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Tuesday kickaround

*Last week, MLS President Mark Abbott scolded the players for violating the mediator's request of not discussing the collective bargaining agreement negotiations. So will the league have a chat with Anschutz executive Tim Leiweke, who talked openly about the labor talks and criticized the work force in the Los Angeles Times? "I'm a little amazed at the lack of respect they show for the commitment that we all have made to get the league to where it's at today," Leiweke said of the players.

*Toronto FC to Ali Gerba: Go home. The club dismissed the forward from training camp in Charleston, S.C., "because his performance has not been up to our expectations," director of soccer Mo Johnston said in a written statement. "The best thing for him is a few days away from the team. This will be addressed fruther when the team returns back to Toronto."

*Former D.C. United starting goalkeeper Louis Crayton has been cut by the Kansas City Wizards.

*The USA-Australia friendly June 5 -- one week before the American's World Cup opener vs. England -- is set: It will be held in Roodepoort, just outside Johannesburg, and shown live on ESPN2 starting at 8:30 a.m. ET.

*As seen on the Insider's Twitter feed Monday, Cleveland is the front-runner to host a women's friendly between the top-ranked United States and No. 2 Germany on May 22. To avoid conflicts, WPS did not schedule any league matches that weekend.

For Americans abroad and TV listings.....

*Americans abroad:
MF Alejandro Bedoya 90 minutes in Orebro's 2-0 win over Atvidabergs
GKs Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan and Aston Villa at Wigan
D Jay DeMerit and Watford vs. Ipswich
D Frank Simek and Sheffield Wednesday at Preston North End
F Kenny Cooper and Plymouth vs. Bristol City

*Soccer on TV:
Champions League, Chelsea-Inter Milan 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Net, Fox Sports Espanol (tape at 6 on Fox Soccer Channel)

Champions League, Sevilla-CSKA Moscow 3 p.m. FSC (tape at 6 on FSE and Fox Soccer Plus)

England, Wigan-Aston Villa 3:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Plus
Libertadores, Colo Colo-Velez Sarsfield 9 p.m. FSE
CONCACAF, Pachuca-Comunicaciones 10 p.m. Galavision
Libertadores, Morelia-Cuenca 11 p.m. FSE

By Steve Goff  |  March 16, 2010; 9:42 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Americans Abroad , D.C. United , MLS , TV , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. United roster update
Next: Video: Red Bull Arena


Leiweke says: "We do this out of passion. If this were a business, we would have quit this 10 years ago."

I'm wondering if the passion is not there anymore from AEG. If it is still there, wouldn't he want the U.S. to have a league that can attract and keep quality players?

IMO the old school ways of single-entity were necessary to get the league started. The league, however, has become stagnant in terms of quality of play. If they really want to move forward they will get rid of single entity, and have a salary cap with minimum and maximum levels.

Posted by: rickinashburn | March 16, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I can't say I'm surprised about Crayton getting cut. KC has like 600 international players at this point.

As for Gerba, the guy hasn't really impressed at any point. If they have to let him go, it's no big loss for a team that needs better strikers anyway.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 16, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse


The Salary Cap expansion issue is one thing.

It seems like the biggest issue amongst the players is what happens when a club lets your contract expire or deems you surplus to requirements. A move can still only happen if the rights to the player are traded for.

For some owners - AEG, Seattle, Red Bull, Kroenke, Toronto, and perhaps Will Chang - they do want to see the cap go up because they have markets to support the additional expenditure or the pockets to do so.

For others - Hunts, Kraft, San Jose, and based on market size On Goal - they probably are happy that the cap is where it is and would never want a minimum for expenditure put in place.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 16, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If both sides dessert the mediation table in favor of the courts, would it be a soccer tort?


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 16, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Upon FRUTHER review......even if they do settle this, I'm already pissed at both sides.

Posted by: boda-united | March 16, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The AEG comments demonstrate clearly why the players are fed up and talking strike. AEG is not in it for the money --- oh really! What a load of rubbish. Until we see all financial statements, no one should believe claims about how much the owners have spent or whether they are making money. Professional sports owners are infamous for, as they say, "being economical with the truth" in such matters. And, finally, the most important player demands would cost the league nothing.

Posted by: Jphubba | March 16, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Ali Gerba is that the Forty Thieves are always hanging around his doorstep . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | March 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know if the Chelsea/Inter game is on live on Comcast (in English?). I know the game is on Fox Sports Espanol, but I can't find the game at 3:30PM in any guide. I just switched to Comcast (from DTV, the home of all things soccer) and already it looks like I am ruing my decision! Thanks for the help in advance!

Posted by: glebalto | March 16, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

fischy: your fake new item was quickly zapped. I found it amusing, but you could have spruced it up with a quote saying that Toronto was too cold this time of year.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 16, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Nope - welcome to Daylight Savings Time!

Because we are ahead of Europe on the switch, CSN and I'm sure other Eastern FSN outlets have not picked up the games today because of it's interference with the 5-7PM television window.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 16, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The Chelsea Champions League match is not on CSN today. They have a contractual obligation to show the Washington Sports Live show at 5pm. The match is being shown on either FSC or FSC+ at 6pm. I was waiting for the HD telecast but will have to watch in SD because CSN has to televise their own stupid local access show. What a crock!

