Sunday, December 18, 2011

Soccer Cards

I've collected sports cards pretty much my entire life. I started around the age of 3. I started with hockey and baseball and then basketball and football. Then in 1994 this thing called the World Cup was hosted in the U.S. and Upper Deck released a set to commemorate the event. That is when I started collecting soccer cards. Unfortunately, with no league there wasn't much to do after 94. MLS started play in 96, but there wasn't another major set until 97 (I believe, pretty sure, not 100% sure this was the first year) when Upper Deck released their first MLS set. Then I believe that they took a break in 98, came back and released a set in 99 and have been releasing them every year since.

I've always collected cards for fun and never really spent much money on them. I would get a pack when I went to CVS or Bradlees with my parents and they'd buy me a pack when we'd get to the check out line since back then they kept the cards by the registers like they do with the candy these days. I've never tried to make a profit with them and I doubt my collection of Dana Barros and Sherman Douglas cards is going to put me through retirement (Damn, I should've really focused on Dee Brown and Dino Radja as well, I think that would've gotten me there). Even so, I always got a Beckett every now and then to look up my cards and see what I had in case I wanted to sell some or make some trades, to make sure I didn't get ripped off, which is really the purpose of this post. For those of you who don't know, Beckett is pretty much the standard in card pricing. How it pretty much works is like this, Beckett puts out a few magazines each month, one for each of the major sports (basketball, baseball, and so on) as well as one that is a summary of all the major sports and some of the more minor sports out there like golf. In each magazine you'll find pricing information on all the major sets out on the market. They survey the market and report the lowest price for the card as well as the highest price for the card that they saw in their last survey of the market. For many years MLS cards were not included in any Beckett magazines. Well, today I went to the bookstore and saw one of the Beckett's that covers multiple sports. I picked it up to take a quick look and in the table of contents noticed that soccer was listed. I flipped to it and saw that MLS was now being covered by Beckett and there was a lot of detail for the MLS sets that have been released since the late 90's. I'm not sure how long Beckett has been doing this for, but I have a feeling it started at some point around the 2010 World Cup. To me this shows that MLS is gaining a following in terms of people who collect MLS cards. There is a demand for the services that Beckett offers for MLS cards. If Beckett felt that MLS didn't have a future in the hobby then they wouldn't waste their time or resources on it, or waste any of their magazine space on it. As a collector and fan of MLS I'm very happy to have Beckett covering the league's cards. I'm not sure what the MLS license is like with Upper Deck, if Upper Deck's contract with the league makes Upper Deck the exclusive producer of MLS cards, if it isn't then perhaps Topps will enter the market in the near future and release its own sets.

The last 2 Upper Deck sets have been very good, I think I have a post outstanding on the 2010 set and someone keeps reminding me about it and I keep telling him I'm going to do it and then never do, but that's another story. Anyways, Upper Deck has recently released a second set for 2011, the SP set. The SP set for other sports is a high end set and for MLS it is also a high end set, the first high end set the league has seen (as well as the first time the league has had more than one set come out in the same year). A typical normal pack for a base set will sell for something around $1.99 and contain around 10 cards. In a high end set such as this one, you can buy a box for $180. Each box will contain 6 packs of cards which contain 3 cards each. You're paying $10 per card. The reason for this is that on average each pack will contain either an autographed card or a card with a patch of a game worn jersey. To go with that, most of the cards in the set are numbered, meaning that if a card is numbered to 500, then only 500 of those cards were made. Some of the autograph and game worn cards are numbered as low as 7 which make the cards pretty rare. Again, I see this as a positive for the league as Upper Deck must be seeing demand for MLS related products if it's going to release an expensive product like this. In the Beckett I saw today, it included a quick run down of the set and even included it in its annual great gift ideas for collectors list.

If you're a fan of MLS and enjoy collecting MLS cards this is great news. We now have the most reliable source for card pricing and information covering the league. Good stuff.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Revs Protect 11 and some notes from around the league

This Wed. is the expansion draft and Montreal will be picking 10 players. Here's the list of players the Revs have chosen to protect and not to protect. The only real issue I have with this list is not protecting Barnes and instead protecting Nyassi. I would really like to see Barnes and Soares play together in the middle of defense for an entire season instead of having Barnes play left back where he is often exposed. He's proven he's a solid center back, so please play him there instead of guys who have proven to be unreliable. So perhaps it would make sense to sign a couple of natural left backs this offseason. As for Nyassi, I think we have better options, which I have expressed many times before.

The other interesting thing here is that Caraglio isn't being protected. Does this meanLink that his stay here could be over even if he's not picked?

MLS Cup was last night and with it came some big announcements. First, there is no more balanced schedule. The good part is that it does allow for regional rivalries to develop, perhaps one day I will hate the Impact as much as I hate the Canadians. The bad, I'd like to get the chance to see every team play at least once a year which I won't be able to now.

The MLS Cup will no longer be played at a neutral site, which I really dislike. I like having the final at a neutral ground. It makes the final an event. You can plan on going well in advance and the entire weekend can be planned around it well in advance.

According to Grant Wahl, (and I must say that I actually heard about this by reading last night was John Harkes last game for ESPN. Apparently he was told that his contract would not be renewed, sound familiar? I know a lot of people can't stand him but I didn't think he was that bad relative to what we've seen the last 5 years. I don't think Martino is any better. They're replacing Harkes with Taylor Twellman who has done some games in the past for ESPN. I don't think it will be an improvement. I'm interested to see what Harkes will do now as he has expressed an interest in coaching and was even an assistant to Bruce Arena during his time in New York.

