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Four Days and Counting.....

With MLS Cup fast approaching, I offer some reading material:

From The Post, Steve Ralston will set an American soccer record Sunday...and perhaps finally win an MLS championship.

From the Globe, Taylor Twellman searches for the most elusive of goals.

From the Chronicle, Brian Ching is hoping for a miracle in order to play.

From the BBC, Platini is not so sure about an England World Cup bid.

From the college ranks, the ACC tournament quarterfinals are today in Cary, N.C., with Maryland facing Virginia Tech, Wake Forest meeting Clemson, Duke taking on UNC and Virginia, possibly in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 27 years, playing top-seeded Boston College after beating N.C. State in the play-in match yesterday.

By Steve Goff  |  November 14, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: Hop on the Bus, Gus

Comments

MLS Cup without United...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Napping | November 14, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"Since taking over as European footballing chief, Platini has also sent a letter to all European heads of government, highlighting what he called 'the malign and ever-present influence of money' which represented a 'serious threat.'"
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So you, Mr. Platini, are only accepting a salary of $1 a month, right? Didn't you just open a gleaming new headquarters building not too long ago?

Posted by: Juan-John | November 14, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Well said Juan-John. No doubt Mr. Platini played for free in his day. They probably walked 5 miles to school in the snow as well.

Personally, I applaud the moves of clubs like Arsenal. Fabregas, Hleb, Adebaior are all huge signings. Lets face it, if you can identify talent early you will dominate. All professional sports leagues, in every country, sign the best talent available, both domestic and foreign.

As to foreign ownership of EPL clubs. Again, the fans want to see a quality product. The quality of EPL play brings fans from a global market, why not ownership as well.

Platini is talking out of his rear end when criticizing England. No doubt France will offer a competing bid.

Posted by: Matte | November 14, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Off topic:


Jaime Moreno is projected to start for Bolivia vs. Argentina this saturday.

Which brings me to my next question, is Moreno the only South American Still playing for his Nat' team in the MLS? And hell even starting?

Posted by: Bolivian DC Fan | November 14, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Goff:

In the article re Ralston, it is mentioned that Razov and Ralston would be the only MLS originals if Marsch and Moreno were to retire during the off-season.

Any particular reason why Zach Thornton (NY in 96), Greg Vanney (LA in 96 - ironically lost to DCU in the Cup) and Frankie Hejduk (Tampa Bay in '96) are not included on the list of MLS originals from the Class of '96?

Posted by: Mickey | November 14, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Fire Gelnovatch -- bring back Arena!

Posted by: RK | November 14, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

RK - College Soccer is dead. UVA's talent pool has declined first because of the coach and second because the kids leave early or don't come at all. We've had Arsenal to MLS take UVA's players from the pitch at Klockner.

VT's rise is due in part to the coach (Weiss has serious talent and an eye for it) and second the boost in scholarships they give, which in turn get used on getting kids from Universities in Europe (Germany) to come over for a year or two.

Posted by: UVA United | November 14, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Any particular reason why Zach Thornton (NY in 96), Greg Vanney (LA in 96 - ironically lost to DCU in the Cup) and Frankie Hejduk (Tampa Bay in '96) are not included on the list of MLS originals from the Class of '96?

------

Those players have not appeared in an MLS game every season since '96. Vanney and Hejduk went to Europe, Thornton did not play in 2004.

Posted by: Goff | November 14, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't make me hang my hat on UVa lacrosse and the luckiest football team in the world...

Posted by: RK | November 14, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

If Thornton ate Meola wouldn't that just about double the number of games played he has under his belt?

I'm kind of sad to see Chris Armas retiring. He was always a hard tackling opponent but didn't seem to be as much of a whiner or thug as some of our rivals. The Post should have mentioned his name in the caption of the Ralston picture on page 3. Too bad the guy blew out his knee at RFK in the friendly vs Uruguay and wasn't able to go to the 2002 World Cup.

Posted by: garbaggio | November 14, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

RK -

It's just a much different landscape than it was even 6 years ago. The major talent kids that the top programs could count on every year are now leaving for money, opportunity, or both. A coach in college is going to have to be able to deal with some lesser talent and be able to coach up that player to the point where he can contribute. There will always be kids that for one reason or another pass the professional opportunities domestically or abroad for their education, but one must consider them the exception to the rule anymore. It's just a natural progression in the evolution of the sport here in this country.

