Greatest American heroes
You've got questions, I've got answers. Let's dig in ....
Despite some late-season struggles at home, I like United's chances to win jersey star No. 5 at MLS Cup XII. (I always thought the Roman numerals looked better.) Here's my quick take on the road ahead:
It would be a shame if this Revs outfit didn't win an MLS Cup during such a productive stretch over the past few years. But I think
These two aren't exactly on fire heading into the playoffs, but Chivas has shown too much grit and cohesion all season to let
Even without the suspended
East: D.C. United over New York
West: Houston over Chivas USA
If Altidore's Red Bulls fail to reach the MLS Cup final, I suspect he'll get called into his first U.S. senior national-team camp for the friendly at South Africa on Nov. 17. Like nearly all of you, I want to see how the 17-year-old center forward fits into Bradley's plans, and right now Altidore seems like a better option up front than
With national teams the process never happens as quickly as you'd like, however, and the emphasis in Altidore's first camp experience (as it was with
As for Altidore's overseas prospects, I think chances are he'll be in MLS next season unless he lights up the playoffs and a perfect opportunity comes his way. That's not a bad thing; Altidore's in a good situation in New York playing alongside Ángel and getting regular burn playing for one of the league's best coaches (
I know that the U.S. coaching staff was also looking closely at how Adu would perform in training every day, hoping that he wouldn't bring any of the attitude that's sometimes a drag on his game. (Let's just say it's probably time that Adu stops calling out
This is just me trying to read the oft-impenetrable mind of Bradley, but here goes:
None of those are really going out on a limb, but Bradley's not one of those guys who's big on surprises anyway.
The name that seems most likely is
If I was a betting man, I'd say no. Rossi clearly wants to play for Italy, and his performances with Villarreal suggest he'll get that opportunity with the Azzurri's senior team before long. Don't think the USSF hasn't been trying to persuade Rossi to go with his New Jersey-born roots instead. Bradley admitted recently that he's spoken with Rossi about it, and I was told last year that
In fact, the Galaxy had no desire to pay Real Madrid even the limited sum that would have sent Becks to L.A. for the start of the season. MLS teams' unwillingness to pay big transfer fees on the world market is only one of several reasons why we haven't seen that many DPs this season (and may see even fewer in 2008).
(All this Riquelme talk reminds me, make sure to check out this
Well, if England is your gold standard for soccer journalism, then consider me glad not to make the cut. I don't vote for the U.S. Player of the Year award, and to be frank this was one of those years that I didn't feel like any Yank really deserved it. Donovan had a brutal '06 and got plenty of criticism for it (including in this column), and his World Cup performance was best symbolized by his inexplicable pass when he had open space with the ball at his feet late in the game against Ghana.
That said, Donovan had a better year for the U.S. in '07 (admittedly not an important year internationally), and I'm still trying to fathom why some U.S. fans dislike the guy so much. Because Donovan has chosen to play in MLS instead of Europe, we may never know how good he could have been on the world stage. But he remains the best field player the U.S. has ever produced, and that's worth something.
Donovan told me on Sunday that he expects to be with the Galaxy next year. The most likely scenario is that MLS decides to give each team a second DP slot, but if that doesn't happen, then look for the Galaxy to trade for one. There's a reason, after all, that Donovan joined L.A. instead of the Earthquakes when he returned to MLS in '05. I don't see him heading back to the Bay Area.
Ask me this question again after the MLS playoffs. Arena has a history of getting a lot out of his MLS teams in the playoffs, and if New York can win a playoff series for only the second time in club history I think you could say he's got RBNY on the right track. His team has been a mixed bag this season: impressive for the first half, not so much down the stretch.
Signing Ángel as a DP was a great call, but dropping a seven-figure DP salary on
No matter how annoying Ruiz may be, you just can't assault a guy on the field the way Clark did. Ruiz isn't the culprit here. Clark is. And while I do find it odd that Clark's suspension was more severe than
Hmmm ... any chance you're referring to the
Welcome back to the postseason, Jimmy! (Good thing you never had to wear the Toucan Sam rainbow-sleeved Wiz get-up K.C. had back in the old days, or it might be hard to take you seriously as a fashion arbiter.) Anyway, just as a playoff incentive, if you and the Wizards reach the MLS Cup final I'll promise to wear a rainbow-striped ascot this time around.
Simple answer: Hell, no. From the moment Solo criticized then-coach
The fact is, if Solo had kept her yap shut she would have been seen universally as the victim of the worst choke-job decision by a coach in U.S. soccer history, and instead we'd be talking about the real issues at hand: how the U.S. can catch up the ground it has lost to Brazil and Germany, and which coach is the best choice to lead this team forward. (In the wake of Ryan's departure on Monday, the Swede
Clearly Solo screwed up by criticizing her teammate. By any measure, though, the team's decision to blackball/scapegoat Solo was excessive, a collective embarrassment that raises questions about the team's leaders and calls to mind negative stereotypes of over-the-top sorority-style vindictiveness in groups of women.
An appropriate punishment would have been to suspend Solo for the third-place game but still allow her to accept her third-place medal and fly home with the team. Instead she was excommunicated in a manner that brought ugly reminders of
It's worth noting that the only U.S. player who risked her standing to provide some support for Keller was
In the wake of Solo's apology and self-imposed three-game suspension, it's a shame that Ryan never accepted responsibility for the chaos (on the field and off) that his decision caused. Nor should anyone continue buying into the notion of the U.S. women's national team as some sort of idyllic oasis free of the sports world's typical big egos and Machiavellian locker-room lawyers.
That was never the case anyway, not when even the team's legends (
And you know what? That doesn't make them bad people. It just makes them normal, flesh-and-blood human beings. Those players aren't deserving legends because of some