blog

Blog

27 December 12:42 pm

On s’approche de la fin de l’année, et nous voilà arrivés au sommet des classements de « Droit dans le mur » et « Pleine lucarne », respectivement mon flop 10 et mon top 10 de 2012. Aujourd’hui, des décisions qui, cette saison, valaient bien ce coup franc anglais.

1. Les changements de mi-saison à Toronto et Vancouver

Après un départ raté en championnat, Toronto s’est séparé d’Aron Winter qui, malgré les mauvais résultats, avait un projet en construction. Un énième nouveau départ de zéro pour ce club qui éprouve bien du mal à travailler sur le long terme. Illustration des décisions douteuses qui ont suivi : alors que les buts de la tête de Koevermans sauvaient l’équipe, quand le Néerlandais s’est blessé, Toronto a transféré Eric Hassli, dont aucun des 15 buts qu'il a inscrits depuis son arrivée en MLS n’a été marqué de la tête.

Hassli venait en droite ligne de Vancouver, qui s’est aussi séparé de Le Toux et Chiumiento en cours de saison pour attirer les Miller et Robson. L’équipe a délaissé un style qui fonctionnait bien pour intégrer des éléments qui ne correspondaient pas à l’ADN de son jeu. Le bilan destructeur : 14 points sur 51 en deuxième moitié de compétition (seuls 4 clubs ont fait pire), contre 29 sur 51 durant la première. Sans compter qu’il faut tout rebâtir pour 2013…

Droit dans le mur : les flops de la saison 2012
1. Les changements de mi-saison à Toronto et Vancouver
2. C’est l’Union qui ne sourit pas
3. Montréal, sans ailes ni tête
4. L’effondrement de Portland
5. Les lenteurs défensives de New York dans l'axe du jeu
6. Des chèvres sans étable ni percussion
7. Les errances de l’axe défensif de DC United
8. Les abonnements de la défense de Dallas
9. Columbus peut se réjouir de ne pas jouer au basket
10. Au LA Galaxy, défendre sur le flanc gauche est optionnel

26 December 6:27 pm

Seattle Sounders left-footed genius Mario Martinez has never been afraid to express himself on the field. Or off the field, for that matter.

Earlier this season he openly discussed his dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time. Now he's talking about a move to Europe on Twitter.

On Wednesday, he dropped this line which is sure to grab the attention of the Sounders' front office: "Ufff, would Turkey be a good option?"

When the Sounders signed Martinez on loan from Honduran side Real Espana on August 1, 2012, it was not clear how long the loan would run. But in a year-end Q&A with MLSsoccer.com, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid indicated that he expects Martinez back for a full season.

"Mario Martínez, who came to us in midseason but was in and out," Schmid said. "With him being around a whole season, I think he has a chance to make a major step forward as well."

A move to Turkey was probably not the step forward that Schmid had in mind. We'll see what the club says about this one.

26 December 6:11 pm

The question is often posed: Could soccer ever overtake the NFL in the hearts and minds of Americans?

Well, a recent ESPN ranking just dropped another hint that maybe it's not so far-fetched.

On December 25 the US sports network published its "Cross-Sport Power Rankings" for 2012. It's a list of the 20 athletes who stood out more than all the others.

A look at the Top 10 shows a single NFL player (NY Giants' Eli Manning), just one professional baseball player (Detroit's Miguel Cabrera) and two soccer players: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

The only other sport with two representatives in the Top 10? The NBA.

Watch your back next year, LeBron.

26 December 3:55 pm

Are Bill Hamid and West Brom rekindling their relationship?

After training with the EPL side at the end of the 2011 MLS season, Hamid is in England once again. Here's the message he sent out via Twitter earlier Wednesday morning.

 

 

[UPDATE: D.C. United confirmed late Wednesday that Hamid is in fact on vacation in England.]

Just a few months after seeing him up close, reports from Birmingham in May 2012 claimed that Hamid was still very much on WBA's radar.

The D.C. United goalkeeper worked out with the EPL side last year for a week and he raved about his stay on ExtraTime Radio back on December 1, 2011.

"From what I believe, West Brom was interested and came forward through emails and different ways to get in contact with me and my agent to take a close look at me," Hamid told ExtraTime Radio. "West Brom came forward and we moved from there."

 

26 December 3:44 pm

J’espère que vous avez passé un joyeux Noël, que le père Noël a été généreux avec vous (je suis sûr que vous avez été très sages) et que vous vous êtes régalés avec vos proches. Aujourd’hui, je boucle le résumé en français des bilans de saison club par club. N’oubliez pas que vous pouvez retrouver ici tous les textes qui ont été écrits en anglais.

À tout seigneur tout honneur : San José a dominé la saison régulière et n’a plus quitté la tête du classement à partir de la mi-juin. Malgré une élimination douloureuse par le LA Galaxy en phase finale, ce fut la saison de tous les records pour l’équipe. En conservant l’essence de son jeu de 2011 pour se renforcer de manière stratégique, San José a accompli des progrès immenses mais guère surprenants. Frank Yallop ne s’y trompe pas quand il parle de saison réussie, mais terminée prématurément à cause de circonstances défavorables.

Kansas City a également tutoyé les sommets, notamment grâce à un départ en trombe (7 victoires consécutives), une victoire en Coupe des États-Unis et une flopée de récompenses individuelles. Une défense de fer et un passage systématique par les flancs ont été les clefs de sa réussite. Kerry Zavagnin, entraîneur adjoint et serviteur de longue date du club, l’explique par une bonne gestion qui se préoccupe tant des problèmes du moment que du long terme. Pour faire mieux en 2013, il faudra être plus efficace devant le but adverse.

