MLS 2021: On a scale of 1-10, my baby's 26

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
The other part of The Heitz Basel model is consistently selling young players for huge profits.

41101

As you’ve well document, Titans, MLS is moving in the direction of a selling league with policies changes and more attention for European scouts. But having both trophies and large transfer profits is why Mansueto hired Heitz and not an experienced MLS hand. Maybe after this season, Heitz will recalibrate the roster construction, but I doubt it.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
The other part of The Heitz Basel model is consistently selling young players for huge profits.


As you’ve well document, Titans, MLS is moving in the direction of a selling league with policies changes and more attention for European scouts. But having both trophies and large transfer profits is why Mansueto hired Heitz and not an experienced MLS hand. Maybe after this season, Heitz will recalibrate the roster construction, but I doubt it.
Yeah, that's definitely a huge part of the rationale for hiring Heitz and other GM/sporting director types around the league. The problem is execution. He has a proven track record for Basel but so far his performance level for the Fire has been indistinguishable from that of random MLS schlub like — dare I say — Nelson Rodriguez. The signings haven't been particularly good for MLS and most of them are too old to be viewed as flippable assets that could potentially turn a profit.

I think the optimistic view is that he was hired late in the 2019-20 offseason, had to scramble to assemble a roster, and now the Fire are stuck with some bad contracts through 2021. By next winter, he should have a better feel for the level of MLS, the domestic player pool, and will have had more time to get his ducks in a row for scouting and foreign player recruitment. Since it should be possible to clear out some of the deadwood then, we'll get a better sense of what he's learned over 2020 and 2021. Duran seems like an intriguing young signing for 2022, and by 2022 perhaps some of the 03s and 04s from the academy will have emerged as having potential for the bigger Euro leagues.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
I still have faith in the Heitz project, so in 2022 let’s see some new talent & a new crest.

But you’re down playing how the badly Wicky is leading this club. The Fire last won on Oct 11 against DC. Since then, they’ve taken 5 of 33 points. The matches have been full of defensive lapses, midfield five always, and ponderous crosses. And good managers are taking it right to the Fire - see Philly preventing Chicago from getting possession for the first 12 minutes a couple weeks ago. This roster should be competing for a playoff spot, not giving the ball away cheaply and then bitching at the ref.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
It could be so. Wicky didn't last too long at Basel, and his US U17 team increasingly looks like it was less than the sum of its parts in retrospect.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
Another new stadium opens. Cincinnati are losing in their debut (naturally), but it looks awfully nice!

 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
The Fire go outside MLS for another big hire, bring in Ishwara Glassman Chrein as president. She was most recently the head of sports & businesses development at Yahoo, so she is well experienced in the media side of the job and will come with a broad Rolodex. It’s clear that Mansueto is thinking big here, beyond Chicago and MLS.

Also, the press release points out that Chrein and Heitz both report to Manaueto, so there’s a pretty clear distinction between the business and sporting sides of the house now.
 

steeplechase3k

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
2,591
Portland, OR
The Timbers beat LA (who doesn't like to type that) Galaxy 3-0 today. Second win in a row without Diego Chara, a few years ago I never would have thought that was possible. The Timbers have played well against LAG lately.

View: https://twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan/status/1396220126051983360

Tweet from @TheMikeDonovan: In #RCTID's last 7 competitive matches against the Galaxy, the Timbers have scored 26 goals.

The match also involved this horrendous tackle:
View: https://twitter.com/stuholden/status/1396212691899846657
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
Recorded the Fire-Miami match, but just had to jump in here and say GGGGOOOOAAAALLLL. After 383 scoreless minutes, who cares if it’s because the keeper mishandled a free kick. LFG.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,100
02148
The Seattle Sounders traded $50k allocation money to @67YAZ’s Chicago Fire to select Generation Adidas goalkeeper Andrew Thomas.

View: https://twitter.com/soundersfc/status/1395817247759683587


Again, I’m not sold on Chicago’s roster building methods and Thomas seemed like a good potential long-term solution to move on from Bobby Shuttleworth.

The Fire also potentially lost former academy player Spencer Glass, but there has been no news on who selected him. The Revolution selected the other eligible player Jacob Montes, who has signed overseas. Not sure why he lasted that in the draft order, as he wouldn’t occupy a roster spot.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
The Seattle Sounders traded $50k allocation money to @67YAZ’s Chicago Fire to select Generation Adidas goalkeeper Andrew Thomas.

View: https://twitter.com/soundersfc/status/1395817247759683587


Again, I’m not sold on Chicago’s roster building methods and Thomas seemed like a good potential long-term solution to move on from Bobby Shuttleworth.

