Hello all. It is time for your latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is the second of four parts of the most recent Q&A session.
There are plenty of topics covered, from the U.S. World Cup 2010 team to MLS expansion to the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls.
Let’s get started. Here are some more of your questions answered:
MARK– Will Juan Pablo Angel be a Red Bull in ’09?
IVES– I say yes. It’s been a frustrating year for him, but with the new stadium set to open and the team having plenty of money and a DP spot to use, I think Angel will be convinced to stay.
DCU Fan– Who will be the head coach of DC next season? Will it still be Soehn, or do you see someone else in the position?
IVES– If I were the owner I would give Soehn another year because injuries have ravaged the club this year and he showed in the middle of the season that when most of the team was healthy the club could be something special. I think D.C. was doomed in 2008 when it acquired three players the Red Bulls didn’t want (Joe Vide, Francis Doe, Santino Quaranta).
What I would love to see is if Christian Gomez returns to D.C. Yes, it might sound crazy, but he wouldn’t be the first D.C. United great to leave for another team for a year only to come back (Jaime Moreno, Richie Williams)
WISPY– Hi Ives — fantastic site, keep it up. One question: although I doubt relegation would ever work in MLS due to the hefty ownership fees, what about just promotion? Why not allow the top USL-1 team each year — IF AND ONLY IF it pays a one year buy-in — compete in MLS the following season? If nothing else, it may make more MLS fans keep up with the USL season. It may also bring young talented players to the USL in hopes that they will eventually get the chance to impress MLS clubs. What do you think?
IVES– Interesting idea Wispy. I just don’t think you can have promotion without relegation. I also think that promotion-relegation will come when the USL is strong enough and includes enough deep-pocketed owners for there to be a collective agreement that all teams on both levels can handle. You also need all MLS teams to be healthy enough financially and supported strongly enough to handle the potential impact of being relegated. I wish I could say that I see it happening but I don’t.
JIM– Any update on the Guyanese striker from Joe Public, Gregory Richardson. It seemed like a number of teams were interested but nothing came of it by the end of the Sep 15 deadline. Thanks
IVES– There’s no doubt that Richardson impressed but it was pretty late in the summer and I wonder if anyone was able to give him an offer worth jumping on. Considering how poorly Joe Public has played in the Champions League group stage I wonder if teams are still as interested. The last time a Trinidadian attacking player impressed MLS teams this way it was Cornell Glen after he torched the Chicago Fire for a hat-trick. He didn’t exactly work out in MLS so maybe folks should temper expectations on Richardson for now.
SEA OTTER– Good afternoon Ives. Thanks, as always, for all you do to keep us informed and for continuing these Q & A’s. My Question: Do you see a point at which leagues like the EPL, La Liga, and Seria A begin to try and reign in spending on players? Can you see a time where something like a salary cap or some type of restriction would be implemented to try and bring back a semblance of parity or to these leagues? It just doesn’t seem finacially viable, for the leagues or individual clubs, for things to continue the way that they are.
IVES– Thanks Sea Otter. Funny you mention a European salary cap considering the latest from UEFA chief Michel Platini suggesting that European leagues should consider a salary cap. Things are getting a bit out of control, with billionaires investing in the game and skewing the playing field.
FRANKIE– Ugliest MLS uniforms? Ugliest sports uniforms overall?
IVES– I’m not a fan of the VW logo on the DC uniform, but I would say the blue striped FC Dallas uniforms are a bit tough to look at. As for ugliest uniforms ever, maybe the old Tampa Bay Buccaneer uniforms, the orange crÃ¨me ones. If we’re talking worldwide, those neon blue and pink uniforms for Marseille were pretty horrid. Also, any team wearing green and yellow vertical stripes.
AMIT– What do you think MLS will get rid of first: a) The single entity structure, b) the discovery/ U.S. national team allocation process, c) allocations for salary cap use?
