As this only applies to the people taking my MCO 465: Sports & Media class online this semester, I’m putting it after the jump.
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The Major Indoor Soccer League Championship will match the Baltimore Blast and Missouri Comets for the second straight year. (The Blast won last year’s series in two games.) Here are the final attendance numbers for the league for the 2013-2014 season:
|St. Louis Ambush||10||56,361||5,636||5,673||7,347||3,247|
|Syracuse Silver Knights||10||28,697||2,870||2,757||3,779||1,989|
- Rochester led the league for the second straight year, and saw an increase of about 16% in its announced average attendance for the year. Their 7,347 average marked the first time a team has cracked the 7,000 average barrier since Baltimore five years ago.
- Baltimore was also up, just over 10%, while the rest of the league was either basically flat (Milwaukee was down 3%, Missouri just over 1%) or saw a big drop off (Syracuse, down 16%). The league itself was up 7% over last year, thanks to a strong showing (third in the league) by the expansion St. Louis Steamers.
- Pennsylvania’s announced 1,549 average (boosted by a crowd of 4,632 for their only win of the season) wasn’t the lowest in recent years, but it was close. Rockford (1,112 in 2009-2010 and 1,242 in 2008-2009), the Chicago Riot (1,083 in their only season of 2010-2011), Chicago Storm (1,530 in 2005-2006) and, of course, the Massachusetts Twisters (459 in 2008-2009) were all worse at the gate. They weren’t all as terrible on the field as the Roar were, though.
As, seemingly, with every indoor offseason, this one will bring change. With renewed rumors of a merger with the PASL, the Milwaukee Wave’s owner being sued (not a problem, she says), no talk of expansion teams and an uncertain future for the MISL-USL relationship, there will be no lack of drama between now and next fall.
For the ninth straight year, I have a Players Ballot vote for the National Soccer Hall of Fame. It’s an honor I take very seriously. Every year I make my selections and rationales public, so I’m going to continue that, but the long post I was going to write just isn’t going to happen.
So after the jump, you’ll find my take on each of the players on this year’s ballot.
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We don’t know exactly when, but Major League Soccer is back in Miami. Just over 12 years after the contraction of MLS’ original South Florida team, the Fusion, the league announced Wednesday morning that its 22nd team, one owned by David Beckham, will join the league….at some point.
No time frame was given, as everything hinges on negotiations for a stadium site (Beckham said during the presser that they won’t be looking for public funding). With Orlando and New York City FC joining in 2015, the league will be at 21 teams. While a symmetrical 22 would be great, it seems highly unlikely for 2015 and more likely for 2016 at the earliest. (Beckham even joked, “Obviously, we can’t build a stadium in two weeks,” even though that’s what Sacramento is apparently planning to do for its USL Pro team.)
Here’s a look at how long MLS’ previous 13 expansion clubs took from their official announcement to their first league match:
|#||Announced||Team||Came From?||1st Game||Days|
|18||3/20/2009||Portland||USL First Division||3/19/2011||729|
|17||3/18/2009||Vancouver||USL First Division||3/19/2011||731|
|15||11/13/2007||Seattle||USL First Division||3/19/2009||492|
|14||7/18/2007||San Jose II||Expansion||4/3/2008||260|
|#Later contracted along with Tampa Bay|
The “from scratch” expansion teams have had an average of about 400 days from announcement to first kick. The “promoted” teams from lower divisions have had about 619 days.
Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez seemed optimistic that negotiations could go fairly quickly (and when you’re not asking for public money, I guess it helps). How quickly, we’ll see. It’s a funny game.
I’m happy for the San Jose Earthquakes that they have a great tradition and have a wonderful new stadium on the way and have passionate fans and a history that goes back to 1974. But my only quibble with the explanation of their new look is in the video they created to explain it, as seen in the still above.
1974 was not “the earliest days of American soccer.” A team that (rightly) touts its own history should have a better handle on the history of the game in this country. We’ve had professional soccer – in one form or another – since as far back as 1894, when the first league, the American League of Professional Football, first kicked a ball. Even though it didn’t last (few have until recently), it’s a history that needs to be remembered and celebrated. Correctly.
I told you last year about possibly-embellished statistical totals in the Major Indoor Soccer League, where players in Chicago and Syracuse were being credited with near-record save numbers and teams were, for some reason, racking up shot totals that were way out of the norm. (Disclaimer: this only matters to people like me, historians who would like some semblance of reality – or, barring that, consistency – with the numbers that go along with our favorite sports.)
After the initial post, a league official said they would have a talk with the stats crews in Syracuse and Chicago. While Syracuse’s totals after that point did come back towards the mean, Chicago’s did not. Chicago has since folded, but Syracuse is back, and back to their old ways. The average number of total shots recorded in games in Syracuse this season is nearly double the average number of shots recorded in games in the other six MISL cities. More after the jump.
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Because I love to cook, and because my last attempt to collate all my recipes into an electronic format resulted in them disappearing into the ether (thanks, Notes App for iPad), I thought I would start putting my favorites on the blog where not only could others enjoy them, but I could make sure they would reside safely and I could refer back to them. Someday I might pull them into a book, and hopefully books still exist when I get around to that.
So we begin with something that is often called Crispy Cheddar Chicken, but which I refer to as Baked Awesome because it is stellar. It’s a chicken dish that isn’t terribly time-consuming but is terrifically tasty.
- 4 large boneless chicken breasts or 2 lbs of chicken tenders
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tubes of Ritz Crackers
- 1/2 cup milk (you can use whole milk, I prefer 2 percent, and I don’t touch skim so I can’t vouch for how that would cook)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
NOTE: If you use large chicken breasts, pound them out a bit if they’re thick. Obviously, if you leave them thick, they’re going to take a bit longer to cook and the other ingredients might not like that. If you go with chicken tenders, they’re already thin, but they may not be as substantial as you might like.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Put the Ritz crackers in a sealable bag and crush them until they are like bread crumbs. Add the salt and the pepper to the bag and shake well.
- If you’re using large chicken breasts, cut them into thirds.
- If you haven’t bought grated cheese, grate it yourself. You want it to be fine enough so it can substantially coat the chicken, but not fine enough that it’s like parmesan.
- Put the cheese in one small bowl, the milk into another and the crushed crackers into a third.
- Dip each piece of chicken first into the milk, then into the cheese (pressing the cheese into the chicken with your fingers so you get a good coating – this is actually the most challenging part of the process), then finish it off by rolling each piece in the cracker crumb mixture.
- Put the chicken into a 9 x 13″, cooking-spray coated pan. (You may want to line it with foil to save clean-up time later, depending on the type of pan you use.)
- Spinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Combine the cream of chicken soup, the sour cream and the butter in a medium sauce pan and whisk until blended.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, remove the foil and bake for another 12-14 minutes or until the edges of the chicken are crispy and golden brown.
- Heat the soup/cream/butter mixture over medium high heat. Ideally, it should reach its optimal temperature just as you take the chicken out of the oven the second time.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, ladle sauce over it and serve.
I like to serve this with brown sugar-glazed carrots (as seen above), but you can add whatever side dish or vegetable you like.
If you’ve been following along, you know the Milwaukee Brewers took a commanding 3-1 lead in my APBA replay of the 1982 World Series by winning Game Four at County Stadium. To find out if the Cardinals sent it back to St. Louis or if the Brewers celebrated with a cold one or two, pick up the story after the jump.
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