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Morning Ticker: Montreal wins (again), D.C. loses (again) and Poland could forfeit World Cup qualifiers


Can anybody stop the United Soccer League?

The USL improved its record in the CONCACAF Champions League to 6-0-4 after the Montreal Impact defeated Honduran side CD Olimpia, 2-1, on Wednesday night.

Panamanian striker Roberto Brown delivered both goals for the Impact, which improved to 2-0-1 in the Champions League, good for first place in its group, four points clear of second-place Atlante, which has a game in hand.

So did MLS finally break out of its own winless rut in the Champions League? Not so much.

D.C. falls to Cruz Azul

Desperate to turn around its recent rut in MLS play, D.C. United benched several key starters in its CONCACAF Champions League match against Cruz Azul at RFK Stadium on Wednesday. The result was a predictable 1-0 loss to the Mexican club, a defeat that dropped D.C. to 0-3 in the competition, and Major League Soccer to 0-6-3 in the tournament.

With Jaime Moreno the only D.C. star in the lineup (He is set to serve a two-game MLS suspension for the elbow sandwich he delivered to the face of FC Dallas midfielder Andre Rocha) D.C. kept Cruz Azul off the scoreboard until the 56th minute, when Mexican youth international Cesar Villaluz mis-hit a shot that ricocheted off teammate Pablo Zeballos before bouncing past D.C. goalkeeper Zach Wells.

Poland could be forced to forfeit qualifiers

FIFA has warned the Polish government that if it does not re-instate the country’s soccer assocation, Poland could be forced to forfeit its upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

For those who missed the story earlier this week, the Polish FA was suspended amdist government investigations over corrupution connected with the country’s hosting of the 2012 European Championships. The FA has been replaced by a government-appointed administrator.

What does this mean? It means Poland could wind up surrendering 3-0 forfeit losses to the Czech Republic and Slovakia if the matter isn’t resolved by the FIFA-imposed Oct. 6 deadline. Poland is currently tied for first place with Slovenia in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying Group Three with a 1-0-1 record.

Zenit St. Petersburg fumes at bribe claims

Reigning UEFA Cup champions Zenit St. Petersburg have categorically denied a Spanish media report that claims a German judge is looking into ties between German club Bayern Munich and the Russian mafia, ties that suggest bribes may have played a part in Zenit’s 4-0 UEFA Cup semifinal victory against Bayern last spring.

Really? Bayern Munich? How do you bribe FC Hollywood when the club practically prints money in Germany?

The reports in question seem to be based on what could have been the dishonest claims of some Russian gang boss on a wire tap.

What do you think of the above stories? Has the latest Montreal win convinced you that the Impact are actually a very good team that could hold its own in MLS? Is D.C. United doomed to have its year end early? Do you really think there’s any truth to the Zenit bribe claims? Think FIFA would really force Poland to forfeit World Cup qualifiers?

Share your thoughts on these, and any other stories from the morning, in the comments section below.


  1. Corruption can’t be legislated away because in a truly competitive system humans will seek all means to achieve the ends.

    The only way to get rid of corruption is firstly, to recognise that everyone is capable of it (especially ourselves) and secondly, to make sure cheats don’t win.

    In a truly competitive system there are no short cuts, so if you make sure you are the best you can be you can have no complaints because – whatever the result – you’ll earn your true level of respect and be able to stand tall. If you cheat you will be found out and your reputation will be tarnished because only the truth survives.

  2. What does the MLS results send to the “Eurosnobs”?

    Was it MLS or USSF top execs who mentioned that converting “Eurosnobs” is important?

  3. More lame MLS excuses. More “surprising” USL results.

    Like USL teams are rich. Like they have $4 mil annualy to drop on salaries.

    It’s old and tired…

  4. I can not really think of any good reason FC Bayern would accept match fixing to forgo a UEFA Cup trophy.

    The team went out in the offseason to sign some big name, expensive players in order to make major improvements and win some hardware. This was their chance to bring home a significant trophy outside of the Bundesliga. There is a major desire of the club to be one of the top in Europe and I just can’t imagine they would give up a European prize.

  5. I really wish someone would take FIFA down once and for all. I get so tired of the type of corruption throughout the international game it’s just disgusting.

    I’d love nothing more than to watch Jack Warner or Seth Blather go to jail.

