Please, enough with the FC's. This goes for you too, ACSTL. It's already tired and played. We have official nicknames in this country. If you want to be traditional, call yourselves the Tigers or the Crimson or whatever. Leave the FC for the UK.
The Galaxy should wear white shirts with blue shorts at home. Not just because it looks good, but because it makes all the road teams look ridiculous. Maybe Manchester United can rock the dark shirt and white shorts look, but precious few others can.
Wow. MLS without Steve Ralston.
So that leaves...
*goes to MLSnet...players page...sort by years of experience....*
That leaves Corben Bone, Krzysztof Krol, Andrew Dykstra, Sean Johnson....
*hits the sort button again*
That leaves Jesse Marsch as the last original original. (Jaime Moreno didn't show up until midseason in 1996.) I guess Ante Razov missed a whole year in Spain or wherever - I couldn't tell you what club he played for if you hooked me up to a car battery. And I guess we're not counting Brian McBride's extended break in London.
So we have our last original player standing. Amazing, in a way.
Well, unless Ralston is signed in mid-season by an MLS team and said team compensates New England...or the new contract agreement allows for internal MLS free agency....so I'm going to hold off on the "Stone Cold Steve Ralston - Fine Player, Fine American" post. He didn't die, he just went to St. Louis. Insert punch line here.
Besides, Jesse Marsch has played for Galaxy archrivals literally his entire career, and I don't want to have to say something nice about him until I absolutely have to. The guy's been a big freaking pain in my ass since he joined the league...which, come to think of it, IS something nice about him, since that was his damn job all these years.
Oh, the "internal free agency" thing. I made that term up, because I don't know what we're calling it.
To me there's a pretty sharp distinction between the "free agency" wherein one MLS club wants a player not wanted by other MLS club, and the "free agency" wheren MLS club would no longer keep the rights to a player out of contract who skips the country. The former strikes me as "but of course" and the latter as "sucks, but what can you do".
So, "internal" free agency yay, full free agency liberation like every other player in the world yay in theory and good luck if you can get it but you're really gonna strike over it?
Although I can see the system being royally abused, to the tune of "Oh, you want Brian McBride? Well, you have to give us compensation for him, even though we don't want him at all."
What do you mean, that already happened?
"But Dan, they're FC Tampa Bay Rowdies, not FC Tampa Bay. How come it's all right for Seattle but not Tampa Bay?" It's not all right for Seattle. It's just as stupid there. Unless the theory is that the "FC" and the generic Space Needle logo was what brought in the extra 25,000 season ticket holders.
Look, this whole "traditionalist" naming thing is a fad, just like the singular names were in the 90's. You can probably chart this stuff, if you want to. In the United States, it went from colors (Red Stockings, White Stockings) to cute animals (Cardinals is the literal development of this) to tough animals (Cubs led directly to Bears) to civic or regional references (Steelers, Cowboys, Vikings) to focus group names (Mighty Ducks, Heat, Magic).
Hell, Tampa Bay itself is a microcosm of this. Tampa Bay Rowdies - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tampa Bay Lightning - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Tampa Bay Rays - FC Tampa Bay Rowdies. The theory doesn't fit perfectly, but hey, that's what they said about Marxism in Russia.
This "FC" nonsense, from Texas to Toronto, is just another sales pitch. It's not nostalgia if it never existed. It's marketing. And when this fad dies down, the Sounders and Rowdies (if they still exist) will quietly drop the superfluous letters, Dallas will have another naming contest, and Toronto will be stuck with the soccer equivalent of the Raptors.
We're about to find out who deserves credit for El Salvadors Hexagonal run. Former ES coach Carlos de los Cobos has brought in Julio Martinez, and Why Haven't They Moved Somewhere Else In The USA has signed Osael Romero.
Both the Chi teams are hoping the answer isn't "None of the above deserve credit, I mean, they did finish fifth." But hey, so did Salt Lake, and that worked out fine.
Anyone in the mood for another rant about how Chivas USA signing players in the Galaxy marketing sphere is bad for both teams? Yeah, didn't think so.
Speaking of de los Cobos, anyone in the mood for another rant about how foreign coaches with no MLS experience are bad for the league and invariably flop? That's a relief, because I don't feel like making one. For one thing, the reverse proposition definitely isn't true, as Toronto and DC are about to find out. For another, the "with MLS experience" caveat is there simply to explain away Peter Nowak. Yeah, the Fire taught him everything he knows about the game.
For another...are we now counting Juan Carlos Osorio as foreign or domestic? I've lost track.
For another - the sample size isn't exactly even. If the Red Bulls hire Sir Alex, how would it go?
No, you don't know. No one knows. Maybe the Red Bull curse claims him. Maybe Harrison becomes the world capital of the sport. But we'll never find out. Not only is MLS coaching and roster management so insanely specialized that it's impossible to replicate anywhere else, the job doesn't pay enough to compete with jobs abroad. A good foreign coach will get a good offer elsewhere. MLS gets the John Carvers of the world for a reason. If MLS wants good coaches, they can't look very far.
I guess that's a reason not to hire de los Cobos, then, because as soon as he gets good, someone will come calling. MLS is the Broadway Danny Rose of international soccer, after all.
And besides, what you need more than anything in MLS with a talented international playmaker. That's how you win, not hiring the right coach. Make sure you get Christian Gomez in the right year, and make sure you get Barros Schelotto and not Claudio Lopez, though.
So this is the kind of post you get when I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop on Landon Donovan and Everton. Either the Galaxy sell him to Everton, or Donovan flops yet again - that was going to be the story. I wasn't ready for the possibility that Donovan would do just fine to really good, then report back in March like nothing happened.
The fact that the play in Merseyside for a couple of months then return to LA scenario is exactly what Donovan, Arena and Leiweke have been insisting would happen is, sadly, not evidence we can take into account. In fact, the only reason I can see them going through all this is - sending a valuable player on a very short loan, then bringing him back as if nothing happened - is to mess with David Beckham.