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MLS Insider

22 February 5:27 pm

Nothing like a little pitch and catch after a tough training session.

Yesterday we kicked it with the Crew for a little bit, and today we met up with Graham Zusi and Sporting KC for a special outing for the native for the native Floridian.

The Atlanta Braves hold their Spring Training here each season and today they took on the reigning American League champion Detroit Tigers.

The man chosen to throw out the first pitch? None other than Mr. Zusi. After the kid lit up practice with his feet, Zusi (along with Benny Feilhaber, Chance Myers and C.J. Sapong) busted out the leather to get the arm loose before he took the mound at Champions Stadium. Here's about how serious we got:

Finally, it was time to hop in the golf cart, get showered up and prepare for The Biggest Moment Of Graham Zusi's Adult Life a couple hundred yards away. We entered the stadium, walked down the tunnel, waited, then waited some more, talked about the Sandlot for a while before they called Zusi's name. The only real disappointment was that we didn't get any 'Enter Sandman' over the PA.

Oh, and as for the pitch itself? Well, at least he didn't hang it.

21 February 9:41 pm

The year was 2008. 

Alejandro Moreno was heading to a team dinner on the eve of another road match. Suddenly, a request. 

ESPN, the network broadcasting tomorrow's match, wanted to speak to Mr. Moreno. 

Flush with excitement and perhaps a nerve or two--this was ESPN, after all--Moreno strode into the meeting room with the producers and broadcast talent, ready to speak clearly and candidly about the next day's match. He was going to knock this interview out of the park. 

That is, until he found out he was only serving as a translater. For his strike partner, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. What a bummer. 

Still, Moreno sucked it up and sat in the interview room for nearly two hours, orchestrating a conversation between the two parties. He didn't have to stay, it wasn't his job, but he did it anyway. 

Three years later, Moreno's phone is ringing. It's ESPN, and they want to speak with him again. This time, however, it's because they want to offer him a job. Turns out being a good sport and choosing to stay in that interview room was a good call, after all.  

Speaking in front of the 2013 version of the Columbus Crew, this was Moreno's lesson. Interviews and media obligations might not always seem like fun, but if you approach each one with a professionalism and a positive attitude, they can pay big dividends in the end, even after you're done playing. 

Moreno's insight was just a part of a two-hour discussion on the ins-and-outs of dealing with the media in MLS, led by Dan Courtemanche, Will Kuhns and Gabriel Gabor. The training sessions have been utilized by 12 teams during this preseason as a way to make sure their players are sharp when they step outside the white lines. 

For the young players, the information was new, and likely more thorough than they anticipated. For seasoned vets like Danny O'Rourke and Chad Marshall, the session served more as a refresher before the start of the campaign. These guys literally do hundreds of interviews a year, so it's good to be reminded of some key principles: 

Mainly, show your personality, never lie, be a good person and stay away from doing things like this:

And of course, don't get yourselves in a situation like this, either:

20 February 10:53 pm

The pick didn't make waves on draft day, but Chicago's selection of Yazid Atouba looks plenty good right now.

Atouba's electric play (He was roasting dudes.) was the talking point after the Fire's 2-1 win over Charleston tonight, we caught up with Frank Klopas to get his thoughts on the Cameroonian winger and where things stand on the contract front: 

20 February 8:00 pm

Just out of the postgame media scrum following Houston's 2-1 turnaround victory over Vancouver at the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston. We caught up with Martin Rennie, Dom Kinnear and The Man Who Only Scores Spectacular Goals, Adam Moffat. 

First, Rennie, who was happy with his side's effort: 

We then got real classy and waited for Moffat in the parking lot. Turns out him and Will Bruin were talking before they came on about how they were both going to score. They backed it up:

And finally, Dom Kinnear, who touches on the improved play of Jason Johnson, Moffat's ballstriking ability and how it's just dandy that there is very little difference between the 2012 and 2013 versions of the Houston Dynamo: 

19 February 4:08 pm

CHARLESTON, S.C. — What a day for Warren Creavalle.

One minute you're in the shower, getting ready to relax after a tough training session, and the next you're left sitting under the sink, locked in the bathroom, wondering if you'll make it out while teammates, coaches, hotel maintenance staff and local officials try with all their might to save you. 

