Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Because It's My Country, by Preston Zimmerman

Below are Preston's thoughts today on the United States Men's National Soccer Team. I thought they were insightful and worth noting, so I fashioned them into post.

It is truly, as Jared DuBois descriptively puts it: "his Network moment".

Take it away, Preston!

I thought it would be cool getting Klinsmann as US National team coach, but I think it's actually worse than when Bradley was coach....

Requirements to get on US National team under Klinsmann: Be a fake American, be born outside the US, have one US distant relative.

I see the team is calling in guys who are really germans who know they've got no chance of playing for Germany so they'll settle with the US. That's embarrassing when a good friend of mine says he met one of the guys at the airport and he couldnt reply back in English as US Natl player.

I try my hardest not to tweet US soccer stuff but there are some stuff out there that drive me crazy. Don't mistake any of my tweets for jealousy, I never expect to be called in or involved with anything and it doesn't hurt my feelings.

I would just like to see true, real Americans who would live and die for this country representing our country. But when the olympic team holds mini-camps in Germany with all 'european players' then something is wrong. The kids in college are just as good, if not better, than some of the kids from the reserve teams getting invited to camp. But the college kids don't speak German and they don't have ties outside the US so they don't qualify for the US under Klinsmann.

Am I the only one here who thinks this or are there others? People have to speak up when they don't like what's going on. If Klinsmann was winning and very successful with his approach then my words would carry no weight, but I don't see any success squeaking out 1-0 wins against CONCACAF villages isn't success...

People can bash me for whatever reason, but I hate seeing my country's national team being misused and disrespected. I know plenty of guys who are in MLS and know what it's like to play for their country who deserve a look for the US team. I hope the US team wins and dominates just as much as anybody else because it's my country and I want my country to be #1 and dominate.

Don't want anybody to take my tweets negatively or as criticism to make somebody look bad, I just have passion and interest in the US team.

Preston Zimmerman is currently playing in the 3. Liga in Germany. He is American. He is also only one of 3 out of 26 foreigners on his SV Darmstadt 98 side.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crew Offseason, Outside Looking In

So the Renteria contract ending thing and him playing at a high level in Venezuela has got me thinking... What are the other Crew players doing in the offseason to stay sharp. Not to say taking some time off is bad, just sayin'... Let's take a look.

NOT DOING ANYTHING (as far as I know)
Andy Gruenebaum, Justin Meram (no news on him over the break. Seems frustrated though. Just a hunch. Camps, I see. Excellent player), Bernardo Anor (shares same hometown with Renteria. I imagine he is in Venezuela as well.), Tom Heinemann, Eddie Gaven, Sebastián Miranda, Chad Marshall, Will Hesmer, Danny O´Rourke, Eric Gehrig, Shaun Francis, Aaron Horton, The new goal keeper kid.

Emmanuel Ekpo (Nigerian NT but no games), Julius James (Trinidad NT in Nov.), Rich Balchan (in rehab, seems to be determined. I like this guy), Tony Tchani (Generation Adidas player but missed the trip to Holland due to illness?)

Emilio Renteria (Heheh. Yeah! Playing competitively in Venezuela. On the national team that will be in Phoenix on Jan. 21.), Robbie Rogers (say what you will, he has been trying out all over England. That's something), Dilly Duka (Generation Adidas is keeping him busy. Had two goals in three games during time in Holland).

Not a lot of news on the team this time of year. Looking at the calendar I see that there is a pre-season thing down in Charleston, SC in a couple months. Thinking about going. But till then... I hope the folks on the team are working hard. This time of year offers an opportunity in a way. A competitive advantage can be gained over the other teams.

Are the Crew taking advantage? It's not only the players that need to keep things moving. Team supporters, fans, bloggers, etc... they need to keep supporting, cheering, writing, and asking questions. Like... are we going to overpay for Renteria because we are lazy?

Seattle became the keepers of Major League Soccer in a few short years. DC's Goff is and has been MLS royalty in terms of league writing and respect. FC Dallas has a guy out there holding it down. The Crew need to be a part of this if they are to remain relevant.

The Crew list...

1. David Burgin. Alive! and my favorite soccer writer. Period.
2. Aaron Katzeman. Better and more professional than the local paper's beat writer. And. Will be writing on the Crew long after I am.
3. Scott Briggs. PBR? Impressed. Doin' it.
4. That Massive thing Report. Kill the mid-west cliche-like negativity. More harm than good last year but... it is the thing to read for Crew fans. No link, though. Still upset about the hot flashes a couple writers got mid-season last year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sparkling Form

All quiet on the Crew front... No news on Emilio Renteria yet. Time is running out (his contract is up on Dec. 30). I have to believe he plays very largely in the goal scoring make up of the ver.2012 Crew. I really, really hope that Columbus is all over this. They have to be right? See, this is what bothers me about Major League Soccer. All this time off. The intensity level is zero while the rest of the world is operating at the highest levels. Arg. Frustrating. Anyhow... Outside of Renteria the Crew don't have a whole lot of goal scorers. Well... proven scorers, anyway. Heinemann is ripping it up playing for fake Northampton in FIFA 12. Ladies like him too (tea ladies that is).

Real Northampton is in sorts after today's Boxing Day game. Not looking good. Mess of a game, again. The Cobblers went down to 10 men and blew 2 leads. Not good. Dangerously close to non-league now.

Stoke pulled out the draw, though. For folks that get paid to follow the BPL, I realize that it wasn't pretty, but to me? I've worked everyday since the end of October. I got off a little early and got to catch the final 35 minutes of the game in HD. To me... I got to see a couple long Delap throws. A couple tackles. A couple chances. A side financially solid and full of heart and pride. It was a beautiful in a way that most don't get.

I'll take the point and proudly say that I'm happy they play how they want.

What a great 1st half of the season for the Potters.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here's a translation of the Renteria Article today

I guess the Crew have not locked up Renteria yet. His contract ends next week and he sounds open to anything regarding his future.


By: Nestor Romero Zerpa /

The national team "Vinotinto" will play its last game of the year on Thursday at the Metropolitan Stadium Cabudare with Costa Rica.

Emilio Renteria, Columbus Crew striker in MLS in the United States, was summoned for this last game by Cesar Farias.

The "Deer" talked to and conveyed his excitement about this new appointment with the national team selection:

"I'm happy about the call and I'm psyched Farias has me in the game against Costa Rica. We want to close the year with a victory and continue the momentum that has been taking the team into the year."

Cesar Farias players gathered on the lawn of Misael Delgado Valencia Sports. There, the national coach talked a while with the group convened. During the gathering, Renteria said that: "We must be ourselves to enjoy the great time of selection, but with much responsibility. We want to close the year in a good way, that's the goal."

