Seattle Sounders FC
Take heart, MLS fan: You are not the only one getting ready for the regular season.
With First Kick five days away, FIFA is getting in the spirit of the season by naming their four stars set to shine in the 2012 season: Juan Agudelo, C.J. Sapong, Brek Shea and Steve Zakuani.
I think those are pretty solid picks. You might not. The best part about First Kick is that for every team and every player, the sky is the limit on Day One; anything can happen.
So channel your inner FIFA and let us know: Who do you think is going to shine in 2012?
Most people would agree that Italians Arrigo Sacchi and Marcelo Lippi are two of the best managers. Ever. Between them, after all, they have six Serie A Scudetti, three Champions League/European Cup titles, and one World Cup.
At the club level, they saw the majority of their success at AC Milan (Sacchi) and Juventus (Lippi).
Ahead of this past weekend's Milan-Juve top-of-the-table clash, La Gazzetta dello Sport (the pink paper) brought the two tacticians in and had them imagine how the match would go using Subbuteo, the classic table soccer game. Check it out:
This, of course, got us thinking: Which two MLS coaches would we like to see sitting across from each other like chess grandmasters, discussing tactics, formations, predictions, and players' strengths and weaknesses, and then leaning forward to move a little painted figurine to demonstrate?"
It would be cool to see the LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena and the Seattle Sounders' Sigi Schmid square off. They are two of the most solid strategists MLS has ever seen.
Or how about hearing the Houston Dynamo's Dominic Kinnear explain the intricacies of his tried-and-true 4-4-2 and how it stacks up against, say, the Ajax-inspired 4-3-3 employed by Toronto FC's Aron Winter.
Or a Rookie Rumble: New England's Jay Heaps vs. Montreal's Jesse Marsch?
Tell us what matchup you would want to see, and we'll look into making it happen. No joke.
Expect to see more of this as we inch ever closer to the March 11th debut of MLS on NBC Sports. Arlo White, the former voice of the Sounders and the future voice of MLS on the peacock network, joined host Russ Thaler on NBC Sports Talk tonight to discuss some of the big storylines around the league heading into the 2012 season.
And you know what? He looked damn good doing it. Here's to more soccer talk on Sports Talk.
Did you hear about the email that Celtic sent out to its fans today? In a nutshell they are encouraging their fans in the Seattle area to turn out to the Sounders' upcoming CONCACAF Champions League match and root against the home team and for Santos Laguna, their sister club. Sounds crazy, I know, but just to prove I'm not lying here's an excerpt from the email:
"Celtic's partner club, Santos Laguna, will face MLS outfit Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals at the start of March.
And Celtic fans in the area are being urged to come out and support the Mexican side, who now also include former Bhoy, Marc Crosas, among their ranks, as they aim to advance to the last four of the competition.
The Seattle district, of course, is home to a sizable Celtic support which was in evidence when the Hoops took on the Sounders in recent pre-season tours of North America.
While it may not be the Hoops from Glasgow in action, the club is asking supporters to turn-up and give the Los Guerreros some green and white backing from the stands."
Now there may be MLS cities where this tactic might work to bring out a few more bodies for the opposition but, let's be honest here, Seattle probably isn't one of them. Asking Seattlites to come out and root against the Sounders is akin to...hell, I don't know. I'm not sure there is a scenario out there that is preposterous enough for me to draw comparison with it.
Seriously, what are Celtic playing at here? After all, this is club that has played in Jet City four times, including three matches in the last 9 years, so it's not like Seattle is a market for which they hold no ambition. If they've made any new friends among the Sounders' sizable fanbase in the last few years they may have just broken up with them with this move. Are the Bhoys burning a bridge in the Emerald City? Or are they fanning the flames of rivalry for their next visit?
If you guessed Eddie Johnson to the Seattle Sounders (in exchange for Mike Fucito & Lamar Neagle) I want to take you to Vegas AND to my local convenience store to buy lotto tickets. And guess what? A few frequenters of Seattle's Facebook page actually called it yesterday when they saw the above photo of EJ with Chris Henderson in a team training photo gallery.
Seriously Juan, Michael & Neil, call me. There is a casino out there that needs us to relieve it of its cash.
Con los Cuartos de Final de la Liga de Campeones de la CONCACAF a la vuelta de la esquina, la pregunta tiene que ser hecha: ¿Quién es mejor delantero: Fredy Montero de los Seattle Sounders o Hérculez Gómez de Santos Laguna?
Este par no tiene demasiado en común: uno es colombiano y el otro mexicoamericano, uno triunfa en EE.UU., el otro en México, a uno le gusta la salsa, al otro el hip-hop, etc., etc., etc.
Sin embargo, estos titanes del gol se estarán viendo las caras el 7 de marzo por la Concachampions y desde ya me tengo la duda sobre cuál de estos dos brillará con más fulgor en la serie de dos partidos que le concederá paso al equipo ganador a la semifinal del torneo regional.
Y es que a ambos jugadores les sobra la motivación. Gómez quiere sacarse la espinita que tiene con el DT de Seattle, Sigi Schmid, de quien dice que un día le aseguró que “debería escoger otra profesión”.
Por su parte, Montero quiere llevar a Seattle a la gloria internacional y, de paso, volverse a ganar un espacio en la selección Colombia, ahora liderada por José Pekerman, algo que considera que podría abrir las puertas del seleccionado al jugador emelesero de ese país.
Tenemos que esperar hasta el próximo mes para verlos en la misma cancha, pero por el momento que dicen: ¿Montero o Hérculez?
The Michael Ballack-to-MLS drumbeat is getting a little bit louder now, it seems.
Goal.com is reporting today that the former Germany captain is in discussion with the league to bring him to MLS this season, citing unnamed sources from both sides of the negotiation. The article lists five teams that would be interested in Ballack's services: Chicago, Montreal, New York, Philly and Seattle.
Based on comments from the player himself, though, it seems that his most likely destination is the Red Bulls.
Fans in New York shouldn't be leaping for joy just yet, though. For one, even players that have shown a legitimate interest in the league have been known to spurn MLS (see: Anelka, Nicolas). Secondly, even if Ballack does sign, his contract with Bayer Leverkusen doesn't end until June 30, and his agent, Michael Becker, said that he won't be leaving before the Bundesliga season is done.
Not everything we shoot gets edited. Last year we shot a few "Cribs" style features with rookies in MLS while on the road. We never found time to edit them together and these first year guys lost a great opportunity to shine off the field. With a bit of downtime in the lead up to the season and some un-cut content laying around we decided to give them their due and put the features together... albeit a bit late. So here's the 1st of a couple "Rookie Livin" pieces that features Servando Carrasco, Josh ford, Michael Tetteh and their home in Seattle.
Maybe it's a tribute to soccer players-turned-NFL kickers like New Orleans Saints great Morton Andersen and placekicking innovator Pete Gogolak. Or perhaps it's due to some fever brought on by the impending arrival of the Super Bowl. Either way Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and trialist Andrew Weber have taken to kicking a pointyball in the Sounders practice facility this pre-season. They're not too bad but I'd be hesitant to say they're ready for a Lawrence Tynes moment just yet.