IVES– I’ll go B, though to be fair, I think all three will go around the same time, whenever it is they do go.
FRANKIE– When are we finally going to see a US coach in Europe? Not necessarily at a top-level, top-four league, but the Colaship, or on the continent… Could a Kinnear or a Schmid or a Nicol hack it over there? (Note: I know Nicol’s not an American, but he’s been coaching here for years)
IVES– I honestly think several MLS coaches have the tactical acumen to be good coaches in Europe but the league doesn’t have that international respect yet that will lead foreign teams to seriously consider American-developed coaches. Obviously having Martin Vasquez join Juergen Klinsmann at Bayern Munich is a milestone moment but I’m not sure when we will see MLS head coaches make the move, aside from someone like Steve Nicol.
MYLO– Have you heard anything regarding Eric Lichaj? As far as I know, he is a regular with the Aston Villa reserve team. What do you know about him? Thank you P.S. I visit this site multiple times a day and it is my main resource for soccer news. Keep up the great work!
IVES– What I know of Lichaj is that he’s a young prospect on a very strong club and I am not sure how close he is to seeing the bench, let alone the field. I think he’s someone who will have to move on to a smaller club, and possibly lower level, to get regular playing time.
FIREBALL– Top three football chants you ever heard, all time?
IVES– Aside from the two times I’ve been lucky enought to have chants sung in my honor (Once at BMO Field and once at an MISL game attended by members of ESC) Here are some I’ve enjoyed through the years:
(Ideal for any team whose club has come back from a deficit, to the tune of ‘Stand up for the Champions.’):
Two-nilll, then you (messed) it up. Two-nilll, then you (messed) it up.
(Another great one if your team just came back from a deficit, to the tune of ‘Guantanamera’):
Sing when you’re winning. You only sing when you’re winning. Sing when you’re winnnn-innng. You only sing when you’re winnnn-ing.
(Man U fans to Man City fans, to the tune of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’):
- City are you ok?
- Are you ok? Are you ok City?
- City are you ok? Are you ok?
- Are you ok City?
- You’ve been brought by
- You’ve been brought by
- A War Criminal.
I was also a fan of the TFC Massive, the chant TFC fans sing in French. It’s one of the few quality chants I’ve been able to hear up close in recent years (the product of watching too many matches in sound-proof press boxes).
I’m sure there are others. I may have to put up a post asking that same question.
FC SUFFIELD– I’ve heard alot about Red Bulls prospects Matt Kassel and Walter Hines, but I haven’t seen either of them play. However I have seen Dilly Duka and Yannick Salmon play and think that they are both quality players. Will I see you at any Rutgers games in the future considering that at one point they were all once Red Bull U20 teammates?
IVES– I need to look at the schedule to see if I’ll catch them during the regular season. I will definitely be looking to make some Big East Tournament games so maybe that will be my chance to see the Scarlet Knights.
BEN– Popculture / MLS related. Any stars film/tv/music etc who support an MLS team for real, unlike the "Brand Beckham’s Friends" ?
IVES– I seem to recall D.C. United and Real Salt Lake having famous rocker fans but I can’t remember who they were. I also remember Julia Stiles being all about the MetroStars at one point. I think Rachel McAdams is a Toronto FC supporter, which only ads to TFC’s cache as having great fans.
LANDIS– Kind of off the wall, but with the newest release on the 14th, do you ever play the FIFA videogame? If so, do you think MLS players are rated accurately?
IVES– I haven’t played FIFA since 2003 so I couldn’t tell you. I do play Football Manager when I get a chance and think it does a pretty decent job of rating the MLS players.
JUSTIN– We often hear that MLS is on par with the English Championship. Where would leagues like the Russian Premier League, The Primera in Mexico, The Eredivisie in Holland and the Belgian Jupiter League compare with the English Premier League?