Par moments, New York a eu des allures de prétendant au titre. À d’autres, des errements majeurs l’ont rendu méconnaissable. Comme lors de l’élimination en phase finale contre DC United : l’actuel entraîneur par intérim Mike Petke s’est rarement senti aussi mal. Même si les joueurs ont souvent réservé de bonnes surprises dans des circonstances difficiles, l’équipe aurait été bien meilleure si elle n’avait pas été chamboulée aussi souvent. Elle le sera encore en vue de 2013, où commencera une nouvelle quête de stabilité.

25 December 7:01 pm

In his first season in MLS, Honduran international Victor Bernardez helped lead the San Jose Earthquakes to the Supporters Shield, and, on a personal level, he was named to the MLS Best XI.

Now, it looks like he might be doing things off the field to help the club. In this Q&A with Honduran side Diez.hn, Bernardez revealed that, at the request of the Quakes' technical staff, he has networked to try to bring two more Honduran internationals to San Jose.

"I played in the national team with them," Bernardez said. "The important thing is that they are good people. That's what the president of San Jose wants: harmony in the dressing room."

Bernardez cited sensitivities around the contract negotiations and declined to reveal the names of his two potential new teammates.

The Quakes' roster already includes another Honduran international, midfielder Marvin Chavez, who was instrumental in the side's high-scoring attack.

More and more Hondurans have joined MLS in recent years, including Houston's Boniek Garcia, New England's Jerry Bengtson, Colorado's Henry Thomas, and Seattle's Mario Martinez, among others.

This offseason has seen several of Martinez's 2012 Olympic teammates linked to MLS. Seattle have reportedly been chasing CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto for a while, while Olimpia defender Johnny Leveron, Victoria defender Jose David Velasquez, and Olimpia attacking midfielder Alex "the Honduran Maradona" Lopez have popped up on various radars. 

"I'm proud because managers are becoming interested in the quality of Honduran footballer," Bernardez said.

25 December 12:04 pm

You know who can never get enough of KICKTV's Jimmy Conrad?

Jimmy Conrad.

The ex-KC and US international is up to his usual lovable self-aggrandizing ways in KICKTV's holiday video. Check it out.

23 December 5:37 pm

More than 1,700 miles separate Houston and Newton, Conn., but the Dynamo aren't concerned with distance as they do their part to support a grieving community in the wake of unimaginable tragedy.

On Friday, Houston announced they were partnering with the Quinnipiac University soccer program and the Connecticut Football Club to host "Soccer Night in Newtown" on Monday, January 7. Dynamo president and Guilford, Conn., native Chris Canetti is leading the charge, using his connections in his new home to provide a much-needed distraction for those affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"Soccer is a big part of the Newtown community, and we thought it would be a great idea to give the kids a chance to have some fun playing a game they love alongside some of America's top professional players and some of the area's top collegiate players," Canetti said in a statement. "I hope this event can be a diversion from some of the harsh realities facing their world and provide an opportunity to create positive lifelong memories."

Forward Brian Ching, midfielders Ricardo Clark and Brad Davis, defender Corey Ashe and goalkeeper Tally Hall will all make the trip to Newton to sign autographs and participate in soccer-themed activities at the free event. Houston also opened an auction to benefit the United Way's Sandy Hook School Support Fund, and prizes includes a trip for two to see the Dynamo play a 2013 home game at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.

There isn't much to say other than 'Well done, Dynamo." At times like these, we're all in it together, and Houston's attitude toward tragedy is a lesson to us all.

See how you can help support Sandy Hook victims here.

23 December 4:34 pm

The San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team made US sporting history recently by winning 43 consecutive games. Sounds pretty incredible, huh? Not everyone is impressed, though.

You may remember Peter Wilt, the first president and general manager of the Chicago Fire and a veteran of the indoor soccer world. Needless to say, Wilt doesn't seem particularly enamored with the Sockers' record, one he views as built on the back of subpar competition.

San Diego plays in the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), a competitor to the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), which plays underneath the USL banner. Perhaps someone can enlighten me when it comes to the differences in the comments section below.

I'm actually pretty familiar with the indoor game – my grandmother and aunt had season tickets to Wichita Wings games back in the day, and I actually took in a match between the recently revived Wings and the Kansas City Comets on Friday night – but I'm certainly no expert these days.

So could this record be bogus, a mark fueled by a sizable talent gap? Sure, but it's still impressive nonetheless. Even the best teams struggle to string together five wins in a row, let alone 43.

22 December 2:37 pm

Bryan Meredith may have managed the Save of the Year in Seattle, but he was surplus to requirements once the season ended. According to Sigi Schmid and the Sounders staff, the 23-year-old needed a bit more seasoning between the pipes.

It was clear that wasn't going to come in Seattle, where Michael Gspurning is the unquestioned No. 1 and Marcus Hahnemann appears primed to return as the most-experienced No. 2 in MLS. And although he made 10 league starts in 2012, it looks like Meredith has already found a way to rack up the playing time he needs to continue developing, as the former Monmouth 'keeper joined Swedish second-division side IK Brage on the two-year deal.

"That was the biggest thing, the opportunity to get games," Meredith told the Kitsap Sun.