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05 June 11:09 de la mañana

Régulièrement, je me réjouis de voir des joueurs de l’Impact montrer leurs efforts pour apprendre le français - sur Twitter, notamment. En revanche, j’ai abandonné l’idée de suivre en français les activités de l’Association canadienne de soccer.

L’ACS n’est pas amie avec la langue de Molière. On en eut une nouvelle preuve avant Canada - États-Unis. L’hymne national, Ô Canada, fut chanté entièrement en anglais (quelle idée de le chanter, alors que presque partout ailleurs, on passe la version instrumentale). On ne nous a même pas offert de réaction en français du Québécois Samuel Piette, pour ses débuts en équipe nationale à 17 ans (bravo à lui, en passant).

Un compte Twitter en français quasiment à l’abandon depuis fin mars, des communiqués trop souvent mal traduits ou écrits dans une langue approximative, un site Internet (en réfection, certes, mais ce n’est pas le meilleur moment) qui nous renvoie sur des textes en anglais même si on s’évertue à cliquer sur « français » : c’est indigne d’une organisation de cette envergure dont les employés ne rechignent pourtant pas sur les efforts.

En même temps, comment lui reprocher de délaisser le français alors que les médias francophones n’accordent pas à l’équipe nationale l’attention qu’elle mérite ? Pas une chaîne n’a daigné présenter en français le match du centenaire de la fédération sportive qui compte le plus d’affiliés au pays, dans la discipline la plus populaire au monde…

Dans un tout autre ordre d’idées, les huitièmes de finale de la Coupe des États-Unis se joueront ce soir. De nouvelles surprises à l’horizon ? C’est à suivre sur mlssoccer.com.

29 May 5:03 de la tarde

Schellas Hyndman is not a man worth messing with. Fortunately for MLS fans, comprehensive video backing that assertion up pops up from time to time.

The latest proof that pushing Hyndman too far is a terrible, no good, very bad idea comes from this video of the FC Dallas manager dropping a grown man to his knees with barely a touch. Hyndman was taking part in a radio interview that turned from soccer to, apparently, submission moves, prompting the black belt to demonstrate on one of his interviewers.

In case you were unaware of the former SMU head coach’s martial arts prowess, read this story from 2008 detailing Hyndman’s upbringing and eventual status as a master of self-defense. It’s fascinating stuff.

And in case you need further proof, here is a well-worn video that cements Hyndman as MLS’ toughest head coach (you can skip ahead to the 16-second mark).

05 May 9:48 de la mañana

Feliz Cinco de Mayo a todos! 

There haven't been too many Mexicans to grace the fields of MLS, but there have been some very good ones.

KickTV's Jimmy Conrad counts down the Top 5 Mexicans alltime in MLS. 

20 April 4:43 de la tarde

Vaya semana para hacer pronósticos…

Nos enmudecimos la jornada anterior pero regresamos en esta fecha para desafiar al futuro y predecir lo que ocurrirá en los partidos de la Jornada 7 de la temporada regular.

El Gringo Simon Borg tuvo algo de suerte en la Jornada 5 y nos ganó a todos, mientras que Kristel y yo tenemos que desempatar esta semana. Carlos por su parte... pobre Carlos.

En fin, los verdaderos expertos son ustedes, los aficionados, así que como siempre esperamos que también nos den sus predicciones en los comentarios abajo o por Twitter en @Futbol_MLS.

Deséenme suerte, y los dejo con esto:

ESCUCHA: El Matador Luis Hernández opina sobre la suspensión a Rafa Márquez  

Semana 7

Partido

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

Simon Borg
Editor Senior

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

TOR v CHI
(Sab, 3:30 ET)

EMPATE

CLB v HOU
(Sab 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

COL v LA
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

VAN v DAL
(Sab, 10 ET)

EMPATE

CHV v PHI
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

EMPATE

SJ v RSL
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

POR v SKC
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

DC v NY
(Dom, 6 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

Correcto/Total

 

2/8

 

 

2/8

 

 

1/8

 

 

5/8

 

 

06 April 5:23 de la tarde

New England Revoltion derrotó como visitante al flamante campeón de la MLS, LA Galaxy. San José hizo lo mismo en Seattle. Vancouver Whitecaps sigue invicto y no ha recibido un gol en contra hasta ahora… esta temporada ha sido simplemente impredecible.

Aun así, vamos a tratar.