Speaking of MLS telecasts, now that Jay Heaps is coaching the team, who's going to call the games with Feldman? I thought Heaps did a decent job. I actually didn't see too many games since I go to the games, but I do watch the away games so I'm interested in who they choose. Maybe Wynalda would do it. He played here briefly. I would love to see Wynalda do Revs games. It'd be hilarious. Sure, he might say something stupid now and then, but at least he'd give his honest opinion and hold nothing back. Can you imagine a commentator giving his honest opinion on the Revs on air during a game the past two seasons? I rest my case.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Revs 0-3 Crew

The Revs lost 3-0 at home to the Crew this weekend. This is an outstanding result for the Revs faithful, and I'm not being facetious; in the second half, the supporters in the fort chanted more loudly than they've done in many weeks, and most of the lyrics were anti-Nicol and pro-Crew.

I've already renewed my season tickets for next year. But the main event is the tailgate, let's face it. The team will probably finish with the worst record in MLS; they already have sealed a last-place Eastern Conference finish. This diabolical recored might trigger some organizational changes, which are due, so I hope they finish dead-last.

Team management doesn't generate optimism in me, nor in its biggest supporters, as evidenced by their chants this weekend. They bought their first ever DP based on zero minutes of in-person scouting, as admitted by Mike Burns. Although he says it is unusual that they make a purchase based solely on videos, this is hardly the point. He's citing what they do correctly in other cases to justify what they did incorrectly in this one, so it is a flawed argument.

Not that Caraglio has been bad. In fact, he's been pretty good. But that doesn't mean the Revolution weren't careless in the way they went about getting him, and it doesn't even mean his purchase has been beneficial in an overall strategic way. His price barely qualifies him to be a designated player, and ultimately he hasn't had the impact that a DP ought to have. Benny Feilhaber had a much greater impact than Caraglio did, both in attracting fans and in improving the quality of play. Like government economic interventionism, the biggest value in the Caraglio move was its public perception, which in this case was the presence of the term "DP" in the title of the article the Revs posted on their website when they signed him. This is necessarily nothing but short-term novelty value, and as predicted, the real impact was not great. In the end, it looks like a cheap attempt to attract fans back, in the face of an an average attendance that has decreased pretty much in proportion to the team's record.

A serious change can only begin when the key management people are replaced. That includes Mike Burns and Steve Nicol.

Organizational management was poor in other ways too. For instance, we didn't even get a bonus game this season. There are usually three. (These are the "special event" games that come with the season ticket price and are announced during the season.) But you know what? The United States faced world champion Spain in June at Gillette Stadium. To be clear, I'm not using the term "world champion" in the sense that Chase Utley uses it, but you know that.

The Revolution played against Manchester United at Gillette Stadium in July. I wrote about my disappointment that we didn't get either game free as a season ticket bonus, although we got a small discount for being season ticket holders (see "Season tickets bonus games" from April 19). It was revealing of the Revolution organization that it did this. The Man United game was a great one, and my season ticket rep put my order into the front of the line at the slightly discounted price (thanks Eddie). Now they're discussing whether and how to reimburse us for the unscheduled bonus games, but those of us who are missing out are very familiar the choice they made twice this summer.

With all of this in mind, hopefully the Revolution lose their last one this weekend. It's at Toronto, so it will be poetically just if it goes 5-0 to the home team.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Nacional da Madeira

The Portuguese season gets underway this Thursday. Well, not really, sort of, yeah it doesn't. However, this Thursday a Portuguese team will be in action in a competitive match for the first time since the season and Taca ended as Nacional da Madeira takes on FH of Iceland in the first leg of a second round UEFA Cup play in. Nacional is a good club. They've got some good young players in Joao Aurelio, Candeias, and Zarko Tomasevic. Aurelio has been linked with a move to FC Porto. Candeias was a junior at Porto but was never really given a chance there, which is a shame as he's a solid player. Tomasevic is a good defender, his play last year earned him a call to the Montenegrin national team. This is a leg that Nacional can certainly win and move on from. If they do win, they'll join Vitoria de Guimaraes in the third round of qualification. They've got the quality to make it to the group stage, it will certainly be difficult with teams like Sevilla, PSV, Roma, Lazio, and other good teams entering in the tournament in the later stages before group play begins. Making it to the group stage would be a big accomplishment and the extra tv money and gate money would certainly help the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo began his development at Nacional before making his move to Sporting.

The Portuguese season gets underway in August with the Super Taca which will feature FC Porto taking on Guimaraes. It'll be here before you know it.

I can see Perovic fitting in very well at Nacional. I'd love to see him sign with them.


Monday, July 4, 2011

"Kill The Game"

In Jeff Lemieux's RSL preview piece on, he says the Revs will try to "kill the game" in Salt Lake this weekend. Notice I used the word "will" instead of "should"; this is not an opinion piece. It's a beat-writer-type of article. The kill-the-game attitude comes from Nicol. Here's an excerpt:

"'The game was dead,' said head coach Steve Nicol. 'It was ideal for us. It's exactly what we spoke about before the game. Try to kill the crowd, try to take the heat out of the game and that's exactly what we did until the free kick that was given against us (which led to Seattle's first goal).'"

Why is a professional team's ideal game "dead" and ambition-less? I could take this as unimaginative coach-speak, but it's actually very descriptive of their style.

Later in the piece, Nicol says of the upcoming RSL game: "It's a bit of the same as we did at the weekend...we want to go there and kill the crowd, kill the game, try and get ourselves ahead again and this time hopefully things will go with us and we'll stay that way." It seems that Nicol can find a different reason to kill every game he's involved in, as long as he's not facing a team of eleven cones. His attitude toward offensive production is actually funny: the Revs will "try and get [them]selves ahead," and "hopefully things will go with [them]" as if they are powerless to affect their scoring production, and need to just "hope" they get lucky every week.

Again, I could choose to read this as if it's typically vague coach-speak, but I know better, because the team really plays just like this. When RSL came to Gillette, they played their B team because they were resting some of their best players for the Champions League final. RSL still won 2-0. This time it could be uglier. But hey-- maybe "things will go with us."


