7.31.2007

Team Run Blogs: DC Gets it, LA Doesn't



Have you checked out Bobby Boswells blog? If not you should drop by unannounced sometime since Bobby and D.C. United could give a clinic on how to pull off an interesting, well produced corporate blog. For an example check out this post from earlier this week where Bobby opens up like warm, buttery baked potato and tells all why he's been in a slump and that it's over because he is 'back'.

At my job we always talk about what makes websites successful and time after time it is noted that the sites whose scope is narrow & deep (i.e. focused on one niche thing) and aesthetically pleasing get the big numbers. Bobby's blog is narrow & deep...they provide content you won't get anywhere else, and it's what makes it special. It's also good-looking and minimalist; not too much extra-stuff going on vying for your attention.

We also talk about the wrong way to do it, which is to throw your net wide like a fisherman and have content that is all over the place and non-exclusive. For whatever reason the LA Galaxy have decided to do their blog exactly this way. Filled with Google Ads, EBAY auctions, and Yahoo news feeds, it is so unwieldy & unattractive that I didn't think it actually belonged to the team. Sadly, a check of the copyright info at the bottom of the page proved me wrong.

The lamest thing is that the blog entries are all co-opted from other blogs, like a blog aggregater of sorts. And that is something Soccerblogs.net does much better than this unsavory beast. Seriously, I am really hoping that someone will step forward and tell me that this is not the work of the Galaxy front office but a school project for kids with ADD or something.

Soccer's Next Gen on Sony's Next Gen



US soccer's next star Jozy Altidore as seen on Sony's next generation PS3 console version of the upcoming FIFA 08. Dude looks almost as good as this banger he put past Houston a few months back.

Is Soccer the New Black for NASCAR?




Doubtful but there seems to be more interaction between the 2 lately than I would ever have guessed. We've talked Milwaukee to death so now we are heading down to my home state of Texas where apparently the good folks at Texas Motor Speedway (I saw the Stones & Smashing Pumpkins there in '97, D'Arcy likened it to playing the county fair) have decided to run a Beckham related contest .

The jist is that if Becks scores they will give away a pair of tickets to some old race or other. Yes, it is strange that a NASCAR track with no affiliation with the game would use it as a promo tool. Yes, it is strange that they are effectively promoting the opposition instead of the home team. And yes, it is really strange that they are doing this when Becks isn't even going to be in Dallas; they posted this today even after it was widely reported yesterday that he would not make the trip to D-Town.

In other NASOCCER news, how is
that Red Bull car doing this season?

Blanco's Canadian Corner Fiesta

I did my fair share of 'wrapping houses' when I was in middle school, but we never went as far as to wrap a person. I know they do things different in Canuckistan like that whole metric system thing and what not, so maybe that's a cultural thing.

What I'm wondering though is why they didn't go all the way and just tar & feather the guy while they were at it?

More on Milwaukee: Peter Wilt Speaks



The following statement appeared in the comments last night about the Milwaukee Mile soccer stadium:

Please learn more about the project prior to leaping to conclusions. The stadium/field would NOT be in the middle of the infield (except on race days). On game days, the field would be flush against the main grandstand with 10k additional seats surrounding the field, which would move in and out to allow racing similar to the AZ Cardinals U. of Phoenix Stadium. It would be upgraded to include a canopy roof over most of the main grandstand, 20+ luxury suites, a stadium club overlooking the field, permanent concession, merchandise and restroom facilities. It would be a more intimate and permanent feeling stadium than BMO Field in TO.

peter wilt


For those of you who are lucky enough to be much less geeked out about this soccer shit than I, Peter Wilt is one of the honchos behind the Milwaukee expansion efforts, and is the much-loved former GM of the Chicago Fire. He's generally well regarded by both colleagues and fans including myself, and I appreciate him giving up the details on the project (especially since he didn't even give them to the paper that originally published the story).

But as far as me "leaping to conclusions", I'm not sure that's a fair thing to say; it's not like I have access to anyone involved in this project. I'll take this opportunity to remind anyone within eyeshot that I make no claims to be a journalist.

I read the article and the blog from the business journal and formed my opinion from what was given. The details provided definitely provide a better vision of what the stadium would be like, but weren't included in either piece. I think it sounds intriguing, but personally I'm not really down for it.

It's nothing against NASCAR as one reader suggested (I never said "NASCAR and MLS don’t go together", nor did I say that the stadium would be in the track infield), I just personally think that MLS is at the point where it no longer needs to utilize a facility such as this.

7.30.2007

Will Drew Carey be Home on Tuesday?

Clevlanders, put down your Bone Thugz-N-Harmony CD's for one minute and take a knee. Please don't forget that tomorrow night is the battle for Ohio futboling (which I am pretty sure is not a real word but whatevs) supremacy as your Cleveland City Stars are taking on Columbus Crew at Krenzler Stadium.

You should go, really. Not because there is exactly nothing else to do on a Tuesday night but because for all of the expansion talk surrounding your city it'd be nice if some people actually showed for a game featuring an MLS side. Other cities like Phoenix (God's furnace) always talk loud about getting a club but then exhibition time rolls around and the house is as empty as Nicole Ritchie's stomach. Cleveland City stand up!

