MLS Cup Forecast: Cloudy With a Chance of Loneliness

Because neither of us is Cohiba Don - well, I suppose there's a chance that one of you really is Cohiba Don, but only because you took a wrong turn on the Information Highway; just get one of those sparkling geniuses you hired to set up the league website to come and help you navigate back to eTrade or Cigar Aficionado or wherever you were trying to go; then again, knowing how talented and web savvy those clowns are you'll probably end up someplace like, so forget that - now where the hell was I?

Oh yes, MLS Cup.

Here's a fun exercise for a lazy Saturday morning drinking coffee and waiting for the US Women vs. Italy at 10:30 (you ARE waiting for that, right? Good job):

Pop on over to TICKETMASTER CANADA and try to buy yourself, say, a pair of seats at midfield.

Or four. Or eight. Pick your favorite number.

Now I understand that TFC has promised that the game will be a sellout, in which case they'd better start setting up some auxiliary ticket windows because they're going to need one hell of a walk up to pull that off.

Now as I was saying, since neither of us is Commissioner G we can't pick up the phone, call someone at Maple Leaf Sports and demand updated sales numbers every hour on the hour so we don't really know where it stands. And I suppose it's possible that Ticketmaster Canada is broken or something and is busily selling each and every seat in the place two or three times but, failing that, it appears that, as they say in the biz:

"Plenty of Good Seats Still Available"

Coming into any new MLS season one of the more popular topics of discussion is always "Who Will Be the First Head Coach to Get the Axe?"

There is seldom a shortage of candidates.

Oddly though, as the 2010 season began it looked a lot like the normal end of the season bloodbath wasn't likely to be quite so bloody, given that most MLS managers fell into one of two categories: either they were established guys who could easily survive an off - even an awful - season (Arena, Schmid, Kinnear) or they were newly hired and likely to be given more than just one season to prove their value (Onolfo, Preki, Vasquez).

In fact, there were only two guys who were coming into the dreaded third season at the helm, a point at which management usually can't get fans to swallow the "Give him some more time" pitch, and they have to can the guy or risk having their season ticket salespeople hear a lot of hollering and/or a lot of hangups.

Both of them would have topped any "most likely to be unemployed in November" list:

Gary Smith and Schellas Hyndman.

The two guys who, you may have heard, will be taking their squads onto the pitch in Toronto tomorrow night.

Speaking of coaches, no MLS coach has ever won the Cup without having extensive prior experience in American soccer. Smith, who was brought in from an assistancy in England (Watford) would be the first.

Of course, foreign birth itself is not by any means a disqualifier; as Fairest Lord Goff pointed out earlier this year (I'd link if I could find it; sorry Steven) almost every other MLS head coach(including Hyndman) was born beyond our shores. Only Arena, Kreis and Vermes were born in the US.

Finally, I'll sneak in a word about the US Women (since if I lead with the ladies nobody reads it; it's almost as if you don't like girls. Not that there's anything wrong with that, if you know what I mean):

It's obviously embarrassing that the US, the top ranked team in the world and one loaded with talent from top to bottom, has to win a playoff just to qualify for the World Cup. A playoff for the last spot in a WC field is usually reserved for either a team in a weak confederation that only gets one or two automatics or the next best team in a loaded confederation who ran into some heavy sledding along the way.

The US is neither. Which is not to say that Mexico beating our women disappointed me. It's undoubtedly going to provide a serious boost for Mexicos' female program and I say good on them. And if we can't beat Itay in a two game series then we don't deserve to go anyway, ranking be damned.

(Plus, since the US Men won't be playing meaningful games against the Tri any more thanks to disgraceful CONCACAF politics, maybe we can at least strike up a healthy rivalry amongst the women)

I just want to say that with all due respect to Pia Sundhage virtually any one of a hundred decent coaches could have won the Algarve Cup in 2007 and the Summer Olympics in 2008 with the big Pile O' Talent that she took with her.

Heck, April Heinrichs was fired for precisely that reason: looking at the roster, nobody could figure out how they ever lost.

Meanwhile, the US has the two best womens' soccer coaches on the planet - Anson Dorrance and Tony DiCicco - watching todays' match on TV. the former because one player out of the thousand he has coached said he made her "uncomfortable" and the second because Sunil Gulati is an ass.

If Sundhage can't win the Cup this year maybe we could consider bringing in one of the Pros from Dover.

Enjoy the game.