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Revolution are NOT a Club

If there's one thing that pisses me off it's when someone calls the Revolution a Club. The Revolution are NOT a club. The Revolution is a team, which is owned by an owner, Robert Kraft. Robert Kraft has the final say on anything that goes on with the Revs. He has that right, he owns the team. If he wants to fire everyone in the front office and release players, he can do that, he's the owner. If he wants to raise or lower ticket prices he can do that whenever he feels like it. I think you get the picture, he can do whatever he wants with the team and not worry about losing his job because he owns the team. The supporters have no say whatsoever when it comes to running the team or choosing who runs the team. We as supporters have two options, show up and support the team on game day or not show up.

On the other hand, a club doesn't really have an owner, I guess you could say it's owned by its supporters since they are the ones voting on key issues. The supporters pay a monthly due and are often season ticket holders (some clubs require you be a season ticket holder, others don't). Clubs have elections to fill important positions such as president, vice president, and so on. These people are voted in by the members of the club to run the club on a day to day basis. They face re-election every so often as stated in the club's by laws. Supporters hold these people accountable. If the supporters feel you are not doing a good job, they will not vote for you during the next election and you are stuck without a job. On the other hand, if they like you they'll vote for you and you get to keep your job. Kind of sounds like a democracy, which I hear is a great thing. Sometimes there will be things which require members to vote in order for the President to go on with the final go ahead. Some examples include taking on a bank loan, building a new stadium, approving the fiscal year budget, and so on. Each club is different and has different rules in regards to these types of issues. So, I think you get the basic picture of what a club is.

Last time I checked, I as a supporter of the New England Revolution do not have any of these rights. Sure, I can email them a suggestion or go to a meeting in which the front office is present, but I don't have a vote which is binding. If they want to, they can ignore everything I have to say and at the end of the day they have a job regardless if the supporters approve of the job they're doing.

So please, don't refer to the Revolution as a club. Don't call them the club. Please, please don't. Because they're not a club, they're a team, which is owned by an owner.


P.S. I shall remain Unseen until Thursday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ode to Foxboro Police Officers

Why do you have to force yourself with power and control
Why do you have to live your life playing up a role
Intimidating people with your wall of sight and sound
You and your kind destroy our underground.
All the happiness you destroy
All the brutal tactics you always employ
All the fucking bullshit when will it ever stop?
The comparison is obvious: you're just a fucking cop.
Officer-- you act like an animal, you're out of control
Officer-- what the hell is wrong with you
Wear a tie if you want to wear a uniform
Join the army if you wan to conform
Tough guy asshole do what you can
Whatever you destroy we'll create it again.

-Officer, Operation Ivy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boston Sports, June 18th, 2011

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair"

-A Tale of Two Cities

I have been a huge Bruins fan my entire life. I have been watching them since I was a little kid, over on UPN 38, yes, there was a time when UPN 38 was awesome. To watch them win the Cup this year was unbelievable. Really, it was. When I saw Chara lift the cup I was still having a hard time believing that we had just won the Cup. I really can't describe the joy that came over me when we won the cup. The rest of the week in this city has been amazing. The vibe that's been going around is awesome. Everywhere you look people are celebrating and talking about winning the Cup. As a Bruins fan, this has just been an amazing week here in the city of Boston.

On Saturday morning I went with my cousin and his young son to the parade. We made sure we got there early so we could get a good place. We waited for hours and when the parade finally got to where we were, it did not disappoint. The crowd went crazy and the players were great! They were so into it. Andrew Ference looked right at me, put his thumb up and goes "Yeah!!! We won the Cup!!!" I pretty much did the same thing back simultaneously. This team is a great group of guys, they really connect with the fans. It's their style of play and the way they conduct themselves both on and off the ice. After the parade the city was packed with people. I've never seen so many people in a city. It seemed like the entire city was packed with people having a good time. It was the best of times.

I made my way over to Gillete Stadium to watch the game last night. I entered the stadium and someone from the team saw I was going to the Fort and said "going to the Fort, you better behave" I didn't think anything of it and was kind of like "haha" and continued on my way. I then approached the Fort and someone once again told me I should behave and I thought to myself "uhh yeah, sure" I really had no idea why this was being said to me. I then entered the Fort and had the same thing said to me once again and this time I was like "whoa, what's going on here?? this place seems pretty uptight today". I looked around and noticed a much heavier presence of security than usual and I also noticed that Fort was pretty empty. The supporters groups appeared to be missing quite a few people. So me and John watched the first half, an entertaining game of soccer. We saw someone get kicked out, who appeared to be sitting near the front. Nothing too out of the ordinary. We don't see people get kicked out at every game, but we see someone get kicked out every now and then, usually because they're pretty intoxicated. The second half started, the usual going on in the Fort. Then all of a sudden I see the majority of one of the supporters group along with members of the other two being kicked out of the Fort. We were both quite confused as we hadn't seen anything happen. We were wondering why they were being kicked out. All of a sudden the Fort got really quiet. Nobody was chanting or singing. It was pretty dull. We met a couple of guys who were sitting by us and we tried figuring out why the supporters had been kicked out. One of them said it was probably because of swearing, which we found odd since we hadn't seen anything happen that doesn't usually happen. With about two minutes left in the game we witnessed another fan being thrown out of the game. We left the stadium extremely confused about what had just happened. We had witnessed the most loyal Revs fans being kicked out of the stadium and we had no idea why. It just didn't make any sense.

Flash forward to today and we check the Revs Facebook page. What you will find is a war of words between the supporters groups of the New England Revolution and the team itself. The supporters being kicked out were indeed thrown out for swearing. I'm not even going to go into that right now. I will save that for another day. Relations between these groups and the Revs has never been great as far as I know, it was so bad at one point that the largest of the groups almost broke up. The fact that the team and the supporters groups are on such bad terms with one another is embarrassing. It's irrelevant, who's right or wrong in this argument. The fact alone that this happened is disgraceful. Just take a look at the Facebook page and read the comments for yourself. Has this ever happened between the supporters and the front office of any other MLS team? I'll give my opinion on the swearing and chanting later, but I just can't get over the fact that the relationship between the team's front office and the supporters group has reached this point. It's a new all time low. The fact that happened last night is an embarrassment not only for us, not only for MLS and American soccer, it's embarrassing for soccer worldwide. I didn't think the Revs could reach a lower point, but they have. It is indeed the worst of times to be a Revolution supporter.


Revolution 1-1 Fire

The Revs drew the Fire 1-1 Saturday in an exciting game. There were a lot of scoring chances, and it was generally a pretty well-played game by both teams. It was one of those games where Sainey Nyassi showed off his speed but didn't look lost or stupid in front of goal; he was actually useful overall in this game. I'm not going to hold his missed shots against him because a few of them were pretty close, and I didn't hear anyone around me in the Fort call him an idiot.

The only player who had a really bad moment was Kenny Mansally, who missed a wide-open header right in front of the net, in the center. Lekic's goal was pretty good, Joseph was himself...the defense was good except for their unwillingness to pass when there's an opportunity to kick it as far forward as possible, which is more of a given than a weekly rated category.

Oduro's goal was the on-field highlight of the night for me. It was one of those individual runs where instead of making "moves", he turned the defenders inside out by running directly at them and making his cuts late. The shot came when he appeared to be in the middle of a juke, and nobody, including Reis, was ready for it. It looked so cool, and went past Reis so easily, without being tucked way in the corner.

This guy named Ryan Guy, whom I'd never seen play, came on for the last 20 minutes on the left wing. He looks like my kind of player: his game looks based on being in available positions when the Revs have the ball, and making the right decisions quickly. When the Revs lost the ball, he just kept hustling the whole time to get into good defensive positions. I think he'll prove to be very dangerous in counterattacks because of his drive to get in the right place as soon as possible when possession changes. Most Revs forward/mid players run run run when they have the ball, and then slouch as soon as they lose it. Not this guy. (His name rolls off the tongue so naturally.)

Security in the Fort was crazy, and there was no obvious reason why. The sheer number of them was uncharacteristically high from the moment we got there...but they didn't just stand around like union cops on detail. They hassled EVERYONE. Andrew was asked a question about his future behavior (he had just gotten there, so it was a pre-emptive talking-to)...he later told me he knew he had a reputation in some places, but not yet at Gillette. They asked someone who appeared to be a mother with two young sons if she had any connection with some guy she was seen with earlier, and she told them a few times that she was only responsible for the two kids she was with. Andrew and I asked a few others in the section if they knew what was going on. Nobody could figure it out. A group of these guys escorted what appeared to be an entire supporters group out, and then another guy later left with three security guys around him. None of these people appeared to be dangerous, or even drunkenly impaired at any significant level. If anyone knows what the deal was, please let us know, either in the comments or in an email to

The next Revs home game isn't until after the Man United game, so that's the next time we'll be at Gillette. July 13th 8pm. The parking lot around 5 or 6.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nuno Gomes

It was announced today that Nuno Gomes will be leaving Benfica. He has been linked to the Revolution in the past as well as with Toronto FC. Lets assume that the Revs are interested in signing him at the moment, after all, they're trying to sign two DP's as we speak. Would Nuno Gomes be a good signing? Well, we can't score goals and Gomes is a forward. Seems to make some sense. There is a large Portuguese population in the area, most of whom support Benfica for whom Gomes has spent the majority of his career playing for. So he could definitely put some people in the seats. On the other hand he turns 35 in July and has barely played the last two years. He has had a history of struggling to stay fit and coming over to play on field turf would probably be Jankauskas like. He'd help improve attendance but he wouldn't help us win as I don't think he'd be able to stay healthy and he's pretty much done. For DP money, we can find someone better. There are actually many players in the Portuguese league who the Revs could sign who would help the attack and help the attendance numbers. Many of the players would probably fall below the DP salary level.


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Gold Cup

The Gold Cup starts in a few days. I'm not a big fan of it, and I think the main reason is because it's played every two years. The tournament is played too often. It results in the tournament losing much of its meaning. It should be played every four years. The wait in between tournaments would give it greater meaning. I also don't like how the US is always the host. Sure, it's great for us since we can go watch the games, but I feel that the tournament should be rotated. There aren't many countries that would be able to host the event, but since it's only 12 teams there are some other countries who could host it. Mexico obviously, Canada could host. I haven't looked at Central America but I'm thinking that Costa Rice could probably host it. That's only four countries but at least it would change things up a bit, if Costa Rica could host it, and I'm not sure if they could since I'm not familiar enough with their stadium situation, it would allow fans from Central American countries to go and cheer their teams since it would be much closer for them. I doubt this will happen but I think it would make the tournament a bit better.

I think Jamaica could do quite well at this year's tournament. I think they could win it.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Revs Fall to LA

Last night was a great night to go out and watch some soccer. I don't think the conditions could've been any better.

A crowd of almost 22,000 was on hand. If the Revs could average that for an entire year that'd be amazing. Too bad most of the fans who were there last night probably won't come back again this year. It's a bit of a downer when you see Beckham get subbed off and the a good portion of the crowd cheers him on. There are only certain situations in which you can cheer on an opposing player when he comes off the field and last night wasn't even close to being one of them.

Revs had a solid first half. Boggs came close right at the start of the game and the Revs had a few other chances. If the Revs put two of those away or even just one it could've been a very different game. I'm not sure what went on at half time but the Revs didn't really have anything after the break. They really struggled to get anything going up front. Man do they miss Perovic. I know I give Nyassi a hard time but he did a very good job last night coming in. Perhaps he shouldn't start and should be used just as a sub as so far this year his performances as a sub have been much better than when he has started.

