Tuesday Hodgepodge: Lanverton Back?

First, you know it’s a slow summer when ESPN is leading each newscast with an update on Albert Haynesworth’s conditioning. “It’s Day 5 of camp here in Somewhere East Coast Seaboard, and Fat Al has just consumed some Frosted Mini-Wheats and is spending five minutes on “Level 4″ on the stationary bike.”

Nothing from Shaun on Stevie & company...yet

Anywho, Shaun and I spoke last night and it went something like this:

Matthew: “You’ve got any pieces coming up? I’m working on some longer term things.”

Shaun: “Well, I could write a piece, but you’d rip it apart for not being qualitative or deep enough. There is nothing going on in the transfer market right now, and we’re kind of in the dead zone of the soccer year.”

Matthew: “Well, maybe just write something on Liverpool anyway so I can have fun ripping it apart.”

Shaun: “Nice try.”

Let’s start off with some quick forum discussion points for today with “decoding transfer talk” and Liverpool:

• This Week’s Decoding Transfer Talk

» Mark Hughes takes the reins at Fulham and issues the following statement on his transfer planning: “Some of the players may be out of our scope in terms of money and wages, but we’re actively looking at bringing in better quality than what we already have here.”

Translation: “I may not get a deal done before the beginning of the season for an attacker unless Craig Bellamy’s asking price from Man City comes down. Please be patient, I know we need more offense.”

» Fernando Torres pledges his love and his abilities to Liverpool with this statement: “This is the best club in the country so the targets and expectations are always high. At Liverpool the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season, but we are sure we can improve this season.”

Translation: “I’ll give Hodgson a shot. I expect to be playing for a title this year after last year when we didn’t show up for it. Liverpool has told me they can’t sell me for a cut-rate price, and that I need to make it seem like there is zero chance that I want to move to drive a decent offer. This Joe Cole guy better be good.”

Kanu, at 34, is "King" no longer...but he'd like to maintain court at Pompey

» Kanu (remember him?) on his request to stay at Portsmouth: “I’m keen to stay with Pompey despite their relegation from the Premier League.”

Translation: “I’m 34 years old, I have a family, and really–where am I going to play where I still have brand equity and don’t have to fight for a spot at the same dollar amount? Sign me up Portsmouth! I’m one less problem. I’ll be a good soldier.”

• West Ham are rumored to be just a stride away from closing an $8M deal for Everton striker and Nigerian international Yakubu. There go a bunch more Lanverton rumors (good to have that nickname back, no?).

And continuing on the Mikel Arteta-to-Barca-if-no-Cesc rumors. Those sentiments have been floating for awhile. Hard to see a team like Barca with aging high quality midfielders, taking on a 28-year-old with a history of his own maladies. Arteta at Arsenal is a good stop-gap fit if Cesc goes Catalan.

Everton with a Yakubu and Arteta sale then has some bank to work with, but will they spend it on a 28-year-old who likely is overpriced due to his MLS golden boy status?

(I would love the answer to be “yes” to make this transfer window more exciting, but…)

A frustrating first half...

Mr. Marketable...

• More on Mr. Gatorade…

revealing write-up on Landon Donovan’s market value through the eyes of his agent Richard Motzkin.

• There continues to be media reports out of both Germany and Turkey of a $5M move for Michael Bradley to Turkey’s Galatasaray. I don’t believe them and neither should you.

Bradley recently got elected to Bo’Munchen’s player leadership council and I can’t see Bradley taking his game down a few leagues.

Plus the same publications that are reporting a potential move all have Michael Bradley starting in the middle with Thorben Marx come the season opener. Ironic.

• I wanted to write an in-depth column on Don Garber and review his tenure in the wake of his 4 year extension by MLS. I’ll need some time on that, but in the meantime here’s an excellent piece by Pitch Invasion’s Tom Dunamore on Garber’s reign and the challenges within.

• As I wrote in the comments for an earlier piece, it will be very interesting to see another team in NY, especially a team with the brand of the Cosmos.

As TSG community member GeorgeCross rightfully points out, Red Bull Arena has not been near full capacity for most of the team’s home games this season.

I think the real challenge there is transportation management.

Despite the PATH train from NY, you’re asking city dwellers east of the bifurcation line that is 5th Ave to take a crosstown bus, then a subway, finally followed by the PATH to get a game at Red Bull Arena. At rush hour, that’s cutting it mighty close for the evening Red Bull games.

