I swore off of writing about the Montreal Impact after they featured prominently twice this week and, frankly, I don't really care that much about them and most of you don't either.
But THIS PIECE FROM THE OFFSIDE is such a terrific demonstration of the basic problem up there that I had to mention it.
There it is at the very end, right after some entirely understandable chest beating about the "historic win" on Thursday. It's a perfect example of the thinking that made Joey Saputo tell MLS he'd be sending less than the asking price for an MLS team and the reason why they still don't seem to get it:
This is just a great day for soccer in Québec and goes to show, the MLS needs l’Impact more than l’Impact needs the MLS !
Well, no, see we really don't. Thanks though, Enjoy USL1.
Another noteworthy last line comes courtesy of Forbes, and while the article itself contains it's share of errors and, I think, an erroneous conclusion, ie "If he leaves the Galaxy, Beckham’s departure is going to make it even more difficult for the MLS to attract new investors and sponsors" because, honestly, I don't think it will have much if any net effect on sponsors, the writer redeems himself with a "lesson":
"Never offer a big contract to an athlete that has a line of fragrances."
Or, one might add, one who lets his wife dress him funny.
It was really supposed to be a joke when I started claiming that MLS rules now demand that any time you want to sign any player you first have to give Toronto something, but I'm beginning to think that someone at MLS HQ didn't get it and decided that I saw a memo he missed.
Latest case in point: Colorado's acquisition of T&T hitter Gregory Richardson, who leaped to prominence last summer when he hit for a hat against the Revs.
In order to get the guy, they of course had to send Toronto, with whom he has never been under contract, a high 2010 draft choice.
I know that the Earthquakes filed a discovery on him last year, but that didn't go anywhere for some reason and it expired in December when all discoveries are reset.
But if they had refiled on him, they would have had first dibs since Toronto had a slightly better record in 2008. Apparently they didn't, and apparently Toronto did. In any case, he was in camp with TFC at the time of the swap.
None of which changes the MLS equation: Want a player? Pay TFC. Maybe someday they'll change it to "pay Dallas" or "pay RSL'. Ought to at least spread it around.
This week's signing by Houston of academy alumni Tyler Deric is evidence of some of the best, and worst, aspects of MLS' player acquisition policies.
After playing at North Carolina as a freshman, he left Chapel Hill in the Spring and moved back home where he worked construction, took some community collge classes, hit the gym and worked out with the Dynamo in an effort to get a contract.
Now he has become the second MLS Academy system graduate to sign with a club (the first was Galaxy striker Tristan Bowen), and it's nice to see those kids finally trickling into the league.
The fact is though that the academies should be beginning to bear fruit, but the lions share of the kids who ought to be reporting to MLS teams to begin learning to play professionally are instead appearing on various NCAA recruiting reports.
Part of this is because, as we all know, the league severely limits your academy signings, and some teams seem a little gunshy about signing one of their kids, thus closing out their options. And of course this year, with the reduced rosters, most teams need guys who can produce right now.
It's not a combination designed for bringing in kids, which was, I thought, the whole idea. Instead, we're sending them to the NCAA, where all they get is older.
Bruce Arena continues to purge players from last year's team, which is hardly a surprise, considering that a) the Gals weren't very good last year and b) he's Bruce Arena.
Cut yesterday were Troy Roberts, Brandon McDOnald, Mike Randolph, Ely Allen and Steve Cronin, most of whom got a considerable amount of PT last year, but of course it's not so much who il Bruce cut so much as who he's apparently replacing them with. Guys like Dema Kovalenko, Jovan Kirovski, Todd Dunivant, and Tony Sanneh.
Obviously he feels he can win a few more games with these "wily veteran" types, and he's probably right, but it's certainly not the kind of "rebuilding for the future" that maybe we expected.
The flurry of player movement will intensify over the weekend as, of course, Monday is the roster-and-cap compliance day. All across the league, dozens of players are getting the bad news today and tomorrow that their services are no longer required.
This number will include a lot of draft choices who would have had a job last season but, with the elimination of the reserve team and subsequent reduction of the rosters, there's just no place for them.
There are of course pros and cons to this, but I would ask all of you who have spent the last couple of years howling about the admittedly paltry developmental player salaries: how many of the kids who'll be on the street come Monday do you think would dearly love to be offered $12.5k to stick around a while.
Alas, we'll never know for sure.
There's a little drama being played out between the RedBulls and Columbus over defender Eric Brunner, and it's another case of MLS rules that seem contrary to common sense.
Brunner, you'll recall, was a late first round pick by New York in 2008. He was given an MLS minimum contract ($33k) and, obviously, was put on les taureaux rouges senior roster.
Then New York picked up Kiwi Andrew Boyens from Toronto and needed the roster spot. So they called Brunner in and told him they were ripping up his contract. But they also said that he could re-sign with them on a developmental contract for $12,500. He told them "no thanks" and left.
Now, in a rational world once you've torn up a guy's contract he can go someplace else. But this is MLS, and because they offered him another deal, even though he'd already had one tossed out, he was therefore their property for two years.
Subsequently, Brunner got called into the U23's and went on an overseas jaunt with them, then came back and signed with Miami FC of USL1, where he played out the season.
So here we are staring down the barrel of a new season and Brunner is still in limbo. He's currently in camp with New York and, wonder of wonders, has yet to say a single negative word about any of this to anyone. Jeff Agoos, sounding almost stunned, commented that he's shown "real class" through this whole thing.
Which is all well and good but it doesn't get him a paycheck. Columbus is interested (he's from Central Ohio and might be willing to sign a dev deal since he can bunk with Mom and Dad), but New York wants something substantial in return and Warzycha isn't interested in ponying up for a kid NYRB doesn't likely even want.
Furthermore, there may be something of a payback in all of this, since the Crew drafted Seton Hall alum Teddy Niozolek in the last round of the 2008 supplemental draft (where you normally select your kid sister or Britney Spears, just for laughs) and offered him a developmental deal which he turned down. The Red Bulls were willing to take him in, since he was willing to sign a dev with them (for the same reasons) but Sigi dug his heels in and demanded more than NY thought - probably rightly - that they should have to pay for a kid who wasn't ever going to wear a yellow shirt unless he became a crossing guard.
So there are two things going on here: first, MLS rules in this situation are simply asinine and second, two teams are engaged in a pissing match while two decent young AMERICAN PLAYERS twist in the breeze.
There are lots of stories very much like this one, of course, and there'll be a lot more next week, and the really frustrating thing is that we were told that the main reason for creating and supporting MLS was to so that there would be someplace for young American players - who aren't welcome overseas - to get jobs and try to make it in soccer.
And yet every time you turn around MLS is conspiring to screw some young American kid out of any kind of a chance, as they busily scour the globe looking for reject Argentines and Caribbean journeymen to fill their rosters.
Somehow, that seems backward, doesn't it?.