Well, tha Dogg Pound thinks Benny has an attitude problem, and apparently they're not alone. I couldn't imagine Chivas USA turning down Feilhaber, but CUSA and the Union?
What's really damning about the Philadelphia snub is that it comes form Peter Nowak, who spent a good deal of time with the US national team. If he thinks a national team player would be a poor fit for his club - well, there are few ways to spin that.
However, what Chivas USA and the Union are telling their fans signifies as well. Either they're going to make the playoffs by a comfortable margin, or they have big plans for that allocation spot. Neither team is in a position to tell its fans "Nah, we're good." And yes, I realize the Union are in first place at the moment. If Nowak takes that roster deep in the playoffs - or even does his old DC United trick, where he wins the Supporters Shield then gets blown out of the water in the first round - then fine, then Philadelphia didn't need Feilhaber. Any other outcome, though, and Nowak should feel some heat for this.
Especially since Steve Nicol was willing to risk Feilhaber's attitude. The Union let an international go to a division rival and the longest-serving coach in the league. Nowak obviously knows more about Feilhaber than we do, probably more than Steve Nicol does - but he'd better be right. This is the sort of move that changes the course of franchises.
As for Chivas USA - well, they were open about it. It's all about not having the Benjamins.
Fine. When Robin Fraser speaks, I nod and listen attentively.
But...Robin and the Goats will have to make some adjustments - so many, in fact, that the quote above pretty much has to be a promise, not a hypothesis. They're the only team in the league that hasn't won yet, and they haven't scored as many goals as Charlie Davies. If Chivas USA doesn't have the lowest payroll in the league, it's way down there.
I don't think it's acceptable to have a player like Feilhaber fall into your lap, and then go all Miss Muffet at the thought of a US international playing for your team. The World Cup was a lot more recent than Feilhaber's Derby County exile, after all. And if we held poor stints in Europe against everyone, Landon Donovan would still be stuck at Everton.
While we're here - I'll respond to something nobody asked me about. I was amazed last week that the Revolution drew less than 8,000 twice so far. So last Saturday, the Genocidal Zealot Crew - sorry, misprint. The Columbus Crew, another MLS 1.0 team, also drew less than eight thousand over the weekend.
Well, I'm not as worried about them as I am about New England, and here's why.
Yes, it was cold and rainy, but there's more to it than that.
Yes, Kansas City is a huge gate-killer on the road, but there's more to it than that.
I realize I'm going to put a paragraph of a USA Today article in a nutshell, which is very much in "Cliffs Notes for Fred Bassett" territory. But it's not fair to analyze Crew attendance outside the wider picture of their economy. In short, you don't want your housing market to be mentioned in the same sentence as Las Vegas right now.
And yesterday Forbes had a slideshow of American cities where the economy is not recovering - Columbus wasn't on the list, but nearish neighbors Cleveland and Dayton were. I also realize paraphrasing a Forbes slideshow is also dumbing things down pretty seriously.
When your economy is in El Tanque, that's going to cut into leisure time activities such as enjoying the performance of your local crummy soccer or hockey teams (Blue Jackets attendance also sucks the flesh torpedo, unsurprisingly).
The good news? Columbus has a couple of freaking huge, stable public industries - the state capital apparatus, and the vo-tech sponsored by the local minor league football team.
(I don't care for Ohio State.)
Anyway, it might be a little bit longer before Crew fans make the drive from Dayton or Cleveland, but unless all traces of civilization disappear from Ohio (insert punch line here), Columbus should recover a little bit faster, and the Crew should have their customer base back in order. I've never been one of those people who have made grandiose plans to move teams away when unnecessary, and I don't intend to start now. (Was it Jamie Trecker who called for the Crew to leave town the year before they won the double? My Google-fu is weak, and has deserted me. Maybe it was Paul Gardner? I know someone did.)
There's also the unpleasant fact that Robert Warzycha might have lost the room a little bit. But I also don't worry about teams who draw poorly because they stink - that's simply the sign of an intelligent fan base. The Crew pretty much tortured their fans last year, and I can understand if their more casual fans want to be sure the team has found its way in the post-Schelotto era before spending their hard-earned.