23 November, 2012

Shell Game

In the past week, DiMatteo was let go and replaced by Rafa Benitez as Chelsea's head coach, but now...

In the past 12 hrs, QPR has announced Hughes is out, and rumor has it Arry "Ain't no F'n Wheeler Dealer" Redknapp has agreed terms to take over.

But that's not all.

Brazil, just a few minutes ago, has announced that the Menezes experiment for Brazil is done.  Menezes spent about 2yrs in charge of Brazil after a successful but uninspiring run by defensive minded Dunga.

No replacement for Menezes has been announced, but Brazil is saying a replacement will be official in January.

3rd Time's a Charm, right?

So the last time they tried this... Okay, the last two times they tried this... Okay, the last, well, you get the idea, but after two previous failed attempts at getting women's soccer off the ground here, USSoccer is giving it another go.

The first time we saw this was in the wake of the USWNT winning a world cup.  Teams started going bankrupt within months of starting the team and when the fans didn't turn out in droves, they went under.  The second time, several poorly run clubs, most notably, MagicJack Miami and their whiny and plotting owner, Dan Barislow, decided to one up the league and besides telling the players to bring band-aids to matchs in case they got injuries, he tried to sue the league because they were mean to him.  All this second attempt was as the league had dwindled from 10 teams in the first season to 5 in the second. 

Not really an ideal business model, eh?

Well, now, USSoccer is going to step in and try to at least run, if not heavily influence the league.  Now, we've seen this before with MLS.  It took a while to get off the ground and admittedly, it took several years for clubs to start turning profits, but conceivably, if they are playing in towns with established MLS clubs, the fan base should be available to them, and the lower costs of renting stadium space should be there as well, so it COULD work.

This time around, it is going to be 8 teams, Chicago, Seattle, DC, Boston, KC, New Jersey, Portland and Western NY (what, are they going to be playing in Ithaca or something?). 

Now, here's the interesting part. 

USSF, the FMF (Mexico's football federation), and the CSA (Canadian Soccer Assoc.) are all going to subsidize several of their own NT players to play in this league.  The US will subsidize up to 24 NT members, Canada up to 16 and Mexico up to 12. 

This'll be pretty similar to the MLS foreign player subsidation where some of the foreign player salaries were paid for by the league to help them bring in bigger name talents to play and hopefully draw in a larger native fan base.

So will this third time be the charm?  Well, get back to us in two seasons.  That's how long both the WPS and the WUSA took before they both collapsed.

Photo: USSoccer

19 November, 2012

Galaxy, Dynamo Rematch in MLS Final

The MLS final will be exactly the same as it was last year, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. It is a strange coincidence, since the Galaxy were the #4 team in the West and the Dynamo were the #5 team in the East.

The Galaxy took an insurmountable 3-0 aggregate lead (on the strength of yet another two-goal performance by Robbie Keane) into tonight's match at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, and then, if the ball had bounced their way, Seattle could have won 3-0 today. But they didn't. Eddie Johnson scored for Seattle in the 11th minute, but the linesman (incorrectly) ruled him offsides and the goal was disallowed. Then Eddie Johnson scored his second goal of the game, but the first that counted, one minute later to put Seattle ahead 1-0. Seattle dominated the match, forcing LA keeper Josh Saunders to make what turned out to be game-saving saves in the 16th and 32nd minutes. Then, just before halftime, Sounders defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado of Colombia blocked a Mike Magee shot with his hand, but the referee chose not to call the handball. Keep that in mind; the Galaxy get the next close one.

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