kelyn Rowe -- MF -- UCLA
4. Toronto -- Luis Silva -- MF -- UCSB
5. Chivas USA -- Casey Townsend -- FW -- Maryland
6. San Jose -- Sam Garza -- FW -- UCSB
7. DC United -- Nick DeLeon -- MF -- Louisville
8. Portland -- Andrew Jean-Baptiste -- DF -- UConn
9. Chicago -- Austin Berry -- DF -- Louisville
10. Columbus -- Ethan Finlay -- FW -- Creighton
11. Dallas -- Matt Hedges -- DF -- UNC
12.Toronto -- Aaron Maund -- DF -- Notre Dame
13. Philadelphia -- Chandler Hoffman -- FW -- UCLA
14. Colorado -- Tony Cascio -- MF -- UConn
15. Seattle -- Andrew Duran -- DF -- Creighton
16. Kansas City -- Dom Dwyer -- FW -- South Florida
17. Salt Lake -- Enzo Martinez -- MF -- UNC
18. Houston -- Colin Rolfe -- FW -- Louisville
19. Los Angeles -- Tommy Meyer -- DF -- Indiana

#6 Billy R Ford


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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:06 PM

3. Kelyn Rowe, attacking midfielder
22. Tyler Polak, left back

That's a very good draft by the Revs. Rowe was the best player available after Wenger and Mattocks, he's one of only three college players at the U23 National Team/Olympic team camp right now. The only thing not to like is he plays the same position as Feilhaber, but he's supposed to be versatile, could play through the middle or on the wing. Probably better he doesn't start right off anyway, gives him time to adjust to the league.

Polak falling to 22 is a pleasant surprise. He has youth national team experience and was also considered MLS ready by some, but had a bad combine which probably resulted in the fall in stock. Still, he has all the physical skills, the knock on him is he needs tactial training at left back. Another guy who should probably sit before he starts, but one with plenty of talent and long-term potential.

Both Generation adidas players too, which is key- no salary budget (cap) hit. Getting two GA players with starter-potential is very solid.

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:56 PM

3. Kelyn Rowe, attacking midfielder
22. Tyler Polak, left back

That's a very good draft by the Revs. Rowe was the best player available after Wenger and Mattocks, he's one of only three college players at the U23 National Team/Olympic team camp right now. The only thing not to like is he plays the same position as Feilhaber, but he's supposed to be versatile, could play through the middle or on the wing. Probably better he doesn't start right off anyway, gives him time to adjust to the league.

Polak falling to 22 is a pleasant surprise. He has youth national team experience and was also considered MLS ready by some, but had a bad combine which probably resulted in the fall in stock. Still, he has all the physical skills, the knock on him is he needs tactial training at left back. Another guy who should probably sit before he starts, but one with plenty of talent and long-term potential.

Both Generation adidas players too, which is key- no salary budget (cap) hit. Getting two GA players with starter-potential is very solid.


Agree 100%. In the MLS draft, you have to take the best talent available. It's a shame that the Revs weren't picking at #2 because Mattocks would have been a great pick for both upside and immediate need, but Rowe is a good consolation prize.

Very pleased to get Polak at #22. He's a great value at that spot in the draft, like Rowe he won't count against the cap, and LB is a real position of need. The Revs botched their last Creighton LB pick (Seth Sinovic, who was released and quickly became a starter for Eastern Conference champions KC) -- this one should be handled better. Polak has more upside anyway.

It may be possible to get Joseph, Feilhaber, and Rowe on the field at the same time if they go with a 4-3-3. They definitely don't have all the attacking personnel for that right now, though.

#8 Mr. Wednesday

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:19 PM

Maybe some sort of a box midfield with Feilhaber and Rowe playing as WAMs would work? That's a position that Feilhaber played well for Bob Bradley on the national team.

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 08:59 PM

Maybe some sort of a box midfield with Feilhaber and Rowe playing as WAMs would work? That's a position that Feilhaber played well for Bob Bradley on the national team.


