Armchair Analyst

20 February 11:32 de la tarde

Landon Donovan has a history of insightful, personal interviews. He just hasn't given very many of them lately.

That seems to have changed on Wednesday night, as the US national team and LA Galaxy legend answered questions in public for the first time since helping lead his team to the 2012 MLS Cup. Donovan appeared at a Q&A session titled "The Competitive Edge" on the campus of the University of Southern California.

One promising young scribe proceded to live tweet the event. We can't vouch for the veracity of his transcription, during which Donovan talks about everything from his relationship with his dad to that time he almost quit soccer in 2006 (which, from memory, was right before kickoff vs. Ghana), but I guarantee you we'll all be talking about this out-of-the-blue appearance by LD for the next 48 hours:

Here's the best part, if you're a US fan:

And here's the part that's Landon being Landon to, like, the Nth degree:

15 February 8:39 de la tarde

Short, sweet and unambiguous support for Robbie Rogers:

WATCH: MLSers react to Rogers coming out

15 February 8:27 de la tarde

It's been an emotional day for all of MLS and US soccer, but doubtless nobody's gone through the wringer quite as thoroughly as Robbie Rogers.

Here's his 13-word response:


But from where I sit, the best part of today is that the next guy (or gal) to debate whether or not to come out can expect "this." It's a more tolerant and loving world than we all thought it was nine hours ago.

25 January 6:40 de la tarde

Ok, so this one was predictable. But it's still nice to see.

Here's the reception former New York, LA and Chivas USA striker Juan Pablo Ángel got from Atlético Nacional fans in Medellín upon his return to the club this week. Well deserved for a guy who carried himself with class and composure through his entire career across three continents:


20 January 5:15 de la tarde

"Wesley Sneijder to LA" was never really a rumor with legs, even if it made some sense. After all, Sneijder (like anyone with a brain) loves the LA weather. He also has a wife who's a model, and the two of them have taken in a handful of Galaxy games over the year. (The Galaxy, you may have heard, have a DP spot open.)

We kicked the idea around on March to the Match a month or so back, and all came to the same conclusion: Sneijder would be an amazing pick-up. He's still on the right side of 30, a starter for the Dutch national team, and as recently as 2010, you could argue pretty convincingly that he was one of the three best players in the world.

And all of that made him the longest of long shots to sign with MLS at this point. It's a frustrating reality that's just part of the league's inherent growth curve.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that Sneijder, who's been on the outs at Inter for about 18 months, found his next address in Europe as opposed to MLS.

So ... yeah. Hard to be disappointed about something that was never really going to happen. And I've always been more excited about the growth of the MLS Academy system than who the "next big DP signing" would be.

After all, it'll be nice when guys like Sneijder (and Beckham, Henry, etc) come over here at age 28 rather than age 31. But it'll be even nicer when we're building players like that ourselves.

07 January 9:40 de la tarde

Chances are you don't remember Fuad Ibrahim at all. And if you do remember him, it's because he's the answer to the trivia question "Other than Freddy Adu, who's the youngest player ever drafted in MLS?"

Like Adu, Ibrahim's career hasn't exactly gone to plan. After starring for the US U-17s, he bombed out of MLS in three years and just 26 games, and has been toiling in the lower divisions of the US soccer pyramid ever since. This past season he played five times for Minnesota in the NASL.

Now 21, Ibrahim has taken advantage of his dual-nationality status to use his one-time switch and will play (permanently — once you switch you can't go back) for Ethiopia in the African Cup of Nations.

Credit to for being all over this one.

07 January 7:58 de la tarde

File this one under "Rossi," or maybe "Subotic." Or maybe nothing at all.

As first reported in Bosnia, and later confirmed by TopDrawerSoccer, RBNY Academy forward Ismar Tandir signed with Sochaux of Ligue 1 last month.

"Ok," you're thinking. "That's going to happen from time to time as academies start producing better players."

And you'd be right.

But here's the thing: It looks like Tandir may not just be leaving the Red Bulls behind, but according to the player himself, he could be done with US soccer as a whole:

It's worth remembering that, even if he plays in an official game with the U-19s, he wouldn't be completely cap-tied. That only happens for official full senior national team games.

Of course, there's no guarantee that US soccer is missing out on anything here. They hadn't called Tandir in yet at any level, and it's not like there's a dearth of quality young attackers coming through the pipeline. Plus the elephant in the room is that he was born in Germany, and if he turns out to be really good... well, generally speaking, players play for the best team that puts them on speed dial.

20 December 6:55 de la tarde

Is it official, league office confirmation? No. But unless Walker Zimmerman's been badly misled, it looks like the 2013 MLS Generation adidas class has grown by one:

Zimmerman actually tweeted something to that effect last week as well, so he's a little gun-jumpy. Anyway, here's what our man Daniel Robertson says about him in his latest scouting report:

"Big center back, doesn't turn 20 until May and will need some apprenticeship, but his ceiling is higher than any other defender in the draft."

Consensus around the league has him going somewhere in the top five. If TFC hadn't just landed Gale Agbossoumonde, Zimmerman could have gone No. 3. And he still might.

20 December 11:53 de la mañana

Well, at least they tried.

According to our man Darrell Lovell (go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter), the Dynamo made a legit offer to highly rated defender Sebastien Ibeagha. The Nigeria-born Ibeagha is a big, bounce target pushing up on set pieces, and has played primarily as a central defender for both Duke and the US U-20s.

My take? You can't really blame the kid. The Dynamo are pretty set at center back, especially with the recent addition of Eric Brunner, and unless Ibeagha turned out to be even better than everyone thinks, he would have had trouble getting on the pitch. Weighed against a degree from one of the best schools in the country (and it absolutely turns my stomach to say that) and 20 more games in the best conference college soccer can offer (I'm retching) ... like I said, you can't really blame the kid.

EDIT: And as USL communications guru Nicholas Murray points out, the Carolina Dynamo will be very happy with this decision. Ibeagha was the PDL Defender of the Year this past summer, and the return to Duke means he's got one more summer of amateur ball in front of him. 

18 December 6:51 de la tarde

Deadspin beat us to this one, and for that, we salute you guys. With cheesesteaks.

Honestly, there's not a lot to say about this footage of the 1924 US Open Cup final between the Fall River Marksmen and Vesper Buick besides "wow." And, "I wish there was enough footage of the old ASL for Ken Burns to do one of those eight-hour documentaries that I love so much."

Oh, and, "Who says that America has no soccer history or culture?" As wotnograpefruit, a commenter on the video's YouTube page, points out: This video, which shows that the Vesper Buick players had numbers on their jerseys, predates the previously reported beginning of numbered jerseys, 1928 with English side Arsenal.   

So I guess there's actually a bunch to say about this. I love the US Open Cup. And I love that this video still exists.