The Clean Sheet: Pizza Hut delivers

by being presented in its best possible package.

***

I actually got a few e-mails bemoaning the name Pizza Hut Park, saying the team had sold out. Sigh. Let me speak very slowly, because it must have been Fire fans writing those e-mails.

You want a beautiful stadium in your town? You want to keep studs like Eddie Johnson in your hometown kit? Me too. And I ain't got $25 million in my back pocket to make that happen. Guess what? Pizza Hut does. So does Home Depot Center. And if Jim-Bob's House of Kielbasa in Bridgeview does, well then let me be the first to say stick that big sausage right on the side of the building and give the lying, cheating, stealing Fire the best stadium possible.

Welcome to the world of professional sports, kids.

***

On the other hand come to think of it, they really should name a few bricks at the new stadium after me -- I have donated enough money to Pizza Hut over the years that I probably qualify as a founding backer of the stadium.

Gotta say, as a resident fat guy, I was pretty happy that the mighty Hoops sold naming rights to not only a pizza place, but a pizza place from a family of fine culinary institutions. You see, Pizza Hut is owned by a company aptly named Yum! Brands, which among other things, also owns Taco Bell and KFC. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC! That trio is like Eddie Johnson, Little Fishy and Ronnie O'Brien -- I love to enjoy them, but good luck containing all three at once, if you know what I mean.

***

I mentioned last week that I wasn't sure what we are going to nickname Pizza Hut Park, and I still am not convinced.

I received quite the flood of e-mails with suggestions, but nothing has grabbed me. I know many will be calling it "The Oven" or even "The Big Slice," but I'm just not there yet.

***

Carlos Ruiz, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

***

Just curious: After Colin Clarke leads The Hoops to the A-Roth Trophy at the end of the season, will they change the name of Frisco's county from Collin County to Colin County?

GRAB A COLD BUD (OR AQUAFINA) AND PUT YER FEET UP:

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Saturday - CHIVAS USA at REAL SALT LAKE (6 p.m. ET on The Deuce): I bought a car from a huge Chivas fan over the weekend. Mario says he loves that loco Señor Vergara, but it's time for the mother club to win some titles, and for the U.S. version to buy some new players and get its act together. Mario gave me nine months free of Sirius satellite radio (which carries the English Premier League), so whatever he says is fine by me.

Saturday - METRO at FC DALLAS (8:30 p.m. ET on Direct Kick): See, the Mighty Hoops may have had a little road bump here recently, but now they play a whole mess of their last games in the new casa. Ol' Tex is gonna start off the march to the title by serving those Mutts a heaping helping of whuppin' at Pizza Hut this weekend. Don't get any sauce on that fancy tie, Mr. Bradley.

Sunday - CHELSEA vs. ARSENAL (10 a.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel): Yes, the English Premier League season did end about 3 1/2 weeks ago and yes, it is starting up again after this weekend's Charity Shield (uh, Community Shield is it?) match.

FLICK-ONS:

You never know when you're gonna get a good scoop out here on Planet LA. The Queen and I were out for a walk in posh Brentwood when we ran into none other than high-powered soccer executress Carie Goldberg, who works for Richard Motzkin, the Ari Gold of MLS. Ms. Goldberg tells us that one of her top clients just became the first MLS player to film an MTV Cribs episode. I'd tell you which one, but she might get mad and she was there with her boyfriend, who while being one of the nicer guys you'll meet, could bench-press me with his pinky finger while fighting fires. Seriously.

She then went on to tell us how she sabotaged her boss's desk chair so that he would get a double hernia and she could get a free trip to Madrid out of it for the big game against Real Madrid on August 23. To quote the great Vince Vaughn in "Old School": Carie, have some respect for yourself. I'd sack her tomorrow, Rich.

Jeff Cunningham got yellow carded for ripping off his jersey after scoring ... in an All-Star Game? Are you kidding me?

Speaking of which, here is my response to the e-mails asking me what an MLS All-Star team beating Fulham means: absolutely nothing. That a squad of national team-caliber players can beat a Premier League bottom-dweller in its preseason proves nothing about MLS as a league, so let's give those thoughts a rest. Much like the afore-mentioned friendlies, these games are just great entertainment. MLS has some big-time players and a selection of its best should spank a team like Fulham in its sleep.

On that subject, a lot of questions being bandied about whether these international games are hurting the MLS core product. Guess what, it's a stupid question. The big boys are going to keep coming to The States, and MLS knows it. As we found out with ChampionsWorld (R.I.P.), if MLS and SUM don't put on these games, someone else will. So MLS might as well make some bucks and get their teams some international exposure, instead of just having the big boys play each other, in which case you'd have the cannibalization effect, but less positives (and revenues) for MLS and its teams. Seems pretty simple to me.

Can I get a shout-out for my hometown Minnesota Thunder for spanking Mile High Club in the Lamar Invitational? Is it still cool to say shout-out?

After the big crowd turned out to see Adunited-Chelsea last week, The Commish told The Washington Post that D.C. "is our best market, by far. It's the most authentic, the most passionate." Discuss ...

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com.


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