Once upon a time I critiqued the man who is now the manager of SBNation's soccer network and his
stance on the DP. I ran some with or without you numbers and titled it really poorly. I was
learning the whole blogger thing back then, trying too hard to make a dent in the world. In general
it was apparent that MLS teams played more open games with a DP for 2008, more goals for, and more
Rumors of a Second DP Renewed
Steve Davis (who also writes at Daily Soccer Fix) has a hint that there are owners pushing for a
Second DP slot, but that there is a first goal of getting the empty slots filled first. Yes,
Seattle is one of those teams.
Part of the reason many teams don't use their DP is because you get one shot, and getting that
shot wrong bears a high cost.
In what I hope I can make a weekly endeavor I'm going to start posting a links round-up. For
those that follow me on twitter most of these won't be new, but hopefully I can provide greater
So over the past week these are the stories from around MLS, Cascadia and the world of soccer
that have fascinated me.
Early in the season Seattle fans went from wondering who the Cuban exile is, to instead knowing
that not only was he a solid player from the USL-1 but another great defensive midfielder in the
league. While yes, MLS has a lot of good holding/defensive midfielders, Alonso is one that still
managed to stick out from that crowd.
and two other guys.
Just the wrong Juninho - this one is 20. The others are 21. Most notable about the signing is
something that Carlos has been hammering into my head for over a year now - all have 5 years, or
more, or professional experience. One started his pro-days at 13.
They were on the Sao Paulo team that won a trophy at the 2007 Dallas Cup, defeating Real Madrid
and Chelsea en route to the title.
Yes, I am suggesting exactly that. My complaints are different than most though. It isn't that I
don't like the idea of 1, 2 or 3 great players residing on a given MLS side. It isn't because I
think they are a huge risk, and too often don't contribute to the marketing of the team.
I want the rule abandoned because I don't think it is fairly applied (Galaxy and Donovan), and
because it isn't being used to build the sport in America, and Canada.
Stadium news from our Cascadian brothers today, as both the Whitecaps and Timbers have some
announcements and renderings concerning their stadiums.
Up to the North we find out that the temporary facility looks better than many of the permanent
stadiums down here. The Empire Fields site will be used for all of 2010, and part of 2011 as BC
place goes through its major rennovation.
With updates to Buzz' 2010 GA target list, particularly due to the news that there are a few
official signings, I was hoping that the first player I had targeted for profile would be on the
list. At this time, he is not. But what Dustin Corea is, is a player beyond his years. One of only
6 players on the above linked target lists still in high school.
Normally when the word "administration" comes up in football, it concerns clubs which languish
in League 2, or maybe League 1. In the past there as been occasion of teams in the English
Championship that have been threatened, and even a few that have suffered the penalty.
Right now, Southhampton (L-1), Salisburty City (Conf) and Chester City (Conf) are suffering the
effects of Administration.
With all the news about the CBA out there these days (ok, a few stories Romero, Denz) I thought
that a key point would be the key areas where the Players and League disagree. Some of these may
have compromises, some will not. There will be points where one side or the other will get their
The main issues where the Players and League disagree are the following -
- Guaranteed Contracts
- Free Agency
- Club Autonomy
- Salary Floor
- Developmental Players
The secondary issues that are not necessarily CBA related (ht to denz again)
- Salary Cap
- Designated Player Slots
This isn't necessarily going to be another series of stories, but I think that the topics might
build on each other.
When the season started we were all surprised that Zach Scott was the starting left back. A role
and position that he had clearly earned, and every match he answered that call. He was gritty and
determined, a strong defensive presence and not quite what Sigi wanted. Coach tried Nate Sturgis
there to see if a bit of offense could be mixed in, and that didn't work well, nor poorly.
In the first of my series looking at draft prospects that are likely to be in the 8-14 range,
and generally on offense, I start with Andre Akpan. Not because he was Mike Fucito's teammate for a
few years, nor because his coach played with Taylor Graham at Stanford, but because in one of the
first mock drafts of the year Soccer by Ives had him listed 11th.
