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Your Questions Answered (Part 1 of 4)


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Good afternoon everybody. It is time to start answering some of the questions you sent my way recently in the latest Q&A. I will be breaking up the Q&A into four segments, starting with today’s.

This batch of questions includes questions about Benny Feilhaber, the U.S. national team, the Seattle Sounders FC coaching search as well as MLS officiating. There were a few questions I couldn’t provide answers for yet, but I am working on them.

For now, here are some of your questions answered:

BECKSTER– Thanks Ives. I was wondering what the status is of Jon Spector’s recovery. Have you heard anything and what are his prospects for playing this year for both the Hammers and the MNT?

What do you think the goals for the Men’s National Team should be in 2009 so that we’re poised to make the 2nd round in 2010? Performing well in the Confed Cup? Win the hex? Win at the Azteca? Winning a friendly in Europe against a big-time power?

1)Who is the Original Winger? On his blog, he makes occasional references to having played with one current MLS player or another. But who is he, and more importantly, what is his soccer background? (Haven’t heard of his blog before the DP thing.)

2)Charlie Davies: to my mind, the most dynamic forward option USMNT currently has outside of Jozy. Seems to have it all: speed, technic, nose for goal. The Allsvenskan just might be a weaker league than the MLS, however. If you are BB, do you call him into camp ahead of Buddle (who also has talent but seems to be benefitting from playing with LD and Becks) and Cooper?

  • Sigi Schmid- 5/1
  • Paul Mariner- 10/1
  • Brian Schmetzer- 12/1
  • Fernando Clavijo-30/1

As for me going to their opener next year. i certainly hope to.

2. why were the women’s olympics soccer groups labeled group e, f, and g instead of a, b, and c? Also, why isn’t their an age limit (of 23 yrs old) for the women?

3. Not long ago, you mentioned some Prison Break lookalikes. So I assume you watch the show. What do you think of Season 4 so far?

Keep it up, love the site! 🙂

What are the chances of the Galaxy making the playoffs?

and, on a slow day, i’d like to see a feature on the best and worst refs in the league, it would be interesting.

thanks ives, keep up the good work.

YED HILL– The recent rumor of FC Barcelona establishing an MLS franchise in Miami. One, do you think it will happen? Two, Do you think it is a good idea?


  1. MIKE- Ives, any rumors about Stuart Holden going abroad (again)? He’s already been on the books at Sunderland & has Scottish citizenship, so a work permit in Britain wouldn’t be a problem. What do you see for his future?

    IVES- Holden has all the talent in the world but I feel like he can be woefully inconsistent at times. He needs to grow up a bit as a player and find that consistency that will help him make the big move abroad. I know he could theoretically move this winter but I think he needs another year in MLS.

    BIG RON,

    I always enjoy reading your news, however, I’m really puzzled by your indifference to Holden. Could you please explain what “growing up as a player” means? I am a diehard Houston Dynamo fan and Holden is not only one of the top 3 talents on the team, his performances all season have been excellent and he has outshone DeRo every time he has played central midfield. He was also one of the better US players at the Olympics despite some mistakes. We all expect him to get another call up to the US National Team soon. Have you really seen enough of his play to come to this conclusion?

  2. Here is a Revs related question…

    What allocations do the Revs currently have at their disposal? One Revs F.O. member said our allocations have expired, while another said they have not. Any clue? Thank you for your time.

  3. Ives,

    As for Eddie Johnson, don’t you think it would be best for him to return to the mls? He clearly doesnt have the confidence or technical ability to stay overseas at a high level. However he could have a lot to contribute to the mls. A young american pure striker who has proven himself already in the league could provide some flash and marketability. Plus doing well and keep fit while playing a lot could throw him back in the national team mix… what are your thoughts about it?

  4. Some of the diff’s btw USL1 & 2 are salaries, travel, and overall cost structure. IIRC USL 1 teams are supposed to play in soccer-specific parks (like Rochester and Charleston) while USL 2 teams are not required to.

    I remember them talking about the Railhawks being able to start in USL 1 b/c they had WakeMed Soccer Park (then called SAS Soccer Park) for their home stadium.

    Some teams choose to play in USL 2 b/c of money, or lack thereof. I suppose if everyone had their own stadium like the do in most European countries they’d be fine, but that’s not really the case here.

  5. this could have gone in the post about USL teams but it’s a question for ives so…


    I won’t suggest MLS/USL promotion relegation, but do you think or have you ever heard thoughts among USL folk about pro/rel within their pyramid? I could see ten-twenty years from now MLS teams locked in the top flight with a USL that could have pro/rel between USL1 USL2 to help make things interesting. Is that any more likely than the “never gonna happen” MLS/USL pro/rel?


  6. “Brant, keep in mind that Sigi’s wife and family still live on the west coast. ”

    Sigi’s hoping to get enough of a raise from The Crew for his wife to quit and move back with him. He’s said so to The Dispatch before. I think he likes Columbus, but wants the family together, and I don’t think Seattle does that any better than Columbus.

  7. Ives, for the next batch of players needing a look for the MNT, i think Rogers deserves some time. His game has really grown this year.