If You Hate Running Tracks Around Pitches, You'll REALLY Hate This



I don't know what's more ridiculous; that someone wants to do this or that MLS has given even a provisional OK to the idea. A soccer stadium in the middle of a NASCAR track ...only in America would anyone even entertain the idea of such an unholy union.

I'm all for miscegenation in every form but this is the lamest idea since Jim Paglia proposed a rival league that would be played by dudes wearing unitards on multi-colored pitches at shopping malls with 8 refs (it's true look it up). I know there are dudes in Wisconsin who would kill their Granny to have the game come to town, but shame on anyone who supports such a jackassed endeavor.

The only way I support this is if they could get Cal Noghton Jr. in the midfield feeding balls to Ricky Bobby. If you ain't first you'r last baby!

Adu Swaps Mormons for Really Good Seafood



Our man Ives at ESPNSoccernet is reporting that The Biggest Midget in the Game ™ is leaving MLS for the semi-obscurity of Portugal's Benfica. Aside from Champions League matches, don't expect to see him on American TV often; for a player that as recently as 2 years ago was the face of soccer in America that seems like Siberia.

That's not necessarily an indictment of Benfica, who along with Sporting and Porto, are arguably the biggest club in Portugal. But Portugal is like Scotland in that once you get out side the top 3 clubs the level of play and support drop dramatically. So that's like saying Smurfette was the hottest of all the girl Smurfs....it's a compliment, but only by default.

So the clip above looks to stand as his last goal, in his last game at RSL (against Boca Juniors). It may also be the last goal Yank audiences see from him for a long time.

7.27.2007

Douche of the Moment: Miguel Calero

This was Pachuca keeper Miguel Calero last Tuesday night in their match against LA Galaxy. What is with the bandanna? Is he a thug? Is he a cancer victim? Is he a pirate? Perhaps he's doing "the treble" by being all three?Either way it's a bad look for the big fella.

And skulls? Did you borrow that off of one of your biker friends you met in Juarez one night? Jeez what is this, Halloween? Well guess what chief? Your shit is scary but not in a "Jaws" way.

You look like the guy most likely to steal a wallet in the locker room, and threaten the ball boys that hang out behind the goal. Hey Miguel, it's soccer not the WWE.

A Baffling Night at Giants Stadium



There is a saying down south that goes "you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig". This years Red Bull squad is in some ways vastly superior to last years model, particularly the addition of ex-EPL striker Juan Pablo Angel and the emergence of Jozy Altidore into something of an MLS starlet. But there is another saying that goes "the more things change the more they stay the same". If the New York side does get their shit together a "Red Donkeys" revival may soon come.

After taking in the Thursday night match between RBNY and Chivas USA I was struck by a number of things that left me baffled. If you feel you have the ability to answer any of these questions feel free to do so.


-First and foremost, where did the Red Bull of May go to? Is it on holiday at Sandals? The one that was on the field last night needs a bit of heart worse than the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. And how is it that the previously lowly Chivas has a nearly identical record as newly potent Red Bull?

-Is it really necessary for David Beckham, a player who does not play for RBNY or Chivas, to have his jerseys for sale front & center in the Red Bull merchandise booth? It really is turning into DBLS, not MLS.


-In other "Red Bull is not too precious about claiming their territory" news, there is an autographed DC United kit hanging in the Bulls Corner Pub. I know that this isn't Europe, or South America but I'll be damned if that would fly anywhere else in the world; call me when you see that Rangers kit hanging in one of the suites at Celtic Park.

-Apparently there are still a few supporters who can't figure out that smoke bombs and the breaking of seats is frowned upon by stadium staff.

-Speaking of stadium staff, when did security get outsourced to the Gestapo? I'm all for playing by the rules but don’t write the rules in pencil. Ejecting someone for swearing at the opposition? C'Mon now. Then ejecting a second guy for taking a picture of you ejecting the first guy…that's just not on. Honestly, that's what a coked-out, paranoid Central American dictator does shortly after a bloody coup; it's not something a part-time security guard with a Krispy Kremes problem and basement apartment in Hackensack needs to try on for size.



-Believe it or not the woman that made the posters in the photos above was actually wearing league (not RBNY but MLS) credentials....who's in the business that hates Waldo this much?

Danny O' Rourke: Alive & Unedited

Let me get this straight. You left medical school for this? Jesus, I bet your mother is sooo going to remind you of that every year that the Crew misses the playoffs.

7.26.2007

H-town Down



The Dynamo came up trumps on Club America last night; add this to the other 3 matches so far and suddenly everyone is hyped all on Superliga.

Houston, the Bayou City that is, seems to have the fever for the futbol pretty bad. The Houston Chronicle has a link from their
sensational soccer page to an audio slideshow on the city's soccer scene form the youth level to MLS. It's collection of striking photos (like the one above) with great editorial, and commentary from players, fans and random Houstonians that paints a unique portrait of one cities' vibrant soccer culture.

If you have 5 minutes it's a welcome diversion from spread sheets, and TPS reports.

Watch the slideshow here.


7.24.2007

Adidas Fanatic: Syrup Boyz Triumph



A few weeks ago I mentioned two amateur soccer tournaments that where coming up in NYC and LA, Adidas Fanatic and AdiCup respectively. As I found myself engaged at another BBQ-bonanza that I could not pry myself away from I missed the NYC party-cum-cup this past Saturday.

