MLS Champs!!

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I know what your thinking… “Ugh another entry about soccer!? I don’t care about soccer, just get to some talk about games or movies or anything I actually give a damn about.”  Well first of all you should care about soccer for many reasons I won’t go into at this moment and secondly I promise that I’ll try to make this the last post about soccer.  (At least til next season, heh)  Let the soccer speak continue….  After the jump.  And if your gonna read it, prepare yourself, its a long one.

For those of you who hadn’t heard, which if your a member of the soccer community and haven’t heard you should be ashamed, my beloved Columbus Crew won the MLS Cup, the highest honor in the US soccer world, for the first time on Sunday, November 23rd.  Unfortunately the team, like most championship teams, will probably not keep all its members.  In fact the first casualty has already been claimed.  Our up and coming, young gun, attacking midfielder Brad Evans was selected to join the Seattle Sounders in the expansion draft this very afternoon.  The only other members currently in question are unfortunately the most important. Head Coach Sigi Schmid, central defender and Defender of the Year for 08 Chad Marshall and last but not least league MVP and MLS Cup MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto are all out of contract.  Re-signing these three is priority number one, priority number two is re-signing them with salaries that don’t push us over the salary cap which would likely mean we would have to drop the salary of another player or drop someone altogether.

Seattle was able to choose 10 players from the 14 already existing teams.  Each team was able to select 11 players from its roster for selection.  The remaining players would be unprotected and thus available for selection by the Sounders.  Once a player had been taken from a team all others on said team become unavailable.  So 10 players, 14 teams, that leaves 4 teams that caught a break and had no one taken from them.  Here is an article detailing all the players available for selection by Seattle and here is a page detailing the players they selected.

Some good things are happening such as the expansion of the league.  New teams are being added every year for atleast the next three years (Seattle in 2009, Philly in 2010 and two yet to be named franchises in 2011).  Big name players such as Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Juan Pablo Angel, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and, despite me hating him, David Beckham bring with them talent, diversity and of course media exposure.  And as everyone knows media exposure leads to an increase in public interest which can only help to further grow the league by helping to build the fan base.

However I feel some changes should be made in order to help the league move forward….

The playoffs need to be setup in a logical manner, not the bullshit that it is now. If your going to do a two game aggregate series then do it, but do it throughout the tournament.  Don’t do the first round as aggregate and then the second and final rounds as one game knockouts.  Either go all one way or all the other. No more mix and match.   Also, have the damn Cup game somewhere that makes sense.  I understand that MLS thinks the Home Depot center is the fucking Mecca of US soccer, and it some ways it is, but that doesn’t mean every damn Cup has to be played there.  Since it opened, in 2003, there have been 6 Cup matches and 3 of those have been played there.  I think that of the two teams that make it to the final the team with the better regular season record should be rewarded with home field advantage.

I’m not sure how everyone else feels about League Commissioner, Don Garber, but my impressions aren’t favorable.  Perhaps I’m just not getting the full picture but I don’t think the man deserves the job.  First of all he needs some damn public speaking lessons or some sort of help on that front.  On numerous occasions I’ve noticed him tripping over his words, saying things that are blatantly untrue and being unknowledgeable about subjects that are unforgivable considering his position.

One such example was while he was presenting the MLS Cup to the Crew upon their victory over New York.  First of all the man didn’t know the captain of the championship team.  He didn’t know it was Frankie Hejduk and not Schelotto.  No Don we didn’t blindly bow to our DP, who isn’t technically a DP since his salary isn’t high enough, and hand him the captain’s arm band like Chicago did with Blanco and New York did with Angel. We gave it to the man most qualified to be the leader, Hejduk, not our most expensive and therefore “obviously” our most important player.  (I mean, don’t get me wrong Guillermo has what it takes but Frankie has more than earned that arm band.)  Am i wrong for thinking that the Commissioner of the league should at least know who the captain is for the team that not only dominated the regular season but also won the highest honor the country offers for the sport?  And if he is gonna name the wrong man as captain the least he could do is say that man’s name correctly.  Its Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Not Guillermo Barros S. Schelotto.  And the “ll” in Guillermo isn’t pronounced as “L”.  And the “ch” in Schelotto isn’t pronounced as “K”.  (That last bit about pronunciation should be passed along to the morons that MLS gets to call their televised matches as well.)

The last and final thing I believe needs to be changed is the way that the ownership of players and coaches works.  As it currently stands the league owns every player and coach no matter what team they play for.  The problem with this, and I may be straying into the area of conspiracy theories, is that because of this system the league is biased towards certain teams.  Players such as Beckham (LA Galaxy), Blanco and McBride (Chicago Fire) Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno (DC United) and many more seem to carry more importance than slightly lesser known players.  The league also seems to prefer certain teams over others examples being Houston, New York and New England over other smaller franchises such as Colorado, Toronto and even my own Columbus.  There are rumors on the internet, as there are about everything, that the MLS front offices were pissed that Columbus ousted Chicago because they wanted their big name players (Blanco and McBride v Angel) to play for the Cup because they supposedly get more butts in the seats.  Whether or not you choose to believe all that is up to you.  However some people think that the league is going to nonchalantly interfere with the signing of MVP G.B. Schelotto and Coach of the Year Sigi Schmid in an attempt to make sure that the Crew isn’t as successful in 09.  And how do these conspiracy theorists think they will get away with this you ask?  Well they have viable reasons….  They believe the league is mad that Columbus’ rag-tag team did so well while their golden boys all failed and because the league holds the rights for all the players and coaches they have a sway over contract re-negotiations.  Like I said, you choose whether to believe or ignore but whichever way you sway you have to admit, the theorists kind of have a case.

I don’t care what your opinion is on that last topic if you try and say that the league doesn’t suck certain teams balls *cough* Galaxy *cough* your a damn liar.  Its called Major League Soccer, but they tried to turn it into the David Beckham show.  And nothing pleases me more than seeing their gay golden duo of Beckham and Donovan fail to reach the playoffs. (They haven’t made to the playoffssince Becks stepped foot in LA)  Guess next time they have the best coach in American soccer history they won’t fire him for essentially no reason.  But i guess I don’t know as much as the higher-ups at MLS, they really did make the best move by firing Sigi and hiring on people like Alexi Lalas and the 4 coaches they’ve had since Sigi.  Yeah that decision didn’t drive the LA franchise into the ground.  This season Sigi did the one of the biggest “in your face”s ever……

-Z-

Columbus Til I Die

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