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I know I've taken a while to answer a Q&A when I don't get around to it until the next decade.
Okay, so the November Q&A has taken a while to get through, but the end is near and this latest batch of Q&As should help provide some insight despite the fact that six weeks have gone by since these questions were asked.
Something I am considering for future Q&A is doing live Q&As using the CoverItLive software. I may do both actually, the occasional live Q&A along with a monthly traditional Q&A. You can definitely expect an MLS Combine Q&A as well as pre-draft and post-draft Q&As in the coming weeks (and yes, the turnaround on those will be immediate).
Now, onto some more of your questions answered:
MICHAEL F– I never fully understood the demise of the MLS reserves. Was it all about money? Do you think it will come back? Where did all those players end up?
IVES– The sense I got was that the investment to make the reserve league a well-run and effective league was considerable and I don’t think the league or owners saw the value in the investment. I think it’s short-sighted because the experience reserve league games can give players, particularly young players, is invaluable. I can’t help but look at the Generation adidas class about to be signed and wonder what a player like Jack McInerney or Zachary Herold is going to do, or a player like Brian Perk, who will likely need to secure a loan in order to find playing time.
This is why I would bet money on the reserve league returning. It just has to. Either that or MLS needs to establish a real relationship with whatever second division league is playing in 2010. Young players need games to improve so it’s vital that MLS either brings back the reserve league or provide some sort of alternative.
RSL FOR THE CUP– Does RSL have the potential to be a dynasty?
IVES– Settle down. They barely got in the playoffs. Okay, that's a tad harsh, but let's take it a little slow. They have a talented roster, and have done a good job of signing up key players to long-term deals, but you should probably wait for them to actually post a winning regular-season record before talking dynasty. What I will say is that if the confidence from winning a title helps RSL play to its potential on a more consistent basis, RSL can be one of the league's best teams for a few years because most of its top players have been locked up to new deals.
BHO– How do you like RSL's chances of repeating? Better than 1 in 16?
IVES– I'd say they're 7-1 to repeat. It's not easy repeating and let's face it, RSL didn't exactly dominate the league last year. They've got talent, and can play great soccer, but they need to find some consistency before I can really see them repeating.
JASON– How legit is the RB's play for Rafa Marquez? I know they're moving to the stadium next year, but that doesnt seem realistic, although it would be a great get.
Also, supposedly Feilhaber is getting looks from some bigger leagues in Germany, Spain, and Holland. What would you advise him to do come January?
IVES– Never bought that one for a second. It’s funny how often we’ll get a random rumor like that when a player is negotiating a new contract. Marquez is a respected player by Barcelona so I never really pictured him leaving Barca for MLS. Nevermind the fact that he wouldn’t exactly be an ideal Designated Player candidate anyway. He’s a talented player who would make any MLS team better, but not exactly a player who will pack a new stadium. As it stands. The Red Bulls look poised to add Thierry Henry after the World Cup. Henry and Juan Pablo Angel would be the team’s designated players.
As for Feilhaber, he's still young so he should probably go where the best offer comes. I know some people will wonder if he's risking his World Cup place by moving to bigger league, but as a young player he needs to think about his long-term future and an offer from one of those leagues might not come around again. Hopefully his time languishing at Derby was a learning experience.
DAVE N– Ives, simple question –
Does Gooch make the roster for WC2010?
PMAC- Any chance one of the teams in the World Cup final is not from Europe or South America? Granted there's only been 2 teams outside of these regions to make the semi-final round.
IVES- There are some African teams with strong squads, particularly Ivory Coast, and I think Mexico is going to have a strong World Cup, but I find it hard to pick a team outside of Europe and South America to win in 2010.
FREDDIE FOOTBALLER– Assuming everyone is healthy (other than Davies)including Onyewu and Jones, what is your starting 11 and formation for South Africa? Thanks.
IVES– It’s way too early, but here’s a shot:
Obviously Jermaine Jones is a serious doubt, so I’d be more inclined to project someone like Maurice Edu getting the nod.
BOTSWANA BRAD– Will Bekcham be back with LA after the World Cup, and will LA be able to build off a strong season to go just as far next year?
IVES– I’d say it’s a safe bet that he comes back and then stays for the remainder of his career. The 2010 World Cup has driven a lot of his desire to still be playing in Europe, but once that’s out of the way it wouldn’t surprise me if he settled in and finished out his contract with the Galaxy.
SEA OTTER– Do you ever see MLS growing beyond FIFA's preferable 20 teams? Could you ever see the U.S. supporting a setup similar to the NFL to allow for more teams and greater coverage.
It just seems to me that 20 teams does not begin to accomodate the growing fanbase in this country. That fact, and the assumed resistance to promotion/relegation leaves large sections of the country and fan base out in the cold, so to speak.
For me the regionalism that I've grown up with supporting basketball, football, and baseball leaves me inclined to support no team that isn't at least near enough for me to attend games ( I live in Atlanta ).
I've honestly tried picking teams out of the current crop to support, but I just can't find any affinity. I wind up watching whichever games are on T.V. and supporting whoever is the underdog. It's not a very enjoyable MLS fan experience and limits my personal investment in the league. I don't believe I'm alone in that sentiment either.
IVES– It’s pretty clear that 20 teams can’t cover a country this big (and certainly not an area including Canada). That said, I’m not sure MLS can even think about what lies ahead after 20 teams. What I think can happen is that once we have a solid and healthy 20-team league, the second division can start to become a target for owners looking to field teams. I know that isn’t as appealing, but I just don’t see MLS expanding much beyond 20.
