Sideline Views Archives for January 2008

New blog

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Alright, so you guys weren't expecting a new post on here. I wasn't expecting to write one. But I can't stay away from blogging. It's become ingrained in me. I've had reactions to certain things over the course of the last week or so and I've felt like blogging about it but haven't had an outlet.

Now I do.

A Fond Farewell

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I'm sure a few readers out there have probably guessed what's coming.

It's time. Time to shut down Sideline Views. This blog started because I was trying to prove the viability of soccer content that wasn't just news or commentary, but little extra bits of info here and there. I wanted to link it to a soccer site that I was working for at the time.

Sven update

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I'm writing my PE column on Mexico and Sven Goran Eriksson, the now under-fire Mexico head coach.

Just had some thoughts I'm writing on here that may or may not make it into the piece.

First, last week I wrote about how Mexico might not qualify but odds are against it happening.

Becks back to Prem?

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It's unlikely, of course, even for a loan. He did practice with Arsenal last year to get in shape. Obviously, Becks wants to stay in as high a form as possible to continue playing for England.

I don't think Beck's contract allows for a loan to another team. It would be the Galaxy's luck to have him badly injured again.

For the love of the game

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Raul Macias is spreading the gospel of soccer.

The Dope Show

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Steroids is a problem that has plagued other professional American sports, most notably baseball.

But it was just a matter of time, really, until steroids made their way into MLS. On Thursday, they did as New York players Jon Conway and Jeff Parke were slapped with fines and suspensions after positive tests.

None too happy

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That would be Justino Compean, President of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).

On the Mexican Federation's web site, Compean spells out in detail how he feels about Mexico's current situation, not through to the Hexagonal with one game to go.

If you can read and understand Spanish, check it out for yourself on the site.

TnT vets over USA newbies

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New and exciting doesn't always produce the desired results.

Reaction from Port-of-Spain


Grahame takes a look at Torres and congratulates Bradley

Trouble for El Tri?

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Mexico did not win in Edmonton on Wednesday. Canada played a valiant match and twice went up on Mexico but could not hold on as Mexico and Canada tied 2-2.

Coupled with the result in Kingston - Jamaica 1, Honduras 0 - Mexico does not have a spot in the Hexagonal wrapped up.

So, does that mean Mexico is on the brink of elimination?

U.S./TnT WCQ running blog

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Clinching means new faces and starters for the U.S., including Torres.

Kljestan-------Adu------Beasley (c)

Harkes and Dellacamera wax nostalgic over the "Shot heard 'round the world" by Paul Caliguri.

And the finalists are...

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Two of the following cities will win MLS expansion teams within the next few years. These were the seven bids submitted from groups with interest to take MLS to the following cities: Atlanta, Miami, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, St. Louis and Vancouver.

I know not the financial backing of these particular bids.

Time to step up

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The United States is through to the hexagonal so tonight's game in Port-of-Spain is meaningless, right? After all, it's not even posturing as first or second place gets you the same thing: a spot in the hex. Standings don't improve based upon your finish in the semifinal phase, so long as you finish.

The Invasion - Or Not

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They're coming! New clubs, investment, etc, coming to spice up little ole MLS.

Barsa bids!

Blank bids!

Jack's not terribly impressed with the history of foreign investment so far

Gullit prophesies doom.

Grahame has a blog! Well, ok, the LA Times has a blog and Grahame is on it, taking Gullit on.

Canada contemplates Mexico

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(Summary is not available.)

Write for ESPN

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There is a bit of a catch - you have to be LA-based, and you should have some soccer and journalism experience.

As Jen Chang, the U.S. page editor has detailed, I've left my contributor post at I'll have more news on where I've landed later on, but for right now, the big news is that people who thought, "I could write something better than that," whenever they read my articles now gets a chance to try.

Lobster Bib Rankings (Oct. 13)

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Two weeks left in the regular season and most clubs are sinking. There are four clubs worth a damn right now (those ranked, conveniently enough 1-4), a fifth that can go either way and nine clubs who can't get their acts together, nine clubs that vary from pathetic to uber-pathetic. And nine clubs who still have a chance of reaching MLS Cup 08.

My take on Torres

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Here's my Tuesday PE column on Jose Francisco Torres.

It's along the same lines as the things I wrote when he first accepted the call-up to the US national team. But there was one prominent voice in this column that I hadn't mentioned here before.

I actually got to write a last-minute story on, not just Torres but the whole Mexican-American issue for Futbol Mundial.

TnT takes on U.S. young 'uns

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Play the pundit. What do you think about Bradley's moves lately? Has he been too conservative? Is it too late for TnT? Will the fringe players and newbies perform well?

Torres talks

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An outing of around 20 minutes – what are your thoughts?

I'm very happy. I'm grateful to the coach for putting me in. I thank God that things worked out for me to come play for the U.S. I'm very happy. We won, we came out with a victory in front of our fans. (the camera pans to a fan sign: Torres > Castillo)

What did you think this experience was going to be like?

