23 November 2011

Philadelphia Union New Kits

Union Release 2012 Kits

Here you are folks - The 2012 Union kit! Thoughts?
White and blue of the away kit looks significantly better than the "natural khaki" and navy of last year's away kit. 

(Bimbo logo still very out of place, but I suppose they love being heckled by it!)

06 August 2011

Montreal Impact Unveil MLS Logo

Well, here it is! The 2012 MLS expansion team Montreal Impact have revealed their new crest. I don't think they deserve to be bumped up to the MLS - Vancouver at least made it to the USL Playoffs last season, but Montreal are content to get a seemingly brand new team. Thoughts?

02 August 2011

NASL Debacle

The biggest injustice in the realm of soccer in this country is that we have the largest youth soccer organization in the world and only 19 top-level MLS teams, 8 2nd tier NASL teams, and 2 divisions of 6 USL-Pro teams (classified as the 3rd tier of professional soccer in this country). Far too few in my mind.

This will change slightly next year, as Montreal Impact will leave the NASL, who will add the San Antonio Scorpions, severely damaging the integrity of the NASL. What does this mean? As of the last round of results in the NASL, Montreal are only on 12 points after 16 games, 3 points above rock-bottom Atlanta Silverbacks. Worse still, Montreal have scored only 14 goals in these 16 games, which is only one more than the Carolina RailHawks have conceded this season (13).

So like many minor league teams in this country, the only incentive to do well is to be spotted by a coach from a major league team. Is this justice for the fans of the RailHawks or the Puerto Rico Islanders, winners of last year's NASL Title?

My hope is that the USSF eventually gets to the stage where there are still tiers separating different quality-level sides, but have 2 16+ team Leagues of the MLS. This would depend entirely upon the level of support of the teams added to the leagues, but like we have seen with varying degrees of success, if you build it (a professional soccer team), they (the fans) will come. The above quote can not be as aptly applied to former Women's Professional Soccer team St. Louis Atletica, however.

29 July 2011

Juventus FC vs. Chivas CD de Guadalajara

Seeing Juventus live without having to travel to Italy was truly awesome. The perhaps more surprising part is that they came to Raleigh, North Carolina to play at North Carolina State's football stadium. This also meant that (and rather embarassingly so) the field was not as wide as a regulation field.

It was purely surreal to be in the presence of Italian World Cup Winners Alessandro Del Piero, Andrea Pirlo, Luca Toni, Giorgio Chiellini, and the legendary Gigi Buffon, who did not actually play. New signing Reto Ziegler started for the Bianconeri and Serbian international Milos Krasic also came on. The wealth of talented players also included Quagliarella and his clinical finish in the 12th minute, after snatching the ball off of a miss clearance from a Chivas defender.

It was also slightly surreal to be in the presence of a completely Chivas audience.

27 July 2011

MLS All-Stars vs. Man United

Before you continue reading, I should warn you that this is not an in depth critique of tactics used by either coaches, or individual player performances, or even what kind of season Man United will have based on the 4-0 score line. This is purely a critique on the critics of the MLS All Stars.

First off, why even have an All Star Game? Logic does not root itself here, but rather the fact that a professional sport cannot be held in America without featuring a mid-season All Star Game. ESPN2 even showed the MLL (Major League Lacrosse, and yes, I abbreviated only for the integrity of the organization) All Star Game, but good luck trying to find any regular season MLL games. The most un-American way to say that an All Star game for MLS is that you don't see European leagues having an All Star Game... And why would you? Players need time off from international friendlies, competitions and ~50 games in a season, with all of the UEFA games and domestic competitions. Coaches need to rotate rosters and even purchase players half way through the season just to make it through without the financial disaster of relegation, or even just not making it into a European competition. The MLS All Star game is doing nothing for the MLS except making it look even more silly to the international soccer/football community.

That being said, I am also tired of American soccer followers both not treating this seriously at all and taking this game too seriously. As confusing as that sounds, I am both frustrated with people lambasting a team of individuals, coached by someone who's never coached them, in a game that doesn't count for anything, trying not to get injured so they can help their club team make the playoffs.

I am also frustrated at those living in America who are not willing to take hold of the game. I understand the teams of the MLS are not the most beautiful, but watch FC Barcelona more than 10 times a year, and even the biggest soccer fans will start to see repetition and yawn at the most tactically gifted team of perhaps all time. I don't say this to slight Barca, but rather tell off those content to look only to Europe for football, and not support the growth of the American game. The MLS has great goals and talented coaches, players, and growing support. We don't have the financial backing of the England and Spanish and don't have the fanaticism of Italy or Germany, but I would say realistically, that the MLS CAN get there someday. We have the right direction, and with a few tweaks our league could even support 2 leagues (West vs. East, or maybe an MLB-like "American/National" League type of thing, similar to Brazilian Serie A or Argentine futbol).

We can be critical of the game here in the US, but we can't be irrational with expectations both in whether we are over- or under-performing.

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