That's possible (Feilhaber played LM in Denmark), but ultimately you have to consider whether you want to use two of your biggest attacking talents out of position. But as the forward situation stands right now, it's all re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Even if Cardenas turns out to be a great signing and Jaqua signs, we still need serious help. Any team relying on Nate Jaqua to spearhead the attack isn't anywhere close to a playoff team.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:01 AM

The deluge of Latin Americans continues. Transfer window to date:

Colombian DF Hanyer Mosquera (to Portland, from La Equidad, Colombia)
*Panamanian DF Carlos Rodriguez (to Dallas, from Tauro, Panama)
Colombian DF John Alexander Valencia (to Chivas USA, from Atletico Junior, Colombia)
*Ecuadorian DF Geovanny Caicedo (to Toronto, from LDU Quito, Ecuador)
*Chilean DF Miguel Aceval (to Toronto, from Universidad de Concepcion, Chile)
Colombian DF Wilman Conde (to New York, from Atlas, Mexico)
Argentinian DF Emiliano Dudar (to DC, from Young Boys, Switzerland)
*Costa Rican DF Porfirio Lopez (to Philadelphia, from Alajuelense, Costa Rica)
*Honduran DF Victor Bernardez (to San Jose, from Anderlecht, Belgium)
Colombian DF Hernan Pertuz (to Dallas, from Independiente Medellin, Colombia)
Argentinian DF Martin Bonjour (to Vancouver, from Rampla Juniors, Uruguay)
Colombian DF John Lozano (to New England, from America de Cali, Colombia)
*Colombian MF Jaime Castrillon (to Colorado, from Independiente Medellin, Colombia)
*Panamanian MF Gabriel Gomez (to Philadelphia, from Indios, Mexico)
*Ecuadorian MF Oswaldo Minda (to Chivas USA, from Deportivo Quito, Ecuador)
*Chilean MF Milovan Mirosevic (to Columbus, from Universidad Catolica, Chile)
*Colombian MF Rafael Robayo (to Chicago, from Millonarios, Colombia)
Ecuadorian MF Miller Bolanos (to Chivas USA, from LDU Quito, Ecuador)
Colombian MF/FW Jose Adolfo Valencia (to Portland, from Santa Fe, Colombia)
Colombian MF/FW Fernando Cardenas (to New England, from America de Cali, Colombia)
*Costa Rican FW Josue Martinez (to Philadelphia, from Deportivo Saprissa, Costa Rica)
*Panamanian FW Blas Perez (to Dallas, from Indios, Mexico)
Costa Rican FW Olman Vargas (to Columbus, from Herediano, Costa Rica)
Uruguayan FW Federico Puppo (to Chicago, from Danubio, Uruguay)
*Colombian FW Jose Moreno (to New England, from Once Caldas, Colombia)


* = capped by their country

A few of these guys look like chumps (mainly the ones signed by the Revs), but most look like good business: solid NT players, fringe NT players, and youth internationals. I'm really, really pleased to see the league being so aggressive on this front. The efforts that MLS clubs have made internationally have been ramping up, but this looks like the strongest crop yet. There are far fewer third-rate European journeymen and far more quality Latin Americans -- much more bang for the buck.



Some other moves have been made, too. Portland signed former Rangers legend Kris Boyd to a DP contract. He's been pretty unproductive since he left Ibrox in the summer of 2010, but he's still the all-time leading scorer in the SPL. Portland has some other good attacking options, so he won't have to carry the offense and can just be the poacher that he's meant to be.

Philadelphia has been wheeling and dealing like crazy. They've brought in a bunch of internationals (Porfirio Lopez to LB, Gabriel Gomez to CM, Josue Martinez to FW) and they drafted another rather young and rather talented American (FW Chandler Hoffman). Veljko Paunovic unexpectedly retired, Faryd Mondragon unexpectedly returned to Deportivo Cali, and Sebastien Le Toux was unexpectedly traded to Vancouver for allocation money. Their roster now has an average age of about 22, but they have a ton of interesting U23 (-ish) talent -- Adu, Mwanga, McInerney, Martinez, Torres, Okugo, Williams, MacMath, Hoffman, the Farfan twins. Trading a stalwart like Le Toux is risky, but it's going to be fun to watch this group over the next few years.