East too?

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That Galaxy breakdown I did earlier was, I should have written, was for the Galaxy to finish third in the Western Conference. But I realized while I was writing it and as others have since pointed out that there is actually a chance the Galaxy can finish ahead of all but three Eastern Conference teams and claim one of the two wild-card playoff spots.

Chivas' road to the playoffs

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So apparently we've not countered a Galaxy post with a Chivas USA post. The Galaxy post below about how they could get to the playoffs sparked this, so to counter that particular topic I'll offer here how Chivas USA can get to the postseason.

They're in. Congrats. Now try and win a postseason series.

Reading + Soccer = READ Futbol Mundial

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It's not often that I get to combine my enthusiasm and experience in both soccer and education, but as guest editor for READ Futbol Mundial, that's exactly what I got to do.

I've contributed articles to Futbol Mundial before, but the READ version is a different magazine aimed at engaging middle school students to read more by using soccer as a lure.

Galaxy's road to the playoffs

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Mathematically, the Galaxy are still alive for a playoff spot. How is this possible, you say, considering their absolutely dreadful season?

It is MLS after all, and everyone is alive with two games to go, Galaxy included.

So how does the league's best offensive/worst defensive team get into the postseason.

BA post win

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Bruce speaks briefly, sorta.

No, that's not all there was to Bruce's statement on the game. But my battery was flaking out, so that's all the video of Bruce I have.

Gary on the game

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Gary Smith, the coach of the Rapids since Clavijo resigned in August.

Bruce and Bob

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Bruce Arena was asked at the Galaxy presser what he thought of the U.S. game versus Cuba.

"It was good," he answered, but he looked so utterly unimpressed that the entire group of journalists cracked up with laughter. "That kind of performance to is be expected. Cuba is not a strong team.

Kingston rocked

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Rafa Marquez: What we were missing was a little bit of luck. We had a lot of chances and plenty of attacks, but we didn't have the luck to help us score a goal. Considering the youth on the team, I think we played well and showed a lot of of character.

Sven: We've got to play more quickly when we're facing opponents with the physical strength of Jamaica.

Cuba - US reactions

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Ay Papi, look at what you started by playing so well in MLS!

Michelle catches up with one of the defectors.

Bease is back

The kids contribute

Advising Torres

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Host: Let's look at what his Pachuca teammates told Paco Torres before and after his decision to play for the U.S.

Torres: Well, I mostly talked with Gabriel Caballero and Miguel Calero. I think they're supporting me in every way. Correa also told me a lot of things – that I made the correct decision.

Mexico/Jamaica, second half.

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The U.S. game just ended, so I'm tuning in late. Mexico is trailing by one goal.
46 - Mexico with a quick shot, but it's saved by Ricketts. Jamaica comes right back and is close with an outside shot. I can't tell who took it, though.
48 - Luis Perez sends a FK in, but Jamaica's defenders head the ball away.

U.S. /Cuba

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Yes, I'm late again. I was actually watching, but I couldn't log on until now.
30 - Beasley! He's perfectly positioned, cutting behind the defensive line and LD spots him and drops in a nice pass. Bease controls the ball off his chest and shoots as the goalkeeper comes out. 2-0, US.
32 - Cuba comes right back.

Man's inhumanity to man

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This post has nothing to do with soccer. It's here because I couldn't sleep.
When I got my first LA apartment, I lived on Berendo St., right near where it intersected with 3rd. With the rent I was paying, I didn't expect the neighborhood to be posh, but it still gave me pause to see a heavy-set bearded man lounging on the sidewalk near the local donut shop.

Sven's task

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My write up on Sven Goran Eriksson for

So far, Sven's done a great job, an excellent job actually. And not all of those high marks have to do with coaching.

I still find it odd how Eriksson was hired on to the job having A) never stepped foot in Mexico and B) not speaking Spanish.

Mexicans in MLS

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Just got the new issue of MLS Magazine in the mail. This issue is all about the storied history of Mexicans in MLS.

Wait, did I say storied? Well, let me see... there has been a long history of Mexicans in MLS as a few high-profile players were in the league at the start. This league has seen a wide array of high-profile Mexicans throughout its history.

Party in the new house

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RSL celebrates the new stadium. This got me thinking about the merits of various MLS stadiums.

I haven't been to Rio Tinto yet, but I've made it out to all the other U.S. soccer-specific MLS stadiums.

I like the brick around the stadium in Bridgeview. I like the brats in Ohio.

Arena with the pipewrench

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The Z-man takes a look at the last place Galaxy guys.

Vanney remembers, I think, what it was like to consider the Galaxy a special team, back before they had Becks. The thing is, I'm not sure Arena gets that, either.

Arena does touch on what I've always considered to be tough for incoming coaches - they never have their own guys around.

Sorting out the Western Conference

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We know a few things about the Western Conference. Suddenly, the conference appears tougher than the East. There could be five playoff teams that come from the Western Conference, which seemed completely out of the question just a month or so ago.