The Fire also potentially lost former academy player Spencer Glass, but there has been no news on who selected him. The Revolution selected the other eligible player Jacob Montes, who has signed overseas. Not sure why he lasted that in the draft order, as he wouldn’t occupy a roster spot.
I'm ok with passing on Thomas because the Fire have 2 homegrown, 17-year old keepers on excellent trajectories. Chris Brady started the final 8 games for Forward Madison last season and been in a few USMNT youth camps. Gabe Slonina has been kept around the first team, but been consistently involved in USMNT camps. At some point, the Fire will have to pick one and start bleeding him in, but it's nice to options.

I watched Glass in the NCAA championship match and he seemed fine (though the Indiana midfield was a give-away machine, which made the defenders' day really tough). But the Fire should be seeking out cheap, young talent. The $50k is nice, but there don't have any open DP slots - there's no one summer signing that going to come in and save this season.

Edit: Apparently I had Glass mixed up with another Indiana defender always scrambling to recover a sloppy turnover by the midfield. Glass' season ended early with a leg injury.
 
Last edited:

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
I'm ok with passing on Thomas because the Fire have 2 homegrown, 17-year old keepers on excellent trajectories. Chris Brady started the final 8 games for Forward Madison last season and been in a few USMNT youth camps. Gabe Slonina has been kept around the first team, but been consistently involved in USMNT camps. At some point, the Fire will have to pick one and start bleeding him in, but it's nice to options.
I'm not exactly a GK scout, but I am intrigued by Chris Brady, even though he's probably a few years away from MLS.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
Jozy sure gets in more than his share of petty drama.

Toronto FC has told striker Jozy Altidore to train on his own and apart from the first team following a disagreement with manager Chris Armas, sources have told ESPN.

The sources added that Altidore was upset at being replaced by Ayo Akinola in the 70th minute of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Orlando City, and confronted Armas over his decision to take him off with the Reds in need of a goal. The sources added that Altidore hasn't been fined.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/toronto-fc/story/4396536/toronto-fc-has-frozen-jozy-altidore-out-of-first-team-training-sources


In more drama, we have Georg Heitz vs. Djordje Mihailovic

https://www.hottimeinoldtown.com/2021/5/27/22457441/fairy-tales-chicago-fires-georg-heitz-slams-djordje-mihailovics-trade-comments
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
Ugh. First, why is Djordje talking to John Kass? Kass is the arch-conservative political columnist for the Trib. I don’t get why he’d be on this story unless there’s a personal connection possibly?

Second, why is Heitz talking at all? Djordje’s dad runs one of the biggest - maybe the biggest? - youth club organization in the region. Calling his son a liar in digital print is petty and sure to infuriate an important external partner.

so so dumb. Let the kid have his say, issue a bland denial that things didn’t actually go down that way, and wish Djordje well on his career. How hard is this?
 
Last edited:

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
Miami's punishment for the Blaise Matuidi contract situation has been announced. The loss of allocation money is the roughest — it's a reduction in your team's salary cap.

It turns out that Andres Reyes should have counted as a DP as well...so that's five DPs for Miami in 2020.

View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1398406675774808068


There were violations for three other players whose contract value was underreported thanks to some sort of under-the-table or side deals.

View: https://twitter.com/si_soccer/status/1398406670112411649



Paul McDonough, who had since moved to Atlanta, has been fired as a result of the investigation.

https://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-united/atlanta-united-parts-ways-with-mcdonough-after-miami-investigation/CQFFG6ABSFDOFMNWVMYEDQFT64/
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
I initially thought Miami was losing $2.2m in allocation money spread out over two seasons, but it's for EACH season. They are really going to struggle to have any sort of depth/quality in the middle of their roster.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
Flipped on the end of LAFC-NYC, and NYC is wearing the exact same uniform as Chicago did this morning. Is this a Memorial Day thing or is the Nike template that restrictive?
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
Mas told The Athletic that midfielder Blaise Matuidi will make between $13 and $14 million over the course of his two-and-a-half year contract with Miami.
Wow, that is atrocious. Matuidi has been totally anonymous in MLS. From a roster construction standpoint, it doesn't really matter if they are paying his >$5m/yr salary or if he was on a $2m/yr salary — he'd be the same DP budget charge against the cap either way. But it sure emphasizes the shambolic way this club has been run.

On Allocation Disorder, the guys were saying that the allocation money that Inter Miami were docked as part of its cheating penalty amounts to 25% of the allocation money clubs get. That's going to leave a mark.