IVES– Good question. As far as total leagues, I don’t think any of them can compete with the EPL, but when you talk about the best teams from those leagues and how they would fare, I think we get some sense of a comparison. For example. I think Standard Liege is a very good team that could easily be a Top Half EPL team. I also think Rubin Kazan and Zenit. St. Petersburg could compete in the bottom half of the EPL. The top four in the Eredivise would be able to battle the middle to bottom half of the EPL. Mexico is a tougher one to judge because the styles of play are so drastically different. That said. I think the top two or three teams in Mexico could be around the 12-16 range in the EPL. That’s pure speculation and totally just my opinion.
BJR– Predictions on how the season will play out for Jozy, Freddy, and Bradley. Do they get significant playing time, super subs, earn starting positions, loans, number of goals & assists, etc.?
IVES– I think Jozy needs a loan this winter to get regular playing time. I think Bradley settles in as a starter by November. I see Freddy staying as a sub this year. Monaco has some very good attacking options and he will be hard-pressed to get a lot of playing time.
CORY– At this exact moment, who do you see as our starting XI for World Cup2010 and who do you see on the bench? Also what are our forward options beside say Altidore/Donovan? Do you think Kenny Cooper or Brian Ching can make it against better opposition?
IVES– Do you mean if right now was 2010, or how do I project the lineup shaping up? That’s two very different things. I will assume you mean projecting it, so here goes:
I must admit though, it would be interesting if the national team used this lineup:
We will obviously know MUCH more AFTER the Hexagonal round so right now it’s a bit silly to try and project, especially with so many young options that could mature or regress in the next year.
ADAM FROM JOLIET– 3 questions:
1: I’ve always been an MLS fan, but never followed the European leagues much. Because of this I’m often confused about which seasons are happening when, and when UEFA is thrown in the mix I have to admit I get confused. Can you give the basic calendar of the major leagues (Premier, FA, Orange, Bundesliga, La Liga, UEFA, Mexican 1st division, etc.)
2: Do you have any take on the controversy over at MLS-Rumours?
3: Who should play up top w/ McBride on the Fire? I find Andy Herron ineffective personally.
IVES– Most European leagues (save for Sweden, Norway, Russia and Ukraine to name four) go from August to May. UEFA and Champions League run the same time.
2. I don’t know anything about it.
3. Is anybody really lobbying for Andy Herron as a starter? I would be shocked if he started in any meaningful matches. Here’s my Fire starting lineup for the playoffs:
MIKE CARAMBA– Let’s pretend Soumare gets his passport and Subotic chooses the States (more like doesn’t succeed in his quest for Germany), who do you think starts on the back line in 2010? Personally, I think Onyewu gets too much flack, particularly over his time at Newcastle. I watched almost every game he played in. Save his Arsenal disaster, I think he actually did pretty well. There was one week he was named man of the match and at least two others where he pretty much saved the game for that struggling team. I think his dismissal may have had more to do with the coaching change than his "terrible" play. Not to mention, this is a club that thought Titus Bramble was good and has seriously mis/underused N’Zogbia and Martins. Either everyone watched that Arsenal match and made too big of a deal out of it, or I was watching the wrong Newcastle/Onyewu. Rant ended (sorry for that). Sub-question: this is a tired question, but what do you think the chances are Subotic will play for us? I didn’t think this was possible (and he’s probably not entirely to blame), but this actually makes me dislike Rongen more. Wow.
IVES– I like Soumare more as a 2014 option than a 2010 option. Now, if Subotic became an option, it would make for a great trio to choose from and I don’t think it should be assumed that Subotic would step in and start. He has certainly shown a nose for goal since moving to Borussia Dortmund, but I don’t think he’s been a lockdown central defender. That said, he’s still very young and is probably better suited to be a lock starter in 2014. I would probably stick with Bocanegra and Onyewu if they’re both on form. It probably won’t matter since it seems as if he is trying to do everything possible to play for Germany.