Edson Buddle has just re-signed with Los Angeles after being released by Ingolstadt. He wasn't bad in Germany, but he wasn't great either. The club got a new manager and Buddle found himself surplus to requirements. Buddle is one of those players that has this stuff happen to him -- probably because his work ethic is known to be tepid at best. In any case, he's a good MLS striker and he'll be a boost for LA's CONCACAF champions league campaign.

#11 Titans Bastard


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:53 PM

DC signed a DP forward. Hamdi Salihi, an Albanian international who was with Rapid Vienna. He's scored goals at every stop and at 28, he should have some good mileage left in him.

San Jose signed a Colombian midfielder, Tressor Moreno. 32 caps for Colombia from 2000 to 2007. He's no spring chicken having just turned 33 but it seems like there's talent here.

#12 SoxFanInPdx

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:01 PM

Exciting couple of weeks for us Timbers fans. Good news, Kris Boyd is a tremendous upgrade from Cooper, even though he is a former 'Ger.

The bad news, Jose Valencia does have to have knee surgery it turns out. So, we won't see him this season at all.

#13 Statman

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:42 PM

Juninho is heading back to the LA Galaxy.

http://www.lagalaxy....IulWNfQ.twitter

#14 Billy R Ford


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:05 PM

Juninho is heading back to the LA Galaxy.

http://www.lagalaxy....IulWNfQ.twitter


And the race just became for second place.

-------------Buddle-Keane
Magee-Juninho-Beckham-Donovan
Dunivant-Leonardo(?)-DeLaGarza-Franklin
----------------Saunders

Is as good as any eleven MLS has ever seen. Not sure when Leonardo will be fully healthy, but with Juninho back it's a much smaller hole.

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:20 PM

Juninho is heading back to the LA Galaxy.

http://www.lagalaxy....IulWNfQ.twitter


That's absolutely huge for LA.


Juninho was a big reason for the Galaxy's success. He's a great anchor in the midfield that goes a long way to supporting LA's attacking talent. They really didn't seem to have replaced him adequately, which I thought would hurt the defensive capabilities of their midfield a lot.

LA is looking like the team to beat again.

#16 Statman

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:00 PM

LA is looking like the team to beat again.


I'm still worried about the backline. Gonzalez was huge for us and no one really knows what type of shape Leonardo is in.

It's not going to matter how much LAG scores if they are leaking goals like a sieve.

#17 Titans Bastard


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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:15 PM

I'm still worried about the backline. Gonzalez was huge for us and no one really knows what type of shape Leonardo is in.

It's not going to matter how much LAG scores if they are leaking goals like a sieve.


Is Abel Xavier available??

It is true that a lot rides on Leonardo. You don't want to be starting Andrew Boyens.



In other news, Philadelphia has signed Lionard Pajoy. He's a Colombian striker who led the Colombian league in scoring during the 2011 Clausura season. The Union are loaded up at forward now, even though they lost Le Toux and Paunovic. Josue Martinez is an up-and-coming Costa Rican they signed over the winter, plus they have youngsters like Mwanga, McInerney, and Hoffman who have real potential. I'm jealous.


Meanwhile, the Revs desperate need multiple forwards. Their one signing so far, 30 year old Colombian Jose Moreno, has had fitness and work ethic issues and is a journeyman with a long history of loans and short stops. Oh, and by the way -- the Colombian press has reported that he isn't going to New England after all.

Preseason is well under way and the Revs have one real forward on their roster: Zack Schilawski, who is far from starting quality. This franchise is a joke.

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:31 PM

* New York signed a 20 year old Icelandic midfielder, Victor Palsson, from Hibernian. He seems to be a bit of a headcase.