Unlucky to get a goal at the end. I'm still not sure how they didn't score. They need to do something soon because it's not going to get any easier without Feilhaber or Joseph.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Revs called to Gold Cup

The Gold cup will be starting soon and like many other teams the Revs will be missing a couple of players. Unfortunately for the Revs, the two players they'll be missing are Joseph and Feilhaber. The Revs haven't exactly been playing great as of late, especially in the attacking third. The thought of seeing the Revs play without these two and perhaps even without Perovic makes me cringe. Do the Revs even have a shot at scoring a goal if they play without those 3 guys? I have a feeling these are going to be some difficult games to watch.

Revs host LA this Saturday. I think they're going to win. Revs seem to always play well against LA at home. I also think LA is a bit overrated and I'm not a fan of teams who are coached by Bruce Arena when they play away from home. I don't think I've ever seen a Bruce Arena coached team try to win a game away from home during the regular season. They play for a draw and win if they happen to score a goal on a counterattack.

Are we going to get a DP this summer? We were promised one by Revs management over the offseason but have yet to get one. Instead we've had one of our highest paid players loaned out to one of the lower leagues of American soccer. Nicol has apparently been scouting in Europe and one report per the Boston globe had him mention that they were in negotiations with a player who is one of the leading goal scorers in his country's history who is currently playing in Turkey. I can only think of one player who fits that description. They need to do something. They're not producing enough offense and overall just aren't playing soccer that is going to attract people to the games. Watch the final of the Taca de Portugal from this past weekend and then watch a Revs game. Why would anyone choose to go to a Revs game after watching a game like that?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some news from Portugal

The European seasons have come to a close for the most part. This past Sunday marked the final game of the year in Portugal when FC Porto faced off against Vitoria de Guimaraes. What a game!!! Two teams that showed up to play some attacking soccer. The final was a 6-2 Porto victory but don't let the score fool you, it was back and forth until the end of the first half when Porto was able to score 3 late goals to pull ahead 5-2. In the second half Guimaraes still created some chances but were unable to capitalize. Give Guimaraes credit, they played a good game of soccer and the game could've been much closer if it weren't for some blunders by their goalie. They showed up to win, they played attacking soccer, they didn't sit back and defend which is often the case when teams play Porto in Portugal. As for Porto, what a season!!!! To win the league by going undefeated, win the UEFA Cup, and top it off with the Taca, all while playing some great attractive soccer. I hope they're able to keep the squad intact and make a run at the Champions League. They have a great squad with lots of depth. Over the coming weeks the rumors around Falcao, Hulk, Varela, and others will continue to persist, lets hope nobody leaves and we make a run at another European Championship next year.

The rosters for the 2011 Gold Cup were recently announced. I'm not a big fan of the Gold Cup, I'll explain, maybe later this week. Anyways, there are 3 players who were named that play in Portugal. Canada named Pacheco who plays for Santa Clara in the second division. He spent one year in first division playing for Nacional. He's been a regular for Santa Clara in the midfield this year. Santa Clara is a bit of a strange team in that over the last decade they have spent the majority of the decade in the second division but they always seem to have a couple of players being named to World Cup or some other National Team tournament.

Guadeloupe has named two players who are based in Portugal, Ulick Lupede a defender who plays for Covilha in the second division and midfielder Larry Clavier who plays for Freamunde also in the second division. Both players played in about 40% of their team's league games. It's cool to see some players from Portugal getting the call. Maybe one these guys can do something to grab the attention of a first division club and make the jump.

Midfielder Gabriel Gomez was also called up by Panama. He spent a few seasons over at Belenenses when they were in the first division. He's a solid player. I always liked him when he was there. So sad to see Belenenses where they are now. A club with such history now in the second division barely escaping regulation again this year and going to the third division. The team has no money and the supporters disappeared years ago, the stadium has been pretty much empty the last 10 years, which is the case with many clubs in Portugal these days. But that's a topic for another day.

Maybe we'll see these four guys play against the US as the US will be playing Canada, Guadeloupe, and Panama in the group stage.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Loans and some cards

Last week it was announced that Stolica and Tim Murray would be loaned out to FC New York. Both players can be called back by the Revs at any time according to the team's press release. It's a good move for Murray as it will hopefully allow him to play in competitive games on a regular basis. Murray is also probably making near the bottom in regards to payroll, so it's not like he's a big cap hit. However, Stolica is a big cap hit if he's making anywhere close to what he was making last year. So to sign him and then loan him out so soon leaves me wondering what the Revs were thinking when they signed him to a new contract. We don't know how much he's making, perhaps he took a big pay cut to stay here. We'll know once the players union releases the 2011 salaries. I'm also not sure how these loans impact the team's salary cap. If they stay with FC New York the rest of the year do their salaries not count against the cap or they count against the cap regardless if they come back or not? Perhaps these would be good questions to ask.

I never finished my review of the 2010 MLS UD set. The 2011 UD set was released a couple weeks ago, I ordered a hobby box this week! I will finish my 2010 review and then do one for 2011. This will be done by the end of May! I just have a few things to take care of before then.

Oh yeah, the Revs played Chivas on Saturday. Yeah, lets not talk about that.

Colorado this weekend. One of the better games I went to last year, Colorado played quite well. Corey Gibbs could not contain Conor Casey during that game, especially in the first half, and after the game Gibbs talked about how Casey was a complete non factor. I'm still in a bit of disbelief over that one.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Win!

A busy week indeed. John covered the Feilhaber signing, an excellent signing indeed. Very excited to have him join the team. He's been one of my favorite players on the national team over the last couple of years. He's going to be a great playmaker in this league, he showed some of it on Saturday and he hasn't even practiced with the team yet.

Revs got a jersey sponsor in United Healthcare. I think the jerseys look really good, I like it. No details were released in regards to the finances involved. It would've been interesting to compare this deal with some of the other deals around MLS.

