Contribute: The TSG Flash Potluck

Ah..sunsets...

One more day here…introducing the TSG Flash Potluck.

Real simple–and most of you do this in the comment section anyway….

By 4pm PT today, send us your opinion, your op-ed on any topic. Keep it brief (two, three paragraphs) and ask a question at the end, like, “Should we be concerned that many players that Bob Bradley brings in to camps are not playing or not starters for their MLS teams?”

Bring up a hot button issue, link to a cause (like this), take a stand!

Send us it with an email and we’ll put the best ones up. (shinguardian@gmail.com)

See you in a few days.

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44 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JasonPrice on 2011/07/21 at 1:51 AM

    Does/should MLS generate revenue by selling first-options on players?

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/21 at 9:17 AM

      I don’t think this would be very profitable–there’d need to be a perceived overflow of demand on team’s part where they’d want to cut people in line. Such an idea would work pretty well in Brazil, say. Moreover, it seems foreign teams prefer to wait for MLS players’ contracts to run out to sign them, as opposed to buying them outright.

      Additionally, I don’t think it makes sense from an MLS perspective to give up their upside: small-change type stuff like this won’t really change the league–it’s my sense the league is stable financially–it’s the big hits that will do it, of which there have been none. Jozy Altidore’s $10 million transfer is the soccer equivalent of The Transporter: solid hit, not Avatar.

      Reply

  2. Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 10:02 AM

    I’ll say this generally but…

    “BPL, La Liga, and Serie A, please take your friendlies, play each other and go home.”

    These “MLS friendlies” are nothing more than season disrupting cash grabs, potential injury traps, and utterly meaningless.

    I don’t care how the MLS measures up with any of these leagues. My devotion to my MLS team has nothing to do with the BPL or La Liga. All we get from these things are one of the following

    If the MLS team wins…

    “The other team is in pre-season form.” (insults the MLS)

    If the International team wins…

    “The quality won out and the MLS is supposed to lose.” (insults the MLS)

    If I want to see Liverpool, or Manchester United, or Real Madrid, or Club America play then I will go to their respective homelands to do so. While I know that many who only support BPL/La Liga teams will disagree with this assessment, is it really that great to watch a BPL team play the second/third string of an MLS team?

    It is marginalizing the MLS schedule/competition when teams take time out of their schedule to play these international teams.

    Having said all that, if those international teams want to play each other… than so be it.

    Maybe I am on an island here, but I don’t need the big International names to get me excited for Soccer in the US. I am plenty excited to watch DC play NE, to watch Portland play Columbus, and to watch Colorado play NYRB.

    Reply

    • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 10:10 AM

      “I am plenty excited to watch DC play NE”

      You and 15,000 other people.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 10:11 AM

        I would rather be with the 15K who care about the game here than the 40k who show up because Ronaldo is on the field.

        Reply

        • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 10:41 AM

          OK, but there are millions of people in america who’d rather be with the 40K. Why is that?

          Now come on, I know you’re above making the tired and condescending “eurosnob bandwagoner” argument. There’s a reason these games sell out, often in stadiums twice or thrice the size of half empty MLS stadiums. And it’s not (just) because Ronaldo is there. There might be more Americans who grew up watching and loving Real Madrid than there are MLS fans. Or there might be lovers of soccer who just want the chance to see one of the historic great teams play in person. It’s insulting and ridiculous to assert that these people aren’t “real fans” or are just “posers”. Sure, they’re not “real” MLS fans… but is that their fault, or MLS’s?

          Reply

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/21 at 11:08 AM

            With many European teams coming stateside for their pre-sea$on tours, how do you think this hampers the growth of MLS / capturing non-MLS football fans? Especially when United knock Seattle for 7. It gives these fans an even bigger reason to say MLS is a joke, and this is the reason they don’t follow MLS, but a Euro team.

            Reply

            • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 11:17 AM

              I don’t buy it. Are the Sounders fans that pack the house all of a sudden going to say “wow we are getting all excited over this joke team”? Doubtful.

              If quality were everything half the stadiums in the world would be empty, including some of those in the EPL, Liga, etc. I don’t think quality on the field is a silver bullet. Actually, i think it’s mostly irrelevant (portland and vancouver aren’t exactly paragons of the beautiful game). Where MLS lags so far behind the rest of the world, and where most of the clubs really are a joke, is in marketing, advertising, merchandising, and all the ancillary things that make you say, “man, it’d be cool to be at that event” when you turn on your TV and see an MLS game.

              You turn your tv to a random Revs game, see an entire section filing out, and think to yourself “good lord even the diehards who went there willingly don’t even want to be there.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/21 at 11:38 AM

              I went to quite a few Revs games when I lived in Boston, and I must admit, the attitude, false-elitism and negativity of “hardcore” fans was very annoying. They would rather sit in a stadium with 5k “hardcore” Revs fans then 20k who are there to cheer the team on even if they don’t know everything about every player.

