Helping put the "wreck" in D-wreck. Fair warning - you pretty much have to love the sound of my voice as much as I do to enjoy this interview. I kinda go on a ranting expedition.
One of the things I touch on is Don Garber LYING to me. And you, and to the rest of the nation, but I'm not as concerned about your feelings.
But Jose de Jesus Ortiz didn't just fall off the endtable:
At least somebody had the nectarines to call out Garber for this, however gently. I'd be amused to compare ticket prices for the MLS All-Star Game and your typical NBA All-Star Game, frexample.
But more to the point, one of the current heroes of the Mexican national team was making his debut for one of the most famous teams in the world, in freaking Houston, Texas. The MLS All-Stars were just the other team. Eleven BigSoccer posters could have drawn 70,000 under those circumstances.
It's a good thing that the mainstream sports media isn't yet fully up to speed on how international soccer actually works, because otherwise Don Garber would be a nationwide laughingstock. You're such a badass, Mr. Commissioner? You think MLS has made it? Bring the game back to Reliant next year, and bring back the East-West format. Then we'll see how damned popular your All-Star Game really is. And within a week you'll be going to Mets games with Doug Logan.
One last final thing about the Manchester United visit, before we drop the subject. Remember how we were sort of wondering if and how much rebranding the Kansas City Wizards would do going into the new stadium next year? And how there were rumors of a nickname change and everything? I don't see how that happens now that the Kansas City Wizards beat Manchester United. From a marketing perspective, beating Manchester United put a sweet, delicious baby in that ugly, smelly bathwater.
Let's say you're a Kansas City ticket rep next year. Your task is to explain to prospective fans that this was the team that beat Manchester United - although they're not called the Wizards anymore, they're the Fighting Thompson's Gazelles or whatever. Wouldn't it just be easier to gloat about the Manchester United game and the new stadium without having to get across a rebranding?
If you hate the Wizards name, well, too bad, because I think that one friendly bought that nickname another five years, minimum.
Events have overtaken one of the other topics Derek and I chatted about, although it's not in that particular link. Freddie Ljungberg will not, actually, ever play for Seattle again. INSTANT REACTION: The Chicago Fire has lost its collective mind. Ljungberg is done like dinner, he's not going to contribute, and one would have thought Nery Castillo solved the Cuauhtemoc Blanco-shaped ticketing hole. I don't see what Ljungberg does for the Fire that he wasn't doing for the Sounders, viz., nothing. The Fire are already on the verge of missing the playoffs, and this move will tip them over.
Interesting match this coming Sunday, by the way, with the Ljungberg-laden Fire debuting Nery Castillo in the Home Depot Center against the slumping Galaxy. The loser of that game will officially have big problems.
But I did want to reiterate the larger point about Ljungberg that I brushed on in the Derek Richey interview - Adrian Hanauer has done a wonderful job avoiding the sophomore slump, even if his team hasn't. Which means that, with 30,000 loyal fans actually showing up to games, Seattle didn't need to cater to the demands of an underperforming Designated Player, like certain division rivals we could name.
And that's not even taking to account how Seattle has not only already replaced Ljungberg, but replaced him brilliantly. No ethnic pandering here, just a focus on winning.
I know we're tired of reading Seattle fans gloating about how their team is being built the right way, but the truth hurts. More MLS teams should be like the Sounders. It's making some existing markets look bad, but that's neither Seattle's fault nor Seattle's problem. The motto of the Sounders should be "We've upped our standards - so up yours."
Of course, the Philadelphia Union motto should be "WILD CARD, BITCHES!", but I've grown used to MLS teams not taking my suggestions.