Archive for August, 2010

A Coup And A Smart Hedge: MLS, adidas

Say what you will about MLS’s laissez-faire attitude towards CONCACAF refs because the MLS front office just hit some paydirt.

adidas North America head Patrik Nilsson

Announced this morning, a new deal with adidas, at $200M per for 8 years. That’s $25M per year and it represents–adjusted for inflation–a shade more than a 33% percent premium on the old deal.

Bonanza.

Sponsorship dollars are hardly falling from the vine these days and to re-up with a large premium says a lot of about adidas’s continued commitment to the domestic game.

It is not without a good foundation for adidas mind you. The company has sponsored MLS since its inception and recently said that its World Cup sales beat expectations.

Earmarking some of the funds for development academies and youth is smart from both sides–for adidas to increase their grassroots penetration of the brand and for MLS to have some financial backing to get the teams started.

Our guess also is that adidas is looking to cement a deal with MLS now to gain some of the uptick in interest that will come with the increased soccer coverage from major networks and possibly hosting a World Cup.

When fans talk about growing soccer in the United States, this is the kind of deal that should make you smile.

One more interesting note for all of those fans who wish their team gets a new place to play, see Don Garber’s quote on the deal:

Our extension with adidas is a major statement by an internationally respected brand that MLS is increasing in value and that our commitments to stadium construction, strategic expansion, player development and improvement in the overall quality of play are playing dividend.

You can read the entire press release here.

Addendum:

• Perhaps some negativity on this deal around kit design from what we’ve read this morning. Two notes: Unscientifically, I find adidas kits to be less expensive on average than Nike kits, and secondly, put the money to use somewhere else instead of refurbishing kits.

The extra dollars here should be used to grow MLS and grow the fanbase, not necessarily to focus on the diehard fans with new kits. That may be a bitter pill, but it’s what is best for the domestic game to grow.

Aston Villa Talk on Manager Candidate Qualities

Commentary on Guzan's forthcoming new boss...

Prior Premiership managing experience a necessity in Villa coaching search. Tweeted the info earlier, but want to make sure TSG readers not on Twitter got it. Part of it below…

To date, we have immersed ourselves in the process of appointing a new manager and clearly identifying the key criteria this person must meet.

Two of the traits we believe are of crucial importance are that candidates have experience of managing in the Premier League and a strategy for building on the existing strengths in our current squad.

You can read the official statement from the club here.

Some potential candidates from TSG: Gareth Southgate, Martin Jol, Glen Roeder and Alan Curbishley.

I’d bet my money on Southgate or Curbishley.

Jaaskelanien Catsmacks The Blues’ Johnson

Not a great up-close video, but seriously if you’re a keeper and you want to get tossed, don’t go out with a b*tchslap.

Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelanien goes out the wimpy way.

More video:

» Mix Diskerud pokes home in Stabæk’s 2-1 win over Lillestrøm

» Jermaine Jones noggins home for Shalke on Saturday.

Sunday Preview, Saturday Notes

Sunday previews:

EPL:

Is it possible that by the end of this campaign, Stu Holden could be the best American outfield player in the Premiership? TSG thinks so.

• Firing it up again early for what should be a dandy. Stu Holden and Bolton host Birmingham–or as I call them–the “next EPL Fulham.”

Love, love Birmingham’s game…and as you know I’ve wanted them to take a shot on Jozy for quite some time.

Oh and lookout Premiership, because Holden-Muamba is your next Beckham-Keane.

• Praying…PRAYING…for West Brom tomorrow. On the road against a wounded Liverpool side. Poor Boaz Myhill is going to need another Tottenham-like performance. Spurs fans remember January of this year, don’t you, when Myhill all by his lonesome preserved a draw for Hull City at White Hart Lane.

• Sunderland welcome Manchester City to the Stadium of Light. If Lee Cattermole is passed fit, the Black Cats will make it a game and might take this one at home.

