We've made the transition into February, a month closer to the World Cup and days away from one of the more active transfer windows for American players.
This portion of Your Questions Answered has a few transfer market related questions, as well as some questions regarding young Americans such as Luis Gil and Sebastian Letget. There is the obligatory "Will Red Bull Arena really draw fans" question, as well as a question on best comedy movies. There's a little bit for everybody.
Here is Part Two of Your January Questions Answered:
KYLEBURKHOLDER– What are the odds that Landon Donovan stays with Everton for an extended period (say until the WC)? And if you had to throw a number out there, what would it take to buy him outright from MLS?
IVES– I can see his loan be extended to the end of the EPL season, but I don’t see Everton paying what it would take to buy Landon Donovan outright. Also, if Donovan stays for the remainder of the EPL season that means he misses half the MLS season since he wouldn’t be able to return until July 15. As for how much it would take to buy Donovan outright, I can’t imagine MLS selling him before the World Cup and a good World Cup could lead MLS to seek as much a $10 million for him. What I have been told is that there is no sell-off trigger, nothing written into Donovan’s new contract like a buy-out clause. This means LA would have to be willing to sell Donovan.
FOPPOL– If Beckham continues to play as well as he has for AC Milan do you think he might start for England in the World Cup?
IVES– Aaron Lennon’s injury only helps Beckham’s chances, but England has other wing options such as Theo Walcott and Ashley Young, speedy and dynamic midfielders. At this point, I can see Beckham starting at least one of the three group matches if he’s healthy, but something tells me Fabio Capello will play the speedsters as well.
MIKE CARAMBA– What was the best final-round MLS draft pick ever? What was the worst first overall pick ever?
IVES– The best final round pick? There have been several quality last-round picks, but I’m not sure any player has brought more value for where he was taken than Jeff Larentowicz, who was taken in the final round of the MLS Supplemental Draft, which was the equivalent of the eighth round of drafting in 2005. There were 92 players selected before him that year.
Who else is there? Here are some other good last-round picks:
Jesse Marsh, 3rd round (21st overall), D.C. United, 1996
Ante Razov, 3rd round (27th overall), LA, 1996
Kevin Hartman, 3rd round (29th overall), LA, 1997
Andy Dorman, 6th round (58th overall), New England, 2004
Jeff Parke, 6th round (60th overall), New York, 2004
Jonathan Bornstein, 4th round (37th overall), Chivas USA, 2005
As for worst No. 1 overall pick, taking into account the player’s career AND the quality of other players available in the draft, I think it has to be 2005 No. 1 overall pick Nik Besagno. He managed to start just four games over the course of three seasons, playing in a total of eight matches for RSL before being let go. He was ultimately selected ahead of the following players:
The no. 1 pick in 2000, Steve Shak, merits some consideration as well considering he was taken ahead of the likes of Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Convey, Danny Califf and Nick Garcia, but Shak did manage to play in 32 matches, starting 18 in a year and a half for New York before being traded to Colorado.
DC JOSH– How did you get into covering soccer? What is a typical work day for you?
Weirdest interview you've done, press conference attended?
IVES– I started covering soccer in college for my school paper. I carried that interest over to my first professional newspaper job, and wound up spending 11years as a soccer writer/columnist for the Herald News in NJ. I started writing for ESPN in November of 2004.
A typical workday consists of scanning wires in the early morning, phone calls, interviews and dealing with emails through the morning and afternoon, and writing throughout. I really spend much of the day scanning wires and keeping tabs on any developing stories. The day can be different if I’m spending time at Red Bulls or national team training.
Weirdest interview? I interviewed former MetroStars midfielder Sasa Curcic once and came away convinced that he was high on something. Press conference? A Ronaldinho press conference where a press officer almost tackled an overzealous “reporter”.
DOUG– Would it be possible for D2 or NASL to purchase an MLS expansion spot and use that each year for their league champion? This would be the best alternative to promotion / relegation in this country, right?
IVES– No, and no. That’s a pretty ridiculous alternative to be honest.
MICHAEL WRIGHT– Is Jimmy conrad the funniest mls player???
JUSTIN O– In the past I recall that you've expressed a signifcant degree of optimism about the level of support you expect the Red Bulls to get in their new stadium. I hope you are right, but after the initial thrill wears out after 2-3 months, I don't see much of an increase – certainly not as high as a 10 percent increase or so in attendance. Do you anticipate more of a bump in attendance, and if so, why?
IVES– You can’t really compare what attendance will be at a brand new stadium in a different community and what it was at Giants Stadium, which was never a soccer-friendly environment or an easy place to get to.
