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26 January 3:39 pm

Move over David Beckham. The Galaxy star is not the only MLS player publicizing a new product line this month (Becks has a Super Bowl ad promoting his H&M bodywear).

SJ Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch is coming on the market this month with a new line of GK gloves, glove bags and ‘keeper apparel that will come out under the “Jon Busch Gear.” Get ready for Brand Busch.

The company’s called HPG and it was formed four years ago by Rob Hoehn, who is based in Vancouver and was tired of overpaying for his kid’s goalkeeper gloves. He did something about it and in the last few months convinced Busch to become a 50-50 partner.

“It’s ridiculous. You look at what’s out there and they’re selling gloves for $145 this year,” Busch told MLSsoccer.com. “My glove is the same quality and same everything minus a stripe or swoosh. Except ours is going to be sold for $79.”

The gloves themselves will be solid white with a touch of red and a “Jon Busch” logo. He’ll be wearing them during the MLS season with only one difference: The retail version will feature Busch’s signature and the No. 18, while his will just say “Buschy.”

“Clean and industrial-looking is what I wanted to go with,” he said. “I’m that industrial guy who brings the lunch pail to work everyday and gets the job done. That’s what I wanted our brand to stand for.”

 

26 January 3:28 pm

You’ll never guess who’s on the cover of the Feb. 6 issue of Time Magazine! It’s Lionel Messi! Coming soon to newsstands near you! (NOTE: This offer not valid in the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or anywhere you can actually buy a Time Magazine)

At least, you can’t find it if you’re reading this anywhere outside the small, outlying regions known as Europe, Asia or Southeast Asia. That’s because instead of running Bobby Ghosh’s article on Messi on the cover on the United States’ edition of the magazine, the folks at Time are going with an article about the upsides of being an introvert (that’s Myers-Briggs code for being shy) on the cover of the magazine’s US edition.

As somewhat of an introvert myself (I’m typing very lightly on my keyboard right now, as not to offend anyone in the office), I have no problems with an article that (hopefully!) skewers loudmouth dinner guests. And as a soccer fan living in the United States, I’m certainly not stunned Messi won’t get his due on this one, considering I spent the last month reading about the greatness of Tim Tebow, who has the ability to throw a pass a full 15 yards, sometimes right to his intended receiver.

Of course it’s off-putting for soccer fans to see the US left out in the cold here, but think it through. It’s no stunner that the execs at Time wouldn’t bet on a profile of an Argentinian soccer player to reel in the readers, no matter how good some guy named Ray Hudson says he is.

It’s no knock against soccer, folks. But looking at the images of Time’s covers has to remind you just how out of touch the US is with the rest of the world.

26 January 2:17 pm

Now that Tim Ream has moved on it's a perfect time to look back at the day the unheralded St. Louis University defender came into the league. Check out this clip from the 2010 edition of Inside the SuperDraft and you'll see exactly what went on at New York's table on the draft floor: former RBNY assistant Richie Williams showing some hesitance to take Ream in the face of Sporting Director Erik Soler's confidence in his choice. Read into that what you will.

Also of note is Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes trying to pull one over Soler, a SuperDraft virgin in 2010, by offering to trade his 3rd pick straight up for Soler's 2nd round pick. Nice try at Pete. This is almost exactly like the time my older brother tried to trade me a nickel for a dime because it was "bigger."

26 January 1:44 pm

Por alguna razón, Kristel Valencia, el Gringo Simon, nuestro productor (y eterno hincha del Arsenal FC de Inglaterra) Carlos Rodríguez y yo creemos que 30-45 minutos no es suficiente tiempo para hablar del deporte que nos apasiona a todos y cada uno de nosotros.

Con esto en mente, les damos una calurosa bienvenida al blog de Tiro Libre, un espacio para quitarnos los guantes y hablar de fútbol como se debe: a las patadas.

Como parte de la colección de blogs de MLSsoccer.com y FutbolMLS.com “The Sideline”, el blog de Tiro Libre hará su trabajo apoyando, criticando, argumentado y polemizando acerca de todos los temas que rodean el fútbol de los Estados Unidos y del mundo.

“The Sideline” es esa línea sobre la banda de la cancha que separa el mundo del jugador y el de los demás. Es a partir de esa línea que inicia el espacio desde donde todos miramos y gozamos del fútbol. Entonces, ¿qué mejor nombre que ese para un lugar donde podemos dar nuestra opinión después de mirar y gozar?

Los dejo con nuestro último podcast, en el que el hondureño Marvin Chávez reveló los motivos de su salida del FC Dallas. A pesar de su sorpresa, el 'Hijo del Viento' sigue adelante, ahora con los San Jose Earthquakes… al menos allí tendrá acceso a la playa ¿no?

Nuestro segundo invitado es el ex capitán de la Universidad Católica de Chile, Milovan Mirosevic. Ya está en con su nuevo equipo, el Columbus Crew, junto a Sebastián Miranda… aprovecho para agradecerle a Sebastián, ya que nos tocó llamarlo a él para hablar con Milo… ¡Eres un maestro de Relaciones Públicas!

ESCUCHALO AQUI

Esperamos que nos acompañen y que interactúen con nosotros por medio de sus comentarios, ya sean buenos o malos, ya que desde el “Sideline” todo se vale.

 

26 January 1:05 pm

It looks like Jason Kreis & Co. aren't finished making additions to their back line.

