Altidore Hits a Hat

US National team absentee Jozy Altidore hit his first goal less than a minute into Villareal's first game today, then bagged two more to complete a hat trick which will undoubtedly earn him some love (and PT) from his new bosses,.

The question of whether this will get him some of the same stuff from Bob Bradley remains to be seen. Coach Bradley is apparently so smitten by the sight of Eddie Johnson lumbering around like a duck that's been whacked on the head that he can't conceive of the idea that maybe he should be looking elsewhere.

One can be hopeful.

Another player who just hit a career milestone is Houston Dynamo forward Kei Kamara.

Kamara has been in MLS for almost four years, and has appeared pretty regularly with three different clubs, but it took until yesterday for him to get his first MLS assist. It apparently felt so good - and certainly so unique - that he went ahead and got another.

I doubt if Guillermo Barros Schelotto has a lot to worry about at the moment, but perhaps becoming a bit less one-dimensional is just what Houston - which by the way somehow managed to play attractive, sharp and professional soccer yesterday despite having three key players missing on international duty - needs him to do for them right now.

Another player who was not off playing for his country and yet was still good enough - incredibly - to provide some serious fan entertainment was Darren Huckerby.

Since virtually the second he arrived in San Jose, the guy has been an absolute monster and has quickly become the face and the focus of a suddenly - shockingly? - very dangerous looking Earthquakes side.

Unbeaten in eight games, and winners of five of those, has them leaping up the Western Conference table like - well, like a team that's grabbed 18 points since June 1.

With Ronnie O'Brien pulling the strings, Huckerby, along with the team's other recent aquisitions, Arturo ALvarez (tell me again why Dallas found him to be excess baggage?) and Scott Sealy (and is there a rule that KC must trade anyone with talent or what) look capable of scoring against anybody.

If they can continue anythin like their recent run of form both Chivas and RSL, who thought they had it made in the shade, may find themselves in a serious fight for that third spot in the West.

Sometimes a team being shorthanded when they have to send some guys off to Quallies means that a kid trying to make a name for himself gets a start he wouldn't have otherwise gotten and provides a game winning goal.

Don't know why that thought came to me regarding Steven King.

I'm not in the mood to comment extensively on just how ludicrous I think THIS ARTICLE IS.

Suffice it to say that if it makes sense to anyone that MLS could continue to be a viable entity if some teams could spend $20 million on players while others could only spend $2.4 million, then they need to be kept away from sharp objects.

Still, I have to say: every single day now I read piece after piece emanating from Canada about how crappy MLS is. But you all know my solution to that problem, so I won't repeat it.

I CAUGHT THIS THE OTHER DAY over at The Offside.

I hadn't realized- or maybe I knew but had forgotten - that NYRB stands to pick up a sack o'money if Michael Bradley gets sold to Borussia Monchengladbach. (And no I'm not looking that up - if I spelled it wrong just keep it to yourself)

Nice to see the league getting some residual gelt out of the deal. This would have to be entirely Ivan Gazidis' doing if I'm not mistaken, and well done.

Good piece by Randall Hall at SOCCER TICKETS ONLINE I'd steal some of his ideas if I was ambitious enough, but I'll just mention that there was a bunch of stuff in there that I didn't know.

DC has only tied two games all season? It's really been ten - now eleven - games since LA won? And Nagamura only has eight yellow cards? For the league's Thug-in-Chief, I would have thought he'd have a lot more. MLS referees are apparently going soft.

FOX SOCCER CHANNEL is taking the plunge and has plunked down $7.5 million to be rated by Nielson.

A lot of people don't know you have to pay them for this but Nielson isn't a public service; channels use the ratings as a basis for pricing ads and if you want to use them you gotta pay up.

Since I doubt FSC would be doing this if they didn't have reason to believe they're garnering the type of rating that make this worth the money, this clearly has to be good news.

And in the One Less Thing to Grumble About Department, Comcast has reached a deal ith Mark Cuban and will henceforth be carrying HDNet.