Spotted in the hallways of the Home Depot Center ahead of the Timbers' preseason match vs. the LA Galaxy today: Portland head coach John Spencer with projected No. 1 NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck.
On the surface it may seem random but this certainly wasn't thier first meeting; Luck is the son of Oliver Luck, who was president of the Houston Dynamo while Spencer was an assistant there.
Photo courtesy of @TimbersFC.
Player interviews go up on our site and the team websites pretty much every day, but sometimes what you see on camera doesn't tell the whole story. After Monday's Seattle-Vancouver pre-season game, just such a situation arose. A couple of veterans, a rookie, and an impressive amount of focus ensue...
Cheerleaders: love 'em or hate 'em they are an inextricable part of the American sports landscape. But for many of the MLS fans that weighed in on the league's Facebook page yesterday they aren't part of one sport: soccer.
"I don’t understand this notion that cheerleaders don’t belong in soccer. Cheerleaders have been around the game forever. Maybe not in Europe, but if you look at Mexico, Colombia and most of all the other Latin-American countries, you will see that many of those clubs have had cheerleaders for many years and the game didn’t get ruined. They get to cheer the crowd at halftime, when no one has anything to do other than eat, drink and wait for the second half. Cheerleaders are not going to change what happens inside of the field, and that’s what I care about. So I say, sure, bring them on." - Edgar Acero
"When it comes to soccer, cheerleaders are nothing but a distraction. Then again, that's pretty much their purpose in just about any setting. But by that definition, so are concession stands, play areas that give parents a much-appreciated outlet for their offspring and just about anything that happens away from the field during the course of a match. Many people spend 90 minutes fixated on the play itself, but countless others scarf down giant, salted pretzels, play around on Twitter or ogle pretty girls with pom poms. Who am I to say any of those things don't belong? To each his own." - Andrew Wiebe
"I’m opposed to cheerleaders in MLS, but only because I’m opposed to cheerleaders in general. It adds nothing to the product on the field, and anyway, why would you spend money on tickets if your only goal is to see scantily-clad women? You could just as easily stay home and use man’s greatest invention: the interwebz." - Nate Sulat
"I'll admit that as a former Texas high school football player I have a strong association with cheerleaders & pointyball. So as much as I enjoy pretty women, team spirit and soccer it just seems a little odd --not to mention possibly degrading-- to me. Not because it's "Americanizing" the game, as some allege, but because they just remind me of autumn Friday nights in Anytown U.S.A. Also, rejection. - Shawn Francis
What's your take on cheerleaders in soccer? Let us know in the comments below.
Update: Juninho has returned to LA on loan.
Just as Galaxy fans had come to terms to life without Juninho, reports in Brazil suggest the former LA defensive midfielder could already be on his way back.
Juninho signed a three-year deal with Sao Paulo after his loan stint with LA ended following the 2012 season. He even bid farewell to Galaxy fans via Twitter.
Now, though, a report in Gazeta Esportiva suggests that Juninho is not going to factor into Sao Paulo's plans after all, leaving him open to a return to MLS as long as the details can be worked out between the two clubs.
The dream is still alive for Chicago Fire winger Patrick Nyarko, and we’re not talking about his designs on playing for the USMNT, which he has indicated previously.
He’s hoping to see his native Ghana advance to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, and they’re still on track after their weekend quarterfinal victory over Tunisia.
“It’s going to be tough, but I’m hoping for Ivory Coast vs. Ghana final,” Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com last week. “Before the tournament started, I picked Ivory Coast to win it but I want Ghana to win it. I think Ivory Coast has the better team, but Ghana is playing very well. I still think we have the hope we might sneak up on them and win it.
“I’m looking forward to a Ghana vs. Ivory Coast final, but there are so many new teams that are emerging. Look at the Nations Cup and you ask where are Nigeria and Cameroon? Where did those big teams go? They didn’t qualify because other teams have emerged.”
Ivory Coast and Ghana are, in fact, on a collision course for a final and they face Mali and Zambia respectively in the semis on Wednesday. Nyarko argues that the rise of new contenders outside the traditional powers is what is making African soccer an up-and-coming force.