On January 21st, pending a CBA agreement, the primary transfer window will open for Major League
Soccer. As usual I will start to track those players that would be available on a Free. While the
Designated Players get all the attention, there have been several free transfers and loans that
have really helped the league step forward.
The star player on defense for the Sounders. He was used primarily as a man marker or as a kind
of sweeper shutting down the second ball. Solid lateral quickness and good speed means that even
though he makes mistakes, he can recover.
Currently only on loan, Sounders FC have to use some of their remaining allocation dollars in
order to lock him in for one more year at the least.
There are many theories as to how to manage a draft. Some look only to the best player, in MLS
that may mean only Seniors (ready-now) or it could mean Generation Adidas guys (likely not ready
immediately but salary cap free).
Others look at the draft to fill holes, and the Sounders have a holes on the wing and in central
midfield, and possibly in fullback.
And even more so in a Salary/Roster cap league. Mistakes cost more in MLS, a bad pick wastes
money and a roster slot. For MLS the ability to scout talent from college, from the lower US
divisions and internationally is the ability to discover players and get them at value. It is the
ability to find a player like Darrius Barnes for New England, Zach Scott, or Jhon Kennedy
Sure, I may be sounding like a broken record, but let's look at a few stories that are out there
right now, and then think about why MLS is not able to take advantage of the situation.
Landon Donovan is likely to loan out to Everton. That's great news, but for many US players
things are actually kind of ugly over there in Europe.
I did this last year, and have thought about not doing it this year on the network, but decided
that it may engage enough readers, so I'm going to give it a go.
1- I want a CAM. I actually didn't see as many problems with converting scoring
opportunities, but I certainly saw weaknesses at the team level in beating a defender with ball at
It uses a different methodolog than I do (only counts 11 v 11, no extra penalty for Own Goals),
but it does it for all 15 teams in League play. He provides the counting and rate stat, as well as
adjusting for the team to reduce the impact of being on a great team.
Most notabaly different player due to methodology is Seb Le Toux.
More photos Â» by Tom Pennington - AP
Browse more photos Â»
For all the grief that people, including myself, give Major League Soccer; it could be much
worse. At least in MLS the team's that perform the best in the regular season qualify for a
Yeah, if you haven't heard, there's a party to thank Le Toux for his 3 years in Seattle. It is
today at 3PM at Elysian Fields. It is NOT an autograph session, it is a thank you Le Toux
ECS led the organization of this event with Gorilla, Alliance Council and North End Supporter
Just over a year ago it was announced that Marshall was acquired from Toronto by Seattle for
allocation money (salary cap exempt monies). Generally TFC fans were giddy, they loved that they
were going to cast aside a veteran centerback for free money. Yesterday, the Sounders announced
that Marshall was named the team Defender of the Year as voted on by his teammates.
Part of what needs to be addressed this offseason is how much roster churn is necessary, and how
much would actually hurt the Sounders chances in 2010. There is an expectation amongst many fans
that a team should get better just by playing together, and if that is the case, then the Sounders
should have very little churn.
This week the Wall Street Journal published an article on the efforts American sports
organizations are making to attract Hispanic fans. Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic
group in the US and their buying power is growing rapidly as well. Included in the article is a
brief discussion of how Hispanics figure into MLS' plans:
Many Hispanics hail from countries where soccer -- known there as fÃºtbol -- is a
national passion, which Major League Soccer is trying to tap.
Bossing the Flanks
So let's start with a quick run down on the interplay between wide midfielder and full-back in
modern soccer. The wide areas of the pitch are far less dangerous than the centre, so wing play
comes down to exploiting space in those wide areas to provide some mechanism to deliver the ball
into the penalty area.
Recently Jimmy Conrad wrote a piece at ESPN's Soccernet about his vision for MLS. He likens it
to Linux, but honestly, his ideas are not in the mold of Linux. Sure, he's willing to respond and
listen to feedback, but he is not necessarily advocating adopting an Open Source and/or Democratic
model for MLS, just for his own "blog" at Soccernet.