As for his physical condition after finishing the season with the Columbus Crew, Emilio, said: "I ​​feel very good in that regard, I only took off for a week. I'm training with Caracas FC and I'm ready physically for this confrontation."

The Caracas striker, ends his contract with the American club on December 30 this year.

Finally, on short-term plans in his career as a professional footballer, Renteria said: "I want to stay abroad, among the possibilities is the return to Caracas FC, ​​they are part of my family and my agent is looking some offers."

UPDATE Dec. 23: Venezuela fell to Costa Rica 0-2 last night. Emilio Renteria played 75'.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chad Marshall Signs 'Legend' Contract

Chad Marshall and the Crew agreed to a deal today that keeps him in town through the 2015 season (4 more seasons).

Marshall has already been with the team for eight years. He is 27 years old. I haven't heard the details of the pay but it was not announced that he was made DP. That means he is still not making enough for the team to tag him as such (for cap purposes). He was already making $320k so we can deduce that it is likely he is still in that range.

Based on his play last year I value him in the $260k range.

That said. What do you pay a guy who is about to become the player with the following:

- Most Minutes with the Crew ALL-TIME (needs 19 more games)
- Most Years with the Crew ALL-TIME (about to join Oughton with 9)
- Three Supporter Shield's and a MLS Cup

The group he is jumping in time with the Crew is impressive. Mike Clark, Jeff Cunningham, Brian Maisonneuve, Frankie Hejduk and Brian McBride. All with eight years in house.

Chad Marshall comes off as your typical stoic center back but in reality he is quite different. He is deceitfully quick and has incredible closing speed which you only really see on display when he his making up for another teammates mistake.

Mr. Marshall also isn't the same kind of player Crew fans are typically drawn to. You don't hear about him partying with supporters. No pictures of him at (defunct) Hudson Street or (not defunct) 4th Street drinking with the fans. He has no twitter account or any other real presence in social media. Nor does he go out of his way celebrating goals (most often from corners) in front of the North Deck. You never even really see much more then a clinched fist and a look of satisfaction when another player scores a goal.

It's almost like the typical stoic center back demeanor haunts him. He has all the parts that make one, yet he doesn't not show that last important part that finishes the cliche.

This contradiction could be one of the reasons he has been kept off the National Team in recent years. He should be that cliche, but isn't. It can be cringe worthy for me to hear some supporters and fans clamoring for his call up to the USMNT. Not sure why that is, really. Maybe that's part of what I'm writing. Me clumsily trying to figure out why that bothers me.

Marshall grew up in Southern California. Looking at the map, his Rubidoux High School (black and gold, incidentally) seems to be just a bit outside of L.A. Seems sort of like a Greensboro is to Research Triangle, a Fredericksburg to DC or a Circleville might be to Columbus. Yet, the mere connection between him as an equestrian and his Stanford University spell tell a much different story.

And that different story is the one that lead me to writing all this in the first place.

Proud to have Chad Marshall signing on with the Crew for a few years longer. If parts of Crew Stadium weren't already earmarked to have his name etched on them, they certainly will be by 2015.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Failing to Ignite

The Crew getting similar MLS hot stove fly overs from Grant Wahl (Sports Illustrated) and Jonah Freedman (

"Crew Stadium will always deserve props for being MLS's first soccer stadium, but let's be honest: It looks downright cheap compared to Kansas City's Livestrong Sporting Park and Red Bull Arena. Columbus's owner, the Hunt Sports Group, doesn't want to spend much money on its coaching staff, and the Crew hasn't created much buzz since the departure of Guillermo Barros Schelotto."

"Columbus: A midfield playmaker. Crew-ville is almost as tired of hearing “We need a new Guillermo Barros Schelotto” as they are of hearing the cliché “offseason overhaul.” But facts are facts: Columbus haven’t been anywhere near as dynamic since GBS departed Crew Stadium. A string-puller with even half his talent would help everyone in C-bus move on."


"Let's be honest": I happen to like that the Crew doesn't feel the need to make a big splash. Especially just to be fodder for an article about future articles Wahl will be writing.

The coaching staff comment is stinging. Pretty much saying it is "Ohio nice." But not off the mark entirely. I think the coaching staff is okay but the front office doesn't get enough attention. I like Wahl. What a bummer of a write up for the Crew though.

On the stadium; I just think they need to cover the fans from rain/snow, improve the video screen and replace the bench seating. I can have that quoted out if so requested.

Freedman was more affectionate with his wording but, I don't know anyone who lives in or supports "C-bus" and "Crew-ville."

Spitting into the wind here, I guess. Interesting though, how two national type media articles had similar blurbs/summaries.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


Working a lot during the Christmas season and wishing I had more time to go on about Stoke this winter. Pictures of smiling Stokies will have to do for now. Spurs down, Potters up...

...well, that and just realized Dean Whitehead laces up z umbro whilst probably sharing apical ancestors with someone I know. Have I gone on about why I like Stoke? I need to do that at some point. I really do. I mean that. And I will. Promise.

Friday, December 9, 2011

English Soccer League Major Ramble

JULY 2011: Four hundred thousand fans watched English Premier League clubs match up against several franchises from Major League Soccer on New World soil.

The Result: Thirteen total games. One MLS win. Twelve MLS losses. MLS Goal Differential: -22 (or less than a goal for and over 2.5 against)

Estimated Gate: $12.1 million (for good measure).

You don't have to go far in the Major League Soccer ocean before you bump into a comparison to one English football league or another. Every once in a while, you'll also come across a player training in Germany and say something nice about how the quality of MLS players can stand up to players in the Bundesliga.

I figure it about time I thought about it, myself. After all it is my responsiblity as a free wheelin' blogger, right?. Hmm. Okay, done. Even without the head to head friendlies, I'm done thinking on it. I was done before I thought on it. Which must be why I hadn't touched the subject in the past.

People seem to think of where MLS teams would fall in a one game match against some other team from a far away league. A Super Bowl like game. I hear that MLS teams could compete against bottom table PL sides or top table Champ League clubs (seems to be most common assumption). But, ya know, soccer is never about the one BIG GAME. Or the best 11 v. 11.

That is the reason I brought up the friendlies last summer. It was a test that matched up weakened, mid-season MLS sides against rusty, out of season, PL sides. Sort of a strange thing, admittedly. But, if you watch the sport enough you realize that it is always about that uneasy balance. Games are only as important as the side or country makes them. Who is healthy, who is pouting. Who the fans are chanting for. Who the manager doesn't get along with. Who was out drinking too late the night before.

