For Christmas this year, my mom bought me a cookbook. I tried to explain to her that the world doesn’t need cookbooks anymore since we have Google, but she looked at me in disgust, so I smiled and said, "Thank you" and now I have this oversized cookbook in my kitchen.
I realized the only way I would ever open the cookbook is by hosting a dinner party, so started planning one. Except I see my friends a lot, so I aimed higher: to plan a cooler party, a Dream MLS Dinner Party. I’ve spent the last week deciding who I would invite.
My table has eight seats, so I get to invite seven people. To set the scene, we’ll have bruschetta as an appetizer, a spicy chana masala with a side of cheese naan as the main course, box-made brownies for dessert, and a couple six-packs to wash it all down.
At the ends of the table, I’m putting the New York City FC duo of Patrick Vieira, and David Villa. Any good dinner party needs compelling story-tellers, the kind who can captivate everyone around the table. I always tell people about this one time from freshman year at Stanford, but I’m guessing Vieira’s anecdotes from dinners with Bergkamp and Desailly would probably rate a little better. "Tata" Martino would be another possibility, but I’m still brushing up on my Spanish, so I’ll save him for a summer barbecue.
The next two invites would go to Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore. Along with intriguing stories, every good dinner party needs drama. It’s always great when a group of the people can talk about a couple’s turmoil and revel in the awkwardness. After their melee in the playoffs, you simply can’t pass up an opportunity to get Sacha and Jozy in the same room.
Some dinner party rookies would put them next to each other, but that’d be a mistake – you need to put them across from each other. So they have to make eye contact. I’d put Sacha to Villa’s left and Jozy to Villa’s right. Vieira on the other side of the table has managerial experience and might feel tempted to take the fatherly role, but Villa would let it all unfold.
I actually have no idea if Sacha and Jozy have made amends since the playoffs, but it’s equally as fun to rekindle animosity. I always enjoy seeing two alpha-humans get worked up about completely mundane, meaningless stuff. If they walked in and everything seemed cool, my first comment to Jozy would definitely be “Man, Joz, it’s good they separated you guys. Sacha looked like he wasn’t about to take any prisoners there.” There isn’t a guy in the world who could pass up that bait.
On the other side of the table, next to Sacha, would be Roman Torres. Mostly, I just want to see how Torres eats. I want to know how he maintains his build and energy. It could get awkward if he catches me staring at him putting food in his mouth, but sometimes you need to make sacrifices for greatness.
In the last spot, across the table from me, would be Alan Gordon. I’ve always wanted to party with Gordo. I was tempted to go with Dom Oduro because he would bring pizza and sometimes I mess up my chana masala, but ultimately you just can’t pass up the chance to throw down a Heineken with a Goonie.