September 2, 2009
Since this Wednesday is far from drama free, I'll split it up into the bad kind (the USL tug o' war) and the good kind (DC vs Seattle for the US Open Cup).
From what I hear, Rhinos owner Rob Clark is sitting on the sidelines taking this whole thing in.
Personally, I think that is the right approach as neither side has me jumping up and down and saying that they have all the answers.
The TOA appears to want to move to the FIFA International calendar, perhaps adopting a schedule like they have in Sweden and trying to build the league up to rival MLS.
The USL seems to want to focus more on being an alternative to MLS and focus more on smaller markets that MLS won't want to expand to.
On those areas, I tend to think that the USL leadership is headed in the more prudent direction for the long term.
The TOA's complaints about the league not helping the clubs more and what do teams get for their league fees is justified to some extent.
But if the TOA is looking at Traffic buying up signage at USMNT away WCQs and thinking that is the type of league marketing they want, then I'm scratching my head. Traffic has been unable to draw flies with Miami FC. I wouldn't hold them up as the gold standard of soccer marketing in the US.
My guess is that this situation is going to get messier as we move through the off season.
The Offside Rules [Wait for it....]
It will be interesting to see how big a crowd comes out to RFK tonight for the US Open Cup Final between DC United and Seattle Sounders FC.
After all the back and forth because of the way the bidding for the final went down, I just hope that the atmosphere is good and the match is an exciting one.
I'll be DVRing, at a minimum. And I almost hate to say it, but I'll be pulling for DC United since they've always been my MLS team since they had John Harkes as the face of the franchise in 1996 and I was a Harkes fan.
News & Notes:
- Check out Rhinos fan Drew Brown getting some love at SI.com.
- Three MLS refs get the whack. Abbey Okulaja is the referee from the Rhinos-DC United US Open Cup semifinal. The interesting thing is that the last MLS game Okulaja worked was on July 18th and the Rhinos-DCU game was on the 21st.......
- The Pitch Invasion looks at the future of the US Open Cup. I hope they figure something out to make it more relevant. I think MLS needs to do something like allow MLS clubs to expand their roster by a player or two as a carrot for winning the Cup.
- Could Messi and Ronaldo both miss next year's World Cup? Mexico I could live without.
- Heath Pearce chose a Turkish club over FC Dallas. Ouch.
- If you were wondering what Jurgen Klinsmann was up to after being let go by Bayern Munich, here you go. I'm surprised that he hasn't come up in the Red Bulls speculation.
- Ottawa's stadium looks to be a tad bigger than your usual USL venue.
- Panasonic has a deal with Red Bull Arena.
- If you were wondering who owned the clubs in the Barclay's Premier League, then today is your day.
- Jermaine Jones appears to be a step closer to making his USMNT debut.
- Could the new Cosmos become David Beckham's MLS team? That is one Beckham MLS adventure I would be very interested in.
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.