Archive for December, 2009

Wow! Lando Signs A 4-Year Deal to Stay in MLS

In somewhat shocking news, the diminutive scoring machine has reached agreement with the league and the Galaxy to keep his future bound to the MLS for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for staying big guy....

It’s a 4-year contract that ends in 2013 that allows Landon to take loan opportunities. Further terms of the deal were not released.

A loan deal as of yet has not been finalized, but it likely occur with Everton according to Bruce Arena. However, currently it is not completed.

Landon’s main comment: He wouldn’t have made this decision last year. Landon–paraphrasing–says that he would not have made this deal without the turnaround under Bruce and the ability to go out on loan.

How will this news reverberate around MLS, global soccer and the USMNT?

• Piggybacking off our column yesterday, what type of message does this send to Stu Holden? Does it impact his near term (or even long term decision at all)?

• What does this say to the average player in MLS? Fighting for wage concessions going forward, does the average player see the deal as a sign of things to come for the minimum pay rate or as a slap in the face to current negotiating?

• With Blanco gone, who steps up from Mexico to earn a big contract to represent Mexican interest in the league? England (Beckham) and even Sweden (Ljundberg) are making beaucoup dollars….

• Does this inhibit or further Landon Donovan’s development as a player–only being loaned out on 3-month stints?

• Might this mean that Beckham is hanging them up after World Cup 2010 and the Galaxy needed to insure at least a little star power at one of MLS’s marquee franchises?

• Is the timing of this not a bit odd with the World Cup 2010 and a grander stage–as we discussed in our Stu article–around the corner? What if someone like a Valencia or an Aston Villa want Donovan after South Africa? Is there an out in the contract? Is this just a smokescreen by the MLS to up his value in the transfer market of 2010-2011? (Maybe…..)

• Will this create any more positive buzz about MLS being a stronger league? Or does the fact that Donovan not plied his trade overseas impact the weight of the announcement abroad?

Good American soccer news and considerations for a December Wednesday…..

Our comments last week when the move was rumored.

Should Lando loan out to Everton–it seems like it is in the bag–mark your calendars: January 9th Everton travel to the Emirates to take on Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, likely to be Donovan’s first game as a Toffee.

Congrats to Soccer By Ives; Thanks To Our Fans

TSG congratulates Soccer By Ives who won the Best U.S. soccer blog for the 2nd year in a row at with 33% of the vote.

TSG would like to profusely thank all our fans, readers, and contributors who helped us achieve nomination in our first year and those that voted upon that nomination.

Thank you kindly for taking the time.

Our “future-award-winning” coverage will continue…..

A little fun. Our very first piece….yowsers….I cautiously say we’ve improved….

P.S. A big thank you to Shaun for contributing unique opinion and his World Cup draw….killer stuff Shaun.

The Opposition: The Case for Becks

The grinch in me is really coming out over the holiday season. Not sure why that is.

My leading thought coming into this column: 73% of me thinks that the complete about-face in David Beckham’s play for the Galaxy this past season–once rumored loan agreements weren’t reached–was motivated from a desire to show Fabio Capello he’s still a player and still a team player.

I wonder, actually, how Galaxy fans feel about that statement.

Nevertheless, Mr. Spice certainly showed that he can still play this year. Not only play, but impact a game (albeit in the MLS) and impact a game even when hurt. Now if Becks is hurt, he’s not going to make South Africa, but any coach wants to know if a contributing team member can still make it happen under duress.

The case for me though is clear. David Beckham’s position for the England national team should already be solidified.

Let’s consider why:

Pitch skills: Primarily, David Beckham is still one of the world’s best “special teams” players. My first recollection of England’s 2006 WC campaign is Wayne Rooney exiting the pitch due to immaturity (on his part and Ronaldo’s part). My second memory: England’s one dimensional attack of Aaron Lennon and Aaron Lennon alone when they couldn’t get the ball successfully to Shrekman Rooney. My third memory, Beckham coming in for a few late game cameos and immediately changing the complexion of the game.

Beckham is still a difference maker. He can’t do it for nearly as long as he used too and his percentage of execution is lower, but he’s still a difference maker. He’s also still up there with the best free kickers in the world (Ronaldo, Danny Alves).

Will Beckham be fit, loan and contribute at Milan in '10?

You don’t need Becks for back-up duty. You need him for an acute skillset that no one else gives you on that team besides maybe Gerrard. And we all know Gerrard’s international record.

Player knowledge: In the past decade, David Beckham has played in the EPL, La Liga, MLS and Serie A. He’s played with the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Sergio Ramos and a host of other players that will factor for their national teams. TSG is not running the math here, but we’re guessing that for club and country, Beckham’s played against at least 50% of the UEFA-representing World Cup starters.

Acutely in the group stage, Beckham would and should be there in the ear of Glen Johnson, as England takes on the States communicating attacking tendencies of one Landon Donovan.

Media Deflection: Next, bringing Beckham deflects attention from your team’s play. With Beckham in the mix, you know that every reporter is going be clamoring for his take on England’s progression. Having Beckham in the locker room to absorb the barrage of press inquiries will be good for the other players and the team.

Imagine if Becks doesn’t come for the home side. Who answers the hard questions after an England loss or draw in the group stage? Wayne Rooney, John Terry. And doesn’t then all of the reporting on England focus squarely on their game performance alone, not the global magnetism of Beckham’s take on the situation?