* Chris Albright has resurfaced in Philly. He's just a depth player at this point in his career.

* New England actually signed a real forward: Saër Sène. He's been with Bayern Munich's reserve team for a few years and scored a decent number of goals. He's a 25 year old Frenchman, so he looks like one of those lower-level talents who big clubs use as organizational soldiers in their reserve teams. He may actually be a decent signing, although he hasn't proven himself on a level as good as MLS.

* Brian Ching is finally heading back to Houston. The Dynamo aren't giving up much for him, so it looks like Jesse March's Expansion Draft ploy didn't work out at all.

* Colorado has signed an Argentine midfielder, Martin Rivero, on loan from Rosario Central.

* Portland has signed a winger, Franck Songo'o. He bounced around England on loan to various places from Portsmouth and also played for Real Zaragoza. One cap for Cameroon. I think he's had injury problems. He's young and seems to have some upside.

* Vancouver signed Scottish midfielder Barry Robson from Middlesbrough. He's joining on a free in midsummer.

#19 Titans Bastard


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Posted 18 February 2012 - 01:49 PM

Eddie Johnson signed with MLS. He was claimed by Montreal, who were top of the allocation order, and dealt to Seattle for Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle.

It's a risky trade from Seattle's standpoint. Fucito and Neagle aren't world-beaters, but they are good depth; EJ is a serious reclamation project. Apparently he comes cheap, at least, but that's to be expected for a player as "in demand" as EJ.

#20 dirtynine

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:18 AM

My take on the current state of the Revs - who I really want to root for...

#21 Titans Bastard


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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:42 AM

My take on the current state of the Revs - who I really want to root for...


Outstanding article. You really hit the nail on the head.


I feel the same way -- I want to be a big Revs fan, but in reality, I feel like an MLS neutral. I'm interested enough in US soccer that the league still captures my attention as a neutral, but 99% of soccer fans in the US don't share my interests within the sport. Boston really should be a big MLS market, but the well has been thoroughly poisoned at this point.


Just look as Breakfast with Gazza -- all EPL, no Revs talk. Why should people talk about the Revs? If I can't answer that question, they sure as hell can't either.

If the Revs can't get people like you and me, it's a big problem. The threshold to turning me into a fan isn't high.


I'm concerned that this franchise can't be fixed until the truly disastrous ownership of Bob Kraft comes to an end. But who would be crazy enough to buy the team and take on this stadium-less reclamation project? It's hopeless.

#22 Mr. Wednesday

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:29 PM

My take on the current state of the Revs - who I really want to root for...


..they create a bond that has no precedent in U.S. sporting culture.


Not in professional sporting culture, but I think you'll find that there is ample precedent for the bond in U.S. amateur sporting culture. The relationship people have with their professional clubs elsewhere in the world are duplicated not by professional clubs in the U.S., but by our affiliation with university teams. Most notably, college football and basketball, but also college hockey in areas where it's popular.

#23 dirtynine

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:40 PM

No doubt, college sports is the closest analogue in the US - and pro clubs around the world indeed grew out of amateur and even university-bred origins. We just decided to sequester our amateurs until present day (and not much longer, I'd predict). Good point.

#24 Titans Bastard


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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

For the exceptionally esoteric MLS fans among us:

MLSsoccer.com to stream 19 preseason matches

A few more will be on ESPN3.



The fact that this stuff even exists blows my mind.

#25 dirtynine

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:34 AM

I have not seen it, but will try to dig up a link; apparently Benny F. had a sick bicycle-kick goal in the Revs' 3-2 preseason win over LA.

Also, an appeal was defeated in court that paves the way for San Jose to build their new stadium. Great for them.

#26 Titans Bastard


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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:59 AM

I have not seen it, but will try to dig up a link; apparently Benny F. had a sick bicycle-kick goal in the Revs' 3-2 preseason win over LA.

