Photo by ISIphotos.com
Good afternoon folks. It is that time again. I bet you thought you would never see the second half of the most recent Q&A answers. It only took me a month to get back around to them, but I am committed to finishing them off this week and this is the first part of that (i think it’s safe to say there will be two more parts instead of one to cover the record-breaking number of questions).
There were plenty of good topics and question in this batch, including questions about Seattle’s expansion team, Landon Donovan and a CONCACAF Best XI.
Here they are, some more of your questions answered:
JMAC– Why no love for the Houston Dynamo? Impressive form of late in TWO competitions, first MLS side to take points in Mexico in a competitive match, love from premier Mexican league coaches, builders of one of the most impressive rosters in MLS, favorites to win the West, not to mention defending MLS Cup holders…. And nay a peep on your site! How about some love for the Houston Dynamo!!??
IVES– Fair enough Jmac. I do need to cover Houston more. I think part of the issue is that they’re so steady that there aren’t many stories about them like trades or signings. I will look to cover them more though.
GRAHAM– I’m not jumping ship or anything but just curious what are some other websites you frequent for soccer news?
IVES– I’ll say Soccernet, Yahoo and the UK Telegraph are three that come to mind.
GEOFF– I’m going to give you a trivia question that was put on world soccer daily radio show with Steve Cohen and Kenny Hassan. Name the 4 English manager’s to manage a club in Champions League play
IVES– Managers of English descent to manage in the Champions League or managers of four English clubs? I’ll say Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa are the clubs with managers who have managed in the Champions League. If we are talking English managers to manage in the Champions League, I’m stumped beyond Bobby Robson.
EUGENE T– Any word on potential shirt sponsors for those MLS teams that currently have none (FC Dallas, Revolution, Kansas City)? Keep up the great work.
IVES– I haven’t heard of any leads on those but will be keeping tabs on those this winter.
STEPH– Can a player in team Youth Academy apply for MLS Draft? … (Case Johnny Exantus)… Johnny Exantus got frustrated waiting for MLS striction & NYRed Bulls rule to add him to the senior or reserved team … So he opted to move to Belgium at the beginning of the year …. The question.. could Johnny Exantus have enter the MLS draft & made himself available to all the clubs in MLS … NBA & NFL players declare for the draft all the time … If Johnny could not enter the draft because NYRed bull will claim him .. So what .. that would force NYRed bull to include Johnny on the senior team , Trade him or let him go to another club … but to have Johnny leave MLS totally for Europe does not help the MLS … Why not allowed a player in Academy with no option allowed to enter to MLS Draft instead of MLS getting nothing for him … Letting him move to Europe with no compensation. thanks ..
IVES– Johnny Exantus could not have entered the MLS Draft. Whether that rule is going to change is another story, but allowing academy products to enter the draft would sort of defeat the purpose of clubs gaining the benefit from producing the talent.
As for the whole “let’s put him in the draft before MLS gets nothing for him and he goes to Europe” logic. Players with strong opportunities in Europe are A) far more likely to accept a European offer and B) more likely to be good enough to merit a Generation adidas contract.
RICHIE B– Great site Ives. I know you’ve done all sorts of hypothetical starting XI’s before, but I haven’t seen this one… how about the best starting XI for each region of the world? If you don’t wan to do this, I’ll settle for CONCACAF. Thanks.
IVES– Here is my CONCACAF Best XI right now:
Andres Guardado——————-Landon Donovan——————-Carlos Vela
—————————-Pavel Pardo——Julian De Guzman———————
Carlos Bocanegra—–Oguchi Onyeuwu——Rafael Marquez——Ricardo Osorio
BENCH– Guillermo Ochoa, Atiba Hutchinson, Ricardo Gardner, Shalrie Joseph, Giovani Dos Santos, Dwayne DeRosario, Rob Friend, Damarcus Beasley.
(My mistake for forgetting Rafael Marquez the first time around.
GIMMI– 1) Why does usl teams have many sponsors for each time while many mls teams cant even get one? Even if its not a big sponsor as VW for D.C., something is better than nothing, correct? 2) why is jozy not getting any playing time, I watched the one game he did play and he looked really good. Do you think European managers have some kind of bias against American players?