Tribeca-based side Syrup Kidz took the whole shebang-a-bang though with an epic performance over the AdiCup winning side from LA. Syrup Boyz skipper Omino Gardezi (who is also Vice President of the dead nice design collective
Syrup) sent in this thorough report that makes me wish I wasn't too wrapped up in slow-cooked, sauced-up meats served with a side of Tecate to attend. Damn…I'll get 'em next year.

-------------

More than happy to help you out with some info – I really don't think we could be more excited to have taken Fanatic by storm.We've known about the Addi cup for a while, but as spectators – drinking beers and cheering on our friends from the sidelines.

This year Oliver at Adidas smiled on us and gave us the opportunity to participate for the first time. We're pretty much obsessed with football here at Syrup and have built a rather impressive team (if I do say so myself). Most of our boys have played at some point in their lives, we play together are part of Blatte United a Swedish soccer organization. Our star player Sebastian Alvarado played for the Swedish under 17team and had trial at Espanyol and finally played for St.John here (He scored a hatrick in the final). We've won a few times, but recently had a bit of a losing streak…so I had a feeling going in to this one that the Fanatic trophy was going to be ours. I even made some space on my shelf here at Syrup, apparently didn't jinx us by telling everyone we were going to win all week.

I think the skill levels varied by group but we were pretty evenly matched in the Semi's and Final. The final was just amazing. The entire crowd was behind us as the NY team, the pace was intense, and LA (Editors note: LA was represented by La Vale FC, a team founded by and featuring British popstar and "fat dancer" Robbie Williams) was really strong - they had destroyed everyone coming into the final. They scored first but our Boyz came back hard and we beat them 5-1. Like I said, I had a feeling we would take it but nothing can compare to the actual win…the entire agency rushed the field when the whistle blew…I think I'm still hyped up.

The Syrup Kidz were not affected by the music, except in a good way. When you're playing you are so focused on the pitch that you barely notice, and when on the sidelines, it's just adds to the summertime-party atmosphere. Good stuff.

All and all it is a fantastic event - great vibe, cool people and fun play. It's really well organized, from the food to the refs and the management of the whole thing. And you couldn't have asked for a more perfect day – what really could be better on a beautiful Saturday than hanging on a rooftop, playing soccer against the city skyline, and chilling with a bunch of cool, fun people?


What Adidas is doing is great, not to mention smart - who better to get involved then the creative and media people to spread the buzz about football/soccer and of course, Adidas?

Look out LA here come the Boyz.

--------------------------------------

If you happen to be under the employ of Red Bull, LA Galaxy, or Chivas please read that last line again. Sorry, but the Futbolito thing just isn't this sexy. You lot should be all over this like Lindsay Lohan on a bottle of gin.




Check out the Syrup photo album for more shots from the event......here.

The Syrup Boyz are...

Coach Omino Gardezi: Vice President: Swedish/Indian & Persian
Assistant Coach: Robert Holzer, CEO/Founder, American

Jakob Daschek: Creative Director/Founder: Swedish/Czech Republic
Sebastian Alvarado: Business Development Manager: Swedish/Chilean & Finnish
Paul Vlachou: Art Director: Australian/Greek
Joerg Merz: Art Director: German
Dawit Kerab: Swedish/Eritrean
Pierre Byman: Swedish/ Fmr.Yugoslavia
Keke Medufia Kulego: Swedish/Ghanaian (Injured During the game had to be substituted)

Rowan MLS Plan Fading into Obscurity



So long Glassboro, we hardly new ya. This reads like something of an obituary so be sure to pour a little out for your south Jersey brethren.

Superliga Tuesday Night Two-fer



What are you doing tonight? Hot cross-border futbol action perhaps?

Superliga kicks of on Telefutura tonight and it's a double header of sorts; Dallas v. CD Chivas then LA v. Pachuca. More info at the
Superliga website (even if the brackets are wrong). You can also watch them for free (and in English) at MLSnet.com.



And
$hogun wants to know who you think will take the cake (there is $1 million in prize money to the winners). Shit, I'd like to know too...shout it out in the comments.

Rumour: Red Bull to own 100% of Red Bull Park



That beauty of a pitch in the photo above belongs Red Bull Salzburg. Up until this year it was only a single level, 18,000 seater; it's now been renovated to add additional seating for Euro 08 bring the capacity up to 31K. Why should you care? Because there is a very, very good chance that Red Bull Park in Harrison, NJ will look exactly like it….and wouldn't that be a beautiful thing to see. Check out the view from above if you really want to moisten your mouth and/or undergarments.

You may have already heard this last night or this a.m. but it looks like Red Bull is going to buy out AEG's interest in the new stadium . I had been hearing for months that the whole "cleaning up the site" thing was just a cover for the fact that the 2 sides could not agree on design and who would pay for the changes in design; After reading this article it seems that has been the case. Without getting too "Inside Baseball" about the whole thing here's why this could be a good thing:

-This is conjecture but by duplicating the existing stadium in Salzburg, Red Bull Park might have a leg up in actually open at some point next season as opposed to 2009. They already have the plans, and could use some of the same designers, architects etc. who have already been through the building process before to speed through the job.