This club is going to be such a dumpster fire for a while.

https://theathletic.com/2641577/2021/06/09/inter-miami-mls-blaise-matuidi-violations/
 

Jimy Hendrix

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 15, 2002
4,062
It seemed year one that they were going closer to the new-look MLS “younger South American talent” model, but they took a HARD turn backward to washed Euro stars.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
Wow, that is atrocious. Matuidi has been totally anonymous in MLS. From a roster construction standpoint, it doesn't really matter if they are paying his >$5m/yr salary or if he was on a $2m/yr salary — he'd be the same DP budget charge against the cap either way. But it sure emphasizes the shambolic way this club has been run.

On Allocation Disorder, the guys were saying that the allocation money that Inter Miami were docked as part of its cheating penalty amounts to 25% of the allocation money clubs get. That's going to leave a mark.

This club is going to be such a dumpster fire for a while.

https://theathletic.com/2641577/2021/06/09/inter-miami-mls-blaise-matuidi-violations/
Oh, but surely there's enough left in the budget to land...Leo Fuckin' Messi.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,100
02148
Wow, that is atrocious. Matuidi has been totally anonymous in MLS. From a roster construction standpoint, it doesn't really matter if they are paying his >$5m/yr salary or if he was on a $2m/yr salary — he'd be the same DP budget charge against the cap either way. But it sure emphasizes the shambolic way this club has been run.

On Allocation Disorder, the guys were saying that the allocation money that Inter Miami were docked as part of its cheating penalty amounts to 25% of the allocation money clubs get. That's going to leave a mark.

This club is going to be such a dumpster fire for a while.

https://theathletic.com/2641577/2021/06/09/inter-miami-mls-blaise-matuidi-violations/
Amazing, I had assumed Miami attempted some weird contract structure or payments to third parties to skirt the salary budget, but instead they just went to the league office and said "we are paying a player who started a World Cup final just two years ago $1.33 million in 2020 and $1.5 million in 2021" and expected everyone to believe them.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,100
02148
Oh, but surely there's enough left in the budget to land...Leo Fuckin' Messi.
According to the article, Messi would join in 2023, which is the final year of their allocation money sanctions. I’m not sure an aged Messi floundering on the pitch with two other senior DPs plus eight no-name SuperDraft selections is going to bring positive attention to the league.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,100
02148
Paging @67YAZ and @dirtynine, the Chicago Fire unveiled their second attempt at a rebrand. It’s much better than the flame/crown logo and I mostly like it, but I think it still falls short of its full potential. I liked the Florian cross and I’m glad it’s been retained, but I never cared for the red C and I’ve always thought it looked it a bit clunky. The redesigned C looks better, but it’s still little awkward for me.

Most importantly, I hope they go back to bring a primarily red team instead of another anonymous navy team in MLS. It took me a few minutes of the opening match to get it through my head that it was the Fire, not the Revs, wearing blue. Navy just looks wrong.

View: https://twitter.com/chicagofire/status/1406032027569242112
 

dirtynine

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Dec 17, 2002
6,190
Philly
Yep, this was the one I saw during the focus group. Matthew Wolff (LAFC, NYCFC) did a good job. I don’t think the Florian cross reads quite as obviously as it should, but overall I’m a fan. Some good-looking merch can be built around that.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,100
02148
It’s already grown on me since my first impression. My favorite aspect: they resisted the urge to use text in the outer circle. It’s really clean, despite the unusual looking block C.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
I didn’t expect this until much later in the season. Exciting!

I love that it adopts the city flag colors. It’s such an easy call - they’re beautiful and Chicago-iconic. Plus, the only local team that uses the color scheme is the Red Stars, whose primary colors are the blue and white. The Fire can return to their traditional red primary and still be distinct from the Red Stars and the Bulls.

I find it a little flat and too simple. The C also looks too close to the red Cleveland C in shape, but that’s just a quibble. This is a huge improvement over the last logo.

Thanks @dirtynine for playing a direct role in the process as well as putting out your own version, which I know was put forward by several folks as an exemplar.
 

dirtynine

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Dec 17, 2002
6,190
Philly
How many MLS fields use FieldTurf? Not trying to be a purist, but I don’t watch a ton of MLS and it stood out to me.
 

tmracht

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 19, 2009
2,432
Off the top of my head. NE, ATL, Sea, Portland, Vancouver. And I think Charlotte will next season.
 

ninjacornelius

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2005
551
Austin, TX
After their first nine matches (eight on the road), Austin FC are sitting at nine points. For an expansion team, that's not that bad! But they absolutely cannot score right now. By my count, they've scored one goal in the past 530 minutes, which is embarrassing for any professional squad. I'm assuming that they'll be active in the next transfer window to fill their last DP spot with an attacking player, but I'm not optimistic that Precourt will want to break that bank to improve the squad this season because excitement for this team is sky high in the city right now and he's probably guaranteed a sellout no matter how the team performs.