A partir de la esta Jornada 5, el grupo de Tiro Libre: Kristel Valencia, el Gringo Simon Borg, nuestro productor (e incansable fan del Arsenal FC) Carlos Rodriguez, y yo ofreceremos nuestras predicciones de los partidos a jugarse cada fecha.

Tendremos aciertos y tendremos fallas, pero los invitamos a que nos acompañen en esta travesía y nos den sus predicciones cada semana por este medio o por Twitter en @FutbolMLS.

¿Quién será el Walter Mercado del fútbol?

ESCUCHA: Víctor Bernárdez (SJ Earthquakes) y Olman Vargas (Columbus Crew) en Tiro Libre

JORNADA 5

PARTIDO

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

El Gringo Simon
Editor Senior

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

MTL v TOR
(Sabado, 12 ET)

CLB v NY
(Sabado, 3 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

SKC v LA
(Sabado, 4 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

SJ v VAN
(Sabado, 7 ET)

EMPATE

DC v SEA
(Sabado, 7:30ET)

EMPATE

RSL v COL
(Sabado, 9 ET)

POR v CHV
(Sabado, 10:30ET)

EMPATE

Correcto/Total

 

3/7

 

 

3/7

 

 

6/7

 

 

2/7

 

 

05 April 7:50 de la tarde

Not many MLS players are the focus of a documentary, let alone lend their first name to the film's title.

Kei Kamara is one of the few (only?) to have that honor. Copper Pot Pictures chronicled his return to Sierra Leone for a Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and life in general for a short documentary called KEI.

In the filmmaker's own words:

KEI is a short documentary about Kei Kamara, a forward for Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City. Set against Kei's return to his native Sierra Leone for a critical match with his national team, the film relives Kei's epic journey from refugee to soccer star.

Check out the trailer below, and visit the official website for more information and additional clips.

02 April 11:19 de la mañana

NEW YORK -- Giorgio Chinaglia died on Sunday.

Younger and newer soccer fans in the United States probably know nothing about Chinaglia. On Wikipedia, they can learn that he scored 242 goals in 254 games for the New York Cosmos, 98 goals in 209 appearances for Lazio, and earned 14 caps for Italy (including two in the 1974 World Cup).

On YouTube, they can watch his famous assist on a Fabio Capello goal against England at Wembley from 1973 (below). And on Twitter and various blogs, they can discover his famously prickly personality, the one that dared to criticize Pele and in all seriousness said things like: "I am a finisher. That means when I finish with the ball, it is in the back of the net."

But what you can't learn from Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, or Twitter is the symbolism of Giorgio Chinaglia. He was a living symbol of the efforts made in the 1970s and '80s to make soccer a major sport here. Sometimes, he seemed like a ghost of the NASL's bittersweet run, but he was always there, carrying the banner of the game's past that eventually gave rise to the its present. 

Unlike Pele or Franz Beckenbauer or Carlos Alberto, Chinaglia remained in New York after he retired from the Cosmos. He didn't just pick up and move on when the money ran out on the NASL. Instead, he stayed, worked in the game, did some TV analysis (including his legendary head-to-head on-air battles with Eric Wynalda during the 2002 World Cup), and c0-hosted a radio show on Sirius XM with longtime friend and soccer executive Charlie Stillitano.

And because of all of that, he was one of the most visible flagbearers for the NASL's ongoing legacy.

MLS, early in its existence, wanted nothing to do with that legacy. The league was meant to be a break from the past, a new venture, one that would not fall into the same patterns and turn down the same dead ends that the NASL did.

But in recent years, MLS' mindset has shifted with regards to the NASL and the past in general. The Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Portland Timbers all chose to fully embrace their NASL histories, right down to the clubs' names. This year, the San Jose Earthquakes -- who likewise adopted their NASL moniker -- celebrated their past by putting historic images on their season tickets. And, of course, there is the on-again, off-again New York Cosmos resurrection.

To me, the remembrance of things past is vital to the success of the present and the potential of the future. I enjoy both watching MLS matches and sporting my Detroit Express t-shirt. It reminds me that, no matter what people around the world say, soccer is not a "new" thing in the US and Canada. It's been around for a 100-plus years.

I believe that Giorgio Chinaglia died appreciating that history. He was just waiting for the rest of us to appreciate it too.

