Like most of you, I've spent my fair share of time roaming around the intertubes posting on various message boards, commenting on stories, looking for an insight or a laugh.
As the game in North America has grown over the past five years and media coverage has gotten better, I've spent less and less time doing so. But I'd still find myself occasionally making a pit stop on BigSoccer - sometime the on-topic boards, sometimes off-topic - and one of the commenters I'd always go out of my way to look for was CHICO13.
I didn't know him personally - didn't even know his name - but I liked that he was an original '96 fan. I liked what he had to say about the game (and a lot of other things), I liked that he treated other posters with respect but not deference, I liked that he liked Frank Zappa. And most of all I liked that he was intellectually honest about his beliefs and biases, and was happy to discuss them as a human being. That's all too rare anywhere, but especially on the internet.
It turns out that I won't be reading anymore posts by CHICO13 in the future. His non-internet name was Chico Solares, and he passed suddenly and - from what I gather - somewhat unexpectedly on Tuesday evening.
D.C. United, both the club and the fans, will be holding a 12th-minute tribute to him tonight.
I'll be holding my own tribute as well, listening to "Hot Rats," watching the team he loved and enjoying the game that he - and so many like him who've put their heart and soul into MLS - helped make so special.
Rest in peace.
WATCH: D.C. fans pay tribute to Solares
Ce mercredi offrira une nouvelle grande soirée de soccer avec deux matchs de Major League Soccer mais aussi la finale aller de la Ligue des champions.
Le duel 100% mexicain opposera Monterrey, tenant du titre, à un club que plusieurs supporters de clubs de MLS connaissent bien, Santos Laguna. Respectivement quatrième et deuxième du championnat du Mexique, où ils ont perdu leur dernier match, ils s’y sont neutralisés (1-1) le 18 février dernier à Torréon.
Monterrey voudra rejoindre Cruz Azul et Pachuca en devenant le troisième club de l’histoire à conserver son titre de champion de la Concacaf. Santos Laguna tentera de remporter la couronne continentale pour la première fois, et de soulever un trophée, chose qu’il tente sans succès depuis 2008. Et vous, qui supporterez vous lors de cette finale ?
En prélude à ce duel de prestige, vous pourrez assister à un intéressant DC United – Montréal : les Québécois veulent prendre à tout prix au moins un point à Washington où les menaces se nomment De Rosario, De Leon mais aussi Pontius.
Plus tard dans la soirée, Kansas City visera une septième victoire consécutive, à Vancouver où Sébastien Le Toux ne s’inquiète pas de la baisse de rendement offensif constatée ces dernières semaines. Un déplacement difficile pour le leader qui compte sur les leçons apprises l’an dernier pour éviter toute mauvaise surprise.
LIGUE DES CHAMPIONS
22h00 : Monterrey (Mex) - Santos Laguna (Nex)
19h30 : DC United - Montréal
22h00 : Vancouver - Kansas City
There’s a lot that goes into being a captain, and each of the 19 in Major League Soccer approach it in a different way. From Shalrie Joseph’s ever-present chatter to Davy Arnaud’s work ethic, our new series “Taking the Lead” provides an in-depth look at what leadership means to those wearing the armband, as told in their own voices. The series debuts Wednesday, April 18 with Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman.
The first MLS international transfer window of the season closes on Monday night and reports have several MLS teams scrambling to make some late additions to their squads. The next international window opens in the summer.
Here's the rundown of the names in the news:
Kai Herdling: The Philadelphia Union are rumored to have worked out a loan deal for the 27-year-old Hoffenheim forward which could potentially run through December.
Luis Advincula: The Houston Dynamo are reportedly chasing this Sporting Cristal winger with paperwork already being exchanged, according to this article.
José Erick Correa: Chivas USA may be landing an in-form striker from Boyacá Chicó, who has six goals in league play and has been called up to the Colombian national team this week.
Andreas Dober: The Austrian right back is reportedly in Portland negotiating a move to MLS. He currently plays with TSV Hartberg, which has given him the all-clear to leave.
Wilmer Crisanto: The Honduran Olympic right back has been linked to FC Dallas and D.C. United. But his contract status with Honduran side Victoria is still unclear.
Arnold Peralta Another Under-23 Honduran player is rumored to be heading to D.C. United with a contract already on the table. This report has a rumored seven-month loan from Honduran club Vida with an option to buy.
Daniele Paponi: The Italian forward from Bologna was reportedly heading to the Chicago Fire on trial. The MLS club says that they have sought out information about Paponi but they say they've not been directly in contact with him.
These days, 5-3-2 is usually seen as a sign of respect when facing an opponent far superior in strength (e.g., anyone vs. Barcelona).
