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Good afternoon folks. Apologies for the lack of posts today. I'm using the relatively slow news day to take care of some SBI business. Here are some nuggets to discuss before getting to the latest Q&A:
Still no word on Sacha Kljestan's pending move to Celtic. The figure that I have been told that Kljestan's transfer fee would be is $3.5 million with an all-important sell-on clause.
Those wondering where Bobby Convey will wind up may have to wait a bit longer to find out. Multiple teams in MLS are interested in the left winger but continued concerns about Convey's knees are leaving some teams a bit wary about bringing him back home. The Jan. 31 transfer deadline is irrelevent in this instance since MLS teams can still acquire Convey well into April (when the MLS transfer window closes).
Now, onto the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is Part Two of the New Year's Q&A. I'm hoping to knock the remaining three segments out in the next week so keep an eye out for those. For now, here are some more of your questions answered:
TBRODIE– What do you see as the Red Bulls' starting line-up opening night in Seattle?
IVES– Here’s the lineup I see for the Red Bulls based on the players currently on the roster:
MARK– Will BarcaMiami happen in 2010?
IVES– I’ll say no.
If the US had nabbed Castillo, Subotic, ibisevic, and rossi. What would the starting lineup look like for the USA.
IVES– Interesting question. I won’t include Ibisevic because I stand by the belief that there was no realistic way for him to have stayed here and become a citizen and still gone on to the career he has enjoyed. Here’s the lineup with Subotic and Rossi (Castillo wouldn’t be an option yet):
ERIC– I spent a lot of time in Holland in the late 90's and it pushed my soccer fandom over the top, so I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Eredivisie and Ajax in particular. Why is the league such a mess, what does it need to do to climb back to respectability, and do you think it'll ever merge with the Belgium league? Have a happy and safe New Years!
IVES– The sense I get from what I have read about the Dutch league is that the youth development programs that were the key to its success in past decades have deteriorated a bit and no longer produce the talent in numbers that it used to. That said, I can’t see the Eredivisie joining with the Belgian League.
STEVE– Happy New Year Ives and thanks for all the info from 2008 you've set the bar high and naturally we're expecting even more in 2009. With the (relatively) topsy turvy first groups stage in CONCACAF qualifying who do what's the order you of finish you project in the hex? (My thought US, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, T&T, El Salvador – but I ask because I could easily see Mexico slipping to 4th and having to playoff in SA).
IVES– I don’t see Mexico slipping out of the Top Three. Here is the order I could see: USA Honduras Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Costa Rica El Salvador I know some folks might be surprised by my inclusion of T&T but a healthy Kenwyne Jones gives Trinidad a world beater they could ride to the World Cup.
'GILBY– Hey Ives, great site. IF DaMarcus does decide to come back to MLS where does he land and would he be a DP. I know Chicago would probably be his first choice but unless Blanco leaves I can't see him fitting under their cap.
IVES– Where could I see Beasley winding up? Good question. If Donovan were to leave I could definitely see Beasley going to LA. New York might not be a bad spot for him either, though I’m not sure the Red Bulls would consider him for its DP spot. Chicago would be a good story but they don’t have a free DP spot and I’m not sure they’d even have the money to sign him if he were a max salary player.
ED– If I friend request you on Facebook, will you accept? Give me an MLS team to root for; I live in Alabama, so nothing really geographically close.
IVES– My basic rule on Facebook is that I generally only accept people who I’ve met on multiple occasions.
STEPHAN– Hi Ives: RBNY has lost Parke, Jiminez, and Cichero from the back line – who does Osorio plan on starting in defense in '09? Please don't tell me that Petke will be one of our starting CB's next year!
IVES– Petke very well could be a starting CB in ’09. I thought he actually played pretty well for Colorado down the stretch of the season, even scoring some goals along the way. It is safe to say that Osorio is searching for defenders and I think the ideal scenario would be that he finds a left back, then shifts Kevin Goldthwaite into central defense.
MARK– What are the top 3 concerts you've seen? Did Chad Marshall make the right move staying in MLS? He was compensated well or he wouldn't have stayed, but do you think he needed to go to Europe to take his game to the next level?