31 March 12:24 de la tarde

Leave it to Jimmy Conrad to liven up media day, a normally subdued affair defined by the same five questions and lots of fringe players waiting patiently for someone -- anyone -- to meander over and stick a recorder in their face.

Conrad and the KickTV cameras made their way to Red Bulls media day a little more than a week ago to ask the hard-hitting questions normal journalists don't have the courage to ask. You know, things like whether Victor Palsson prefers yogurt or cereal. I won't give anything else away, other than to say Thierry Henry wasn't particularly amused by Jimmy's line of questioning. Seems to be a theme there.

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I had the pleasure of being on the other end of the microphone during media day a few years in Kansas City when Conrad was still knocking heads in MLS instead of cracking jokes in front of the camera. Let me tell you, it was nothing like this.

30 March 6:03 de la tarde

The US Olympic team may have crashed out of the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament earlier this week, but Kansas City is still going to be a happening place for soccer this weekend. And I'm not even talking about Mexico vs. Canada or Honduras vs. El Salvador.

I'm talking about Budweiser Poolball. If you haven't heard of it, which you probably haven't, check out the video below. As someone who enjoys the occasional game of pool and takes any opportunity to kick the ball around, this is a beautiful marriage of footy and nightlife entertainment. Kansas City had the good fortune of having a couple of these tables set up around the city on Thursday and Friday for the lucky residents to enjoy.

If you gave me a day to mess around on one of these tables, if that's the right term, without limit, I would ask for three. Seriously. It's that awesome. I'm sitting at my desk imagining trick shots, seeing-eye combos off the rails and chips cross table. The possibilities are literally endless.

Even more intriguing, what if MLS organized a Poolball tournament around All-Star Weekend? Who wouldn't want to watch Dwayne De Rosario and Graham Zusi go head to head? Thierry Henry vs. David Beckham?

19 March 6:02 de la tarde

You probably read that headline and thought... I bet he's talking about the record-breaking crowd that packed Olympic Stadium on Saturday. Or maybe what it all meant to Davy Arnaud, the Impact's captain and goalscorer.

You'd be wrong.

The moment that will stick with me the longest came on Friday evening. Not a soul was in the stands. The game itself was still almost 24 hours away. Chicago were winding down their training session, meandering to the benches as a contingent of 20 or so members of the Fire's Section 8 supporters group waited by the sideline to glad hand and shoot the breeze with the guys they were there to see play the next afternoon.

Waiting with them was a seven-year-old boy from Ottawa named Ethan Stroud. Wrapped tightly around his neck was a Fire scarf, but what really stood out was the intricate Chicago crest etched into the back of his head. While Ethan was busy talking to every Fire player who came in his general vicinity, soaking up the words and attention he recieved as he collected autographs on the back of the jersey that bore his last name and the No. 12, I spent a few minutes talking to his mother, Allison Darke.

She told me Ethan, who was born in Chicago, was adopted and that life hadn't always been this easy for the gregarious young man who rarely stopped smiling in the 10 minutes I watched him make what will surely be lifelong memories. He was born blue from lack of oxygen. He is paralyzed down part of his right arm. He hasn't let it slow him down.

He loves soccer, plays every chance he gets, five times a week much of the year. He plays on three teams. According to his mom, Ethan is the "first one in the van and the first one out of the van" when it comes time to head to practice or games.

"He doesn't have an 'I-can't-do-it button,'" she says.

His parents took him back to Chicago last July for his seventh birthday, an opportunity to visit the city where he was born. They didn't have time to catch a Fire game. That would come the next day among the 70 or so Section 8 supporters tucked in the far corner of the Big O's second deck.

At that moment, though, there was nothing more important to Ethan than what was going on around him. After Logan Pause, Dominic Oduro, Dan Gargan, Frank Klopas and the rest of the Chicago players and coaching staff made him feel welcome -- an understatement to say the least -- and signed his new prized possession, he did what any kid in their right mind would do. He ripped off his jacked and pulled the Fire's colors over his shoulders.

I walked away with the feeling that the next day's events would be special, no doubt, but nothing I did or saw that weekend could measure up to the pure, unadulterated joy Ethan got out of that experience.

Those 10 minutes reminded me what life (and soccer) should be all about. Optimism. Hope. Perseverance. Humanity. Too often, it's easy to forget that.

Then a moment like that comes along, and all it takes is a seven-year-old boy having the time of his life to deliver a reminder that what you're doing is just a drop in the bucket.