MLS: North by Northwest

Apropos of absolutely nothing: if you're not watching LeBron James every chance you get, you're blowing it. Simply beyond belief.

As for soccer, one of the nice things about being an MLS fan is that the offseason (defined as the period when there's really nothing at all going on besides a bunch of preposterous rumors) is ridiculously short. The teams have to be fairly active in a small window of time, so hard core fans can find something to chat about most of the time.

And on the really slow days there's always boobie-posting. Certainly a win-win right there.

Seattle fans are buzzing of course over the Sigi-Signing, as rightly they should. They're doing a lot of things right out there or, perhaps more correctly, they're doing a lot of things about as well as an expansion team can.

Some of their fans do, however, NEED TO LAY OFF THE KOOL-AID A LITTLE:

Maybe I am arrogant, but the USSF should be promoting Seattle as much as possible. As it stands SSFC is setting the standard for how American Soccer should conducted.

but reality will set in soon enough.

HOWEVER, the team that's puzzling me the most at the moment is Toronto FC.

Certainly the signing of a class act like Derosario who, if nothing else, knows how to win (although he hasn't been able to help the Canadian National Team in that regard, but that entire program is in such disarray I'm not sure much of anybody could) is a positive step.

Additionally, word came yesterday that CARL ROBINSON IS PROBABLY COMING BACK, which is equally good news.

I do hope that Johnston and Carver have thought through just how Amado Guevara (who they claim has morphed into Mr. Team Spirit) is going to fit with this midfield, but Derosario-Robinson-Ricketts-Guevara with Wynne and Barrett running the sidelines is a solid lineup, no doubt about it.

It still leaves the question of finding an up-front hitter, but since Carver hasn't left town yet, thereby fulfilling his threat, one has to assume that they're pursuing a DP.

All that being said, I'm curious about something.

Last season, as we all fondly recall, Carver and Johnston screamed and cried and scolded the league about how bereft of players they were on international dates. You'll also recall how they had to rent three players just to field a team.

As pointed out here and elsewhere, what they neglected to mention was that they had three vacant roster spots which, had they been filled, would have provided them with all the players they needed.

The reason for this was not, as I snarkily suggested, that Johnston couldn't count (the jury's still out on that one) or simply isn't too bright (ditto) but that they had spent up to the salary cap and didn't have the money.

And yet they just got done trading Julius James, a $40,000 a year player, for DeRosario, a $385,000 a year player. If we assume that they do sign a DP, that's another $400,000 against the cap.

We have no word on Robinson's salary demands but he made $315,000 last season and I doubt he's coming back for less. Ricketts earned $200,000. Brennan made $175k. Guevara $162,000. Dichio $157k. Sutton $150k. Tyrone Marshall $150k.

So while it's easy to warm up to their front line guys, it's hard to see what they've done to free up some money for some other guys.

Which is good news for Ontario's various Adult Open leagues since they'll have to serve as TFC's farm system, but maybe not so much for TFC as a whole.

One thing they did do of course was quietly drop virtually useless Carlos Ruiz and his bloated paycheck, which is a good thing. Otherwise, they would have had to fill their bench with guys who were willing to play for food.

Which brings us back to Seattle:

Sigi is the guy who brought Ruiz into MLS, and he tried repeatedly to find a way to bring him into the side in Columbus. Sigi knows the guy and is sure he can handle him.

Some people are speculating that Sigi will try to find a way to bring Ruiz into the Sounders.

Honestly, I think the downside is just too great for them to risk that much salary, but Schmid is nothing if not confident in his own ability to handle players.

Other items:

I noted the other day that there's a veritable migration of MLS center backs to overseas teams.

Now comes word that DAVID BELENGUER veteran center back and captain at Getafe in Spain has an offer from an MLS side.

And THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE IS REPORTING that the Dynamo are hot on the trail of Mexican First Division striker Luis Angel Landin.

What makes this interesting is that Landin is a kid on the come, not a veteran looking for a big paycheck and a soft landing.

Picking up a budding Mexican star would certainly be a first for MLS, and an altogether positive development.