IVES– MLS jersey sponsorships are multi-million dollar deals. I would imagine that USL uniform advertising is a fraction of that.
WOLVER WANDERER– hi ives! great site – don’t ever stop! always curious about USL salaries…can you shed some light on them? super mick and the might wanderers…
IVES– I’m afraid I don’t know much about USL salary structures but from what I have heard they are pretty competitive, and in many cases higher, than the salaries of players at the lower end of the MLS salary scale.
JOE– How devastating will the loss of Landon Donovan be to the Galaxy next season? In response, who do you see LA going after? Second DP??? Raid another MLS team? And how much does this affect Beckham? Donovan’s been the one attacker who can play off of GoldenBalls…
IVES– Well Joe, you aren’t going to replace Donovan with anybody in MLS, and unless MLS gives teams a second DP you can’t replace him with a DP either. What losing Donovan could do, however, is allow the Galaxy to address the myriad of problems the roster has. You could take Donovan allocation and transfer funds and build a defense and sign a goalkeeper. That said, if MLS approves a second DP slot per team and/or increases the salary budget by a good amount, you can bet the Galaxy will do what they can to keep Donovan.
ROB– Love the site – visit literally 10 times a day. Was wondering if you had any updates on who we might expect to see playing for Sounders FC on opening day. I hear there are probably 5 more players from the current team going to be brought up, but what about some of the other guys who have been rumored in the past. Ching? Henry? And while I’m at it, how about who might be coaching. Are we staying local with Schmetzer or bringing someone with MLS experience like Sigi Schmid?
IVES– Hey Rob, thanks for the support. Seattle has already signed Freddie Ljungberg, Kasey Keller, Sebastian LeToux and Sanna Touray. That’s a good start. If I were a betting man, I would say players such as Josh Gardner, Leighton O’Brien, Taylor Graham and Danny Jackson will join the Sounders as well.
It is tough to gauge just how many players will cross over from the Sounders to Sounders FC because we don’t know who the coach will be. If Brian Schmetzer is the coach, then you will see players like those cross over. If it is someone one else, they may have different opinions on those players. As for potential coaches, I think it’s safe to say Sigi Schmid is a strong candidate, as is Schmetzer.
EDB– If your the Fire and a Mexican club comes to you with a great deal for an average Blanco do you take it?
IVES– I don’t think you can take it unless you have a replacement lined up. I do think the Fire is talented enough to win without Blanco, but he still brings plenty to the table so I’m not sure how unloading him for cash will help. The real question in Chicago, in my opinion, is how will you keep Wilman Conde happy? He has stated repeatedly that he wants to leave after this season.
TCOMPTON– Bruce Arena’s 2002 World Cup squad had a few "surprises", yet his 2006 squad appeared to be more conservative. Do you think that Bob Bradley will follow his predecessor’s ’02 or ’06 approach for 2010 World Cup squad? If he’s more "risky," what players do you think could be considered as "surprises" (including both green and veteran players)?
IVES– Okay, I need some clarification. When you say squad do you mean starting lineups or roster? I assume you mean starting lineups since I can’t remember that many real surprises in the 2002 World Cup roster. As for the roster Bob Bradley will call for the 2010 World Cup, I think it’s safe to say he isn’t likely to call in any players who haven’t been with the team for several games before the World Cup. Do I think we will see a good number of younger players? I think so, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see one or two of the more popular young players in the pool left out. I think there is
VICTOR STUOPYS– Ives, Luis from the Chicago Tribune was asked what his favorite goal of all time was and he said the Zidane goal that won the Champions League back in 2002. What is your favorite goal with video footage.
IVES– I hadn’t really thought about a favorite goal of all-time but one that comes to mind is Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s sick dribble through five defenders and the goalkeeper. I can watch that goal a million times:
COWTOWN– When will America see the light and realize that Nashville is producing banal, overproduced pop-with-an-accent and real country/folk/Americana comes out of Texas? Thanks.