-Red Bull Park is now likely to not have a "stage end" (AEG wants a fixed stage, RBNY does not) creating an atmosphere that is truly soccer-specific. I'm there will still be some additional non-soccer events but it's less likely that the pitch will be town up by AEG-owned events like the X-Games.

-By sinking such a large amount of additional cash into the club, it looks Red Bull is serious about it's investment in the club & the league.

This is just my opinion based on what I have read and heard but we'll know more on Friday when RBNY honcho Marc DeGranpre addresses the topic in a live media event. Fingers crossed, the Bulls could be running out of Giants Stadium in 08.

7.23.2007

Conan's Casting Couch



You have to admit that's kind of scary right? It's like Becks is the Geisha House ying to Federline's KFC yang. Basically if Goldenballs had no athletic aptitude, and had married a once successful pop star who's penchant for questionable decision making was not limited to fashion, he would be Federline.

This disturbing revelation comes courtesy of Conan O'Brien who has taken it upon his ginger-haired self to prematurely cast the biopic on America’s Favorite Immigrants ™.

And if you think this is ass-clinching frightening, wait until you see who plays Mel B. aka Scary Spice aka Eddie Murphy's baby momma in this clip....they managed to find the one person with more over-bodied hair than her.

RBNY, Revs Fans Have "Burning" Hatred for Outerwear

Remember a few summers ago when there was the big "missing white woman" craze in the media? If you weren't down with the trend, you surely remember the "runaway bride"….she was the Ronaldihno of missing white women but where is she now? She was found (alive and un-abducted I might add) so it's her fame that has now gone missing.

Trends come and go, and the latest craze hitting MLS tailgates is shirt burning. Not the one you're wearing but ones bearing the name or logo of the opposition have been getting scorched by BBQ-tool wielding fanatics up and down the east coast.

New England fans torching RBNY shirts…



RBNY fans torching DC shirts...



What's next? Who knows, but maybe DC fans will set fire to Taylor Twellmans Michael Jackson-style wrist guard to bring a little originality and complete the circle. Also of note is that both of these pyros (I know who you are) are chomping cigars in the clips above, a detail that I'm sure will used by stadium security for profiling purposes.

Burn, baby burn.

Celebs, Henry Rollins' Letter to Becks

So this was the week where soccer in America went all Hollywood. On Wednesday Chesea hosted a party that was filled with enough celebrity trash to fill a Los Angeles landfill; I'd put $5 on it that the chalk lines on the field would pale in size to the white lines in the toilets.

By now you've seen the red-carpet roll call from the HDC saturday; Posh was sipping Crystal with Eva Longoria, TomKat and alien baby Suri, Jennifer Love Hewwitt was there with her rack out for the viewing pleasure of ESPN's worldwide audience, and Drew Carey was there as usual and possibly pissed off that he isn't the most famous guy in the building anymore.

After the game Goldenballs and the rest of the Galaxy were spotted getting pissed up at Skybar. Then on Sunday night Becks & his missus were the guests of honor at a party thrown for them by TomKat and Will Smith & Jada Pinkett. No confirmation from either camp as to whether it was a "key party" or not.


Image courtesy of PerezHilton.com

One person who couldn't make any of the weekends mass ass-kissings was punk rock icon (and protein shake abuser) Henry Rollins. While he couldn't make it to welcome Becks to America in person he was kind enough to A) not wear his short-shorts as to not scare the children and B) pen the video letter below. That's the problem with today's society...people don't write enough letters anymore.

7.20.2007

A Very Brief, Lazy Tale of Two Cities

-Over in Philly there is another proposed stadium site, this time it is on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River in Chester, PA. That should make the Sons of Ben (pictured at right) more than a little happy.

-Up the turnpike in New York some people at RBNY HQ are a little less than happy with the number of people in the stands at Giants Stadium (aka The Swamp aka a cavernous hole in which to watch soccer).

Who has has it worse...the city without a team or the team that has to play in the Meadowlands?

Major League Magazine

They say that print media is dying. Whether that is a fact or not I don't claim to know. I do know that newspaper subscriptions are down and the best one around, the New York Times, now costs one whole dollar. The only people I know with magazine subscriptions are the office managers for oil change places and dentists. I also know that the Internet is too fast; by the time news shows up in print it is old news.

But there is something intangibly enjoyable about reading a good magazine. While not as nimble as the web, a good magazine can more than make up for it and become a monthly highlight and a tent pole of influence with good design, deep editorial, and exclusive content. The Fader is a sterling example of this.

Major League Soccer has recently created a page-turner with a publication of the same name. Billed as "the magazine for soccer lovers" (almost sounds like something you'd hide from your spouse doesn't it?) and boasting an all-star team of writers, editors and contributors like ESPN's Steve Davis, Andrea Canales, and soccer's multi-platform media mogul Jimmy Conrad you'd be well served to actually subscribe to this. But don't hold your breath for anyone to come 'round your house with a big cardboard check for doing so...people have bills to pay.

7.19.2007

Desolate Crowds in the Desert

In the last few months there has been a lot of talk about expansion, most of it centered on San Jose (who got their wish granted this week), the Pacific Northwest, and to a lesser extent Philadelphia and the southwest.