IVES– I’m not a big concert guy, but went to a few when I was younger. Here goes: Jay-Z, Cypress Hill and Beastie Boys. The Jay-Z show wasn’t really a concert, but a show at a club in Vegas, it was still an amazing show though so it gets the nod.
G-Loff– Hey Ives, thanks for the site. A random question for you: what are your top 10 movie soundtracks? Last of the Mohicans is always a good one…
IVES– I can’t say that I have 10 favorite movie soundtracks. Some good ones that come to mind: The Departed Boyz N The Hood Purple Rain Pulp Fiction Nutty Professor
DOMINICK– Hi Ives, really enjoy the site! thanks for all your work. With more SSS in the works, can you see MLS moving to place MLS cup at the site of the team with the most points? I heard the league was against this originally, in part, because they didn't control their venues and the dates–with SSS, this point loses its validity. Also, such a move would give more weight to the winner of the supporters shield. An idea worth exploring?
IVES– It is definitely an idea worth exploring, but only when every team is in a site where conflicts won’t be arise. I think some teams are currently in venues where getting the MLS Cup date won’t be that difficult, but for a team like the Red Bulls, having MLS Cup at Giants Stadium isn’t likely to be an option. Perhaps by about 2011 we can start to seriously think about that as a solution. I must admit though that I like having it at a pre-selected venue, with LA a favorite of mine.
ANDRE– Think Jozy gets some meaningful minutes against Real Madrid in Villareal's next game? Also, have to ask, any Red Bull transfer rumor rumblings us offseason junkie's might be interested in?
IVES– Andre, as you know, Jozy Altidore did not play vs. Real Madrid. As for Red Bulls transfer rumors, the only thing I can say is that I think Osorio is pursuing some foreign defenders. That’s not really breaking news though.
JJFAD-Two questions. Where do you see Charlie Davies going? What's the latest you have heard about Bobby Convey? Thanks.
IVES– Love the name JJ Fad. I see Davies going to France, but am starting to wonder whether Hammarby will sell him yet. As for Convey, I heard multiple teams were interested but there are concerns about his knees and ability to stay healthy.
JACOBI MILLIONAIRE– Do you think MLS expansion dilutes the player pool too much? Or do you think MLS can recruit enough talent to fill the expected number of teams with decent players?
IVES– I have always had concerns about expansion diluting the player pool but what I think is an even greater threat to the player pool than expansion is poor front office scouting. I see more teams hiring inexperienced people in personnel positions and those people just don’t know how to run an MLS team, which is leading to poor decisions on signings and poor performances in the transfer market. Some teams know how to find talent and some don’t.
GEOFF– I have a theory and I wanted to see what you thought. Personally in my opinion, I think that nobody does a better job at producing young talent then the Netherlands. Yes I know so many Brazilian players play across the world but they have such a huge population. But with Holland, if you look at the size of the country and the amount of great players that have come through the Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord youth systems in the last 40 years and how technically gifted they are it's quite amazing really. My question is would it be a good idea if Dutch methods were adapted by coaches here in the US if they haven't already? Could these ways of coaching kids from a young age eventually develop US born players into playing for any of the European big boys like Barcelona, Inter, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United, Real Madrid etc?
IVES– While I do agree that the Dutch system was the best in Europe at one time, as I said in an above answer, I think there are concerns about whether the Dutch youth systems have lost their ability to mass-produce talent like it used to.
CITRONOMICS– Happy new years Ives and keep up the great work on the site. With Houston's bid for Luis Landin getting rejected, what factors or conditions need to change for MLS squads to have more success at brining in young talent with some noteriety from Mexico, Argentina etc?
IVES– I think simply having better connections to those regions can help. Take Seattle and their signing of Fredy Montero. Is it a coincidence that Sigi Schmid was head coach for two of the most impressive signings of South Americas in recent memory (With Guillermo Barros Schelotto being the other)? If teams do a better job of making connections in Latin America they will be able to bring in quality young talent. If the mos teams can pay non-DPs is in the $300,000 to $400,000 I think that is enough to bring some top young talent to the United States.
HINCHA TIM– Do you see the USL ever trying to compete with the MLS as a rival league? Maybe under a different business model with an open system (anyone can form a club with little upfront cash (not like $40 million in the MLS) and start at the bottom and move up (or down) in a relegation/ promotion system).
