Sunday, December 5, 2010

Revs Sign Reis, end of the line for others?

According to MLSnet the Revolution have resigned Matt Reis. This is good news. Reis is still a very good goalie and I'm happy to have him as our number 1 keeper. I wish details could be released so we'd know how many years he's been signed for and what his salary cap hit will be.

According to the article it also might be the end of the line for 4 others on the Revs roster, the 4 being Khano Smith, Nico Colaluca, Preston Burpo, and Cory Gibbs. Well, Khano, we know how I feel about him. But to be honest, I'm actually surprised they're not resigning him. Nico Colaluca was never really given a chance here. He has talent. He's pretty much another Mike Videira, a talented young player who was never given a chance. A bit of a waste. Then there are Corey Gibbs and Preston Burpo. Didn't the Revs trade one of their best players for these two guys less than a year ago? Yeah, they did. I hope Burp is able to continue his career after his injury this year. He was playing well up until it happened. It makes sense not to resign him if you think Shuttleworth has potential. Gibbs just never really looked that good this year. It wasn't his best year. He's still a solid player and I'm sure he'll end up somewhere in the league. That being said, he still has a spot in the starting 11 on this team. So who's going to replace him? If he leaves then the most likely pairing in the middle would be Barnes and Osei. Yeah, I'm not too excited by that possibility. There's still a long way to go this offseason, more moves will be made. Lets see what happens with the Revs as they shape their roster for next year.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

A few updates

Over the past few weeks there have been some pretty big news in regards to the Revs, like Taylor Twellman retiring. What else can be said about him? Arguably the greatest Rev of all time and the face of the franchise. Sure, there have been other players who might of had better careers, John Harkes comes to mind, but in terms of a career with the Revs I'd have to say Twellman is the best. If I had to pick one thing about Twellman that defined him I'd say it was his goal scoring ability. He was a great goal scorer. If he had a chance to score, he scored. You can't teach that, just ask David Trezeguet. It's unfortunate that his career had to come to an end the way it did.

The expansion draft came and went with the Revs not losing anyone. I was a bit surprised as I expected them to lose someone.

The Revs have changed their approach to finding a DP stating that they are now looking for players who will help on the field as opposed to helping both on the field and filling the seats. The team has even stated that they might sign two low range DP's. If they can find two DP's who can help the team win and improve the quality of play then more people will come to games. If you can field a team that plays solid soccer you're going to draw soccer fans.

Here's an interesting article with our old friend Jeff Larentowicz. So yeah, he pretty much buried the organization. I would've loved it if the Revs were able to keep him. He made $150,000 last year. For that amount of money the Revs should've kept him. We all know what type of player he is and what to expect from him. Not sure why the Revs didn't want him for that type of money.

Speaking of Larentowicz, he did win the MLS cup the other day. I thought the final was a very entertaining game. It was a fun game to watch. Not the best played game, but a good time, a solid game for a final.

I don't agree with the idea of having a home team for the final. I like having it played at a neutral ground and I think it should continue to be that way. However, I think the league is going to move away from that and have a home team every year going forward.

I don't like the idea of expanding the playoffs to 10 teams. I think it should stay at eight, at least for another year.

The World Cup sites will be chosen in the next few days. I don't support the Spain-Portugal bid. Spain shouldn't be co-hosting a World Cup, they are more than capable of hosting it by themselves. Portugal would only have 2 cities hosting the World Cup, they'd be Spain's little side kick. I don't like it. I think they actually have a good chance of getting it though.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Revolution Sign Fagundez

The Revolution have signed their first ever home grown player, Diego Fagundez. This is something that I'm very excited about. I'm not a big believer in college soccer. I don't think it prepares players enough for the pro game. Don't get me wrong, I think college soccer is the right choice for many players, but if the league and the national team want to get better then having a good junior system in place is very important. Hopefully the Revs make another signing or two (not sure how many U-18 players they're allowed to have on the roster) like this. This is something I need to look more into, but I'm wondering what Fagundez is allowed to do and what he's not allowed to do. Can he play in regular season games? Can he play in the PDL this summer if the Revs don't think he'll be playing much? I'm not sure about all of this. MLS today announced that they're bringing back the reserve league which I'm sure Fagundez will see some action in.

As for Fagundez, I've never seen him play but lets take a look at what we know about him. He was born in Uruguay and lives in Leominster (pretty common as there is a good size Uruguayan community in that area). Leominster has a strong soccer program at its high school and has seen many good Uruguayan players come through there. Most notably in recent years was Gary Rocca. Not sure what happened to him, had a very good high school career but I have no idea what happened after that. I've seen a lot of these kids play, I've played with a lot of them, and I've played against them. There's certainly a lot of talent in that region. It's very safe to say that if Fagundez was chosen out of that group of kids to play on the Revs and then sign with the Revs, then he's a very good prospect to have. Like I said, I think this is a great signing and it shows the players in Massachusetts that the Revs are serious about looking at players in this region and signing those players to contracts. Hopefully we'll get to see Fagundez at some point in 2011 and see what he can do. I'm looking forward to it.


Sunday, October 31, 2010


There has bee a lack of updates here recently. It's due to a few reasons. The main one being that we've both been pretty busy with some other things that we have going on. We hope to begin working on the site sometime in mid November. Neither of us has a whole lot of experience with that sort of thing so we'll see how it goes.

So the Revs season has come to a close. No playoffs which is a bit disappointing but lets be real here, we knew before the season started that making the playoffs would be a challenge. The front office has announced that they will be after a DP or two. Lets hope they can find two quality players that can help the team.

The green line situation has been resolved. Lets see if we can get an update in the next few months before the beginning of the season.

The expansion draft is coming up soon. The Revs will lose at least one player. Who will it be?

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the playoffs.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Revs win in season finale

Revs got a nice win last night in front of over 18,000 fans. A very solid crowd indeed. The group I was with was fortunate enough to get our tickets upgraded to the clubhouse. It was a fun promotion in which the Revs had staff going around upgrading people's tickets before the game. The seats up there are great. Amazing view. It seems like an easy promotion to pull off. I don't recall many people sitting up there this year with the exception of last night.

The game was solid. Not the best, not the worst. The Revs had their chances and could've scored more than once.

Marko Perovic won the team MVP award. A good choice. He led the team in goals and was always a threat on free kicks.

The ref. last night was pretty bad.

Overall a very fun night.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Something aimed at a more English audience than ours, but here's what I wrote for yesterday. It was a sort of response to another opinion piece on the site that criticized the NESV purchase, but I tried not to sound petty by just rebutting what the other guy said. So it stands on its own. Here it is:

Liverpool supporters are going to like NESV. The only reason I don't say love is that supporters don't usually identify with their clubs' owners in such a tight way. As owners go, however, Liverpool fans will like this one.

John Henry led NESV's purchase of the Red Sox in 2002. He came from a successful commodities-trading and hedge fund career, and although he was a lifelong baseball fan, he had limited experience in that particular business so far. In fact, his four years as the Florida Marlins owner were relatively forgettable.

Despite this disposition, NESV's ownership of the Red Sox has been a solid hit, in terms of both baseball success and financial discipline. They've made the playoffs in five of the last seven years, including two league titles and a dramatic semifinal loss. They've also had one of the highest payorlls in the league year in and year out, while simultaneously coming good on their goal when they took over to turn the farm (youth) system from one of the worst to one of the best in the league. These days, Red Sox fans ahve come to expect to see the team leaders be home-grown. That last point especially is something we never saw before NESV bought the team.

Why did the genesis of NESV result in such a successful ownership in Boston? An important thing to remember is that, whereas Henry personally owned the Marline, NESV is more than just John Henry. Per temporary Liverpool chairman Marin Broughton, whom we all know by now, NESV is "a serious investor" with seventeen "serious investors in it."

When asked what separated NESV from the other finalist bidder of similar monetary value, Broughton harped about its track record before stopping abruptly to conclude, "They're going to add a lot of value to Liverpool Football Club." This diversity of experience is what makes NESV such an attractive owner.

The group has already proven to be adaptable. Although it has never owned a professional soccer club, it has successfully owned a NASCAR team, a television network, and various sports marketing projects.

One of NESV's strengths is its ability to put the right people in the right positions. For example, Henry himself is not the hands-on manager at Roush Fenway that he is with the Red Sox. In his words, "I'm simply not nearly as involved with Roush Fenway as I am with baseball. [Co-owner] Jack [Roush] knows what he's doing, and I'm sort of there as a resource for Jack."

