There were some rumblings on Twitter during NBC Sports Network's first MLS broadcast on Sunday and Keel Cam Part 5 confirmed it: Ryan Meara is essentially Larry Bird in a goalkeeper's kit and gloves.
Don't believe me? Check out the side-by-side photo below of Larry Legend at Indiana State and Meara following his side's 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas.
The best part about it? He joins Mehdi Ballouchy as New York Red Bulls with celebrity doppelgangers. As the Shawn "MLS Insider" Francis pointed out to me a few months ago, Ballouchy bears a striking resemblance to John Oates of Hall & Oates fame.
My love for all things Keel Cam is well documented. New York's mop-topped defender is simply magnificent at providing behind-the-scene moments with his own brand of humor and some spot-on one-liners mixed in for good measure.
He's done it again with "Keel Cam Part 5," an examination of what tagging along for team bonding at the golf course with the Red Bulls might be like.
My favorite lines:
"That has house written all over it."
"Dax, grab your balls."
"Maybe stand up on your toes, just to get the full flex."
"Does Bruno Mars have any golf game? The club looks as big as he does."
"Can I introduce my caddy, Mehdi Ballouchy?"
As Ryan Meara says, anything for Keel Cam. Let the ridiculousness begin...
Sporting KC fans have made Livestrong Sporting Park a fortress since the club's gorgeous facility opened last June. And although they didn't get to enjoy their team's last-second victory Saturday night in person, a large contingent gathered at the stadium's Member's Club to watch a 1-0 victory against D.C. United capped off by a C.J. Sapong winner in stoppage time.
Someone had the bright idea to set up a camera on those in attendance, which of course caught their reaction to Sapong's timely goal. Needless to say, it's a pretty awesome display. I can only imagine what the Cauldron has in store once Sporting KC comes home. Based on this video, there is plenty is in the works.
Are you a fan of Major League Soccer? Do you have two X chromosomes? If you answered yes to both of those questions -- or you're just curious -- head over to the new Women United Football Club website, which has been getting some buzz on Twitter today after launching and appears to be a legitimately awesome gathering place for MLS fans of the fairer sex.
I would attempt to put the concept into words but surely the site's founders can do a better job, so I'll leave that to them:
"In America and abroad, MLS has scores of female soccer fans, but there is little in the way of communities or reporting to serve them. We're changing that in 2012. This is a place where women of all ages who are MLS fans can meet, mingle and blog about their thoughts. Join us as we get to experience the thrills and spills of pro soccer in a whole new way!"
Love the concept. Love the design of the website. Love that some of the founders hail from Kansas City (Midwest represent!).
And even though myself and all the rest of the XY chromosomers out there aren't the target audience, I'm glad female MLS fans have a sweet place to come together online. It's the least they deserve.
Site is up and emails out! Register, join your favorite team's group, pick an avatar, and join in the...
— Women United FC (@wunitedfc) March 9, 2012
Herculez Gomez handles Twitter about as well as any American soccer player, so it was no surprise when the Santos Laguna striker took to the interwebs early Thursday morning following his side's 2-1 loss against Seattle in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
Gomez, who is enjoying a nice run of form after struggling for playing time early in his Santos tenure, scored his side's only goal -- slipping the ball past Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and inside the back post after taking a deft touch with his back to goal -- and was a threat for most of the night, leading his team with five shots (three on goal) and five fouls suffered.
All in all, it was a decent night for both sides. Seattle took control of the tie, earning a one-goal aggregate advantage heading into the second leg, and got a jolt of confidence ahead of their trip to Mexico. Santos, despite being outplayed for most of the match, got their precious away goal, giving them plenty of reason to believe they can shake off the loss in Seattle when they return to Torreón next week.
Beyond the requisite thank yous, Herc dropped a few interesting nuggets that you can find below. #90left was the theme of many of his tweets following the match, a fitting refrain considering MLS sides have had so much trouble earning results in Mexico.
Seattle should be very proud of what they have built in such a short time. I can't wait to bring the series back to the TSM. #90left
— Herculez Gomez (@herculezg) March 8, 2012
With a little prodding from Ives Galarcep, Herc also addressed his burgeoning hair helmet, which was hot topic on Twitter during the match, as well as the attention he received from Leo Gonzalez during his 84 minutes of action.
@SoccerByIves and the fro is only going to get worse... Think Morrison. My jersey took a beating, you can thank the LB for that. #90left
— Herculez Gomez (@herculezg) March 8, 2012
UPDATE: Saturday's games between D.C. United and the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire and Charleston Battery have been canceled due to inclement weather. D.C. win their third straight Carolina Challenge Cup with six points from two games. Chicago finished second with three points.
The original version of the following stories claimed that D.C. United had won the Carolina Challenge Cup based on a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Fire. This was incorrect, and each story has been corrected to reflect that. Tiebreakers, in order of importance, are total points, goal differential and goals scored.
