Ramon Ramirez

A 10th season 'to-do' list

I need that for PS2, right? -- switching between games shown on the MLS Direct Kick package. I mean, come on now, I'm still single. If I can't spend a few bucks to buy a splitter and move another tube into the living room to go sports bar-style, then I should have my man license revoked.

3. Get to as many reserve league matches as is possible. I'm not sure if you share the same opinion as me, but I think a lot of these games will be just as intriguing as the first-team matches. The games will probably be wide-open since it won't be nearly as results oriented. Young players will be trying to not only impress their own coaching staff, but the other coaches around the league who are watching. Should make for some exciting action.

4. Pull off another tripleheader. One of my favorite days came two Aprils ago when I woke up on that first sun-filled morning of the spring to see an under-17 match between two of the better clubs in Region I, followed by a quick trip up Route 84 in Connecticut to see UConn play a spring match in Storrs. After a quick stop for a late lunch, I drove about 2 1/2 hours down to Giants Stadium to catch the MetroStars play Columbus in their 2003 home opener. There's definitely another one of these days in the near future. If you have any ideas for me, please let me know about them, too.

5. Be on hand for one of the Chivas USA-Galaxy derby matches. There are four of them to pick from. I'm shooting for the last one on Oct. 8, which will be the second-to-last match for both sides. The most will be at stake for that one. What will be interesting is to see the breakdown for these matches. My first guess is that it'll be about 70-30 in favor of Chivas USA, but that's for the first battle on April 23. If Thomas Rongen's club struggles during its first year, I wonder if that last match will feel like a true home game for the Galaxy.

6. Cover a U.S. Open Cup match. This is the closest thing we have to an FA Cup or an old-school Indiana high school basketball tournament. It's hard not to pull for the lower-level USL teams when they face an MLS club, as you have a bunch of teacher/coaches, real estate brokers and insurance salesman who gather in their spare time to play for a couple of hundred dollars a game trying to knock off the full-time professionals. If you're lucky, you live close enough to a place like Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C., or Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass.

7. Watch the defending MLS Cup champs at Summers. I've watched a few U.S. national team matches from Summers Grill and Sports Pub in Arlington, Va., but never a D.C. United match. It's about time.

8. CONCACAF Gold Cup/Revolution-FC Dallas. Gillette Stadium will be the place to be on July 16 when the Revs and FC Dallas, which should be two of the best teams in MLS this season, play the nightcap at 7 p.m. after a doubleheader of Gold Cup quarterfinal matches are played during the afternoon. If you live within a two- or three-hour drive of Foxboro and you call yourself a diehard, you have no reason not to be there.

9. Get to Utah. If November rolls around and I haven't got out to Salt Lake City to see RSL play a home match in its first season in the league, please shoot me.

10. Cover the All-Star Game. It's been ages since I've done this. To be honest, there have been some years when I could think of 101 things I'd rather be doing than watching the All-Star Game, never mind covering it. But that's not the case this year. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the MLS stars vs. Fulham idea is perfect, and makes the midsummer classic worth checking out rather than rolling your eyes and looking the other way.

Marc Connolly writes for ESPN.com and several other publications. This column runs each Wednesday on MLSnet.com and Marc can be reached at marc@oakwoodsoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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