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June 19, 2007 at 8:54 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel | 10 Comments

Heels must win. Follow it live at 2 pm.

Meet Butch’s boys. Sean Singletary makes a good decision. The ‘stache will improve. Pierreblog! Yes.




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  1. “The game was not without moments of quality … (but) some of the defending from both sides was the type of stuff you watch through your fingers,” according to The Mirror. “It was the football equivalent of a demolition derby.

    “The use of possession was alarmingly careless and the concept of marking appeared not to have found its way across the Atlantic.”

    Spot. on.

    Bolton and Blackburn may play like thugs but they actually play defense and they each have a vv good striker who actually put the ball in the net (Anelka and McCarthy)


  2. I can certainly understand Lalas and other MLS executive frustrations with the success of English football in the USA. Originally MLS was just stupid and naïve about the potential and base, but since then they’ve been pretty smart. Still a huge amount of kids that play soccer are buying Manchester United jerseys instead of Colorado Rapids jerseys and ESPN pays big money for Euro 08, but won’t show the Gold Cup or Copa America. They’ve figured it out, but rather than accept it Lalas acts silly. I think he’d be better off trying to appeal to the eurosnobs and anglophiles rather than take shots at them. The Americanized marketing comment is the biggest load of shite….The premiership did it by having badass attacking football on a channel nobody had ever heard off (Fox Sports World at the time). I think the grounds, atmosphere, support, history all add a ton to our perceptions of the league, but also it IS better. How much better is a fair question for Lalas and other MLS buffs to ask. Your list of Rovers is right AND wrong. I’d take MGP or McCarthy over almost anybody in MLS (becks is better, landycakes is close), but Tugay, Savage, and Freidel would not be the best player on any MLS team. Also Blackburn is a UEFA team….try looking at Watford and picking 5 players better than anybody on NYRB or DCU. I’d say MLS could play with some of the bottom premiership clubs and could win the championship. Could they play with the big four?….not a chance…but then again neither can Blackburn or West Ham or Fulham or Manchester City or Birmingham or Boro. Still, its all a guess. It is impossible to say how big the gulf in class is…especially for us Eurosnobs who can’t name three players for every MLS side. Tis foolish for Lalas to talk shite, but its foolish for us to too.

  3. FYI Blackburn finished 10th which is why I chose them. No UEFA cup for them this year. (Intertoto?)

    I think you’re selling the middle of the table EPL short which was the point of my (off line) email to you. Those teams can often take games off of the big four — they have trouble with depth and performing at a high level over the 38 game season. (look it the Hammers beat Utd twice – once when it mattered!) In terms of quality I think they are head and shoulders above MLS.

    I think the depth in the EPL falls off around the relegation zone. And I did not pick Watford cos they’re a championship team (although I could make a case for Foster and King being way better than any MLS players). The comparison was with EPL — not Coca Cola. A comparison between Coca Cola and MLS makes sense and would cause a lot more interesing discussion than an EPL v MLS compare.

    Finally although I can’t quantify it (ie please do not send FJM after me) I know you get better by playing better teams. That is, Sheffield Utd is going to be better when having to play a league with better quality — playing teams like Everton and spurs and Villa week in week out versus other teams at their level make them better soccer players and teams over the long run.

    Im still not sure that technically MLS could stay with CC Champ but it would be interesting to watch…anyone want a BigTen ACC type challenge over the Atlantic anytime soon?!? Now that would be good marketing!

  4. also — Freidel would be an all star in MLS — cmon now.

  5. You know what makes you feel old? When someone you went to high school with retires from professional sports:

    I think summer isn’t the best time for futbol. Premier league is what, aug – may? MLS is april- oct?

    A guy I work with asked me if I was gonna be playing one of these 90 degree afternoons, saying it was “soccer weather”. For US folks who mainly have seen World Cup and maybe some MLS, they seem to think it’s a summer sport. But the heat kills the pace of the game a lot. The best weather for futbol is the best weather for football or gridiron or whatever; 50 degrees, overcast.

  6. Rovers were a UEFA Cup side in the season we are talking about….we’ll see if they have Benni and MGP next season.

    Do I think Blackburn or Bolton would win MLS? Sure. I think mid table sides are better than MLS sides, but I’m not sure how much better and I think shite like last season’s Man Citeh would struggle in the states.

