First XI: All about the journey

like many others -- confrontational. He just wanted to give me his point of view. I appreciated that. Greg had a nice run in Columbus and I hope to see him back on a bench in the near future.

8. Now, with all that said, if Sigi Schmid wants the job and doesn't get it, something's wrong. And if Sigi doesn't want it, Dave Dir has certainly done his time.

7. Back to journeymen. When Ryan Suarez was picked up by the MetroStars, he became the 34th player in league history to play for as many as four teams. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the godfather of that list is John DeBrito, who played for the Revs, Metro, the Wizards and Columbus before the league had reached its fourth birthday. The list of guys who played for exactly four teams begins with Barclay (Devin) and ends with Wynalda (Eric). In between those guys, you could field a decent All-Star team with the likes of Alexi Lalas, Chris Henderson, Mark Chung, Ante Razov, Roy Lassiter and Scott Garlick.

6. Unlike many others in and around this sport, I always go soft on the refs in MLS, but I'm about to dub 2005 the Year of the Dubious PK. I'm not going to condone Matt Reis' too-easy-to-lip-read mouth, but that call on Marshall Leonard was suspect. As for what happened at the end of that Galaxy-Rapids game a few weeks back, one word: Wow.

5. I believe Amado Guevara has gone to the 'keeper's left on a penalty one time in his MLS career. I also believe that one time was a year ago, when he went that way on Kevin Hartman. The Galaxy 'keeper must have had that on his mind last Saturday when he made the move to his left when Guevara stepped up to strike his spot kick. Here's guessing the next 'keeper to confront Amado goes right.

4. More amazing to me than Mathis' goalless streak is the fact that in his last 38 MLS games (40 including playoffs), Mathis has four assists. Ten players in MLS have five or more assists this season. Needless to say, it has not been a good run for Cleetus. Maybe that free kick goal gets him going. Again, going off memory here, but I do not think Mathis had scored directly from a free kick since the 2002 season.

3. Speaking of RSL, they'd better bring their "A" game to Minnesota tomorrow night or their first venture into the U.S. Open Cup, or they're going to have some explaining to do to their fans. I'm not saying that dropping out of the tourney to a USL team is that bad, but when you're trying to sell yourself as Major League Soccer in a new market, you'd best not be losing to a minor league team. Sorry to put the pressure on you guys, but it's true.

2. Back to the theme of this column. Eight players have played for five or more teams in the history of MLS. Of course, you know that Raul Diaz Arce is the kingpin of the five-team players, and that does not even include the fact that RDA was part of the MetroStars paperwork at one point. Active players on the Fab Five team include Brian Dunseth, Ezra Hendrickson and Brian Kamler. My favorite player on this list, however, is former beach soccer star extraordinaire, Zak Ibsen.

1. And finally, there is only one player in the history of MLS to play for six teams. You know him, I know him, and I'm willing to lay good odds that he'll play for a seventh, and probably an eighth team in this league before all is said and done. Presenting ... Mr. Andy Williams.

Jeff Bradley is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Send your comments and complaints (200 words or less, please) to Jeff at jbradleyespn2003@yahoo.com and he promises to read (but not respond to) all of them. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.


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