Rumors, Rookies and Reality

I'm having a hard time figuring out whether New York RedBulls fans are, on the whole relieved or saddened by COMMISSIONER DON GARBER'S UNEQUIVOCAL DENIAL of the rumor about the team being sold.

On the one hand, a lot of fans have never been particularly comfortable with the whole "Corporate/Energy Drink" angle, and while there are some out there who turned their back on the team the day the Austrian caffeine vendor took over, by and large most of the locals were able to hold their nose through the Metrostars-to-RedBull transition and continute to support the side.

At the same time, going back to being something other than a division of some faceless corporation has an undeniable appeal, and I suspect that few tears would have been shed if this tale had turned out to be true.

On the whole, I don't have much of a problem either way. If the Energy Drink Guy wants to offload the team and someone else is willing to pay him for it, more power to him. The stadium is a little difficult to transport someplace else and the league Board of Governors isn't about to abandon the New York metropolitan market, so it's almost inconceivable that anything of importance would change other than the uniforms.

I highly recommend TODAY'S ARTICLE BY THE INCOMPARABLE BEAU DURE regarding the difficulties of making it as a rookie in MLS. It's not easy in any sport, but MLS has a set of challenges that make it perhaps as tough as anyplace.

(I'm also pleased to note that he was willing to quote Dookie Darrius Barnes using an English construct that usually gets a sharp correction from sixth grade teachers: it's "Kevin and I" Darrius, not "Me and Kevin". But he went to Duke after all, so that sort of explains it).

Beau notes both the shrinking of the Developmental roster and the abolishing of the Reserve Division, but the latter is proving to have been oversold (not to mention over-freaked-out-about on BigSoccer); there are seemingly just as many, if not more "reserves matches" as there ever were. The only difference is that the arrangements are left to the individual teams rather than mandated from New York.

Thus, teams are free to play USL sides, college teams, whoever they can drum up, and they can do it when the timing suits them. There are still a few of the "Sunday Morning specials" going on from time to time, but we're being spared the rosters full of "guest players" teams were forced to sign and fly out with the team, not to mention the creaky old assistant coaches and equipment managers, that were previously commonplace.

I think we'd all love to see a meaningful Reserve Division, but what we had the last couple of years wasn't even remotely close to that standard, and all things considered the current system has a lot to recommend it.

Apparently there aren't going to be any charges filed against FREDY MONTERO in the whole "he-said-she-said" kerfuffle over allegations that the Seattle striker had some difficulty with the word "no".

I know this will disappoint that insufferable imbecile Steven Cohen, who was last heard pontificating on the premise that a few sex scandals, rape allegations and stalking charges would be a good thing for MLS because - as best as I can decipher the babbling nonsense - European players get dragged through this sort of thing all the time and if MLS players got hauled through the same slime pit then MLS would become as popular as the Premiership.

Or something. Who knows? The man gives new meaning to the term "clueless".

This will also come as a disappointment to the blogger who wrote that lots of signs and chants about rape and stuff directed at Montero would be totally within the bounds of decency, but we can do without the likes of him as well.

Speaking of insufferable, I see that Heath Pearce's agent is supposedly scrambling around trying to find an MLS club interested in the guy.

It's hardly surprising of course, since the longstanding rule that you can't get called into the national side unless you are both a) on the roster and b) actually seeing the field for a top level club someplace and Hansa Rostock's reserves play in an amateur league, thus making it a little hard to sustain any kind of claim to "high quality competition".

(The rule became firmly established when Jovan Kirovski kept strolling into US camp and demanding a starting role based on the fact that Manchester United allowed him to wear one of their uniforms and take showers with Ryan Giggs. Poor Jovan never figured out why it was they kept insisting that he actually, you know, play sometimes.)

So they figure Pearce can waltz back to lowly, third-rate MLS, quickly establish himself as the best defender in the history of MLS and thereby force Bob Bradley to take him back. Or something.

I wish him well. Really I do. But it's always seemed to me that Pearce was his own worst enemy and has managed to make very few freinds along the way. Hoping that MLS will throw his sinking career a lifeline so he can go to the World Cup, become an international sensation and get back into Europe as quickly as possible may seem like a good plan to him, but the fact of the matter is that, frankly, he's just not anywhere near as good as he seems to think he is and if he were not left-footed he'd be playing in USL1.