IVES– USL will never have the financial clout to really challenge MLS, which happens to be the officially-sanctioned top division in this country. Could USL close the gap? It could, but I don’t see it happening now in today’s economic climate.
SEVEN– Is MLS making big mistakes with post-Toronto expansion? It seems that MLS is giddy about the Toronto's success, but in looking to duplicate it they are ignoring the factors that made Toronto successful. Without a soccer specific stadium close to the downtown core Toronto would not have the same passionate crowds. Expansion fee is also 4 times greater than what Toronto paid. Seems like MLS is more interested in cash grab than ensuring that the strongest bids are rewarded.
IVES– I think it’s more about MLS seeing very strong interest in expansion and taking advantage of that interest to make the league stronger and larger. I think Toronto’s success has had a greater impact on bidding cities being interested in joining than on making MLS want to bring in more cities. ———————————
BORIUANO616– Im not sure if u posted it but i dont recall if u did. do you kno wat juan pablo angel is thinkin if he is comin back to nyrb or not? also was with kandji???
IVES– Angel has one more year left on his contract and wants badly to sign an extension. I’m hearing that the Red Bulls want Angel to stick around and are working on an extension.
MIKEBSIU– I just heard that Chris Birchall who plays for Coventry is coming to the mls. People might remember him as the only white player for Trinidad and Tobago. Any news of where he is going? TFC?
IVES– The rumor was that he was going to San Jose, but that rumor died when Birchall instead went to English club Brighton & Hove.
RANDALL– In the Big Three American sports, athletes have gotten noticeably bigger, stronger and faster. In the cases of football and basketball, in particular, the game itself is very different than a couple of decades ago due to the rapidly evolving size and speed of the players involved. How has top-level soccer changed in the past 20 or so years? Would you say the changes in the athletes involved mirror those in the other sports, or is more of a premium placed on skill rather than raw athleticism?'
IVES– I think there have been changes in the physical make-up of soccer players over the past 20 years, just not quite as visible as the changes experienced by other sports. I think most people would agree that players today are bigger, faster and stronger but the fact that soccer relies a lot on endurance and technical skill is what keeps soccer players as a whole from just gaining tons of muscle as we’ve seen in other sports.
MIKEMIKE– 1) What is your favorite dog breed? Why? 2) If tomorrow MLS magically did away with all regulations on team size/salary cap/DPs, do you think the league would crumble like the NASL? Conversely, would the NFL crumble without these regulations?
IVES– 1. Rottweiler. Not really sure why. 2. If MLS turned into NASL tomorrow I think you would see several teams fold and the league struggle to be viable. You would see an arms race between New York, LA and Seattle, with smaller market teams like Columbus and Kansas City potentially falling (though KC is in better shape to handle such a change than it was five years ago). As for the NFL, I think the NFL has enough rich owners that it wouldn’t take as big a hit. Some markets would certainly suffer though.
BRENDAN– Hey Ives, I was wondering how soon Charlie Davies will move to a bigger European club. Also, do you think that he will have a major role in the 2010 World Cup?
IVES– I think Davies should make a move this winter. As for his role in the 2010 World Cup, he still has a lot of growing to do as a player and right now I’m not sure he’s on course to play a major role. Make the roster? I can see that. Be an impact player in 2010? I’m not as sure.
FROG– Thanks again for all you do and best of wishes for the blog as we head into 2009. As for a question, a while back we had heard that Red Bull had lost almost all of their sponsors, and that is why during games the only real sponsor ever mentioned was the red bulls themselves. This was coupled with the massive amount of money that the red bulls lost in their first year. Can you shed any more recent news on these topics?
IVES– I haven’t heard anything new about it and the last I hard was in the middle of last year that they were still struggling to to find investors. Red Bull insists that it has fewer sponsors on purpose, and that it wants to be selective about its partners. What I’ve heard is that in the time since Red Bulls bought the club there have been real struggles with connecting with the local business community and some serious bridge-burning by a front office that just didn’t know what it was doing. Have things changed in the year since the front office shake-up? That remains to be seen.
That's all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on these answers (and on Kljestan's pending transfer and Convey's potential MLS move) in the comments section below.