Even with the Red Sox, where Henry is especially involved, the team's success has come largely from the person Henry put in the most powerful baseball operations position, the president and general manager, Theo Epstein. The ability to intelligently allocate charges will be another valuable asset when NESV enters another business that's new to them.

Not that Liverpool supporters are unanimously excited by this group's imminent arrival. In fact, most of them that I've heard are cynical about it (which is why I'm writing this piece). The most audible trepidation in the media is that John Henry is from the United States.

Well so am I, first of all. While I'm slightly offended by some of the commentary I've been reading and listening to, it's understandable that Liverpool supporters would be reluctant to give NESV the benefit of the doubt, having been burned almost to the ground by two of the least-successful sports club owners in recent American memory.

However, the view that American owners of English clubs always fail is inaccurate. Manchester United have won three out of five league titles and a Champions League title since Malcolm Glazer became the owner. And in financial terms, if the rejection of Pini Zahavi's 1 billion pound bid for the club earlier this year is any indication of its value, it's not in nearly as much trouble as Liverpool is, which is about to sell for about three tenths that amount.

You can also look to Sunderland's owner Ellis Short, who brought over Steve Bruce immediately after buying the club, and has provided funds for major player purchases such as Darren Bent, Kenwyne Jones, and Asamoah Gyan. Sunderland are currently 11th in the league, and have drawn both Arsenal and Manchester United at home this season.

Even Randy Lerner has been a successful owner at Aston Villa. His sales of Milner and Barry, and the departure of Martin O'Neill, are due to lack of ambition, not a misunderstanding of the English Premier League. It's worth mentioning that both Lerner and Short have been Premier League fans since they went to school in England.

Please do not condemn NESV just because they're American. IN addition to what I've already written, consider some other qualities that may explain the difference between NESV and the Hicks-Gillett tandem.

Hicks is in the process of losing his Major League Baseball team, the Texas Rangers. It ended in federal bankruptcy court, and it happened that a second bid (a higher bid) was made while the court case was going on. Hicks tried, unsuccessfully thus far, to accept the late offer instead, due absolutely to its higher monetary value. Sound familar? As he is trying to hold onto Liverpool under threat of administration in search of a higher price, so he is fighting tooth and claw to sell the Rangers to the deliverer of the improved-- late-- bid in that case.

Here's another nugget. In 2009, Sports Illustrated ranked NESV the best ownership group in the league. Hicks was second to last. Are you starting to get a better picture of the difference between the two owners?

For those of you concerned about the abuse of debt financing, don't worry. Again, appeal to Broughton, the most highly qualified authority on the sale given his position and resume: "If you look at Hicks and Gillett, they've leveraged up lots of their different businesses. That's what the nature of the game was as far as they were concerned."

Their failure at Liverpool, therefore, is possibly due not to their country of origin, but rather to their financial indiscipline, which has made them incompetent at owning professional sports clubs generally.

On NESV, however, Broughton explains, "That's not their track record...These are not leveraged people. NESV is not a leveraged entity." Therefore, do not clump NESV, Hicks, and Gillett under the same umbrella just because they are all from the United States; NESV is very different from the other two in the way it operates.

For those of you who watched Martin Broughton's interview on BBC or SkySports, to which I've repeated alluded, you'll remember his caution to Liverpool supporters, which he relayed from NESV itself: no hostages to fortune. In other words, NESV did nto make any promises on which the sale hinges, like you hear from candidates in football club presidential elections in Spain and in other countries. This group knows too well, from experience, that titles can be decided by paper-thin margins (so do you, Liverpool supporters from 2005).

It also knows one final thing: the future is unpredictable. Just because you haven't seen something before doesn't mean it can't happen. NESV bought the Red Sox because they didn't believe inthe Curse of the Bambino; instead, they believed in facts. Science. There are actual reasons the team hadn't won a league championship since 1918. Just because Liverpool haven't seen an American owner succeed at their club-- and indeed have seen two spectacularly fail-- doesn't mean an American owner can't succeed.

John Henry, in particular, is bold. He said in an interview in 2007, when asked about the future of the economy, "The only thing I can tell you about the future, I believe, is that it's going to be surprising...Events occur that radically change the world. I subscribe to that theory." NESV changed the baseball word, and many people's lives, believe it or not, in 2004. They might do it again with Liverpool.

I'm not saying that Liverpool will win the league next season. Or in the next five. You'd never suddenly expect that due solely to an ownership change. But don't be cynical before you give the new group a chance. I think a good state of mind is optimistic. While the group doesn't represent the endless pockets experienced at Chelsea and Manchester City, it possesses something possibly even more valuable: really smart people.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Revs get a tv show and a DP all in the same week!!! Well, sort of...

The Revolution have launched a new tv show dedicated to the Revs over on MyTV New England. The first episode was yesterday and there will be more to follow before the year is over. This is a good start. There hasn't been any programming on tv that solely covers the Revs. The Bruins have a pre-game show, the Red Sox and Patriots both have about a million shows, and the Celtics get plenty of coverage on Comcast Sports. So this is a very good start. I wonder why the show is on My TV and not not on Comcast Sports. You'd think the show would be on Comcast Sports since they're the ones who broadcast the games. Does this mean that the Revs broadcasts will be moving to My TV next season? My TV does have the rights to the Chicago Fire in Chicago so who knows.

The show is hosted by Brad Feldman and Jeff Lemieux. I'd rather have hosts that aren't employed by the team as I feel independent hosts will speak their minds more freely than hosts who are employed by the team. However, at this stage I'm just happy that a show is being produced and put on the air. Lets see how it goes from here until the end of the year.

Went over to Footiebusiness this evening, which is an awesome site by the way, and discovered this article. Looks like the Revs plan on being busy this offseason in regards to the DP market. Yeah, well, it's about time. Lets see what they come up with and how much money they spend. It's tough to say what they should spend the money on as we don't know the contract situations for guys like Perovic and Stolica. Are these guys already locked up for next year at this year's salary? Are the Revs looking at either Delron Buckley or Didier Domi as a possible DP? They were on trial with the Revs this week according to this article.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Jankauskas Released

The Revs announced yesterday that they have released Jankauskas. has been been reporting for some time now that he has signed with a club in his homeland of Lithuania. This news doesn't come as much of a surprise. He was pretty much hurt the entire year and was making over $200,000. If he was healthy I think he could've contributed to the team, but he wasn't. I think it's pretty apparent that I'm a Jankauskas fan, from his days at Porto, but I have to agree that releasing him is the right decision. That's at least $200,000 that the team has to spend on another player(s). You can get 2 solid players for that amount of money. One piece of information I'd love to have it a list of the current roster with how much each player is making and how many years are left on the contract. It'd give us a good idea of the salary cap situation of the team.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Revs Impress

The Revs tied the Crew last night 2-2. Even though the Revs blew a 2 goal lead in the second half it was still a very entertaining game to attend. Both teams played very well and created many chances. It was one of the better games this year for sure. In fact, I'd say either last night's game or the game against New York, one of those two was the best game of the year.

If only the Revs played every game the way they played last night. They'd be in the playoff hunt.

The crowd in the Fort was very good. I was surprised to find out that only about 13,500 were in attendance. When I was there it looked like there were more.

Before the game I got the chance to watch the team warm up from the sidelines which was cool. Took lots of pictures. When Jankauskas came out I yelled out his name and when he turned around I pointed at my FC Porto hat that I was wearing. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. He looked a bit surprised. After warm ups as he was going back to the locker room I yelled "Jankauskas, we still love you at Porto!!" He laughed and again looked a bit surprised haha. He will always be remembered at Porto. He is a legend, he was the man who was fouled that led directly to this.

