July 20, 2007
For everyone out there that was worried sick about Hamed Diallo's future with the Rhinos because his latest trip to France to secure a visa that would allow him to travel to and from Canada, may I suggest that in the future, you might want to spend the time and energy you put into worrying about something that isn't likely to happen and perhaps read a book or kick a soccer ball around?
When the Rhinos said that they hoped to have Diallo back in time for Saturday's game in Atlanta, it sounded to me like wishful thinking. His last trip to France to get his paperwork straight took a lot longer than 3 or 4 days.
Plus, the Rhinos had already indicated that Diallo was under contract through 2008 and that this trip was about visa paperwork. So, I really don't get why there needed to be some huge investigation into why Diallo wasn't back by Saturday.
The same thing can be said of all those that seem to be setting themselves up for disappointment on Saturday evening should David Beckham not play or only come on as a late game sub in a meaningless match versus Chelsea.
If this was a SuperLiga game or an MLS league match, then I could see the drama. Especially if it were one of the road matches in a city like Toronto or DC where Beckham will only make one visit in 2007 and they've sold a lot of tickets based on Beckham playing for LA.
But at the end of the day, Saturday's match doesn't mean much of anything. Well, outside of the payday it's creating for AEG.
MLS All-Stars 2 Celtic 0
Celtic talked about how they were taking the game seriously. But, with the MLS All-Stars topping Celtic 2-0 last night at Dick Sporting Goods Park in Colorado, one has to wonder if they took it as seriously as say a few MLS teams took 3rd round USOC matches this year.
The fact that the game's MVP was a Designated Player (NY Red Bulls Forward Juan Pablo Angel) and MLS' other goal was also scored by a foreign import (FC Dallas' Juan Toja), shows that MLS is elevating the talent in the league through smart acquistions.
However, a friendly between a European club in the midst of preseason training and an MLS All-Star team doesn't really tell me a whole lot about where MLS clubs are in terms of development.
The upcoming Superliga competition between big name MLS and Mexican clubs has the chance of giving us a much better answer to that question.
More on the State of MLS:
- SI.com's Ryan Hunt has his mid-season MLS awards. And I'll make the homer take: EJ over Pat Onstad for 1st half MVP? Houston has the best record in MLS at the break in large part due to the fact that they've allowed 10 goals in 18 games.
- Derby County boss Billy Davies is impressed by Eddie Johnson. The big question now is whether the Wizards will let him go or hold onto him yet again. I'm betting that EJ wishes he were playing for LA right now.
- Apparently the Galaxy are worried that not every LA fan got the memo that Beckham might miss time representing England. I guess some people really do need to take the Beckham 101 class.
- While the Fire see endless possibilities, I see an organization that has been going backwards and not forwards the past few years. Getting rid of Peter Wilt was the dumbest thing that they could have done, IMO.
- Don Garber doesn't want EPL clubs buying teams in MLS. So, all the fans out there that are trying to find a sugar daddy to take Rochester to MLS, you may want to check off foreign clubs as targets for your sales pitch.
- MLS Magazine ......interesting. I still miss Striker, though.........
- This Is American Soccer.com has an article about whether expanded to 14 teams next season is moving too fast. While I agree that San Jose getting team before having nailed down their stadium situation is worrisome, I'm not as worried about the impact on the level of play. I think this season has provided the highest level of play in MLS history and adding Toronto didn't hurt that situation from what I've seen.
Other random stuff......
- US Soccer.com has a U-20 World Cup post-mortum with forward Jozy Altidore. Jozy talks about learning from something like that. But really, how much is there to learn?
- Yanks Abroad has an article about how Bobby Convey has high hopes for this season. I really hope that Convey's recent injury struggles don't put him on John O'Brien's career path. Speaking of which, where is JOB?
- For those that think the Rhinos are struggling right now, I offer up the Vancouver Whitecaps. After last evening's 2-1 loss to Portland, Vancouver is now 0-4-3 in their last 7 games and have the same exact record as the Rhinos at 7-6-6. And it looks like the Whitecaps are only missing their first choice goalkeeper.
In comparison, Montreal is 2-3-4 in their last 9 and Rochester is 1-3-1 in their last 5.
The hottest teams in the league have to be first place Portland which has gone on a 6-0-1 tear after losing 2-1 in Rochester on June 9th and Seattle which has gone 7-1-1 since a May 20th loss to Montreal.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.