"You heard me, Punchy"

The FC's of Toronto are off on a special "TEAM BUILDING RETREAT" this week, in an effort to help Carlos Ruiz "bond" with his new teammates.

Of course, it would have been even nicer if Carlos had actually shown up when he was supposed to, but apparently he did finally put in an appearance.

The good news for Ruiz is that Carver is taking a DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT APPROACH with the Guatemalan forward than he did with Jeff Cunningham:

"What I'm not going to do is start a war with him"

Well THAT'S certainly good news.

"You can't do that with certain players."

Like, for example, Jeff Cunningham.

"Some players need a cuddle to get the best out of them"

Can someone help me get the picture of John Carver cuddling with Dave Dichio out of my head now? Please?

"This is a guy who you have to show respect to."

So I guess if he misses an open shot he won't find his stuff hanging on a nail by the door?


I've read a lot of comments around the interweb, as well as here on BigSoccer, regarding Hope Solo's performance against Brazil at the Olympics.

The general thrust is demonstrated nicely by this comment which loyal BS member "jeff_adams" posted on my blog a couple days ago:

Bill, it's time to eat crow. Everyone who said Hope couldn't do it was wrong. She stoned shot after shot. We'll never know what might have happened in the WC, but she proved she could come up big against Brazil when needed.

Repeat after me, Ryan was wrong and Solo was right.....

Well, Jeff, I am certainly more than familiar with the savory flavor of a well-prepared platter of crow, but in this case it's a meal I won't be having.

You - and apparently a lot of other people - seem a bit confused as to what the issue was with Miss Solo.

Nobody ever said Solo "couldn't do it". Nobody ever said "Solo sucks". And nobody - absolutely positively NOBODY - ever said Greg "Satan" Ryan was right when he yanked a good keeper with a hot hand in favor of a rusty backup.

It just ain't so.

No one, least of all me, wants to reopen that whole discussion. Really.

But it should be noted that the POINT of it all was that Solo opened her yap at an emotional moment and said some things she shouldn't have.

She then compounded the problem the next day when, instead of saying "Look, I was emotionally blown yesterday and said some things I regret and I'm sorry", she basically defended her indefensible comments.

For the record, Solo is a fine keeper. Not the best ever, but certainly among the best in the world right now. Ryan was just nuts.

The problem was never her talent or her play, the problem was her mouth. Fortunately for everyone - except possibly Ryan - Solo rose to the occasion against Brazil and it speaks volumes about her guts and her character. Good on her.

MLS Underground HAS SOME INTERESTING COMMENTS relative to the stadium security situation in Colorado.

Having watched the Crew, New York and others struggle with similar problems this season, I can relate, and it's high time MLS FO's figured out what the problem is here:

The security people themselves.

You can't hire a bunch of HGH-besotted football players and turn them loose on a crowd of soccer fans and expec anything good to come of it.

For too long MLS teams have farmed out what is essentially a customer relations issue to the same guys you'd hire to throw drunken rednecks or gothed-up meth freaks out of concerts.

It's not a matter of training, it's a matter of approach. These guys know only one response and it involves a headlock, the more the better, and then an evening regaling their pals with tales of hw many asses they kicked that day.

Shoot, these guys would come and do it for nothing.

MLS FO types need to put down the buffet plate, get the hell out of the VIP section and get involved on the supporter level. Meet with responsible supporters group leaders, set up some general guidelines and then let them handle it themselves with a few Cops (who know the difference between some guys horsing around and a genuine threat) lurking in the background.

DC United figured this out years ago, the Crew has just lately come around (better late than never) and it works just fine.

But as long as teams continue to hire a bunch of guys who show up hoping for a physical confrontation, then a physical confrontation is exactly what they're going to get. Guaranteed.