A good example might be the Europa League and Stoke. How exciting is it to be a Stoke fan and watch them play European sides. Contrastingly, look at Manchester United falling to the Europa League. I expect them to exit at first chance.

Even that, however, is unfairly looking at top clubs in the world. The infrastructure it takes to make it to top competitions is so far and away beyond what we have domestically it doesn't even warrant comparison.

I've mentioned my Northampton Town Cobblers a few times over the years here. I like keeping up with them. Yes, nPower League 2. I'll even catch a game or three a year on the internets. I'll also catch a few FA Cup games between lower league teams online or on FOX Soccer. Even, gasp, Football Conference club action from five years ago on youtube. Only live game on English soil I can claim is a Kettering Poppies game over a decade ago.

What I see in these (those) games might not be titanic match ups involving the best athletes on the planet. What it does showcase is, for me, the difference in player savvy, creativity, heart, love, passion, and understanding. All things that Major League Soccer can't seem to find. No foundation underneath it and heavy rules and regulations above it.

I'm sure a full strength LA Galaxy could give West Brom a run for it's money in a meaningful game, on a beautiful 73 degree day... at full strength... playing in the Home Depot Center. I have not doubt in that.

And that is exactly what bugs me about reading most things comparing MLS to other leagues. Particularly comparisons to the English Football League System.

There are 6,000 + teams playing organized soccer in England.

My personal thoughts are that MLS sides, as they are currently structured, would not last a single average season in nPower League 2. In fact, I think they might find themselves betwixt the Anglican Combination Division Six (17th tier) and Southampton Saturday Football League Division Five (19th tier) were they to continue on past one season. And even then, they may have to forfeit a few because of the driving on the wrong side of the road and all.

Athletes and talent, the United States has. No question. Organized soccer structure that can sustain a leading place (club or country) in the world, still trying to find it. And that "IT" is why most venture out on fantasy comparisons between leagues. We have the player pool and money to pull "IT" together. We just need someone to do it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Liked this one, Stoke

Ran across this image this morning. Picture taken right after Huth's goal yesterday. Stoke won 1:0 at Goodison Park. Happy fan over here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Robbie, Renteria and Leadership

Robbie Rogers, Blackburn Rumors.
The People UK writer Alan Nixon reported last week that Steve Kean has invited Robbie over during the transfer window next month. If Steve Kean is still there in January, it may happen. Big if. Blackburn will be looking for a number of sparks after Christmas because they need to move up from the bottom of the table.

Jurgen Klinnsman’s relationship is lifting the value of Rogers. Time is now. He needs a change and Crew fans don’t seem to take to him (which is sort of a shame and sort of not).

A SHAME: Even with is National Team time he assisted on 7 goals last season. That’s 22% of open play goals the team had (32).

NOT A SHAME: On the other hand Crew record during his starts was a below average one (8 wins, 7 drawn, 10 loss) when compared to a player with similar number of starts (22/Gardner, 10-3-9 or 27/Gaven, 11-7-9 W-D-L).

Emilio Rentería, Tradesman.
“… I don’t like to be idle, what we get in MLS is too much vacation for a football player. I remember what Paladini (Rodolfo) the teacher Miguel (Cordero, Physical Trainer First Team) always say; a player should not be off for more than two months."

Looks like Renteria wants to run in the Copa Libertadores (similar to the Champions League for Central and South America) for the team he was with before he came up to Columbus (FC Caracas). He is training with them in the MLS offseason. The club tournament starts late January and ends in July.

Emilio has had a successful run with the Crew to date, very efficient goal scorer. Not sure who found him but his numbers much better in MLS over his time in Venezuelan Primera División. It would be surprising if Columbus loaned him out even for a short time considering what they expect from him this year. I say, let him run though.

Warms my heart that he's down there with fire in the belly. What's the rest of the team doing?

Now Hiring, Professional Soccer Field General (Columbus).
Good article by Adam Jardy in the Dispatch today. In it he reports that the club thinks its most pressing need is leadership.

Technical Director Brian Bliss thinks there is only one way to find a Field General, saying: “You’ve got to buy that and you’re only going to be able to buy that through the international market or a trade.”

Wait, huh?

Also looks like the team approached Tchani about this ‘field general’ role. “I’m going to try, I’m not comfortable with it.” Was Tchani’s response. All kinds of bad there.

It doesn’t appear that they need a leader on the field, rather; they need to take few steps back and find someone who knows what the hell a leader is.

Helltown Leadership Lesson #1: Tchani and Rentería’s quotes in this post are both about leadership, hunger and heart. Lesson #2; You don't have to ask a leader to be a leader.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Droppin' Science on Re-Entry Draft

Ratings are Zero to 100. Higher the better. Some players have 0 which means he didn't play any minutes with the team last year.

Outside of the top few, Kevin Burns is one of the better players in the re-entry draft. When considering age and experience I also like Leathers, Phelan and Santos as well.

I don't think it would be all bad if Cristman fell to Columbus at 9th pick. Match his work rate up with Tommy or Emilio and you have a dangerous front two (without having to spend DP money).

Pretty sure Boswell will go before Columbus gets a chance at him.

Draft starts on Dec. 5th. Sharpen that pencil McCullers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Burns Out, Mendoza Too

Actually, a bunch of contract options were not picked up. Cunningham and Burns were the bigger names outside of Mendoza. Backup, backup GK Alex Riggs and never seen Ben Sippola were let go as well.

Ekpo and Rogers are under contract until the end of the year but the Crew has only made "minimum offers" to them in order to retain rights. It is not a stretch to think Columbus wants something for them, but if they are not careful they will get nothing.

In the matter of a few days the club has freed up $1.5 million (Rogers and Ekpo included). $2.06 million is still on the books. In theory, Columbus could afford the weekly salary of a Micheal Ballack, but not the transfer fee (unless the league helps; Rogers and Ekpo are not enough). As crazy as it seems, the thought of Ballack to Columbus is achievable, but it just doesn't seem like there is enough front office talent/resources here in town to make it happen.

Outside of a couple scouts and positional coaches, the picture above includes most of the brain trust. Seriously.

One thing sticking out to me right now is Duka now becomes the 2nd highest paid player on the team (only behind Marshall). The other Generation Adidas player; Tchani is now 4th.

Their salaries directly replace Ekpo ($222k) and Rogers ($140k). This indicates that General Manager Mark McCullers has a sort of base philosophy in regards to wages. A good thing. Elsewise you become NY or Toronto with rosters the size of phone books. Only problem is... I don't think McCullers was expecting them (Duka and Tchani) to graduate till 2013. Since they did, their salaries count towards the cap. This is probably the one big miscalculation the franchise has made this year.