              I was already turned off by them and then a few members (about 15) decided to start harassing some high school kids who “stole” their general admission spots in the Fort at the *start* of a game. The president of the Riders was right there and did nothing to stop his members from being asses.

              Originally, I liked the thought of joining a group as a show of support for the local team and watching the game in a good atmosphere, but for a lot these people “support” means sacrificing enjoying the game to spend 90 minutes hiding flares from security.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/21 at 5:52 PM

              John Henry: I comment was aimed at potential MLS fans, rather than existing MLS fans.

              Regarding the quality issue, all American supporters of European clubs, are by definition, somewhat, armchair supporters, and ‘generally’ pick a team for for a bogus reason [read: glory hunters]. Whereas, many Europeans who support shite teams do so because of geography and / or family reasons… well ask a Cubs or Sox fans why they support their team. So your comment about “Getafe, Buraspor, Spartak Moscow and Rizespor” is really not well thought out – Americans aren’t supporting these teams, they’re mainly supporting the G14 teams.

          • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 11:12 AM

            “Now come on, I know you’re above making the tired and condescending ‘eurosnob bandwagoner’ argument.”

            Yes and no.

            I can happily straddle both sides of the fence because I remember a time growing up when I DIDNT have the option of supporting a local team. Therefore you could really only support teams from England, Italy, Spain or other. Even then supporting those teams was difficult because if you (like me at the time) lived in the Mid-West you weren’t getting soccer on the TV until the 1994 World Cup came to town.

            However, at the same time we must all realize as fans the importance of thinking local when it comes to this sport.

            “There might be more Americans who grew up watching and loving Real Madrid than there are MLS fans.”

            Probably, but that specifically isn’t the problem. The problem is when those fans live in places where they can physically go to actual MLS games, contribute to the supporters groups, see games and they actively don’t because following Real Madrid is somehow more acceptable than following DC United or Real Salt Lake.

            Being a fan of Madrid is one thing, but do those fans know what Madrid is like during the summer? The interplay of politics in the city? What the stadium feels like and what the team does for the community?

            I am not asking fans to stop following BPL teams or La Liga teams because they don’t directly compete (schedule wise) against the MLS.

            However there is a twisted logic in SOME fans in which you find the common refrain, “I’m not watching the MLS because it isn’t the best in the world”.

            How about watching the team because it represents where you are from? How about watching them because you live in Chicago, you know what it smells like, looks like, feels like. You know how hot or cold it gets in Toyota Park, and you can experience the fun of dancing in the stands or showing your nephew/niece the beautiful game in person.

            There is this twisted American logic being pandered around that we have towards the MLS stating that we can’t enjoy something simply because it isn’t the best, but if this logic was the case then everyone who roots for Getafe, Buraspor, Spartak Moscow, or Rizespor should stop following their teams.

            Supporting a team should be more than picking some team that you can watch on TV from another country. That used to be an excuse we could use because there wasn’t really anything you COULD follow in this country. That isn’t the case now.

            Now could some of the blame be laid at the feet of the MLS, Yes. They could do better. However, as supporters of the game in the US, we can also look at ourselves and see what we could do to grow the game here. If you are in Rochester go see Rhinos games, if you are in Charleston, go see Battery games.

            Reply

            • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 11:42 AM

              I think we actually agree, but just differ on small points.

              Two things: (1) Once someone loves a team, it might be hard to fall in love with another team. That’s purely a hypothesis, but who knows. (2) I think the big problem with MLS is that the teams don’t represent the areas/histories/communities especially as those relate to the potential fans of the game.

              The most promising potential MLS fans in this country are (another hypothesis based on certain evidence) urban youth and professionals, hispanics and other immigrants from soccer countries. The few teams that are really succeeding are the teams that are marketing to these populations. Right?

              I guess it goes back to what I said before. I think this is MLS’s problem and MLS’s fault/failing. I don’t think it’s the consumers fault. I think they’re not being given (or convinced that they are) what they want.

            • I sort of agree with what you are saying, (it annoys me that some people in my hometown support Liverpool and United and turn their nose up at the mighty Palace) – but most people in Europe get “born” into a club, you don’t choose because who is best. There is history and tradition that goes through generations, you can’t just create it artificially…it takes time.

            • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 12:29 PM

              I think we do agree on quite a bit.

              I think there is (still) an issue with some teams in MLS not thinking in terms of the New Era MLS (or the ballyhooed term of MLS 2.0, ugh). The marketing, images and product placed in front of the fan in terms of fan experience must get better.

              However, there is also a bit of work that fans here can do as well.

