Tuesday, September 30, 2008
However the biggest spark has been provided by two foreigners that might not have been on the radar of MLS fans -- Darren Huckerby and Francisco Lima. Acquired within days of each other in July, these two players have put up a total of six goals and six assists in the last nine games, breathing life into a toothless San Jose attack. So just who are these players?
Huckerby is the better known of the two stateside. He spent the last five seasons playing for Norwich City in the English Championship and Premiership, where he made roughly 200 appearances for the Canaries. In May of this year he was named as part of the club's "greatest ever line-up."
Brazilian midfielder Lima came to the 'Quakes from Brescia in the Italian second division. Prior to that he travelled Europe, playing in Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and Italy. During four years with Roma, he played nearly 90 games, including almost 30 appearances between the Champions League and UEFA Cup tournaments.
I guess it just shows that you don't have to bring in big name stars to have a major impact on the quality of your team.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
A number of forwards have made the jump since 2002. The most successful of these is Brian Ching. Released after a year with the Galaxy, he played with the Seattle Sounders in 2002 and scored 16 goals in 25 games. He jumped back to MLS in 2003 where he has scored 59 goals in 114 appearances. During this time he's also become a member of the national team.
Other USL1 forwards have been less successful:
- Current Galaxy forward Alan Gordon co-led the A-League (the forerunner of USL1) in scoring in 2004 with 17 goals for the Portland Timbers. In MLS he has scored a grand total of 11 goals in the last three years.
- Melvin Tarley caught the eye of Real Salt Lake with his strong play in the 2005 US Open Cup, but scored only one goal in 12 MLS appearances.
- Gavin Glinton notched 11 goals for the Charleston Battery in 2006, good enough for fifth in the league. In MLS he has been a journeyman, scoring six goals in parts of five seasons for three different teams.
- While playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2003, Thiago Martins led the A-league in scoring with 22 goals, but he scored just six goals in 56 MLS games.
Will Kandji become the next Ching? It's difficult to tell since we are working with a limited sample size... but I would suggest against holding your breath.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
FROM: MRS. MARIAM ABACHA
ATTN: MIKE ASHLEY
I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of the late Gen. Sanni Abacha former Nigerian Military Head of State who died mysteriously as a result of Cardiac Arrest. Since after my husband's death, my family is under restriction of movement and our Bank Accounts both here and abroad are being frozen by the Nigerian Civilian Government.
Following the recent discovery of my husband's Bank Account by the Nigerians Government I therefore decided to contact you in confidence that I was above to move out the sum of US$400 Million Dollars, which was secret and is sealed in two Metal Boxes for security reasons.
I personally appeal to you seriously and religiously for your urgent assistance to move this money into Newcastle United Football Club where I believe it will be safe since I cannot leave the country.
You can contact me through my family Lawyer who will arrange with you for face to face meeting. Please do not sell Michael Owen, for he is my favorite player.
MRS. MARIAM ABACHA
Monday, September 22, 2008
Where does MLS rank at the moment -- third, which seems about right to me. Now go over there and check the rest of it out.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I realize this is a weird plural, like geese or radii, but it's your *@^# job people! I also realize that some dictionaries say it's acceptable to say RBIs. In my mind it's like wearing a Skoal t-shirt and baseball hat to church on Sunday. Just because society has deemed it allowable doesn't mean it's right.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Scott Buete 21
David Hayes 18
Jerson Monteiro 5
Blake Camp 3
Justin Moore 2
Luchi Gonzalez 30
Mark Schulte 19
Melvin Tarley 12
Stephen deRoux 10
Tighe Dombrowski 4
Tenywa Bonseu 87
Andrew Gregor 23
Tiger Fitzpatrick 18
Alfonso Loera 15
John Ball 11
Luke Kreamalmeyer 6
Steve Guppy 5
Ronald Cerritos 224
David Stokes 24
Rey Martinez 8
Joey Worthen 3
Taylor Graham 34
Josh Gardner 21
Leighton O'Brien 10
Nikolas Besagno 8
Roger Levesque 4
Danny Jackson 1
Chris Brown 208
Jamil Walker 77
Leonard Griffin 18
Byron Alvarez 8
Ray Burse, Jr. 6
Cameron Knowles 4
Chris Bagley 3
Arsene Oka 1
Scot Thompson 1
Nicholas Addlery 11
Justin Moose 8
Jay Nolly 8
Avery John 75
Eric Vasquez 23
Connaly Edozien 9
Willie Sims 9
Bruno Menezes 3
Sam Reynolds 2
Update: Added Luchi Gonzalez to Minnesota. He was listed as "Luis" on the USL site.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Colorado: Kwame Sarkodie (Cleveland City Stars)
Columbus: Stanley Nyazamba (Richmond Kickers)
Dallas: Jeff Rowland (Wilmington Hammerheads)
DC: Greg Janicki and Thabiso Khumalo (both from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
New York: Terry Boss (Charlotte Eagles) and Matt Mbuta (Crystal Palace Baltimore)
Interestingly, Rowland and Khumalo were both drafted by MLS teams but didn't stick.
