Friday, November 21, 2008

I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor News

MLS commissioner Don Garber will speak at the Commissioner's meeting tonight at 6 p.m. central time. Nothing earth shattering is expected, like expansion, but he might talk about roster expansion, the salary cap, developmental players and the future of reserve teams. Soccer America has some ideas. Stay tuned.

For those wondering what the rosters might look like next season, Steven Goff of the Soccer Insider reports that teams might have 24-man rosters with 20 senior players next year, as opposed to the 28-man rosters with 18 senior players that we saw this year.

Jurgen Klinsmann is in already in talks with MLS to extend Landon Donovan's loan move to Bayern Munich. See below. 

Miami Soccer Fan has an interview with potential FCB Miami owner Marcelo Claure that answers just about any question you have about the Miami bid. Claure says he wants his team to start in 2010, and that they will not negotiate. Is Miami going to try to push Philadelphia back to 2011?

Where Are You?

And now, the introduction.

I first met Bruce in the summer of 2007. Our USL team, the Minnesota Thunder, was announcing the Copa Minnesota, an upcoming game between the Galaxy and a “top international opponent” to be named later. I was the no-name reporter and Bruce was the big red-haired guy getting star treatment.

Nonetheless, Bruce gave me his business card, I quickly became a fanatico, the Galaxy ended up playing the Thunder in Copa Minnesota, and Bruce gave me the honor of updating du Nord while he is on the road to MLS Cup 2008. We've still never met in person since that fateful morning at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Anyway, my name is Chrös McDougall, and I am/(was) a newspaper reporter — I covered soccer for the AP bureau in London for four months in 2007 and just got back from the Olympics, among other things — but now I'm doing some freelancing while figuring out where the journalism industry is going. If you have any tips or want to reach me for any reason, please hit me up at

Enjoy du Nord!

MLS Cup 2008

Match & Score:
-Sun Nov 23
Columbus Crew v Red Bull New York
2:30p.m. central time on ABC
Venue: Home Depot Center, Carson CA
Match Preview: Beau Dure of USA Today
MLS Cup Moments and History (video): Soccernet
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bruce, aka du Nord, is on his way to L.A. for the game. See if you can find him there!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Official Watch Parties:
The Red Bulls will hold their official viewing party at Nevada Smiths, located on 3rd Avenue between 11th and 12th Steets in Manhattan on Sunday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET). From Big Apple Soccer.

Studio 35 Cinema and Draft House in Clintonville will have a viewing party for Sunday's game. Doors open at 2:30 and admission is free, from the Columbus Dispatch.

E-mail me at and I can update this with more watch parties in your city.

MLS News

Columbus Crew
Alejandro Moreno was called up to Venezuela's roster for a friendly this week, but he elected to stay in Columbus instead. In a text message to Columbus Dispatch reporter Shawn Mitchell, Moreno wrote: "I was called in, but now I must be with the Black and Gold."

Steve Davis of Soccernet says that even after the dream season in Columbus, coach Sigi Schmid might not be back next year. Is he heading to Seattle next year?

Have you ever wondered what it's like to go to Columbus Crew game? Columbus Live with an awesome video following the gameday experience at Crew Stadium. It's stuff like this that really shows you how cool this league can be.

The Crew is expecting between 750 and 1,000 fans will make the trip to the Home Depot Center this weekend, Steven Goff at the Soccer Insider reports.

More on Guillermo Barros Schelotto's MVP award from Shawn Mitchell at the Columbus Dispatch.

Red Bull New York
The Red Bulls landed in L.A. on Thursday night and practices for the first time on Friday morning, Big Apple Soccer reports. They had some weather issues and had to delay in Oklahoma.

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated talks about the ineptitude of the Red Bulls since their existence, and where they are this weekend.

Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger on Red Bulls goalie Danny Cepero, who came out of nowhere to anchor the the team through the playoffs. The 23-year-old is also a night-student at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school. He was also paid $12,900 this season.

The Five Cs of Cepero? Cool, calm, collected, committed and confident, Michael Lewis at Big Apple Soccer writes.

Frank Della Femina of the Newark Star-Ledger says Sunday's game will be offense vs. defense, as the Crew's second ranked offense faces off against the Red Bull's red-hot defense.

The Target Man of points out the irony of the biggest, most intimidating city having the perennial underdog, cinderella club, but says the Red Bulls have finally made it.

Former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore is humble as always when talking about his old team. Soccer by Ives correspondent Sulaiman Folarin caught up with him after the World Cup qualifier earlier this week.


Chicago Fire
Cuauhtemoc Blanco is returning to Mexico to play for Santos Laguna during the MLS offseason. Details of the loan were not disclosed but Blanco is expected to be back by the start of the 2009 season.

Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune breaks down what this loan might bring on his blog, The Red Card.

Also from Arroyave: "According to Illinois-Chicago coach John Trask, junior midfielder Baggio Husidic and junior goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja could be offered Generation adidas contracts before January's MLS SuperDraft." No further details, really.

FC Dallas
Ives at Soccer by Ives reports that Eintracht Frankfurt of the Bundesliga was one of many European clubs with scouts watching Kenny Cooper at the World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. Cooper has one year left on his contract, but Ives says the negotiations for an extension are stalled.

Houston Dynamo
Sylvia R. Garcia, one of the commissioners making life hard for the Dynamo's stadium effort, finally got back to me:

Thank you for your recent e-mail about proposals for a new stadium for the Houston Dynamo. I will continue to listen to the taxpayers while doing my due diligence and assess what is best for Harris County taxpayers post-Ike and in consideration of our current economic climate.

She'll get back to you too, but only if you e-mail her and *politely* explain why the Dynamo need the stadium. Her address is:

Kansas City Wizards
Nothing new, just more details on the plans for an 18,500-seat stadium that the Wizards hope to open late in the 2010 season. You'd have to be a KC politics enthusiast to unwind the specific details, but basically the city voted yesterday to give some tax money to build a stadium and some other things south of Kansas City at the site of the old Bannister Mall. This is from the KC Star.

Some people might look at this and scoff, thinking Bridgeview, Ill., and Commerce City, Colo., all over again. In the case of Kansas City, I must say this will probably be OK. I've never lived there, but having been there many times I can say that the Chiefs and Royals play well outside of Kansas City and do fine. The only downtown sports venue is the Sprint Center, a basketball/hockey arena with no anchor tenant.

Midwestern sports fans, used to our generally terrible public transit, are used to driving and parking for sports. In the case of KC and STL, I think both stadium plans are close enough to the cities that it won't turn into another Rapids situation. That's just my two cents.

UPDATE: Just got an e-mail from Wizards Press Officer Kyle Rogers who said: "Our stadium will actually be in Kansas City, Missouri, itself. The location is only about 8 minutes from downtown and has 1.2 million people within a 20-minute drive of the site." That should answer some questions.

LA Galaxy
Jurgen Klinsmann hopes Donovan extends the loan, courtesy of Soccernet.

Coach Bruce Arena just returned from a scouting trip to Jamaica, where he watched the qualifier between Jamaica and Canada.

Ives Galarcep of Soccernet says Landon Donovan is "Finally ready for the challenge of Europe."

Does anybody else think the Galaxy are making another mistake in how they deal with Landon Donovan? It's great for Donovan, but what if he doesn't come back? Unless the Galaxy know 100 percent that Donovan will be back, it should have just sold him outright and used the entire offseason to replace him.

That said, when Donovan eventually does want to stay at Munich, who does the Galaxy get to replace him? Knowing the Gals, they'd want a big name. Riquelme, Veron, Davids, Borgetti? What do you think.

A guy named Dilbeck starts a column on the Daily Breeze with, "The David Beckham experiment has been a failure." It's no different than any other column with the same theme, so if you really want to see it you can search for it.

Real Salt Lake
For all the talk of RSL having more exposure then most teams due to Salt Lake City's lack of pro sports teams, it reminds you that we still have a long way to go when you see the Desert News buries RSL news behind the Jazz, BYU, U of Utah, Utah State, Weber State and Southern Utah University on its website. I guess they're not the second most important team in that city after all.

San Jose Earthquakes
Owner Leo Wolff again shows a more reasonable outlook than most. The Mercury News reports that he is looking to build a 15,000-seat stadium that can be expanded to 18,000 for big games, and estimates a rather moderate $40-60M price tag.

"If a game commands 50,000, we could go elsewhere,'' said Wolff, citing Stanford Stadium, Candlestick Park or the Oakland Coliseum. "But we can't build a stadium for one game.''

As much as I am an optimist for MLS and would love to see a bunch of Home Depot Centers around the league, it really doesn't make sense to blow the bank and build a big stadium in a city like San Jose right now. Create some atmosphere, then some demand for tickets. See what happens. Good job here, Lew.

Grahame L. Jones of the LA Times writes about MLS players — namely David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Cuauhtemoc Blanco — going on loan during the MLS offseason.

In case you were wondering what English teams the member's of Coldplay support, Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad, via the Hillcrest Road blog lets us know: Chris supports Exeter City, Will likes Southampton while guitarist Johnny Buckland bleeds for San Jose Earthquakes' partner club Tottenham. Conrad was one of fifteen Wizards players who backstage at a recent concert.

