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Monday kickaround

*I am going to post a link to Norman Chad's column, which runs in several publications, including The Post, because it is about soccer and because I usually enjoy Norman's snarky style. (The Insider engages in snark regularly and Wife of Insider's blog has "snark" in the title.) He is usually quite clever and funny. This offering is neither. And I'm not just saying that because it hits close to home. It is full of predictable stabs at MLS and the sport, tired lines about poorly attended matches in some cities (never mind Seattle's 32,000 season ticket holders) and low scoring (the best baseball playoff games are the 2-1 affairs, right?). So read it if you wish. Or skip it.

*We're waiting for the new MLS collective bargaining agreement to be made available for review, but if you followed the Insider's Twitter feed over the weekend, you would have learned that the salary cap will rise about $200,000 this season to $2.5 million and that minimum salaries will be set at $40,000 in the first year of the five-year pact.

*La Liga update:
Real Madrid 68 points, +52 goal difference
Barcelona 68 points, +50 goal difference
Eleven matches remain on the league calendar, including an April 11 showdown between the clubs at Bernabeu.

*Speaking of super clasicos, the River Plate-Boca Juniors match was postponed after 10 minutes because of a severe rainstorm.

*In a preseason friendly, the Washington Freedom defeated the University of Virginia, 3-2. Washington will continue WPS preparations Saturday against expansion Philadelphia at Maryland SoccerPlex.

By Steve Goff  |  March 22, 2010; 8:58 AM ET
Categories:  Argentina , Freedom , MLS , Spain  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: Messi's breathtaking goal
Next: D.C. United news & notes


Barca could rue those two late goals that they gave up (although they probably wouldn't have scored the 4th then, you could argue).

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

So Goff,

That means you're out of the running for the $1.25 from Mr. Chad, right?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Reading Chad is like listening to political discussion - it's best appreciated when you don't take anything too seriously.

Posted by: beach3 | March 22, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Why would Norman Chad even take the time to write this piece of garbage? Poking fun at MLS or soccer's popularity in the US has become incredibly old. Why didn't you throw a Monica Lewinski joke in there, Mr. Chad? We get it, the "mainstream" sports community in this country doesn't like soccer. I don't really care. STFU and let us enjoy it!

Posted by: PeteO1 | March 22, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

It was a little funny.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | March 22, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I felt like I flashed back to 1999.

Posted by: nairbsod | March 22, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

That's the last time I ever click on a Norman Chad link. Snark makes for funny reading. Plain old hate is just unnecessary.

Posted by: Kenobi | March 22, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Chad's just bored and looking to amuse himself and boost his hits by goosing the soccer poets into outrage. Best ignored.

Did they cancel World Series of Poker this weekend or something?

Posted by: OWNTF | March 22, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

So DC United now has approximately 900k to work with in salary cap room for this season?

What is the FO thinking, unless they have some big name signings coming in after the World Cup. As far as I understand it, this isnt saving Chang any money so I dont understand why we are putting ourselves at such a disadvantage.

Posted by: strago | March 22, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Chad's the sporting equivalent of Sarah Palin trying to wow Tea-Baggers with his Churchillian wit and Platonic profundity. Sometimes a smile of a chuckle makes it worth the effort to check out the readers; submissions, but the whole column is just low-hanging fruit.

Still, it does mystify me when, year after year, the smallest crowds for Revs' games and for a few other teams are for playoff games. I get that it's cold -- look at baseball crowds in September for the also-ran teams -- but so long as MLS has a playoff system, you'd think fans would get pumped for these games. Basically, it means that most fans turn out for warmer-weather games when they can have a good time and maybe watch a game, but could care less how their team does.

As for me...Vamos United!!

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Am I wrong or isn't la liga first tie breaker head to head??

I'm fully expecting someone to just say, 'you're wrong', if I am

Posted by: SexyOffender | March 22, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Mr. Insider and some of the rest of you are just now becoming aware of Norman Chad's loathing of soccer? He may seldom devote entire columns to it, but the references are there every month or two. As for snark vs. hate, it would appear from reading this thread that snark is you poking fun at something someone else cares about, and hate is someone else poking fun at something you care about.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | March 22, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was funny, especially the line about Beckham's contract not requiring him to play any league games. Chad makes fun the same things we do, e.g MLS attendance.

Does it matter? No. We who like MLS will continue to watch it. The troglodytes who don't will continue to disparage it.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 22, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@BillyBob4, where do you get the idea the the Insider is "just now becoming aware of Norman Chad's loathing of soccer?"

I very much enjoy the writing of the wife of Insider. Good stuff.