So why a bunch of players from USL2, rather than USL1? My guess is the classic combination of low asking price and potential upside. I doubt any of them will be major contributors during the MLS stretch run, but it certainly never hurts to look at young talent for the future.
12 games, 1 goal, 566 minutes
Also this year, a certain forward has the following statistics during World Cup Qualifying:
5 games, 6 goals, 441 minutes
The name of these forwards? Carlos Ruiz and... Carlos Ruiz. That's right, the same player who can't seem to buy a goal for Los Angeles or Toronto this year is a scoring machine for Guatemala.
So what's the difference? Are CONCACAF defenses that much worse than those in Major League Soccer? Does Guatemala's midfield give him that much better service than David Beckham or Amado Guevara have this year in league play? Is he pining for the Hooters he helped open instead of attending the All-Star Game? Only El Pescadito knows for sure.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The main plot line involves a baddie named Saren who wants to wipe out humanity (and everything else) by finding and unleashing a race of intelligent machines called the Reapers. The scope is monumental, the look sleek and futuristic and the soundtrack well composed -- all things you would expect from a game of this type.
However the little things really make this game stand out. There are many subtle nods to actual science such as naming a location after Stephen Hawking and a type of ammo made up of Bose-Einstein condensate. The alien races are truly alien - both in look and behavior. The beefy elcor preface each sentence to non-Elcor with the emotion that is meant to be conveyed because truly understanding their native language requires the listener to be in tune with subtle scent and body posture variations. Are these sorts of details really needed? Of course not, but it certainly helps the immersive feel of the game.
There's lots of action, lots of sleuthing and lots of fun to be had. My verdict: this is a game well worth buying instead of renting, especially if you enjoy a good RPG... or alien ladies in tight-fitting body armor.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
This made me think of other odd sports injuries. Football fans may remember Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte knocking himself out of a game when he head-butted a wall celebrating a touchdown, or kicker Bill Gramatica who tore up his knee celebrating a more-or-less meaningless field goal.
Baseball is replete with weird injuries - but most of those seem to happen off the field. The Brewers' Matt Wise sliced his hand open on a pair of salad tongs a year or two ago. One of my favorites was that of Royals outfielder Mark Quinn, a former member of my fantasy baseball team who injured himself because he tripped over a table while "playing kung fu" with his brother.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
No player has ever led the league in both categories in the same year, but two players have come close. In 2006 Real Salt Lake's Jeff Cunningham led the league in scoring with 16 goals, and ended tied for second in assists with four other players. One of the players he was tied with was Christian Gomez, who tied Ante Razov for the second most goals at 14.
The race for top scorer has been very close most years, with only four seasons where the top scorer beat the man in second by more than two goals. In three seasons (1999, 2003 and 2004) two or more players tied for the lead.
If the season ended today, Landon Donovan would be fifth on the list, as he leads teammate Edson Buddle and Dallas' Kenny Cooper by three goals.
Mamadou Diallo 8 2000
Stern John 7 1998
Roy Lassiter 4 1996
Alex Pineda Chacon 4 2001
Jeff Cunningham 2 2006
Jaime Moreno 1 1997
Carlos Ruiz 1 2002
Taylor Twellman 1 2005
Luciano Emilio 1 2007
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
As it turns out, not only did Valderrama set the mark for most assists, but he also set the record for the largest gap between the top assist man and second place, outdistancing Steve Ralston by nine helpers. The only tie occurred in 2001 when Diego Serna and John Wilmar Perez shared the crown.
Carlos Valderrama 9 2000
Preki 6 2003
Jaime Moreno 4 2004
Marco Etcheverry 3 1998
Steve Ralston 3 2002
Marco Etcheverry 2 1996
Carlos Valderrama 2 1997
Steve Ralston 1 1999
Dwayne De Rosario 1 2005
Terry Cooke 1 2006
Steve Ralston 1 2007
If the season ended today, Guillermo Barros Schelotto would place second on this list, as he is currently eight assists ahead of Salt Lake's Javier Morales.
Monday, September 08, 2008
1. Estadio Esteban Hawking, black hole in Sagittarius A*, central Milky Way
2. Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala
3. Estadio Pedro Marrero, Havana, Cuba
4. Ernest Shackleton Stadium, Lake Vostok, Antarctica
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The humor ranges from the high-brow to the bargain basement and back again. You're as likely to hear them ridicule MTV's pronouncement of The Hills as this generation's A Tale of Two Cities with actual Dickens jokes as you are that the self-professed "Yank Skank" who slept with Alex Rodriguez was called a "Cub Dumpster" when she lived in Chicago.
