So, DaMarcus Beasley has a chance to go to Europe. So what? Why is this such a big deal? It's not like he is making a difference in Chicago, is it? If it is, you could have fooled me (0 goals, 3 assists for 3 points). Seriously, Beasley wants to go; he's ready to go. It makes sense to let him go right now. It doesn't make sense to fight over money because anything more than $1.5 million is enough to support the roster in Utah next year. I don't see the big deal.
Here's my plea: Let it happen. Don't squabble over money. He's not a $5 million player. I'm sorry, he's not; he's not even close. Give him his chance to play in Europe and let him become a $3 million player.
Given some time in Europe, Beasley will develop into the player the U.S. national team will need in two years for the World Cup. He needs to be in an environment where he's not allowed to work his way out of a slump. He needs to be in an environment where he's lower on the totem pole and needs to fight for his place in the lineup. Right now, I don't think he's being pushed hard enough. That's not a criticism of the club. The system has just put Beasley in a position where he's stagnating.
Unfortunately, we're possibly seeing the start of a bad precedent with some of its players, who seemingly play poorly to get out of their contracts, all the while knowing they're still good players. This seemed to happen last year with Clint Mathis, and though Beasley's situation appears to be similar, I would say that Beasley is handling things a little more professionally.
Also, with Beasley gone we can finally find out if Justin Mapp wants to be a soccer player. He's talented, no doubt, but if he cares at all about his career he'll jump on the opportunity to get regular time in the position he is most suited for. Mapp may be frustrated every week with sitting behind a player who isn't performing but won't get subbed because of who he is. This is Mapp's opportunity. Knowing that Beasley is gone and that the door has been opened for him, we'll see what kind of competitor he is.
The bottom line is this is a choice between progress or permanent stagnation. I would choose progress.
Another thing that ticked me off this week was Taylor Twellman and his foul on Andy Williams. That was the stupidest foul we have seen this year. If Twellman is frustrated, that's fine, but come on. Every time people start mentioning his name in the same sentence as the national team, he goes and shoots himself in the foot. This was a good chance for Twellman to get a run of games and help his club. He really reminded me of somebody I used to know. Last place is no fun, but getting thrown out didn't help anybody. Nice goals, though.
New England Revolution rookie midfielder Clint Dempsey is the best player in the league right now. How did that happen? I say, "Who cares how it happened?" as long as it keeps happening. You've got to love it when Major League Soccer finally starts producing players that are over six feet tall and can actually play. If you throw the MetroStars' Eddie Gaven in there, people might say we are starting to look like Europe. Okay, maybe not Europe, but how about Greece?
On Soccer Saturday this week:
Colorado may be the first team in the history of the league to have fewer goals than they have games played and still have a winning record. We will be covering their trip to San Jose this week on ESPN2.
For me watching Colorado this year, at times, has been painful. There are some good players over there in Denver who could be even better if they were permitted to go over the midfield line, or perhaps into the other team's penalty area. If the Rapids come out and try not to lose one more time and somehow win I will never say another word, but I have been watching and it's hard to remember the last time Colorado had more than three players in the opposition's penalty area, unless it was a set piece.
It always seems like the Rapids are just playing not to lose. My advice would be to let them go; let them play. Take the reins off them. The best teams in the league this year have been the ones who have gone out and attacked. There are some good players in the Rapids lineup and their apparent fear of losing is why they don't seem to enjoy it. When you play with that kind of mentality, the game is no fun.
The Rapids do lead the league in corners, though. If you're wondering how that happened, I'll tell you how that happened. When you are on the wing and you look up and nobody is in the box, you have three options: go back, cross it to nobody and complain or work for a corner. With Chris Henderson, John Spencer and now Mark Chung coming back it's not too hard to figure out why they have more corners then everybody.
The San Jose Earthquakes are going to test the Rapids. It is the Quakes' time to push, and they really have no other options. This is a game they have to win.
Unfortunately for the Earthquakes, they really haven't had the horses. It's been patchwork the last few weeks trying to put together who's healthy. This week, however, head coach Dominic Kinnear said, "I feel like I've got options as a coach. I've got my team back."
Kinnear has Brian Ching and Landon Donovan returning from the national team, and Brian Mullan is back after serving time for his late red card against the Los Angeles Galaxy. That foul, by the way, was the second stupidest foul this year in my opinion, but only because it was on Carlos Ruiz, who lived up to his nickname, "The Little Fish", after that foul when he turned into a flopping mackerel. Here's why I thought that foul was stupid: You need to know who you are fouling.
Anyway, San Jose needs to get on track and needs to start scoring again. The Quakes' just picked the wrong time to have to do so with this week's opponent. Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon would love to keep this thing scoreless. The 2002 Goalkeeper of the Year gets a chance to come home and do it all over again. Until they let the reins go in Colorado and let those guys play, Cannon is by far the best reason to watch, and if San Jose comes to play, he should be fairly busy.
Catch Eric this weekend as the analyst on RadioShack Soccer Saturday on ESPN2. Do you have feedback on Wynalda's feedback? Please send your comments to Wynalda. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.