Monday, February 5, 2007

US Soccer Update

RSL Stadium Falls Through
Hopefully, this isn’t the type of groundbreaking that Becks will be making in the US!
How can anyone the majority of Utah residents and their legislators to have vision? Look at some cities that play it safe: Cincinnati and Kansas City. Let’s look at cities that have had vision: Cleveland, Indianapolis, Denver. See any difference between the three. The last three used a combination of sports facilities and urban infrastructure investment to completely revamp their dying downtowns. Cincinnati and Kansas City have had opportunities to do the same thing, yet allow their visionary plans to become so tied in legislative red tape that poor decisions were inevitably made and once in a half-century opportunities were squandered.
Overall I though RSL, concert projections were a tad bit high, particularly given the poor concert schedule at Toyota Park in year one (2 concerts with about 20K average). However, that entire complex would have been a boon for Sandy and the entire Valley. Yes, some taxpayer money would have to be spent, but isn’t that contingent on a massive private investment by RSL? A park like this would have been a win-win. Now RSL will be off to St. Louis for 2008 and good! The legislators deserve the loss of the tax dollars that this franchise has raised for them over the past two years. Here’s hoping that RSL makes a deep playoff run and then pulls the plug on the town. Salt Lake deserves nothing less for jerking around a true visionary and chance taker.

RBNY Signs Watterus

I know there are plenty of puns with making a splash and a guy named Watterus, but that would assume that a splash had been made. Certainly the Energy Club upgraded their goalkeeping situation, but I can’t help but be disappointed by the clubs poor initial foray into the big-time transfer market. Reyna and Watterus are guys that could have been signed with or without the Designated Player rule. Plus, does anyone think that Claudio Reyna is worth $1M? With his injury rate, that will work out to be about $250,000 a game. Isn’t that more than Beckham? The whole Arena/Reyna thing has made me sick for the last nine years and anyone that sees this as anything other than a gift from Il Bruce to Captain Worthless needs a wake up call. Moving on, RBNY has one senior international slot and one designated player slot left, let’s see if they can attract anything other than B level talent. Now, it seems that Il Bruce has his sights set on DaMarcus Beasley. This can mean one of three things: 1. Arena is a closed Man City fan and is intent of picking off the whole team one at a time. 2. Arena is looking for a central defender (or right winger). 2. Arena is looking for someone to throw under the bus once the annual tanking of the New York franchise occurs. Let’s hope that Run DMB sends Bruce some of his choice quotes from this past summer in response to the transfer request.

MLS Adopts Qualification System for Open Cup
The rational for this move is to clear up some time on every teams schedule; however, I’m not sure how much time it will free up. It takes one game off the docket for the top three clubs in the divisions, but will add an extra game for the Galaxy and the number of matches will remain the same for the NYRB. On a separate, but related issue, the biggest problem with the US Open Cup is lack of promotion and reward for the participants. One of US Soccer top priorities, other than naming a full-time National Team coach, should be obtaining main sponsorship and expanded television coverage for the Open Cup. The tournament is a big deal in non-MLS cities and certainly there are benefits to offer a main sponsor, such as tournament naming rights, banners, etc. The sponsor money could be used to boost the paltry purse for the final participants. This bounty currently sits at $100,000 for the winner and $50,000 for the runners-up. Broken up between the players that are fielded during the tournament (lets say 20), we are looking at $5,000 per player on average, which in a league where the average salary is between $80,000 and $100,000, is certainly not “bust my ass” money. The thanklessness of becoming an open cup winner certainly doesn’t help either. If there is any country where this format should work well it is the US. This tournament is Hoosiers and Rocky rolled into one. An NCAA style tournament crossed with baseballs hierarchy system! Even better, upsets happen all the time. Lest not forget when an absolutely loaded Fire team dropped a 1-0 decision to Milwaukee Wave United in Beer Town with Pitor Nowak, Carlos Bocanegra, Run DMB and Hristo Stoitchkov on the pitch.

Absurd Foreign Press Story of the Week:
Donovan Quits Galaxy in Response to Beckham Move – London Daily News

Idiot of the Week:
Peter Corroon – Who is looking the gift horse in the mouth? Without RSL, neither the national team nor Real Madrid would spend one day in your city. That is two days without the tax dollars or economic impact generated by 45,000 fans. Nearly 300,000 fans go through RSL gates every year for all competitions. In 2008, it may be zero.

The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis:

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