Friday, February 27, 2009

Rapidly Running Richardson

In a previous post I mentioned that I would like to see what Guyanese forward Gregory Richardson could do in Major League Soccer. It looks even more likely that I'll get my wish as the Colorado Rapids traded a draft pick to Toronto FC for his rights.

For your viewing pleasure, here are highlights of Richardson demolishing the New England Revolution in the CONCACAF Champions League.

That's Right, Twenty THOUSAND

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Seattle Sounders have already sold 20,000 season tickets for their inaugural season. Assuming sales in other cities remain consistent, this means that MLS should have three teams average more than 20,000 fans per game next year (Los Angeles and Toronto both accomplished the feat the last two years running.)

To put this into perspective, the Seattle Mariners have only sold 14,000 season tickets for next year. I realize that baseball season tickets are much more expensive (due to the large number of games) but it's still impressive that the Sounders are likely to regularly sell out the 24,500 seat soccer capacity for Qwest Field next year.

To add even more perspective, the USL1 version of the Sounders averaged a touch under 3,400 fans per game over the last two years. It just goes to show that USL1 attendance can be pretty much ignored when sizing up potential MLS markets.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The 2009 PPC

The 2009 Phony Preseason Cup... er Pan-Pacific Championship kicks off tonight. The four team tournament does in fact feature two champions. The Suwon Blue Wings won the Korean League last year, and Shandong Luneng are the reigning champions of China.

The other two team are Japanese side Oita Trinita and the Los Angeles Galaxy. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea to include the Galaxy when they were planning the tournament -- MLS had to be banking that the star power of David Beckham and Landon Donovan would open marketing doors in Asia. However since both of them are currently on loan in Europe you have to think some enterprising vendor is selling "My parents went to the PPC and all they saw was this lousy Ely Allen" shirts in the Home Depot Center parking lot.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CONCACAF Players I'd Like to See in MLS

Even though Major League Soccer draws talented players from all over the CONCACAF region, there are still plenty of players who end up playing elsewhere. This is a list of players I'd like to see plying their trade here in the good ol' USA.

If I'd published this list a couple of days ago like I'd originally planned, new San Jose Earthquake Bobby Convey would have been at the top of the list. Once the youngest player ever signed by MLS, Convey started his career with DC United at the tender age of 16. An integral part of Reading's magical 106 point season in 2005-2006, he's struggled with injuries the last few years and needs to get consistent playing time if he wants to get anywhere near the 2010 World Cup. I hope he can resurrect what was a very promising career back here in the States.

So who else makes the list?

Nery Castillo - Mexico

I realize his loan spell at Manchester City was more or less a complete disaster, but the talent he showed scoring four goals during the 2007 Copa America was electrifying. If he can regain that form he could be the goal scoring lightning the Mexican national team needs.

Chance of him coming to MLS: 0% - even if he was released by Shakhtar Donetsk I'm sure there are a gaggle of Mexican teams that would offer up a pretty penny for his services.

Gregory Richardson - Guyana

Nicknamed "Jackie Chan," Richardson almost single-handedly dumped the New England Revolution out of the CONCACAF Champions League with four goals in two games. While his performances were not as stellar during the rest of the tournament, in the right environment he looks like he could be an exciting player.

Chance of him coming to MLS: 70% -- he's already on trial with Toronto FC, and the Revolution and Crew were both rumored to be interested in him last year.

David Suazo - Honduras

For my money, he might be the best striker in the region. Currently on loan to Benfica from Inter Milan, he averaged a little more than a goal every three games from 1999-2007 while competing in the top two divisions in Italy.

Chance of him coming to MLS: 0% -- I realize there's pretty much no chance of luring him back from Europe, but a guy can dream, can't he?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This week DC United acquired Christian Gomez from the Colorado Rapids. Yes -- that Christian Gomez -- the one DC couldn't unload fast enough last year in order to pursue Designated Player washout Marcello Gallardo.

United was somehow able to pawn Gallardo off on River Plate, freeing them up to reacquire Gomez, along with a rookie keeper and an international player slot. The cost? Ivan Guerrero, a 2nd round pick and the DP slot they acquired in the original trade.

If you sum up the two trades, DC essentially gave up a very good midfielder in Guerrero for an unknown goalkeeper and the opportunity to rent Gallardo for roughly half a season's worth of games. Ugh.

The Hex is Here!

Tomorrow night's game against Mexico launches the final round of World Cup qualifying for the United States. Commonly referred to as "the hexagonal" (because it contains six teams) this is the fourth qualifying cycle in a row that has used this format.

Scaryice of Climbing the Ladder has put together a fine assortment of historical statistics related to the hex. It makes sense when you think about which countries have qualified out of CONCACAF recently, but I was still a little surprised to learn that only Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States have a winning record in the hex. For this and more, go check out this fine soccer blog.

Pizza Hut - Aiming High

I recently received a Pizza Hut flyer with the following headline:

I must say I'm glad that Pizza Hut is finally serving "restaurant quality" food after all these years of troweling out "gas station" and "pirate ship quality" fare. Since Pizza Hut is a restaurant, wouldn't any food they serve be "restaurant quality?" Perhaps this is a question best left for students of food metaphysics...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ummm... is this the same Los Angeles?

MLSnet recently published an article about Leo Bautista, a Venezuelan defender who is on trial with the Los Angeles Galaxy. It's a cute little article about how he's enjoying his time in the States and how nice it is in Los Angeles. However I really wonder if the author embellished some of the quotes. At the end of the article Bautista says:
"I'm very happy I came here," he said. "If I told you my country was similar to this, I'd be lying. The streets are clean, people respect laws ... it's just spectacular. I would stay here. I've fallen in love with the city."
Is he staying in the same Los Angeles we see in the news? I can only see a few reasons why he would have said this:
  1. Writer embellishment
  2. Faulty translation from Spanish to English
  3. Venezuela = Thunderdome.

More Xbox Achievements

In a previous post I listed some of my favorite achievements for Xbox 360 games. In the last four months I've stumbled across a few more.

If you play enough games of the exceedingly addicting railroad card game Ticket to Ride you're likely to earn the Underachiever award. In order to "earn" this, you need to play ten games without earning any other achievements... so it's kind of an anti-achievement. Best of all, this is a secret achievement, so there's no way to scheme to get this one. Well unless you cheat and look on the internet to figure out what it is. Hey wait a minute -- forget what I just said. Oops.

The most amusing thing I've seen in someone else's achievement list was "collected 33% of coloring book pages" from Shrek the Third. This probably wouldn't have been so funny to me if the person who collected it wasn't in his thirties...