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Your Questions Answered (Part 2 of 4)

Landon Donovan Bayern 4 (Getty) 

Good morning and welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. Although the questions answered in this segment were from a month ago, most of the issues covered in them are still the issues being discussed today.

Such as? You have Landon Donovan's time at Bayern, David Beckham's MLS play, Jonathan Spector's prospects as the national team left back and how will Bobby Convey do in MLS.

Here they are, some more of your questions answered:

OPTIMIST PRIMER– Ives, I suppose the highest praise I can give you is to say that you have made me a more educated soccer fan, which in turn has made the game exponentially more enjoyable. Thanks man!

Two easy questions: 1) Jozy Altidore = $10 million. How much does Red Bull NY get, and how is the MLS portion allocated to the league as a whole?

2) Should Chivas consider a spurned Expansion City as a possible relocation candidate? I mean, let's say MLS passes up St Louis again… what's to say the Goats couldn't relocate to the open arms of the city's (awesome) fan base and move into the new digs that are just waiting for a team? Plus St Louis could save that $40 million buy in, no?

IVES– Thanks for the kind words Optimist.

1. The Red Bulls should receive two thirds of the transfer fee, or $6.7 million, with the rest going to MLS. The Red Bulls are also allowed to use $500,000 in the form of allocation money.

2. I don’t see the owners of Chivas USA moving to anywhere but San Diego. Either Chivas USA stays put or the owners sell and the club’s name and identity are changed and sold to a group like St. Louis’. At this rate though, with MLS ready to expand even more, there isn’t the market for an existing team that there might be if not for expansion. All that said, I’m not sure Chivas is ready to sell and get out of MLS.


BLAKE– I repeatedly hear cries for Jonathan Spector to be the solution to our left back problem. Has he played there successfully during his career and do you consider this a legitimate option?

IVES– Spector has played left back at various times during his pro career, including spells with Manchester United and with his current club, West Ham. Is it is best position? You could argue that it might be his fourth-best position, but given the lack of strong left back options, Spector has to be considered for the position. If he stays healthy this year I can certainly see him being used there by Bob Bradley because center back and right back have more options.


KAJAGOOGOO– With Columbus being chosen for the last qualifier, and the crowd 50-50, what does this tell you about USSoccer's plan?

1 They don't want to totally piss off their Latino fan base at the expense of their own fans.

2 Scalpers made a good payday

3. They should look elsewhere next time

IVES– The crowd for US-Mexico was 50/50? I’m not sure about that at all. I’d say it was much close to 70-30. There were a lot of Mexican fans outside Crew Stadium but I’m not sure how many of them actually had tickets. Crew Stadium did just fine and should remain the go-to venue for USA-Mexico.


THOMAS– Thanks as always for your coverage and insight.

What do you think will be the biggest area of OVERALL improvement from the 2006 US squad to the one that will play in 2010? What will be the area that shows the least growth/backslides the most? For example quick passing, pressuring the other team, team speed, mental toughness, etc.
What are some specific positions that you think we will have improved and stagnated at?

IVES– Considering the team is still forming it is very tough to measure which areas will be stronger or weaker. That said, I do think the attack will be much better in 2010 than in 2006. With Donovan, Beasley, Dempsey and Bradley, I think that foursome has better attacking qualities than the 2006 group did. Yes, I know, three of those four players were around in 2006, but I think Dempsey is a much better player, as is Donovan. Throw in Sacha Kljestan who should only get better, and the attack will be dynamic.

As for the defense? I think it will be stronger. Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra are clearly better now than they were three years ago. The fullback spots remain a mystery and are probably the positions that haven’t improved. You could also say that about forward, but we still have to see how some young strikers develop over the next year.


FREDDIE FOOTBALLER– What is your take on the Scottish Premier League as a place for US players to develop? It seems US players are seen by the SPL as good guys to have for depth but not in consideration for starting or regular minutes? I'm none too pleased with how things have gone Beasley and Edu at Rangers, especially Beasley. It seems from Beasley and Kljestan that they would be (or are) in situations where they are buried on the depth chart with little opportunity of playing.

IVES– I’m not the biggest fan of the SPL. I just don’t think there’s enough quality in that league in terms of teams and competition. If you are on Celtic or Rangers there is the chance to play in Europe, but there are also far too many games that are just plain easy. That said, for a young player like Edu, having the chance to play with some very good midfielders like Barry Ferguson and Pedro Mendes has its advantages, but I do think a league like the Dutch league is much better for young Americans than the SPL.


WALLY– What ever happened to the mls's approach that each team would be able to have 2 DP's?
Also do you see Michael Bradley becoming the captain of the USMT soon??

IVES– What happened is A) The economy happened and B) teams showed that you didn't need a DP to win or draw fans, let alone two, so right now the two DP move isn't a priority. That doesn't mean it won't happen down the road.

As for Michael Bradley, he certainly has the characteristics to one day be a captain and should wear the armband one day, but I think Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard will be covering the captaincy for the next six years.


STEVEN C– I don't want to sound like I have a grudge, and I'm a pretty realistic person when it comes to American Soccer. I just have this feeling/sense that the powers that be in European Club teams that there is a stigma attached to the American soccer player.