Enough said.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

2011 Season Tickets

You can now get 2011 season tickets for the Revs. Season ticket holders will once again get tickets for 18 games, 17 of them will be for regular season games and the other ticket will be for a special event (probably a friendly). Tickets for the fort are $200. You can't beat that. It'll be interesting to see what the renewal rate will be and to see how many new season ticket holders they can get. The prices for season tickets are good. The stadium location is not. I've talked to many people who would get season tickets if the stadium was accessible from the T. It's their biggest obstacle in convincing people to get season tickets. Lets assume that they do build a stadium in Boston (they are looking at Sommerville, lets just call it Boston). The demand for tickets will increase. How will this impact the price? I'm hoping the team doesn't jack them up as that would be a slap to the face of people who have been long time supporters of the team. But really, I have no idea what they'll do in regards to ticket prices if they do end up moving to Boston. That's just one possible situation, they take the fort and raise the price from $200 to $400. We'll see what happens. I just hope they can get something good done here in Boston.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MLS Expands Season

MLS announced today that the season will be expanding from 30 games to 34 games next year as a result of the two new expansion franchises joining the league. The schedule will remain balanced. MLS has been expanding and looks to keep expanding with Montreal joining after next season. With Montreal the league will have 19 teams. MLS is going to get to a point where there are more than 20 teams which poses a scheduling problem. In order for the schedule to remain balanced with more teams joining, the leagues has to add more games. So if you have 24 teams, that means each team plays 46 games for the regular season with 23 of them being at home. Obviously 46 games is way too much for MLS. To be honest, I think 34 games is really pushing it. Teams had 15 home games this year, they'll have 17 next year. I think 15 games was pretty close to being a perfect number. You throw in a friendly here and there and you're left with around 17 or 18 games. Then if you throw in Super Liga or the Champions League that number can go up to 20+. The more home games you add the tougher it is for season ticket holders to make it to all of them. Attendance throughout MLS has been improving but it's not at a point where the league should be adding games because the demand is there (something the NFL is currently dealing with). Adding more games also makes it difficult for teams to focus on the Champions League. The schedule is tight as it is, more games makes it even tighter. It looks like the most sensible thing to do going forward is to keep the season at 30 games and not have a balanced schedule, which sucks because I think having a balanced schedule is awesome. But it's going to get to a point where the schedule is going to be to tight and teams will be thin as a result of roster size limits and the cap. The league is going to be looking into this in October and hopefully they come up with a way to make it all work.

About John's previous post. I'm not to high on the idea of using ratings from sites like sky sports. There's just too much subjectivity there. I do agree though, draft based leagues are much better than salary cap leagues.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Speaking of fantasy MLS...

First of all, I didn't do Pick'em through the entire tournament. I don't think I quite finished the group stage.

Secondly, and what I really want to write about: fantasy soccer is pretty lame. There are two primary reasons for this.

Number one: every fantasy soccer site I've ever found goes by the salary cap system. That is, there's no such thing as a draft. It's a system, for those of you who don't know, where you get a certain amount of money to spend on X players, and players' values change over the course of the season depending on how well they do. Given this structure, there's nothing stopping everyone in a league from having the same players. In other words, joining a league only serves to display how you stack up against everybody else in the league, and there's no structural relationship between you and the other managers in the league except for the fact that you all registered your teams to be listed on the same exchange.

This is the way fantasy baseball used to be, about ten years ago. However, baseball has evolved almost entirely into draft-based systems, where you have the MLB universe as a common player pool, from which each team drafts X players. This creates a structural relationship between the managers of the league, because they are all competing with eachother for the same asset pool. It creates the possibility of trades, as well as reasons for managers in the league to interact and generally follow each other's teams. This interaction means competition. There is no such competition in salary cap-based leagues, because the structure makes it meaningless. Fantasy NFL is primarily draft-based too.

For some reason, fantasy soccer hasn't changed over. Maybe it's because fantasy sports are an American product and there's a lag between each evolution's spawning and its exporting. To me, draft-based leagues are leagues superior to salary cap leagues (get it?).

To make matters worse, most fantasy soccer sites have this rule where you can't sell players at their market price. Yahoo UK's rule is that managers "can only ever sell them at their purchase price." Ridiculous. The EPL's official site, on the other hand, says if a player's price goes up while you own him, you have to pay a 50% capital gains tax when you sell him (to whom? No one; it's just value lost into thin air). Similarly ridiculous. There are no taxes in fantasy NFL or MLB. It could be a cultural thing that keeps US-American sports in the draft sphere of fantasy sports, and the biggest UK sport in the salary-cap sphere. Maybe this rule, as well as the general prominence of the salary-cap system, is rampant in fantasy soccer due to popular soccer countries' socialistic leanings, namely England's.

(It could also be because players are usually bought and sold in soccer, whereas they tend to be traded in American sports. Then again, you don't have twelve Wayne Rooneys in the 20-team Premier League either.)

There's point one. Point two is that it's difficult to use quantifiable and categorical parameters to judge soccer performance of individual players. The most glaring example is goals. Some sites give goals the same value for every position, and some taper the value downward for more advanced positions. There are different ways to value a goal even from this skeletal lens. Take it further-- don't different goals have different value in real game settings? For instance, a stoppage time winner is more valuable than Didier Drogba's seventh goal of a 7-0 game, isn't it?

Take another example: a yellow card. Most sites give negative points for yellow cards. But that's such an elementary way to look at it. Isn't part of Javier Mascherano's real-life value his ability to choose his professional fouls cleverly? What about his sheer physicality? Would Maradona have made him captain of Argentina if he was a fair play champion?

I could pick through the rest of the common statistical categories in most fantasy leagues, but you get the picture. It's impossible to create a point system that effectively judges a player's value to a game.

The best scoring system I can envision is a system that puts a high statistical weight on a reliable man-of-the-match and/or player-ratings index. If you could have three or four statistics houses that put together player ratings and man-of-the-match aggregates from all the top soccer journalists in each league's country, then you would have a huge list of opinions of the most reliable journalists the country has to offer on each player's influence on a game. These statistics houses would serve as the Moody's and Standard & Poor's of the fantasy soccer world; as rating agencies put droves of financial professionals to work coming up with ratings of the market's debt securities, so would these statistics houses put droves of professional journalists to work rating every soccer player in the country. The result would be a subjective measure of each player's performance, but it would be an averaged result of a couple hundred of the top authorities' judgments.

This sounds like an impossibility, but these statistics houses wouldn't have to sprout out of the ground. They wouldn't even have to specialize in rating players. Sky Sports could have a statistics house with Sky Sports journalists; BBC could have a statistics house with their journalists. These two, and one or two others if they're created, could recruit top journalists from smaller companies just for their ratings. Or they could overlap a little. As long as you get a small handful of highly reliable ratings that fantasy leagues could insert into their value equation at 10-30% weight each (the weights could even be varied per each house's influence).

If I were feeling innovative, this is the sort of fantasy league I would create. Feel free to take this idea if you're a talented webmaster with a lot of server space and a reasonable share of patience. Information wants to be free.

Doubt it will happen.

Anyway, that's my ode to fantasy soccer. I'm a long-time, pretty competitive fantasy baseball and footballer. I wish there was a better way to play fantasy soccer.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

World Cup Pick'em

Back when the World Cup was going around we set up a group on yahoo and I said I'd post the results. I never got around to doing it until now, so here they are:

Pick Set
Correct Picks
Total Points
Possible Points
1 Wayne Bridge's Hurt Feelings 31 114 114
2 Leeds Utd 36 104 104
3 Pedro Miguel Carreiro Resendes 31 94 94
4 Mira Mar 30 92 92
5 Tommy Boy!!! 25 72 72
6 Jamie Jillett 26 52 52
6 Jay Six Pini 26 52 52
8 reaper1084 22 46 46

I was Tommy Boy!!! Most of the time I have a hard time picking a name for fantasy leagues, which was obviously the case here. I did pretty bad.

I wish MLS had had fantasy soccer. I think what happened was that they had some issues with the site at the beginning of the season since they had recently decided to bring it in house. So getting the site up and running was more important than having a fantasy game this year. That's just speculation, I'm not sure why they didn't have it this year. I hope they bring it back next year.

The MLS cards post will come in 2 weeks.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

International break

The USMNT didn't have an international friendly this weekend, unfortunately. Their next game is October 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago against Poland. However, this week has seen another big event for US Soccer, as FIFA delegates made their rounds around the US to a handful of stadiums and other proposed venues for USSF's World Cup bids. I didn't realize the vote was coming up so soon-- apparently it's December 2. Today's September 9. That's not too long a wait.

Apparently Obama didn't meet the delegates in person when they visited the White House. Instead, some of his "delegates" did it. I can't believe he skived off. America will never let him get away with this.

During the World Cup, I wrote that had made the "Soccer" link on its main page direct you straight to its World Cup page. Since the World Cup, it now directs you straight to "Soccernet US." To go along with this change, it has remixed the type of material it includes in "Soccernet US;" in the past, it was totally MLS and US Soccer-related, and there wasn't much material turnover. Now, it seems as though ESPN has loaded the page with global news that it thinks enterprising fans in this country might find interesting. For example, it includes controversial English news such as that related to Wayne Rooney at present, as well as anything it can come up with that insults France, or that reminds us of France's World Cup debacle. I'm not sure exactly how this "Soccernet US" evolution reflects the state of soccer in this country, but it's at least indicative that the attention is changing, for sure.

Barcelona won and Real Madrid drew in La Liga matchday one. Good.