MIKE G– Is there a player in the current US Nat'l team pool, that you think could one day consistently start for a top 4 team, in a top 4 league? I'm starting to lose the faith.
IVES– Tim Howard is the easy answer to that one in my opinion. As for field players, I could have seen Charlie Davies heading on that path before the accident, but right now it’s tough to say any current players are heading that route. Jermaine Jones will qualify once he recovers since he would be projected to start for Schalke (assuming he doesn’t make a winter transfer move). I have heard Michael Bradley’s name mentioned as someone on the radar of some of the bigger clubs in Europe as a long-term prospect so it wouldn’t surprise me if he wound up at a top club one day. His career has moved pretty far pretty fast already.
LANDIS– With Donovan not winning the Cup, do you think that will serve as motivation to stay in MLS next season, or is he gone in January?
IVES– He’ll be back for the 2010 season and should finish out the full year unless he just has an amazing loan spell with Everton AND a great World Cup. Then you might see some great offers come in.
LESTER– Does Landon Donovan's missed pk hurt him for the rest of his career in terms of taking them?
IVES– I’d doubt that one. He’s taken enough big ones in his career, and taken and made some big ones since that SuperLiga Final one he missed a few years back. He’s a veteran now so I think he’ll be fine.
OMAR VIZQUEL– What kind of goalkeeper would LeBron James be, if he took up the game RIGHT NOW? I seriously think you could give him 2 off-seasons' worth of intense coaching and scrimmages, and he'd already be MLS caliber. You can't teach 6'8'', ungodly athleticism, and reflexes unlike I've ever seen; you can teach someone how to control a penalty area.
IVES– Omar, you don’t give the position of goalkeeping enough credit. Lebron is a freak of nature to be sure, a once-in-a-generation athlete, BUT goalkeeper is a very difficult position to master. A goalkeeper doesn’t just make reaction saves. They need to be able to read a game as it heads his way. They need to be able to cut off shooting angles, set up defenses on set pieces and get their footwork right when dealing with shots and crosses. Your comment about teaching someone how to control a penalty area, I’d point to the fact that goalkeepers don’t reach their peaks until they have been pros for a decade or more.
Could LeBron have been an amazing goalkeeper if he took up soccer as a kid? Sure, I have little doubt about that, but to say he’d be a pro-worthy goalkeeper right now with just two years of training is insane.
MADISON– A couple months ago Greg Lalas wrote a column suggesting Landon Donovan transfer to Club America.
I've got two questions related to this. 1) Why isn't Mexico more of an option for players seeking a move out of MLS? and 2) What's the average salary in the FMF?
IVES– 1. I think I addressed this in the last Q&A but I’ll address it here. I think it’s a combination of limited slots for foreign players, a limited number of American players who are suited for the style of play in Mexico AND willing to go play there, and I’m sure there’s at least some stigma there about American players. It’s not completely uncharted territory. From Tab Ramos to Mike Sorber to Marcelo Balboa to the young Latino Americans such as Jose Francisco Torres, Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco. What does surprise me is that Mexico doesn’t have American goalkeepers.
GEOFF– Are you hiring? I need a job!
IVES– I’ve got no paid jobs to offer just yet but I am looking to build a staff of writers and other contributors in 2010 to help take SBI to a new level. I will be reaching out to the various writers who have expressed interest in writing for SBI in the past (so if you’ve reached out to me but hadn’t heard back yet, you may be hearing from me soon.).
MARCO– If Beckham is back next year, do you think he'd play any Concacaf Champions league games or would it be too tempting for some Panamanian unknown to try to take him out?
IVES– Not sure that’s something to realistically worry about. I would think that playing against a player like Beckham would be an honor and they’d be doing their best to try and impress anybody who might be watching, rather than hacking Beckham down for no good reason.
DMAN– After the World Cup, which (if any) international fading stars could you see "retiring/moving" to the MLS?
IVES– Here are some names I’ve heard about and read about:
Luis Figo (again)
The real question is which, if any, older European stars will do what Youri Djorkaeff did with New York and come play in MLS for small-time money. The teams that can pull of those kinds of deals have a great chance of making themselves contenders pretty quickly.
TIM– Who do you think will be DCU coach in 2010, and if the announcement has already happened. How do you think he will fare?
IVES– I think Curt Onalfo will do well. I've always gotten the sense that what Onalfo wanted to do as a head coach in KC was hampered by the lack of attacking weapons at his disposal. In D.C., he will have much more firepower. Of course, he still needs to do something about the defense.
THA DEUCE- What is your favorite Christmas season song?
IVES– Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC. Just takes me back to my youth.
JIMMY GREAVES– I'm assuming Bradley isn't coming back after the World Cup.
If he does well then I think he'll get interesting offers. If he does badly, he'll be re-assigned.
1.) If I'm right then can you give me three realistic possibilities for replacements? Kreis? Arena?
2.) Best Peruvian restaurant in the Washington DC area? Papas a la huancaína,anticuchos and ceviche are the preferred dishes.
IVES– 1. I agree with you on a change being likely after the 2010 World Cup and have written so before. Three potential replacements? Guus Hiddink, Dom Kinnear and Juergen Klinsmann.
2. As for Peruvian restaurants in D.C., it's funny you should ask because I've never eaten Peruvian food there. We've got the best Peruvian restaurants on the East Coast in New Jersey so I don't really go looking for it elsewhere. Any readers with suggestions can feel free to offer them.