IVES– It all went to heck when Reba McIntyre jumped the shark and started her own TV show. (kidding)
JSPOT– OK seriously when DC got rid of Gomez over the summer I was cool with that, made sense, but then the team picked up a high maintenance injury prone disappointment. (To handle the increased international fixture schedule?) I digress, so this situation reminds me of a scenario in college lets call the grass is greener, its like dating a cool chick that you met before you started lifting in college, not the hottest but she’s been there for you and instead of going to meet her parents and become real serious ya dump that chick for a hotter model thats got tons of issues and voila (parents are crazy, she has a yippie dog, she bangs a friend of yours…) the question how did no one say this might end badly for United especially with the debut of the mighty Quaranta/Simms midfield. ps simms has to be the unsung hero (if any) of this DC united team.
IVES– What needs to be remembered in all this is that Christian Gomez was out of contract and was looking for a two-year guaranteed contract at max non-DP money (400K per year). D.C. United wasn’t interested in that because it felt it was risky giving that kind of contract to a player of his age. That specific decision turned out to be true. Where D.C. went wrong was in finding a poor alternative when the Juan Veron deal fell through. Gallardo had a history of injury issues and he was coming to a very physical league. It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that he couldn’t stay healthy.
EASTLACHIVA– What is the likelihood that you’ll be doing a podcast or radio show? Who’s might be coming to the MLS in 2009?
IVES– I’ve probably spent six months wanting to do a pod cast, but finding time to get that project started hasn’t been easy. I would say that you can expect a pod cast to be part of SBI come 2009, if not sooner.
TCOMPTON– What’s happened to John O’Brien? Is he out of the game completely? Practicing with a squad? Coaching? I think he would be a great former player to help an MLS side to develop their Youth Program.
IVES– He’s out of the game as far as I know. I heard he was working in the real estate field. Not sure if that still applies. He remains the Howard Hughes of American soccer and I would love to tell his story.
DJDJCountess– 1. In light of the (exaggerated) Crew to LV talk, is there any chance the league would move any team once they put down a SSS? 2. MLS: The Musical. Great idea or greatest idea? You’re the best Ives, keep it up!
IVES– 1. Doesn’t make much sense and I think it would set a precedent MLS couldn’t afford. If a team left a city with a soccer specific stadium, all future potential homes for new soccer stadiums would face heat from opponents who could point out how MLS built a stadium and then left a city behind anyway. 2. MLS: The Musical. Terrible idea.
CHICAGO MILLONARIO– Hey Ives, love your site, keep up the great work. What would be your thoughts on MLS adopting the Mexican league playoff format? And if you could 86 one of the competitions MLS clubs currently play in, (Superliga, CCL, Open Cup) which would it be and why?
IVES– While I do find the Mexican playoff format intriguing, both the fact that there are basically two seasons a year and combined performance in previous years factors into relegation (not that MLS would have promotion and relegation) I think having one full season a year is fine and the current playoff format is okay.
A.S.– Ives, Love the site. Regarding Canadian MLS teams (currently TFC, but potentially others), I think a big obstacle to success is the rule that only allows Canadians to qualify as "domestic" players (hence Americans are counted as foreigners and subject to the roster limit on foriegn players). Obviously, this means that there isn’t a level playing field between the US teams and the Canadian teams – which will be exacerbated if additional Canadian teams are added to the league. Why does MLS have this rule with respect to Canada? Is there some reason that MLS could not make the rule such that, for all MLS teams, both Canadians and Americans count as "domestics". I suspect something to do with the soccer federations, but I wondered if you knew.
IVES– I can’t say for sure but I think the rule is something the Canadian Federation would want in place in order to guarantee a certain number of slots for Canadian players. I think that’s something you want if you’re the Canadian Federation. That said, I think you need to reduce the number if and when one or more Canadian teams join because there just aren’t enough available top Canadian players to fill that many slots (there is plenty of talent out of Canada but a lot of it is already in Europe).
RYAN– The biggest weakness is the US’s pool seems to be on the wings. There’s an aging Lewis and Beasley. After those 2, any other wings would have to be there out of position. Is there anyone outside of Robbie Rogers in the youth system that could make their way to South Africa as a winger?
