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Time of the Season

Commish Don Garber will discuss the upcoming season and MLS competition initiatives, such as uniformity in the appearance of the fields and theme music that was composed in Prague recently, during a conference call at 1:30 p.m. today. Other minor announcements are expected. I will provide an overview and some comments this afternoon.

Meantime, Chicago is preparing to announce the signing of forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the volatile Mexican star. He will score goals and attract an audience, but is he worth the headache? What do you think?

By Steve Goff  |  April 2, 2007; 9:19 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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I think he's well worth any headaches. It seems some Fire fans are upset, but he'll deliver excitement, a better atmosphere at TP, and highlight reel goals on Republica Deportivo. Good marketing move, good on-field move. I think it'll work for Chicago, and for MLS.

Posted by: Logan Circle | April 2, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Well, if the 'Theme Music' was composed in Prague, that may appease some more of the Euro-snobs.

Or they'll bash it because all the quality theme music is composed in Italy or Spain.

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

He's not going to be our headache, so if Chicago wants to dump some $$$ in the toilet for him, that's just fine with me. As for myself, I just want to see him get two-footed by Boswell. ;-)

Posted by: Straight Red | April 2, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Does it really matter if the fields have the same mowing pattern? As long as they don't have grids on them, logos at midfield, and a freakin' pitcher's mound; I couldn't care less about the width of the swaths and the hues of green.

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | April 2, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Can't think of a top Spanish composer; the Italians have a couple :-)

Dvorjak and Smetna were Czech. Dvorjak wrote the New World Symphony about the US.

Why didn't MLS just commission John Williams? Theme music is all he does.

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | April 2, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's see... we get to yell at him, whistle at his dives, and laugh when he blows up their locker room, and it's not our cash... yep, love the move!

Posted by: SpikeFC | April 2, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I love the Champions League music -- if it is on par with that, it's a great idea.

Blanco? If he's a 4-month rental, it's a horrible idea. If he's here for a few years, it's still a horrible idea, because he's already 34. Glad DCU has shown restraint with the Beckham/Reyna/Blanco rule.

Posted by: RK | April 2, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

He'll be good for the league; mexicans will go to games they may not otherwise go to whenever he's in town, and Americans will go to the matches to watch (hopefully) him get crushed by whomever happens to be marking him.

Not sure why he's going to Chicago, though. Is there a large mexican community there?

Standardization of stuff around the stadiums is a good idea. The new stadiums and fields are quite nice, so it makes sense to brand them. Not sure why we need music from Europe though. Maybe the Rocky theme or something....

Posted by: Hacksaw | April 2, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It won't matter. Like most members of the Mexican National Team, he won't be able to score on this side of the border.

Posted by: I-66 | April 2, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, presumably at some point Blanco'll make the local papers after beating up some woman again. That'll definitely make more of the Chicago population aware of the Fire.

Posted by: Bootsy | April 2, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse


Chicago has the 2nd largest Mexican population in America. Los Angeles is first.

Posted by: I-66 | April 2, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

What's the point of uniformity in grass cutting rules when RSL and NYRB play on turf fields at pointyball stadiums? Our DC has a baseball diamond in the middle of it?

I kind of like when different stadiums have distinctive patterns to their mowing, in shaded lines or checkboard patterns.

Posted by: pat | April 2, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Love the theme music angle...hope its classy. As for the uniform fields I guess that could be good or bad. Bad if they are branded with the heinus MLS logo at midfield. Blanco is good for the league. He adds character to a league that needs it. This league needs more of a dramatic element and a good villian is a piece of the puzzle. Looks like the commish is trying to set a stage....I like it.

Posted by: Union Square | April 2, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Fernando Sor and Dionisio Aguado. They haven't composed in awhile though.

Posted by: Spanish composer | April 2, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Blanco will be an idiot about some things. But his skills will make up for it. Remember, he's a professional athlete and they get pardoned for everything as long as they score goals/TD/runs/etc.

Posted by: gomez4prez | April 2, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Living in Chicago, it was obvious that the team needed to do something to boost interest in the team, since they parted ways with some major fan favorites in the offseason. This signing will help the team in numerous ways.

Blanco will renew interest in the team, draw in parts of a new fan base and, hopefully, establish some heated (but not dirty) rivalries between some of the better players in the league. What I wouldn't give to see Dempsey back and those two go head to head...

