I Love the Smell of MLS in the Morning

The inevitable byproduct of getting all those MLS coaches, GM's and assorted hangers-on who are high enough up the team pecking order to get a free trip to Florida together in one cocktail lounge is that they start in swapping stuff.

So it was that NewYork Red Bulls has sent Dave van den Bergh, a key component from their run to the final last season, to FC Dallas for speedy - albeit much, much cheaper - Dominic Oduro.

BUZZ CARRICK IS REPORTING that there's some other stuff gooing back and forth: draft picks, money, that sparkly g-string Schellas Hyndman grabbed from that stipper last night at the....ooops, sorry. Forget I mentioned it.

It's a deal that has real quality going both ways, and is probably as much a salary move for NYRB as anything else, but van den Bergh was a real horse down the stretch last season and I can't believe the New Jersey faithful are going to be terribly happy about this.

What may be worrisome to Dallas fans is that they were sitting on four picks in the first two rounds on Thursday and figured to come away with some decent young talent. We'll have to wait and see how many of those picks now belong to New York.

Another item of note is that KC DP Claudio Lopez has re-signed for another season with he Wizards, although, as the press release cleverly puts it, the deal he signed is no longer a DP contract.

This is a very nice way of saying that he took a huge salary hit.

Six goals and seven assists just doesn't get you the big bucks, and at age 35 his options were obviously limited. Lazio probably didn't put in a bid. I'm probably in the minority here but if the guy can stay healthy and they can find some other spare parts for him that he could have a stellar year and carry KC a long ways into the playoffs.

He's still a year younger than fellow Argentine Guillermo Barros-Schelotto, who had a fairly decent season for CBus.

Ezra Hendrickson showed up at the combine wearing a Seattle FC jersey. A longtime favorite of Sigi Schmid's, it's not much of a stretch to see him on the bench for the XBOX'ers come Spring.

Still, the timing seems unfortunate; the guy announced his retirement on Wednesday and on Friday he's checking into the Sheraton Yankee Clipper in Ft. Lauderdale. Seattle managed to slide on a tampering charge a few weeks ago, and really ought to be more circumspect: Jason Kreis cost RSL $25,000 by calling up an active player and offering him a coaching job.

But Ez is one of the good guys and I can't believe anyone would make much of it.

What a difference one game can make.

For the last several months all we've heard is how he's a washed-up, over-the-hill show pony who couldn't even manage to make a difference on a "second rate team in a third rate league". And that was the nice stuff.

Even World renowned soccer genius Steven Cohen said the guy simply can't play. Worthless. Ought to just hang it up and stop embarrassing himself. All he's in Milan for is selling shirts.

Then the guy starts against Roma and has a decent match and in the wink of an eye the world soccer press is all over him like stink on a monkey. He's gone from stumble bum to superstar faster than you can say "Cohen is an idiot".

Meanwhile, through it all, Beckham just keeps on smiling that shy smile and being unbearably gracious and polite. As much as his skill with a soccer ball, the thing that's impressed me the most - and the thing that surprises me the most - is that I've come to really like the guy.

Maybe when he finally does retire he can start a second career advising overblown ego-intoxicated American professional athletes some manners. If there's someone on the planet who's farther removed from the Chad Johnson-Terrell Owens model of compartment, I can't imagine who it would be.

Maybe it's all an act; maybe he's the most arrogant, rude and obnoxious jackass imaginable. If so, he sure does hide it well.

Just as a reminder, the MLS Superdraft - otherwise known as "Don's Bargain Basement" - will be held on Thursday in St. Louis and is open to the public.

Local MLS fans would really impress us if they packed the hall and chanted "We want a team" for the entire ESPN-televised hour.

Of course, this event would be the perfect opportunity for Commissioner Garber to announce the new St. Louis MLS team, but MLS doesn't usually like to mix their messages.

So if you're serious about getting a team, call off work, grab some friends, start drinking at about 6 AM, fill up all the available seats by 11 o'clock and take this opportunity to do a little public lobbying.

Extra credit for the league having to call the police and have you all ejected from the building.

We're still looking for MLS fan volunteers for the Mostly Official BigSoccer Mock Draft which holds the never-to-be broken world's record for any sports-entry draft in the universe by correctly predicting - just last year - the 42nd pick in the draft.

Eat your heart out Mel Kiper. And for God's sake do something about that hair.

Follow the link for info. The draft will be held on Wednesday on the BS front page. Here's your chance to prove that your team's coach and GM are the total boobs you've always said they are.