IVES– As far as pure wingers, there just aren’t many standout prospects coming through the ranks. Rogers is a left wing option while Jeremiah White is a right wing option. As far as younger candidates, Sal Zizzo can’t be forgotten about as a potential right wing option. Lee Nguyen is still working his way up as a right winger as well. The left side is a bit thin at the moment, especially if Brek Shea is going to be changing positions and becoming a defender. I will look to identify some of the younger wing prospects in the youth ranks in the near future.
DREW-ROC– What’s stopping Red Bulls from signing a deal with a USL2 team to take on Academy players? Who play a season or two and then sign with RedBull once ready? The club Exantus is rumored to join in Belgium can’t be any better than a USL2 team!
IVES– Drew, the Red Bulls couldn’t have Exantus under any sort of binding contract in your scenario so how would that work? MLS isn’t going to allow teams to circumvent the salary cap or the roster limit.
VICTOR– What is happening to USL’s Seattle Sounders next season when MLS gets their own? will there be two Sounders teams in the US? Also how many hours per day do you spend on your blog? SBI comes across to me as one of the more professional blogs on the web whether it be sports, streetwear, or music related and I was just wondering how much work goes into this blog thats seemingly only run by a handful of people.
IVES– As far as I know the USL Sounders will cease to exist once Sounders FC begins. As far as how much time I put into the site, I really don’t keep track but a typical day can start as early as 7:30am and can go through until late at night, with breaks in between obviously. If I had to guess I would say it’s a 50 to 60 hour a week endeavor, but that’s a guesstimate.
ALL NATS– What is your opinion of going retro and naming NYC’s second team (whenever they might get it) the Cosmos? I know they would have to buy the rights to the name, but I remember reading an interview with the guy who owns those rights a while back, and he said he would be interested in making the Cosmos a part of the MLS. I would love to see it happen, and I’d like to hear your take on it.
IVES– Well, I think the NASL past should stay in the past. I actually know the person who owns the rights to the Cosmos name (Pepe Pinton was the men’s soccer coach at Ramapo College when I went to school there) and I can’t imagine him letting a New York franchise using the name without getting paid a considerable amount of money. When a Queens-based New York team joins MLS I think it should avoid using the Cosmos name.
DAVID J– Ives, Thanks for all your hard work on this site. Two questions: 1) We’ve seen some CONCACAF games recently on fields that appeared to be poorly lighted, at least on TV. Is there a minimum lighting standard from FIFA along with field dimensions, etc.? 2) Any idea why GOLTV dropped "American Soccer"? Low viewership? Too expensive?
IVES– 1. I don’t think there is a minimum lighting standard set by FIFA (the USA qualifier in Cuba would have to be the minimum and that was pretty damn low). 2. As you may know, GolTV operates as a Spanish-language channel and English-language. From what I hear, the station’s operators didn’t think enough of its viewers were interested in the show (since it wasn’t exactly a show that would draw viewers to the Spanish-language version of GolTV. It’s a terrible decision and the end of the only show of its kind. Whoever runs GolTV is going to wind up regretting that decision in the end because it has and will continue to cost the station some of its best talent.
COMETOPAPA– Just who are the members of the USSF Board of Directors? Names please. Also, who is Steve Kelly? He seems to be everybody’s agent (Check out Yanks-Abroad quotes). Is this a real person or a figment of somone’s imagination? I tried googling him and have been unable to find anything. I have seen him quoted on Subotic, Spector, Lichaj, et al. Gotta be a joke, no?
IVES– The USSF Board of Directors are: Sunil Gulati, Mike Edwards, William Goaziou, Dr. Robert Contiguglia, Paul Caligiuri, Linda Hamilton, Peter Vermes, Don Garber, Kevin Payne, Brooks McCormick, Jim Hamilton, Larry Monaco, Mike McDaniel, Burton Haimes, Carlos Cordeiro, Fabian Nunez and Dan Flynn (non-voting member).
Steve Kelly is an agent, but I wouldn’t say he represents an inordinate number of American players. I can think of at least thee agencies that represent more players. Kelly has long had strong ties to the U.S. Under-17 national team residency program and has established a pipeline to top young talent that way and he does have a good number of players playing in Europe.