In his first public interview since escaping from his bathroom at the Hampton Inn on Daniel Island, Creavalle sat down with us to talk about what went wrong, and where he plans to go from here:

19 February 1:41 pm

Good times had by all last week with the whole crew MLSers who made the pilgrimage to NYC for the Media and Marketing Tour. Even better times had by Steven Lenhart, Drew Moor and Michael Farfan, who got to roll to Upper 90 Soccer in Brooklyn to film a little somethin' somethin' for The Dan Patrick Show while they they were here.

The finished product came out today, starting with a few penalties. Paul Pabst is the man: 

Things got real good from there. Moor provides one of the best Zizou impressions we've seen while Lenny, well, Lenny just does Lenny. 

19 February 9:51 am


Good morning from Chucktown, everybody. We arrived yesterday with just enough time to get the lay of the land here in The Palmetto State. Tucson and Orlando get the bulk of the attention this time of year, but from what we can gather everyone who comes through these parts wishes they could return. Here are a few tidbits from a fun first day for us at the Carolina Challenge Cup: 

The Three Lions Club is awesome. 
Our first stop was Blackbaud Stadium, where the Dynamo trained (Alligator-free) and Chicago's U-18s were taking on the Battery academy on the main stadium pitch. Thanks to Chicago-Fire.com's do-it-all editor Jeff Crandall, we were able to get a peek at the crown jewel that is the Three Lions Club. Situated on the second floor of the stadium, TLC is home to one of the most impressive collections of soccer memorabilia we've ever seen. Seriously, you know you're legit when you have an autographed 1994 U.S. National Team World Cup poster displayed prominently on the wall, framed, in all its glory. 

A familar face in a new place. 
There wasn't a huge crowd out at Houston Dynamo's training session, but there was one guy you might have recognized. After leaving MLS to join the Carolina Railhawks last year, Jason Garey appeared on the sidelines Monday. Only thing was, Garey was in street clothes, not training gear. So what's the former Columbus and Houston striker up to now? Putting that finance degree from the University of Maryland to good use as a wealth manager for a few of his former MLS colleagues. Not a bad transition if you ask us. 

The seafood here is alright. 
After training wrapped up yesterday, most everyone for all the teams here had the afternoon and evening off on their own. For many of the players, that meant getting out of the hotel and into downtown Charleston, which is where you want to be. We did so, too, meeting up with the Chi-Town quartet of Daniel Paladini, Chris Rolfe, Steven Kinney and Arne Friedrich

Of course, seafood was the play, and Pearlz Oyster Bar was the place. Epic. Shrimp, crab, mussels, the works. Friedrich even got to try clam chowder for the first time. His North American education continues.

14 February 5:39 pm

What do you do when the most fashionable man in MLS comes to your city? You let him take you shopping. 

That's what we got into this week when we met up with Sporting Kansas City centerback Aurelien Collin at ODIN New York for a few style tips . Check the video above and watch the dude do his magic. 

06 February 11:17 am

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The Hex is finally here. 

While many of you might not be able to actually watch US-Honduras (unlucky), KICKTV provides a saving grace from San Pedro Sula, bringing you a unique perspective on what this match means to all involved.

The video below is just the start of a series that will follow the USMNT as they look to book their place in Brazil. Enjoy:

04 February 4:31 pm

Tough offseason for Freddy Adu.

First, John Hackworth says what everyone's known all along. Next, a couple pics pop up of Adu smoking hookah, and everyone is all in a tizzy. 

Now, Freddy hasn't done anything wrong here. Hookah isn't illegal, he's certainly not the first footballer to partake and he definitely won't be the last.

The timing is just a little...inconvenient. 

The best part of this are the tweets (now since deleted) of one of the kids he was hanging with. Matt Marks can't believe his luck.

FREDDY ADU IS ABOUT TO BE IN MY APARTMENT!
Matt Marks (@MattMarks19) February 4, 2013

Freddy Adu is about to be in my apartment
Matt Marks (@MattMarks19) February 4, 2013

If he actually comes Im going to die!
Matt Marks (@MattMarks19) February 4, 2013

FREDDY ADU IS HERE!!!!!

Matt Marks (@MattMarks19) February 4, 2013

Imagine that. Freddy Adu, international soccer star, in the flesh, right next to your washer/dryer combo.

Best night ever. 

***UPDATE: Well, well, well, looks like the story has taken a turn. The following is clarification from Marks, sure glad we got this sorted: