Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2010

On Main Stream Media coverage of Sounders and Soccer

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With the recent news that Jose Romero is leaving the Seattle Times, the rumors concerning Arlo White joining the Sounders broadcast, latest release of the Face of Sports (US)by Nielson and the nearly constant complaints on soccer forums about local sportsradio's lack of coverage of the Sounders I thought I should share my thoughts on this in just one place.

We are the Rave and the Green

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The Crowd that Stands in Unity
We are the Blue and the Grey
Expecting Victory Everyday

-inspired by 311's Something Out of Nothing

In August of '08 the blog launched. There were 37 readers that month. Through an inaugural season that stunned MLS, and local media the blog has continued to grow, in large part thanks to the readers just spreading the word.

Fredy Montero - Too many touches

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Sometimes flair and foot skills can stun the opposition and amaze the crowd. At their best these moves create space for a shot/pass or enable dribbling an opponent entirely. Often times they are really just opportunities to show off a little bit. But there is a bad case, and it isn't just about poor execution leading to change of possession, the bad case is when that flair slows a fast player down so much that they lose the opportunity.

Ruiz asks "Who is fastest Sounder"

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Ruiz asks "Who is fastest Sounder"

Fucito

From today's Sigi Quotes emailed to media - "The beep test winner was (David) Estrada. Estrada won the beep test. The sprint winner, actually the quickest guy was (Michael) Fucito. Once you get a bowling ball going down hill at his speed it keeps going.

MLS Fans Should Listen to Douglas Adams

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"Don't Panic"

Seriously, an over-focus and over-passionate fanbase can get riled up. New Media, and Old Media can fall into it as well. In all of our attempts to discover everything, to dig into the dirt looking for gold and finding tin, we sometimes stare too hard, think too much and forget that the Players and League want the same thing - you to pay to go to games.

A home for the Champions League

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As reported by Romero, Prost, and likely others, it sounds as if our CCL play-in games might be played at Starfire. Certainly we were all hoping to welcome real international competitors to Qwest, and I assumed that our guaranteed CCL game would be included in the season ticket package.

The club, apparently, thinks otherwise:

"That'll be just like the U.

Freddie says NO work stoppage - He'll see everyone Monday

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Freddie says NO work stoppage - He'll see everyone Monday

And, now back to the no-drama Sounders that we know and love.

I can say that the reason I missed training this week was because of a communication error due to the business discussions. I had by this point already committed to playing with the Sounders next year, which I am very excited about.

Chris Henderons, Technical Director talks about Scouting Talent for Sounders FC

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Last year Chris Henderson had to find 24 players players to craft a winning expansion side. This year, he had to find less players and I started off asking if that helped him focus.

Chris Henderson: Last year was very unique, we needed every position. But this year we could focus our time and our energy.

What we have here is a failure to communicate

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What we have here is a failure to communicate

GM, player and some front office people on one page

Coach and other players on another.

That my friends is a problem

Sounders FC's Taylor Graham looks to a healthy 2010

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Taylor Graham Looking Forward. Photo courtesy of Prost Amerika

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Taylor Graham had a rough 2009. Plagued with injuries he mentioned to me at the event the Alliance Council hosted at Elysian Fields during the Supporters Summit that he did not want an off-season.

Sounders FC Open Camp - One Major Absence

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29 Players Strong - Photo by Ron Moran of ECS

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The big news was of course the Freddie Ljungberg's absence and the statements from Kasey Keller.

6.5 New Sounders in Camp

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6.5 New Sounders in Camp

We know the 3 Draftees - Estrada, Seamon, and Wallace.
And most know at this time about Yakir Lusky and Tye Perdido.
The talent team over at Sounders FC also found Patrick Lane, and the "half a New Sounder?"

That would be Josh Gardner formerly a USL Sounder and Carolina Railhawk.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Soccer Party

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After last nights two amazing events scheduled around the US MNT's "performance" you'd think you are done with soccer parties this week.

You would be wrong.

You may have heard that Jose Romero is leaving the Seattle TImes, and in fact leaving the state. He has decided to host a gathering where he will just hang out with the fans that made his first season as a soccer reporter so much fun.

Nate Jaqua - Target Midfielder

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Maybe it is because of the high expectations prior to last season, but it seems as I move forward along the arrow the player recaps get a bit longer, and a bit more controversial. The attacking players are the ones that get the glory, and it would seem the criticism. As with Steve Zakuani, the Sounders community just wants more from Nate Jaqua.

Freddie Speaks Up About His Status

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Freddie Ljungberg's new post on his blog clarifies exactly what his status is for next season. Unsurprisingly, it's "unclear" and it all depends on whether there's a CBA and if there's a lockout. If there wasn't incentive enough for MLS to resolve this situation quickly, a top team losing a DP to Europe because of the labor instability should provide a bit more.

2010/2011 CONCACAF Champions League Start Date set

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MLS and CONCACAF announced today that the Preliminary Round of the CONCACAF Champions League will start on July 27th. The draw for opponents will be held June(ish). Over the winter break though we have learned a few of the teams that Sounders could draw. These are not firm enough to decide that you must book a flight down to Central America in late July, but Brujas FC of Costa Rica joined Arabe Unido of Panama and CD FAS of El Salvador as possible Pot B teams.

Thoughts on Attacking

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Sometimes life (or a some semblance of it, in my case) prevents you watching every minute of every game in the season. It sucks, but it's really difficult to follow a team through a whole year. Thus I found myself missing the start of a game fairly early on in 2009. I think it was the Wizards home game, but I honestly couldn't tell you.

Yakir Lusky on trial with the Seattle Sounders?

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Yakir Lusky on trial with the Seattle Sounders?

24-year-old Israeli midfielder Yakir Lusky is reported to have an upcoming trial with the Seattle Sounders FC. Click on the above link for the story.

DC United sign Qatari League player

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DC United sign Qatari League player

Danny Allsopp, a striker with time in the A-League, Championship, EPL and Qatari Stars League has joined DC United.

He's 31, and played for al-Rayyan who are 5th on a table of 12. The Qatari Stars League has been dominated by al-Sadd (Khalfan's team) and al-Gharafah (Juninho and Nashat Akram formerly).

A Great Source of Insight on Developing Players

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Dave pointed me toward a great blog called 3 Four 3 that I want to highlight, because I think these guys have very much the right idea when it comes to the qualities that make a player great:

This term "elite" is very often abused. In conversations with players, parents, fans, coaches – the soccer community in general – I have heard many label this or that player elite.

Goff Getting Positive CBA Vibes

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Goff Getting Positive CBA Vibes

After so much doom and gloom I'm glad at least someone is getting a positive vibe on this thing. Camp opens in just over a week for Sounders FC, a tenative agreement would be huge.

How strong is MLS compared to other Leagues?

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An intriguing topic to so many who follow MLS is just how good is this league? I commonly refer to it as between the 15-25 range, but that is a wide range, and highly subjective. Without the Holy Grail of statistics finding a unified number across leagues though can there be an objective study on league strength rather than the classic arguments centered on the top third of a league or its middle third?

Zakuani, Riley and Gorilla FC to host Haiti Benefit

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The George & Dragon Pub will be hosting Steve Zakuani, James Riley, Gorilla FC and hundreds of soccer fans who wish to use their passion for sport for a little bit of nobility. The event will start at 5:30PM on Saturday the 23rd and will coincide with the USA v Honduras friendly. It will feature autographs and raffles to raise money for YELE.

Discovery Signings; How the Sounders will get to 30 players

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In Sigi's post draft conference call he said that he expects 28-30 players in camp. The Sounders are currently at 21 players on roster with Tyson Wahl as an unsigned Free Agent. They just drafted 3 young men who will compete, and last year's infrequently used players Fucito and Neagle will back in training camp.

Estrada Stunned into Screaming

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Estrada wasn't at the Combine. He didn't go to Philly either.

"I did not expect it at all. If I was taken in the third round, I was going to be happy with it. Fourth round I was thinking maybe I should go back to school."

From his Conference Call with Seattle media.

MLS SuperDraft 2010 Live Thread

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Let's give us a home to talk about the moves and picks that are sure to happen. I will be popping in and out throughout the day.

So far Philly has acquired Fred, the #7 and the #6 picks.

DC United acquired Troy Perkins via the Allocation process.

Dallas has acquired Allocation Dollars

New England picked up some late rounds picks as well

Philly acquire #7 pick from United

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Philly acquire #7 pick from United

Also Allocation Dollars and former DC United Attacking Midfielder Fred. This is the first of the pre-draft deals to go down and it clearly favors the Union. Yes, DC United gets better by getting Troy Perkins to be their keeper instead of stomp boy, but United have so many issues that they need more.