Posted by: JkR- | March 22, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'll pass on Chad, thanks.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | March 22, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

First tiebreaker in LL is indeed head-to-head. This makes the rematch at the S.B. incredibly important and the definition of "must watch" TV.

Posted by: JRandomReader | March 22, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Am I wrong or isn't la liga first tie breaker head to head??

I'm fully expecting someone to just say, 'you're wrong', if I am

Posted by: SexyOffender

That's what I have heard, but I think that is being ignored, since RM hasn't had their shot.

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: SexyOffender | March 22, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Chad's fundamental point is valid, and was made by posters on this blog. Given that MLS is still a nascent league, a strike could (and probably would) have been its death-knell. Striking only makes sense when a lot of people care, and unfortunately not that many people do, yet.

A lot of the anti-soccer snarkiness comes from the fact that soccer is taking viewers and participants away from more traditional sports. I remember way back in HS, the football coach was chagrined that he did not have access to the guys that played other sports. I do think that soccer will contest with the 1st tier sports here in the US, and in the not-so-distant future. Soccer, basketball and baseball have a huge advantage over football--middle-aged guys like me can still play them. (Baseball becomes softball, obviously.) I think *that* is central to soccer's popularity around the world; when you watch Messi weave his magic, you see him playing the same game by the same rules that you just played last weekend.

Posted by: glfrazier | March 22, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Where is Christian Gomez?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | March 22, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Now bookmarking snarkshelf, thanks.

great line: "Gary Williams could really benefit from another couple days at the Claremont."

Posted by: OWNTF | March 22, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I need someone to explain to me the benefit to society of subjecting us a Chad column. He's like a product of the self-esteem movement run amuck.

Posted by: carnack | March 22, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse


Your Churchillian wit would be much more appreciated if you would quit bringing politics into your comments. Just remember, for every "Palin wow-ing Teabaggers," there's a screaming Howard Dean or a lying Obama.


Posted by: j01usna | March 22, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Kev29 | March 22, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Little sensitive this AM? I liked it fischy...

Posted by: JkR- | March 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Not sensitive. I keep bringing this point up, and it keeps getting echoed in the's about soccer, it's not about politics. We all have different views on politics, and that's fine...but this isn't the place to talk about them.

Going from discussing politics to making disparaging remarks about politicians who don't agree with you is yet another level that we don't need to go to. This blog is not made better by comparing "Tea-baggers" with "Socialists" or whatever your pejorative term of choice happens to be.

Posted by: j01usna | March 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Norman Chad -- any publicity is good publicity. I'm not really sure why any of you are offended by it.

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The response might be a bit over the top, but j01usna does have a point - I didn't get past the first sentence of Fischy's comment today. It's getting quite old and horribly predictable, especially after reading his constant defense of the MLSPU with arguments that seemed to have more to do with a general support for unions against management than for the American soccer player against the American soccer league structure. (Flip these comments and apply them to JoeDoc, obv.)

We've just had the equivilent of the health care bill pass in the American Soccer Community - whichever side you were on, the deed is finally done, and now we can stop talking about it for a while and concentrate on the things we have in common, like DC United, to heal some divisions. If we were in lot 8, we'd have the easiest rememdy for this of all right at hand (hooray beer!), but since this is the Internet, we'll just have to Hope for Change in our decorum. :)

Posted by: VercengetorixII | March 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@BillyBob4, where do you get the idea the the Insider is "just now becoming aware of Norman Chad's loathing of soccer?"

Posted by: JkR- | March 22, 2010 9:46 AM

Not a knock on Steve. It's just that Chad's column today concerning soccer is no different than several others he's written. To be outraged now led me to believe that Chad's previous columns hadn't been read.

So you agree that snark or hate depends on where you sit?

Posted by: BillyBob4 | March 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

cut it out, guys. this blog is about the vital struggle between labor and capital--it has nothing to do with people.

Posted by: hungrypug | March 22, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I've never thought anything I read by Chad was funny. This was less offensive to me, for some reason, than most other offerings. (Maybe habituation.)

As for the Palin comments, she's not a politician anymore, right? She's a pundit. So that makes her fair game in a soccer blog. (Yes, that was a little snarky.)

Posted by: wichne | March 22, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

As for the Palin comments, she's not a politician anymore, right?
Posted by: wichne

Wait until 2012.

Up early for the long commute?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 22, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get past the first sentence of Fischy's comment today.
Posted by: VercengetorixII

Same here.