Stepping back, the Adidas thing is one of the things that hurts more then helps in our country. Duka and Tchani are now thought more of burdens than good players because of an already unnecessary/arbitrary/obsolete program. Not fair to them or the Crew.

If you take a look at the list below you can see where things get sort of pear shaped. However, I am very impressed when comparatively evaluating against other teams in MLS.

The Columbus Crew's Current Roster, salaries as of last fall:

Guaranteed Compensation : Name
320,000 : Chad Marshall
223,000 : Dilly Duka
209,633 : Eddie Gaven
194,000 : Tony Tchani
163,500 : William Hesmer
133,500 : Danny O'Rourke
121,875 : Emilio Rentería
115,000 : Sebastian Miranda
72,169 : Julius James
66,667 : Andy Gruenebaum
66,375 : Justin Meram
58,875 : Rich Balchan
42,000 : Aaron Horton
42,000 : Bernardo Anor
42,000 : Cole Grossman
42,000 : Josh Williams
42,000 : Shaun Francis
42,000 : Tom Heinemann
34,475 : Korey Veeder
32,600 : Eric Gehrig

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Luke's Report

The only losing seasons the Ohio State football team has had in the past fifty (that's 5-0) years happened in 1988 and 1966. Insanity.

Right now the team is sitting on a 6-6 record, which qualifies them for a bowl game.

This season is far from the worst season the team has had in it's 122 year history (17 have been worse percentage wise), but a 7 loss season would mark the only time it's happened since David Farragut Edwards 1897 team.

Unless you are over the age of 114 yrs, you've never felt the sting of a 7 loss Buckeye season.

It'll be interesting to see what the NCAA and OSU Administration do. Will they let Coach Luke Fickell coach one more game or will they just call it a season.

File this post under; Most successful sports institution in the history of planet Earth.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rusmir and Prim dropped, Ben Olsen on the Cover of FIFA 2001

Dejan Rusmir was the 6th highest paid player on the team ($170k). He made 13 starts in the middle and team posted a record of 5 wins, 3 draws, 5 loses in those starts. Based in the Serbian's performance with the team last season, I had him valued at 35% less then his actual salary. Rusmir has heavy feet but excellent vision and good ball placement. He was the only player on the team left from Europe or the UK.

Santiago Prim's release leaves unanswered questions($32k) because I'm not sure it hurt too much to have him aboard. He didn't see time on the senior squad but seemed to be a regular on the reserve team later in the year. I never saw him play.

Pretty sure Rusmir might pop back up in MLS, but my thoughts go out to both guys.

Complete list of players dropped.

Received a copy of FIFA 2001 in the mail yesterday. Goes with my MLS Extratime I got on Monday. Ben Olsen is on the cover with some glorious hair.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MLS House of Ill Repute

Josh Gardner was chosen by Impact Montreal during the 10 round MLS expansion draft.

It's weird for me right now. I'm fidgeting.

Quite a few words have been deleted before leaving this. The format for the Major League Soccer draft is imprudent. An archaic hold over from a league that can't shed old/bad habits. The reason the Expansion Draft feels dirty is because it IS dirty.

Too similar to the world's oldest profession, the MLS Expansion Draft is.

Columbus is the only city in our domestic soccer league to have lost a player in each of the expansion drafts since the league's founding.

What MLS doesn't seem to get is that it isn't the NFL or the NBA. You can't have your 'superstars' starting each game. Soccer as a sport, is the superstar. The very arbitrary nature of the 'protect 11 players' suggests that there may be fundamental problems in the minds of the stewards of the league.

MLS is a league of clubs fighting to build a foundation of talent. Reserves. Part-time college players, etc. To have a draft system that undermines that grassroots work boggles my mind.

And no, the argument stating that it is only 10 people, max one player from each team doesn't work. Did they monitor player comments? Tweets? Fan/Supporter feelings towards it? These are things that keep the league from gaining respect of fans and major news outlets.

The format also suggests that pulling from other teams is the only way to get expansion teams competitive, faster. What about players looking for a chance that aren't currently with a club? Loads of players that have played in MLS looking to get back in. How about NASL players or USL players? Foreign players looking for a change? Just south of here holds some of the best talent pools in the world. Hell, one of the writers for this blog could most definitively help Montreal.

I'm still fidgeting over this. Last year was frustrating, but now that I know more about the league I realize that this draft process hurts the league more then it helps Montreal. In fact it hurts soccer as a whole in North America.

I ordered the only MLS licensed video game ever to be published. MLS Extratime. It came out in 2001. Fun playing the game. Lapper is on there. McBride and Warzycha too. Crew Stadium! Fun to play, but dark days those were for Major League Soccer. This 'adoption draft' feels very much like a part of that time.

Josh Gardner had a great, great season with the Columbus Crew. I spent a spell, spinning a thread on one of his goals. It came during the Seattle thrashing. For me, reaction after the goal helped reaffirm why I am a fan of the Columbus Crew. Not only because they are my local team, or because of where it is located in the country, but because of the character of some of the players on the team and how they, and the club itself operate within the deus ex machina that is Major League Soccer.

Gardner was one of those guys you like having out there. A pro. Good luck up there in Montreal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Protected Crew XI. Quick, Everyone! Retire!

Hesmer, Balchan, Anor, Gaven, Marshall, Rogers, Renteria, Miranda, James, Tchani, and Duka are protected from the evils of Montreal.

Aaron Horton is a "Homegrown Player" and is automatically protected.

Tchani and Dilly Duka were Generation Adidas players so they would have been automatically protected, but they declared themselves Graduated recently. Therefore are considered "Been Graduated" (in MLS faux legal talk) and not protected.

It's interesting they graduated recently. Now they count towards the cap and have to be protected. Oh, by the way; A G.A. player, themselves, determine when they graduate. Hm.

Each Major League Soccer franchise had to turn in their Protected Player list to MLS offices by 5 PM today for the planned Expansion Draft on November 23rd.

The 10 bullet points and official league language is amusingly short. I will shorten it even further here and put comments next to points relevant to Columbus.

AKA; your friendly neighborhood HELLTOWN translation.

1. Protect 11 players

2. Protected 11 aren't guaranteed contract next year
Rogers was probably retained in off chance of getting cash from "Europe"

3. Retired player sent adrift, team can reclaim
That's nice MLS. Loophole. Quick, Everyone on draft list retire!

4. Off-Roster players are part of draft
Those two Costa Rican dudes, I guess.

5. Generation Adidas players don't need protection
Not a problem in Crewtown now. Uh, thanks?

6. International in US includes Canadians and vice verse
Not an issue for Columbus. Beauty, eh?

7. Clubs can't dump all international players
but they can dump three less then total.

8. DP's must be protected, not exempt
Poor Mendoza.

9. Only one person from each team can be picked
Whew! So my heart can only be broken once. fffffyou MLS.

10. Ten Rounds.

It's time like this I wish I had brother James L. Esquire writing for Helltown. 1st question? What if more then 11 players on team had "no trade" clause?

