Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The MLS-FMF Club Tournament

As you might have heard, there are plans in 2007 for a Cup tournament between four Major League Soccer teams and four teams from the Mexican league. What I have learned is that, while nothing is ever written in stone, from MLS it will be DC United, LA Galaxy, FC Dallas and Chicago Fire. Representing the Mexican league will be Chivas, Club America, Cruz Azul and Morelia.

The teams will be placed into two groups:
Group A: FCD, LA, Chivas, Cruz Azul
Group B: DC, Chicago, Morelia, Club America

For the debut of the tournament, organizers wanted to have eight teams they felt would draw crowds and interest. After the first year there will be a qualification process, but I do not have those rules at this time.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

MLS' Big D Weekend

As I sit in my hotel this morning of the MLS Cup there is so much going on it is hard to keep up, but I wanted to comment briefly on a few things.

With yesterday's announcement of the "Designated Player Rule" (aka: "The Beckham Rule", which I have been mentioning here for some time was close to happening) it is important to consider its potential ramifications. First, do not get distracted by the glaring hype of David Beckham going to the Galaxy and forget about the other teams. Remember, all the other teams would love to have their own international star. While I have heard some of the names being mentioned, and a few of them are surprising, nothing right now is sure enough to pass along. Also, while several currently high priced MLS players are grandfathered into this rule, that lasts only one year. So, how will LA handle the "Landon Issue" if in fact they do get a shot at signing Beckham? This is where the concerns of multiple team ownership come to the forefront. Who's to say that a group that owns more than one team doesn't trade their DP within their family, therefore stacking a side? Something else that is not clear; if a team trades their DP, do they ever get another?

There is a great vibe here in Dallas/Frisco. The Dallas Morning News has a full page in its two sizable sports sections about the game and the sell out should make for fantastic atmosphere this afternoon.

Which leads me to Pizza Hut Park: Wow, how far this facility has come compared to last year. While it still seems like we are forever away from Dallas, the amount of growth in this northern suburb is shocking. With FCD's success in generating revenue thru tournaments (on the outstanding army of adjacent fields) and multiple sold out concerts, it's clear why MLS considers Pizza Hut Park a model for everyone else. It makes me wonder why I continue to hear that Hunt Sports Group is looking into selling the team.

Timing Is Everything

When it comes to this year's coaching changes in MLS, its all about the timing.

Currently, there are two vacancies, FC Dallas and Kansas City Wizards. DC United assistant Tom Soehn is a leading candidate for both clubs. On a side note, it is also known that former Kansas City Wizards coach Bob Gansler is going to Toronto as Mo Johnston's assistant - so take Bob out of the running for head coaching gigs.

The question of timing comes due to the uncertainty that Peter Nowak will be staying in DC. United would be Soehn's third option and, you'd think, his top choice.

Furthermore, Sigi Schmid and Bob Bradley are the two leading candidates to be first assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann when he takes the US job. So once Klinsmann gets the nod, either Chivas or Columbus will also have a coaching opening.

So which coach ends up where may all depend on the hiring order. Do KC and Dallas hire someone (Soehn) before Nowak leaves? If Nowak leaves first, then Soehn stays in DC and US assistant Curt Onalfo goes to the Wizards. FC Dallas, despite the search for a legitimate Mexican candidate, gets left with either current interim coach Steve Morrow or SMU's Schellas Hyndman. And if Sigi ends up going to the national team, who would then become the Crew's top candidate if both Onalfo and Soehn are both spoken for?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Words

Saint Louis.

Enough said.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mexican Hat Dance

FC Dallas is heating up their coaching search and don't be surprised if at the early stages a well-known Mexican candidate or two makes the list of top ten finalists. One of my Mexican-based sources has told me that Jorge Campos (yes, that Jorge Campos) has had preliminary discussions with the Hoops regarding the open head coach position. Campos is not speaking to them as a candidate, but rather as an agent. Jorge Campos currently represents several active players and coaches, including the Revolution's Jose Manuel Abundis. Campos will be in Frisco for MLS Cup and will take the opportunity to have further discussions with FCD officials. A name that may pop up is Paco Ramirez, LaVolpe's top assistant on the Mexican National team this past World Cup. Ramirez is currently available and is represented by Campos.

Another candidate that will surely surface publicly (as he does whenever there's a coaching change in Dallas) is Hugo Sanchez. But with Sanchez on the brink of landing the head coaching position with the Mexican National team, that possibility seems remote at best. Not that FCD could afford the approximate $1M salary he would command, anyway. In any case, no matter who (or how many) Mexican candidates make it to FCD's ten candidates list, I would be willing to bet that none of them, for a variety of reasons, actually get anywhere close to landing the Hoops coaching gig.