That's not to say, also, that schools will be stocked with B talent. Clearly, college will serve as another development tool for player growth that can end up making an impact at the professional level.

I will agree, though, that the Cavs need a new coach. Gelnovatch has been a terrible motivator and notoriously disliked by the players. He may have a pedigree but he's knocked the polish off the program and a new face may be needed. Perhaps this is a place we could lure some young coaching talent.

Posted by: UVA-United | November 14, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Those players have not appeared in an MLS game every season since '96. Vanney and Hejduk went to Europe, Thornton did not play in 2004."

I don't know that I would give Razov credit, as his contract was owned by a Spanish 2nd division team from after the 2000 season until Chicago re-acquired him in the last part of the 2001 season. Granted, he has PLAYED in every season, but IMO you should be on a team's books continuously from opening day until the last game of the year for every MLS season to be in the Marsch/Moreno/Armas category.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | November 14, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

IMO you should be on a team's books continuously from opening day until the last game of the year for every MLS season to be in the Marsch/Moreno/Armas category.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | November 14, 2007 12:07 PM
-----------------------------------------

That would eliminate Moreno, a '96 midseason acquisition.

Posted by: 22201 | November 14, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

This season has been horrid for UVA men's soccer. The team's rep grew to the point where it attracted the finest only to have them leave as they peaked. Olsen and Esky are the best early examples. The best hope would be for a dynamic, charismatic coach who could hold the team together over the years...Gelnovatch has not proven capable of that.

More fun this year has been the UVA women's team. It is outstanding and actually seems to enjoy playing. Unfortunately they got dealt a pretty crappy bracket for the NCAA tournament...

Posted by: Cav Fan | November 14, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The link that Goff provided leads to WUMC's play-by-play. Virginia Tech just went up 1-nil.

Posted by: 22201 | November 14, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff. I think the entire Class of '96 (including Thornton, Vanney and Hejduk) that are still playing is a group worth celebrating (irregardless of whether they stayed in MLS during their entire career). Although Ralston, Razov and Moreno are in a group apart from the rest due to their staying power.

Thanks for the article in the Post. Without DCU in the final, I was afraid the Post would lose motivation to cover the Cup.

Posted by: Mickey | November 14, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Thornton went to Europe for a year as well. A team in Portugal if I remember correctly.

Posted by: wisc. ave | November 14, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually, now that I think about it, so did Razov. Played for a year with Racing de Ferrol in the Spanish second division.

Posted by: wisc. ave | November 14, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I for one will be watching something else on Sunday. New England kills more game than Ted Nugent. I'll tell you the final score:

1-0 Houston in the 1,254th minute. I'll pass.

Posted by: DCAustinite | November 14, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm predicting 2-1 to New England

Posted by: Logan Circle | November 14, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Good call wisc.ave. According to MLS records, Ante Razov did leave briefly to play in the Spain:

"2001: Played one season for Racing de Ferrol of the Spanish Second Division in 2000-01, scoring six goals in 19 games and helping the team survive relegation. After a brief stint with Spain's Racing de Ferrol, was re-acquired by Chicago as a marquee replacement for the injured Josh Wolff on 8/3"

Posted by: Mickey | November 14, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Could Mr. Gelnovatch's tactics be at fault? Seems to me the talent is there--they just can't do much by lobbing the ball to Reyering every possession. Reyering is injured and hark, we score 4 goals to 1.

Posted by: UVA to RFK | November 14, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Tech is leading 2-0 right now.

Posted by: sitruc | November 14, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, but I read about this earlier and finally confirmed it with my own ears and eyes, and wanted to know what everybody thought of it, too:

During yesterday's Seattle MLS presser, Garber referred to Luciano as Golden Boot winner and MVP...! Anybody else pick up on that...? Did The Don slip up and reveal who will be MVP... or did he just have a slip of the tongue? If you look at the video of the presser, it happens in minute 14:30 or thereabout...

Posted by: Soy United! | November 14, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

To Bolivian:

It's not just South Americans. There are few internationals of real quality in the league, from any region. No one with real expectations of playing for their national team comes to MLS. Even Beckham didn't make the move until after McLaren ruled him out -- everyone thought his day swith England were done. That only revived after he signed with the Galaxy, and started playing well for Madrid.