Also, an appeal was defeated in court that paves the way for San Jose to build their new stadium. Great for them.


Posted Image


DC, Chivas USA, and New England are the last remaining clubs without a stadium. Well, technically Seattle too, but when you get 36,000 in a downtown NFL stadium, it's not really a problem.

#27 SoxFanInPdx

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:51 PM

Good for San Jose, happy for them. They play in an absolute shithole of a stadium now.

#28 Titans Bastard


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:17 AM

Posted Image

Watching other cities build soccer stadia: a New England tradition.

#29 Titans Bastard


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:30 AM

The CONCACAF quarterfinals start next week

3/6 -- Morelia (MEX) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
3/7 -- Seattle vs. Santos Laguna (MEX)
3/7 -- Toronto vs. Los Angeles
3/8 -- Isidro Metapán (ESA) vs. Pumas (MEX)

Seconds legs are the following week.


Even in the old Champions Cup knockout format, the quarterfinals were in March, which is always tough for MLS clubs. Home-and-aways against Mexican squads are never easy and it doesn't help when you are in preseason and your opponent is in midseason form. Seattle has a difficult task on their hands.

Toronto has moved their match against LA to the Rogers Centre for weather considerations and for crowd considerations -- they've sold the place out except for a few suites.

#30 Titans Bastard


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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:10 PM

First competitive games involving MLS teams of 2012 tonight (in the CCL). Boo yeah!

#31 ThePrideofShiner

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:20 AM

I thought Seattle looked great for so early. The Sounders possessed the ball well and had some good opportunities. The first goal was awesome, though the second was pretty lucky.

Eddie Johnson looked OK, though he seemed to go 1-on-1 too much for my liking.

Curious to see what the real soccer folks thought of this one.

#32 Titans Bastard


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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:02 AM

I thought Seattle looked great for so early. The Sounders possessed the ball well and had some good opportunities. The first goal was awesome, though the second was pretty lucky.

Eddie Johnson looked OK, though he seemed to go 1-on-1 too much for my liking.


Agreed. I did not expect Seattle to dictate possession against an in-form, in-season club like Santos Laguna, but they did for most of the game. They are a strong team, although Montero's partner up top will be an ongoing concern. Estrada made a nice run on his goal, but in the larger picture, he doesn't have the quality to start. Too many cheap giveaways.

I love watching Mauro Rosales play. He's a beast. If Steve Zakuani can return to what he was, which is definitely not a given, Seattle's wings will be terrifying.



Toronto - LA was a surprisingly entertaining game. Toronto looked great early on and scored two quick goals in the first 20 minutes and then LA spent much of the rest of the match clawing their way back and deservedly got the draw after a late Donovan equalizer. I was surprised with the amount of Route One football coming from LA, which seems wasteful considering the quality of their midfield. They are going to miss Omar Gonzalez because replacing him with a quintessential MLS journeyman like Boyens is an enormous step down. They need Leonardo to come back strong from injury in April or this Tommy Meyer kid to step up in a big way, or they are going to have a leaky ship.

Toronto isn't a great team, but they've cleared improved from the first half of last season. You could see signs towards the end of 2011 and they've gotten rid of some of the deadwood over the offseason. When was the last time an MLS team played a 3-4-3 like that? Frings was playing a classic libero role with the wingbacks pushing up. Luis Silva looks like he could be a great draft pick; Lord knows we could use more attacking midfield prospects.


Going into the second leg

LA vs. Toronto -- 2-2 on aggregate -- you have to favor LA at home

Santos Laguna vs. Seattle -- 1-2 on aggregate -- taking a lead to Mexico is good (necessary, really), but a 2-1 lead is tenuous. Santos has a small deficit to make up and an away goal in their pocket. Seattle beat a full-strength Monterrey team on the road during the group stages with essentially a Sounders reserve team, so it's certainly possible for them to hold on. It will probably be a nightmarish, white-knuckle situation in which the MLS team concedes a devastating 90+6' winning goal, as always.