              I read (at another, far seedier soccer website) the wailing of a soccer fan in the SE who claimed that he would only follow International teams because the MLS wasn’t in his area. When it was revealed where his location was he actually lived right next to a USL hotbed (which yes, admittedly is not “big time”) Someone asked him why he didn’t go to those games and his response was that he wanted the MLS, not the USL. Basically he didn’t want to have to get involved in building up his local team, he just wanted the MLS in the SE. This logic completely misses the point of having a local team entirely, and certainly roots itself within the cellar of bandwagon behavior.

              I don’t begrudge him his euro support, but unless you support your local team, you can’t ask for something better in your area as well. If the Charleston Battery or Rochester Rhinos received a 9k to 11k average the MLS would be more inclined to look in the SE.

            • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 12:33 PM

              haha… or if those USL hotbeds could gain promotion into the MLS (not enfranchisement). But that’s another argument isn’t it?

            • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 12:35 PM

              Don’t you DARE say the “p&r” words!

              It’s like Betelgeuse.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/21 at 12:43 PM

              Why would Rochester drawing fans (as it did in the past) increase MLS attention in the southeast?

              If Rochester were in the league, our most natural rivals would be Toronto.

            • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 12:45 PM

              Mental fart. Plz Excuse.

              Can I still roll with Charleston?

        • Were you at the DC v NE game last night? There was very little to be excited about.

          Reply

          • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 11:04 AM

            To be fair, there was this

            Reply

          • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 11:16 AM

            Watched on TV, because I am a couple thousand miles away. However, I thought the game actually had some very interesting moments. Watching DeRosario, Da Luz, Davies and Wolff try to figure out how to play with each other was fascinating. I thought DC was close to getting something going with some of their passing. Thought the counter punch from the Revs was a nice classic header from the corner sucker punch. Also thought the support from the fans came through nice from RFK. Found a lot to enjoy.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/21 at 11:20 AM

              I agree. Some of their passing was very impressive, especially since new england sagged so low that their passing had to go through some tight spaces.

              Davies was poor, I thought. He’s playing in the “crafty veteran” phase of his career, which would be fine if he were 33.

              In terms of USMNT prospects, Hamid had some very nice plays and I think Ethan White’s development curve looks good.

            • Unfortunately as the game went on the pace of the game died thanks to the 105 degree heat index, which is to be expected as my enthusiasm for sitting there waned as well.

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/21 at 10:32 AM

      I’d imagine that for a lot of fans, traveling to see those teams in their own countries is not a realistic option. And even assuming that it’s just a cash grab (ie. that the fans that show up for these games won’t be back for MLS games), I can’t blame the teams. Money is needed to help the sport grow.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 10:42 AM

        “Money is needed to help the sport grow”

        Well…. maybe?

        Does anyone think that the money from the NE Revolution v Manchester United match (attendance 51,523) is actually going towards the Revolution who haven’t really willingly spent money on the team in years?

        I tend to think that time and patience will help the sport grow moreso than just cold cash. We saw what throwing around cash did to the NASL. Strengthening the bond between the community, the team and the fans will build better supporters than trying to lure in fans who are going to your stadium to actively root against you and for the team you brought in.

        Reply

        • Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 10:51 AM

          “Strengthening the bond between the community, the team and the fans will build better supporters”

          Yep. As evidenced by Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia… community and die hard supporters is vastly more important than even quality. Many of the 2nd and 3rd tier leagues in the world have great support.

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/07/21 at 11:11 AM

          You’re right that the Revolution are unlikely to use money to grow the sport…

          But all summer friendlies end up tithing to SUM, which means that (eventually) the money makes its way into the pockets of those who care.

          Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/21 at 11:54 AM

          Strengthening the bond between the community, the team and the fans will build better supporters than trying to lure in fans who are going to your stadium to actively root against you and for the team you brought in.

          Well, of course staging a meaningless friendly doesn’t prevent you from doing community outreach. And community outreach (camps, promotions, special events, charity, advertising, etc.) costs money, so the friendlies can actually help you there.

          Look, given a choice between an MLS game and one of these friendlies, I’d pick the MLS game every time. But it doesn’t seem worth getting all indignant over.

          Reply

  3. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/21 at 10:26 AM

    Ugh. Bedoya to Rangers in January.

    Here’s some better news: CONMEBOL mulling a switch to 16-team format for Copa America, with six teams coming from CONCACAF http://www.canchallena.com/1391242-se-viene-una-nueva-copa-america

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/21 at 11:18 AM

      Ugh is right. Rangers haven’t exactly been great for Maurice Edu–I’m not sure he’s worth much more than the 2.7 million pounds they paid originally (and probably lower than the rate of footballing inflation).

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/23 at 3:50 PM

        On the other hand, if Mo can raise his game this next season he is better placed to draw a move to a better situation than would be the case if he had stayed at Toronto FC. The same goes for Bedoya staying at Orebro.