  6. No Playoffs??? well to quote one senator thats just un AMerican!!! jokes aside thats what makes this league great, and no offense but at the end of every english, or even spanish season if your not in the big 4 what are you playing for? UEFA Cup? really? The only problem I see with the teams that make the international games from MLS is that the coaches are not preparing there reserves. end of story. If the guy is on your team then why doesn’t he play? you can talk schedule all you want if you don’t have faith to play a guy so you can rest a starter then why is he there? I can’t wait til next year to see the crew, chicago or even rbny they are built for both international and mls. Im sorry DC went against their culture and went and got foreign players and they look like crap, I think last night is the best I’ve seen the team play in a while, without all the baggage of the overpaid internationals.

  7. MLS needs to lose the play-offs… period. Would allow for a proper fifa aligned schedule. Make the MLS cup during the season, preferably mid-week matches and we’re on to something. It’s who wins the league that’s truly important, not who wins the cup.. Lose the play-offs and allow teams to concentrate on league play, Champions League and Super Liga.

  8. George, Brown was cut from the Rapids last year, not several years ago. And keep in mind who the coach was at that time. The ways of Fernando continue to be an enigma.

  9. CD- i like the idea :D… perhaps it should be submitted… but what of Chicago (best buy) and Crew (glidden) (ssp??)… free electronics and paint?? if so i see alot of DEVS in columbus opening up some painting businesses 😀

  10. Brett,

    If you are DC United why can’t you add a free VW to your cap for each player? 20k + a Passat each year, not as bad a deal for developmental players. 🙂

  11. GIMMI – true.. and heres another question… why cant the league take the millions made on jersey sponsorships and push that into the cap?? i mean, every team should push to find some company to sponsor the jersey’s, then you’d have an additional 1-2M depending on the deal per team to inc. the cap, etc…

  12. Daves Football Blog-

    You could not be more spot on.

    Its an embarassment to the league.

    Itll be interesting to see if Garber and CO ever wake up and realize that these tournaments need to be taken seriously.

    No Superliga is not included in that. Thats just a joke as well.

  13. Houston is on their own. DC is laying down in CCL because at this point it’s more important to make the MLS Cup playoffs to salvage what pride the club has left. Missing the playoffs would be a disaster for DC.

  14. I love how when a government tries to clean up the corruption in soccer FIFA, finally, is swift to act … to stop the invesitgations. Way to go Blatter!

  15. GIMMI – my guess would be the amount of money the companys offere… im guessing that the USL sides dont receive 2-5M for a jersey sponsor like the MLS sides do…

  16. i caught that too last night henry. also agree with your point that if anyone is going to make a “breakthrough” for MLS its gonna be Houston. Multiple titles, league dominance, and close to the Mexican border so chances are Mexicans see more of this team than US residents who dont live in Texas. For all the Galaxy “superclub” propganada pushing and DC’s insistence of holding onto the “first league title winners” mantle, the Dynamo is the team who positioned themselves, quietly under that radar, as the team who should be the flagship club of MLS. As much as I wish it was RBNY, its clear its Houston

  17. I was watching Contacto Deportivo Last night on Telefutura, They had a back Story on Houston being the first team to take points in Mexico. In the postgame interviews Tuca Ferretti the Pumas Coach said” I’m going to be honest with you, This Houston Team is very very good, and Honestly i like them more than the US national Team.” To me this is huge. They are going to be the first team to change perceptions of this league. Their attendance is going to show this. They are laying the seed for a great future.

    To bad MLS doesn’t see this. And wants their credibility to take a hit. Because they are “Building a Business”. its like saying hey we know we have lead in our paint but we cant change our business model because our paints aren’t doing all to well overseas. We’ll just sell lead paint here.

    There have never been back stories like this in the Media, its always Mexican soccer stories. This is actually a very big deal because of the bias that exists with hispanic media in this country.

  18. ives, got a question. Maybe it can go in a Q&A. With the success of USL in the Champions Cup, what flaws in the MLS setup does this expose? Salary Cap? Scouting? Fixture Congestion? Pay Scale?

  19. Brant: That’s because MLS is designed from the ground up to discount anything but league play. It’s like the NFL — everyone has the same salary and roster constraints, parity reigns, and everyone appears to have a legit shot at the primary reward, MLS Cup. Players and clubs aren’t compensated well for outside tournaments, so they’re not going to care about them.

