My Turn

Great, just great.

I start to fret about how I talk too much about my favorite team, then some people - to use the term loosely - jump me for writing "All Canada, All the Time" , and so I swear I'm never going to mention either one of them again as long as I live.

Well, OK, so maybe not that long.

Then, about four hours later, Loney writes a long screed about the Galaxy that touches on, among other things, the general condition of their practice field 1996, Jorge Campos, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Hermosillo and the state of Greg Vanney's health. In 2002.

So if he can chat on about the tacos at the Rose Bowl then, dammit, I'll write what I want.

And since we're mining the past here today, I'd like to hearken back to the 2004 Superdraft.

For those of you who came in late, that was the one where Dallas held the #1 pick but MLS had just signed Freddy Adu on the condition that he was to play in DC so he could still enjoy Mom's home cooking.

So Ivan Gazidis engineered a hijacking - excuse me, I mean a trade - whereby the FC's (nee Burn) got a nice bucket of magic beans and the home version of our game in return for the pick. Thanks for playing.

Now Dallas wasn't all that upset about Adu going to The District - partly because they didn't want to be responsible for tearing the poor young lad away from home and hearth, and secondly because, to be honest, the kid was 14 for cripe's sake.

However, what really frosted their three-alarm chili was that MLS didn't just hand Adu over to United and leave the draft alone, leaving them the - for lack of a better word - "normal" first draft pick.

Because there was this kid who'd just finished his freshman year at Stanford who had, unexpectedly, decided to accept a GenA (nee Nike Pro 40) deal and enter the MLS draft.

Chad Marshall.

Marshall was such a no-brainer that not even noted imbecile Greg Andrulis could miss the fact that he was the guy, and on draft day he managed to stumble to the front of the room with a scrap of paper that had Chad Marshall - undoubtedly misspelled - scrawled on it in crayon.

Dallas was, to use an obvious metaphor, pretty burned. They figured they got screwed twice, and it was hard to argue with them.

(To be fair, Dallas did end up with Ramon Nunez and Clarence Goodson out of the first round. We're not talking immortals here, but they were both nice, serviceable players for a couple of years before departing to Honduras and Norway, respectively)

Meanwhile, Marshall spent his rookie year looking like the next Eddie Pope.

Safely ensconced next to wise old graybeard-cum-mentor Robin Fraser - who is probably one of the four or five best defenders ever to grace a MLS game - he looked like a rising young star.

Two things happened in 2005 that tossed a wrench into the deal; Robin Fraser retired (he's now an assistant at RSL) and Lamar Hunt finally gave in to the pleading and agreed to let his people fire Zippy the Pinhead.

Enter Sigi Schmid.

Now Sigi isn't what one might call warm and cuddly. As a matter of fact, to be honest, most of the guys who play for him really don't like him that much. He can be distant, cold and imperious. And that's on a good day.

In fact, that's the real reason why he got fired in LA; not the lame "he didn't play attractive soccer" baloney that you still hear repeated, that was just cover for the real complaint: the players hated his ass.

I'm not an expert on how it all went down, but as I get it, the sainted Cobi Jones led sort of a lockerrom revolt and went to management with an ultimatum.

However that was, Sigi was out and Clueless Idiot Steve Sampson was in.

So Chad, who was used to having a pal and buddy in the coach's office, suddenly had this guy who frankly, really didn't give a crap whether anybody liked him or not. All he cared about was whether you did what you were told.

And therein was the problem.

Chad's previous instructions, straight from Zippy, were to win headers and otherwise just haul off and kick any ball that came near him as far up the field as possible.

Sigi doesn't see the game that way. He'd prefer, you know, soccer as opposed to kickball.

Chad decided he'd do it his way. Sigi insisted. They fought. Chad pouted. Sigi sat him down for long periods. Hell, his team was losing anyway, what the hell difference did it make?

Eventually, Marshall came around and agreed to give Sigi's way a try.

Anyone who saw the Galaxy game on Saturday saw the results, pirmary among them being Edson Buddle, who now has "Chad Marshall" tatooed on his ass.

To say he owned the box doesn't begin to describe what this kid has turned into. He's a monster, a force, and in a lot of people's opinion - not just mine - he's maybe the best defender in MLS this year and while Schelotto is a gas to watch it's Marshall and Co. in the back winning games for that team.

Of course what this really means is that he'll be gone soon - maybe he and Robbie Rogers can share a plane - but for now it'd be reassuring to the rest of us to see that Bob Bradley is conscious enough to notice.

Tomorrow: Canada: Threat or Menace?