Champions League starts in less than a week. Good.

America's game starts tonight (not to be confused with America's pasttime, which did not start tonight). It started an hour ago, in fact. Brett Favre is playing. He wears Wrangler jeans. For some reason I entered a fantasy football league this year with a $50 buy-in. I haven't played for the past three seasons. Wish me luck if it's in you.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Revolution 3-1 Sounders

The Revs won this weekend, 3-1 at home to the Sounders. The first half was pretty uninspiring; it finished 0-0 and involved a lot of aimless kicks from goalies and defenders that traveled to the other team's goalie and defenders. The second half, however, was entertaining, partially due to the soccer and partially due to the intensity. There were a couple nice goals, with good buildups, and the players left it all out on the field. It was a win that felt good despite the impending failure of the Revs' season.

The Sounders aren't the team they were last season. Even before Ljungberg left they weren't as good. Last night they played like an either scared or uninterested team on the road, and once they got their goal they were content to give up on the game and hope they'd done enough. Their attitude was totally different than Philadelphia's when they came here and won 2-1 very late in the game last week. Although they'd be in the playoffs if the season ended today, my cautious guess is that Seattle won't do anything special this season, to say nothing about the competition they'll be up against.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bradley stays on

After a month and a half of speculation concerning the future of USMNT manager Bob Bradley, yesterday he grabbed the torch and jumped into the legendary gauntlet which no American manager has ever before successfully negotiated: the English Premier League. Fellow American Randy Lerner has assigned Bradley the daunting task of succeeding Martin O'Neill at Villa Park!

Just kidding.

After a month-and-a-half-long job search, after prodding the managerial job market in Europe (but with "no opportunities at this point"), and after heavy rumors linking Jurgen Klinsmann to the USMNT post, Bob Bradley has signed on with the USMNT for another four years. This one is true, as you know.

I love this news.

Enough from me.


New deal with Adidas

An Associated Press article came out yesterday on, reporting that Adidas and MLS signed a new eight-year contract that will run through 2018. The article suggests the deal is worth more than $200 million (according to "a person with knowledge of the deal"). A favorite site of ours, Footiebusiness, also has a nice article on the deal, which includes more information than the AP one.

Specifically, merchandise, equipment, uniforms, and increased advertising comprise the deal. However, the fact that MLS has a renewed strong partnership with Adidas is good for other programs too, as well as the league generally. For example, neither article mentions the Generation Adidas program, but Don Garber's statement that Adidas has "a clear vision for the sport in North America," and that it "[sees] MLS as a cornerstone of that vision," suggest that Generation Adidas has a reasonably healthy near future.

Footiebusiness also references this surprising (to me) statistic in this article in the Sports Business Journal: annual MLS merchandise sales have increased 600% over the past five years, topping out at $300 million most recently. The article then answers the first question that came to my mind: for how much of that jump can we directly thank David Beckham? Only $300,000 Beckham revenue dollars were made, but it's unclear by the text whether that was just in 2007 or to-date. Let me do some math...600% over five years made $300m, which means five years ago there were $50 million in merchandise that's a $550 million increase over five years, only $300 thou of which was directly from Beckham. That tells a pretty damn good story for the rest of the league. Or maybe Beckham's influence has been greater than Grant Wahl would have us think, in terms of raising interest in the rest of the league.

Anyway, merchandise is one of three major sources of revenue for most of the soccer world (the other two being gate and TV). While TV has been dispairingly flat over the past few years, and attendance has been up and down (down last season, up this season), it's good to know the league's merchandise sphere is doing this well.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Revs fall to Union, Jankauskas out?

Revs lost to the Union on Saturday. The Revs were pretty bad and so were the Union. Neither team did anything to win the game. Not many chances on either side. A pretty bad soccer game to watch. From what I've heard there were a few those this past weekend.

According to Jankauskas has left the Revolution to return to the Lithuanian league. Sometimes zerozero gets these wrong but they're pretty reliable for the most part. Keep a look out on the Revs official site over the next few days to see if this is legit.

Spanish league started this league. My pick is Real Madrid. You can't bet against Jose Mourinho. Lets see how Malaga does, Jesualdo is now the coach there. Lets just say he and Mourinho do not get along very well.

Wigan with the big win this past weekend. Good stuff.

Look for this site to improve over the next couple of months. Me and John plan on making it a full site before the end of the year.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


On Tuesday Braga advanced to the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in the club's history. They did this by defeating a Sevilla team that has been a regular in the competition. This is a huge win for Braga. It's a small club in a city with less than 200,000 residents. The club's administration has done a great job the last 5 years or so managing the club's finances. Unlike most other clubs in Portugal, Braga is not heavily in debt and tend to live within their means. From a financial perspective this win is huge. I'm not sure how much they're getting for qualifying for the group stage. I've heard as low as 5 million EUR and as high as 15 million EUR. Lets say it's 10 million EUR. For Braga that's a lot of money. The team's salary is well below that level. The club stands to make even more money via the gate and could advance to the next stage of the competition. They got a good draw, Arsenal, Partizan, and Shakhtar Donetsk. It won't be an easy group but it's certainly within their reach to qualify for the next round. I hope they do and that they can use these new funds to cement themselves as a regular competitor for the Portuguese championship. ABOLA is also reporting that Hugo Viana is close to leaving Valencia and joining Braga on a free transfer. He was on loan at Braga last year and was a big part in their drive for the title last year. His addition would be a big boast for the team.

Sporting was able to travel to Denmark today and overturn a 2-0 loss at home with a 3-0 victory to move on to the next round of the UEFA Cup. I didn't see that coming.

Porto was also able to advance. They have played very well thus far.

Should be a fun year over in Europe.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bradley to Villa?

One more thing. Bob Bradley told Sky Sports recently that his people contacted Aston Villa about the managerial vacancy there. It's all very cloudy, because neither the caretaker manager at Villa nor Bradley himself has taken a hard stance. Personally, I want Bradley to stay at the USMNT post for four more. It would be cool to see him at Villa, and it would be cool to see a fresh face coaching the US, but I think once the novelty wears off I'd like most of all to have Bradley be the guy at the helm of my most selfishly held home team.

Stu Holden didn't really get into the game this weekend until an hour into it, and overall was a peripheral figure (by get into the game I mean find his place in the game; he did start). Good game though, Bolton 3-1 West Ham. Altidore played about 15 minutes for Villarreal in a Europa League game. I didn't see it, but he better get some playing time this season. It'll be hard at that club. Very very important season ahead for these two.



"What's that? Uh-- d-- playoffs?? Don't talk about.....playoffs?? You kidding me? Playoffs??" Ahh, the soothing sounds of Jim Mora. It's the only Mora track I have on my iPod.

As Mora's Indianapolis Colts fell short of the playoffs in 2001, so it looks like the Revolution will in 2010. What is it-- 8 straight seasons they've made the playoffs under Nicol? Something like that.

The Revs have lost their last two, after going 8 straight games without a loss (which included 3 wins and a draw in the league). It was bound to end sometime. They sit 6th in the East and 13th overall, with ten league games to go.

I expect Nicol to prepare his team for the defining game of its season on September 1, the SuperLiga final. It's at Gillette (I can't make it, but it's nice that it's a home game). It's also the game that will most likely decide whether they win anything this season. Not that anybody cares that much about SuperLiga, but the Revs have been able to at least partially salvage otherwise lost seasons in this fashion a few times recently, by winning SuperLiga in 2007 and the US Open Cup in 2008. It's something, and I hope they win it, but I think it would look much better as an accessory than as the main attraction in the trophy cabinet, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I've missed the last two Revs home games for other personal commitments. Andrew and I will both be at the game this weekend, and with a pretty big crowd. Can't wait. I'm really excited to see Philadelphia, even though their record isn't good.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

MLS Salaries, KC, New DP

The MLS players union recently released an updated listing of salaries which includes two of New England's most recent signings. You can check them out here MLS Salaries. Lets take a look at the Revs.

Two names that jump out are Jankauskas ($240,000) and Colaluca ($133,000). If Jankauskas were healthy he might actually be worth the salary. But as we all know he hasn't been. The Revs have paid him a pretty big salary to sit on the bench hurt and watch games from the sidelines. I'm pretty sure his contract runs out at the end of the year. I will always remember Jankauskas for what he did in the Champions League, but as a Revs fan I'd have to say that they shouldn't resign him. Colaluca is in the same boat as he hasn't been healthy for most of the season. Again, cap space tied up with a player who isn't healthy.I'm a bit surprised by Alston's salary ($124,000) since it's only his second year as a pro. Did he sign a 1 year deal as a rookie then get a good second contract? No surprise that the rookies are making the minimum. I haven't taken a look at the complete list but I assume that most rookies make the league minimum. I don't think we really discovered anything new about the Revs through this list. They have some significant cap space being occupied by players who aren't healthy. One thing I'd like to see when these lists are released would be to have the years remaining on the contract next to the salary as we'd get a better idea of cap flexibility for future years.

