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Heard It on the Grapevine

I am hearing that.....

.....representatives for DCU, RSL, K.C. and Dallas are in Argentina this week to meet with agents and attend a scouting combine. Following the success of Emilio, Fred, Angel, Schelotto, Toja, Blanco and others, clubs are well aware that Latin America is the place to find affordable foreign talent these days.

.....although Carlos Ruiz and his fat contract have been exempted again from designated player status, Dallas is not interested in paying him that elevated amount ($435,000 in 2007) and would like to allocate some of that money to other players. The club -- which is also hoping to fill Denilson's slot with another marquee player -- is considering not exercising the option on the enigmatic forward's contract in hopes of negotiating a lower figure. From what I am told, Ruiz is not happy (big surprise). Would he accept a pay cut? Will he be traded this winter? Will he go AWOL again?

.....DCU and Houston will likely begin CONCACAF Champions' Cup quarterfinal play March 11-13 (first leg) and 18-20 (second leg). The MLS season commences March 29.

.....former Howard University coach Keith Tucker has been named interim head coach for Bermuda's national team in preparation for the start of World Cup qualifying in February against the Cayman Islands and potentially a June series with Trinidad & Tobago.

Meantime, overseas, the BBC has assembled a nice breakdown of the English coaching drama.

In the NCAAs, six regional men's teams are preparing for second-round matches Wednesday:

*Loyola at Maryland
*Virginia at West Virginia
*Cal at Virginia Tech
*Old Dominion at Brown

Lots of other things brewing. If anything emerges today, I'll be sure to share it with you.

By Steve Goff  |  November 26, 2007; 10:06 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: MLS Rumblings

Comments

Womens' NCAA, UNC is out, of the 8 teams through, 3 are Big East -- WVU, ND and UConn. USC Trojans traveling to Morgantown Friday night. Do they burn couches after womens soccer games?

Posted by: WNT fan | November 26, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Steve, I'm wondering whether your having this blog has increased the number of grapevine contacts you're getting over the number you used to get when you were known primarily as The Post's beat soccer (and occasionally basketball) reporter?

Posted by: seahawkdad | November 26, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Qatar or Bust...

No one in MLS is going to pay that sort of scratch for the privilege of dealing with Ruiz's attitude.

If anything, the influx of foreign players, to include DPs, has made Ruiz seem more anonymous. Whereas three years ago he was one of the few forces-to-be reckoned-with in the league, this year he was not. He is still a quality player -- and a first class douche -- but the league is different now and there are more players with his ability...and none of them with his diva-headcase ways.

Some Qatari club will pay him six or seven figures for him to twitch on the dirt like a fish when he comes within a meter of a defender.

I would be glad to see him go.

Posted by: Erick | November 26, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I am curious if the "scouting combine" includes the U-20s. The US, Argentina, and Paraguay are playing each other this week in friendlies here in Buenos Aires, and I think Uruguay may be playing, too.

Other league action this week includes the hugely important Boca-Tigre game on Wednesday. DJ Countes is a reserve for Tigre, and Riquelme is arriving (allegedly) on Wednesday on loan to Boca.

Posted by: Lost in BA | November 26, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering whether your having this blog has increased the number of grapevine contacts you're getting over the number you used to get ....

---------------

It has probably helped a bit, but most of my contacts have remained the same. There just happens to now be a forum to share everything I hear.

Posted by: Goff | November 26, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised (but pleasantly so) that WVU gets to host the quarterfinal, given that USC was the higher seed, but the NCAA can be pretty arbitrary and capricious about these things. There is a slight chance that WVU's men's team will also be playing in Morgantown this weekend. (They'd have to get past Virginia, coupled with Furman pulling off a major upset at Wake Forest.)

As I noted in an earlier thread, it is not just that there are three Big East teams in the quarters, but that they all took out top seeds, leaving only UCLA as the survivor among the original top four seeds (and even they were taken into overtime by Virginia). Also, WVU has done evidently done some recruiting in this area; among others, star striker Kim Bonilla grew up in Dumfries.

Posted by: 22201 | November 26, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that today might be a busy trade day in the MLS, but maybe not now that half the league's front offices are in South America.

Posted by: Shatz / DCUMD | November 26, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about burning couches, but on Saturday at Penn State, a very vocal group of a few hundred Mountaineer fans took a home crowd of that was several times larger out of the game.

Posted by: 22201 | November 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Where does the Insider rank now traffic-wise relative to the other Wash Post Sports blogs? All Post Blogs?

Posted by: Ron | November 26, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Where does the Insider rank now traffic-wise relative to the other Wash Post Sports blogs? All Post Blogs?

------

Among the eight Post sports blogs, we're consistently second behind the Redskins. Among all Post blogs, we're in the top 12 out of 40 (??) every day.


Posted by: Goff | November 26, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Goffer: I have long wanted to know what the players do during the "offseason." Do they remain in the DC area and attend mandatory workouts; do they go to their "real" homes but with a workout regimen expected of them; or, given the often meager salaries they earn, do they just try to make some money before camp begins? Some players clearly need to stay in shape: Dyachenko seemed to take forever to get fit this season. How about a column on this subject?