        And McCoist is a very big fan of Edu ( and, it seems, of Bedoya). For an American in Europe, the importance of that is hard to overstate.

        My hope would be both do well enough next season to move to better clubs.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/07/23 at 5:21 PM

          Sure, for Edu, being in Scotland is higher-profile than being in MLS. The problem is that he’s unlikely to make that leap you speak of because Scotland doesn’t provide a good development stage, especially if you’re at Rangers. There’s such a dichotomy in any Rangers game: either you’re far superior to some team (say, Queen of the South), in which case they bunker; or you’re in the Champions League and overmatched by most group-stage teams, in which case you bunker. The one exception is the Old Firm games, but those are so sectarian and passionate that there’s rarely a good game played. That experience doesn’t seem very useful. Honestly, from a pure development perspective, I’d rather be in MLS than anywhere in Scotland. Most MLS teams are better than most SPL teams, and it’s not as if one league is markedly more tactical than the other.

          For Bedoya? He’d be on a free in January, and free to choose any team willing to offer him sufficient funds. We’ve heard of semi-credible interest from biggish clubs in Belgium, medium-sized clubs in the Netherlands, even clubs in France. Any of these options would have been better from a development perspective. Did Rangers just offer the most money? Possible, in which case I certainly don’t begrudge Bedoya the right to take it. But my perspective is–what’s the best for Bedoya’s development? And Scotland is terrible for it.

          So I view going to Rangers as very bad for anyone’s career from a pure development perspective.

          Reply

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/24 at 4:02 PM

            I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

            In Edu’s case he’s made his bed and he will have to find a way to raise his game and profile if he wishes to get himself out of a situation where he appears to have stagnated. On the other hand McCoist, if we are to believe what he has said, is among Mo’s biggest fans and how precious is that to an American in Europe?

            In Bedoya’s case, we do not know if there were any other parties as serious as Rangers and, again, McCoist appears to be a big fan. I would have preferred any of a number of other leagues and situations for him but he didn’t call me. And I’m sure Bedoya is at least as conversant with Rangers and the SPL as we are.

            What is best for Bedoya’s development?

            Would playing at Rangers be better than sitting at, say, Birmingham and playing the odd game here and there? How about having a manager who really wants you, believes in you and will play you?

            My guess would be that would trump the other deficits we all agree exist.

            Reply

  4. Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/21 at 12:05 PM

    By the way, to everyone and no one in particular, I’m very grateful that we can have this discussion here on TSG. If this were at another blog that also goes by a 3 letter acronym, there’s no doubt that responses to me would have consisted of nothing more than “eurodouchey” (that one’s become quite common over there), “eurosnob”, “poser”, blah blah blah. Man I hate that comment section!

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 12:21 PM

      Pfft! Comment Section Poser!

      Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/23 at 3:16 PM

      As you say, when attending a game, whether it is Manchester United or your local USL team, if you and yours have a good time are treated reasonably well by the organization then you may well return. If fans were only to support the teams with the highest quality players, the sport would collapse world wide.

      MSL could take a lot of lessons from minor league baseball teams around this country who often turn games into family events.

      And as much as so many US fans who I read on blogs seem to want the best players to move on to European teams, it is important to have a consistent core of familiar faces that fans can root for.

      Reply

  5. Posted by John on 2011/07/21 at 12:41 PM

    Luis Suarez EURODANCE!

    Reply

  6. Posted by EFG on 2011/07/22 at 4:42 AM

    You guys are smart, help me figure this transfer out: Bojan Krkic to Roma for 12m with Barca having to purchase him back next season at 13m UNLESS Roma forks over another 28m to keep him. The only logic I could think of was if Roma fails to qualify for Champions League then Bojan experiment didn’t “go as planned” and he is expendable/Roma won’t be able to afford him with the money gained from CL play. Other than that, I’m still trying to process it. I find it odd that Barca value Bojan the same/a little more than Fabregas.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/22 at 6:01 AM

      Oh wow! Briefly on TSG here (as I’m on vaca) — that certainly looks like the straight business practice of roundtripping.

      Because of the need to balance books, that’s additive revenue to both teams.

      Instead of a one year loan for free essentially, Barca “makes” 12M in revenue this year and possibly 28M next year to offset losses. (Similarly for Roma who, possibly, make 13M next year if they don’t like him.)

      This looks more Barca motivated than Roma.

      Reply

    • Maybe not a “balance the books” in the straightforward sense. We don’t know the payment structure Arsenal are demanding for Fabregas. This is an instant capital injection which could potentially be used to capture Fabregas. I don’t think Barca want to lose the promising Krkic, hence the inflated price, but he obviously wants playing time.

      Reply

      • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/22 at 8:00 AM

        I also misread the dates and it’s after two seasons in Rome that a decision is to be made. A two season loan deal isn’t so bad.

        Reply

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