Revs were in KC tonight and lost 4-1. Always tough to play away mid week and then play away again a few days later. I'm not a big fan of Gibbs on the left side. Not his fault as he's always been a center back. But, he may be the best option at this point as it seems Nicol has lost confidence in Sinovic. The Revs are going to have to go on a pretty impressive run to finish the season if they want to make the playoffs. It's going to be tough. It starts on Saturday with a must win at home against Philly.

San Jose announced the signing of a DP, Giovanni. The Brazilian has played for teams including Barcelona, Benfica, and Hull City. He's a good player on the wing. He's very fast and skillful. He's solid in the air. I haven't seen his salary but I'm going to assume it was on the lower end of what a DP gets. Something around 500,000 - 700,000 a year. I'd say it's worth it for that money as he's a good player who's going to improve the team and help the team win. He's not going to sell tickets like a Marquez or a Beckham (a specific population or casual fans), but he's going to improve the team's play which can help draw in fans who follow the European leagues but not MLS. Signing players like Giovanni will help raise the quality of games which will help convert these soccer fans into MLS fans. That's why I really like this signing.

I'd have to say that so far my Wigan prediction looks like pure genius haha.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Is it too late?

As we've all seen the Revolution have been struggling at the gate. Attendance has been on the decline for several years. This year's attendance has been pretty bad contrary to what management states. I wish I could say that I'm surprised with these attendance numbers but I'm not. Anyone who's been following the team pretty much saw it coming.

Which leads me to this interesting comment made by Jason Davis over on Matchfit USA. Here's the quote, "Where's New England's obviously needed Portuguese star?". Well Jason, I along with many others have been asking this question for many years. The closest thing we've ever had was Chiquino Conde (who is from Mozambique). I really enjoyed watching him play here during his short stint with the Revs. Jair was solid as well (from Cape Verde). True, neither are from Portugal but both are from countries who Portugal still has close ties to. The others I won't mention as I've been in a good mood lately and don't want to get myself all riled up.

If the Revs were to sign a big time Portuguese player would it be enough to draw Portuguese fans in? The answer was once a clear yes but as time goes by I'm not as sure as I once was. I have actually felt disrespected by a couple of their signings. That's how bad they were. These signings leave a bad taste in our mouths. Perhaps even if they do sign a player the impact won't be as great as it once could've been.

I don't get why they didn't go out and sign a player especially with the stadium so close to Providence, Milford, Hudson, Taunton, New Bedford, and Fall River. They've tried but apparently they haven't tried hard enough.

What do you think? Will the Revs ever make a Portuguese signing that we can proud of?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Revs with a big win

Revs got a big win last night 1-0 over Houston to keep their playoff hopes alive.

I sat in the Fort as I usually do. I haven't noticed this much this year but I noticed it last night. Where the Rebellion usually sit there were a few groups of people sitting waiting for the start of the game. The Rebellion showed up and started doing what they usually do (standing, singing, making lots of noise and what not). Well, these people were visibly upset and left that section of the fort and moved to the right. I know the Revs have been making an effort to inform people about the Fort and what it is, but it appears not everyone who buys tickets to the Fort knows what they're getting into. For example, last night a youth soccer team was going to sit right behind the Rebellion but they moved right before the game started. I kind of wish they hadn't, I would've loved to see the chaperons reactions once the game started haha. Anyways, the Revs should make a continued effort to inform people who buy tickets to the fort and make sure they know exactly what it is so that people aren't upset. Perhaps the Revs should block off a few rows for the Rebellion, The Riders, and The Army so that people know that's where they sit.

Lets get back to the game. The Revs played a solid game. They were able to control most of the possession and spent much more time in the final third than Houston did. However, they still weren't able to create many quality chances. The goal was a bit lucky as Nyassi totally whiffed on his shot and the ball went straight to Stolica and he placed it perfectly. But hey, luck's a part of the game, sometimes it goes in your favor sometimes it doesn't. Last night it went in our favor, I'll take it.

Houston didn't really do anything in the final third until they were down 1-0. After the goal they applied some pressure but were never able to create any clear scoring chances. In the end the Revs still weren't able to create many chances but they played well enough to deserve the win. It was a solid game to attend.

Wed. the Revs are in Chicago. It's going to be a tough game with the Fire's additions of Castillo and Ljunberg. They've been playing well. Should be an entertaining game.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Portuguese First Divison

Portugal's first division is often overlooked, but if you take a look around Europe you'll find that many of the players on the top teams across Europe got their start in Portugal. It's the league I follow most closely. If you're interested in following it you can head over to and stream some games. They stream 1 game per weekend and it's free. If you live somewhere like New Bedford, Fall River, Cambridge, or Lowell you can head over to the local Portuguese club or Portuguese owned bar and watch all the games there as they are broadcast here in the States via RTPi and Sport TV.

One of the biggest problems in Portugal has been that clubs are in bad shape financially. This is due to a number of factors but can be attributed to two main reasons; corrupt club administrations and clubs not living within their means. Unfortunately many club presidents see the presidency of a club as a way to steal a lot of money while at the same time not living within the club's means. These two things together have been catastrophic for clubs like Setubal, Guimaraes, Estrela Amadora, and countless others. Even the big 3 clubs face tough financial times.

I could go on and on about the problems the league and clubs face. But I don't really feel like typing 200 pages right now so I'll move on to this year's season.

Champion: I'm going to go with FC Porto. You can probably guess who I support. But really, I do believe that they will win it. They have a good young coach in Andre Vilas Boas. He was an assistant to Jose Mourinho for several years. He's going to bring out the best in players such as Belluschi who didn't always see eye to eye with Jesualdo Ferreira. They've made good additions such as the signing of Joao Moutinho. They have a good starting 11 and have a deep roster. They have some younger players who could make an impact such as Castro and Ukra. Varela is a player who I'm expecting will have a big year. I also expect a deep run in the Uefa Cup. They've got a team that can win it. Hey, they did it Mourinho's first full year as coach.

Second Place: Sporting. They have looked good during their pre season. The addition of Maniche is a big one. He's on the decline but I think paired up with Pedro Mendes they're going to form a very good partnership in the midfield. Matias Fernandez is another player who can make things happen coming out of the midfield. He had a tough year last year adjusting to the league. Now that he's more familiar he'll be a more consistent performer. Another player who has looked very good so far has been Sinama Pongolle. The team's biggest question mark is defense and in goal. I still don't think they have a reliable left back and Rui Patricio is very shaky in goal. That being said I still expect them to have a good year and go far in the Uefa Cup although they have a tough draw against Brondby in the next round.

Third Place: Braga. Domingos had a great first year as coach leading the team to a second place finish and a chance for Champions League qualification. They were able to bring back Luis Aguiar who will be their playmaker in the midfield. Andres Madrid has also looked good so far. A talented player who has seemed lost the past two seasons. I think this one's going to be different. The loss of Hugo Viana is a big one as he was the team's big playmaker last year but I think Domingos will have this team ready to play. Braga has Sevilla in Champions League qualification. It's a tough draw but I think it's winnable. Making the Champions League would be a huge financial boast for this club. The fans and city of Braga deserve it.

Fourth Place: Benfica. Last season was a fluke. Plain and simple. I am still not convinced that Jorge Jesus is a good coach. Also, Benfica's best friend Ricardo Costa is no longer a part of the league's disciplinary commission due in part to the Hulk fiasco that occurred last year among other things. So what that means now is when David Luiz and Luisao committ fouls deserving of cards they might actually get carded as opposed to last year when they'd laugh and tell the ref. that it was a fair challenege and the ref. would laugh and say "ok, I believe you". Rui Costa better watch out, now that Ricardo's gone he can't go walking into the tunnel with a bunch of thugs and start fights with the opposing team. Remember when I was talking about problems with the Portuguese League. Well, here's the biggest problem, Benfica. To be honest, I'd take it one step further and say their Portugal's biggest problem. But hey, that'd require a pretty big history lesson. So lets just leave it at that.