  8. i know that you aren’t ms. cleo ives but if you were a betting man what would you say the usmnt’s lineup will look like in south africa in 2010? this would be interesting to look back on come world cup time…

  9. Brant, keep in mind that Sigi’s wife and family still live on the west coast. Having his family in the same time zone as his job might be tempting for him, as might the prospect of building a team from scratch, similar to what is happening in San Jose. Plus, he might like seeing people in the stands for a change. 😉

  10. Brant, I probably had the odds way too high for Sigi but I do put him as the favorite to take the Seattle job. That’s just based on things I hear. Sigi is in the final year of his contract and that freedom, and his success this year, are just two of the reasons he’s a favorite to get the Seattle job. If Columbus steps up and makes it worth his while then he will stay. If not, he will be gone.

  11. Ives:

    Great idea on how to avoid penalty kicks. Something like that would work great. Would make it easier to score and would stop tournaments being decided on free throws.

  12. not more relegation talk. look, it’s not going to happen in the US. for at least thirty years that is.

    three things have to happen for promotion/relegation to actually even come close to being fair: first off, all levels must play under the same rules. We all know this doesn’t happen in the US, MLS has different rules from USL-1 and USL-2 (reasonably or maybe not reasonably, whatever) and needs those rules to create parity. Get rid of parity and the relegation games might be more interesting, but the winners would be much more predictable.

    2: you have to have well established leagues with the system in place (trust me, if you had a secret ballot vote in the EPL on relegation today, it would fail) the only people who like relegation are those who know that they aren’t at risk. one you are in the top flight, why take any chance of demotion? any chance at all? that’s a big risk.

    3: the rewards of promotion have to be great enough (and the penalties strict enough) to make it interesting. Right now, there isn’t all that much more money for a bottom level MLS squad than a top level USL-1 squad. maybe 4-5 million. in England it is closer to 90 million.

    as for the idea that a USL-1 squad can play with an MLS squad. sure, it happens. On any given saturday and all that. plus, you have a top strength USL squad against a middling strength MLS squad. For the most part, they make runs to the Semis and then run into MLS squads that actually are making a serious effort. since MLS started, only three USL squads (Rochester in 96 and 99, and Charleston this year) have made the Cup Finals. none have won. So yes, you have some giant killings, and I am sure that the odd USL team could avoid a relegation, but seriously, you don’t see USL teams beat MLS teams at full strength often enough for it not to be shocking.

    anything can, and does, happen in one game. but a season is a whole different thing. That’s why tournaments are so much fun.

  13. Ives:

    Thanks for the thoughtful response regarding getting the team ready for WC 2010.

    Let me amplify what I said at the beginning of my question. As I see it, the US has way too much talent not to qualify out of CONCACAF for the World Cup, with almost any pro-level coach. Assume that Bradley just isn’t the guy to get things done at the World Cup. There’s no way to really have an “Accountability Moment” in US Soccer, except at the World Cup, because the team will perform on its own well enough to not get the coach fired.

    Also, I believe that there are a few coaches out there that really do make the difference at the World Cup. Hiddink is at the top of that list–a guy that has gotten some of the best “jumps” in results from one tournament to the next (see S. Korea, Australia, Russia).

    I think that we’re at the point where a high quality coach will almost certainly get us to round 2, and an average coach probably won’t. Sure, the draw matters, but I want the US to perform well enough in the next few World Cups to get a seed, and we’re just going to have to deal with some groups of death along the way to get there.

    In general, I think it’s a sign that we’re growing as a soccer nation that we have a chorus shouting, “Why aren’t we doing better/scoring more goals/sending more players to the top teams in the Champions League?” If we didn’t then we’d just be another Canada. 😉

  14. IVES- It wouldn’t shock me to see a San Jose-Houston Western Conference final.


    Wow. How times have changed. Seems like just yesterday you had ’em (SJ that is) completely written off.

  15. You won’t see MLS stay from the closed-shop franchise system for a variety of reasons which have been discussed here. The size of the country, how much money the owners have invested, revenues etc. By the way, Australia’s A-League is in the same boat.

    I do recall Ives hinting at the idea of MLS being open to revoking the franchises/licenses of teams that both do poorly on the field AND have a bad stadium situation for a prolonged period of time.

    They probably would be prepared to go to 20-24 teams or even more in most of our lifetimes if the fan/business demand is there. You’ll just see more intraconference play and perhaps divisions like in the other sports.

  16. Do you think the MLS, USL-1, and USL-2 should be set up on a system that rewards performance (i.e.: promotion) and punishes poor performance (i.e.: relegation)? Having asked that, do you think MLS would ever go for it?

    I personally think it would add a lot of interest to the leagues, and definitely make games more meaningful for the teams in the bottom half of their division as the season wears on. I also think there are several teams in the USL-1 that are way better than they are assumed to be, which seems to be proven every year in the U.S. Open Cup.

  17. You really think Sigi would leave Columbus for Seattle when he just finished building that team into one that’s poised for several years of success? Outside of Schelotto, Hejduk, and Moreno, every starter is under 25, and the first few guys off the bench (Lenhart, Garey, Ekpo, etc) are just as young. That team could be set up for a 4-5 year run at beating up the league a lot like SanHoustonJose has done for the last several years.

  18. Taking all opinion/preference out of my answer, EastLAChiva, here it is:

    Yes. Because the US will qualify thru the region without a problem and since the job has been given to him, it seems a little unlikely that he will be fired if he keeps winning. That’s the short answer.

    p.s. I know you were asking Ives but I couldn’t resist.

  19. Ives,

    How about the Impact and Puerto Rico in the CONCACAF Champions League?

    What does that say to you- the seasoned/professional MLS watcher- about the state of the MLS, a league witch is trying to build it’s reputation?

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated because this is a very important subject.


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