The new stadium is located in Harrison, New Jersey, across the bridge from Newark, in one of the most soccer-crazy communities in this country. Throw in the public transportation options that can bring fans from all over the area to the stadium (something Giants Stadium never had) and there are plenty of reasons why Red Bull Arena should draw far more fans than games at Giants Stadium.
CHAD– English Premier League: Who's going down and who's coming up?
IVES– Portsmouth, Burnley and Wigan will go down. Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff will come up.
ANDOLINI– What is the deal with Lee Nguyen? He seems to have exhibited erratic behavior with respect to his playing career, and his tweets are off the wall. How do MLS teams regard him in light of this?
IVES– Erratic behavior? Not sure about that one. He went to a play in a small league where he could be a star, then returned to that league after being low-balled by MLS. As for his tweets, I’m not sure what the big deal is. His tweets are pretty harmless. I doubt MLS teams have been turned off by any of that, and I’m sure if he signed with MLS there would be a few teams ready to bring him in.
MCHEAD– What do you make of Chicago, the third largest market in America, not making the cut for a future World Cup venue?
IVES– The city has to be blamed for that situation. Chicago was focused on the Olympics and the World Cup situation was basically ignored. Now, that does not mean Chicago will be left out come 2022 (the more likely World Cup for the United States). Just because Chicago isn’t included in the initial final list doesn’t mean it can’t be added later. U.S. Soccer isn’t going to say that because that would take away from the accomplishment of the cities who did complete successful bids, but I wouldn’t rule out Chicago as a venue option for a USA World Cup.
OMAR VIZQUEL– Wacky idea I know — and probably would never happen — but are there any goalkeepers worth a DP slot in MLS?
IVES– I would say no. Goalkeepers who would be worth a DP wouldn’t come to MLS when they sitll have that kind of value.
JERRY F– What are your top five comedy movies of all time? I have to go with Dr. Strangelove, There's Something About Mary, Animal House, Caddyshack, and Blazing Saddles.
IVES– Hmmm, I’ll take a stab at it. Here goes:
Dumb & Dumber
EL MICHAEL – Is sebastian LLetget good enough to make the 23. He strikes me as a Fabragas in the making
IVES– No way in heck. He’s a nice young prospect, but he’s a prospect for 2014, not 2010.
ISAAC– 1.Are American fans wrong to think that Bob Bradley's side will breeze through Algeria and Slovenia?
2. Who do you think wins MLS Cup next year?
3. Don't you already have, like, 3 other Q&A's to do?
IVES– Yes, it would be foolish to think the Americans will breeze through. Should they be favored? If relatively healthy, the Americas should be able to reach the second round, but none of the group matches are going to be easy.
ANDREW– What was your "lightbulb" moment in regards to soccer (wanting to cover soccer, etc)?
IVES– The moment I knew this is what I wanted to do for the long haul? I would say the USA World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras at RFK Stadium in 2001. Packed house, great crowd, American fans trying to hold their own despite being outnumbered by Hondurans. The whole atmosphere was special. It was my first qualifier and came away thinking that I would love to be able to cover events like that for the rest of my life.
ARNOLD– Ives, great site.
Wouldn't it be better for Luis Gil to sign with a club like Arsenal, which has a track record of developing young talent. I just keep having flashbacks to Freddy Adu.
IVES– Gil hasn’t signed with MLS just yet, but from what I understand FIFA guidelines regarding young prospects and moves to other countries have been tightened quite a bit so I’m not even sure Arsenal is an option for Gil at this point.
Aside from that, I’m not sure it’s fair to use Freddy Adu as the only case study for young teenagers developing through MLS. I would point to Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore as teenagers who developed in MLS and made the jump to Europe.
TETSUO– What would be the best club for Luis Gil to sign with.
IVES– The LA Galaxy, Chivas USA or Seattle. He’s a young California kid so staying on the West Coast would help, and LA and Seattle happen to have two of the best coaches in the league.
KEVIN G– Who do think will turn out to be the better player, Danny Mwanga or Steve Zakuani.
IVES– Zakuani showed some good flashes and I think he will be a solid pro, but I think Mwanga has so much ability at such a young age that I’ll have to say Mwanga when it’s all said and done.
ANDY– Will the Nats have new uniforms for the Cup?
IVES– From what I understand, they will. There have been some samples making the rounds online that are believed to be the new design, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
DON DRAPER– What character from the Wire would make the best soccer player?
IVES– The actor who played Chris Partlow is of Nigerian descent so he might have some skills. As far as actual characters, I’ll go with Omar, who was impossible to catch and a dangerous shooter.