MLS Combine Day One:
The blues beat the greens, the whites tied the reds and the biggest winner of the day is the bar staff at the The Westin Beach Resort Fort Lauderdale who'll have to work double shifts this weekend.
The lousy weather conditions were the main story at the MLS Combine yesterday and will be the only story today as the league has canceled Sundays' matches and will try again on Monday.
The only real news item of interest is that Oregon State forward Danny Mwanga was an unexpected no-show, which has led pretty much everyone to the conclusion that Philadelphia has told him he's going #1 and thus he has nothing to gain by being there.
In other words: New York is on the clock.
So the assembled MLS Sloppy Drunk Association - pardon me, I mean the coaching and technical staffs of all 16 MLS teams (and most USSF D-2 teams as well) will have nothing better to do for the next 36 hours than toss down expense account beers and swap lies with all their old friends, enemies and teammates.
(Although there is apparently no truth to the rumor that they had to talk Cobi Jones off of a table where he was yelling about Landon Donovan "coming to get some". And I definitely don't believe the story about Ezra Hendrickson getting caught in the ladies room with a barmaid. Ugly rumors, that's all)
Someplace in between pinching waitresses' butts, scarfing down grease-laden appetizer platters and challenging Preki to a fist fight there may be time for some kind of excuse for "work" today (after all, the GM's are there too and the teams hate providing free trips to what amounts to a remake of Animal House with everyone wearing free adidas clothing) but apparently there isn't much for them to talk about based on the mudbowl games of yesterday.
Rain, wind and cold (they're even calling for snow in the area) chased the intrepid observers inside as goal.com's KYLE MCCARTHY explains:
The roof over the stands may have kept the rain away, but the swirling wind forced just about everyone inside the two-story structure overlooking the field. MLS coaches and executives took the upper floor, while the players and the media shared the bottom floor with dividers providing the required separation.
McCarthy is silent on the topic of how big a barrier they had to erect to keep the MLSPU Union reps from passing out lists of grievances. The current CBA gives them the right to meet with the invitees for one hour behind closed doors - that will probably take place today - and in previous years it's been pretty ugly, with the union reps doing their best to convince everybody to go overseas and painting MLS as the modern equivalent of an antebellum South Carolina cotton plantation only with a crummier dental plan.
It's hard to imagine what they'll be telling them this year.
As for visuals, we'll hopefully have photos from Andy Mead shortly (particularly since he doesn't have much else to do today) and in the meantime the best we can offer is [ame="http://vimeo.com/8640703"]A COUPLE CLIPS FROM MLS INSIDER[/ame] which consist of goals from the first game.
The second game was scoreless.
Since Buzz couldn't make it this year, it's a good chance for you to check out PRO PLAYER PIPELINE for comments on each players' performance.
The site is run by the intrepid Joe Mauceri of College Soccer News, who - unlike pretty much everybody else who'll be writing about these guys for the next week as if they actually had a clue - has previously seen almost all the players there, having actually watched more college soccer than anyone else this side of an MLS Technical Director.
While you're over there, be sure to read his rating of each and every player from a few days ago. Great stuff and well worth your time.
So if you weren't able to make it down to Fort Lauderdale for the combine, just hop in your car, drive to the nearest hotel bar, drink yourself stupid, make loud and obnoxious comments about Sigi Schmids' waistline and stiff the waitress on her tip.
Today at least, it'll be just like being there.