Further David Beckham beyond deflecting and navigating the media will arguably be treated less harshly should England falter in the early going–not least because he won’t be playing a bulk of the minutes. That shelters the team as well.

The case against Beckham? We can’t think of it.

We made it until the end without even mentioning 2018.

Counterpoint: Why Holden Should Stay?

Holden: Trying not to trip up on his big decision...

Have you seen TSG’s interview with Stu Holden earlier this year?

If not, definitely check it out.


For those who have been Christmas shopping, rumors are swirling that the MLS is going to the most extreme lengths to retain Stu Holden with further rumors suggesting that Holden has been offered a salary “bump” or more than 10x on his current wages, resulting in about $350 annually. This information appeared in Scotland’s premier rag however.

Let’s use this space today to consider the contrarian arguments for Stu Holden to remain in Dynamo orange to initiate the commentary and dialogue. Four positive points arise.

(First, a caveat in that we’ll assume that Stu can negotiate a one-year deal, or two max, with the MLS. Big caveat.)

First, Mr. Holden pockets a new paycheck.

Everyone reading this column is now wondering how I did on the math SATs.

While Holden can earn a significant chunk of peanuts in the MLS, he can virtually buy the whole peanut farm if he ships out.

Why, then,  does an MLS paycheck matter? For further leverage in negotiations overseas.

Right now Holden is coming from a position where he made slightly more (or less in some cases) than a starting journalist who does fact checking all day. If he’s considering negotiating abroad, he can’t very well say, “Well, I like your offer, but it’s not a huge premium on what I’m making now….” because it is. Pocketing an MLS paycheck at the rate rumored only enhances Holden’s leverage in a contract situation and gives him an out (next year) if he doesn’t like how negotiations are going with a prospective club.

World Cup 2010 Pitch Time

Holden is on record as saying inclusion and participation in the USMNT squad weighs heavily on both him and on this specific decision.

One of the larger factors facing the Iceman immediately overseas, is playing time. Will he walk right into a line-up or will he be relegated to the bench? Is there a predisposition to play locals?

Looking at Glasgow Rangers–one club he’s linked with–they’ve got Steve Davis, a former Villa young player of the year, on the right flank and a bevy of other players in the middle including the returning Maurice Edu. Rangers are also top of the table–would they risk upset their starting team balance?
Does Stu step in as an immediate starter there? Likely not. Maybe he gets there quickly, but at the very least it’s still an unknown.

If Stu stays MLS, he’s assured of both playing time and his captaincy. Further Holden in States leaves him available for critical friendlies whereas making his mark overseas he might not have that luxury of coming back for one (like in February against World Cup caliber Mexico) or there could be some tension around making that trip from his new club.

√ World Cup 2010 Exposure

This is probably the biggest positive.

Assuming Stu solves 2a above, exposure in South Africa (and a positive performance) is sure to have other clubs stand up and take interest in securing his services. Right now, there is handful of clubs that are looking at Holden as the solution to their problem. However, hocking his wares on the world stage come next June? Well, pretty much everyone is going to be watching.

Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley certainly drew more collective interest after their Cup performances, in 2006 and 2002 respectively, with a good performance Holden is sure to as well.

Continue reading

Fort Wayne Stand Up: DMB Back On The Scene

DaMarcus Beasley, forcing his way back into USMNT contention?

Beasley certainly is making a case for that–as well as perhaps being showcased for a January transfer.

A goal today for the Beas as the 2nd place Rangers wiped out 4th-in-the-table Dundee United in front of their own fans 3-0.

Beasley’s score tacks on to the two assists he had in Saturday’s win–a third start in row for the erstwhile World Cup hopeful. Here’s some vid of the game today.

In homage to the product and pride of one Fort Wayne, Indiana, TSG thought we’d celebrate the return to form of  Mr. Beasley with a shout out to one of our favorite bands Left Lane Cruiser…also hailing from Fort Wayne.

….And something tells me might be hearing this band at future American Outlaw tailgating sessions….

(I’ve been waiting to use this clip with DaMarcus as my lone avenue for it for a very long time….)

In other news:

♦ A mixed bag for US goaltenders as Brad Friedel keeps Villa red hot with a 2-0 shutout over Sunderland; meanwhile, USMNT #3 Marcus Hahnmann’s club not to hot showing up at Old Trafford and departing with a 3-0 loss in hand. Wayne Rooney bagged a PK for Manchester against Hanhny, so Jermain Defoe is off the hook for now.

♦ Jonathan Spector to the bench in favor of Ilunga again as West Ham fight relegation. Didn’t win the fight today as boring Bolton take it 3-1.

♦ In a non-American pat on the back, new EPL entrant Birmingham won again–this time vs. Blackburn. Bravo to the no names.

♦ Mike Grella breaks into the starting rotation for Leeds….alas against League Two side Accrington Stanley….Exactly!

We Want USMNT Stuff!

TSG is priming a piece for next year on a historic review of USMNT memorabilia.

It doesn’t have to be only World Cup garb. Nor does it need to be just kits. Scarves, hats, painted faces, crazy pictures, stalker/fanatic pictures…they all count.

We don’t want just the pictures. If there is link where it’s available for purchase on eBay or World Soccer Shop, etc or a story behind it, we want that too!

And then, we want your opinion….what do you like….what do you not like….what is the story behind that picture or kit? Is there a memory that goes with it?

Let us know. Just email your submission to or begin by throwing it in the comment section below.

Thanks and happy holidays.


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