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Posted at 9:36 AM ET, 11/24/2010

Wednesday kickaround: MLS expansion draft, MLS images, Washington Freedom exit, Americans abroad, Champions League TV listings

By Steve Goff

*The MLS expansion draft will begin at 2 p.m. ET, with the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps selecting 10 players apiece from a massive pool of candidates. For live audio coverage of the draft, click here. Or follow the Insider's coverage for updates as the picks are announced.

*I wanted to share a wonderful photo by Tony Quinn, who captures the range of emotion after George John's own goal in overtime Sunday resulted in the Colorado Rapids' first championship. In a cruel twist, Macoumba Kandji, who created the opportunity, tore his left ACL on the play.

*Check out the Denver Post's photo gallery from the Rapids' championship rally.

*Mark Washo, president and general manager of the Washington Freedom, is leaving after two seasons to take a position with a sports and entertainment agency founded by former FC Dallas executive Michael Hitchcock. Despite financial problems, the Freedom has committed to playing in WPS in 2011. However, the club has yet to finalize a deal with new investors.

*Americans abroad:
MF Jermaine Jones and Schalke vs. Lyon
MF Maurice Edu (injured) not in 18 for Rangers vs. Manchester United

*Soccer on TV:
Rubin Kazan-Copenhagen 12:30 p.m. DirecTV (481)
Rangers-Manchester United 2:30 p.m. FSC (tape at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus)

Panathinaikos-Barcelona 2:30 p.m. Fox Deportes (tape at 5 on FSC)
Spurs-Werder Bremen 2:30 p.m. FSP (tape at 7 on FSC)
Schalke-Lyon 2:30 p.m. DirecTV (482)
Inter Milan-Twente 2:30 p.m. DirecTV (483)
Hapoel Tel Aviv-Benfica 2:30 p.m. DirecTV (484)
Valencia-Bursaspor 2:30 p.m. DirecTV (485)
Seven matches are available live online at

By Steve Goff  | November 24, 2010; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, Euro Champions League, Freedom, MLS, TV  | Tags:  MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Memo to MLS: Jaime Moreno has not retired
Next: Results of the MLS expansion draft


First they schedule the championship match at 9PM on a Sunday night. Then they schedule the expansion draft at 2PM the day before Thanksgiving. MLS is really trying hard not to get any publicity whatsoever.

Outstanding photo.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 24, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The agony of victory, the agony of defeat.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 24, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I was proud to be among those who created the 0.5 share of viewership for MLS Cup. No rooting interest, other than for the continued growth and success of MLS. I agree that the neutral-site championship should be scrapped, unless and until fan interest is sufficient to fill a neutral-site stadium.

Nice turn of phrase, Goff, in your description of the photo.

Posted by: BaltoFan | November 24, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

All hail the Special One!!!

Interesting news that UEFA is looking into the rather "fischy" seemingly calculated behavior of Real Madrid's Xavi Alonso and Sergio Ramos. I was watching on Deportes and the announcers immediately started speculating that they were trying to get yellow/red cards, so they could wipe their slates clean. Alonso's behavior was truly comical, as he kept feinting and backing off his approach for a free kick/restart. He was trying really hard to get a card, and it was taking a lot of effort to get the ref to do something.

Now, there's news -- photos of Mourinho relaying instructions to the two players -- no doubt, to to get themselves tossed out of a game that was already in the bag for Real.

It's not exactly sporting, but in the grand scheme of unsporting behavior in soccer, I think this stuff was just funny, as opposed to insidious.This is smart tactics, without really ruining the sporting aspect. Nothing like all the diving and the professional fouls that ruin the game for me. Nothing like Suarez's deliberate handball to keep Ghana from scoring in the World Cup. Yeah, it allows them to be more aggressive the next time they take the pitch. So what? This is just smart coaching -- taking fair advantage of the rules -- but not bad sportsmanship, in my view.

Posted by: fischy | November 24, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

We'll see how smart it looks if their suspension is extended into the knockout round, which would certainly be justified.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 24, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF -- That's just the point. It would not be justified. Adding games to a suspension for time-wasting in a 4-0 game? It's not like they were denying Ajax the chance to win the game -- that chance vanished when Ronaldo added the 3rd goal in the 70th minute. This was a tactical move that had no real impact on the game. It's a rule that's begging to be exploited by a smart coach, but I don't see it as poor sportsmanship or so insidious that UEFA/FIFA need to clamp down on this.

So, other teams will start doing this? OK, in my book. It's not like they started recklessly fouling guys to get thrown out. Time-wasting. At the end of a 4-0 game. Cards get handed out for time-wasting fairly often. 99% of the time, a player is doing it to kill off the clock and prevent the other team from having a chance to win. To me, that's pretty heinous. Much worse. Really bad sportsmanship. And, hard to police because it's rarely done by a olayer already sitting on a yellow.

Apparently, you think it becomes worse when the players are cheating their opponents out of a fair chance to win -- that it deserves extra punishment because they simply are choosing to get suspended for the next game, rather than risk getting suspended for a game later in the tournament? That makes no sense to me.

Posted by: fischy | November 24, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- that should read:

"Apparently, you think it becomes worse when the players are NOT cheating their opponents out of a fair chance to win"

Posted by: fischy | November 24, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The cards carry over for a reason. One might feel that rule should be changed, and reasonable minds could disagree. But if the carry-over rule remains in place, you undermine the integrity of the knock-out if one team is permitted to evade the rule with impunity and the other is not. The rules permit the suspensions to be extended, and in my view, they should be.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

This barely registers on the Suarezometer. The only potential victims are RM's as-yet-undecided opponents in the first knockout stage.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Are there any real potential victims? The consequence of this is that the two players could afford to be a little aggressive and get a yellow card in one of the early games, and not have to miss the game after that. Which team is the victim? The one RM is playing when Alonso or Ramos gets a yellow card, their next opponent (assuming they win that earlier game), or both?

Posted by: fischy | November 24, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Suppose that Arsenal get through and play RM in the round of 16, which is a 2 game match. Arsenal picked up 5 yellows in their last game, and lets say they pick up 5 more in the next.

I think it is unfair to Arsenal to play RM after RM has had the chance to wipe their slate clean.

Plus I guess I'm just on the side of the universe that finds justice in punishing a smart-a$$ like Mourinho.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 24, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

By "potential victim," I meant RM's opponent in the 1st knockout round, particularly in the 2nd leg. Ramos and Alonso can afford to pick up yellows in the first leg and not be suspended for the 2nd.

This reminds me of the Bob Bradley Gk substitution with the MetroStars which adhered to the letter but not the spirit of the law. But it's not like these laws are criminal codes or anything.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 24, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

If I recall, the FCD player in the background of the photo subsequently tried to push Kandji off the field b/c he thought Kandji was time wasting . . .

Seems like an ACL tear is legit . . .

.. and furthers my dislike of the behavior of the FCD players that included a leg whip, a shove in the back of the head, then this players' unsportsmanlike push of Kandji . .

Posted by: delantero | November 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the neutral-site championship should be scrapped, unless and until fan interest is sufficient to fill a neutral-site stadium.

Posted by: BaltoFan | November 24, 2010 11:00 AM

Until this year, there doesn't seem to have been any problem with championship games at neutral sites. For instance, I don't recall many people expressing concern about the crowd of 46,000 in Seattle on a Sunday evening a year ago:

Perhaps we shouldn't overreact to a single aberration.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 25, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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