Icahn Stadium might be rocking again...

I’m wondering–and I’ll look into it–if the Cosmos will play at Icahn Stadium which they used to fill up in the heyday.

The stadium sits on Randall’s Island which is technically in the Bronx, but it’s accessible by the entire East Side of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn (for those Gothamites reading this: is Staten Island accessible to anything?), and Long Island.

The negative is that the stadium seats only 5,000 right now.

Therefore, I think the New York metropolitan area might be able to successfully house two teams and, frankly, I would be more worried about NYRB attendance.

• Shh…are you an MLS fan…have you seen the “newish” (3 weeks old) ESPN homepage?

If you’re a religious ESPN.com reader (or even just a passerby) you’ve likely noticed the new navigation on the top of ESPN.com. If you choose to select news by a category, the far right on the nav bar reads “Soccer”–only now “Soccer” is broken up into two categories: “U.S.” & “Global.”

This is not only for ease of finding the soccer home page (note: if you’re an avid follower of soccer on ESPN you may bookmark the page), no this is also a marketing/product test to see if the average ESPN fan is interested–predominantly–in soccer stateside or football elsewhere. ESPN will record the unique clicks over a set amount of time and have its answers…

…so if you’re an MLS fan and want to help the league, just keep clicking on the “U.S.” link up there (well, click, clear cache, close browser, repeat), and get your friends to do the same.

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/03 at 11:37 AM

    Maybe it’s because I value watching a live game, but IMO getting to the Red Bulls Arena is not an issue. Many of the subways get you to WTC and the PATH is a short transfer (walk). I don’t buy the transport ‘agument’ because the NFL teams seem to manage being in NJ just fine! I know we’re talking about a major US sport vs. MLS…

    NY1 said that there were potentially looking at the Willets Point Redevelopement (Queens) as a potential location. Not sure how serious this suggestion is though.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/03 at 11:43 AM

      George — two differences on football to soccer.

      NFL – 21 TV rating for playoffs
      MLS Cup – 1.1 TV rating

      Football as we know has stronger affinity.

      Number 2…and hey wait…let’s get you to do this.

      Say you live just east of Prospect Park in Brooklyn…tell me how long it takes to get *home* from work and then to Red Bull Arena by subway, Path, walk to field.

      I’ll pay your fares if you time this for TSG. :>


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/03 at 11:53 AM

        Are you stalking me Matt?! I currently live in Park Slope and it takes about an hour (depending on timing of transfers) to get to Harrison, NJ. A little longer on the way home due to bottlenecks / congestion and less frequent subways…


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/03 at 11:55 AM

          An hour? C’mon…it certainly takes more than that. Door to door. I don’t believe it unless you’re Monta Ellis.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/03 at 12:06 PM

          I never said door-to-door… To get to **Harrison station** on the PATH from my home has taken me about one hour (been to 4 games since I have been in BK). Then you’re walking at snail’s pace to get to the stadium. I admit, getting home is more of a b1tch.

          Check it out on the MTA trip planner if you don’t believe me!


  2. The Turkish league may be a step down in league strength, but with any of the “big 3” Turksish sides (Galatasary, Beskitas, or Fenerbahce), you are 100% guaranteed European football, and frankly, I’d love to see what Junior is capable of in Europe. On the downside, like you said, past the three mentioned teams, the league quality drops significantly.

    Also, apparently MLS is asking for 11 million pounds, according to a report from soccernet, for Landon Donovan, that equals out to $17,524,389.29…probably a bit inflated, like you said, I was thinking more in the region of 8-9 million pounds, but should Arteta and Yakubu really leave then there will definitely be calls for Landon to move…Citeh isnt a good fit for him


  3. Posted by Jon C on 2010/08/03 at 12:26 PM

    If anyone’s around, Sacha Kljestan is starting for Anderlecht in Champion’s League qualifiers again. It’s 1-0 Anderlecht at halftime, Sacha assisting on the goal after a nice run and pass. Here’s a stream: http://www.justin.tv/keeper_tv_team

    I was talking to some of the Anderlecht supporters in the chat. They think the coach has alot of faith in Kljestan and that he should get significant playing time this season. They thought he was playing really well this game but were pretty dismissive of The New Saints talent level. They thought he did not look that good in the Jupiler League opener earlier in the week.


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/03 at 12:31 PM

    Any opinions on Rafael Márquez’s aquisition? That’s two pretty impressive DP signings for RBs in a matter of weeks…


    • I’m scared for Landon’s life. Let’s see in two very memorable USMNT – Mexico clashes (S. Korea in 2002 and Columbus in 2009) Rafa’s studs were imbedded in Cobi Jones’s dreads, and Tim Howard’s thigh.

      As far as quality goes, he’s pretty much a step up from most of the defenders in the league in terms of distribution and martketing power (to the Latino market), but as far as class goes…let’s just say that he’ll probably fit in well with some of those jumbo sewer rats patrolling the depths of the city.


  5. Posted by s44 on 2010/08/03 at 12:47 PM

    Actually, you can take the 4/5 to a block (well, two, until they reopen the Church St.-side PATH entrance) from the World Trade Center PATH (Fulton St/Broadway-Nassau stop).

    I believe the in-progress Fulton Street Transit Center will connect the two lines with a nice underground climate-controlled passage.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/03 at 12:49 PM

      I think we just spawned a contest…..going to write it up.


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/08/03 at 12:52 PM

        I hadn’t realized George was a fellow Slope resident. Hah.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/03 at 1:19 PM

          S44 – I have only been there a few months, but have lived on the UES and in the Financial District… don’t drive so use (rely) the subway extensively. Yeah, that’s why I said WTC as it was easier than naming all the different stations. Looking forward to Woodwork in Prospect Heights once the new EPL season starts, supposed to be really good.

          Look out for a Palace fan…


  6. Posted by cmac on 2010/08/03 at 12:51 PM

    No way Icahn Stadium will be used. In fact, to call it a stadium is not really accurate. At the moment it’s really just a grandstand that seats 5,000. Better for medieval jousting really, if you ask me. It’s also not really accessible at all unless you have a car, which many New Yorkers do not, myself included. I’ve been to a few concerts out there and if you think getting back to civilization from a Red Bulls game is bad, you haven’t seen anything. Until Randall’s gets a subway in 2075, no one but private elementary schools are gonna play there.

    More importantly though, why would the Cosmos owners, or MLS for that matter, want to split up an already relatively small fan base?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/03 at 12:55 PM

      I concur that ICahn will need major renovation as well as an improvement in public transportation.

      Spot on in calling it better for medieval jousting–anyone who didn’t have an image of what the stadium “looks like” probably has a good one now.

      They did renovate ICahn once and I think they could do it again.

      If not ICahn, I do believe that a stadium in Bronx or Queens would work….you would gain fans from Long Island and CT that are clearly not making it to Red Bulls games. Seriously two bridges (or one bridge, one tunnel) is like the kiss of death.


  7. Posted by badabing on 2010/08/03 at 1:05 PM

    Should I buy my Everton Landon Jersey? Even if he doesn’t go, it’d be cool to have, right?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/03 at 1:27 PM

      Got you some replies from folks on Twitter:


      @shinguardian Still pretty cool.
      4 minutes ago via web in reply to shinguardian
      Reply Retweet

      @shinguardian only if its last years kit, and the black/pink one.
      4 minutes ago via web in reply to shinguardian

      @shinguardian if he goes to citteh I have a home medium I will sell. (I mean burn)
      7 minutes ago via Seesmic in reply to shinguardian

      @shinguardian I say it’s cool since he was there for 3 months… Tho it’d be better if it was the 09-10 shirt…
      7 minutes ago via TwitBird in reply to shinguardian

      @shinguardian Yes. He WENT, and acquitted himself well, there. Changed my view of him, that’s for sure.


  8. Posted by Rob on 2010/08/04 at 6:02 AM

    They may as well call the Red Bulls the NJRB as they are in a place most NYers have never heard of. For the person who has been actively following the MLS, sure it’s not too inaccessible, but for the newcomers, the stadium needs to be in a bit more of a prime location.

    If the folks at my Alma Mater (located in the BX) were smart, they’d try to link up with the NY Cosmos new owners to try to get a much needed face lift to their sporting facilities in exchange for playing host, but it’s highly unlikely that something like this would happen. More likely is that the Cosmos come on as a D2 team for a few years playing at NYRB Arena until they can find a space more suitable at which point they’d unveil their **new** stadium in a location that’s accessible to the NYers that care about soccer.


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