The other team in Europe is Maritimo. They've got a good coach in Mitchell Van Der Gaag. Their roster is decent. Djalma up front is good. One thing that I'd like to see them do is reduce the number of foreigners on the roster and give the youngsters of Madeira a chance to prove themselves. The island produces a lot of good players. They should be given a chance to show their talent on their home soil.

So, who could surprise some people this year. Well, it's always tough to determine in Portugal. Before the season begins you'll find a couple of clubs with good rosters and then those clubs barely avoid relegation. Usually, this is due to some very bad coaching. Lets take a look.

Academica could be a surprise. Jorge Costa is now their coach. He coached Olhanense last year and barely stayed in the top flight. However, Olhanense played some very good soccer last year. I'd say the poor results were a result of having a very young team. At Academica he's got some good players who have experience. They'll be battling for a Uefa Cup spot.

Now this is just random. Naval has 6 French players on their roster and a player from Guadeloupe. Very random as it's not very common to find French players in the Portuguese League. They had quite a few French players last year as well, so I guess since they had a bunch they figured they'd hire a French coach too. It's probably a good move. I just hope they play some attractive soccer.

So after reading this you know who I support and who I clearly do not support. A site worth checking out is This site is great for all leagues, not just the Portuguese league. They have rosters and line ups for all of the major leagues as well as historical results for all major leagues and competitions. It's very easy to follow if you don't know any Portuguese.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

European Season

Here's a response to Andrew's post. Let's get this out of the way: good job getting rid of Joseph Niouky.

Concerning the EPL: My pick is Man United to win it. True: they didn't make any headline signings other than Javier Hernandez. However, Hernandez IS a big deal in my opinion. Not only that, but it's time for the young players to take over the team; Ferguson has been blooding the new generation over the past couple seasons alongside the old guard. These players are as good as new signings as far as the first team goes. Welbeck, Macheda, Gibson, the Da Silva twins, and Evans are some of the main players I'm talking about. I'll go with these players to turn Man Utd into a winner, and I'd like to see a young league champion too.

I'd also like to register my prediction that Barcelona will win La Liga again. As much as I love Mourinho, I'm going with my other favorite club manager in the world to take it home again this season.

Also, Diego back in Germany will be GOOD. Wolfsburg could make a major comeback in the league this season after a disappointing 2009/10.

Di Maria will suck at Real Madrid. I can't believe Mourinho signed him. I watched him in three full games last season: once against Porto, once against Sporting, and once for Argentina against Catalunya. He sucked in all of them, despite scoring a goal against Catalunya. I asked Andrew to verify my judgment (which was that Di Maria was a piece of crap, and had no business being praised the way he was as the next diamond out of Argentina), and Andrew generally agreed with me. (The reason I asked Andrew is that he knows the Portugese league better than I do.)

Just throwing these out there. I could draw my explanations out much more detailedly (made "detailed" into an adverb) than this, but I figure I hate it when TV analysts try to apply science to predictions, so I'll leave it at this and consider them guesses. Except the Man United one, of course-- that's fact. The Barca bit too. And also the Di Maria thing...he sucks. Yeah, I'm unsure about Diego though. Seriously.


English First Divison

Like many others here in the US who follow MLS, I also follow European soccer quite closely. So I figured I'd write about some of the leagues over the next few days and share my thoughts. Lets start with the English league.

Chelsea are the defending champions and we've seen some clubs such as Manchester City and Tottenham emerge as challengers for the top 4 spots. It's tough to call as all of the big clubs have some very big question marks. There's no clear cut favorite. I can easily see how someone could predict Chelsea to win it all and then see them come in fourth. So here's my prediction.

Champion: Arsenal. The last few years I didn't really consider these guys to be true challengers. They were just too young and every year it seemed like one or two very important pieces would be leaving. They've been able to keep their squad intact and have one more year of experience. I just think their time has come and this is their year.

Second Place: Manchester City. A full preseason with Mancini will be a big difference between last years team and this years. I know a lot of people will laugh at this but I think they're the real deal. They've made some good improvements on the defensive side of the ball and we all know what they can do up front.

Third Place: Manchester United. I had a hard time picking between United and Chelsea here. I don't see how United's transfers over the summer have made them much better. They picked up Hernandez who will help them out up front but they already had a pretty good offense. It's the midfield and the defense I'd be worried about. I don't see it holding up for an entire year. By the way, I find their new jersey to be pretty ugly. It's the AON I don't like, I just don't like the way it looks. The AIG looked much better as did the Vodafone. Just not a fan of the AON.

Fourth Place: Chelsea. They're old and on the decline. John Terry isn't going to be able to hold that back line together and Ricardo Carvalho is now gone.

Liverpool will become the next Leeds. Yeah, probably not but I'm not even considering them as a threat to the top 4. I honestly thing a finish in the bottom half is highly possible. Tottenham could certainly challenge for a spot in the top 4.

Sunderland could surprise some people as could Wigan. I can't see either challenging for a top 4 spot but I think they'll be battling it out for the Uefa Cup.

Those are some thoughts. I know I didn't provide much analysis but I kind of just wanted to throw some things out there just for the hell of it. I follow other leagues much more closely which I'll cover in much more detail in the coming days.

Oh yeah, there was some Revolution news today. They got rid of Joseph Niouky. Good move. Now bring in a DP. Ok, we know that's not going to happen. I'd write more but I'm sure The House of Soccer will do a great job covering this topic so I'll leave it to them.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dunkin Donuts

I went to Dunkin Donuts this morning to get the usual iced coffee and noticed a stack of flyers on the counter by the cash register. The Revs are partnering up with Dunkin Donust for Customer Appreciation Night. The promotion is as follows, for $30 you can buy a ticket to one of four games and you get a ticket for free. So you get 2 tickets for $30, ($15 each). $15 for a ticket along with free parking is a good deal. I think it's safe to say that Dunkin Donuts is the most popular place in New England when it comes to getting coffee in the morning. This gives the Revs some good visibility in the area. It's also interesting to note that at least 2 of these games are the same games that go along with the Papa Gino's promotion we wrote about back in May. The Revs have done a similar promotion in years past with Dunkin Donuts. It'd be nice to see the results of the promotion from years past and compare them to this years. The first game that includes this promotion was the game this past Saturday with DC United. The game has slightly more than 12,000. Lets see how the attendance is this Saturday, which is included in this promotion. All in all it appears to be a good promotion which can hopefully draw some casual fans to a game.

One last thing. If you see the flier take a look at Shalrie Joseph's face. Priceless.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Revs Win! What's with the Martino Hype?

The Revs beat DC United last night at home 1-0. Not a very good game to watch though. Probably the worst game I've been to all year. Neither team really did anything the entire game. The Revs had one chance and they scored. Game should've ended 0-0. But hey, the Revs were able to win so you can't complain with that.

I don't get what all the hype is about in regards to Kyle Martino as a color commentator. He's not bad but he's also not that good. He's ok. I guess he's good in comparison to most others in MLS but that's not really saying much. I'm not trying to hate on the guy or anything, I just don't see what all the hype is about. I still think Harkes is the best one around in MLS. He's not great either but I think he's solid. Speaking of Martino, Fox Soccer has cancelled Fox Football Phone In. That's a shame. I really enjoyed the program. I liked Eric Wynalda on it. Sure, every once in a while he says something stupid, like "Kasey Keller is the best goalie in the world" (note: he didn't say that on Fox Football Phone In, he said it before a game in the 2006 World Cup) but at least he was interesting to watch and had his own opinion on things. They're replacing it with a show hosted by Martino. It appears that the program is geared more towards the casual fan. Maybe I'll check it out. Hopefully it's good but I'll miss Nick Webster as well. Enjoyed hearing what he had to say.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Super Liga

Many people have written about the Super Liga. Is it good or bad for the league? I think it's a little of both. There are some positives. The games are usually pretty entertaining so we get to watch some good soccer. It's also a way for markets like LA, Chicago, Dallas, and any other market with a large Mexican community to draw fans to their stadiums. Hopefully some of these fans are impressed with their local MLS team and they come back to watch some MLS games. The winning team also gets a pretty good bonus for winning the tournament. Extra money is always welcome if you're an MLS player, especially one who makes near the bottom of the ladder.

Well, there are some negatives as well. Teams have to take time off from the MLS season to compete in this tournament. You risk losing players to injury in games that don't matter (yes, the Super Liga doesn't really matter, I could care less who wins it). It just adds a burden to your team especially if you're still in the US Open Cup and/or the Concacaf Champions League.

