Volume #2 of Around MLS: The Offseason Special arrives! It's a shame we don't get a cheesy holiday special, complete with new logo art and annoying MIDIs playing in the background.
The most prominent bit of news to MLS fans is Sepp Blatter's comments about how there is "no very strong professional league" in the USA. As many of you have already probably read, the fumes emanating from Blatters' maw continued to explain that, in his opinion, 'Muhrica has disappointed FIFA with their so-called league due to various factors, with the soccer season calendar dates being a big point of contention. The other major issue he cites is the many teams playing in American Football stadiums (or so he thinks, has he even researched MLS since 1996?) and television ratings.
BDS readers are soccer-educated enough that we don't need to explain why it would be a colossally stupid idea to mimic Europe's calendar (for the foreseeable future), but Blatter is above such notions. His comments are as ignorant about the American sports scene as they could possibly be, but let us vent anyway! The only valid argument he makes is about television ratings, which are still embarrassingly low, but beyond that his complaints lack solid evidence of any sort.
Bah! Who cares about Blatter? He is a silly man. Let us change topics.
The New York Red Bulls continue their long search for a new head coach, and at least one writer is positing Eric Wynalda should be considered. Great players don't always translate into great managers (Franz Beckenbauer and a few others are the exception), but this idea is intriguing for the fact that he is American. The Red Bulls have an affinity for European managers and personnel, so I doubt this is anything beyond wild speculation. Steve Davis of Pro Soccer Talk has an article up about it.
Ecuador! Rise up, my countrymen! The Colorado Rapids are bringing on Diego Calderón it seems to bolster the defense, whether as a starter or more of a depth player the article doesn't mention. I mention this because besides Antonio Valencia, my sad little country isn't well-known for their soccer exports, but there are some great ones. Chucho Benitez anyone? Alex Aguinaga?
Thierry Henry isn't going to go on loan to Arsenal this year it appears, which can only have Red Bulls fans breathing a sigh of relief. The last thing they need is for their expensive superstar to pick up a pointless injury helping a side that will be fighting for fourth with or without him. I'm not too in favor of our league's best players taking on loans to other leagues in the offseason.
Our marquee studs need their rest to make sure their real employer gets the best out of them during the regular season. Less rest in the offseason equals a tired, burned out player who looks gassed halfway through June. We certainly can't be having with that sort of thing in a league where high heat comes in ample supply and high quality is hard to come by.
Rumors about loaning Tim Cahill being loaned out keep popping up too. Didn't Everton offload him because he was getting old? And now New York is seriously talking about loaning him? I don't get it.
Finally, this last bit of (big) news has only recently come out, but word is that Freddy Montero is getting the hell outta Dodge (otherwise known as Seattle) and moving onto Millonarios of Colombia. It's a six month loan with a $4.5 million purchase option, which really is a very nice sum. Even if he doesn't leave for Millonarios, a good performance will convince a foreign club to buy him.
I've always thought Montero was slightly overrated (note that "overrated" does not equal "bad"), and I'm sure some Sounders fans will be sad to see him go, but that's not the kind of money you scoff at. Here is the article as reported on by Ives Galarcep.
Unless he poops the bed rather thoroughly, it's a safe bet to think he doesn't return. Freddy Montero for many has been the face of the Sounders, so this first major era of the Sounders comes to a close. The Sounder at Heart blog has an excellent post detailing the issues.
The draft is only two weeks away! Exicted? The MLS rumor mill will kick into high gear again soon enough, if it hasn't already with the departure of Montero.