Here are the guys not protected:

Burns, Cunningham, Ekpo, Francis, Gardner, Gehrig, Grossman, Gruenebaum, Heinemann, Mendoza, Meram, O'Rourke, Owieri, Prim, Riggs, Rusmir, Sippola, Veeder and Williams

Gotta say most of the Crew players are prime for the pickin'. Surprising Ekpo wasn't protected. The club (or MLS, I guess) could have gotten good money for the Nigerian international.

My guess is Montreal Impact Fonts will go for experienced to be competitive and mostly bargains to stay under cap. I do think they will try and snag a big name though, because, let's be honest here... nobody of quality will ever. I MEAN EVER want to willfully go to Montreal (why oh why, MLS).

Experienced Bargains: Ekpo, Burns, Gardner. Maybe paper thin Francis.

My heart will be broken if Heinemann, Meram, Gehrig, or Gruenebaum get picked. So, count on one of them getting taken on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm sort of at a loss for words with this game. Bethesda literally plucks out part of the imagination and makes it a remarkable gaming experience.

Maybe I'll go on about the game later, but the greatness of the game is settled. At least for me.

Let this separate those who will like it and those who will not.After a 48 hr Skyrim session; A 12 year old Dave, Russ, Jim and Larry stood in frozen silence as that song played.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Information on Crew Reserves

The Columbus Crew Reserve Team won the Eastern Table this year. Looks like they only lost one all year and had a +18 GD over those te... wait. Is that right? +18?

Not a lot of information out there on MLS Reserve League. In a league hellbent on parity, this reserve team league seems like a really good place to tuck money and effort in to. Especially since the spotlight isn't on it and some teams don't really support it well.

The reason the Reserves are being brought up here is because the they just beat the DC United team today. I'm not real familiar with Reserve League rules but I see some pretty big names in the game for both sides. Notably; Emilio Renteria for the Crew. Also, Kevin Burns was out there. Sigh. Not looking good for him returning to the team (scratching head). But, you know what? He did what he always does. Help get a win for the team.

DC had a couple bigger names out there too. Jakovic, King and Brettschneider played. Also Chris Korb, though don't know much about him (1020 mins with sr. team though. Smitty?)

The Crew worked out a couple new guys today as well. Non-roster guys. Both from Costa Rican team Orión FC Desamparados. That team isn't very good. Lost last three by a combined 11 goals to 3. The top league in Costa Rica is the PRIMERA DIVISIÓN.

The intrepid reporters around here leaving Crew fans a little empty handed so, courtesy of Google and Soccer Way:

25 yr. old, first year with Orion and looks like it's a good fit for the team. 4 goals from the MF, but on a bad team.

26 Mid from the same team. Seems to be collecting Yellows.

I reckon the bigger question is why these guys? Are they at the bottom of the table and want out? The team they play for are in the middle of their season and these guys are playing in over half the minutes. Interesting to me that they were brought up here for a workout. How did they find them. More importantly, how did they get them up here.

Sharing more information here as a bonus to the folks sticking around. Kevin Burns is valued decently (and increasingly) over at TransferMarkt. Also interesting that he his represented by the same folks that handle the greatest goal scorer in Crew (and possibly MLS) history, Stern John.

The site ain't perfect, but good enough.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crew Player Value Analysis

Based on what all 504 players that saw minutes in Major League Soccer this year, the above is how I value each Crew player based on their performance. In light gray is how much each player makes now.

Overall, the Columbus Crew did well with player salaries. I valued all current players at $ 3.5 million and the team spent 3.2 million.

It is a weighted system that values overall team play and an individual's minutes on that team. After that are player efficiencies like goals/assists/shots/etc per 90 mins.

These player values are rooted strictly within crucible of MLS. I'm not valuing them against players in the rest of the world. I'm hoping to get to the Premier League here soon, but I'll never compare dollars to pounds, as it were. It is fruitless for me to do that right now. Let the market figure that out. As it will. Especially with more American ownership in England and the marketability of the American sports star.

The goal I set for myself at the start of the season was to understand talent in my domestic league. Not on a ridiculously statistically driven way, but in one where I could clearly state if a player was having an excellent, average or poor year. Or; if they contributed to a good season.

Why? No way I could watch (stomach) every game and evaluate each player. I spent some time with the Castrol Rank, yes. But it was time wasted because the only ranked players with the ball at their feet. What a deal breaker. I noticed it sort of faded away as they year went on anyway.

As much as I criticized Brian Bliss, I am today in a praising mood. His evaluation of certain players might be off but his overall valuation is good.

The Crew have won the Reserve League East Division Title and have a load of talent up and coming (EA's FIFA 12 and Football Manager 12 even say so). The future is bright for the Columbus Crew. But like Everton or Aston Villa, they need to be careful they just don't become a talent conduit for other teams.

Funny little time approaching for the Crew. It is one I'm watching closely because I want to see if they follow through on the team reshaping they started this time last year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss, an Outdoor Cat

Brian Bliss, Technical Director, Columbus Crew (reportedly) was talking today about 'long time' Crew mid-fielders.

“For as many years as they’ve been in the league and for the amount of money – not that they’re getting rich, they’re getting paid – there’s got to be a better division of statistics among those three guys, and that’s going back to 2010 as well.”

What? Really? This is our technical director speaking? My goodness.

What the Hell is having a "better division of statistics"? What statistics exactly are they looking at here?

I really hope it isn't goals and assists, as Mr. Craig Merz alludes to in his article today. If it is then he is driving the team off a cliff. Specifically if he is speaking of the Mid-Field. Heck, even if he is speaking on Forwards - he shouldn't.

Major League Soccer is single entity. Meaning the ultimate goal of the league is to make money through parity. It's not hard to generate that parity when talent is fairly negligible in this corner of the hemisphere.

Shake a tree and you'll get a 3 goal 2 assist mid-fielder in MLS. Actually, want to know how many in 2011 achieved that feat? 31 MFs did (that's mids only). It ain't the players the Crew have, it is how they were used. Too many changes. It was like there were trying to pick a lock in Splinter Cell and they never got it.

Bliss is already being linked to other teams around the league now. Most notably the NE Revolution.

