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Io-what?

Congrats to Barry and Mike for their victories in Iowa, but I must say, I was rather disappointed in all the candidates. Not one took a stand on single entity or the single table and, as far as I can tell, there were no photo ops with Zeke Dombrowski of the Des Moines Menace. Outrageous, I tell ya. Whoever stumps with the New Hampshire Phantoms this weekend gets my vote. Maybe this guy will give us the love.

Let's move on, shall we?

*I am hearing that a U.S. national team friendly in Europe on March 26 is looking very likely. No word on the opponent, but through the process of elimination, we can narrow the candidates. Half the teams in Europe already have matches scheduled that day, including Italy, Spain, England, France and Germany. But four sides that qualified for Euro '08 and are presumably eager for quality competition are available: Croatia, Poland, Greece and Sweden. The Americans play Sweden this month, so that's unlikely, and they always seem to play Poland. Other possibilities: Ireland, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Israel, Scotland and Slovakia.

*Mayor Fenty's chief of staff, who had advocated a stadium for D.C. United at Poplar Point, has resigned.

*Interested in which non-seniors are considering signing with MLS before the draft? I highly recommend this often-updated chart on Buzz Carrick's excellent 3rddegree.net site.

*Reports in Latin American media are linking MLS with Peruvian goalkeeper Jose Carvallo (Universitario de Deportes) and Mexican midfielder Said Godinez (Tecos).

*If you live in the New York area, need college credits, love soccer, have some journalism experience and a flexible schedule, the MLS communications department wants you to be their intern. Details here. E-mail your resume to internjobs@mlsnet.com

*No footy video for you today, but just for some Friday fun, a clip from Bret and Jemaine (Flight of the Conchords), perhaps the best thing to come out of New Zealand since Ryan Nelsen (see, there's the soccer angle!):


By Steve Goff  |  January 4, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Payne Recovering and Other News
Next: United Near Deal With Defender [updated]

Comments

I would like it to be either Croatia or Scotland. They would present the greatest challenges to us (aside from Sweden who, as you said, is a long shot) and would only help to further build the program.

Greece wouldn't be too terrible either as their sole strategy is a massive bunker down effort which we are sure to see through much of WC Q's so that could be helpful as well. If you can bust the best bunkering team on earth, you can bust the Guatemala's of the world easier.

I'm just happy to see us getting more European action so the kids get used to playing away from home.

Posted by: papa bear | January 4, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Love Flight of the Conchords! And I wonder if Fenty's man resigning signals a final closing of the chapter for a Poplar Pt stadium. Or was it final in Dec?

Posted by: Suz | January 4, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Flight of the Conchords - Concord, NH. Nice political tie-in.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 4, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Just be glad HBO got their act together and approved a second season of Conchords (though I still can't forgive them for killing Rome). It is the funnyiest show around, now that Extras is done.

If you are sharp-eyed you will have seen "Murray" with a cameo in the Xmas Finale/Special of Extras.

Posted by: Erick | January 4, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a big soccer fan. I bet if anyone asked him about MLS had probably know enough about it to sound dangerous...

I hope we play Scotland. Beer seems to flow better when we play the Scots....

Posted by: Hacksaw | January 4, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

playing in croatia would be good for our boys. i'd like to see them play greece as well.

Posted by: PKTaker | January 4, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

One term mayor

Posted by: DC | January 4, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I second Croatia or Scotland. It's time the U.S. play some quality somewhere other than U.S. soil.

Posted by: peridigm | January 4, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Not a good look for Kerry. He should stick to what he knows -- sucking money out of our wallets.

Slovakia in March? Yikes. Lets hope for Ireland/N. Ireland/Scotland. I've been looking for a reason to get a pint at Ireland's Own.

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 4, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty bad when your own chief of staff quits on you because he thinks you're a bad mayor.

Posted by: James | January 4, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the US play England or Israel. Personally I would love to see the US play Israel, b/c I can't think of a time when the US has played in the middle east, plus I will be in Israel during the spring, so it would be an extra incentive to root on both of my countries. I think it would be awesome to take on England at Wembley and then beat them, and see England fall into shambles.