So at the end of the day is it worth having this tournament? I'm not sure. It depends on how much weight you give the pros and the cons. In New England's case I'd say it isn't. There isn't a large enough Mexican population in the area for these games to draw a significant crowd. In this regard it's much more beneficial for the markets listed above. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching the games but in the end it's a tournament that just doens't matter. If New England wins in the final I won't consider the season to be more of a success because they won a meaningless trophy. Likewise, if they lose I won't be too disappointed.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Couple other things

As Andrew mentioned two posts down, there has been a lot of other news that we haven't posted about due to busy personal schedules. Here's my take on a few.

The Sporting-Celtic game at Fenway was awesome. It was really cool to see a soccer game in that stadium, with a greater number of constantly-enthusiastic fans than any baseball game you'll see there. Seriously. People aren't loud non-stop for any baseball game, anywhere, no matter the stage; it's due to the nature of the sport. I already loved Fenway before this game happened, but to see it with a crowd the quality of which it deserved was pretty incredible.

Another positive concerning that game was my T ride going in. It's common to see the trains loaded with Red Sox fans on home game nights, but it was something else to see them loaded with Celtic and Sporting fans, all dressed in green. A lot of them were visibly passive soccer fans-- their green Boston Celtics T-shirts suggested this. But the atmosphere was nevertheless great.

The other major thing I'm writing about today has to do with the USMNT. After speculation about Bob Bradley going to Fulham, and a host of names thrown around for the US job, Mark Hughes has been hired at Fulham. It also came out today that Bradley will in fact coach the team for the August 10 friendly with Brazil. His contract does actually last through that game, so it's not as if this means he's staying on once it expires. However, I'm surer (and equally hopeful) that he and the team are leaning toward renewing his contract. I've been a Bradley fan pretty much since he took over, through all the "fire Bob" moments, and I hope he stays on.

The Brazil squad for that friendly looks great. Out with the old, in with the young. I wish I could go to that game, and if it were on a weekend I would.

Yeah, so Steve Ralston retired. Poor guy. Can't agree on a contract with the Revs. Goes to his hometown to get a 2nd-division team off the ground alongside Nicolas Anelka's brother. Half the ownership group backs out. Team can't afford to pay Ralston. Comes back to the Revs. Comes into a friendly for thirty seconds, and suffers a freak injury unrelated to the knee problem he recently came back from. That's his career ended.


Letter from Brian Bilello

The Revolution sent out a letter, signed by COO Brian Bilello, to season ticket holders a couple days ago. Unlike the previous two, this one didn't have to do with SuperLiga. It said the team will open up seating on the west side of the stadium next season, the side that's normally tarped off. The cameras film the game from the tarped off side, so you may not have known it was tarped off at all if you've only seen Revs home games on TV.

As I began to read the letter, I immediately asked myself the following question, in the hope that the letter would answer it: why are they opening up the other side of the stadium when they've experienced drastically decreased average attendance the past two seasons? They can't even fill the Fort unless Landon Donovan is playing in the game (I mean-- unless his team is playing and people expect him to play at the time they buy their tickets).

Bilello answered my question by saying the organization has noticed "hightened enthusiasm in the stadium" when there are people in the west side, and that there has been increased demand for midfield seats. The first part of this can easily be explained away like this: the only games for which the west side is open to fans are Brazilian and European preseason tour games and David Beckham games. The second part of Bilello's reasoning could be true, but I have my doubts that there's more demand for those seats now than there was two years ago; I think the demand is either constant or down, but that the team is finally giving in because it's desperate for a bigger gate. That's me speculating.

By the way, you can all see updated average attendance each week at Gotta keep these executives honest.

Oh yeah, I should probably add that I think it's cool that they're opening up the west side next season. Seems relevant.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Mike Videira Waived

According to the Revs official site Michael Videira has been waived.

I don't get it. Why waive Videira and keep Khano Smith? At least Videira tries. He was never really given a chance with the Revs. Last year when he did play he did ok, especially for a rookie. This year he made no appearances even as the Revs suffered injury after injury. Did he do something stupid that got Nicol to hate him? Or did Nicol just not like him? I don't know. What I can say is that he should've been given a chance to play, especially given the current roster.

So what's next for him? My guess is that he'll find a PDL team to latch on with. He is Portuguese. Maybe he has some family over there and he can give the 3rd or 4th division a try.

The Revs currently have 2 open roster spots with the retirement of Steve Ralston and the release of Videira. They'll probably be signing two players to fill these spots. Probably 2 of the trialists that they've had recently. I highly doubt they'll bring in a DP but you never know.

There has been plenty of news in regards to the Revs lately. Like winning 3 games in the Super Liga. Oh and there was that game at Fenway and some friendlies that were played in New York. Both John and I have been pretty busy lately taking care of some things in our personal lives. We hope to get these things settled soon and return to normal here at the site sometime soon. You'll know once you see the posts start coming in, like the second part of my MLS cards post that keeps getting delayed.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

DP's and a stadium?

The Revs picked up another win in Super Liga yesterday. I have mixed feeling on the Super Liga and whether it should exist or not. There are many positives and negatives. I'll cover those another time, probably after the season is over. The big news yesterday wasn't the game itself but instead was the announcement after the game. It was a big one as the Fire announced that Nery Castillo was announced as the team's new DP. He joins the team on loan but the Fire have the option to purchase him at the end of the loan spell. No word on what the Fire might have to pay to keep him. This is great for the league as the Fire have a large Mexican fan base and Castillo is a good player. He's only 26. He's not one of those guys coming on the decline at the age of 32. I think he could prove to be a very good fit here and really help the Fire.

Another signing that looks to be completed sometime this week is Kansas City signing Omar Bravo. It's another good singing. He's been a good player and I think he still has a lot left in him. It appears that Chivas has confirmed the move but I haven't heard anything official from Kansas City.

Meanwhile the Revs are rumored to...

reports indicate....

there are rumblings of...

...well there's pretty much nothing in the works as far as a DP for the Revs goes which is quite annoying.

But hey, check out this article over at about a possible stadium in Sommerville. Now that would be pretty cool. It appears that there will be good public transportation via the greenline and possibly some bus routes I would assume. A stadium for the Revs could be the centerpiece of the redevelopment. I sure hope it is. It looks like a good site and I know that there have been Revs fans who in the past have supported the site for a stadium.

I will be posting part two of MLS cards soon. I've just had some things going on which are taking up some time. Hopefully it's up next weekend.

I'll also be posting the results of our World Cup challenge.

The Sporting vs Celtic game this Wed. at Fenway should be a good time. I haven't seen the roster for Sporting yet but I think they're bringing a complete squad. I'm looking forward to the game.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Relatively Slipping

I'll try to make this short. Sometimes I post about non-Revolution MLS games and/or news, and forceably make it pretend to be Revolution news by comparing the actual news with its subject's counterpart in the Revolution. Know what I mean?

The Chicago Fire have said via Twitter (at least that's where I read it) that they will announce a DP this Saturday, July 17. Also, as has been well-publicized, NYRB have signed Thierry Henry (nice performance by TH14 on Jimmy Fallon). NY now has two designated players, and is highly rumored to be trying to exercise its relatively new right to sign a third. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts recently said the Galaxy are going to announce another DP in the next few days, insinuating that that player is Ronaldinho (scroll a bit over 3/4 into the recording to hear that part).

I'll rope this into Revolution news by saying that the Revolution have, in fact, not signed a DP, and are not rumored to be going after one, as far as I know at least. Maybe someone else has a scoop I haven't heard yet (other than Billelo's standard "we look into it on an ongoing basis but haven't found a good match" claim). This is serious, because each time another MLS club buys a DP or builds a stadium, it makes the Revolution's lack of those particular items more and more noticeable. By comparison, it makes the Revolution a less and less exciting team to follow, and it also makes Bob Kraft a cheaper and cheaper owner (again, relatively speaking).

See how I did that?


Monday, July 12, 2010

Revs Best LA, the better team wins

On Saturday night the Revs the LA Galaxy. The better team won. I really can't stand to watch teams that are coached by Bruce Arena play on the road. He's so defensive. He rarely plays for the win and pretty much always plays for the draw. It's boring soccer. So when the Revs did the bulk of the attacking on Saturday it wasn't much of a surprise.

It was a good win for the Revs. They didn't play great but they played alright for the most part. (I've been told that alright isn't a word). Well, it is for me and the purposes of this site. They kept attacking and eventually scored on a nice free kick by Perovic. Nyassi's goal was great. Sure, it wasn't great in the sense that it was some 30 yard blast that the goalie had no chance at. It was great in that Nyassi did exactly what he's supposed to do. He crashed the net in hopes of a rebound, which there was which led to the goal. Doing these simple things correctly is what can make a bad team a decent team and a decent team a good team.