Real Salt Lake have brought in a number of trialists for preseason, including one who had an ocean to cross to get to Utah. His name is Terukazu Tanaka, and he's a fullback from Sagan Tosu of the J-League. (KIRSoccer - January 25, 2012)

26 January 12:38 pm

There are no vows being exchanged. There's no mutually-owned property. Hell, there's not even a joint vacation booked yet.

MLS and USL Pro's Orlando City certainly aren't in a relationship but they are definitely flirting. In the last few days it's been revealed that Don Garber will be meeting with supporters of "The Lions" in O-town in March, Real Salt Lake have signed Yordany Alvarez from the reigning USL Pro champs and, in a turnabout, Orlando have signed former New York Red Bull John "Lil Wayne" Rooney and striker Matt Luzunaris, who spent 2011 under the employ of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Should you read more into these developments than coincidence?

Probably not. Players move back and forth between the upper and lower tiers of soccer in every country regularly. As for the commissioner he's always game for a town hall meeting with supporters. Last year he did one further down the road in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

So am I saying that MLS will never come to Orlando? Of course not. But you know how it is; sometimes you just have to buy each other a few drinks and dance a little before you figure out if you're right for each other.

25 January 11:49 pm

Graham Zusi may be a newcomer to the USMNT setup but he's definitely making an impression early on by adding creativity to a midfield that sometimes lacks in ideas. He's also adding goals to the scoreboard which also tends to help your cause.

Check out Zusi's game-winner against Panama tonight; it's a strike so deliberate that if the ball killed someone on the way into the back of the net he'd be charged with murder instead of manslaughter.

25 January 6:41 pm

Earlier today the Red Bulls announced their latest signing, little-known American keeper Jeremy Vuolo. Where did they find him? The Finnish Ykkönen or first division.

So let's recount the membership of Scandinavian-connected contingent currently calling Harrison, NJ home:

Technical Staff

  • Sporting Director Erik Soler (native of Norway)
  • Head Coach Hans Backe (native of Sweden)
  • Assistant Coach Jan Halvor Halversen (native of Norway)

Players: under contract

  • Markus Holgersson (native of Sweden)
  • Jan Gunnar Solli (native of Norway)
  • Teemu Tainio (native of Finland)
  • Brian Nielsen (native of Denmark)
  • Jonathan Barrajo (spent 2010-11 with Hamarkameratene of Norway)
  • Joel Lindpere (spent three seasons with Tromso of Norway)
  • Roy Miller (spent 2005-09 with clubs in both Norway and Sweden)
  • Jeremy Vuolo (spent 2011 with Finnish side AC Oulu)

Players: unsigned, currently in camp

  • Willis Forko (spent 2008-10 with FK Bodø/Glimt of Norway)

Players: unsigned, linked to the club

It's a shame this is all happening with the Red Bulls. Not because these are bad players or anything like that. It's just that if there was ever a club screaming out to have "IKEA" slapped on the front of its jersey this is it; I hate to see good kit sponsorship potential go to waste.

25 January 4:35 pm

Did you watch the live broadcast of the 2012 All Star game press conference yesterday? Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz was absolutely beaming.

And why not? After all the guy did play a pivotal role in bringing soccer to Philly, even funding the first four months of the endeavor on his personal Amex card, so you'd expect that he'd be as happy as an unmarked forward in the 18 yd-box.

But what about the fans? How do the Philadelphia faithful feel about the league's summer showcase coming to town?

"It's going to be fantastic," says Liverpool native and Son of Ben Mark Jenkinson. "It's great that they're all starting to take place in purpose-built stadiums."

Now knowing where Jenkinson hails from you will be in no way shocked to learn who his choice of dream ASG opponent is.

"Obviously Liverpool," he offers with a laugh, "or any really top-tier club. I'd really like to see East v. West again though. It may not have the draw of playing against a Real Madrid but it's definitely in the spirit of what an All Star game is all about."

He's not alone in his desire to see Liverpool trade in the Mersey for the Delaware River.

"I'd love to see Liverpool, Barcelona of course. Pretty much anyone except Manchester United."

Those are the words of Union fan Kelly Christine Delaney who is something of an all-inclusive All Star game fan.

"I was at the NBA All-Star game when it was in Philadelphia, I was at the MLB All Star game when it was at Veteran's Stadium and I'll be at the NBA All Star game again this year," says Delaney. "It's fun. They always feel like a Harlem Globetrotters game, even the baseball one, because there's a lot of showboating and everyone is there to have a good time. At the end of the night I can go home without being upset whether we won or lost."

25 January 2:14 pm

Different people do different things in the offseason. Some players go to Vegas while others go hard in the gym. This year, one player went on TV.

Following a 2011 campaign that saw him stuck behind Jon Busch on the depth chart, former San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United keeper Andrew Weber spent his winter traveling the world as a competitor on CBS' The Amazing Race. His teammate for the 25 day around-the-world race toward a $1 million cash prize? Twin brother Elliot.

Having seen the inside of many, if not all, MLS away team hotels I'm sure Andrew knows a thing or two about travel and how to make it tolerable. But 25 days through maybe a dozen different countries with your brother is a recipe for drama...which is precisely why I'll be watching when the show debuts on Feb. 19th.

Good luck to them and good luck to Andrew in Seattle, where he is currently in camp with the Sounders.