Meta-Mock Draft

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Rather than give you a mock draft when I haven't followed the dozens that were at the Combine, I thought I would provide a snapshot of the players that are in the range for the Sounders to pick.

Draft Slot

SoccerAmerica

SoccerNet

MLSDraft.

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About The Offside Rule

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I'm getting a lot of questions about the offside trap lately, so I thought I'd write a primer. It has to be useful to someone, right?

The Offside Rule

The offside rule attempts to prevent soccer from descending into a game of long punts towards crowds of players milling bout the goal, as is essentially equivalent to American Football's strict rules on the forward pass.

Top Draft Slots on the Move?

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There are few rumors regarding swaps of picks going around the' nets these days. The key actors are Dallas, TFC and the Philly Union.

From Ives we learn that Dallas may want to swap 1 or both of its picks. With two high first round picks on a team already stacked with young talent, they have to look at ways to get a vet or two because they have 6 GA players already.

Steve Zakuani - Generation WOW

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For those that thought that Seattle was running a 4-4-2, it was Steve Zakuani that they found the most frustrating. Even if you thought that they ran the diamond midfield, Zakuani frustrated. Most of the frustration was centered on his lack of defensive efforts. Later the frustrations would focus on his lack of "finishing" skill.

The Potential Nobility of Sport

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This sport particularly but also events like the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics connect us to the world beyond our shore. Soccer fans in particular are used to following the sport in Europe, sometimes in Latin America, and even more rarely in the other regional Federations. Be it the World Cup in South Africa, or this week's African Cup of Nations in Angola, the sport of soccer (by any name) has a means to connect us even slightly to the world around us.

USSF to Run Div2 in USA/Canada/Puerto Rico

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The future of the second tier of the sport is not settled, but at least our Cascadia neighbors will be able to have a season. For 2010, and 2010 only they say, the run the Second Division. It will be set-up in two Conferences with the names of USL and NASL, and though the names have no relationship to the individual teams' affiliation with either of the aspiring to be sanctioned leagues.

Performance Analysis and Soccer

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I get gruff from many football/soccer fans for my fascination with data based analysis. They claim that I focus on the wrong things, that statistical analysis of the sport is impossible. These are often the same arguments that applied at various times to baseball, basketball, hockey, football, rugby, cricket, etc.

Communities aren't built in days

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In this case it has taken about 18 months so far. From a lone blogger with less than 40 readers in the first month to nearly 300 times that now. From subletting a kind man's host space, to joining a large network of blogs, Sounder at Heart has found ways to grow not just its audience, but our contributors as well.

More on Sigi's Arrow

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Let's take a deeper look at Sigi's Arrow. We shall examine my interpretation of the system as the Sounders ended the season, both on offense and defense. How they countered the deep ball, and how they established a bit of width.

Graham calls it a 4-1-Diamond-1, I have called it a 2-3-3-2.

Brad Evans - Club Midfielder and National Back

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Brad Evans offers an enigma. He may be more valuable to the US National Team than he is to his club. Certainly, the young midfielder has value to the club, particularly once he settled back to a box-to-box midfield role inside Sigi's Arrow, but for long stretches his role was unknown. While with the US MNT Evans has settled into a Right Back role, but that isn't where his strength lies, nor his chances of being the one or two selected from the January camp to travel to South Africa this Summer.

Brad Evans - Club Midfielder, but National Back?

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Brad Evans offers an enigma. He may be more valuable to the US National Team than he is to his club. Certainly, the young midfielder has value to the club, particularly once he settled back to a box-to-box midfield role inside Sigi's Arrow, but for long stretches his role was unknown. While with the US MNT Evans has settled into a Right Back role, but that isn't where his strength lies, nor his chances of being the one or two selected from the January camp to travel to South Africa this Summer.

Financial Impact of the DP

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With MLS having very closed finances, and Forbes only doing a report on the 2007 revenue streams, judging financial impact is rather difficult. The sole set of numbers that can be looked at are attendance. Those that think the DP has an impact might be surprised, as the Beckham effect was big, but everything else is tiny.

PreSeason Mini-Tourneys and MLS

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Personally I love them. The Carolina Challenge Cup, the PanPacific Championship, the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, even La Manga with the Sounders!

In fact one of the things I love about Major League Baseball is the annual tradition of Spring Training. It would be nice to see MLS develop a history and tradition with these affairs.