Posted by: DC United Fan | January 4, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

if you think a couple resignations are bad, check this out:

http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/004951.php

Posted by: DC | January 4, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Richardson gets demoted for disagreeing with Fenty while Ghandi (who's department has been ripped off for millions) gets to keep his job. If Fenty survives more than one term as mayor I'll be stunned.

(I take that back, nothing surprises me as far as DC politics go)

Posted by: Chico | January 4, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The guy who quit was NOT the chief of staff. He was a deputy assistant something-or-other whom Fenty had shunted into a low level job many months ago. And he's a serial quitter, having also abandoned the Williams administration in high dudgeon. This guy is not the first aide in Washington to confuse himself with the person the voters elected, and he won't be the last. Giving a disgruntled low level aide a soapbox does not constitute reporting, and the Poplar Point stadium "story" continues to suffer from a want of facts.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 4, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

We should play the eastern european teams (Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria) more often
as we've always had trouble with them since WC'90, esp. Czechoslovakia. We've played Greece and Poland in friendlies before and won't learn anything new from them.

Posted by: FarAway Fred | January 4, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

David Nakamura calls Neil Richardson Fenty's Deputy Chief of Staff. He helped Fenty get elected and then demoted because he disagreed with the Head Nincompoop. Meanwhile Rome burns all around him. I'd say Richardson is a man of principle in this story and Fenty is an albatross around the necks of the citizens of DC.

Posted by: Chico | January 4, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"I was disappointed that an administration that was built on strong populist tendencies has gotten to a place where the council and the public feel left out of decisions," Richardson said yesterday. "I believe this is the opposite of what people had expected and hoped for when our campaign won every precinct in the city."

Amen.

Posted by: MtP | January 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

*It is important not to confuse helping the mayor get elected with actually being the mayor.

*Richardson may well be a man of principle. That doesn't make his principle correct. And there's probably a limit to the number of times in public life that one can quit on principle.

*Fenty may well be an albatross around the necks of DC. But that doesn't mean he's wrong on Poplar Point. I certainly don't have enough information to conclude that he's wrong (or that he's right). IF the Post is correct that DCU wanted $350 million in public money to be spent on infrastructure at PP (which in my mind is a big IF), then do you think that DC voters would support that if they could do something else more cost effective with the land? A $350 million bond obligation would certainly be an albatross.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 4, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

We just played Scotland before the last World Cup - no interest in doing it again (although my sister who lives in the UK would be thrilled).

Take any of the teams preparing for Euro - they're the ones who need the match the most and would play the most competitively, which is what the USMNT needs.

Posted by: Kyle | January 4, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

n 2008 I am voting for Ron Paul for President. Here is why: Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes. He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against regulating the Internet. He voted against the Iraq war.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate that has historically voted based on the rule of law of the Constitution of the United States.

To learn more about Dr. Ron Paul please go here: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

Posted by: shirteesdotnet | January 4, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

WNT fan,
You're talking about infrastructure like roads & sewers, i.e. costs the city is usually responsible for no matter what the development is. Sure, those costs may be higher for a stadium than for a park, but public cost is only one piece of any development package.

The political frustration that i assume Richardson is referring to is the years and years of private money that DC has already placed into lobbying the federal govt. to return poplar point to the city government, in addition to DCU's above-and-beyond community efforts in the area. It appears that Fenty, after campaigning in strong support of DCU's efforts, has returned the favor by turning his back on them.

Posted by: DC | January 4, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Ron Paul doesn't believe in evolution.

How sad.

Posted by: Hoost | January 4, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"In 2008 I am voting for Ron Paul for President. Here is why: Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes. He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against regulating the Internet. He voted against the Iraq war.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate that has historically voted based on the rule of law of the Constitution of the United States.

To learn more about Dr. Ron Paul please go here: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/"
______________________________________

Aside from angering me this is off topic... Any chance we can avoid the political ploys on the soccer blog. I can get my fill of Paul supporters over on the Fix or the Trail...

Posted by: Doze | January 4, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I certainly have no illusions about Poplar Point, that ship has sailed. I do however have qualms about the way Fenty handled that and other problems within his administration. He ran the whole Poplar Point situation as a dictator without even consulting the City Council or the citizens he vowed to serve. As reported, a personal dislike for Victor MacFarlane played into his decision. His handling of the tax scam that cost the citizens of the District by retaining Ghandi is also suspect.