In the end, great move by AEG. They obviously have deep pockets and are willing to invest to improve the league.

(I just hope it isn't a 5 year deal... any word on contract terms?)

Posted by: Tim | April 2, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I dont think anyone will be complaining about the music being composed in Europe if a Gladitor style score is what the anthem will be. I sure the commish gave them a mandate to write something with a little backbone. Something that evokes war and passion. We shall see...

Posted by: Union Square | April 2, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

While I'm a DC fan now (as here is where I live). I was in Chicago when the Fire started and watched a ton of their games, so I still kind of follow them. I hate the move. Waste of money, space, etc. Ever since Wilt left/got ousted, the Fire have basically sucked.

Posted by: comfortstarr | April 2, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Of course this theme music will be classy, with just the right amount of keytar to accompany the hex pad drum solo. Although, it could probably use some more cowbell.

What are the Fire's other attacking options for when the dromedary gets suspended?

Posted by: dominic | April 2, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

There has yet to be a Mexican player in MLS who has made any impact in the league. What makes you think a 34 year old, Blanco will be any different? He is just a name, and that is it. I'm glad that DC United has all of the brains in MLS when it comes to assembling a team. I would hate to be a Chicago fan right now.

Posted by: DC United Fan | April 2, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Blanco beating on some woman will not make Chicagoans notice the Fire. What they'll need for that to happen is a player to get involved in some shootings, maybe lose a bodyguard in the mess and have a housefull of ammo.....oh and he'll have to have a cool sounding name like "Tank" or something. Then they'll get noticed.

Posted by: Piney Orchard | April 2, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Signing Blanco is a good move. He's the kind of player that can change the game in an instant. It's a big risk because of his temperament but age is just a number (Preki, Nowak, Djorkaeff all did well post-34).

Mexicans Paco Palencia and Loco Garcia both had a large impact on MLS w/Chivas USA...Claudio Suarez as well.

Posted by: Andrew | April 2, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't know Mr. Blanco, but my impression is that he's a locker room cancer. I'm sure there will be some jealousy of Beckham and Reyna making their boatloads of $$$, but at least they seem like likable teammates. Blanco appears to be more disruptive to his teammates than he's worth.

Re: the MLS theme song...doesn't seem like an important piece of business for me. The USMNT has that extremely annoying, but memorable, "Goal, goal, goal" song, but does is really do any good? I wouldn't think so. I just hope that whatever the theme is, is that it isn't played after every MLS goal, like during the USMNT games. I'd guess the US front office would like all crowds to sing the song in unison to create an atmosphere, but it just ain't gonna happen! Ditto the MLS theme song.

Oh, and pi** on the Fire.

That is all.

Posted by: Beaker | April 2, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

i honestly don't understand the theme music. when is it even played? is it the same concept as hank williams jr's "are you ready for some football" on monday nights?

blanco is be a good move.

Posted by: cheers | April 2, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

If they play the music when the teams take the field, a la the Champions League theme, then its ok. Or play it when a telecast starts on TV. I hope they don't play the damn thing after each goal...that's just silly.

I like Blanco in MLS. That gives me another person to yell at with all of my might!

Posted by: Hoost | April 2, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

New MLS drinking game: Chug a beer every time an announcer mispronounces "Cuauhtemoc"; two beers for "Blanco."

Posted by: Quarter Mac (Mickey D's heart healthy menu choice) | April 2, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

to the no Mexican impact players see Chivas USA circa 2006 - Paco Palencia, JP Garcia, Suarez, Francisco Mendoza. Chivas did it the right way though integrating the players into a team that saw the emergence of Bornstein, Kljestan, etc.

Posted by: james | April 2, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

man that "goal, goal, goal" song at US MNT games makes me embarrassed to even be there.

Posted by: pat | April 2, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

no way i'd want both dempsey back AND blanco here playing against us.

Posted by: blanco yes, dempsey no | April 2, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Pat, come on. Its '

Goals goals goals'
for the red white and blue
Goals goals goals
for the red white and blue
our legs will never tire
our hearts will stear us through
goals goals goals
for the red white and blue'

my eyes water up every time I hear that song. So much history there. Celtic and Ireland, you can have your 'Fields of Athenry' any day. All I want are...

Goals Goals Goals...

I was at a game v jamacia when that song came out and I almost cried I was laughing so hard. Do they still play it?