Do you think there is something to my thinking? I feel we have some good players, and I'll use Freddy Adu as an example… to not even use him as a sub?! It just baffles me.

Thats my question, Ives. Thanks for reading it.

IVES– Is there a stigma attached to American players? I do think so? Is that why some players don’t get any playing time? I don’t know about that one. Coaches don’t have enough job security to purposely not use players who deserve to play so I don’t think Freddy Adu is being kept from playing despite being good enough to play. I am more inclined to believe that Monaco’s coaches aren’t impressed enough with him in training, or don’t think he’s better than the players they currently have.


BRYAN– True or False:

Landon Donovan has shown that he can contribute at Bayern and if he were available on a free transfer and agreed to reasonable wages, would hold down the 3rd striker slot.

IVES– True (though it was more true midway through his loan). It’s tough now to look back on this question because Donovan’s loan deal ended so poorly. My theory is that once Donovan knew his chances of being bought by Bayern were dead, he didn’t play as well as he did early on. All that said, I don't think it's fair for anybody to characterize his loan with Bayern as a failure because he actually did play and had some good moments in the time he did get.


THOMAS– How well will Bobby Convey do in MLS (assuming no injury issues)? Will he resurect his career with the nationals or is he done at age 25?

IVES– I think Convey will do well, but not All-Star well. I also wonder how his central midfield role for San Jose will affect his national team opportunities. Is he done at 25? I won’t go that far, but I need to see him stay healthy for a full season before I start talking about his national team role again.


CHEPE– 1. Where do you see Keller ranking among MLS keepers next year?

2. Will we be seeing you in Seattle for the opening game against NYRB?

IVES– Keller is easily a top three goalkeeper, and is arguably the best in MLS right now. Yes, I made it to Seattle (and yes, this question is old).


FREDDY– What soccer personality would you like to see portrayed as a puppet on Special 1 TV?

IVES– Good question. Sir Alex, Drogba, Ronaldinho, Beckham and Sepp Blatter.


UNORIGINAL AARON– This may have changed a while ago but I just noticed… What happened to you covering " The World of Soccer with an American Voice and *a Jersey Flavor*"? It was a great SBI slogan and gave it your unique stamp. I've never even been to New Jersey but felt it gave the site some personality. Change it back?

IVES– Well Aaron, I removed that part because the goal was to make SBI a national website. I think we have succeeded in that regard, but I also don’t think anybody can deny that the site will always have a Jersey flavor.


FREDDY– I'm seriously thinking of going to the USA vs. Mexico qualifier at Azteca this August. Is US Soccer going to secure tickets for USa fans and sell them on their web site? If not, what is the best way to go about securing a ticket?

IVES– U.S. Soccer will sell some tickets but I think you can go through a USSF-backed broker to secure a ticket and/or travel package for the game.


SHMARTELLI– Is there any hope to seeing more coverage (FSC) of the Open Cup? Maybe the quarters and semis?

IVES– Doubt that one, though it would be a great idea.


ZACH– 1. Do you think Bob will want, and be able, to send our first team down to the Azteca or will we see a "B" or "C" team go if we are already qualified?
2. Do you see us getting into a better group position than the last time for the World Cup?
3. Do you get the money for pop ups from your site, or when words like "college" are highlighted in blue, or does that all go to some sneaky advertiser?

IVES– 1. I doubt the U.S. national team will already be qualified. Even if the United States is 5-0 heading into that game I’m not sure the Americans would mathematically be qualified. Even if the team is qualified, Bob Bradley his stated that winning in Mexico City is on the U.S. national team’s list of things to do. That being the case, I can’t imagine the USA sending a B team to Azteca.


ANDREW– Do you think Beckham's inability to win in MLS reveals only that his teammates were no good, or also that Beckham was no good (in MLS) and the quality of the competition in MLS is better than advertised?

IVES– Andrew, Beckham is a quality player, a world-class player, but he is a player who relies on the qualities of his teammates and LA just hasn’t been good enough the past two years. As we have seen with Beckham’s time at Milan, if you put good players around him, he can still thrive and play at a high level.


TREX– I saw Jeremy Hall lined up at Right Back in the scrimmage with TFC, is he a possibility there or was JCO just experimenting?

What are your thoughts on Ubi's development as a central mid, do you see him improving enough this year to be a solid starter or better than average central mid? Or do you see Rojas still as our main option there to start along side Stammler?

IVES– Hall is definitely a right back option, and I think the best one the Red Bulls have even with the acquisition of Carlos Johnson.

As for Ubiparipovic, I heard great things about his pre-season but he was just awful in the season opener. At that rate, I can’t see him getting that much playing time over the course of the season.


THE ATHORITY– Love the site Ives, thanks.

Now that Brian McBride is back in the USA (Chicago Fire), I could see him coming out of his internation retirement this summer for some WC qualifiers if needed.

What are your thoughts?