But Chivas USA woke up, Real Salt Lake maintained their slow-and-steady pace while FC Dallas and Colorado also decided to try and make something out of their 2008 seasons.

Galaxy versus Dodgers

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As some of you know, I'm a big Dodgers fan. As such, I've been suffering for about 20 years now. Until Saturday, in fact, I've had little to celebrate from the time Orel Hersheiser finished off Oakland on some a fall evening in 1988 right on through to the present.

But Saturday, the Dodgers finished off the Cubs and swept the NLDS to move on to the National League Championship series for the first time in 20 years.

Is West best?

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I alluded to the fact that the west could send five teams to the postseason a couple of posts ago. I actually wrote about the fact that the Western Conference is now showing more than the Eastern Conference in my weekly PE column.

All you have to do is look at recent results to see that.

Bringing in Bowen

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So Tristan Bowen, who was the first player the Galaxy signed to their youth development program, could be the first player from that program to advance to the senior team. Officially, he has not signed with the team yet, but a lot of signs point in that direction. It's likely all over but the official confirmation.

Cali crew

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Could Klinsi come back to Cali and coach the Galaxy?

I wouldn't bet against it. If Philly lures Arena away, or he becomes the latest coach to be dumped from the team, something tells me there is a good chance Klinsi would be available.

The other questions would be - would this choice help the team?

Sangre americana J11 recap

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Back with another update on our boys south of the border, both in the top flight and second tier. Of course, now there is quite a bit more interest with Jose Francisco Torres committing to the US. Torres responded to his call-up to the US with his second 90-minute effort of the season... and his third booking.

Lye Burns Rankings (Oct. 6)

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Anyone up for a Crew-Dynamo MLS Cup? That only seems fair right now, the way the season is playing out. Of course, it probably won't happen. But those are the top two teams in the rankings and really, if they aren't 1-2 in your rankings, you must use some skewed formula that doesn't reward teams for success.

Changing of the guard

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Remember when DC United and the LA Galaxy would have solid arguments in either camp for ultimate MLS supremacy?

As recently as 2004 and 2005, both claimed the MLS title. This past weekend, losses for both sides leave them close to missing the playoffs. The Open Cup title might provides some consolation for DC United, but coming against a USL team in a year when so many shiny new trophies with international prestige attached were available, it doesn't have as much luster.

Torres speaks

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Unlike the earlier article I translates, this one from ESTO has a lot more quotes from Torres. I decided to just translate those this time.

Today, I complete a dream. I always wanted to play internationally and Thank God, now I'm going to with the U.S. Today they called me in.

The U.


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Schwartz takes Sven to task:

Si aquí no los pelan, tienen todo el derecho de hacer valer su doble nacionalidad, y en ese tenor, Michel Orozco y José Francisco Torres defenderán ahora con orgullo y dignidad los colores de Estados Unidos.

If we don't give them a chance here, they have every right to use their dual nationality, and in that vein, Michael Orozco and José Francisco Torres now defend with honor and dignity the colors of the U.

Wailing and gnashing of teeth

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Ok, so people aren't really crying in the streets of Mexico that they've lost Torres to the U.S., but they don't seem happy about it, either. Here's an article I translated from espn.deportes
- it's a little vague on sources and light on quotes, but one definitely gets the sense that some people feel Eriksson really dropped the ball on this one.

Roster for Cuba

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Here's how the US looks ahead of Cuba:

GK: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Troy Perkins
D: Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyweu, Michael Orozco, Heath Pearce
M: Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Danny Szetela, Jose Francisco Torres
F: Jozy Altidore, Brian Ching, Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan

Interesting choices all around.

Torres coup

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By now, you've probably heard that Jose Francisco Torres has decided to play with the US national team. Torres was among the 23 players called into camp by Bob Bradley ahead of the next pair of World Cup qualifiers. Actually, he'll be with the US for the match against Cuba on Oct. 11 and, my guess, he'll be part of the team that goes to Trinidad should the US take care of business at RFK.


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Somehow, I didn't think an article about soccer and Princeton alumni could mention Bradley, but not Bob Bradley.

After all, Bob Bradley has to be their most famous soccer-related alum, no? Ok, maybe Jesse Marsch or Grant Wahl are up there as well, but it's a pretty big deal to be the head coach of the national team.

DC depleted

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When DC was in town, I was chatting with one of their associates about their recent losses. They weren't in full panic mode yet, but the signs weren't looking good. We talked about how the end of the season could wear teams down, especially if they had to play extra games.

I shared my theory that it was unfair for MLS teams to be involved in international competition like the CONCACAF Champions League without some sort of assistance to handle the extra burden.

Viva the Spanglish!

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Dom Kinnear does what many do when straining for a word or two in another language - he opts out and fills in with the words of the one he's more comfortable.

Still, it's a pretty valiant effort, akin to the one the Dynamo produced in Mexico.