Arizona and Las Vegas have been particularly loud as of late about their intentions; just today
this article came out of Tuscon about how people there seem to think that a soccer team would do just swell there, what with all the Hispanic people there and you know they just go crazy for that game and will shell out for any old product that you'd put on the field, right?

Wrong you sun burnt jackass. If that were true then last nights
Copa Panamericana match wouldn't have only drawn a few hundred people? Maybe the good people of Arizona don't think Boca Juniors is up to their high standards. Oh well, screw 'em...that's what they get for not celebrating MLK day.

Vegas has had a bit of buzz around it as well and are poised to hold a
match between two Mexican League sides tonight; they seem to be faring a bit better with 6K tickets sold in advance.

It is a shame though that the promoters of these events appear to ignore the non-Hispanic fan. With Spanish only websites and promotion you'd never know any of these events where going on unless you're tied in to the local Hispanic community which is a shame because there are alot of soccer fans who are going to miss some good futbol. And a few promoters who are going to miss out on some money.

7.18.2007

Goldenballs to Get Own TV Show

Do you remember when I said this? It seems that it is now going to happen under the guise of a magazine show and not reality show, but I don't care.....it's going to be must see TV.

You know you're going to watch too. You'll be all caught up in it as the circus rolls into Columbus, goes big time before a packed house in NYC, and jets off to Russia for European Cup qualifiers. Dare I say this will be better than Wife Swap.....pass me the bon-bons.

Quakes Return Confirmed for 08

Read the press release here.

Put a deposit down on your season tickets here.

Relive the glory with a soft rock soundtrack here.

Bryant Gumbel Speaks the Truth!

You probably can't hear it but I am standing in front of my computer clapping. The slow clap. I'm not surprised that Bryant Gumbel is pushing back against the soccer haters, but I certainly wouldn't have predicted it. Preach on my brother, preach on.

7.17.2007

LA v. Tigres So Weird I'm Damn Near Speechless



But not quite. What a random match...I just don't know what to say. I haven't felt so "what the hell was that?" since Twin Peaks was on tv. It's too late and I am too perplexed to write anything that makes sense but here's my quick notes.

-No matter how much things change, things seem to stay the same; there were more people at my prom than were in the stands at kick-off (still think that Beckham buzz will turn into a Galaxy buzz?).

-For some reason it was decided that the team would play the second half in thier new away kits, thus calling for the team to awkwardly gather for the group shot at halftime.

-LA coach Frank Yallop got his excuse to strip Landon Donovan of his captains armband when he threw a hissy fit at the ref (reulting in a yellow card) and slammed the ball into the turf. Donovan then proceeds to waste both a beautiful setup and a chance to redeem himself for his petulant behaviour by missing a net that's as open as Paris Hilton's legs.

-It only got worse; Chris Klein is sent off for getting to the ball before it's intended target; it was a call so bad that when the camera immediately cut to Becks (sitting in a box beside His Ginger Majesty) he was laughing in disbelief. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

-But Goldenballs might be crying himself tonight as his new club got gut-punched 3-0. I'm sad to say it but LA is just playing bad football right now...if they play like they did tonight (and especially if Becks is benched) on Saturday expect Hitler-sized hate for MLS in the Sunday papers from both American old-guard sportswriters and the foreign press.

SI: Back to the Bay Again

It just might be time to dust off the drums in the Bay Area; SI.com is going all in on the return of the San Jose Earthquakes being announced tomorrow. I'll stand by what I said before about holding potential owner Lew Wolff to having a stadium before he has a team, but the idea that this team will be "barnstormers" that play their "home" games at different locations around NorCal is intriguing. Having said that let it be noted that I am the first person to call into question the physical and mental effect being homeless will have on the team.

Now just for shits & giggles who do you think would be the 1st signing for the new SJ side? Should they go big and splash out for a DP like John Terry or get one of the old faves like DeRo back? And bear in mind that Landon Donovan's contract with LA will not be grandfathered in next year and there is no way on AEG's green earth that he is getting a DP slot; how crazy is it to think that he might eat a little crow and go back to the bay? Personally I think he'll make the crosstown switch to Chivas USA before going anywhere else in the U.S.

Heath Pearce Makes German Move

I honestly love it when an unheralded player scraps his way to a better place in the futbol universe a la Jay DeMerit. No disrespect to the fine people of Denmark but let's just say the league is one on of Europe's weakest.

With George Jefferson-esque ambition, Yank defender Heath Pierce is "moving on up to the east side" and has signed with Hansa Rostock of the German Bundesliga. Good on you Heath for going "from ashy to classy".

The Worlds Most Expensive/Loaded Kickabout

Courtesy of Dantat comes this excellent footage of Becks first training day. Thankfully Denzel Washington and his dust-laden weed was no where to be found. The dollar signs popping off of every kick is more spot on than an Escalade full of Dalmatians.

You heard that his ankle is still wonky, right? With so much green (not to mention 19 cameras) tied up in this match, I'd be willing to bet that if he can walk without aid of cane he'll play. Is that the best thing for all involved? Is it worth it to shine so much light and on an injured player for a friendly?