Posted by: metsfanindc | March 16, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

One interesting thing about billionaires like Anschutz is that they don't have to subsidize MLS if they no longer choose to. So Leiweke is right that a certain amount of respect is due. I read his comments to say "on behalf of AEG," if you go on strike, we're pulling the plug.

If you think that's a bluff, call it.

If you don't think that AEG is primarily responsible for the survival of MLS to this point in time, then I would suggest that you are willfully ignorant of the facts.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 16, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

DTV shows it in the guide on CSNE and CSNEHD at 3:30. Comcast East? Don't understand why the UEFA channels are not used for the final stages. This is the marque match of the day.

Posted by: peridigm | March 16, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The players may cave eventually but there is no reason for them not to push it all the way and strike. A large percentage of the players are paid peanuts for a short career. They might as well roll the dice.

IMO, the owners are going to need to make a major move on their position in order to avoid a strike.

Leiweke can cry about how much money they have lost over the years, but the bottom line is that the franchises are worth $40mm - $100mm+ and they have more to lose than the majority of the players.

Posted by: david93 | March 16, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm siding with Leiweke on this. Work out an agreement, sure, but to threaten strike? I understand maximizing leverage in negotiations, but I think the players over played their hand on this one.

Posted by: nairbsod | March 16, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF: I think you may be applying out of date thinking to this situation.

Back when MLS was closing Florida and Miami there were no buyers for franchises at any price and the teams were bleeding heavily. And the shut down threat was real because subsidizing a franchise was kind of a bad risk.

But now there are plenty of owners plunking down $40mm for new teams plus they have sunken major $ into stadiums.

LAG may lose a little money this season, but it's not going to be much. And the team has been valued at $100mm.

There is no way they are shutting down a franchise worth $100mm over some $20k/yr player who want to be able to bid his price up to $25k.

Posted by: david93 | March 16, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's only worth $100 million if there's a league. And if AEG stops subsidizing it, there's no league. And the value becomes squadoosh.

Hey, I don't care. If the players think it's a bluff, then call the bluff.

One thing I can guarantee is that Anschutz can make a far greater rate of return in a far shorter time frame in places other than North American soccer.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I have DTV and am showing it on the guide of almost all the regional sports networks in HD. If you have the sports subscription you can watch it on any of these.

As far as the mls is concerned they are missing the whole point. The fans are the only reason they can play in the first place. If they do not figure this out it won't matter because the fans will go elsewhere for their football fix. I was hoping for an exciting season leading up to the WC, but am afraid we might be watching reruns of EPL games instead.

Posted by: footyfan35 | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse


I agree with OWNTF, AEG owned the Sol, had Marta, had the HDC, had a good team. It's gone.

LAG is looking at a 2010 that has No David Beckham (and maybe never again), probably won't have LD except for the 8 games in March April and early May (gone after World Cup) and will be left with nothing to draw people.

Throw in a strike, I think you see some people say, it's not worth my discretionary spending, that includes Papa Phil.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 16, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I didn't think that the size of the salary cap was really under discussion--which if it isn't, then how can the teams really lose that much more money with some sort of limited free agency? Ljungberg seemed to state clearly the other day that the players were not asking for an increase ( I assume beyond some sort of natural growth/cost of living adjustments).

Posted by: whytek | March 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I hate to agree with Leiweke, but I do. The players stuck their foot out, the owners are just helping them shove it in back in their mouths.

These two sides need to hammer something out soon, but I'm not surprised to read the slinging to be honest. It's just part of the ugly process.

You should understand that Goff, your guild would do the same thing I'm sure. Besides, isn't that kind of press what keeps people coming to your website or buying your paper? Keep up the good work with just a little less whining.

Post reader and blog subscriber

Posted by: Stabaek_Kofie | March 16, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF: That's good, "squadoosh" is good.

Posted by: dccal | March 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

There won't be owners plonking down $40 MM if the bottom drops out of fan interest.

Posted by: cheapthrill | March 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Demerit and Watford can pull off a win today. They've been dreadful lately, barely above the relegation zone now.

Posted by: LovetheGoffer | March 16, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Upon FRUTHER review......even if they do settle this, I'm already pissed at both sides.

Posted by: boda-united | March 16, 2010 10:15 AM
Actually, I'm disappointed that there isn't an agreement yet, but pleased at both sides for relentlessly trying, well past the stated deadline, and for keeping the players training while negotiations continue. That, and bringing in a mediator, shows a reasonable amount of good faith on both sides. I wish them success.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | March 16, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work with just a little less whining.

Posted by: Stabaek_Kofie


How in the world is Steve whining???

Posted by: JkR- | March 16, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Liewke is right that the owners invested money in the league but where his remark is wrong is in not acknowledging that the players also invested their talent in the league. And that talent is worth money too.