That said, I am still incredulous that Steve Bruce thought the best way to improve his Anton Ferdinand-led defense was to bring in Titus Bramble.

That’s like the Oakland Raiders replacing JaMarcus Russell with, say, Tavaris Jackson.

• I’d love to say I see Everton going on the road and beating up Aston Villa, but David Moyes’ teams are typically slow starters and Villa has got more than a shred of pride. Everton can squeak away with it if–and a big if–they can start to find some real offensive flow.

Oh…and the Eric Lichaj Bandwagon rolls on…

MLS:

• DC United versus Chivas USA as your Sunday MLS feature. Can’t win ‘em all. Maybe we can call this one the Bob Bradley Cup? Bad idea…nevermind.

———-

Saturday notes:

• Dimitar Berbatov has two goals on the season already. That is astonishing. Oh…and West Ham fans with a scathing indictment of Scott Parker in the Hammers 3-0 loss to Berbatov United. (You knew I was going to call out Parker today…)

Bedoya...notching some more hockey assists (Photo credit: Matt Mathai)

• Orebro with a 3-0 win yesterday. TSG asked USMNT Ambassador to Brazil if he had any hockey assists? Ale Bedoya’s response, “Yea one, and had 2 goals called offside but one which was clearly onside!!”

World Cup flashbacks…

MLS:

• TSG reader Adam Bodnar on Twitter, “Cornell Glen has the accuracy of a Stormtrooper.” And that about sums it up as the Quakes cool off in New Jersey, 2-0 to the Red Bulls. (Great line Adam, I’m stealing it.)

• I’m going to reserve judgment on L.A. Galaxy getting barbecued at home by Kansas City.  I can understand Bruce Arena working players back into the line-up (Tristan Bowen) and it’s understandable to think a B+ side could prevail at home.

However, you can now say that the Galaxy are in a swoon, not a little slump.

What’s they’re going to need to find–and do not ask Bob Bradley about this–is how to stop giving up that early goal.

After they go down, teams just sit back and are content with the 4 or 5 good chances they can muster through a counter and hoping that they notch one or merely protect their lead.

Arena’s teams are always well-prepared, but this year, even with one of MLS’s best arsenals off the bench, Bruce Almighty is finding it hard to move around the pieces in-game.

Davy Arnaud in the 11th today got K.C. started.

• Just learned this name: Nick Sakiewicz

A free piece of advice for MLS GMs…if Nowak and Sakiewicz are calling, “DON’T PICK UP THE PHONE!”

Justin Mapp hasn't played this good since EA FIFA '06

Justin Mapp nets the game winner for the Union and it’s just another player that the Union mined at a discount rate.

I’d like hire that front office to run my next fantasy draft.

First, there is that Fred-for-Troy Perkins trade. Fred isn’t setting it on fire, but he offers more than Perkins.

Then claiming Sebastien LeToux. Followed up by pulling Justin Mapp off the Chicago Fire scrap heap. Not to mention the Mwanga, McInerney and loanee Torres all contributing.

Seriously, don’t pick up the phone. 2-1 Union over New England.

• I should say TSG was spot-on, chaps, when we suggested that Houston Dynamo make that forthcoming designated player a striker. David Suazo, make it happen. Conor Casey is victorious over Brian Ching, 3-0, in the Discarded Target Man Cup up in Colo.

• Remember those ridiculous rumors about Freddy Montero getting signed by CSKA Moscow last year? First of all, can you actually see Montero in Moscow? C’mon.

He did, however, play up to the level Saturday night snapping home a header at the death as the Sounders prevailed over the Chicago Ljundbergs at home.

And on the headers, is Montero not one of the wiliest headers of the ball for a guy under 6’0”? Shades of Teddy Sheringham in my eyes.

• TSG reader Adam Bodnar on Twitter, “Cornell Glen has the accuracy of a Stormtrooper.” And that about sums it up at the Quakes cool off in New Jersey, 2-0 to the Red Bulls.

Your Saturday Commentary Here

Our comprehensive La Liga preview by Donald Wine took over for our weekend preview.