Posted by: bribri | April 2, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"I was at a game v jamacia when that song came out and I almost cried I was laughing so hard. Do they still play it?"

I'm almost certain I heard it during the US v. Ecuador game.

Posted by: Beaker | April 2, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Lets all point and laugh at Chicago. What a horrible signing. I'm hearing $2m for a 34 year crybaby with bad knees? LOL, my friends. LOL.

Posted by: BigKahuna | April 2, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

RE: Spanish composers. I forgot about Los del Rio - my bad.

Now you'll all be singing the Macarena for the rest of the day. Don't you hate me?

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | April 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it's a good sign that everything in the league is in such great shape that the Commish can spend his time worrying about theme music (!?!) and a uniform look to the fields. Frankly I think both of these things are pretty stupid. I think it's better to have the stadia and fields look distinctive and not cookie cutter. When exactly is this theme music supposed to be played and what is it's purpose? Next thing you know he'll start mandating music to be played during the game.

Posted by: Glenn | April 2, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As for Blanco

1. He won't draw Mexicans. He'll draw fans who followed him from Club America. That isn't all Mexicans. And it remains to be seen if they stay Fire fans when he leaves or if they're just there to admire Blanco.

2. Forget Blanco for a second and identify what kind of player you'd think Chicago might need. A goal scoring striker (who Rolfe can run off of). Or a central mid with a high work rate that allows Mapp to be Mapp at times and compensates for Armas' age and bad knees. Blanco is neither.

3. He's not only a locker room cancer but he's going to force the team to choose between him and Armas as the soul and heart of the team.

4. He's not only 34, he's lost a step and isn't explosive anymore. I feel about this signing (in terms of performance on the field) like I felt about the Djorkaeff signing--that you can't expect 2-3 good years from him (and that doesn't even include that Djorkaeff was a classy guy while Blanco is just an A-hole).

I predict that this will end badly. Blanco will leave the Fire calling them minor league and haters of all things Mexican. No permanent fans or good will be gained.

Posted by: Joe | April 2, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I think my head's going to explode when he comes to RFK. Nothing but pure hatred for that bum.

And I don't see him making that much of a difference at the turnstiles. Campos, Hermosillo and Hernandez all tried and failed. I think the competition in MLS will surprise that nut job.

Posted by: Chico | April 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The theme music can improve. The best theme music in the US now is Sports Center and (what use to be Monday Night Football). If they can get something that blends the energy of those with the "classiness" of the Champions League intro music, then it'll be good. But other than that... I don't really care. I'd rather they focus on adding cameras, learning how to use the cameras they've got, stop running commercials during the run of play, and generally shutting up when they don't know what to say.

As for Blanco... I use to respect Chicago. I thought that, outside of DC United, they had the classiest organization in MLS. That respect is gone. Blanco is a has-been. He use to be a player like a Stoichkov, but just like Hristo, his impact on the game was much more negative than anything.

Just wait until Blanco breaks a kid's leg in scrimmage and then is responsible for dragging the Chicago Fire's name through a lawsuit.

This is all about buying the Mexican fan. I hope this fails so this type of marketing tactic stops. At some point the rest of the league will learn that to draw fans, all they have to do is put together a good team that entertains and wins games. Who cares what country the players come from? All the fans want to see is good soccer. (Of course, Red Bull should try every trick in the book, but I doubt there are any fans there to come out to watch a game).

Posted by: TCompton | April 2, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, in order to keep the field appearance uniform, all MLS playing surfaces will now be required to be lined with football lines, including a large "New England Patriots" logo within 10 yards of each touch-line.

Posted by: soccer nerd | April 2, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Blanco has to be the worst move we, the Fire, could have made. All he is going to do is dive, cheat, cry, complain, and be lazy. He knows very little English and our team as a whole knows very little Spanish. He never makes intelligent off-the-ball runs and he only moves when he has the ball at his feet. I'll be surprised if he scores 3 goals this season and as far as commercial move goes, I don't think we need any more Hispanics coming to our town.

Posted by: BarnBurner | April 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The music was composed in New York by Audiobrain. They are the guys that did the Xbox logo and the Olympics...It was just recorded in Prague. My friend knows them and said it's awesome and that all the teams will walk onto the field to it, it's a real anthem and it's great-

Posted by: Live4Soccer | April 8, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

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