When he wants to be, Bruce Arena is one of the best quotes in Major League Soccer. He’s seen it all and said it all by now, but he somehow continues to throw out one-liners with a snarl or a Cheshire Cat grin that are some of the best in the league, again and again.
But Arena might have missed some of his audience with his latest line, doled out on Friday ahead of the team’s matchup against the Portland Timbers at the Home Depot Center.
Of course the questions in Galaxy camp are in the “do-or-die” vein these days, with LA reeling a bit and stuck at the bottom of the Western Conference. So when reporters expectedly asked the requisite “panic button” question, Arena went the rarely taken “Bay of Pigs” route with his answer.
“It’s like the president who’s got the black bag close, if you’ve got to send off the missiles and stuff, we’ve got it ready in case we have to do it too,” Arena said. “It’s time for us to start winning, no question about it. Is it the panic button? No, but we’ve got to win games.”
Not a bad metaphor, right? Oh wait, you have no idea what the “black bag” is? You’re not alone.
Arena’s going a little bit old school on this one, calling out a somewhat dated reference to the “nuclear football” that’s been around since the Kennedy administration. That’s right: Arena just went all Cold War on you and you didn’t even know it.
The “black bag” is actually a 45-pound leather briefcase that follows the president around at all times, and it’s stocked with a classified nuclear war plan. It first appeared in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the government saw a need for the president to have nuclear decision-making tools at the ready, even when away from the White House.
The bag still follows the president around to this day (the instructions on how to use the football is still considered the ritual that symbolizes that change of power on a new president’s inauguration day), so Arena’s reference is a relevant one. But considering that the largest demographic of MLS fans is somewhere between 18 and 34 years old, there’s a huge chunk of folks who were born long after Kennedy stared down the Soviet Union, and most probably think the Cold War has something to do with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
So don’t blame Arena if you don’t know your history. Just be glad he didn’t compare Landon Donovan to the 1973 oil crisis.
This week, we see the antics of two Sporting Kansas City youngsters on the golf course, two ex-MLS stars share a curry in England and Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste shares his favorite movie quote.
So this is what Sporting's young strikers Soony Saad and Dominic Dwyer get up to in their spare time!? Will Tiger Woods start doing this soon?
big birdie putt, @SoonySaad checking his line haha #Clueless http://pic.twitter.com/UTQ9KlnG
— Dominic Dwyer (@Ddwyer14) April 11, 2012
US International Stuart Holden enjoys a "rubby murray" (slang for Indian food in England), with fellow US International Robbie Rogers and brother Euan Holden - who also plays professionally for Stockport County in England.
Knocked back a solid Indian for dinner with @EuanHolden and @robbierogers ! #spicy http://instagr.am/p/JSouFiLFo1/
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) April 11, 2012
Many people complain about the view from their office window - too many pigeons, construction work, etc. But Real Salt Lake's captain Kyle Beckerman can have no such complaints about the view from his "office." Wow.
Soccer w/ view. http://instagr.am/p/JP_KBCwRdy/
— Kyle Beckerman (@KyleBeckerman) April 10, 2012
Portland Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste was drafted with the 8th overall pick this year. The former UCONN standout spends most of his time on Twitter. Here he shares a classic movie quote....well, sort of.
"Back up, put the gun down and get me some Tropical Fruit Bubblelicious.............................and some Skittles!" - Bad Boys
— Andrew Jean-Baptiste (@ajeanbaptiste92) April 10, 2012
Liverpool striker and Welsh legend Craig Bellamy has always been a colorful character. Leander Schaerlaecken is eagerly anticipating a possible move to MLS.
Does anybody else think it would be really fun to see Craig Bellamy playing in MLS?
— Leander Schaerlaecken (@LeanderESPN) April 11, 2012
If you see a soccer tweet that should be included in our top five, be sure to send it to the @MLS_Insider!
Chicago Fire front office extraordinaires Brendan Hannan and Jeff Crandall dared Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro to a race.
The fastest man in MLS was so confident he'd win the 40-yard dash, he put his salary on the line. See how it ended up below:
KickTV's Jimmy Conrad gives us his list of the Top 5 most underrated soccer players of all-time (watch the video below), which by the way also includes an MLS player.
It got us thinking: Most underrated MLS player today is ...?
Everyone is going to have an opinion, but we submit to you 10 names from the current league season. Your votes will decide who's most underrated.
In honor of Friday the 13th, the players of Montreal Impact were asked what superstitions they have before game time.
Superstitions in the world of sports generally are a result of pre-game rituals which have turned into habit.
Some say athletes are creatures of habit, and if that’s true, these creatures’ habits include: 90’s hip-hop, a propensity to their lower left limbs, and gorging on Gummi Bears.
See for yourself:
It doesn't get much better than this for soccer fans in Houston -- well, until BBVA Compass Stadium actually opens its doors that is.
Just a month remains until the Dynamo become the latest MLS side to play in their own venue, which is looking better and better by the day.
Check out this local news report to get a glimpse of the club's new locker room and a handful of the views that Houston fans can look forward to on May 12 against D.C. United. Safe to say there is going to be a lot of envious fans out there.
Sans manque de considération pour les autres, deux rencontres attireront toute l’attention ce week-end : Kansas City – Salt Lake et New York – San José.
