First travel day under our belts as Drea and I are posted up at the Marriot Hotel in Torrance after a 7 1/2 drive from Tucson that started mid-morning on Sunday.
After a quick pit stop in Phoenix to see if we could find Steve Nash (we failed....miserably), Keros and I hopped into our Volkswagen Tiguan to make the trip West while Drea jumped into the Volkswagen Passat TDI right behind us. Fast forward one gas tank later at the Morongo Casino to fill up, I found myself wondering out loud if the Passat was missing a gas pedal with Drea pulling in a solid 20+ minutes after us.
Another good thing to know about Drea.... If you offer her some of your snacks, you might not see them again.
Going to take the crew out to see what a morning in Hermosa Beach looks like through my eyes - Coffee and Breakfast Burritos coming in hot!
While New York and Orlando have grabbed the headlines when it comes to MLS expansion talk, there may be a market that could beat both of them to the chase.
Reports out of Minnesota claim that a deal will be announced this week between the NFL Vikings and the city of Minneapolis for a new stadium. In a TV appearance on Sunday, the football team's vice president for stadium development puts Major League Soccer high on the list when it comes to the sports that the the new facility would house.
"It’s a tremendous opportunity for a multi-purpose stadium to be owned by the public and used by everyone — get NCAA basketball, major league soccer, get a Super Bowl back and get a million people a year coming into this facility,” said the Vikings' Lester Bagley.
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
Time: Saturday, 2:55 p.m. ET
The MLS Road Trip to First Kick is officially on the move.
The East Coast crew kicked off the trip on Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods outside Philadelphia, where they were joined my former MLS star and current ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman to meet and greet some fans, give away some great gifts and kick off the tour in style.
Check out the group's intro video above, and stay tuned for their Q&A session with Twellman about the upcoming MLS season, what's next for the Philadelphia Union and how he's adapted to working in the booth instead of working on the field.
Stay tuned for posts from the West Coast crew as Fox Soccer's Brian Dunseth and Drea Avent of Fox Sports kick off their trip at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson.
Unless you're a part of the ever-growing Sporting KC fanbase or stumbled on the #DearMrHunt hashtag on Twitter during the past week or so, you probably had no idea that Kansas City's 2000 MLS Cup trophy doesn't reside in Kansas City.
In fact, the trophy doesn't belong to Sporting KC at all.
The hardware Peter Vermes, Tony Meola and Chris Henderson, among others, earned at RFK Stadium against the Chicago Fire remains – and will continue to remain – property of the Hunt Sports Group, a treasured memento of the late Lamar Hunt, who owned the Wizards when they reached the MLS pinnacle at the turn of the century.
Understandably, Kansas City fans started wondering if they would ever get the opportunity to enjoy the spoils from their lone championship season in person. From that idea grew #DearMrHunt. And as it turns out, Clark Hunt was listening.
Sporting still won't own the trophy itself – retaining ownership was part of the terms agreed to by the Hunts and OnGoal when the team was sold – but they will have the opportunity to display it at Livestrong Sporting Park for the 2012 season until it goes to it's permanent home at Arrowhead Stadium.
It may not equate to ownership, but no matter how you slice it, that's a win for the fans that pack Livestrong Sporting Park from week to week.
On February 11, Team MLS/SUM raised over $75,000 to support Cycle for Survival, the national, indoor relay-style team cycling event that has raised more than $9 million in support of lifesaving research on rare cancers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
— Will Kuhns (@will_kuhns) February 11, 2012
This year's event broke all records and has provided Memorial Sloan Kettering with over $8M in funds. Every dollar raised by Cycle goes directly to Memorial Sloan-Kettering for research on rare cancers, paving the way for new, more effective treatment options.
— Lauren Lee Brophy (@Lauren_Brophy) February 11, 2012
The event was inspiring, emotional and fun, and wouldn't have been possible without the support of our friends, family and fans. A sincere thanks to everybody, and if you have interest in learning more about Cycle for Survival, you can visit www.CycleforSurvival.org.
I read an interesting Q&A on dcunited.com today where Kevin Payne says that Dwayne De Rosario is the most accomplished professional athlete in DC, and that the only guy in the greater market who comes close is Ray Lewis.
I liked that, mostly because I like solidarity, especially the kind of solidarity that leads you to make bold claims. But this raises a bigger question: Is Payne right?
In addition to Lewis — who plays in Baltimore for the Ravens, but whatever — the DC area boasts some notable athletes. The Capitals have Alex Ovechkin. The Washington Kastles of World TeamTennis have the Williams sisters. (I know, I know.) So who's the most accomplished?
First, I'm taking Ray Lewis in a landslide because I walk around in perpetual fear that he'll pop up on my blindside and destroy me. If I weren't worried about that, though, I'd probably point out that he's only won one Super Bowl and only two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, numbers which are clearly inferior to De Rosario's (four MLS Cup titles, two MLS Cup final MVP awards, an MLS MVP Award and a Golden Boot).
SB Nation is also throwing its support behind Payne's assessment, while Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post counters that Ovechkin has probably been one of the best two players in the world at points in his career, a feat which DeRo can't claim.
Of course, by that logic, Serena Williams blows the rest of the competition out of the water, because she may be the best player in women's tennis history, nevermind that the Kastles' season lasts about one month and that most of her accolades come from Grand Slams rather than WTT play.
But the fact I just spent 290 words on it means that Payne has hit on something interesting. (Everything I write about is interesting, didn't you know?) So I'll submit the question to you: Where does DeRo rank in the pantheon of DC-area pro sports?
It's one of the favorite pastimes of MLS supporters (and detractors): Figuring out where the league stands in the grand scheme of things.
Most feel it's somewhere between 10 and 15, and ESPN's Adrian Healey comes in at the upper limit of that range.
"I feel it is now a top 10 league in the world. I would say it’s right in the mix now with something like the Dutch Eredivisie in terms of the talent, the standard of play and the infrastructure," Healey told Prost Amerika on Wednesday in a must-read interview. "The only thing it doesn’t have yet is a history and a body of work, but that is coming. It has made amazing strides in just over a decade and a half."
Anyway, where do you feel MLS ranks among the world's leagues?
Toronto DP Danny Koevermans knows the secret way to win MLS Cup. After practice in Orlando, the Dutch forward spilled the beans and I have to say, not a bad idea. Who would be your secret weapon?
Got down to Tucson on Monday afternoon to finish up some future in-game spots for Real Salt Lake before taking up the analyst role alongside Allen Hopkins for the second game of the opening matches of the Desert Diamond Cup between RSL and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening.
Thursday and Friday afternoons I found myself to be incredibly fortunate to be a part MLS' Media Training, presenting to both the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake players talking about the good, the bad and the ugly of television, Twitter, etc.....
Been hearing about these rides that Volkswagen are dropping off for us to roll up and down the Pacific Coast - I'm a self admitted car geek..... From stops in LA to San Jose to Portland to Seattle, I'm personally looking forward to great games, great fans and cool interactions with all of you along the way.
If there's something (cool spots, great food, must see sights) along the way that you think we need to see - LET US KNOW!!! Drea and I are planning to roll up our sleeves and hang out as much as possible, telling as many stories as we can through your eyes.