Whatever gets built at Poplar Point will need infrastructure money. The DC United plan not only benefitted the tax base of the District but it also helped those that needed it most, the citizens of Ward 8.

When whatever concrete jungle gets built there, there will be no reason for people from Maryland and Virginia to go spend their hard earned money there. Richardson is calling out Fenty on his backtracking and failure to serve the very people who voted him in. I guess it's alright to lie to a bunch of soccer fans, it's not alright to lie to your constituents. Lets see DC voters support him next election.

Posted by: Chico | January 4, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a big soccer fan.

Posted by: Hacksaw | January 4, 2008 09:44 AM
-----------------------

Yes, but does he support the US or is he one of those first-generation Americans who favors his ancestral nations (Kenya, Ireland)? This is an important question. Can someone submit it for the next YouTube debate? I don't have a PC camera.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 4, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Whatever DC invested in getting the PP land, isn't DC's obligation now to see that the city gets the highest return on that investment? If that is a SSS for DCU, I'll be happy. If not, I'll go to Greenbelt and be happy there. Or maybe Marion (speaking of "strong populist tendencies") will get the team a sweet deal in Barry Farms.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 4, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if this resignation has anything to do with where Poplar point currently sits. It might have some history in the decision to open to public bidding, but there was more going on there and he seems to have been moved before the current situation was reached.

Poplar Point today still relies on whether United can or is interested in partnering with either of the two plans with a stadium contigency, and than that plan getting selected. This guy resigning doesn't really change that.

Posted by: bluemeanies | January 4, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

""Obama is a big soccer fan.""

Let's just hope he can head the ball better than Kerry did in that photo. I mean, at least keep your eyes open.

Posted by: delantero | January 4, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

USMNT March game - 1st choice Croatia; 2nd choice Greece

Richardson for DC MAYOR!!!

Posted by: Tim F. | January 4, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I saw Godinez play against Veracruz a couple of seasons ago and he looked pretty good.

He would make an "interesting" replacement for Gomez but he is 32 and has slowed down quite a bit. It seems like we need more energy in our first line not less...of course assuming that DCU is the team thats interested in him.

Posted by: Southeasterner | January 4, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not voting for Ron Paul in 2008 and here's why. He spams soccer blogs.

Also, he probably would be against a stadium at Poplar Point.

Posted by: danj | January 4, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

USA-Scotland could be a good TV draw if Arena was to get the Scotland job (haven't heard any recent news on that rumor however).

Posted by: CMJ | January 4, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

CMJ-

Nor will you. That was a massive non-starter, and I was personally surprised Arena would be so deluded as to believe he was big-time enough to throw his hat in the ring. The whole thing was embarrassing.

Croatia has to be first choice for this friendly. After that, I'd take Serbia. This may be a bit bullish, but I think we're better than every other team on that list (save Sweden, who we just played). Croatia and/or Serbia, though, would be real challenges. If we want to impress by winning in Europe more often, we also have to win against legit teams.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | January 4, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes definitely Serbia -- just to watch Vidic make Donovan cry.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 4, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Erick,

I can't believe that I missed Ginger Balls' cameo on the Extras finale. What part did he play?

Posted by: George H. | January 4, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Wanted to pass along these words of praise from http://wnt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/

"First off, thanks to all the fans that voted for the WNT Blog in the 2007 U.S. Soccer Best Of Awards, finishing third behind two actual legitimate journalists in Steve Goff, one of the best soccer writers in the United States (nay, the English speaking world?) and Ives Galarcep, who always writes insightfully and entertainingly about Major League Soccer and the game around the world."

Posted by: emanon | January 4, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know Svrluga and Wise were running for anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 4, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you the US Nats will not be meeting with Serbia. If the cradel of Serbia, Kosovo, declares independance as the US is pushing, then the US team wouldn't have enough body guards to protect them.

Posted by: Nick | January 4, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of whether Fenty's administration of the city is corrupt, he certainly doesn't employ a very good PR person because he has made himself look exactly that to his constituents.