But to win in Fantasy Soccer: Manager, perhaps it's best to think that you are playing Messi & Co. each week. The FS:M Dream Team has lined up with five defenders four out of five weeks thus far. Ironically, this formation is producing more points for teams than the 4-3-3 and 3-4-3. I myself have been lined up mostly in a 3-4-3 thinking that midfielders and forwards would get me the most points. Fail.
Player HAWAIIFAN13 proved the benefits of the 5-3-2. In Week 5, he rode the formation to 106 points, the second highest score recorded by a team this year.
So what does this mean for the rest of the 2012? Do the stats suggest taking a completely different approach and start dumping midfielders (and even forwards) for defenders? You be the judge.
Players averaging 5.0 points or more per game (by position)
Defenders – 27
Goalkeepers – 12
Midfielders – 10
Forwards – 8
The numbers above should make your decision a little easier. At this point in the season, there is more security in starting defenders than there is at any other position. Honestly, it’s not even close. Forwards and midfielders can be a huge investment, and so far, most of them aren’t living up to the asking price.
Need help with your squad? Tweet your MLS Fantasy Soccer questions to @Ben_Jata
New England Revoltion derrotó como visitante al flamante campeón de la MLS, LA Galaxy. San José hizo lo mismo en Seattle. Vancouver Whitecaps sigue invicto y no ha recibido un gol en contra hasta ahora… esta temporada ha sido simplemente impredecible.
Aun así, vamos a tratar.
A partir de la esta Jornada 5, el grupo de Tiro Libre: Kristel Valencia, el Gringo Simon Borg, nuestro productor (e incansable fan del Arsenal FC) Carlos Rodriguez, y yo ofreceremos nuestras predicciones de los partidos a jugarse cada fecha.
Tendremos aciertos y tendremos fallas, pero los invitamos a que nos acompañen en esta travesía y nos den sus predicciones cada semana por este medio o por Twitter en @FutbolMLS.
¿Quién será el Walter Mercado del fútbol?
El Gringo Simon
In recent weeks, MLS has been putting it's money where it's mouth is, so to speak. The MLS Disciplinary Committee has been dishing out punishments after the fact for violent tackles and simulation.
It's come down hard on embelishment, too.
In my book, there are different forms of embellishment. There is embellishment that is used -- and, really, necessary -- to alert the referee that you have been fouled. This is the type of thing you see when, say, a faster player gets around a slower defender and is impeded. It might not be enough contact to bring a player down, but it is enough to stymie the attacker.
WATCH: Cruz and Benitez battle for possession
Unfortunately, refs are reluctant to blow the whistle in this scenario, thereby actually punishing the attacker. In many of these instances, the attacker will embellish the effect of the contact, making sure the referee recognizes that there was a foul. I'm okay with this kind of embelishment.
I'm not okay with embellishment that is meant to con the referee into thinking a foul has taken place when it hasn't or a foul is worse than it really is. For examples, check out Danny Cruz's shameful writhing after being elbowed by Jair Benitez in D.C.'s win over Dallas last weekend. Or Alvaro Fernandez's histrionics a few weeks ago against Houston. It's sophomoric stuff, and both players were rightly fined for it.
It's also nice to see that at least one of the players involved isn't throwing a hissy fit about being sanctioned for his actions.
"There are different perspectives on soccer in the world," Fernandez told The Seattle Times this week. "So where I'm from, down in South America, we work on getting an advantage out of every situation that we can -- no matter what that is. It's not looked upon badly. Here it is looked upon badly. It's not a bad thing, it is what it is, and I just have to adapt to the league."
With NBC Sports continuing their great coverage of MLS for the first time in their history, check out the awesome "All Rise" promo video below.
Make sure you tune into their next nationally televised game between Philadelphia and Columbus at 3:30pm on Saturday April 14.
Hands up if your enjoying the coverage so far…..oh I see David Beckham is a fan of the production on NBC Sports!
You've never seen dancing like this in MLS. Trust us.
Two of the most noticeable celebrations from the weekend featured D.C. United's Maicon Santos and New York's Mehdi Ballouchy getting down in front of the home fans.
Let us know who you think has the best moves on the poll below.
This past winter, rumor had it that former D.C. United captain Ryan Nelsen might return to the nation's capital. The 34-year-old centerback had played out his contract for Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, and was looking to finish his career with the club that developed him from a good college player into a world-class professional.
But then Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp offered him a six-month contract to move to White Hart Lane and provide depth and experience to a club that is this season challenging for cups and pushing for a UEFA Champions League spot. He couldn't say no.
He also has proven his worth to the gaffer. On Wednesday, Nelsen scored in Spurs' 3-1 win over Bolton in the FA Cup quarterfinals, and after the match, Redknapp clearly stated his intentions regarding the longtime New Zealand international.
"I had been chasing him for years and he's only on a six-month contract," Redknapp was quoted as saying in Thursday's New Zealand Herald, "so we'll have to give him a new one at the end of the season."