Anybody want to update the Wikipedia for these clubs?

MLS Expansion
Steven Goff from the Soccer Insider reports that Miami, Portland, Vancouver and Ottawa will make presentations to the league's board of governors Friday, but says St. Louis, Montreal and Atlanta are in regular contact with MLS too.


With all of this talk about expansion, especially with Barcelona’s bid to Miami, I’d like to share this anecdote.

I spent this summer in Beijing, touring the city and then working at the Olympics. One of my coworkers, Carlyle, was from Mumbai, but he came out to dinner one night in his authentic navy blue Los Angeles Galaxy jersey. Of course it had David Beckham’s name on the back. You can also go to markets in China and buy counterfeit everything, including soccer jerseys. Among the Arsenal, Milan and Real Madrid jerseys, you could also buy L.A. Galaxy and Chicago Fire jerseys.

Isn’t this the direction that MLS should be shooting for? Not the black market part, but expanding its OWN image and brand, not Barcelona’s?

George Tanner at the Rocky Mountain News' FC Rocky blog says the crowd that actually showed up for the Yanks game on Wednesday was fantastic.

MLS commissioner Don Garber tells a bunch of USC students that the USMNT can't compete the world's best teams in the World Cup. He also didn't know how many teams are in Interliga or understand Mexico's relegation system. Thanks to Nick Green at his 100 Percent Soccer blog.

Maradona Mania
Diego Maradona says his daughter Giannina was released Thursday from a Madrid hospital, where she was admitted after complaining of pregnancy pains.

OK, I guess that's a bit of a stretch.

William Gallas has been stripped of his Arsenal captaincy by manager Arsene Wenger after making public comments about his teammates. He will also be out of this weekend's game at Manchester City.

Steven Gerrard is out for Liverpool against Fulham this weekend due to a groin injury.

Manchester United could be with out Dimitar Berbatov, Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney against Aston Villa this weekend.

Juventus announced plans for a new stadium on the site of Stadio Delle Alpi to open in May 2011. It will seat 40,000 and thankfully not have a running track. Juve has been playing in the 25,442-seat Stadio Olimpico for the past two and a half years. From AP via New York Post.

The Celtic fan who ran across the field during Celtic's Champions League game with Manchester United on Nov. 5 was sent to jail for five months and is banned from matches for five years.

Big Matches This Weekend

Inter Milan vs. Juventus
Former Chelsea bosses Jose Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri face off in a battle of 1 vs. 3 in Serie A.

Manchester City vs. Arsenal
Can Man City live up to the hype and severely hurt Arsenal's hopes for Premier League silverware this year?

Aston Villa vs. Manchester United
Villa, the biggest threat to break into the Big Four this season tries to knock off United, one week after defeating Arsenal.

AZ Alkmaar vs. Ajax
No. 4 vs. No. 1 in the Eredivisie are separated by two points.

PSG vs. Lyon
I don't know much about the French league, but this seems like the most interesting match.

Sevilla vs. Valencia
La Liga's No. 5 vs. No. 3; separated by three points.

Melbourne Victory 2 - 1 Central Coast Mariners
The A-League's 1-2 already met, thanks to the time difference.

Cruzeiro vs. Flamengo
No. 4 vs. No. 3 in a late-season clash

I just wanted to point out that after 14 games, Celtic is four points ahead of Rangers and 14 points ahead of third place Hearts. Is there even a point?

World Cup 2010 in South Africa
The South African government has already had to add an extra $136M for stadium construction, and the South African Rand has already fallen about 30 percent against the dollar in recent weeks. Will the economic crisis affect the next World Cup? From AP via Fox Soccer.

Last Word
Finally, as the MLS season comes to a close, I've got to give my recommendations for the "best in the business."

First, we have the trifecta of Soccer by Ives, the Soccer Insider and The Red Card. Ives keeps you updated on all of the big topics during the day with special insight on the New York Red Bulls. Steven Goff, the Insiderfrom the Washington Post, doesn't have quite as much to say, but everything he says is gold, and it's often the first time it's reported. Then Luis Arroyave, the Chicago Tribune soccer reporter and writer of The Red Card, who is the next generation of soccer reporters in this country: he is young, funny, and good. You can really tell that he connects with the players on a level that other reporters don't.

Also, as the MLS season ends and the attention turns to the American's abroad, don't forget to check out Greg Seltzer at No Short Corners and on Soccer365. Seltzer is an American living in Holland and he's got the best contacts for news about every American abroad, not just Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.

Of course this is after you check out du Nord!

Thanks for letting me fill in, Brucio!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Chros! I particularly enjoyed your opinion paragraphs. Bruce will be proud!

4:45 PM  

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