    The business model keeps the league in business (according to Garber, anyway), and it certainly has a better chance of long-term survival than the NASL, but all the things that make football great in Europe — multiple competitions, powerhouse clubs, promotion and relegation, etc. — have been thrown that out in favor of a much more American approach to a sports league.

    The end result, oddly enough, is isolationism. Don Garber’s MLS doesn’t really care much about being a player on the world stage. It just wants to make its money and get on with it. The only question is how long fans are willing to live with that.

  20. Brant- i agree with you… however i will say the blame of this is on DCU for having a poor reserve side….

    taking a look at why Houston is doing well on all fronts is because they scout and recruit well… their reserves can hold their own in MLS games as well as tourny games…. i believe on their 4-4 game this week they didnt use either Ching nor Dero…

    Holden has been sitting on the bench during regular season, and if he’s not playing league, playing CL would be just as good for him and the team… its not who can throw the most money to get big name players… Houston is showing why it is IMPORTANT to create a deep team, and not so much just a starting XI….

    on the same note, i think Chicago and Crew would do well with their depth…. Houston is the ideal team to design your MLS side around…

  21. Wow, I watched that Bayern-Zenit game, I watched Zenit-Man U a few weeks ago, and also watched Zenit in the UEFA cup finals and this week caught their game vs. Real Madrid. Personally, I don’t think that team NEEDS to match fix. They are simply that explosive on offense (although they could finish better). If it was a fix, it was one of the smoothest fixes in the history of sport because it sure LOOKED good.

    Seems unlikely if not impossible.

  22. Brant-

    Youre right, prob has something to do with the players getting a paycheck for 50$ and a pat on the back at the end of it.

  23. USL teams continue to impress me. It’s a great league, great for club soccer in North America. Given their strong showing in the US Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League, I hope to see USL compete and/or interact with more outside clubs, particularly the Championship in the UK.

  24. I think this shows that the USL teams take the CCL a lot more seriously than the MLS teams do.

    That’s not to say that the USL teams don’t take their league seriously, but it does show that for MLS teams, once you’re outside of league play, the Open Cup, SuperLiga, and CCL are throw-aways. Part of that decision is no doubt made on roster depth, regardless, the MLS franchises just don’t seem to take non-MLS games seriously.

  25. I wouldnt be surprised if the Bayern-Zenit story has legs. Despite being the richest german club they really have no sellable assets. The starting team is almost all on the wrong side of 30, except Ribery, Rensing, Lahm, and Jansen. Last season they had to deal with a bloated payroll with no Champions League money to rely on, and there have been match fixing claims from the Bundesliga as recently as 18 months ago, so I can see how this might have happened. If Bayern is Jay-Z’s money, then Zenit has Warren Buffett’s , as do all Russian/former Russian republic clubs, have that oil money due to the increase of global commodity prices,to rely on when it comes to club finances. Most of them have their own Roman Abromovich bankrolling the club, financing 500 million dollar stadium projects, and cash bonuses from eveyone from the first team GK to the guy who tapes ankles pregame. Just my take on it. Any thoughts would be appreciated

  26. Montreal looked very very good going forward yesterday. They are in the middle of playing 6 games in 11 days all Champions League or playoff games so for DC fans to complain about fixture congestion is silly: they have half the burden the Impact do.

    Houston somehow who has had so many injuries the last two years continues to excel in all competitions. Montreal has as mentioned above played an incredible amount of games in a condensed period. The PR Islanders played 18 games in 50 days culminating last Wednesday against Santos.

    DC had NEVER lost to a Mexican team at RFK prior to this year’s Superliga. Now they’ve lost three times in a little over two months. Somehow DC managed to balance the CONCACAF Champions Cup, 3 games in 10 days with the MLS Playoffs in 1998. IIRC DC played something like 5 games in 12 days and I think they won them all.

    The new DC fans who whine about this stuff either don’t know the history of their team or simply like to make excuses. Really their behavior is unbecoming of being a supporter of what I always considered the single elite club in US Soccer.

  27. Once again, I don’t blame United for wanting to win in league play. A team simply can’t prosper on all these fronts with such roster constraints. Blame MLS for their rules while signing up for all these competitions

  28. It was disgusting to watch DC trot out Jaime and the no-names last night. How exactly is this tournament supposed to mean anything to fans? Caught the end of the Montreal game, missed all the goals but they looked very composed killing the game off. It’ll never happen, but makes me wish for promotion.


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