Posted by: Hedbal | November 26, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

WVU Bonilla #7 is exciting to watch. I hope Friday's game is on TV somehow sometime. How long does it take to drive to Morgantown from DC?

Posted by: WNT fan | November 26, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

They'd have to get past Virginia, coupled with Furman pulling off a major upset at Wake Forest.

==========================================
Furman is playing well. They have a terrific defense anchored by Jon Leathers (a name to remember) and something Amos (a name that I can't remember). Also, they have a host of freshman that have been putting the ball in the net. Lastly, they have a stealthy right midfielder - Shea Salinas - who is very good.

WF has been struggling to score lately (BC 2-1, UNC in OT 1-0, lowly Clemson 2 goals right before regulation 3-1). It wouldn't surprise me to see Furman challenge WF and perhaps even get a late victory. Think PKs.

Posted by: JSF | November 26, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If the MLS clubs are taking in the Boca-Tigre game, they should look at Nestor Ayala (plays for Tigre). I would love to see him on TFC. He is an absolute gem at the ripe age of 24 and making headway on the Paraguayan national team.

Posted by: DigzTFC | November 26, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Steve,

Could you please clarify two things I've probably missed over Thanksgiving:

(1) I thought the Champions Cup was no more and the new Champions League would just start later in the season.

(2) What exemption does Dallas have to pay Ruiz and he not count as a DP? I was unaware of any new DP-exemptions being passed for 2008.

Thanks.

Posted by: Josh | November 26, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I have long wanted to know what the players do during the "offseason." Do they remain in the DC area and attend mandatory workouts; do they go to their "real" homes but with a workout regimen expected of them; or, given the often meager salaries they earn, do they just try to make some money before camp begins? Some players clearly need to stay in shape.

-------------

Every player is different. Some stay in the area to rest or work out on their own, some head home (U.S.) or back overseas for the holidays and vacation, some have minor surgery. Everyone is expected to be in good shape by the time the club regroups around Feb. 1.

Posted by: Goff | November 26, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Any given match in the NCAA men's and women's tournaments may be covered by some combination of Internet video or audio feeds, and/or a gametracker. Check the NCAA site (http://www.ncaasports.com/broadcast/schedule/champ-audio) or the participating school's site close to the start of the game.

Morgantown is about 210 miles from Washington, and you can get there in well under four hours, almost all on interstates (270/70/68). The football ground is on Route 19, above the indoor sports arena, at the NW end of town, near the border between Morgantown and Star City. (Obviously this pertains to Wednesday's UVA-WVU men's game, too.) It is fairly new, and similar to Ludwig Field or the George Mason stadium.

Posted by: 22201 | November 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think DC should take a risk and try to acquire Ruiz. Emilio could use a designated boots polisher.

Posted by: voyager | November 26, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

With regard to the England manager's position, I think Hughes would be perfect for the job. The national team position is not about training, it is about tactics and identifying talent. Hughes has proven masterful at both, I think. I'd love to see him get the nod. He seems dubious himself, I wonder if the FA have contacted him at all.

Posted by: Matte | November 26, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Steve,

Certainly DCU's success with brining in South American talent is clear. I would say that others are following the DCU example. A counter to this would be that this talent hasn't brought championships in the last three seasons. So, from your perspective what's the best way to build an MLS squad? Which teams have been best at doing this and why?

Thanks always for the blog. It's one of the things I am thankful for this holiday season! Not kidding.

Posted by: AlexandriaDan | November 26, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

yeah sorry about that. My mom should have brined her turkey this year. Players should not have to soak in a mixture of sugar, salt and water. :)

Posted by: AlexandriaDan | November 26, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Steve,

Could you please clarify two things I've probably missed over Thanksgiving:

(1) I thought the Champions Cup was no more and the new Champions League would just start later in the season.

(2) What exemption does Dallas have to pay Ruiz and he not count as a DP? I was unaware of any new DP-exemptions being passed for 2008.

Thanks.

Posted by: Josh | November 26, 2007 12:18 PM
___________________________________________

1) The new CONCACAF Champions League format is supposed to debut in the fall of 2008 and run through the spring of 2009, with an expanded field and group play. The last edition of the current format will be held next spring -- so the format that debuts next fall is really the 2009 competition, but starting in 2008 because it is expanded. Of course, this all assumes the new format will actually take off, given the very real concerns that some CONCACAF clubs cannot afford to do home and away legs.

2) During MLS Cup week, Garber let slip that "grandfathered" players like Donovan, Eddie Johnson, and Carlos Ruiz will be grandfathered again in 2008, meaning they will not count as DPs even though they make DP money. This was widely seen as a huge gift to the Galaxy to allow them to keep both Beckham and Donovan.

Posted by: J | November 26, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

There will be both basketball and pointyball games in Morgantown on Saturday, so hotel rooms west of Cumberland may be scarce.

Posted by: 22201 | November 26, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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