Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is There a Director in the House?

As more and more MLS GM's find themselves spending substantial (and increasingly valuable) time in the development, management, and marketing of new Stadiums, some teams are starting to consider adding a technical director and/or a player personnel director to their staffs to help the GM manage the team and coaching staffs. Currently, DC United is the only team that has such a position. Look for either former coaches, like Alfonso Mondelo or Dave Dir, or former directors of player personnel, like Chris Chamides, to get back in the league in this capacity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Camping with Bruce

The USSF has planned a US Senior camp from January 2nd to February 14th at the Home Depot Center. A friendly at HDC at the end of January is "very likely".

This certainly will begin the final shots those on the bubble will have to make the roster.

Is Bradley the Latest to Catch "Eddie Firmani Disease"?

It appears that the heat on the Metros' coach, Bob Bradley, has turned up. I mentioned that Bob may not be making all of the player decisions these days. Sources around the league confirm that Metros GM, Alexi Lalas, is the one calling around about player moves. As I said back in mid August I thought Bob's seat was the hottest of all the MLS coaches, it is does sound like it is more and more likely he will not be the Metros coach in 2006.

But Bob is well respected in MLS and there is no doubt he will likely have job options. First, is a possible return to Chicago. The Fire's fall out of the Open Cup and .500 record since July 1st now also has Dave Sarachan wondering about his security. Remember, the Fire's new GM is John Guppy who worked under Nick Sakiewicz, that's right, the guy that hired Bradley to the Metros.

The other possibility is that Bradley would be a "slam dunk" if Peter Wilt is successful in his bid to get a MLS team to Milwaukee.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Drama in the Bay

This week some of you may have come across the article in the Mexican paper "Ovaciones" that repeats the Club America claim that they are getting ready to take over the San Jose Earthquakes. According to my sources "close to" the league negotiations, and by "close to" I mean "involved in," the talks are currently stalled. Then again this is not the first time Club America has made such claims. Of course it's also entirely possible that Club American is negotiating directly with AEG and bypassing the MLS offices.

Yet if San Jose is not going somewhere, as the Soccer Silicon Valley people believe, why the hold up out in the Bay? Current Interim President & General Manager Kate McAllister has been interim GM before. It's hard to say if that makes her a legit candidate or not, but she has retained her previous title of Vice President of Business Development. And AEG promised a hire within a month and has not delivered one yet. In addition AEG has never replaced the Quakes' Team Administrator that Lalas took with him to NY, instead he continues to do the admin work for both teams.

So it doesn't matter who you believe really, Club America or the Soccer Silicon Valley people, either way this thing is a mess.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Marc'd Out of

Got a weird one this morning, but it appears Marc Connelly has been dropped by Word is he was not being opinionated enough and didn't throw out enough strong (controversial?) opinions. No word yet on who will be replacing him, or if anyone will for that matter.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Trading Places

The word across the league is that Dallas was trying to unload Ed Johnson on the trade market until yesterday's MRI discovery (in case you missed it Eddie is out again). While Dallas fans were hoping that the Ruiz-Johnson duo could live on forever, that was highly unlikely with Johnson's $800K+ salary and whatever mountain of money it is going to take to resign a rather unsettled Carlos Ruiz. Oddly enough the Metrostars were also looking to unload Amado Guevara. Was there talk of a trade between the two clubs prior to the reoccurrence in Ed's foot bone?

Crew Coaching Countdown

It looks like Coach Warzycha is going to get some more time to hold his job, but he has the proverbial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over his head.... Sigi Schmid is waiting in the wings to take over the position should the Crew's season not improve, it's his job if he so chooses. Word is he will take the spot when The Rifle finally misfires.

Fire Can't Rid Itself Of Tony

Chicago tried to unload Tony Sanneh before today's deadline, but was unable to find anyone silly enough gobble up that big contract and waning desire. The fact his deal is guaranteed at that big number for 2006 I am sure was a deterrent.

The Harvest

Getting word out of my people in LA, that the 2006 MLS combine has been added to the Home Depot Center schedule for January 11-13. Surfs Up!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ed loves Ed Too Much

Has his money bag hit him in the head? Did he drop it on his foot? Or is the pressure of the sudden fame and big dollars given FC Dallas striker Ed Johnson a case of, "Be careful what you wish for"?

Depending on who you believe, the foot injury that kept him out for over two months was either the result of a Pablo Mastroeni tackle (aren't they all?), as Johnson's people claim, or it was the result of a all too familiar Johnson tantrum, where he kicked a water cooler after being subbed out in the following game against Chivas as some inside the Dallas club claim. It is said that Ed's agent blames Dallas' coach, Colin Clarke, for playing him when injured against Chivas, which ended up keeping Ed from playing in crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Johnson's new contract also appears to have had a negative effect on his attitude. The "big man" cockiness that plagued his early days in Dallas are back. With the media he has started referring to himself in third person, and on separate occasions decided to stop talking to certain local soccer writers. Team mates have privately said that practice is better when Johnson is not present and that his contract is not an issue - but his attitude is. He recently has been asked to leave or walked out of practice.

Johnson's on-field play also has returned to less than desirable. He has claimed it is the injury that is keeping him from returning to form. It is not lost on anyone that he appears to not be exerting a lot of effort, but when he found some minutes for Arena against Guatemala last week - the flashy, hard working player magically returned.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Did You Know: New England Stiffed

Most MLS followers know that New England twice gave up on players and shipped them to Dallas back in 1998 when they sent Oscar Pareja to the Burn for Damian, and again in 1999 when the shipped Ariel Graziani for Leonel Alvarez.

But many of you may not know that The Revs lost a talented player to Dallas, through no fault of their own, back in 1997. Alain Sutter was signed by MLS to go play in New England. But after visiting the city, and finding out how cold it got in Boston, his wife balked at moving there. So Sutter asked MLS to send him to a warm weather team: LA, Dallas, or Tampa.

LA and Tampa already had star attacking mids (Cienfuegos and Valderrama) so Sutter was given to Dallas.

Most people still believe Sutter was given to Dallas to replace Leonel Alvarez, who was sold out of the league after the 1996 season, but in reality, Daniel Peinado replaced Leonel. So as much as Dallas fans like to complain about not getting league help, there is at least one example where Dallas actually got the better end of league manipulation, while New England got the raw end of the deal.