I'm kind of sad that Austin's first home match wasn't televised nationally, because it was a great display of MLS enthusiasm. The waitlist for season tickets is already at 23,000, which is more than the capacity of the stadium. If the ownership group cares about their product even a little bit, then this team can be a force.
 

ninjacornelius

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2005
551
Austin, TX
And for all you Revs fans, Diego Fagundez has totally enamored himself to the Austin FC community. He hangs out with our supporter's group, makes himself known in his neighborhood, brings his wife and family to events, etc. He's a great dude and we're happy to have him.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
And for all you Revs fans, Diego Fagundez has totally enamored himself to the Austin FC community. He hangs out with our supporter's group, makes himself known in his neighborhood, brings his wife and family to events, etc. He's a great dude and we're happy to have him.
Fagundez needed a change of scenery and I'm really glad it's working out for him.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
4,217
The Fire out-possessed and out-shot the Crew on Saturday, still lose 2-0. And of those 15 shots, 0 were on target. Without any open DP slots, a transformative player is unlikely to land in Chicago. But a couple guys have added green cards since the start of the season, so Heitz could bargain shop abroad for help. Not that the recent track record there is so hot...

The Fire can return to their traditional red primary and still be distinct from the Red Stars and the Bulls.
News is that the home reds will return in 2024.

Hot Time in the Old Town's Patrick McCraney relays that:

The Fire were lobbying hard for red jerseys as soon as next season. Adidas won’t do it.
Adidas deal runs through 2024, FYI.
 

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,296
Austin, TX
After their first nine matches (eight on the road), Austin FC are sitting at nine points. For an expansion team, that's not that bad! But they absolutely cannot score right now. By my count, they've scored one goal in the past 530 minutes, which is embarrassing for any professional squad. I'm assuming that they'll be active in the next transfer window to fill their last DP spot with an attacking player, but I'm not optimistic that Precourt will want to break that bank to improve the squad this season because excitement for this team is sky high in the city right now and he's probably guaranteed a sellout no matter how the team performs.
I've been thinking about this, and I'm wondering if there's an ideal trajectory for an expansion team in terms of on-field success nurturing/sustaining long term general interest. Obviously being terrible right out of the gate is no good, but I wonder about a club like Atlanta, who was so good so fast -- there's nowhere to go but down. Might it be better to be competitive/scrappy/fun out of the gate (not saying that's exactly what Austin FC is -- hard to say that one goal in 530 minutes qualifies as fun) and then build toward becoming good/great?

I'm ushering at the stadium -- Saturday really was electric, and it's too bad that they couldn't score. The Crew scoring the first goal and notching the first win at Q2 is going to be tough to swallow.
 

ThePrideofShiner

spooky action from a distance
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
8,387
Idaho
I feel like the Timbers franchise is one to hope for. Won a title. Have had some really good teams that have gone deep, while also having some terrible teams. Tremendous fan support and a cool stadium.

Seattle going to the playoffs every year and winning two titles has been epic to follow along. Not sure how likely it is that any of the expansion teams will follow in their footsteps, however.
 

ninjacornelius

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2005
551
Austin, TX
I've been thinking about this, and I'm wondering if there's an ideal trajectory for an expansion team in terms of on-field success nurturing/sustaining long term general interest.
I think about this a lot too, and I think that for Austin FC specifically the on-field product can be mediocre for a season or two. The supporter's groups are doing a tremendous job of organically generating interest and a proper soccer culture in town. The first supporter's group (MLS2ATX, now Austin Anthem) was formed eight years ago. My group (Los Verdes) is barely a year old and we've got almost 1,500 dues-paying members. The band in the supporter's section (La Murga de Austin) will have about 50 musicians at every home game. The only sporting competition in town is UT football, and its popularity in Austin is probably at its nadir right now (lousy performance and so many transplants with no ties to the university is a bad combination). The local press has been laudatory. The stadium is beautiful.

The honeymoon will eventually end, but I don't think anyone realistically expects us to be Atlanta. Personally, if they sneak into the last playoff spot in the west within the next two seasons I will call it an unmitigated success.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
12,702
The Crew scoring the first goal and notching the first win at Q2 is going to be tough to swallow.
Oh man. I hadn't realized that this was a possibility.

From a neutral's standpoint...you have to admit it would be highly entertaining!
 

ninjacornelius

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2005
551
Austin, TX
The Crew scoring the first goal and notching the first win at Q2 is going to be tough to swallow.
Ahem, Christen Press scored the first goal at Q2 and the USWNT notched the first win. :)

But I really don't want to play Columbus right now in our current form. After the midweek match at Minnesota we have Columbus -> Portland -> LAFC -> Seattle which is just a brutal run of games. If we get two points from that I'll be ecstatic.