    My point remains that its silly for someone who does not watch MLS to evaluate it. Watch a whole season, get to know more than half the players and then you can talk with some authority, otherwise your talking shite just like Lalas is.

    Furthermore, those who watch a top Euro side week in week out are going to percieve a lot of decent football as shite. Pompey-Everton can put on a terrible show just like RSL-LAG can. There are plenty of non verifiable reasons to believe the depth and talent in young nats is closing the once considerbale gap. As that happens MLS should get better and better and better.

  7. Good leagues can have plenty of bad games. That’s just sports to a certain extent.
    The judgment should be how many bad games v how many good games. I don’t watch enough of either league to judge that.

    But EVERY time I’ve tried to watch MLS (and this started way before I became a serious EPL fan) I will tune in for a 5-10 minutes and see:
    a. 4 or 5 bad giveaways in the midfield
    b. shite spacing in the midfield
    c. a couple of bad tackles — not rough just late and meaningless
    d. a really horrible cross
    e. maybe the game being played on turf

    Then I have to turn the channel because I have better things to do with my time. Like nap.

    I think ric’s comment is important — a lot of the spacing and pace is related to the time of the year the season is played. But I can’t get into it. I’ve tried.

    Heck when I watched MLS with Va she commented (unprompted) “they’re not very good”

    Citeh, Charlton, Sheffield, Wigan and Watford would not rule MLS but they would be pretty good.

    My final point defending my lack of watching:
    if the MLS really had EPL level players then they would be bought. It’s a free market out there and there’s a TON of money on the line for the EPL teams — if they thought they could get better (or stay up) through buying MLS players — they would do it. Why aren’t other lower level EPL teams buying, well cos excepting the very cream of the crop (dempsey, mcbride) they’re not good enough.

    PS Citeh is massive and they would rule MLS — with or without the pumped in fan noise.

  8. Fair points. I’m not an avid MLS supporter. The number one problem I have is not talent level, but league format. The euro leagues really have the ‘every game counts’ thing worked out well. You can go undefeated in 30 some MLS matches and then lose in the MLS Cup and get shite….which is not how football should work. This is also something MLS could easily fix. They can’t go out and blow money on Henry, Ett’o, or Sheva yet. They can’t really expect to draw families out in Columbus and New York in December while competing with Ohio St and the Jets/Giants. They could easily have a legit format though.

    I have a soft spot for the league for a couple of reasons. One, it is crucial to the USMNT cause. Remember US soccer in 1995 before the league? Two, I think they’ve been incredibly smart about trying to accomplish the impossible. They were careful not to overexpand, set reasonable goals to get soccer specific stadiums, didn’t overpay over the hill euros that would have flopped, and its quite possible that the league will be profitable by 2010. (only three teams made $ last season) Now the global icon wants to play in the States and the MLS is getting a guy who just led Madrid to a La Liga title. They’ve signed Blanco, Reyna, JP Angel and they might sign a few more ‘names’ to join the league. Still it will be hard for them to win with over us snobs. If Beckham falters we’ll say he was over the hill and bored and a waste of money, if he dominates we’ll take it as sign of the league’s weakness. With MLS we see what we expect to see and that’s not fair. I’m giving it a better shot this year and I think the league’s talent is pretty good and if they’d change the format I think we’d see better stuff.

  9. Talent is better?

    Here’s one thought..Cobi Jones is playing for the Galaxy. COBI JONES FFS!

    (ok cheap shot cos I know LAG suck but wow)

  10. I really don’t think MLS vs. EPL is much of an argument. Since MLS started, I’ve watched the games on tv now and then. Some have been okay, some have been horrible. When I started watching EPL (thanks Dave!), I was immediatly into it. The play is better than the World Cup, which I wouldn’t have assumed at the time. The camera angles are better for some reason. The pace of the game is intense. What I’ve seen of Italian soccer on the other hand hasn’t been that exciting to me.

    I think the EPL needs to prepare for more American fans. They might find it annoying for some yank to show up, cheer for one team, then switch to another, then have his gchat message celebrating their championship for longer than he’s been a fan. But I’m sure they’ll make do.

    On the other hand, the MLS is the best soccer league in the United States. Well, actually I might like NCAA more. But it’s up there. Again, I’m blaming the weather.

    How’d you get to Dave to argue in favor of MLS?

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