Yes, without investment there is no league but the flip side is with out players there is no league either. Too many people overvalue capital and undervalue labor. Both are needed for success in any business.

Liewke is disrespectful to the investment that the players have made in the league.

Posted by: colheights1 | March 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to Jaime Moreno, players come and go. They always have and always will. You have to have owners, like Big Phil, who are willing to invest in the product no matter the staff he has.

No sport is a "players" league, but particularly not in soccer, where every player can come and go and play almost any place on the planet.

Posted by: scott47a | March 16, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

That's a little sloppy, even for present purposes.

Players don't invest anything. They supply labor. If they're really good, there may be a demand for them to supply labour. That labor has dignity and value. But it's not an investment.

An investment is the commitment of capital for an expected return. The owners have invested, the players have not.

President Obama could use some brushing up on these terms too, as he is always saying "investment" when he means government spending. But that's for another day.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Players supply labor in hope they profit from that activity. Owners supply capital in hope that they profit from that investment.

Each group makes deals with each other to maximize their profits. Galaxy was able to sell shirt sponsorships for 4 million dollars because Beckham supplied the star power to make kids want to buy his shirt. His labor directly led to their profits.

Metro stars were able to sell their team to Red Bulls to maximize their profits--which shows that in fact, owners come and go too.

Players are asking for the opportunity to maximize their profits--which owners currently have the ability to do.

I thought capitalists were supposed to be supportive of competition--which is what the players want.

Posted by: colheights1 | March 16, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF--That's REALLY sloppy!! The players haven't invested "anything"? Ever heard of human capital? AEG's just invested some spare cash -- or maybe even just "invested" some loaned capital, loaned at the ridiculously favorable terms only super-rich businesses can get. The players have invested years (and considerable individual expense) developing marketable skills -- skills that are valuable enough to be worth a certain "expected return". I'd say you're rather biased in appreciating only the value of the least valuable form of capital.

Posted by: fischy | March 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before that both sides have a legitimate point of view.

Human Capital can be deemed an investment, but those players chose to invest in skills for a very specialized field with limited employment potential. In fact, with the exception of the 'superstars' (ball park anyone over 200K in salary) you could find 300 players in the US that could put a decent product on the field comparable to what you see now.

In contrast, I think you would be hard pressed to find 16 new owners willing to put up a $40M buy in price and $5M year operating budget. Its a risky venture with the ROI not coming in for several years, if ever.

I'm confident they can work this out. The players are not asking for anything obscene. The owners will want to keep things going. Both sides know a strike is a bad idea, and that’s why they are diligently working together to avoid it.

BTW- Is this BINDING arbitration they've entered into?

Posted by: SoccerVA | March 16, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, human capital. The players ARE it; they are not investing in it. The owners invest in human capital. The players supply it, under a contract.

But if there is no profit in the enterprise, then why will owners continue to invest? It's hard to argue that the "workers" are being exploited when they are profiting and the owners are not.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 16, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought capitalists were supposed to be supportive of competition--which is what the players want. - coleheights1

Yeah, and in the spirit of competition players shouldn't be required to be part of the union in order to play in MLS. Let's open this baby all the way up!


Posted by: Stabaek_Kofie | March 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The LAG aren't shutting down over these issues. Think about it. They are the ones pushing to add dps, increase spending, recruit more foreign players, aim higher. AEG want the LAG to be the New York Yankess of MLS.

Lieweke is just a blowhard who doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut.

Posted by: david93 | March 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The players are right to push for what they can get but there is a limit. It is true, the owners HAVE put in a TON of capital into this and honestly they really haven't gotten much out of it but both sides see the future is bright. This is why I will say that the players striking is premature, a bad idea, as their position is weak. Striking when the owners are not at their best financially is only a disaster in the making. Striking only when they league is big, earning a good amount of money, and has been riding the gravy train for a while is ok. The league will not survive a strike without some serious problems that I don't think the players are taking into account.

Posted by: elfelixg | March 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

So, we may have a season, but I figure the CBSA isn't finished until after the American Needle case comes out. If the Supreme Court decides that the NFl cannot market as a single entity monopoly, then the players will lose, because the League won't budge on single entity one inch. They can't afford to. If the NFL wins, then perhaps bit of quasi-free agency can be allowed.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | March 16, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Down here in Durham, NC the Chelsea v Inter match is airing at 3:30 on Fox Sports South HD.

Posted by: alecw81 | March 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that AEG and the other investors have been involved in MLS for the past 13 years without realizing any benefits needs to revisit econ 101. The league and some or all of the teams may not show a profit on their financial statements, but that does not mean that the owners did not realize some benefit. For some, acquiring a paper loss might be beneficial -- to offset gains in other enterprises. Or the situation could resemble the current deal at Manchester U, where the team shows a loss, but the Glazers pay themselves big fees. Or the owners are willing to incur losses in the short term because they anticipate a big gain when they sell the franchise. Or maybe the gains are all psychic in that the owners get their jollies being in charge, Believe me, Big Phil and the boys are doing this for the "passion" or whatever claptrap their minion was peddling.

Posted by: Jphubba | March 16, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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