I'm really worked up over his comments today. I know I shouldn't be but he has gotten to me. Ignorance shouldn't be tolerated in regards to personnel, though.

If Bliss is interviewing for other positions then he should remove himself from making comments on the future makeup of the Columbus Crew.

Instead (among other posturing comments earlier this month) we get this:

“[Kevin] Burns played some significant minutes, too. He’s a core guy. He’s been around for four years. Maybe you expect a little more out of that whole area of the field.”

Burns was one of the winningest players on the team (if not THE winningest).

Leave the technical decisions to someone more capable. If none more capable are available then keep your paws off the carpet and don't eat all the food in the bowl. psst!

On a note; The Crew are worth less than most of the companies readers stumbling here might work for. Heck, most fans of MLS might manage more people and larger budgets (accounts) than the entire Crew franchise. I understand this. There are good people working hard in the Crew franchise. Even better supporters holding the team up. It's just frustrating when there seems to be 'change for change sake' (with Burns) at the moment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

USA (+UK) Domestic League: Valuable Things

Major League Soccer is doing things right. Some things. The 9 PM start last night wasn't the right thing. Decent game but too late. WHY? Curious England watches MLS. Twitter says so. 9 PM start means 2 AM in jolly. Not exactly gin o'clock.

All those crazy, self hating Brits were watching the games last weekend. On too late this weekend. Move it up just a few hours and you have the largest soccer loving country watching. What is complicated about that math?

That said. MLS announced categories and nominated things of the year today.

Most are just to stir up interest and fan involvement from blogs and what not. Sheesh, so shallow (wait, umm).

Not a bad list of things. Cutting straight to the chase... MVP. De Ro, Shea, Brad Davis. Of the three I'd go with Brad Davis. I've already said Todd Dunivant was the outstanding performer of the year, but nobody listens. Look on the right for the others up there.

I have Davis at 7th. Shea at 12th. DeRo is all over. Three teams in the same year? If he stays with United next year, he will win it. He has enough passion for entire divisions, man.

Rookie of the Year warms my heart. C.J. Sapong. A NoVA born kid and Perry Kitchen (mid-west but on DC's squad) are nominated. Farfan the third guy on there. Hm. He should be under the Newcomer category.

All in all, fun to think about. Crew awards? In the most ill timed event of the season, the one that happened the weekend before the playoffs? Yeah. Please move they 'year end' event to after the playoffs next year, ya short sighted fools.

Here are my Crew awards:

Crew Rookie? Don't like the award because soccer players bounce around alot before getting into MLS, but I like Benardo Anor. If nothing else, because I got to meet him at Jimmy V's. Writers note: Heinemann isn't a rookie.

Newcomer? Tom Heinemann. 'nuff said already.

Crew MVP? Sebastian Miranda. Reckon he should win newcomer as well by default. But, whatever.

Best North Carolinian from a town named the same as half my family and my middle name on top of that? William Hesmer.

Wilson, NC. Great town. Good people. Hesmer. Long way from home cousin. You are one of the best in the league, work on that quickness and footwork and we'll see you next year.

That is all.

Last thing here; MASSIVE CITY FOOTBALL FAN CORPS has Helltown listed under their Crew List and I have to say; From one Impact font lovin' (yet, self depreciating) designer to another... honored. I know Bleeno and Smitty would say the same.

Honored. Truly.
Final Valuable Thing. Of the most valuable kind. Poppies and Remembrance Day. Will be thinking of my Nana (RAF, WWII) at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I don't care if FIFA refs can pin a poppy on or not.

Look around you. Are your lights on? No bombs falling then?


Spare a moment on 11-11-11.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

XV. Only Interesting to Me

1. "I'm a great believer in the future of the game in this country. It has to be led by Americans." - Bruce Arena. Good piece in the LA Times yesterday where Arena talks about Major League Soccer's role in developing the sport and why he starts 9 US born players (NY started 9 foreign born against him). Got me thinking of how the Galaxy would do against our USMNT (Donovan wearing national colors even).

2. The Columbus Blue Jackets are Bad.
Very bad. Getting close to historically bad. Aaron Portzline writes: "The season from hell descended further into the depths last night..."

Jackets lost 9-2. It was 5-0 in the first period. The team is nowhere even close to crawling out of being the worst team in the 30 team league.

Columbus (the city) has really fouled this one up. Taking potential tax dollars earmarked for education to 'bail out' the team right before this season is one of the worst decisions I've ever experienced a city making.

IF THE TEAM CAN'T SELL TICKETS, IT CAN'T SELL TICKETS. Now change the word tickets to "cars".

The Jackets also convinced the local paper to get in on the deal to save the team. Thus the strong Portzline quote (he also dropped the word "massacre" in his article, which I never like in any sports article). Always love when a beat writer just loses it on his team.

2a. Crew Moving, rumors
More birds chirping about the team getting sold by the Hunt family. It's all but confirmed that they want to sell. MLS wants teams to be owned by different groups as well. I'd like to think that the Hunt family would sell to someone who wants to keep the team in Columbus but I don't see that happening.

Ohio, as a whole, isn't doing well. Population was statistically flat over the last 10 years (and it's not because it's an exclusive club keeping people out). Lots of weirdness going on (politically) because tax dollars are drying up. It'll only get weirder when the nation turns the spotlight on it next national election.

To the highest bidder, the team will go.

3. The first freeze.
Happened last week. A few days before the snow in the East (for the record). It has been nice since then though. 60s in November? Woohoo!

4. Pro-sports in Columbus
Not doing so hot. Sheesh.

5. Gears of War 3
Entertaining, but there are only so many bugs I can kill. The 2nd one was excellent in terms of gameplay and story. This one sort of goes off the rails story wise. Gameplay is still excellent though. Fluid and fast.

6. NHT
The Cobblers are struggling mightily this year. Lost a 3-2 one yesterday to the Gillingham. Gills had 2 PKs. Ugh. Not exactly champagne football being played in Northants. 20th on the table.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Crew Talk...

Mid-November is quickly approaching and players are starting to talk about contracts. The always on it Graig Merz gave us our first gems of future Crew makeup, today.

He must have been down the street from today at the Obetz training facility talking with players. Great stuff... and I'll start with the best of it.

"I was really disappointed. I thought I had a really good season then I got a little sick before the Chicago game. I don’t know why I didn’t play in the playoffs."

"I think I had a pretty successful season. I only lost something like three games (out of his 15 starts) on the year."

My note here is the starter stat Mr. Burns threw out. It was pointed out a couple days ago on this site. I'm sure players watch it, but to use it in an interview was cool to see. He wasn't correct on his 3 game thing though. He lost 4 (won 7, drawn 4). Still the best record on the team.