G-LOFF– Couple of related questions. With the USL gaining some publicity this year with Seattle moving to the MLS/bids for future MLS teams/good showing in tournaments, do you see the MLS forming partnerships with USL teams to farm out younger players (outside of the occasional loan deals)? With at least one, and possibly more, USL teams making the jump to the MLS, how do you think that will affect the USL Div. 1 and 2?
IVES– The agreement you suggest is one that essentially existed at the turn of the millenium, but ended a while ago. I can see teams establishing relationships, but I’m not sure we will see MLS make any deal s with USL any time soon. As for how the jump to MLS by some USL markets, I answered this in the last Q&A session and still believe that it won’t kill the USL. There are enough strong markets for the USL that will keep the league going even after Seattle and potentially Portland and Montreal move on.
BRIAN– I’ve heard a rumor that Frank Simek’s injury maybe career threatening. Any truth to that?
IVES– Well, based on the story I linked to on Tuesday I think it’s safe to say that Simek has overcome the injury.
SEA OTTER– What do you think of the Don’s comments today that league finances and not team needs will drive the expansion of rosters? I’m paraphrasing of course, but believe I’m accurate. I can understand where he’s coming from, but isn’t the league wasting an opportunity to build support for itself and soccer as a whole in this country. There doesn’t seem to be much better to drive interest in a sport than international competition…and success internationally. By forcing these teams to play in Superliga and Concacaf CL with undermanned squads, it seems to me that MLS is wasting a good opportunity to build public interest. Failure isn’t usually a good way to bring in money or fans.
IVES– Spending more would obviously help draw more talent and make teams stronger, but the question is at what point are you asking too much of the current league owners. Between franchise fees and the cost of building stadiums, clubs owners are already footing big bills. That said, MLS does need to realize that it can loosen the purse strings on salary without the league pulling an NASL.
KEVIN– Ives- great work keep it up. This question may be way out there but I figured it would be worth asking. Have you heard anything about former NY Red Bulls player, David Arvizu? Is he still playing or what is he doing? Thanks!
IVES– He has slipped off the radar screen. I’m trying to track him down. Last I heard he was in California still.
TYLER– Really enjoy the site. Thanks for updating so frequently throughout the day. Two questions:
1) i know you reported on "the mets" looking to acquire a team and put it in queens. i know there is potentially a financial windfall to be had if you can fill a stadium you completely own. but is that realistic for a first year franchise. wouldn’t it be smarter to work out a deal with red bull?
2)the USMNT has seemed to be able to gut out a lot of its better performances (win vs. guatemala, staying close against spain) on discipline and heart rather than on tactics and skill. but with seemingly few americans getting quality minutes in top leagues these days, how do u make the argument that the US will mature enough to make it to the knockout stages in south africa?
IVES– Tyler, New York is a market that has gone virtually untouched for the past dozen years by the MetroStars and Red Bulls and there are millions of soccer fans there who have never adopted the Red Bulls/Metros as their own team. Put a team in Queens and you are going to tap into an amazing soccer market.
2. I disagree with your portayal of the performances against Guatemala and Spain. Tactics play a part in any good result on the international level and played a part in both of those results. Yes, they were outclassed by Spain, but how many teams wouldn’t be outclassed by Spain?
Here’s a question for you. How many Americans were getting quality minutes in top leagues in 2002? I’ll argue that the 2010 team will be much stronger in terms of players at good points in their career and in good leagues than the 2002 and 2006 teams. Does that mean the U.S. team is going to definitely get to the knockout round? Nope. Why? people don’t realize how important the World Cup draw is. You need a talented team, players on form and a good draw to have a really good chance to reach the knockout rounds (only the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Spain are good enough to get through regardless of group, and Argentina failed to advance in 2002).
JAY LYONS– Do you think Heath Pearce is the long term answer at LB for the U.S.? I know Bornstein has had some injuries but is that the only reason he hasn’t been called up recently or did I miss him playing poorly at some point? I actually like Heath Pearce but it doesn’t seem like he has a lot of speed and I like the pace that Bornstein brings. Thoughts?