To Saturday's game, just over 11,000 at the game. Impressive as I though there would be 5,000. We're going to start tracking the attendance numbers for the Revs. MLS daily did it for a while but that site disappeared sometime during last season. We'll have them posted once we put them together.

The game was entertaining, something that can't always be said. Having a healthy squad with the additions of Feilhaber and Lekic certainly helps quite a bit. Lekic actually didn't look very good for most of the game. His touches were off most of the night, he couldn't control the ball at all, but hey, he scored a pretty sweet goal to win it. I'm not worried, give him a few games to get used to his teammates and the rest of the league and I think we're going to have one of the best finishers in the league. Especially if Perovic and Feilhaber can create something out of the midfield.

The coolest thing about the game was that Revs actually played soccer. They didn't just kick the ball forward and run after it, they actually passed the ball, they ran off the ball and got into open space to receive passes, people had their heads up looking to pass. It was awesome! I wasn't the only one to take notice, several people behind me at one point kept saying "The Revs are playing soccer tonight!" It was a pleasure to watch.

Yes, this was only one game, but it does have my hopes up.

Also, since when does Mr. Kennedy (Mr. Anderson nowadays) play in goal for Kansas City?

Every time I saw number 20 (Diop) on Kansas City, I thought it was Chad Johnson, looked just like him.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Benny Feilhaber

The Revs signed Benny Feilhaber!!!!!!! (One exclamation point denotes one unit of excitement.) I envision a better-than-the-average-MLS passing midfield emerging from this addition.

This is a pleasant surprise; Feilhaber isn't a DP, and it's not a credit to the Revolution's scouting department that they got him. New England had the 3rd waiver priority when he signed for MLS, and Philadelphia and Chivas passed on him. Still, can't wait to see him on the field.

The Revs gave out 2 free tickets to this weekend's game to each season ticket holder. The 7 thousand fans two weekends ago must have scared them into action. I hope all the free tickets are used.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Season tickets bonus games

We now know that neither the Revolution-Manchester United game nor the USA-Spain game will be included in our season ticket packages. They always include three or so bonus games in addition to the 15 Revolution MLS games. Your season ticket rep will sell this fact to you when selling you the actual season tickets. He may also play up the fact that a Brazil friendly was included one year, and you could end up getting to see some really good games effectively free.

When we found out about these two big games at Gillette this season, I didn't expect both to be given to me, but one would have been nice. They wouldn't lose a fortune on it-- it's not like there are 30,000 season ticket holders here. What do you think this is, Seattle?

We got a slight discount on the Man United tickets. This time it doesn't look like we got any discount at all. There's a presale for season ticket holders; it started at 9am today, and I got the email telling me so at 8:54. The window ends at 8am. That's 11 hours. If you're like me, and can't access email at work, you may have just found out about this tonight. That's not much time to get your plans together, you know? Turns out Patriots season ticket holders also were given access to the presale to this game; their window started at noon and ends with ours.

I don't want to have it on my conscience that I've paid Bob Kraft for this game after the way he's treated the Revolution season ticket holders. However, I really should go. I want to. I'm not sure whether I will, but the way we've been treated is noteworthy to me regardless, and it's interesting that Kraft didn't think it was worth it to offer one of these games to his team's most important supporters. There are precious few of us left.

Support is a two-way street.


Revs Fall to Houston

Revs lost in Houston for the first time. Houston pretty much dominated the game especially in the second half. They really kept the pressure on the Revs defense and it was only a matter of time before they scored.

To me that looked like a goal. The actual goal wasn't a goal, it was a foul and then a hand ball.

The Revs really couldn't get anything going and barely had any possession in the second half. They had a couple of counter attacks that looked good and that was it. Houston won the game, which was certainly the fair result.

Hopefully Domi is healthy for this weekend's game, along with Joseph's return from his suspension that would really help.

Here's what my ideal line up for this weekend's game would look like assuming a roster that is 100% healthy.

Domi Barnes Soares Alston

Sousa Joseph Perovic Boggs
Schilawski Lekic

I'd like to see Joseph as the defensive midfielder and Perovic play as an attacking mid and basically be the number 10 of the team. After talking to someone who saw Sousa play in the preseason I'm confident that he could do a good job in there. Besides, our other options aren't exactly amazing so why not give him a shot.

Anyways, I'd like to see this line up. We're not going to see it but it'd be cool.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mike Videira

I didn't get a chance to enjoy the game last night. So no thoughts from me in regards to that.

In a brighter note (not too many of those these days) Mike Videira signed a deal with Chicago and has been starting as of late. I'm really glad to see that. I always thought he had the potential to be a very good player in this league. He never got a chance here in New England. I hope he can prove New England wrong for not keeping him around. He's started 3 games so far this year and has one assist. I still don't know how he wasn't given a chance last year given all the injuries and the poor play. Sometimes I just don't know.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revs draw, embarassing crowd

The most disapointing thing about tonight's game, the crowd of 7,114. While the rest of the league continues to see gains in attendance we continue to see a decline. Really, it doesn't come as a huge surprise. The product on the field is average at best, most people don't want to go to Gillete, and DP's are promised and then not delivered. It's just very frustrating to see the league grow and see the Revs decline. Really, 7,000 people. It's embarrassing.

Onto the game, the Revs played a decent game. A 1-1 draw seems like a fair result given the performance by both teams. I was actually very surprised with Portland. I didn't really expect anything out of them. Kenny Cooper had a solid game, but I feel like he should be playing more in the middle of the field. He had to get to the wings to get the ball and he's more effective when he's in front of goal.

Domi played a very solid game. Nothing spectacular, but he didn't make mistakes in the back and he plays with composure. He actually tries to distribute the ball rather than just kick it down field. I'd like to see him attack a bit more, but overall I was very happy with his performance and he looks like a good signing.

