Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Arrgh Interruptus: Soccer

From today's Guardian:

Blackburn are close to signing the PSV Eindhoven and Holland defender Andre Ooijer, 31, although the manager Mark Hughes is struggling to hang on to the New Zealand centre-back Ryan Nelsen. Portsmouth are believed to be ready to pay about £5m for him and to double his weekly wage to about £30,000, but Rovers have made him an improved offer. The Fratton Park manager Harry Redknapp has also registered an interest in Ooijer.

"Portsmouth is still going on and it's with the suits at the moment," the 28-year-old Nelsen said. "There's some interest there but I don't know where things are at. We are just at the talking stage with Blackburn about a new contract. It's nice to think that someone thinks you are all right but you have to put that out of your mind."

Blackburn has top four aspirations. That they wouldn't pay up to keep Nelsen puzzles me.

* * * *

New York Times article on Arena's first day on the practice field with Metros:

Perhaps the best news Arena received concerned the veteran midfielder Youri Djorkaeff, who left the team more than a month ago and went to France to be with his ailing mother. Djorkaeff caused a stir when he was shown on television at one of France’s games during the World Cup. The team issued a news release expressing its displeasure.

“Today he was about the best player in training,” said Arena, who is also the team’s sporting director. “With the time off, he’s not where he needs to be, but he will play himself into form.”

Djorkaeff said that he thought about not returning to the team, but that his mother’s health had improved. “I want to finish well,” said Djorkaeff, who has said that this will be his final season as a player. “I want to be here.”

Arena said the Red Bulls were expected to sign the Ukrainian midfielder Dema Kovalenko by the end of the week. Although the Red Bulls have money available under the league’s salary budget, the transfer period in Europe ends Aug. 15, which could make it difficult for the club to obtain a marquee player.

Unless MLS has changed the schedule, that August 16 game is against DCU, not Houston.

* * * *

I didn't see the MLS-Chelsea game except for the last ten minutes (and Cannon looked very good), and I didn't see the post-game antics, but when I saw this picture on MLSnet:

I thought, Figgety, what's with the hoisting of a trophy? Ives Galarcep gives the good gripe:
When will the league, its players and its fans stop trying so desperately to gain approval from the segment of the soccer-loving population in this country that just doesn't care much for MLS? That is what Saturday's desperate display of "Hey, we really are a good league" was about. It was about players who have heard over and over how inferior MLS is compared with Europe's top leagues and about league officials who know full well there are far more people in the United States who follow European soccer than follow MLS.
This is exactly right: act like you belong and eventually you will or you won't.

* * * *

Kinney, over at DCenters, analyzes the State of the League utterances of Dan Garber and speculates on the ramifications for United. Garber did admit the obvious, the end of the balanced schedule with the addition of Toronto next year. I realize I care about this more than every other human on planet, and I realize the impossibility of a balanced schedule in a league with an odd number of teams, but crap.


Anonymous left cross said...

Seems to me that Blackburn to Pompey is a move down in class. Guess it's about the $$$$. As it should be, I suppose.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Landru said...

Why is an unbalanced sked, for one year, such a huge problem in the Dogscheme? Save yourself the agita and go back to figuring out how to strap a bim to Dema's ass.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does an imbalanced schedule matter in a 32 week pre-season? If they go to a table format then I'll worry. And hey, it's good for a DCU roadtrip to north of the boarder.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous bdr said...

If the Supporter's Shield winner is going to get a place in CONCACAF Champs League (or whatever it's called), then an unbalanced schedule might reward a team that played a softer schedule.

I realize that now it could be argued that with an imperfect balance like MLS now has (with all teams not playing all other teams an equal number of times), it could be argued that DCU is advantaged over FCD b/c the East is "easier" than the West.

And as I say, I'm aware that for whatever reason I think about this more than others. Maybe it was that strat-o-matic baseball league I created when I was eight.

4:52 PM  

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