“No disrespect to CONCACAF,” says Nyarko, “but I think the Cup of Nations is the second best tournament after the European UEFA championships.”
In honor of Paul Bravo’s new contract signing last week, I thought to dig up this gem from the archives. Back in the day, I started as a PA that had to comb through Beta tapes logging highlights… and low lights. This was one of my all-time favorites. Enjoy!
(Note the classic MLS "Shot Clock" for the old school shoot outs in the background)
This is the first post for the Out of Focus blog here on MLSsoccer. Many MLS fans know I spend a good deal of time arguing with my ExtraTime Radio cohort Simon Borg, but the rest of the time is spent working with a great group of videographers and editors who produce content for the site. (You’ll eventually meet them all on here.)
This blog is now our outlet… our way of taking you behind the camera and telling our stories as we journey around the continent covering the game we love. But it wouldn’t be a video department's blog without a play button, so you should expect to see videos on here more often than not. At times we may ask for feedback on content ideas or players/teams/events you’d like to see featured, but we’ll also entertain you with clips that may not be the right fit for the main site.
Bloopers, outtakes, off-the-cuff debates, classic video that we turn up and anything else we think will amuse you will be found in Out of Focus. I hope you all enjoy it. For now, I’ll leave you with some outtakes from last week’s Daily…
Skrifaði undir samning til tveggja ára í morgun, mjög ánægður með það. Nú bíð ég eftir atvinnuleyfi.
— G. Victor Palsson (@VictorPalsson) February 5, 2012
To most of us the Tweet above means about as much as the Latin script on the back of a coin. But send it through Google translate with the knowledge that it's coming from former Hibs midfielder Victor Palsson, who is in Cancun with the Red Bulls, and it becomes a lot more menaingful to non-Icelanders.
"Signed a contract for two years this morning, very pleased with it. Now I am waiting for permits."
There's no word from New York yet but if you read between the tweets --the digital age equivalent of tea leaves-- it certainly seems like more there could be a new addition to Hans Backe's Nordic All Star team.
Chris Birchall wasn't a household name like some of the other internationals acquired by the LA Galaxy a few years ago. But he has been a stalwart of the Trinidad & Tobago national team since 2005, and he put in three more-than-serviceable years for Bruce Arena & Co.
From the looks of this tweet on Monday morning, his time at the HDC is done.
Disappointed to say that I will not be returning to LA Galaxy,I would like to thank everyone for a Superb 3years,fans exceptional!!Thankyou!
— Chris Birchall (@chrisbirchall7) February 6, 2012
A few weeks ago, Arena had this to say about Birchall: “There hasn’t been a decision made on him. Originally he wanted to go back to England, so we obviously agreed to that and didn’t renew his option. He was looking to explore opportunities in England. Perhaps he’ll want to come back.”
Not sure at this point if anything happened in England, but it seems like the manager's final question has been answered.
On Thursday's edition of ExtraTime Radio, we all got into a discussion about the best songs by Thin Lizzy, the 1970s rock band led by the incomparable Phil Lynott. (Look 'em up, kids.)
We bandied about "The Boys Are Back in Town," "Cowboy Song," "Jailbreak," and my personal favorite, "Fighting My Way Back." Suffice to say, it was a rocking show, one that I'm sure Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear -- a diehard Thin Lizzy fan -- would appreciate.
In the aftermath, an @ExtraTimeRadio fan on Twitter sent this tweet:
@Gaetjens Glad you guys brought up "Cowboy Song," but "Emerald" is Thin Lizzy's captain and midfield engine.
— Jason (@chestrockwell14) February 3, 2012
That, naturally, set off a back and forth about Thin Lizzy songs and where they would play on the field. Naturally.
So here's the Thin Lizzy Starting XI, according to me and @chestrockwell14.
I'm sure there are plenty of music snobs (don't we all fall into that category, really?) that have a beef or two with this. Fine. What musical Starting XI would you come up with?