D.C. United will clinch their third stright tournament title on Saturday night if they draw or win against the Columbus Crew. In the case of a D.C. loss, the Fire will win the tournament if they defeat the Charleston Battery and are also able to make up their current defiicit in goal differential — D.C. are plus-three while Chicago are even after two matches. If the teams finish tied on goal differential and points, the title will be awarded to the side which scored the most goals over the tournament's three matches.
CORRECTION: D.C. United has not yet clinched Carolina Challenge Cup championship. I apologize for the confusion. #MLS
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C. – As the saying goes, you learn something everyday. Today, I learned that alligators pretty much run the show here in South Carolina, and Dwayne De Rosario makes the occasional visit to MLSsoccer.com in his spare time.
How do I know these things, you ask?
Check out the photos I snapped at Blackbaud Stadium below for proof that giant predatory reptiles basically run amok in Charleston. Or at least that's what my imagination and that second alligator depiction are telling me. These signs are literally feet from the pitch and the stands and were posted in front of the dark, swampy field where Crew, Fire and D.C. United players were doing some promotional photos for NBC. It's safe to say things are a little different here. Clearly, I am not in Kansas anymore.
As for DeRo? He – or whoever runs his award-winning personal website – caught wind of Matt "MLS Analyst" Doyle's Countdown to First Kick piece from yesterday that examined whether or not the MLS MVP could repeat his 2011 brilliance in 2012.
De Rosario tweeted the following tonight, linking to this page where you can "Weigh-in on the million dollar question: Can DeRo Do It Again?"
My performance 4 the coming #MLS reg season seems to be all the talk. What you think? VOTE: Will I do it again this YR?
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) February 27, 2012
I, for one, voted "Ah... Duh... Yeah" but you may have a different opinion, so head on over and make your voice heard.
And, as always, be gator safe and remember that a fed gator is a dead gator!
Unless you're a part of the ever-growing Sporting KC fanbase or stumbled on the #DearMrHunt hashtag on Twitter during the past week or so, you probably had no idea that Kansas City's 2000 MLS Cup trophy doesn't reside in Kansas City.
In fact, the trophy doesn't belong to Sporting KC at all.
The hardware Peter Vermes, Tony Meola and Chris Henderson, among others, earned at RFK Stadium against the Chicago Fire remains – and will continue to remain – property of the Hunt Sports Group, a treasured memento of the late Lamar Hunt, who owned the Wizards when they reached the MLS pinnacle at the turn of the century.
Understandably, Kansas City fans started wondering if they would ever get the opportunity to enjoy the spoils from their lone championship season in person. From that idea grew #DearMrHunt. And as it turns out, Clark Hunt was listening.
Sporting still won't own the trophy itself – retaining ownership was part of the terms agreed to by the Hunts and OnGoal when the team was sold – but they will have the opportunity to display it at Livestrong Sporting Park for the 2012 season until it goes to it's permanent home at Arrowhead Stadium.
It may not equate to ownership, but no matter how you slice it, that's a win for the fans that pack Livestrong Sporting Park from week to week.
Sebastian Velasquez didn't take a typical route to MLS. It doesn't appear that it will matter in the end.
Velasquez tweeted on Monday that he had been offered a contract with Real Salt Lake after being taken 36th overall in January's SuperDraft.
Needless to say, he was a little excited.
I Feel So Blessed!! RSL Offered Me A Contract!! Should I Sign It?? JaJaJaJaJa DUHHHHHHH :)))))))))))
— Sebastian Velasquez (@TiaN_Futbol) February 20, 2012
A little more than a year after taking the seventh-seeded Colorado Rapids to an unlikely MLS Cup victory, Gary Smith is working knockout wonders again on the other side of the Atlantic.
Smith and his new side, League One club Stevenage Borough, held Premiership visitors Tottenham to a scoreless draw on Sunday in FA Cup action, setting up a winner-take-all replay at White Hart Lane. Tim Ream and Bolton await the winner of that game. One in which Smith and Stevenage, emboldened by what was a very competent performance against Spurs, hope to push what could be a distracted Tottenham side to the limit.
“It’s quite incredible and we’ve got every chance,” Smith told ITV following the match. “They’ve got Arsenal and Manchester United soon and we might be sandwiched between them and we’ll go there with belief."
If they do manage to pull off a shock result and write their names into FA Cap lore, it will be because they managed to slow down the likes of Gareth Bale, Louie Saha and Jermain Defoe, something Smith was keenly aware of following the match.
"I thought today we prevented a tremendous Tottenham side from creating more than they are probably capable of," he told Sky Sports. "There was just a bundle of energy about the team.I thought that when that intensity dropped towards the end of both halves, the players' ideas and organisational skills to keep some very talented individuals at bay was fantastic."
Of course, Stevenage and their recently hired manager – Smith joined the cause on January 25 in a move club chairman Phil Wallace called a "different approach" – will have a much harder time containing Spurs in London, but it's still nice to see a former MLS headman giving an EPL title contender at least a temporary headache.
Added note from Yanks Abroad's Brian Sciaretta:
@jonahfreedman great story. It's also worth mentioning an American played for Stevenage in the game vs Spurs. (NYC-born Don Cowan)
— Brian Sciaretta (@briansciaretta) February 19, 2012