Sponsors will sure as shit say "Yes". But there are two dangers in taking the risk with his diminished playing capacity. One is that he gets really injured and the whole season goes up in smoke; the second is that due to his limited physical abilities MLS newbies will see his debut as the sporting equivalent of Geraldo Rivera's Al Capone's Vault special....there's nothing there

7.16.2007

Chelsea v. Club America Highlights


Club America 1 - 2 Chelsea - SSN
Played at Stanford, Uploaded by FootballHeaven

That Ngwenya Goal



I know this goal is from Thursday which is eons in Internet time, but 2 different people have told me that I need to post this video. 2 other people I know who should have seen it didn't. So if you have seen it, relive the sickness once more. If you haven't seen it, this ankle-braking no-angle goal is the truth.

Joseph Ngwenya may look like Jar Jar Binks but his play is straight up
Queen Amidala; stylish & fine for no reason other than to get your nuts all riled up.

Blog Beckham



I know that a good portion of the people that visit TOR are my fellow bloggers and I'd like to extend a hearty welcome and thanks for stopping by to all. Whether you are a fan, or journalist your work is integral to the spreading of the footballing gospel and I applaud you for your efforts.

I hope that you'll all join me in welcoming a new kid to the blogging block, Mr. Goldenballs. Because "saving" a league, ballin' on red carpets, and having (what I imagine to be) really good sex with Posh is not time consuming enough Becks up and started
a blog on his new website. I wonder if he'll add me to his links?

7.13.2007

Adidas Fanatic Returns To NYC

For the last few years NYC's arty young things have been making the beautiful game ugly while throwing one of the best outdoor parties of the summer. Sponsored by Adidas and held on the plastic pitches atop Hudson River Pier 40, Fanatic VI is a pile-up of footie, beer, BBQ, DJ's, and dudes with ironic mustaches so insanely fun that you'll wonder why the fuck you never heard of it before.

Even in New York it seems like precious few know about this yearly event, but for the young creative class it's fast becoming as much of a summer tradition as being treated for mojito-induced alchohol poisoning.

With teams consisting of players made up from staff/friends of Vice Magazine, Tokion , and Nom de Guerre to name a few, this is definitely only for the sexy people. Or at the very least not for anyone with one of those soccerball magnets on the back of their car.

If I had to put my money on anyone taking the whole thing this year I'd go with Chinatown SC. They seem like the real deal, what with being written up in AdAge earlier in the week. Oh, and they've just issued a press release stating that they've signed Thierry Henry and Iker Casillas.

I think they're lieing, and that you've a better chance of Mr. Miagi suiting up for them but they've even got the photos to prove it.






EDIT: Ben from Evenison has brought it to my attention that the LA sister event, AdiCup is happening this weekend on the left coast (because they can't let NY have all the shine).



RSL Makes Condolence Calls to Fans for Crap Season

Few things are more awkward & uncomfortable than getting a call from a friend that kinda fell off and they try to make good by calling to see how you're doing after they did something lame like "borrowing your car", sleeping with your sister or never repaying the $500 they borrowed in AC that one time. Sometimes it's just best not to bring up old shit.

RSL doesn't feel that way. They've got to go reminding their fans that they are worse than The Bravery's new album by having
Alecko Eskandarian and Mehdi Ballouchy call season ticket holders at home to "thank them for thier support". Which translates to "please don't abandon this sinking ship just yet even though our coach is not a coach, and our best player is about to leave us for Europe".

Juan Pablo Angel Makes The Front Page


JPA balling on the corner of 44th & 8th, NYC this a.m.

Usually reserved for mobsters, indicted political types, and disgraced celebrities the front (and back) page of today's New York Daily News is plastered with the face of JPA. I snapped this photo and the ones below on my way to work this morning (courtesy of Witz's iPhone). Needless to say the sight of an MLS player not married to a Spice Girl on the cover of a major daily in Gotham threw me off just a little bit, resulting in me dropping a golf ball sized dollop of cream cheese on my shoe and not noticing until I was sitting at my desk.

It should be pointed out that this cover is paid advertisement by the club. But what a cockblock from RBNY to get their boy on the cover the day Becks is officially unveiled. Straight fiendish.

LAX-cess: Beckham Arrives to the Circus



It's official. Goldenballs is in country and panties are now soaked from Long Beach to Long Island. If you are a woman, an Anglophile or gay this shit is your Beatles coming to America. LA TV station KCAL has the video of the mobscene at LAX last night.

According to the report they'll even be carrying the press conference live today at 1pm EST. You can also watch it on ESPNNews or on the web at MLSnet.

7.12.2007

In Search of the "Soccer Rocker"



A reader stumbled across this bit of investigative reporting on the breed of mullet known as the "Soccer Rocker" whilst searching for fish recipes (don't ask, I didn't). This excerpt from the highly entertaining and disturbing series "The Mullet Chronicles" focuses on the equally loved and despised "business in the front, party in the back" look favored on the field by so many.

If you watch closely you'll see a cameo by former DC United mullet king, Marco Etcheverry. His locks are just so thick & rich you can't help but wonder how he didn't get the cover of
this book . At the very least he deserves a chapter unto himself.

It's Official: Everyone is High/Delusional in LA



Read that headline while drinking something and try not to spew it out your nose. Impossible. I know it's LA and everyone sprinkles blow on their Corn Flakes in the morning, but fuck me if this international media orgy is their idea of subtlety.