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Norman Chad [and Jim Rome]is one of the reasons why I love being a soccer fan in America: to watch the sports dinosaurs like Chad try to ridicule soccer. Their stunning ignorance of the game is only matched by their fear - the fear that this "foreign" game - the only one in the world with an actual "world championship" -will take hold in the States; leaving them baffled, angry, and mostly irrelevant as the world around them changes. Go to a seventh grade class in any major metropolitan area in the US and you will find that most of the boys (and some girls) know more about Barcelona than they know about the Baltimore Orioles.
"Don't need [an aging Post sportswriter] to know which way the wind blows," and it ain't blowing in Chad's direction.
Vamos United!

Posted by: dcpsycho | March 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Another guy to add to the list of soccer is evil, hide the women and children.

Jim Rome, Dan Wetzel, Norman Chad etc..

His article states a few facts, but I could write an article that represents the opposite view. Not that difficult to do.

I will say that other American sports' leagues (including NFL) were paying attention to MLS/players Union CBA.

I'm glad with have at least 5 years to not think of this issue anytime soon. Who knows, by then, maybe Norman will have to write about MLS. You know, to be employed.

Posted by: hardcoco | March 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I understand why people do not like soccer. To the untrained eye, it looks boring. I feel the same way about basketball -- it looks like they are doing the same thing every time. I don't understand the nuances (except, perhaps, a pick) enough to really appreciate what they are doing, or what makes one team better than another.

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was an apt analogy, but I take y'all's point. I promise not to bring politics in here...first.

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Chad offering, but no thanks. I stopped reading him long ago. He just takes up column inches that could better be used to cover sports in the section.

Posted by: seahawkdad | March 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Chad's column raises some basic questions about American sports writing. Why do sports writers keep writing the same stuff about soccer? Why do newspapers continue to print it?

Sports writing is rife with cliches, but everything in the "I hate soccer" mode has been written many times. What's up with these guys and their publishers? Is this some fundamental insecurity manifesting itself? Are sports writers actually as unimaginative and dim as some of us imagine? Do we need Dr. Phil or Ms. Winfrey to figure this out.

Posted by: Jphubba | March 22, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse


I disagree with pretty much everything you say about politics (except that Palin has made herself a cartoon character, that's undeniable), but seriously, who comes here strictly for soccer news? Snark and let snark, I say.

Posted by: benonthehill | March 22, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

So how taboo a subject is politics, +/- abortion or gay marriage? I'm not comprehending how politics is such a hotly contested "hands-off" topic, seeing as it's a bunch of cheats and frauds who supposedly represent our ideals and views.

Oh, and go Real Madrid!

Posted by: PEddy | March 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Eh. I'll admit that I chuckled at Chad's lines on Beckham. But I agree with Goff that it isn't really responsible as a columnist to specifically seek out some of the worst-attended MLS matches without also mentioning Seattle's success.

Posted by: DCUMD | March 22, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else see this from Charlie Davies today? "RT: Feels so good to be back in the locker room!!!"

I have been offline for a while and so I apologize if this miraculous recovery is old news.

Also, what word of Gooch's knee?

Posted by: ldmay | March 22, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Chad needs to get out more.

"Even pitching greats like Sandy Koufax or Roger Clemens would have off days, no?"

Sandy Koufax? Which century are we in again? I'm sorry but there are many more 12-25 year olds who know who Landon Donovan is than who know Mr. Koufax. (He invented the tampon, right?)

Of course, Chad also drops other names that would have the kids scratching their heads, such as Mike Lupica and Bill Simmons. Where are their fossilized remains to be found anyway? Oh yeah, right next to Chad Norman's.

Posted by: rhorto01 | March 22, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"responsible as a columnist"

Columnists provide opinions and have no responsibilities other than to provoke, be accurate in the facts they state, and increase readership.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I find Chad's humor to be as sharp-edged as a water balloon. His jokes are telegraphed and corny. As fischy mentioned, the reader submissions are usually the funniest things in his column. I'd be upset at his constant shots at MLS and soccer if said shots weren't so lame.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Poor Chad. Sounds like he'll be missing the most exciting fans of the most exciting, bestest club in MLS getting beaten by an expansion team on Thursday. I personally can't wait.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 22, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Norm Chad is usually good for a few laughs but to trot out his old stand-bye column yet again... aka "Let's RIP Soccer in America". His editor must either be dead or drunk with Chad at the poker tables in Atlantic City and with any luck Robin Givhan is whining & poking Norman in the back saying you said you would drive me to Miami to see the fashion shows.... what are we doing in the Atlantic City - I'ma star Norman a Star!!!
Don't pay the man Shirley because he took this week off! Our best to Robin G. and may you both see The Ghost of Angus Phillips wrestling that last 23 lb Cod into the boat tonight in your sleep tonight....

Posted by: Zipfutbol | March 22, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Now Zip, that would have been funnier had you not added the extra "tonight"... LOL.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Who is Norm Chad?

Posted by: Curious99 | March 22, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

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