My biggest complaint about tonight would be the off the ball movement when the Revs are attacking. It's non existent. When someone has the ball in the attacking third and tries to do something they have no help. There's nobody making a run to get into space and receive a pass. They all seem to be watching the guy with the ball, waiting for him to do something, rather than get into position to get the ball and make something happen. It's very frustrating to watch.

Nyassi was very irritating. It seems like every time he gets the ball and he puts his head down and charges down field like a ram never looking to pass the ball to anyone. It's ridiculous. Keep your head up and look for someone. I don't see what other people see in him. He's got some skill but not much soccer IQ. People keep saying "he's young, he's going to be so good once he develops." He's 22, he's not young in soccer terms. Nyassi is Nyassi, he's not going to get much better than what he is now. Perhaps with another coach he could improve, but I don't think the coaching situation is going to be changing here anytime soon. So expect to see more of the same.

That's my rant for tonight.

Oh, one more thing, Gringo Bandito is highly addictive.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm back, I think

Hey! I'm back from my temporary hiatus. So expect this thing to be updated more often going forward similar to how it was last year.

Seth Sinovic was waived. I liked him. Not the most talented player in the world but a hard worker when he was on the field. I always have a bias for those players who just work extremely hard for 90 minutes. It was getting a bit crowded though with Domi, Cochrane, and Coria. I was surprised at first but when I look at it again I'm not too surprised.

In some non Revs related news Toronto FC traded away De Rosario. It's a great move for the Red Bulls as long as De Rosario is happy, as he hadn't been in a good mood over at Toronto for quite some time now. The Red Bulls are going to be an exciting team to watch this year.

Timbers tonight. Should be a good one. Hopefully we don't get any more snow as I am ready for the spring and summer.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Galaxy 1-1 Revolution

By drawing 1-1 in LA this weekend, the Revolution exceeded my expectations (see? it works). However, it wasn't a particularly fun one to watch, and the torrential rain probably played into their hands considering the quality of passing amongst the two teams under normal circumstances.

Landon Donovan said after the game, "They defended...They had no intention of winning the game. That's how we knew they were going to play. That's how Steve Nicol-coached teams play. Give them credit." I can't decide whether this is too harsh, but it's at least close to the truth. When the Revs drafted A.J. Soares I personally predicted that, despite the high expectations surrounding him on draft day, I doubted that he would break the Revs' defense's habit of kicking the ball as far as they can down the field. After one game I think I've been right. True, this was a particularly tough game, being the first of the season, and away to LA with a ton of rain, but I don't expect this general trend to change soon.

No word yet on the non-MLS games in the season ticket package.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

David Luiz and Charlie Davies

I dunno Andrew; I'm cautiously optimistic about David Luiz actually being good. I didn't see him play that much in Portugal...only in two or three big games that were on ESPN3. I'm seeing him more now since he's been with Chelsea, and he just had a good game vs Man City in which he scored the first goal in a 2-0 win. Tim Vickory warned on the BBC World Football Phone-In to "beware of a defender who looks better than he is." I haven't seen him face truly dangerous offenses enough to make a confident judgment of his defensive ability, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, and rooting for him.

Charlie Davies made a pretty good start to his MLS season, scoring a penalty and a 2nd goal from open play for DC United this weekend. I'm pretty pumped to see him next weekend at Gillette in the Revs' home opener. I'll root for DC this season because of him.

Anybody see this article on Man, I hope one of these is included in the season ticket package. There were decent games included last season, but personally I'd love to see Man United or Spain or the USMNT much more than Benfica or Cruzeiro. The USMNT would be my top choice if I could choose ANY non-MLS team to see at Gillette.

Season opener at LA tonight. Set your expectations low and you won't get hurt.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Link and a New Signing

Added a new link here on the site to a site called New England Soccer Today. Check it out, it's a great new site that was started up by Brian O'Connell (from The House of Soccer) and Sean Donahue. Apologies for anyone I missed as I know there are other writers on the site. The site does a great job covering the Revs, it's the best site around for news about the Revs.

So yeah, the Revs have been making some moves, like signing Frenchman Ousmane Dabo who last played for Lazio. He's a defensive midfielder and I haven't seen him play. But hey, he's a defensive midfielder who played for Lazio. Based on that alone the guy's going be an immediate All-Star given the way that ref's call games in MLS. According to he played in 12 league games last year (Dabo profile). Seems like a good signing, but lets wait and see as I don't know much about the guy.

When are we going to get the DP or two we were told about?

I hope Andrew Sousa makes the team. Local kid from Fall River.


Sunday, January 30, 2011


They're making moves. I've been telling my friends to get in the bandwagon now while there's room, because this team is going to become one of the best in England soon. Actually, I've been telling them that since NESV took over.

As I'm writing this, Torres's future is uncertain. Effing get rid of him. If it's 50 million pounds, it's worth it. And don't take Anelka-- for all NESV's record of signing baseball-centric players in Boston, and their talk of keeping Liverpool players who want to be there, they let Cammoli go after Nicolas Anelka? This is the guy who made the scene at the World Cup last year for boycotting training, and doing so as publicly as he could. He also dove to get his countryman sent off in the Champions League semifinal a few years ago, which didn't get too much media attention due to the rest of the circus in that game. I hope this is just a media ploy, and I have a feeling it is. The cash is enough, and that way they'll take a pure and positive step toward creating a team-oriented team.

I'm pumped to see Luis Suarez play for Liverpool. The fee was about what I'd expect it to be (22.8 million euro). For all his misbehavior (deliberate hand-ball versus Ghana, ear biting incident in the Dutch league), this guy is team-oriented. I loved what he said when the transfer was starting to hit the media: "I will decline any offer from clubs like Shakhtar Donetsk or [Zenit] St. Petersburg where they offer you sacks full of money. I've an obsession to win trophies. I am a South American with the mentality to win." Beast. He doesn't bow to just anyone.