All in all, this is one of the most consistently funny shows on television. For more information check out The Soup Blog
Saturday, September 06, 2008
There are a number of players on these three teams with MLS experience, including two players with more than 100 appearances. (There are also a number of players that were drafted by MLS teams, but never played. Those players are not listed below)
Here are those players, listed in order of MLS appearances.
Nelson Akwari 78
Stephen Armstrong 77
Lazo Alavanja 58
John Wilson 32
Dusty Hudok 12
Marco Reda 8
Matt Jordan 117
Pato Aguilera 19
Felix Brillant 19
David Testo 16
Adam Braz 13
Roberto Brown 13
Puerto Rico Islanders
Petter Villegas 117
Fabrice Noel 18
Bill Gaudette 17
Alberto Delgado 14
Osei Telesford 2
(edit -- I missed Stephen Armstrong in the original list. Thanks for pointing that out Mike!)
Friday, September 05, 2008
W L T GF GA DIF Win % PPG
Mexico 3 0 0 15 0 15 100.0% 3.00
Trinidad & Tobago 2 0 0 6 1 5 100.0% 3.00
Puerto Rico 1 0 1 3 2 1 50.0% 2.00
Canada 1 0 1 1 0 1 50.0% 2.00
Panama 2 1 1 8 2 6 50.0% 1.75
Guatemala 1 1 0 1 5 -4 50.0% 1.50
Honduras 0 0 2 4 4 0 0.0% 1.00
Costa Rica 0 1 1 2 3 -1 0.0% 0.50
El Salvador 0 1 1 3 4 -1 0.0% 0.50
Nicaragua 0 1 1 0 1 -1 0.0% 0.50
USA 0 3 1 2 9 -7 0.0% 0.25
Jamaica 0 1 0 0 3 -3 0.0% 0.00
Belize 0 2 0 0 12 -12 0.0% 0.00
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Player TM GM G Year
1 Roy Lassiter TB 30 27 1996
2 Stern John CLB 27 26 1998
Mamadou Diallo TB 28 26 2000
3 Carlos Ruiz LA 26 24 2002
4 Taylor Twellman NE 28 23 2002
Raul Diaz Arce DC 28 23 1996
5 Eduardo Hurtado LA 26 21 1996
6 Luciano Emilio DC 29 20 2007
As you can see, no player has ever registered at least 20 goals more than once. When Luciano Emilio did it last season, he was the first to do so in five years. This is Donovan's best goal-scoring year by far with 16 goals in just 18 games played. Can he make it to 20? That's a very interesting question.
Because MLS does not break for international dates, Donovan will likely miss at least two of the Galaxy's remaining eight games while on World Cup qualifying duty. The US plays Cuba on 9/6 and Trinidad and Tobago on 9/10, meaning Donovan will miss the 9/6 game against Salt Lake. The US plays the return legs of those fixtures 10/11 and 10/15, which means he'll likely miss the 10/12 game against Colorado. Factoring in fatigue and injuries from these games, he could also miss 10/18 against Houston and 9/13 against Kansas City.
If he keeps scoring at this rate, he'll finish with 20 goals if he plays at least five more games. Whether he plays that many remains to be seen. If he doesn't, it's yet another in a long line of arguments against MLS playing on FIFA dates.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Carlos Valderrama set the single-season mark in 2000 with 26 assists in 32 games. How hard is it to get 20 assists? Only two other players have ever reached 19 assists - Marco Etcheverry (who did it twice) and Steve Ralston. In fact if Schelotto's fails to tally another assist, it would already tie him for the fifth best season of all time.
Player TM GM A Year
1 Carlos Valderrama TB 32 26 2000
2 Marco Etcheverry DC 26 19 1996
Carlos Valderrama TB 20 19 1997
Marco Etcheverry DC 29 19 1998
Steve Ralston NE 27 19 2002
3 Steve Ralston TB 32 18 1999
4 Carlos Valderrama TB 23 17 1996
Preki KC 27 17 1997
Marco Etcheverry DC 22 17 1999
Mauricio Cienfuegos LA 30 17 1999
Steve Ralston TB 30 17 2000
Preki KC 30 17 2003
5 **Schelotto** CLB 22 16 2008
Carlos Valderrama COL 27 16 2002
Martin Machon MIA 24 16 2000
Mauricio Cienfuegos LA 30 16 1998
How good are Schelotto's chances? If he continue to provide assists at his current rate, he would end with 21 assists. If he tallies a helper every other game, he'll end with 20. It's not a lock, but the chances look pretty good.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
However that wasn't even the largest transfer of the day. Not to be outdone, Manchester City pulled a fast one and plucked Brazilian winger Robinho out from under the noses of Chelsea for a British record $58.5 million bucks. Isn't Roman Abromavich being outbid for a player the third seal?
Somewhere Dr. Evil wishes he had this kind of money.