The only thing that can make this coming out party more of a spectacle would be if Beckham crash landed a Lexus helicopter (and they don't even make those) into the press conference, had his jersey presented by the ghost of John F. Kennedy, and rode away on an elephant driven by a top-hatted Alexi Lalas.

MLS Sides Getting Spanked by USL Clubs


As Charleston celebrates, a Dynamo player tries futilely to keep his head from exploding.

I was going to write something about this today but the leprechauns over at the Belfast Telegraph beat me to it.

"Amid all the Hollywood hysteria that attends his presentation at the Home Depot Center tomorrow, consider this - almost 3,000 miles away, on a Virginia student campus, the same players he hopes to inspire were beaten 1-0 by the Richmond Kickers, before a crowd of less than 5,000."

You can read the entire,
typically brutal & British piece here . I wasn't thinking so much about Beckham per se but the glare that he's brought to the league right now; With 3 MLS clubs (Houston, DC United, and LA) getting ousted from Open Cup play by USL sides, what does that say about the quality of the leagues? For the USL this is one of the best things that could happen to them, aside from signing Ronaldinho's secret love child . For MLS, what does it say when the mighty D.C. United is bested by a Harrisburg…a USL 2 team? Or that the defending champion Houston Dynamo got handed a shit sandwich from Charleston? I'm not trying to hate, I'm just saying that these are the the things that don't need to happen if MLS is to lose the perception that it is a "Mickey Mouse league" (and I won't even broach the topic of football lines in New York, New England and KC for nationally televised games).

Also of note is the fact that Richmond played LA at home and drew less than 5K. Sure Beckham isn't with the team yet but this is A) an MLS side that has seen their name in print more in the past 6 months than it has in the past 6 years, and B) still counts the likes of Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones and Abel Xavier amongst it's ranks. Most USL 1 sides can bring that many people in for a league game…shouldn't His Ginger Majesty's "Superclub" outdo that easily?

Becks vs. Optimus Prime



Between this this and Grant Wahl's cover story this week, I think I might have to start reading Sports Illustrated outside of the doctor's office (it's either that or read Highlights).

With all of the moves that the Galaxy have made this season I for one am shocked that they haven't made a move to grab Optimus from Arsenal. LA could use a defender of Prime's size and speed in the back line and he could take advantage of Becks relationship with Tom Cruise to further his acting career. He's not getting any younger...dude needs to this about what he is going to do after his playing days are over.


Attention America: The Invaders are in the Air



Clan Beckham departed from LHR (London Heathrow to the non-passport holders out there) and are on their way to LA LA Land as we speak. Do you think Don Garber let them sit in 1st class or does that give them an unfair comfort advantage over other passengers?

Photo courtesy of the ever irreverent Perez Hilton.com

7.11.2007

Back from Vacation, Back in The 70's

I'm back from the beach. It was new girlfriend-awesome except for an unexpected trip to the local Doctors office. Why was I seeking medical treatment? Because I was bitten on the ankle by some sort of bug that I'm allergic to and my ankle swelled and grew this gumball-sized bag of puss. Seriously, it's like the makeup artist from Sean of the Dead was doodling on my leg. So now I'm on antibiotics for the infection, some topical stuff for the allergic reaction and 'roids (just like baseball players and murderous wrestlers!) to speed the healing process. Fun!

While away I was on full media blackout in regard to footie; no TV, no Internet, no phone calls from anyone who even knows that 4-4-2 is not a locker combination. I DVRed a few games in hopes that I'd show some will power and not find out the scores beforehand; the Red Bull game was somewhat worth the wait, seeing the Fire not win again…not so much.

I'd gotten a few treats in the mail while I was away from Dave Brett, the keeper of all footie video that is holy and related to the NASL. If you haven't seen his website,
check it out. With over 350 NASL matches and hundreds more US Soccer, MLS, and international games (like the BBC's original black & white broadcast of England's World Cup victory at Wembley in '66) it's like the national archive for the American fanatic.

Amongst the DVD treasure's that he sent my way was this New York Cosmos 1977 season highlights special; we've all read
about 1 million times how many people went to those games, but it's still fairly shocking to see 50K-75K in the stands of Giants Stadium to see 2 domestic teams. That was the season that culminated in the team winning the Soccerbowl in Portland (incidentally at the very stadium that might possibly host a MLS expansion club for Rose City).



Dave also reminded me that Clive Toye's book is now available from
Amazon.com. For those of you with a life, Clive was one of the honchos behind the NASL & the Cosmos; some say this book is the "she said" on the story of the league's demise.

And while we are getting all 70's over here, who wants a qualude? I'm kidding. But who wants
super high-quality NASL t-shirts? My boys over at Bumpy Pitch have just done a line of them with some great vintage club logos that are just starting to pop up in boutiques around the country. Me, myself & I are rocking the Atlanta Apollos top.




I think this logo is absolutley brilliant becuase it's kinda abstract in that unless you study it for a bit you're not exactly sure what you're looking at. Although it was designed in the 70's it has a look and feel about it very similar to the logos that forward-thinking labels like Bumpy Pitch are putting out on the fronts of shirts these days.