The attendance for the game was great with just over 20,000 fans. The Galaxy are usually a good draw with Beckham and now Donovan as a result of the World Cup. Neither played but there were probably a good amount of people there expecting to see them. There was also a tournament held at the stadium before the game and by the looks of it, it appeared that if you played in the tournament you got a ticket. I may be wrong on this but if I'm correct then this probably skewed the attendance number a bit. Either way, there were 20,000 fans who saw a solid game of soccer. Hopefully some of them come back for some more.

Part of 2 of my MLS cards post will come. I just haven't been able to do it because I've been pretty busy with some things. It will come soon, I think this weekend.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Attendance Figures

MLS Daily ( looks at MLS attendance figures on an ongoing basis. They posted a chart with season-to-date average attendance for all the teams, with a percentage change from last season's average for each one.

The Revolution scored pretty low, obviously. Despite an overall MLS increase of 9.63%, three teams have had a decreased average from last season: NE, Chivas, and San Jose. NE's drop is the greatest of the three, at 19.92% (this year's number stands at 10,603). Not only that, but the article provides a link to the final 2009 chart, which shows the Revs yet again with the largest dropoff from the previous season in the league, at 21.90%. What that amounts to is an average attendance that was fourth in the league at 17,580 in 2008, and is now third from bottom at, as noted above, 10,603.

The poor support shows at games, even in the Fort. The home opener this season was great; there was so much going on in the Fort that it was almost its own event, in addition to the game in front of us. Since then, however, even the supporters groups have diminished each week, in numbers as well as enthusiasm. Also, why don't supporters groups show up to non-league games? The Fort was utterly empty at the Cruzeiro game (on a Sunday), and nearly so at the Benfica game (ok, it was a Wednesday). It seems that there's been a deterioration of support to accompany the deterioration of quality of soccer the past couple seasons. Good thing they're not on ESPN too often; if I'm trying to draw casual soccer fans to MLS, I'm showing them the quality of the Galaxy and the full-ish Home Depot Center, or the resurgant Red Bulls in their Red Bull Arena, or Seattle with there 36,000+ crazy-blue-and-green fans per game. I'm not showing them the Revolution. Not in 2010.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Same old same old

Sometimes it may appear that we're a bit negative here at the old Boston Ultras HQ. At one point I even started to wonder if we were the only ones and that most other loyal Revs fans were actually quite content with the team. Well, if Mike Burn's answers are any indication of how Revs fans (those of us who are left anyways) are feeling these days then we're not alone. He pretty much got blasted by everyone who posted a comment. Which in fairness, his answers deserved. Here's one quote taken directly from one of his answers

"If fully healthy, we feel our current roster is more than capable of challenging for a league title."

No. I was going to write about how that isn't the case but if he's not going to do a good job answering our questions then why should I bother.

I help run a website dedicated to the New England Revolution. What am I doing with my life?

To be fair to Burns. He probably has little to no power in calling any real shots. Like signing a DP, at the end of the day he probably has little say. I could be completely wrong on this, but I think that's what the case is here.

I had a question about players on loan and how often times you can get these players for free. But he didn't do a very good job answering it. I probably should've asked "Can you explain the rational behind the Khano Smith signing?" Yeah, he probably would've completely skipped that one.

Lets move on to other things, like the 5-0 thrashing on Friday night. I watched the game on Comcast Sports Net. They had some clips of Nicol saying some stuff that was filmed in some studio before the game., I forget what exactly he said. Anyways, did anyone else notice how red his face was? It was like a tomato. He looked like Toni after a Benfica game.

Part 2 of my post on the 2010 MLS cards will be put up sometime this weekend.


Monday, July 5, 2010

MLS Game Of The Week

There were two really good games last night. At 9 o'clock eastern, I watched Colorado draw NYRB 1-1. By the end of that game, the ESPN2 Game Of The Week was about 20 minutes in, and I watched the Galaxy beat the Sounders 3-1 in the remainder of that one.

When I watch non-Revolution MLS games, I tend to ask myself why we can't have such a quality team here in New England as the ones I'm watching. Yesterday was no different. All four of these teams were noticeably better than the Revs, and deservedly have better records as a result.

When 10:30 rolled around, I had to make a decision about whether to finish watching Colorado-NY or to watch LA-Seattle from the start. I chose to finish Colorado-NY because it had been such a great game, and I didn't expect LA-Seattle to quite measure up to it. Omar Cummings stood out-- not only for his goal, but for creating a handful of exciting scoring chances and half-chances. Not only that, but the two teams generally passed the ball exceptionally well. Colorado were clearly the better team, but NY were decent too. It was just a great game to watch.

Having said that, ESPN got it right when choosing the Game Of The Week. This was the game they advertised during World Cup quarterfinal games, hoping to hook in a few casual soccer fans to try watching an MLS game. The fact that it was Donovan's return was reason enough to show this game over the Colorado-NY game. Casual American fans who've watched this World Cup, but hadn't watched a soccer game previously since the last World Cup, have no idea who Omar Cummings is. Or Conor Casey. Or Juan Pablo Angel. Landon Donovan is the guy they'll tune in for.

About the actual game, it was almost as exciting as the first one. The main reason it didn't quite live up is that it was definitely more one-sided. The LA defense had one lapse that led to the goal-- which Steve Zakuani took very well-- and Seattle had a few half-chances and counterattacks late in the game; LA bossed the game otherwise. That said, casual viewers would not be let down by the quality of the game; the passing was great, there were great goals, teams attacked, there was no diving or injury-faking. It had everything I expected from a top-level MLS game. Plus, they got to keep the camera on Donovan when the ball was out of play, and talk about him when there was nothing else to talk about.

It was a great pair of games, and MLS's Game Of the Week turned out to be a very good advertisement for the league. I hope people actually watched it.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

MLS Cards Part 1

I've been collecting sports cards since I was 3 years old. It's something I've always enjoyed doing. So naturally when MLS cards started appearing I started doing some collecting. Unlike other sports, MLS only has one set per year which is made by Upper Deck (UD). This isn't a surprise as for many years baseball, hockey, basketball, and football had only one set per year. Eventually multiple companies entered those markets and now you have Topps, UD, Fleer, Score, etc. making sets for these sports. I think Score and Fleer have actually been bought by Topps and UD but their brands still exist. Maybe in the next 10 years Topps or another company will also enter the marker. For now we have UD which has done a pretty good job for the most part. Anyways, back in May the 2010 UD MLS set came out. Beckett which is the top source for card pricing and product reviews does a segment online and in their price guide called Box Busters in which they review different sets. Check out the link which is a review of the UD 2010 MLS Set. It's a good review and a nice intro to the set. You can also check out this breakdown of the set which gives you a good view of what the set contains. You can also check out the official UD site for the official checklists for the set.

I recently got a hobby box and I'll post my own opinions of the set in part two of this post.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Fire and RSL games, other

I'm watching the New England vs Real Salt Lake game. I started watching in the 35th minute, roughly, and it's now the 60th, and counting. They're already down 4-0. They were listless against Chicago last weekend, but Chicago weren't stellar. A single great goal separated the sides. This time they're paying through the nose for their incompetence. It's pretty bad. I'm rooting for RSL to pour it on so that Steve Nicol's job starts to lose its nearly impenetrable shield.

The best offensive moments for NE are when Alston makes runs with the ball forward. (Robbie Findley should have just made it 5-0. Back to what I was saying...) However, he's been pretty bad defensively. Ives Galarcep has him on his to-watch-for defenders for WC 2014. He had a good season last year, but he's having a sophomore slump, and is probably a victim of a generally poor team. Anyway, he has a long way to go to be an international defender. A long way.

It must be nice to be a Philadelphia Union fan (not a Philadelphia sports fan in general, but of the Union at least). What a great future they have. Jack McInerney-- there's a player to look for in 2014. I've just branded him my favorite young American player. The Union are just about with the Revs in the standings now, but the two teams are going in totally opposite directions. Very young team, and with Peter Nowak and his staff presiding-- there's nobody I'd rather have with the responsibility of preparing the young studs of the league, and the country, than Nowak. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him for taking the job in the first place, even though he was great helping Bradley with the senior team, and great also in the 2008 Olympics.

It's now the 75th minute, and it's still just 4-0. That's a small moral victory for the players. Hopefully Robbie Findley scores, in order to further my personal short/medium-term hope for this team.

((EDIT-- Findley has scored. 5-0. Pretty nice goal by him, pretty indifferent defending by the Revs.))