ROBBIE ROGERS on playing "overseas":
"If the opportunity is right and the situation is right I would like to do it but I’m not going to just go overseas to go overseas. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve done that before."

Billy's Scouting Report: Mr. Rogers is a athletic kid, good build, super star looks and stays away from injury. 7 assists this year for the Crew. Not bad. But as a USMNT player looking for a contract? He should have done better. He also seems timid around goal. Frustrating thing is; he has the speed and size to be a great poacher. He has some chances coming up with the national team playing in Europe to impress. We'll see.

"I'm very optimistic. Nothing’s been signed yet but it’s moving along. Hopefully, something will happen soon."

In related news... the earth is still spinning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Major League Soccer Needs The Charleston Battery

Throwing my hat in the ring for the 20th MLS team here. Major League Soccer needs to be careful of being too heartless. Too demographics driven. Too Florida has to work right? conclusions.

I heard a giant price tag was put on the 20th MLS team. Something like 100 mil. To the highest bidder? Massive mistake.

The rumors about Columbus leaving need to stop. You want to rip one of the beating hearts of the league out of the league? Go for it. This state has been conditioned for that type of disappointment.

The most passionate fans I've ever met are Browns fans.

I now go to "Browns Backers" games at a bar down the street on Sundays. Not so much because I'm a huge Browns fan, but because their fans are the best I've ever met. The fathers of Crew supporters (if I may).

Cleveland lost their beloved team for years for Christ sake. Yet there they are; the fans, in their work clothes, walking in from the extra weekend 12 hr shift at the foundry, to sit down, take a load off, have a beer and cheer the goddamn Browns.

The Browns make the NFL better. The Crew make MLS better.

Bring on Charleston. Bring on magical sea swept evenings. Humid nights. Bring on a team in the South. Bring on some of that mythology.

Handbags can go to NY and LA. Yield to the educated in Seattle, soccer mad in Portland / Vancouver and hand over the fools gold to the rest of the Great White North.

Let the real work happen in other cities.

More heart, please.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Play, Team Wins

Kevin Burns, Tommy Heinemann, Joshua Gardner and Eddie Gaven.

These are the guys who played above team averages when starting. Burns was a little surprising to me as the team had a negative goal diff with him starting (-0.07). Tommy had the best goal differential (+0.33, team was -0.09).

I've put the full stat compile HERE that includes goals, % starts, pts earned while starting, and all that good stuff.

Below is the nitty gritty. Average Points earned by Crew Players whilst starting. () show total games started.

3.00 : Andy Gruenebaum (2)
2.25 : Justin Meram (4)
1.67 : Bernardo Anor (6)

1.67 : Kevin Burns (15)
1.50 : Andy Iro (2)
1.50 : Jeff Cunningham (4)

1.50 : Tom Heinemann (12)
1.50 : Joshua Gardner (22)
1.48 : Eddie Gaven (27)
1.38 : Dejan Rusmir (13)
1.38 : Emmanuel Ekpo (29)
1.38 : Julius James(32)
1.34 : Sebastián Miranda (35)
1.33 : Chad Marshall (33)
1.29 : Emilio Renteria (14)
1.24 : Will Hesmer (33)
1.24 : Robbie Rogers (25)
1.23 : Andrés Mendoza (26)

1.17 : Danny O´Rourke (6)
1.17 : Rich Balchan (18)
1.00 : Eric Gehrig (4)
0.94 : Dilly Duka (17)
0.80 : Shaun Francis (5)
0.00 : Tony Tchani (1)

Men playing more then 10 games got bold lettering. I consider this to be one of the more important KPIs for a player on a team. And with contracts coming up I want to be sure there isn't another Brian Carroll moment. Meaning; I rate Brian Carroll as the best Crew player of all time and he got away.

Call it the good luck charm. Call it the albatross number. It is just one way to look at it but, essentially, it means; Team wins when you start.

Or in the case of Dilly Duka, team loses.

Things are never clean cut. Maybe a player was subbed out and his sub went on to win the game or perhaps a start then a quick injury. It happens, but over the course of 10-35 games it washes out.

I also looked at total appearances and not just starts. Dramatic changes, for example; Heinemann was inserted in more then a handful of goal down games late in the year.

Last note; during the Crew's abysmal final third of the season Gardner and Burns were out of the starting line up.

Brian Carroll has won 4 Supporter's Shields, 2 MLS Cups and 2 Conf Championships in his 8 years playing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


That's the date Football Manager 12 is telling me a number of Columbus Crew contracts end. Why FM12? It is difficult to find contract information on Major League Soccer players, anywhere.

Here are the players that will be out of contract come December 31st, 2011:

Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall, Andres Mendoza, Eddie Gaven, Emilio Renteria, Will Hesmer, Emmanuel Ekpo, Danny O'Rouke, Tom Heinemann, Andy Gruenebaum, Josh Gardner, Kevin Burns.

It almost would have been easier to have given a list of players with contracts past this year (15 with, 13 w/o).

Having that many players with expiring contracts is not unusual for a MLS team (or in the Footballing world in general). MLS likes to keep rosters fluid, especially in expansion years.

November and December of last year was a time of change for the Crew. Lots of players either declined new options, Traded for Allocation dollars or were left unprotected for the two team expansion draft.

All and all; Eight players, most of them starters, were turned over in that time. Schelotto (38), Padula (35), Hejduk (37), Carroll (30), Moffat (25), Brunner (25) were the most polarizing.

Fans and Supporters around town were really hard on the Crew front office for the changes made last year. Notably: Supporter fallout and venom contributed to a record low year in attendance. It wasn't until 2/3's of the way through the year, when the Crew managed 1st in the East, did Supporters ease up and crowds get back to normal.

The more I read, see and hear about MLS and it's contract dealings the more I realize how much of who is on the team is not controlled by individual franchises. There are certain degrees of wiggle room, but not a whole lot.

Knowing that: As is the case with any professional sports team in Ohio (or, this part of the country), that wiggle room is always less.

Looking at some of the larger names on the expiring contract list it must be tempting for the front office to move a couple stars for asset allocation funds.

In just about eight weeks the January transfer window opening up in England and Europe. It'll be interesting to see a couple of the players worth on the open market (Ekpo, Rogers). Columbus has proved (mostly) smart in spending money. A few extra dollars could possibly go a long way.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rapids 1, Crew Out

I woke up early with full intention of gathering my thoughts on the Colorado / Columbus game last night but I just can't get past something... The tweaks to the line up Robert Warzycha (and Mike Lapper) made.