Apparently some people think that it has some hipster quality about it as well; I was at a Bloc Party gig about a month ago and two different people asked me what band that was. You can check out the full range of shirts (and new fitted caps) at www.BumpyPitch.com.

Beckham To Grace the Cover of Sports Illustrated



A non-action shot, the red carpet, the rebranded uniform. In some weird, possibly unintentional way this photo accentuates the one bad thing about the impending media circus surrounding Goldenballs. I mean the guy is here to play soccer right, not just sell tickets and kits (although that is much appreciated)? Regardless, the always awesome Grant Wahl's done a nice, long bit about the circus coming to town.



Not that I have any photo editor credentials but personally I think SI, Brand Beckham, the American soccer fan, and the non-soccer fan would be better served with something screams "player" instead of "poser". Like the classic Wheaties box look: man of action, and a "champion".

Lord knows I am the 1st person to talk about everything but the game; we could talk about John Wolyniec's goal, but his inexplicable "smell my finger" celebration afterwards is equally worthy of my time. But I think that even amongst real live soccer writers what's gotten lost is what the dude brings on the field; leave the runway shit for US Weekly. And me.

7.06.2007

Gone Fishin'

I'm taking a few days off to hit the beach. I won't actually be fishing, but I won't be doing much blogging either. If you haven't taken any summer holidays yet, I advise you all to do it post haste for Mother Nature has become a moody crack-whore and the weather is not nearly as predictable as it once was; summer may not even last until August if Al Gore is right.

But before I have to announce 2 winners in the TOR free stuff giveaway since I didn't do one yesterday. Today's winners are "paulsstanis" and "russcourtney"...send me your addresses and I'll send you something, legal I might add, in the mail when I return from "No Work Land".

ALERT: Tonights US u20's Moved to ESPN

Now that our long national nightmare (i.e. Copa America) is finally over we can fully turn our attention to America's youth (because just like Whitney Houston I believe the children are our future).

After a "stylin'on you"-esque ass whipping over Poland the boys are getting promoted from opening act to headliner so to speak; the carpetbaggers over at ESPN have seen fit to move the match from ESPNU (do you know anyone who actually has this channel?) to
ESPN. Everybody loves a winner don't they?

The feet hit the filed at 7.30pm EST...get stuck in.

7.05.2007

ESPN Plans "Beckham-Cam" for Debut

And that is only the tip of the over-the-top-production iceberg . I'm not sure that 300 had this much going on camera-wise and that movie was insane. The most out there bit in the laundry list of bells & whistles for me is the following:

"Reggie Bush, the New Orleans Saints running back who has teamed up with Beckham in his first major endorsement deal of the summer, will be a guest during the coverage. ESPN will offer further coverage through its broadband service ESPN360 and its Soccernet.com website."

I love me some Reggie Bush but does anyone really need him giving commentary on soccer? Perhaps this is just a continuation of ESPN's new strategy of
uninformed soccer punditry. Strategy or not, if showing up in an advert alongside Goldenballs is enough to get you a gig on ESPN then here's a list of people who are equally (un) qualified for the job that would make for better TV than our Reggie:

Sumo Wrestlers
(Watch)

Sccoby Doo (Watch)

Rugby star Johnny Wilkinson (Watch)

Beyonce (Watch)

A germaphobic child (Watch)

Huns (Watch)

I'll go with the Huns just because they might be able to scare Rob Stone into not getting so damned excited and screaming into the microphone.

MLS All Star Game: First XI Named



Here you go. A pretty solid selection with no huge surprises. Juan Pablo Angel and his golden feet lead the total votes, while the New England Revolution is the best represented club with 3 players. And with Revs skipper Steve Nicol at the helm don't be surprised to see a few more New England players on the bench against Celtic.

Greg Lalas, Shep Messing, and Shep Messing's mustache gave their thoughts on the selection at MLSnet What do you think of the squad? Hit or shit? Let it be known in the comments.

Update: EXTRA TIME! with RAZ DOTI & COBI JONES


A few months back TOR hipped you to a new soccer themed chat show entitled "Extra Time" (not to be confused with Shep Messing's web-only show of the same name on MLSnet.com). With the reel for the show now having made the rounds, it looks like Setanta Sports has come out on the winning end of the list of suitors.

Now known as EXTRA TIME! with RAZ ADOTI & COBI JONES , the LA-based show is slated to debut in September (which is still bikini season in southern California, so hopefully the programming team will see fit that we all benefit from that) on Setanta North America, Setanta Canada, Setanta Australia, and Setanta Ireland, giving them access to over 30 million viewers. That's like everyone that every watched FC FOX, The Game of Their Lives, and The Football Factory combined. And tripled.

No firm air date has been set yet but you'll know something as soon as I know something. Word is that there will be a kickoff party for the show at The Home Depot Center around the time of the shows debut featuring Cobi Jones, (the show's producer & co-host), David Beckham and various other members of the American soccerati. Hell, if this Chiva girl is there I might have to make a rare Left Coast appearance (I've got warrants out on me there) my damn self.

You may not have the juice to gain access to an event that's as baller as this but I do. Subscribe to The Offside Rules and you could win 2 tickets to the party in LA. But I'm not flying anyone anywhere so you hopefully live west of the 215 or you're sleeping with an airline employee.