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14 February 2:30 pm

Never in the history of humanity has a Canadian pensioner and the music of The Carpenters been deployed for such diabolical means. Leave it to Cascadia to find a way to make soft rock sinister. Bravo Vancouver, bravo.

14 February 10:51 am

Another day, another video featuring Salt Lake City's most high-profile punk rock supporter, Rancid's Branden Steineckert. The chant is called "Believe" and it was written by Steineckert while the accompanying video was shot & edited by T. Issac Halsima, one of my favorite video guys working in & around MLS. In short, it is an awesome, inspiring piece of promotional footage that does exactly what it should: get viewers hyped.

So how did the chant come about? Here's the story from Steineckert.

I just finished this song/chant I wrote for the team/fans. I've been working on several, and I've got more. But this is my favorite that could be a team anthem. I wrote it to be noble, strong, intimidating sounding as if the pride within the RSL family will tear down any opponent. But yet I made sure to keep it from being in any way offensive or cater to one "type" of fan. Something tattooed, die-hard fans can sing proudly along with conservative fans, children, elderly people and anyone of any kind of background. I also kept it very simple so the words are easy to learn and memorize as well as a catchy melody to remember and catch on throughout the stadium. This is 100% original lyrics and melody I wrote, so you will never hear another club in the world sing this outside of RSL. Here are the lyrics:

IF YOU BELIEVE THEN JUST STAND UP ON YOUR FEET
AND SHOUT IT LOUD REAL!
HERE AT THE RIOT THE BATTLE HYMNS BEGUN.
WE'RE HERE FOR RSL!

Whether or not you love RSL --"Hi!" Rapids fans-- you have to love the creativity and the passion that went into this. More please.

14 February 10:12 am

It looks like there could be the new road kit for the USMNT in 2012-13.

Eurosport last night leaked an image of what looks like the future of the US kits, with plenty of turn-back-the-clock feeling.

Could this possibly be a throw-back of sorts to the old-school denim kit from the 1994 World Cup (right)? Take a look (The Denim Kit).

 

 

 

14 February 8:24 am

The Philadelphia Union -- in particular, manager Peter Nowak -- have taken a few hits this offseason. Understandly so, considering some of the messy player transactions, such as the sudden flight of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon and the bizarre Sebastien Le Toux situation. I'm still not clear whether Le Toux was forced to go to Bolton or if he just failed and tried to pass the buck. Either way, he's with Vancouver now.

This all comes on the heels of a late overseas training stint for Danny Mwanga, Kyle Nakazawa's trade to LA, Veljko Paunovic's retirement, and the loss of Justin Mapp in the expansion draft. Plus, don't forget the explanations given by Nowak about Carlos Ruiz's transfer to Mexico. 

But there has to be a method to the madness, right? Nowak seems sure. He tweeted this out on Monday in response to a fan's question:

That response -- "Yes" -- is so perfect. So simple. So Nowakian.

Lest any of the second-guessers forget, Nowak and the Union are still on the correct trajectory for a club born just two years ago. That is, in Year 2, they improved over Year 1, and even made the playoffs.

So despite the departures and the confusing aftermaths, at some point, everyone needs to have a little faith and give Nowak the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's succeeded everywhere he's been. And so far, he's succeeding in Philly.

13 February 6:09 pm

So far, the Colorado Rapids have kept a pretty tight lid on it, but it looks like Nick Groke of The Denver Post has got the scoop.

According to Groke, the playmaker Tim Hinchey, Oscar Pareja & Co. have been making googly eyes at all offseason is Rosario Central youngster Martín Rivero, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder. Rivero has been a pro since 2008, has a double-handful of goals and more than 100 first team appearances, and now wants out of the Argentine first-division side.

More flair in the final third would be a welcome addition in Commerce City, where the mandate this season is to press, possess and entertain in Pareja's preferred 4-3-3 formation.

13 February 4:46 pm

Could the long, winding saga that is "Brian Ching vs. the Montreal Impact trade" be headed toward its inevitable conclusion? Earlier today the Impact announced that they'd awarded Ching a leave of absence from camp for unspecified, personal reasons. Now comes talk of a long-desired (by Ching) move back to the Dynamo courtesy of Mark Berman, sports director for Houston's FOX affiliate.

Coincidence or conspiracy?

13 February 2:40 pm

There's nothing like a good bit of outrage to spice up your day.

Why am I outraged, you ask? In a word, this.

<a data-cke-saved-href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ee06d881-6e53-474b-a6c5-8ce935992214&src=v5:embed::' href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ee06d881-6e53-474b-a6c5-8ce935992214&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Clint Dempsey's notable goal' >Video: Clint Dempsey's notable goal</a>

Now, the only outrage that I should be feeling is how outrageously awesome that goal was. What I'm actually feeling is annoyed that the Premier League gave the goal to Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen as an OG.