IVES– I’m not sure he’s going to want to do that. For one, when retired veterans have done that in the past (like Tab Ramos) they have done so when the U.S. team has been in trouble. I don’t see the national team getting in trouble in this Hexagonal. Now, could McBride play in the Gold Cup and have his swan song come in a semifinal at Soldier Field? That would be a great ending to his career, but it’s up to McBride if he wants to add that load to his MLS schedule. I know he’s focused on helping the Fire win a title.


RYAN– A major complaint about the sport, especially in the US, is the amount of diving that takes place. It's a lot to ask of refs to notice a dive at full speed from less than ideal angles so why don't leagues review the tapes of matches and issue punishment from diving that way. In slow motion and with good angles you can tell when there's a dive and players can receive warnings until a suspension by their 3rd dive, 5th dive or whatever number the league sees fit. I think something like this would drastically reduce the amount of dives.

IVES– I’ve always thought that leagues should punish divers retroactively. Not sure why there hasn’t been more of that. That said, I have seen punishments laid down in Europe in the past year so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.


RAFAEL– What do you think the status of MLS is financially going into the 2009 season?

IVES– I think the league is much healthier than some would have expected it to be in this economic climate. Will the league see attendance go down? I think it might, but not because of the product itself, but rather because of the economy.


DAVE– With New Jersey native Gregg Berhalter's European playing career possibly ending after this season, would he be a good summer addition to the Red Bulls' central defense, or is he too slow/old/risky for the current level MLS competition? Would he be a particularly better fit for any other MLS teams?

IVES– Two destinations make sense for Berhalter, New York and D.C. United. I’m not sure the Red Bulls will take a serious look at him unless he gives them a serious hometown discount. One of the reasons Berhalter has put off his return to the United States so long is because of the salary disparity between Europe and the United States. I’m not sure just how low a salary he will be willing to play for. Given the economics of MLS, I can’t see Berhalter making more than 150K-200K, which is probably more than New York can pay. D.C. could use Berhalter as well and is probably a more likely destination.

Would I take him if I were coaching the Red Bulls? Absolutely, but Juan Carlos Osorio has stated in the past that he isn't interested in players in the 30s. He wants to make the team younger. Maybe he's changed his tune after watching his defense get shredded in week one.


Look out for the rest of the answers to the last month's Q&A later this week (No, really). For now, share your thoughts on the above answers in the comments section below.


  1. I’m not saying Becks isn’t good. But world class he is not. And the excuse that he needs better players to play well is the crowning proof. world class players don’t need world class players around them to show it.

    But I’m sure he’s quite good enough to play in Europe and for England. That’s a different criterion. Not all players who play in Europe or for England are world class.

  2. People saying Beckham isn’t any good are suggesting that Ancelotti and Capello don’t understand what they are doing… And that’s quite a lot.

  3. I know Bobby Convey has been injured the past year, but if he plays this year in MLS without any problems, could he be and option at left back for the US? Did he not play in the defense when he first came into the league as a teenager?

  4. Ives – Regarding the Transfer Fee Percentages Noted in the first question, in addition to the team and league cuts, it’s also very possible that the player and agent negotiate a small cut as well, or the player gets a percentage (i.e. 10-15%) and then he is obligated to share that with his agent based on their internal agreement.

  5. In the case of Beckham, you say he’s a quality player, world-class, but relies on the quality of his teammates around him and that’s why we didn’t see his success on the field with LA.

    But if he relies as much as he apparently does on having great teammates around him, then exactly how world class can he be? He can do one thing really well – cross – but that hardly defines a world class player. He is totally unable to create anything on his own, in MLS or in Europe.

  6. Cody, Ives answered the 2 DP question. Teams aren’t using 2 DPs because the economy is bad (thus, no money to pay) and because they can win and draw fans without 2 DP’s. How is this not an answer?

  7. Thank you Ives for answering my question.
    Keep up the great work you are doing on this site. I can’t wait for US v Salvador this weekend.

  8. I was in the US Fan section in Columbus and I would put the ratio of Mexico fans to USA fans at no better than 60-40 and probably closer to 50-50. I was dissapointed by the amount of green in the stadium; much of it due to US supporter groups who ended up selling extra tickets on the internet. We even had about 20 Mexicans with tickets in the American Outlaws/Sams Army section.

    There needs to be a better way of ensuring only USA fans get those tickets.

  9. Cody, please explain your use of the word “blatantly”. Am I somehow legally bound to answer every question? Perhaps you didn’t notice but in the last Q&A post I stated pretty clearly that I wouldn’t answer every question in order to help speed up the process (because sometimes there are questions that just slow things down or just aren’t worth answering).

    As for the DP question you mentioned, I just happened to miss that one, there was no motive for it not being answered originally. I have since answered it.

  10. Ives, I am sure you have your reasons, but I love how you blantantly don’t answer some peoples questions. Said questions maybe be dumb, but at least humor people new to the game. For example, “WALLY- What ever happened to the mls’s approach that each team would be able to have 2 DP’s?
    Also do you see Michael Bradley becoming the captain of the USMT soon??” I didn’t see an answer to the 2 DP question.

  11. Ives, sure hope you are right about Bernalter potentially going to DC. We would kill to have him. Geez….he would enable us to return to 4 in the back which seems to be the best formation for United.


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