Death From The Sky

In their efforts aimed at providing a fitting introduction for the next great world soccer superpower, the folks out in Seattle have been preparing a suitably Speer-esque extravaganza which will be missing only a bunch of guys wearing swastikas to be a perfect duplication of the opening of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

One feature of this Busby Berkley caliber celebration was to be the release of hundreds of beautiful white doves from the tunnel just prior to the emergence of a really, really fat guy and a bunch of soccer players wearing a licensed logo of the Microsoft corporation.

Ah, poetry.

Unfortunately, during a test run late last week, when they let a dozen or so of the universal feathered symbols of peace loose so they could zero the cameras, they were met in mid-flight by a pack of ravenous hawks who proceeded to shred them into the dove-like equivalent of chicken fingers.

Only much bloodier.

So they've decided that rather than treat their sellout crowd and a national TV audience to a the sight of bloody little dove carcasses raining down on the crowd (not that having a dead bird land on John Wolyniec's head wouldn't be amusing as hell) during something that, as a famous King once said "is supposed to be a happy occasion", they've sent the birds back to wherever they keep them.

Now if we could just arrange to tie some feathers onto Freddie Ljundberg, maybe we could...well, nevermind.

While I'm busy exploring new vistas of enemy-making, I might as well jump in with both feet and refer to a piece from CITYFILE NEW YORK which points out that while everyone is in a frenzy over the American taxpayer working 9 to 5 so that AIG executives who did possibly the worst job imaginable can be rewarded with obscene "bonuses" (imagine what they'd be getting if they HADN'T driven their company well past insolvency and helped bring the world financial system to the point of implosion), we're missing another equally atrocious use of our money.

If in fact it's possible for the US to legally vacate the contracts which demand these truly ludicrous "bonuses" totaling a reported $160 million, then surely we can find a way for us to not have to send Manchester United another $20 million to complete the sponsorship deal.

The money comes from exactly the same place.

The Toronto Globe and Mail which has proven to be pretty reliable with regard to the Vancouver MLS bid, IS REPORTING THAT there will be an announcement later today confirming that the Whitecaps will enter MLS in 2011.

Despite the fact that I'm philosophically opposed to both more Canadian MLS teams and playing matches in BC Place - and if I have to hear another word about how lovely their roof is I'm going to hurl - in the end Kerfoot probably had the best, most viable bid and if MLS is determined to go ahead and expand at an alarming rate then this was undoubtedly a reasonable choice.

Best of all, MLS will finally meet a deadline, since they siad they would definitely make an announcement before the beginning of the season.

Just under the wire counts.

Meanwhile, all you MLS teams who were working on developing some roster depth should just forget it. We're going to see three teams stocked through expansion drafts in the next year and a half.

No point in wasting time and effort developing players for somebody else.

For those of you who've been riveted to your seats in eager anticipation of where the long-awaited "8th WPS Team" would be located, THE WAIT IS OVER

The team will land in Philadelphia, giving the stadium in Chester another 10 home dates and if you think I'm making some pun using "dates" and "women soccer players" then you're crazy.

As you've undoubtedly noticed, the soccersphere is currently awash with "MLS Preseason Prediction" articles, most of which are totally witless (see Trecker, Jamie) and all of which are pretty much meant to be forgotten by next Wednesday if not sooner.

Still, for bloggers - and even for "Big, Impressive Professional Journalists" - the yearly "predictions" article is one of those "automatic" posts that free you from having to figure out what to write about that day.

Some guys go whole-hog on the thing and do one "review" per team per day, thus providing us all with a couple of weeks worth of total drivel rather than just one day's worth.

That being said, the ever-worthwhile Buzz Carrick HAS OFFERED UP A DIFFERENT SORT OF COLUMN which is well worth your time.

Among his more interesting thoughts for the 2009 season:

- This summer Freddy Adu will return to MLS and will join LA Galaxy with their top ranked allocation.

- Preki will be the first coach fired and the parent club will replace him with a Mexican coach.

- When Tom Soehn loses control of his locker room and is fired later this year, Ben Olsen will be named coach in his place.

- Real Salt Lake will be MLS Cup Champs.

(Since I won't break my personal promise not to mention a certain well-known underwear model, I'll just mention that Buzz is predicting that Brooklyn's Mom and Dad won't be spending much time with Tom and Katie this summer and let you read that one for yourself)

Regarding RSL, it's worth noting that while the Carolina Challenge Cup isn't usually considered Big Time, four of the last five winners have gone on to win a trophy.

Of course Buzz isn't the only one predicting good things for Jason Kreis and the boys - I myself will have my boring, mundane and pointless MLS Predictions piece done tomorrow if I don't run out of Laphroaig between now and then) - but it's worth noting that they've had a really strong preseason and Kreis seems to have them tight and focused.

It would be a mistake to forget how close they came to the final last year, and they mean to be reckoned with.

So while the Carolina Challenge isn't exactly the FA Cup, Kreis does indeed intend for this to be a shot over the league's bow.