#33 SoxFanInPdx

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:53 PM

I hope that was Santos's B-team. They looked unimpressive. Hopefully the Sounders lose in heartbreaking fashion in the next leg.

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:18 PM

I hope that was Santos's B-team. They looked unimpressive. Hopefully the Sounders lose in heartbreaking fashion in the next leg.


Santos was missing a few first-team players due to injury (Darwin Quintero, Felipe Baloy), but it was otherwise their first XI.

#35 Titans Bastard


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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:23 PM

It's gameday.

Vancouver vs. Montreal
Colorado vs. Columbus
DC vs. KC
SJ vs. NE
LA vs. Salt Lake

It looks like there's a free preview this weekend for the Direct Kick package on DirectTV and on cable systems with InDemand, so pretty much everything should be easily available.

#36 Billy R Ford


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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:16 PM

So, after a fairly impressive preseason, the Revs put to rest any doubts that this would be another terrible campaign with their 1-0 loss last night. The only reason they didn't lose by more is San Jose proved themselves pretty bad in their own right; had either of these teams played LA or RSL, it would have been 4 or 5-0. I wanted to scream to the announcers that each team's centerbacks blasting the ball 40 yards up-field is not 'open soccer.'

Shalrie Joseph's performance was pretty worrying. This is a guy who was carrying the team on his back as recently as the end of 2010, and over the offseason was made a DP. He looked painfully slow last night, his passing was dreadful (and his misplaced pass led to the goal), and generally one of the worst players on the field. Considering he's one of the guys who is being counted on to be a star performer this year, it's foreboding.

I watched Dallas vs New York this afternoon, which was a very entertaining game and a much better showcase for the league. Henry got so frustrated that he started dropping deep into midfield, and New York's coach just subbed off a midfielder for another striker and let Henry play there.

#37 Titans Bastard


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:37 PM

Two big games tonight on the international front.

Seattle is carrying a tenuous 2-1 lead to Torreón. Santos Laguna has been in good form this spring and it won't be easy. I have been traumatized too many times by late goals in Mexico, so I can't help but approach this with an uneasy feeling of inevitability.

LA vs. Toronto. It's 2-2 and LA is at home, so they have to be the favorite. And yet, they've looked a little flat in their first two matches and they haven't figured out their defense yet with Omar Gonzalez out. TFC isn't a great team, but they have been quietly improving.

#38 ThePrideofShiner

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:15 PM

Backbreaking sequence there for Seattle.

Sounders miss a wide-open header on goal and Santos Laguna comes down and scores from deep. I can't see this ending well.

And as I'm typing, Santos scores again.

#39 Titans Bastard


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:58 PM

Backbreaking sequence there for Seattle.

Sounders miss a wide-open header on goal and Santos Laguna comes down and scores from deep. I can't see this ending well.

And as I'm typing, Santos scores again.


It's the typical loss of composure for a few minutes that kills MLS teams every time internationally.

Getting the goal back before halftime was huge. It's a more even game now, and tied 3-3 on aggregate. If the Sounders can nick a second, they'll have the advantage on away goals. It's a long road ahead, though.

#40 Titans Bastard


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:15 PM

3-1 Santos now. Herculez Gomez....fifth straight game where Herc has scored now.

Seattle is really vulnerable to the counter right now and the 3rd felt like it was just a matter of time. 4-3 on aggregate, if Seattle can get another they'd have the edge on away goals but that looks unlikely now.

#41 Titans Bastard


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:42 PM

GOOD NIGHT.


Seattle coming up huge in a big game, once again.

#42 Billy R Ford


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:28 PM

Rough night for the American teams all around, LA loses too.

I still think LA will be one of the dominant teams in MLS this season. Some are seriously questioning their defense at this point without Gonzalez though... I recall at the end of last season when a few made the case that LA's MVP was not Donovan, nor Beckham, but Omar Gonzalez... I considered it, but not seriously.

