Archive for June, 2007

A Two-Question Quiz

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

For those of you kvetching about the US’ choice to send younger players to Copa America, and the resulting 4-1 loss to Argentina on Thursday night:

1) The US’ participation in Copa America is for which reason?
(a) To make you feel better about yourself as a fan.
(b) To prepare the US National Team to play better in qualification for and participation in the 2010 World Cup.

(Hint: it’s not (a))

2) Which of these two people do you think knows better what it will take to make the most of the Copa America experience?
(a) You
(b) Bob Bradley

Here endeth the lesson.

Trust Me, Yours Isn’t That Impressive

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Locker room interviewThis is all kinds of ludicrous.

I’ll only deal with two specific kinds of ludicrous, but it’s all kinds.

First – the question of whether or not female reporters “belong” in male sports locker rooms isn’t even really a question. If it is, it was answered more than thirty years ago. I thought we were past that by now. Every reporter gets the benefits afforded him or her by the media policy of the league in question; if the WNBA says I can’t go in their locker rooms and neither can any other reporter, I’m totally fine with that. MLS says Andrea Canales and everybody else can go into their locker rooms at certain times before and after the match, and I’m fine with that, too.

But it’s a league policy. Marcos Gonzalez can’t take it upon himself to institute his own policy, regardless of whether it’s culturally-based or religious-based, or for whatever reason. He just can’t.

Let me just digress here for a second to hip you to two facts: (more…)

Four for the Show?

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

I’m told there are four candidates to replaced the deposed Dave Sarachan as head coach of the Chicago Fire:

  • Chicago legend Frank Klopas, who compiled a two-year head coaching record of 31-40 with the MISL’s Chicago Storm;
  • New England assistant Paul Mariner, who is in his fourth season as a Revs’ assistant and previously was a head coach in the old APSL with Albany and San Francisco Bay;
  • Current interim coach Denis Hamlett, a 10-year veteran of the organization; and
  • Juan Carlos Osorio, who led Millionaros of Bogota to 4th place in the Colombian league’s most recent tournament/league thing (it’s confusing).

My man Luis Arroyave reports that club president John Guppy said the ability to speak Spanish would be “important, but not essential” in a new head coach, which would tend to narrow it down to Osorio and Hamlett. If the Fire really wants to make a decision quickly, that tells me they’ve had a guy targeted and Hamlett’s interim stint really isn’t going to get a chance to impact his candidacy.

Comedy Gold

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Okay, Canada got hosed. That wasn’t offside.

The US and Mexico play in Sunday’s final, which is what CONCACAF wanted, obviously.

Style Points

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

The US Women’s National team unveiled the new uniforms they’ll wear in the upcoming Women’s World Cup today. They’re gold and quite sharp.

I haven’t put a picture of the actual gold jersey here, because that would mean I couldn’t run the photo of Hope Solo that does appear here, and if you know me, you know that’s not an option.

Anyway, the jerseys are nice and a departure from the usual US team wear. You can check them out here or wait until Saturday, when they’ll wear them against Brazil in a friendly (5pm ET, ESPN2 and Galavision).

Okay, Back To Soccer

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

New Jersey Ironmen logoThe Major Indoor Soccer League‘s newest team is the New Jersey Ironmen, a club that’s been “in the forge,” so to speak, since May 4, 2004, when the expansion franchise was first announced. They finally unveiled their name, logo, head coach and other stuff today.

Oh, and they also did the obligatory “I’m pretty sure we’re going to average at least this much in attendance” thing that all new team honchos do at launch:

(Owner Jeff) Vanderbeek said he is “willing to bet” the Ironmen will average 5,000 or more in attendance their first season.

I’m willing to bet they won’t.

And with the ability of the arena to lower operating costs by turning off lights and turning down the heat in the upper decks on nights the Ironmen play, he said the team could break even by averaging as few as 3,800 per game.

That’s good. Better plan on that, then.

MISL teams average between 5,200 and 5,300 per game, leaguewide, according to the league commissioner, Steve Ryan.

Steve Ryan’s not telling the truth. The actual numbers from the 2006-2007 season:

Team Average
Baltimore 7,448
Philadelphia 6,551
Milwaukee 4,618
California 3,612
Detroit 3,545
Chicago 2,473
LEAGUE 4,708

Normally I’d say that with a three-and-a-half-year head start, they should do well, but (a) they’ve apparently been futzing around for the last few years and have just now put their actual organization in place, (b) it’s not a real big organization and (c) the years they really need weren’t 2004-2007, they’re 1983-1986, when indoor soccer was actually popular and trendy. Because they can’t go back to the past, I’m not real optimistic about their future.

Not Even Remotely Soccer-Related

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Diet Coke plusThose of you who know me well know that I’m an inveterate Diet Coke drinker (I’m drinking one as I write this, in fact – fourth of the day and it’s not even noon). Well, the Coca-Cola company has introduced something called Diet Coke Plus, which is supposed to be good for you because it’s “a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, and one that delivers on the great taste that they have come to expect from us,” (so sayeth Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Coca-Cola Brands, Coca-Cola North America).

There are two problems with this: one is, like I told the comedian at the strip club, “I’m not here for the jokes.” If I wanted to drink something that was good for me, I’d drink water.

The second problem is this: Diet Coke Plus tastes like dirt.

If Only CJ Baker Had Remained Healthy

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Perhaps Dave Sarachan would still have a job today if his Chicago Fire hadn’t had to deal with so many injuries. Apparently I missed the one to defender CJ Baker, which was so bad that I don’t believe I ever saw him on the field.

Anyway, some day-after links and things:

Now for personal thoughts: I’ll miss Dave. Great guy. Was never anything but completely professional, completely honest, completely cognizant of the job that we as broadcasters have to do. A terrific father and husband and a good friend. I know he was blindsided, but that’s the reality of his business. And, to be honest, mine, too. The day comes for all of us eventually.

So who’ll replace him? Denis Hamlett has the job for now, but I think he’d have to have a heck of a run to get the job full-time. I’m told (and Ives Galarcep was, too, apparently) there’s “no way in hell” it’ll be Peter Nowak (his choice – sorry, Fire fans). Chris Armas isn’t interested and, unlike Jason Kreis, he realizes he’s not ready for that position yet. Nor is Jesse Marsch, who is still playing (and pretty well) for Chivas USA. If Tommy Soehn hadn’t replaced Nowak at DC United, he’d be a viable candidate. I don’t think Frank Klopas wants the aggravation and the uncertainty that comes with being the coach of a club that’s rumored to be up for sale. Jorge Campos? Please.

I just get the feeling it won’t be one of the usual suspects. I think it’ll be someone whose name has yet to come up. But, I could be totally wrong.

Hamlett: “It’s Part Of The Business”

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Dennis Hamlett at Chicago Fire Press Conference
I don’t have time to transcribe it right now, so you can listen to Denis Hamlett’s remarks from today’s press conference here.

Armas: “Dave’s Fault? I Don’t Think So.”

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

CJ Brown and Chris Armas at the Chicago Fire press conference
Veterans CJ Brown (left) and Chris Armas addressed the media after the announcement that the Chicago Fire had relieved head coach Dave Sarachan of his duties. A transcript is after the jump. (more…)