L’autoritaire leader va recevoir un de ses dauphins actuels qui compte lui ravir ses premiers points pour un duel entre formations qui aiment jouer haut et faire le jeu. Salt Lake a tout intérêt à se méfier car il a encaissé ses quatre buts cette saison sur attaque posée. Jason Kreis a d’ailleurs décidé de revoir ses plans tactiques avant ce déplacement périlleux. Pour son homologue Peter Vermes, la clef d’une sixième victoire consécutive sera d’avoir le dessus sur les deuxièmes ballons.
Pour vous mettre dans le bain, lisez le comparatif secteur par secteur (en anglais) effectué par Simon Borg.
Le choc de la Red Bull Arena sera celui des buteurs. Chris Wondolowski, qui porte à lui seul l’attaque californienne, se sent prêt à concurrencer le duo Henry – Cooper. Il voudra aussi profiter d’une défense new yorkaise affaiblie par la blessure de Conde.
Pour vous mettre en appétit, vous pourrez regarder Philadelphie en quête de sa première victoire, contre Columbus samedi en début d’après-midi sur NBC Sports Network. Et pour digérer le tout, il y aura dimanche sur Galavision le duel entre les deux équipes qui ont le moins joué cette saison, Chicago et Houston.
LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Samedi 14 avril
15h30 : Philadelphie - Columbus
16h00 : New England - DC United
16h00 : Seattle - Colorado
16h30 : Toronto - Chivas USA
19h00 : New York - San José
20h30 : Dallas - Montréal
20h30 : Kansas City - Salt Lake
22h30 : LA Galaxy - Portland
Dimanche 15 avril
19h00 : Chicago - Houston
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs ou LiveSport.tv
Oh, that Jimmy Conrad. He's had a good life on the soccer field.
He played in the World Cup.
He captained Chivas USA.
Oh, and he beat Chelsea when Jose Mourinho was their manager.
With wins over Columbus, Philadelphia and Chicago in 3 of their first 4 games to start the 2012 MLS Season, Colorado seemed to be moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, that all came to a halt this past weekend when RSL ran rampant in the second half, possibly in part to a makeshift formation.
Drew Moor played midfield for the first time since I don’t know when and Tyrone Marshall filled in as if everything was just fine and dandy. Moor played alright – with 87 touches (second most among all players), winning nine of his 13 duels and completing 44 of 59 passes (75 percent). All in all, he was quite active.
Now let’s dig a little deeper and examine some graphics produced by the Opta Chalkboards that show Moor’s presence (in the defensive third), in every game so far this season. Let’s select clearances, blocks and interceptions by Moor in Colorado’s first five games and what Marshall did when he filled in vs RSL.
You can see what Marshall did – or didn’t do – against RSL (he has #34 inside his circles), but can you pick the corresponding image for Moor in that game as well?
If you haven’t guessed which graphic represents Moor’s production from the Real Salt Lake game, it’s the top right. Marshall’s clearances, blocks and interceptions vs RSL are shown in the bottom right image.
Put together the images from both players’ vs RSL and it still doesn’t equal the defensive production Drew Moor has had in any previous game this season. Colorado has to make adjustments soon because Moor’s absence on the backline could prove to be quite costly over time.
(Image below) CBAI’s for Zapata, Marshall, Wynne and Kimura vs RSL
Playing Together? – Larentowicz and Moor’s Positioning vs RSL
As seen in the graphic below, Colorado lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Drew Moor and Jeff Larentowicz playing as duel holding midfielders.
If this was the plan from Head Coach Oscar Pareja, everything went awry. After playing around with the Opta Chalkboards, you can see that Larentowicz and Moor played much different roles. The image below shows all passes completed by the two midfielders from box-to-box – Larentowicz on the left and Moor on the right.
Larentowicz seemed to play his normal role regardless, but Moor acted as if he was told to play right mid. How do players – that start the game in similar positions – end up with completely different outcomes?
Avec sept points sur quinze (pris lors de ses trois rencontres à domicile), on ne peut pas dire que Dallas a raté son début de saison. Pourtant, trois joueurs dont on attendait une importante contribution sont restés muets jusqu’à présent.
De retour d’une saison blanche, le joueur désigné David Ferreira est à nouveau blessé. Quant au duo composé de Brek Shea et Andrew Jacobson - respectivement meilleur buteur et meilleur donneur de passes décisives du club en 2011 - il n’a été impliqué dans aucun but.
Shea, troisième au palmarès du Joueur de l’année 2011, a été absent durant la campagne américaine ratée des éliminatoires des JO 2012. Mais le milieu gauche s’est réveillé lors du dernier quart d’heure contre New England.
Le cas Jacobson est plus compliqué : délaissé l’an dernier après un début de campagne pourtant tonitruant, il n’a encore manqué aucune minute de jeu cette saison, ce qui n’empêche pas son entraîneur de déplorer son manque de régularité. Cet ancien joueur de Lorient, à la fois technique (il a participé à la Coupe du monde de futsal 2008) et athlétique, a été mis à plusieurs sauces depuis le début de l’année.
Shea et Jacobson comptent rapidement à nouveau se faire remarquer par autre chose que leur coupe de cheveux, et prêter main forte à Blas Pérez, principale force offensive de Dallas cette saison, et Jackson, que le club vient de rappeler de Cruzeiro.