Posted by: Dave | January 4, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

George H.

Murray, aka Ginger Balls, is the landlord/manager of the nasty efficiency apartment that Maggie goes to rent out. His hair is dyed brown and he has glasses. He smashed a spider on the wall next to Maggie's head. It was the 90 minute(?) final finale for the series. It aired quite a few times during December on HBO.

Posted by: Erick | January 4, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If the USMNT goes to Serbia or Croatia, I hope the player of color can stomach the crass racism by the balkan crowds...remember DaMarcus' treatment when Rangers played Serbia's FK Zeta in the Champion's League.

The racism of balkan crowds is near-legendary.

I know we want to toughen the pool of the players and get experience against quality european sides (Croatia certainly can put forth a tough eleven), but it worth putting our guys through 90 minutes of racist chants just for a friendly?

Posted by: Erick | January 4, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Erick,

Thanks, I'll have to catch a rerun to see Murray's bit or perhaps find a clip of it on the World Wide Interweb.

Posted by: George H. | January 4, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Croatia or Greece would be the best. If not those, I'd rather see a game with Romania or another HIGH quality opponent. We need quality opponents every chance we can get, since we don't get it in our WC qualifiers.

Posted by: Timoteo | January 4, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

PS
Goff,
Keep politics off this blog, or you've lost one reader. I can read about politics in thousands of other more appropriate places. I'm here to consider and discuss soccer issues. What I don't appreciate is someone trying to tell me who to vote for.

Posted by: Timoteo | January 4, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Goff keep your political crap out of here
Thanks

Posted by: xjas | January 4, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with timoteo, the soccer insider is not the place for politics. Take it elsewhere.

Posted by: rob | January 4, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Timoteo: The only thing political about today's blog is that all the damned traffic to the politics pages is slowing it down.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 4, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad you have to live in the NY area to get those internships.

Posted by: Glaucon | January 4, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"In 2008 I am voting for Ron Paul for President. Here is why: Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes. He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against regulating the Internet. He voted against the Iraq war.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate that has historically voted based on the rule of law of the Constitution of the United States.

To learn more about Dr. Ron Paul please go here: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/"

all this is fine and good. But let's stay on topic here...4-4-2 or 4-5-1? what's Ron's opinion on that crucial issue? If he doesn't have one, I think I speak for everyone here when I say, why not?

Posted by: northzax | January 4, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

People need to chill. And if you ask Steve Goff NICELY I'm sure he'll be happy to oblige.

Posted by: UnBunchYourPanties | January 4, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, please keep politics out of this blog -- unless it's truly football related such as scheduling a game against Cuba.

Regarding Carrick's chart, Hertha Berlin is reporting that Ellis McLoughlin has started his trial. See http://www.herthabsc.de/index.php?id=16873

Posted by: Curious | January 4, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Erick,

I agree with your point...the US shouldn't play friendlies in countries whose fans like to chant racial crap.

Yes..I'm including Spain in that group.

Scotland would be cool...easy for the English based players....and they have a solid side.

Posted by: Matt Y | January 4, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Goff wasn't advocating for a candidate. Nevertheless, he should write about whatever he wants. If you don't like it, then don't read the blog.

Posted by: fckalihi | January 4, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

People need to stop these empty threats about keeping politics off the blog. It had a relation to Fenty and soccer.

If you are a non-DC reader, don't care about the DC United stadium situation and it's political background, and want to read a blog free of it then I suggest you not come to the Washington Post. It's a local paper/blog for a reason.

Posted by: Dave | January 4, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

To add one more thing, if you don't want anything about presedential politics in a BLOG from the biggest political city in the country then you are kidding yourself.

Posted by: Dave | January 4, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Dave: At least some of these complaints could have been referring to the gratuitous injection of Ron Paul into this blog.

Posted by: 22201 | January 4, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Politics and soccer go hand in hand, at least everywhere else in the world where people love soccer, have an IQ, and (generally believe in evolution...)

But, there's no need to be hawking votes on this blog.

Posted by: Hacksaw | January 4, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

One spam message from the Ron Paul guy shouldn't get anyone upset - unless you're new to the internet. Ignore it and scroll down.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 4, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

vote for me, i'm so cool.

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