Because hey, you can't just look at the start of the season and panic. Look at the Red Sox last year and (sorry, still too soon).

I suppose I'll root for Toronto in the next round, for MLS, but this tie showed me that being an American soccer fan is not the same as being an MLS fan.

#43 SoxFanInPdx

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:16 AM

Hahahaha. Nice one Shittle Flounders. That was brutal.

#44 Mr. Wednesday

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:08 AM

They looked decent when they were still within a goal in the second half. Who knows what would have happened if they'd banged in another one to level the tie (and take the lead on away goals), instead of giving up one on the counter and then having to press even more?

#45 steeplechase3k

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:55 PM

With marketing like this nowonder the Revolution can't draw a decent crowd...

http://www.revolutio...ods-new-england

They can't even get our chant right, it's "There's nop pity in the Rose City"

#46 ThePrideofShiner

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:33 AM

So, the first weekend is complete.

Portland got a good draw at Dallas, after only winning two games on the road last season.

David Estrada recorded a hat trick for Seattle in his first MLS game (he also scored against Santos Laguna at home last week) and Seattle rebounded nicely from the shellacking Wednesday by Laguna.

Vancouver won its first road game in club history and Montreal drew more than 58,000.

Not too shabby.

#47 Infield Infidel


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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:39 AM

I suppose I'll root for Toronto in the next round, for MLS, but this tie showed me that being an American soccer fan is not the same as being an MLS fan.

It's always going to be tough for the MLS teams since the Mexican teams are in mid-season form and the MLS sides are just starting up. Maybe lengthen pre-season camp? Start the season right after the Super Bowl?

#48 Titans Bastard


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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:10 AM

Saw the LA - New England match last night. For the first time in a very, very long time, the Revs did not look like dogshit. I haven't seen the team play with so much attacking dynamism in a while. Good motion off the ball, clever flick-ons, backheels, beating defenders off the dribble. Who is this team?

Maybe Jay Heaps will work out after all. LA clearly had an off-night and they were missing some key players, but the Revs were missing some starters too. Kelyn Rowe is going to be a good player. He and Lee Nguyen are huge improvements on the dreck that we saw out wide last year.

Entertaining soccer....who knew that was possible from this team?!


While we're at it, Darlington Nagbe last night:







Kid is good.

#49 SoxFanInPdx

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 02:34 PM

Nagbe is going to be something special. It's a joy to attend these games and see him in person. Magnificent talent and hopefully he keeps developing. Too bad the backline fell asleep and gave up two goals in the last 5 minutes to win. RSL is joy to watch as well.

#50 Terras


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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:41 PM

Saw the LA - New England match last night. For the first time in a very, very long time, the Revs did not look like dogshit. I haven't seen the team play with so much attacking dynamism in a while. Good motion off the ball, clever flick-ons, backheels, beating defenders off the dribble. Who is this team?

Absofuckinglutely. They'd been showing a lot of positive signs since in their first few games but really looked like they put everything together last week against Portland. They struck early and often and managed to hold off an impressive Timbers attack that had some quality chances in the 2nd half. Going into the season I figured they had no chance at LA but after their showings in the first few fixtures... one can hope... maybe?

And they fucking blew the doors off. Nguyen, Rowe, Alston (in the first half), even Chris Tierney all looked great. The team flowed and moved and played with a patience and calm on the ball that has been conspicuously absent the last few years. They got ahead early and maintained their composure when LA pushed back. In the past, the Revs would have botched at least one of the two set pieces that Beckham took near the end of the first half. Not only did they play it perfectly but Reis made a great jumping stop on the first free kick.

Nguyen has really been a godsend. Every time he gets the ball on his feet he energizes the team. He's got an engine, creativity, and moves. The Portland game he put on a dribbling display, faked out two defenders, and brought the crowd to its feet. Even in their first two losses, he was easily the best player on the pitch. I have no idea why Vancouver cut him. but seeing as I'd never heard of him before he came to the Revs, maybe his improved play is a recent development?




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