Not only is that wrong in a "is this justice?" sense, but as nearly as I can tell it's wrong in a regulatory sense, as well. According to a 2006 FIFA Fact Sheet, “shots that ... rebound from the goal frame and bounce off a defender or goalkeeper are not considered as own-goals," and that's clearly what happened to Dempsey and Sorensen.

The only reason I know this to be the case is because I wrote an article about something similar in October when a Faryd Mondragon own goal was given to Dane Richards after a 1-0 Red Bulls win over the Union. My guess is that, after review by the awesomely-named Dubious Goals Committee, the FA will also reverse their ruling and Dempsey will get his goal. But in the meantime, I'll happily wallow in my resentment.

13 February 12:36 pm

The final day of the NASL combine came to a close in fine conditions down in Fort Lauderdale.

My team again played well but failed to find the net, though personally the game went well. The last two days I have played as a center back and right back, getting the chance to show my versatility to coaches and scouts.

On Saturday night, my Aussie roommate Joel and I went to watch the new Denzel Washington film, Safe House, at a mammoth shopping and leisure complex. The NHL’s Florida Panthers’ stadium was right across the street, and it was great to have some down time to stroll around and get out of the confines of the hotel for a few hours.

The final day also brought reflection and perspective on what has been a successful past three days. The level of play has been high and it’s been very enjoyable to be invited to such a prestigious event. In terms of my play personally, I have taken the lessons I learned in college, my academy days in England and from my short stint in the Scottish league to showcase my talent and ability in the shortest amount of time available.

It is hard to make comparisons, but I definitely feel that playing against the likes of current MLS players Jeb Brovsky, Dilly Duka, O’Brien White, Bright Dike and Bernando Anor with Pitt in the Big East for four years prepared me well to move up the ranks into the professional level.

We shall see what happens over the coming weeks, but I have had some positive feedback, which is always good to hear. Combines are notoriously hard to play in, as many players try to hard to impress and certain coaches are only looking for a certain type of player. But all you can do is work hard and show what talents you have in the time allotted to you. That is all you can do.

Thanks again for following along with the posts and video blogs on MLSsoccer.com and feel free to keep in touch on twitter (@JPW8), as many of you have already done, to stay up to date with my progress.

Check out the previous blogs along with my last video blog below.

Follow MLSsoccer.com's Joe Prince-Wright at the NASL Combine

JPW at the NASL Combine: Arrival in Ft. Lauderdale

JPW at the NASL Combine: Norwegians, Aussies and red cards

13 February 9:19 am

Here's a list of things that Rancid drummer and occasional Real Salt Lake kit man Branden Steineckert owns that DO NOT have a RSL badge on them:

  • underwear*
  • a passport, drivers license, birth certificate or any form of government-issued ID
  • a timeshare in Boca

Everything else --drumkit, scarves, skateboard, left leg-- is free game and adorned with the logo of the 2009 MLS Cup champs. Safe to say the man is not shy about about who he supports.

*This is unconfirmed. Real Salt Lake does not sell officially-licensed undergarments but you never know if he's rocking some custom-made claret & cobalt briefs under his skinny jeans.

11 February 3:05 pm

The first day of the NASL combine started on the training complex of the Ft. Lauderdale strikers, with the level of play high and a few tiring matches in the heat.

For the weekend, we have been split up into four teams. I am in the white team and we have an international mix with Argentines, Brazilians, Australians, Norwegians and, obviously, an Englishman.

Our goalkeeper Steffen Haraldsen works for the Norwegian parliament and plays semi-pro in Norway. Interesting enough back story you might think, however he also is a massive fan of Major League Soccer and MLSsoccer.com and watches videos on the website everyday. The reach of MLS has apparently extended to Norway.

The standard of play was really high in the first game, which we drew 2-2. The same goes for the temperature. The 80-degree sunshine and high humidity made it a cagey opening as both sides didn’t want to over do it in the heat. The need to conserve energy was key considering there are two more games coming up.

But like I said, the standard is high, with former Genoa and Levante players, Serie A and La Liga teams respectively, among the hopefuls trying out for the NASL. There are 50 or so coaches and scouts watching, and everyone is eager to impress.

Tomorrow we have another game and then an opportunity to relax in the evening, and a few of the lads are going to head to the movies.

Stay up to date with the video blog every day, as I will be updating on the latest news from the NASL combine.

Follow MLSsoccer.com's Joe Prince-Wright at the NASL Combine

JPW at the NASL Combine: Arrival in Ft. Lauderdale