I'm trying not to focus on local stuff, since man, that's gotta bore those of you outside LA county, but...well, a lot of stuff has been happening that's interesting to me and dull to the rest of you. I'll try to come up with a joke or two to make it worth your time.
Or you can read this, it's interesting.
It's all interesting, but that's the bit that jumped out at me. The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of how in 2002 Rodrigo Faria allegedly sleptwalk through the combine in order to fall to the Metrostars in the second round.
I think #2 is the instance that comes up more often, though. The combine was held on FieldTurf at the Home Depot Center in a pouring rainstorm in 2005, and a beloved then-general manager told me that no, MLS executives worth their pay did not actually use two days of random pickup games to make their choices. (Although this was a year after the Wizards traded up to take Matt Taylor in the first round, on the strength of his showing at the combine.)
I'm surprised there aren't more Fariaesque shenanigae. Unlike basketball or football players, hot soccer prospects have an entire world full of options available, many of them much better paid. The MLS cartel stops dead at the Rio Grande and the Atlantic shore.
And, well, let's face it, there's not a real incentive to be drafted higher. Rookies get paid about as well as army ants no matter where they go in the draft, and Generation Adidas contracts are negotiated before the players even declare. So why not tank, if it means the difference between playing for a winner in New England rather than a Viking death ship in Los Angeles? It doesn't cost anything.
Speaking of Viking death ships in Los Angeles. The Colorado Rapids were pleased to announce the hire of Paul Bravo, who may or may not have been responsible for the Galaxy signing any or all of Eduardo Dominguez, Carlos Pavon, Abel Xavier, Celestine Babayaro...as well as Sean Franklin and Brandon McDonald. I assume/hope for the Rapids' sake that Charlie Wright sat Bravo down with a list of every Galaxy acquisition in the Beckham era and asked for an explanation, and that Bravo either acquitted himself astoundingly...or had the wit to blame Sampson, Lalas, Yallop, Gullit and Beckham.
Speaking of former players...Ezra Hendrickson called it a day, and we're all the poorer for it. He won't get anything resembling the Hall of Fame votes he deserves, what with the Jim Rice-esque extended career since leaving the Galaxy, and what with representing a national team that isn't sufficiently patriotic for the Hall voters, aka the John Birch Society. But in his prime, he was a fascinating and dangerous player who turned the humble art of right back into a weekly one-man re-enactment of "The Dambusters." He was better than Hejduk, and if you feel like getting in my face over that go and count Ezra's medals.
No, not the two he won with DC and the Crew. The Open Cup and the CONCACAF Cup in 2001, where his goals and assists provided the difference. I'm still surprised he didn't score in MLS Cup 2002; in every other big game he came up big.
"Um, Dan, he was a zero-time MLS All-Star." Oh, so NOW the All-Star Game is important.
Well, enough about that. Later this weekend I'll be providing full coverage of the Interliga, as well as in-depth previews of the Pan-Pacific Cup.
Wait...it just occurred to me, I'd happily drink poison before doing either of those things. My mistake.