My thesis of this paragraph is that John Brewin is a piece of crap. This is his piece on Liverpool from a couple weeks ago. He just seems like a piece of crap to me. Don't you agree? Listen to the ESPN Soccernet podcast and then get back to me, because you can really tell there. For some reason, someone made him a senior editor (THE senior editor? Not sure how that works, but I hope there's at least one other senior editor to serve as a check).

Some other guy wrote a really good piece around the same time as that one was published, but I can't find it. I think it was on ESPN, but it could have been Sky or BBC. His point was that despite no wins so far, at that point, there was a lot of progress at the club, between the unity provided by Dalglish and the increasing number of young home-grown players making the team. Now there's a good article. Too bad I can't find it to show you, sorry.

Everyone in the Cambridge area should go see the Chelsea-Liverpool game Sunday at Phoenix Landing. Should be a huuuge crowd, especially if this Torres deal goes down. The last time the Steelers played in the superbowl (against the 8-8, got-totalled-by-the-Patriots-in-week-17 Arizona Cardinals), there was a Liverpool-Chelsea game in the morning in which Torres scored twice in stoppage time to win 2-0. What a game that was. Hopefully they win again this time.


Monday, January 24, 2011

One Year Later

One year ago today John and I started Wow, it's been 1 year. That went by fast. Going to all the games last year was a blast. Along the way we took people who had never been to a Revs game and I'm happy to report that everyone who went had a blast. So much so that they're coming back again this summer.

The feedback we've gotten for the site has been great. Everyone we've heard from has been very supportive of what we're doing here. If you ever have any comments feel free to post them or email us at

Lets hope this year brings us some better news so the positive posts outweigh the negatives. So far things are looking up. I'll update you with some thoughts over the next couple of weeks as after today, I have some more free time, not too much more but enough for some posts every now and then over the next month.

Lets go!!!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Liverpool 2-2 Everton

I watched Liverpool draw Everton at Phoenix Landing today. That's the Liverpool-oriented pub in Cambridge where you can go to see the Liverpool fans sing in a jam-packed and loud setting.

I was rooting for Liverpool. NESV's ownership makes them feel more like a home team than any other non-US club, to me. There seems to be a more positive air around the club since Dalglish took over, even though it's still early in his stint. It was particularly strong today, since they were playing Everton at Anfield. The players seemed to respond to it. It ended 2-2, but Liverpool looked really really good in the first half, and steadied the ship after temporarily losing the momentum in the first ten minutes or so of the second half. It was a frustrating but also exciting game.

The Liverpool fans at that bar are a weird bunch. I don't think I like them. There was one gal that made fun of Tim Howard for having tourrettes syndrome. She was American, which made it marginally more irritating than it would have been had she been English, or of some other enthicity. There are also others who just rub me the wrong way. The ones that fit into this category tend to be American, gluttonous, and ingenuine. How does an American become so obsessive about an English soccer club, so much that (s)he uses the word "we" to refer to the club as if it were his (her) home team, so much that she makes fun of her own national team goalie for having tourrettes? There's something fishy there. The most annoying part is that I don't think she even meant it; she was just doing it to satisfy her own low self-esteem. Bam! That's the ingenuine part about certain "Liverpool supporters" that irks me.

It's still totally worth it to see a game at that place, with those people. Please do it if you live in the Cambridge area.



So the Revolution's first pick in the MLS draft was A.J. Soares. I didn't do any draft research whatsoever this season, so the only things I know about him is what I've read since then. Don't expect a detailed breakdown of the Revs' picks from me. Ives usually does a pretty good job with the draft, if you're looking for detailed coverage.

Not only did I not do research this year, but I genearlly don't get that worked up over the draft. It's too hard to predict how each player will pan out in MLS. It's also hard to find video footage on college players, or find the odd college game on FSC that has a few top prospects. It's not worth reading scouting reports, at least to me. It's not exciting either.

So. A.J. Soares. It would be pretty awesome to have a very good young back line, like the one that's been in LA (Galaxy) these past couple years. Alston, Barnes, and Sinovic are all young and decent. If Soares joins them as the regular starting defenders, there's a chance it could become a competent unit. I said competent; my main worry is that they'll fall into their familiar habit of kicking the ball as far as they can toward the opponent's net every time they get it. No matter how good this Soares character is, I doubt he'll be able to break this plagueish Revolution trend.

I'm just waiting for the Union to become an MLS power. I wish they weren't from Philadelphia, because sports fans from that city are among the country's most irritating. Anyway, I'm rooting for them secondly to the Revs. Jackie Mac's got to play more this season so he can make the senior USMNT sometime in 2011. 2012? He should at least make a camp in 2011. One of those camps where the European-based players aren't released, and the national team camp is full of young MLS players. Like the one for the US game in a week, on Jan. 22. Come on, Bob!

I've been MIA for a couple months I think. Expect more from me from now on.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A quick update

So, we keep saying that we're going to turn this thing into a full site and then it never happens. Then I keep saying that I'm finally going to do part 2 on my thoughts of the 2010 upper deck MLS set. Then that never happens. Man, we're starting to sounds like Revs management whenever they talk about a stadium or a DP.

Well, I'll actually give you an estimate of when you can expect these things and I think I'll stick by them this time. The second part of the MLS cards post, probably sometime in Feb. 2011. This thing turning into a full site, probably sometime in the fall of 2011. It's being pushed back because there are some other things that need to be taken care of and we just don't have the time to make the conversion. Conversion, I hate that word.

Revs got some cap room, I can't wait to see what they do with it. They still need another center back to pair up with Barnes. If they can find a quality center back to pair with him then I think we've got a very solid defense for the upcoming year. Until we do, I'll be a bit nervous with Osei back there. The draft is this month, perhaps we'll see a center back drafted.

Look for a post the last week of January from me. Until then, enjoy the European season and lets see what the Revs do with the cap room they've got.