Sunday, March 18, 2007

US Soccer Update - 3/17/07

CONCACAF Semifinals Leg 1
Dynamo sizzle while United fizzle in leg one of the CONCACAF Champions cup. The Dynamo took full advantage of their home field advantage, tallying a 2-0 victory over Pachuca. The game was nearly 3-0 when Alejandro Moreno enacted his patented sitter miss. That may be a bit harsh, but a third goal was there for the taking. Mr. Clutch, Brian Ching (the guy who sat on the bench in favor of Ben Olsen in Germany while the US desperately needed a goal last summer) headed home the game winner during the mid second half. The Dynamo were very impressive throughout second half stringing passes together and looking very sharp. The insertion of subs Dwayne Derosario and Chris Wondolowski paid near instant dividends as DeRo’s clairvoyant pass into open space was met by a streaking Brad Davis who promptly centered to Wondo for the spectacular capper. It looks like Dom Kinnear has smacked the innocence out of Kelly Grey, because he is playing with a very nasty edge to his game these days. Aside from the scoreline, the biggest shocker of this match was the near absence of Pachuca fans! The same was not true for DC United as 15,000+ east coast Chivas supporters helped turn RFK into friendly territory for the visitors. While Mexican fans dominated the crowd, the DC fans were very loud and it resulted in a great atmosphere in terrible weather. I don’t understand why MLS teams in the CONCACAF tournament don't tie early season ticket subscriptions to free Champions Cup tickets. Chivas dominated the entire match and deserved their go-ahead goal from Omar Bravo, United suffered some bad luck in that it was deflected past 2006 MLS Keeper of the Year, Troy Perkins by defender Bryan Namoff. The situation was desperate when MLS 2007 Newcomer of the Year runner-up Luciano Emilio tied the match in the 91st minute off a header. The goal salvages some hope for United, however, they now have to get a positive result on Mexican soil to advance, a feat that has never been accomplished by a MLS side. Overall some very good results for the MLS teams considering that they are still in preseason. These matches will really raise both teams mentally above their competition from the onset of the MLS season.

RBNY Loses $14M in Year One
The kicking soft drink team amid high hopes and much pizzaz dropped $14 million into a hole in year one. Disclosed by Ives Galarcep on, the article states that a combination of poor opening day attendance and inexperience in the Managing Director spot led to an abysimal year that has left the team’s 2008 TV contract hanging in the balance. Despite the Arena hire, the Reyna pick-up and an overall stronger team in 2008, marketing in the NY/NJ area has been noticably absent. Are RBNY waiting out the new stadium? Is there true confusion amid the team ownership? How is this going down with MLS HQ and Donny? While $14m may be a drop in the bucket to the RB promotion department, are they seeing any sort of return on their investment? They should feel lucky that no one pays attention or the team might be causing damage to the brand!

Blanco Chicago Bound?
Papers are buzzing with the possibility of the Fire signing Mexican National Team star Cuauhtemoc Blanco. I am no Blanco fan, but I am becoming interested in seeing him on the field with Rolfe, Mapp and Thiago. That might be the most creative line-up the Fire have ever fielded. I can’t see Blanco coming to the US and dogging it. He might be frustrated by MLS defenses the way some of the other El Tri stars have been, but I just don’t think he is the type of guy to turn his competitiveness off, similar to Stoitichkov. I think the biggest downside to this whole transaction is the release of Tony Sanneh to make way for a signing. Anyone trying to convince themselves that the Fire would have won the USOC or been part of the MLS Playoffs without him is loco! Look what is left in defense, first full year keeper Pickens guiding a clearly aging Brown, off an injury Curtain, inconsistent Segares and Robinson. There is no "rock" in this D in the back.

Toronto Sells Out
Prior to setting foot on the pitch in real competition, Toronto FC has sold 14,000 regular season tickets. You are allowed to drop your jaw! From day one this franchise will not only play in its own facuilty, have some of the best press in the league, field a very competent looking team (on paper), but TFC will play to near sell outs for the majority of the year! This is further proof that MLS is being treated as major league all its new markets it heads into (Toronto, Houston, Salt Lake). This is also testament to the power of a stong organization backing the club. I’m already excited to take my first road trip there.

Bradley Names New Camp Invitees
Apparently BB the King has been listening to all the chatter, because the Euro’s are on their way! Among the fresh faces in the national team camp congregating for the March 25th and March 28th matches are first time invitees Watford’s Jay DeMeritt, Sheffield Wednesday’s Frankie Simek and Hamburger’s Benny Feilhaber. Jimmy Conrad is the lone MLS defender on the squad. As Euro dominated the defense is, the attackers are all MLS based with Kenny Cooper, Chris Rolfe and Eddie Johnson under the microscope. Landon Donovan, Oguchi Onyewu and Kasey Keller help bring this side the closest to a first team that we’ve witnessed under the reign of Bradley. I think BB’s doing a great job of getting looks at players that are deserving, not just "his guys". A welcome departure from the prior era where just about every eligible player from Il Bruces United tenure got at least a token cap.

The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis

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