N'Zonzi and Blackburn will look to shackle Arshavin and company at Elwood...

Here are some games to check out today:

EPL:

• TSG will be getting up with Rooster Fred for the Blackburn vs. Arsenal game. Sam Allardyce always has his teams playing well at home and we get to take another look at “the EPL’s Michael Bradley” in Steven N’Zonzi.

• Will Chelsea ripple the nets against Stoke City with the frequency they did in weeks one and two against West Brom and Wigan respectively? Nope, but they’ll get the win at home 2-1.

• Marcus Hahnemann faces England wonder boy Adam Carroll. Can he slow down the fast-starting striker?

• It should be nutty in Blackpool as the Tangerines have their home opener. Will they keep with their open flowing style–that’s a “yes” not a question–but will Fulham’s trapping defense slow the ‘Pool attack?

Serie A:

• Roma welcome Cesena–and Ghanaian Yankee killer Steven Appiah–back to Italian’s top league for the first time in 20 years.

MLS:

Ljundberg....

• Welcome back Freddie? Or will it be boo-bird city in Seattle? The Chicago Fire head to Qwest where Ljundberg may be in for a rude awakening.

• San Jose has got it’s mojo working and adds DP Geovanni to the mix. Can they come into Red Bull Arena and leave with at least a point?

• Heath Pearce’s mustache is in Columbus taking on Eddie Gaven’s perma-stubble and the Crew.

Snuffleupagus Scores For Schalke

Schalke 04, who won’t sneak up on anybody this season, but should challenge for top of the table, fell to Hannover this morning.

• Steve Cherundolo went 90+ for the victors

• Raul went 90+ for Shalke

• Jermaine Jones started, got lifted in the 90th, but also deposited a sweet strike.

(Apologies, the good one has been taken down)

Bits Of Info Make USSF Its Own Worst Enemy

A report emerged late Friday evening that Sunil Gulati had met recently with Juergen Klinnsman about the U.S. coaching role.

Gulati: The silence is becoming condescending...

If you’ve been following along with US Soccer for the past five years–or TSG for the past year–that should come as no surprise.

Our only comments on this right now are, “USSF, stop shooting yourself in the foot.”

The veil of secrecy that you have shrouded over the U.S. coaching situation creates confusion, leading to increased rumor mongering and conjecture, and ultimately frustration within your fan base.

Take a look at the results of the poll to the right, over 1000 voters on this site don’t even think that the coaching role is the number one issue.

No one is saying you need to make decision now–or rather TSG is not saying you need to make a decision–just communicate with the public on what the roadmap is or on what to expect.

The last time the collective “we” heard from Sunil Gulati, Steven Strasburg was pitching gems and Rafa Marquez was a nasty rumor.

USSF, your secrecy coupled with the trickle of information creeping out (Is it really a piece of news that Gulati and Bradley were meeting this Thursday as oppose to Wednesday) frustrates your fan base, is an affront to the dedicated and smart fans that back the team, and, most importantly, gives of an aire of “holier than thou” which clearly has not been earned in any right.

And for perspective, since World Cup 2010, here are some other notable occurrences:

• Brazil let go and hired a national team coach

• Argentina has removed their national team coach, the iconic Diego Maradona, instituted and defined the caretaker in Sergio Batista, and have discussed a few candidates in the public eye: Alejandro Sabella and Miguel Russo.

• England, England for crissakes, after a regrettable World Cup campaign re-upped Fabio Capello for at least two more years.

• Germany extended coach Jogi Low through 2012.

• Mexico’s Javier Aguirre stepped down from the team’s lead role. Mexico named Efrain Flores the temporary man, stating in no uncertain terms that Flores will coach the two upcoming friendlies and then the federation will look for permanent candidate.

Don’t you think that US fans deserve a two-paragraph statement so were not privy to leaks or bits and bytes of facts, and conjecture, from ESPN and SI? Is the meeting with Klinsmann really news?

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