This is why I wrote in the earlier thread that it's crucial for the MLS to raise the level of talent in the league. Too much expansion will only dilute the American talent, and make it even less attractive to top-flight internationals.

Posted by: FischFry | November 14, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

As a Hokie, I support Groh and Gelnovatch. UVa still has a lot of top recruits and will continue to get them as long as they have history and are in the ACC. One of the problems is some of them haven't panned out. Part of that is coaching. I don't think UVA fans need to panic and worry the program will never achieve again though. A new coach could do the program well. Right now Coach Weiss is doing a good job of building a program. Internationals have helped to give the team something extra and compete. I'm hoping this will all lead to recruiting Virginia and the rest of the US better for VT. Kids want to go to UVA for soccer and barely consider VT. I'm hoping that's changing.

Posted by: sitruc | November 14, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

-------
This is why I wrote in the earlier thread that it's crucial for the MLS to raise the level of talent in the league. Too much expansion will only dilute the American talent, and make it even less attractive to top-flight internationals.
--------

Well-stated, but the "quality of play" aspect will never be set in stone, and it should always (or theoretically) be improving in the long term.

What keeps "top-flight" players and internationals out of MLS is the lack of money.

MLS is expanding (bringing in new ownership groups) and thereby creating more Designated Player spots to hopefully attract and sign more quality players (ideally in their prime).

It is not a quick process, and expansion is the logical step for the young league. I don't think the league is over-doing it or too quickly diluting the talent in and available to the league. With time, 18 teams and more revenue (from which to pay higher salaries and attract "better" players) MLS seems to be setting itself up for success.

The process of getting there (in these first years/decades of the league) of course won't always be the most-attractive or best football. But I think the future does hold shining possibilities for the league.

Posted by: Fair points | November 14, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

UVA just has to beat BC and then they can face VT and maybe feel better about themselves.

Tech leading Maryland 3-0

Posted by: sitruc | November 14, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Just about all the top flight leagues in the world have a talent or quality of play dropoff after the four top teams.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | November 14, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

You missed the great article on how happy Fenty is with the new grass at the stadium he supposedly doesn't even support.

Is Mr. Contradiction being banned from MLS Cup?

On the subject of DC United "supporters", do we know who is kicking out the first ball on Sunday?

Posted by: Southeasterner | November 14, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hokies win 3-0 is final.

Posted by: sitruc | November 14, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

BC-Virginia is next, at 1430 hours EST. Gametrackers for all the ACC tournament matches can be found at:

http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-soccer/acc-m-soccer-body.html

Posted by: 22201 | November 14, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Really disappointed in the Terps. 3-0, after finishing so strong? What happened?

wisc. ave-

Thornton sat the bench for Benfica for the latter half of a Euro season, then came back to MLS in the summer transfer window.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | November 14, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Any word on what Draft Pick DC will receive from the Galaxy for Santino Quaranta? (It was a conditional pick - 1st or 2nd round.)

Posted by: MFF | November 14, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Wisc Ave is getting credit for my point! Good, I've got all y'all parroting the Mastodon Juan line. Soon enough you'll be booing United.

22201, a good point about that eliminating Moreno. Totally accidental-- I had forgotten about Juan Berthy Suarez-- but anything to eliminate Moreno, the better.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | November 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Props to you on the Razov info, mastodon. I didn't read all the way through the comments before I posted.
But I won't be booing United anytime soon...

Posted by: wisc. ave | November 14, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I followed Razov's career in Spain. He was doing great, and I never could figure out why he returned to MLS. I seriously doubt that Racing dropped him; he was too important to their success.

Posted by: Hedbal | November 14, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Did they drop from the segunda at the end of 2000-01?

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | November 14, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Platini is the man - and he is dead on with the money issue. it will be a long process but he is on the right track.

Posted by: allez platini | November 14, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Really disappointed in the Terps. 3-0, after finishing so strong? What happened?
Posted by: Chest Rockwell | November 14, 2007 02:49 PM
===========================================

Came out uninspired. didn't play well. VT made a goal on a good play in the first half.

Then, pushing up, gave up the second goal from a dynamic pass deep.

Good news for MD fans, Jeremy Hall played.

Posted by: JSF | November 14, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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