IVES– I think Heath Pearce is a good option but I do think his lack of playing time at Hansa Rostock has affected his consistency. He needs to find a club where he will play regularly and settle into good form. He’s a bit hit and miss at times. The real question is whether Bob Bradley will seriously consider DaMarcus Beasley as a left back option. I still don’t think there’s a left winger who can replace him so I don’t see it happening. Jose Francisco Torres is left footed but not a true left winger. Bob Bradley may eventually choose to employ a 4-4-2 formation with no left winger and three central midfielders, like this:
PATRICK COOK– What shows are you currently watching and whats your on your ipod?
IVES– Here are some non-sports shows I watch: Prison Break, Chuck, ER, Life and Entourage. Lost and 24 are in the rotation, that is when they ever come back. The Wire and The Sopranos were all-time favorites.
As for music, I have a variety of genres I’m into, including hip-hop, Reggaeton, salsa and house/dance music. When it’s time for hip-hop, T.I., T-Pain, Jay-Z and Kanye West are current regulars in the rotation, while Mobb Deep, B.I.G., Dre and Busta Rhymes are parts of the classic hip-hop rotation. I’m actually in a House/Dance music moment. Some songs from that genre that I’m listening to these days include: Crazy (Andy Bell-Cicada Vocal Remix), Love is Gone (David Guetta and Chris Willis) and Calabria (Enur).
ED– If MLS does take more USL cities, what do you see the USL doing? Will they just expand, or do you think teams from USL-2 will move up? There are some pretty big markets in USL-2 right now, like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
IVES– I think USL-2 teams will move up. That’s the next logical step, particularly with some USL-2 teams looking like they have the ownership to make the moves.
JOHN IN ATL– Did the Cinco Five (whatever the term was) make it back safely into the US from Cuba? Hoping you could find out.
IVES– I haven’t heard of any arrests returning from Cuba and I definitely saw one of them in DC so I think they’re all safe.
PEPE– I generally think that statistics are kind of silly in soccer, but that said, why does MLS insist on being misleading with the "Game Winning Goal". If a team jumps to a 5-0 lead and concedes a late goal, why does the guy who scored the second goal get the GWG? More often than not it seems, the guy with the GWG did not put his team in the lead!
IVES– That’s a tricky one and also applies in baseball. Not sure what you can do differently. Maybe create a different category, goals that gave the team the lead.
BRETT– 1. What’s your take on the UEFA 6 + 5 issue? 2. The USMNT qualifies for the 2010 World Cup but fails to make it out of the group stage. Is Bob Bradley out of a job?
IVES– I understand what UEFA is trying to do but I think it’s a little late in the game to try and impose that restriction. There should be some sort of restritions, but 6+5 is way too much.
SUTNICE– I’m curious for an analysis of which MLS teams have done the best job of building fan support? i.e What teams have seen the largest rise in yearly average attendance/ticket sales (year over year) during the last ten years? And does the building of fan support correspond to the opening of soccer specific stadiums or is it better tied to other factors such as perhaps the team’s regular season record?
IVES– That sounds like a great project for someone with free time on their hands, or for MLS officials to ivestigate and study. I honestly don’t get the sense that any MLS team has succeeding in building a fan base with front office initiatives being the driving force.
D.C. has a great fan base, but I’ve always thought that was a combination of having amazing early success in a great soccer market. I will always believe that if Bruce Arena hadn’t helped build a team that wound up winning three titles in the first four years of MLS, the D.C. fanbase wouldn’t be what it is today. Obviously on-field success boosts attendances, as we are seeing lately in Columbus, but I still don’t think there are any clubs established enough to thrive in attendance even in down years, so has anyone really done a good job of building a reliable fanbase? I think that comes with time, with decades of commitment from fans. The league is still just 13 years old.