1. Tony Tchani; first game in a Crew uniform and first game since July 9th; 2. Dilly Duka in an advanced position with Mendoza. Neither happened at all during the year. Both are talented players, but it's odd to see changes like this in an important game.

Changes to line-ups, especially last minute ones (O'Rourke) can change a team's mood. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I can't say for certain that was the root cause for the Crew to come out flat, but I feel like it may have contributed. At times, when in possession, it looked like strangers playing pick up out there.

I'll let this quote wrap up things for me here so I can head off and get some coffee:

"It was just little things. That’s what’s really killed us pretty much this whole season.” - Eddie Gaven

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Ponderance Around Us

The Truth About Cars. An excellent place to check out. There was a recent post about non-union workers in the South. Good stuff. Great conversation. Hits home here in Columbus. Where a battle line is being drawn between each and the other.

The reason I bring it up is because I've been thinking about the places I get Columbus Crew news and notes and asking questions about how it affects me empirically, emotionally, logically, and aesthetically.

Outside of the comments I get from Bleeno and Smitty on the Crew, I'm wondering...

What shapes my opinion of the 2011 team outside of just watching them play live and an TV? Was it Shawn Mitchell's mid-season player profiles coming from the mighty Columbus Dispatch? Perhaps it was Aaron Katzeman at Massive Report. Supporters twittering. Heck, it could have been Ashleigh Ignelzi's Crew coverage on

Was it 15 year old Glenlivet. Nana's choice, Gordon's G&T. Billy's choice; San Pellegrino and Johnson's Midnight Moon. Maybe it was a dash of a thundering Hans Zimmer score. Or. If you must. An equally equating, yet fragile James Newton Howard piece.

It's an interesting thing to explore.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MLS Playoff Scenario

Major League Soccer sets this sucker up so anything can happen but I've done my best, based on season results, to predict what will happen.

Columbus has Colorado on Thursday. Over the past several months I've grown to respect the Colorado Rapids. I feel like they are in the same place as the Crew in a few ways. Nothing flashy about the Rapids Cup winning side last year. The only thing that really got peoples attention with them this year was negative play.

The Rapids are not a dirty team. In fact, they have conceded the 2nd fewest fouls this year. Though, they do draw the 2nd highest Yellow Card per/Foul Conceded (15.5% of fouls resulting in a yellow. San Jose number 1 at 16.6%).

They also aren't on "national" TV along with the Crew on Thursday. Only MLS Cup Playoff game to not be televised on Fox Soccer or the ESPN network.

My heart tells me that Columbus can win this game, but reason is telling me otherwise. The deck is stacked against them a bit. It's in Colorado. Later start time (10 PM). The altitude is always tough. Going to be cold. And I believe that the CCL games have made the Rapids stronger.

Goals For and Goals Against are surprisingly similar, but Colorado is better at both. Were this a neutral site I'd say it is a tight 2-1 game, either way.

Columbus won one (4-1 at home) and lost one (2-0 away) against them this year. The away game was where Eddie Gaven got hurt and thus started the Crew decent deep into several levels of hell during the final third of the season.

Had Gaven not been injured by Jeff Larentowicz the Crew would have won the East.

Columbus tested an Attack First mindset two weeks ago Against the Revs but last weekend they went back to a defensive minded mid-field team. I expect more of the Chicago type game for the Crew / Rapids. 3 or 4 goal affair.

Go Crew.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Last Regular One

The Columbus Crew are on the way. Ekpo out for whatever playoff opener the team has cause of the silly yellows in the last game. Big loss. Only other thing that bothers me about losing the last game to Chicago is the fact that no Crew player will finish in my top 20. Miranda was close!

Good year and enjoyed following the team all regular season.

To the playoffs. Hell Awaits!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Never Forgive, Never Forget (you can find a better version, but I like it raw) MLS Power Rankings

Start at rt. click HERE.LA, Philly, Seattle, FC Dallas deserve hardware this year. New York deserves nothing, except what is actually happening to the poor town they pooped that stadium on. My MLS Power Rankings normally take a sip or thrice of wine and tonight is no different. For it is done.

I haven't changed my weighted categories since back in whenever, early 2011. I just do what the numbers tell me.

If I were to call it, I'd say (outside the top four) that feknone have a chance.

My hometown Crew have been punching above their weight, yes. But. They are by far, NOT the best team here. Were they to win the MLS playoffs they would meet the same critical fate the Colorado Rapids are facing this year. It sucks for Colorado because they are actually a good team this year. The 2 or (maybe) 3 national, nationwide MLS media likes can suck it on the Rapids.

MLS Power Rankings.

In Color.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

United's Lack of Spice Consistency

There you have it, the end of the season. Plenty of close games this year that could have swung our way, but hey, that's the way the tacos tumble. Benny you did pretty well as a rookie coach, I mean, I like you.. DeRo, you've been a stunner. Najar, you're gonna go far. Pontius, get well soon. Davies, poor fella, chin up.

Looking forward to next year. In the meantime I've got one more game to go to and I better get one of those little soccer balls they throw out to us silly fans.
Highlights and interviews
Especially watch the Ngwenya miss. Sums up his season.
Here's a great reaction from Martin Shatzer who was in the pressbox

Monday, October 17, 2011

Best Team Ever + That 2011 MVP

It could be argued that the 1998 Galaxy are the best MLS team the devoted have ever seen. Best PPG (2.19), an astonishing MLS best 2.66 goals p/GM (Cobi Jones, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Hurtado the beast). They also sport the best goal difference in league history... 1.28. No team even comes close to that.

This got me thinking though. How close are the 2011 LA Galaxy to Major League Soccer Immortality >>? David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Robbie Keane. All "superstars".

<< or as immortal as MLS teams get >>

The 2011 Galaxy are pretty close. They currently stand on 2.03 points per game. A win in their last game gets them to 2nd best PPG in league history, hopscotching a strong Miami team in 2001*. *I'll go ahead and do the asterisk here. 2001 was a good year for a lot of MLS teams. Read up. Dark days, my friend.

The Bruce Arena 2011 Galaxy team is nowhere near the top in Goals For (96th in league history, 1.42 per), but his goals against is a historic 0.76. 2nd best in MLS history. The best? Last years Real Salt Lake. Yeah, that team that erased part of the MLS can't play stigma across the Americas.

So. Who are the masked men that rule the back line on this years Galaxy team?

Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzales, AJ DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin. All four of those guys are rated in my top 20.

Taking into account one of the best Team Points p/GM averages in history and 2nd best GA avg in MLS history... I'm going to go ahead and present the following:

HELLTOWN BEER Major League Soccer Player of the Year

Todd Dunivant.

Congratulations buddy.