MLS is rolling out a bunch of changes this season to try and improve their product.
Some of them are on the business side (Beckham Rule, more flexibility in allocation spending, etc.) that are aimed at improving the talent level in the league. Others are in the broadcast side of things (more access during matches).
The one area that I'd love to hear Soccer Sam's take on is the "Euro-fication" of the game presentation with European style team entrances and less PA announcements during play.
It will be interesting to see if the USL plans on any leaguewide changes such as these in the future.
Stadiums in the news
Dick's Sporting Goods Park is in the news with The Denver Post having an article on the new home of the Colorado Rapids. I'd love to see someoneonce again take on the debate of suburban stadium complex with plenty of soccer fields surrounding the stadium versus an urban location, such as with PAETEC Park.
There is also talk of a potential new stadium for the Minnesota Thunder. The mayor of St. Paul is talking about a redevlopment project that could include a stadium for the USL 1st Division club.
FRED! FRED! FRED! FRED!
DC United has relented to fan and player pressure and will allow their newest player to have his one name moniker on the back of his jersey. DC United had wanted to place "F. Carriero" on the back of Fred's #7 jersey. But, fans and the player have pressured the team into giving in to the Brazilian one name tradition and they will put Fred on the back of his jersey.
Fred will also be in the lineup for DC United this evening when they take on Chivas in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinal from Mexico. Also in the lineup will be former Rhino John Wilson and Rochester native Jamil Walker.
SI.com on Reyna and MLS players to watch
New Red Bulls captain Claudio Reyna has a nice Q&A with Jonah Freedman of SI.com. I can't believe that Reyna believes that they are a few players away from winning anything.
And as far as the list of players to watch goes, there is no Beckham, Blanco, or Luciano Emilio. Enough said.............................
US Soccer can not force clubs to release players for Copa America
That makes the decision to put a bigger emphasis on the CONCACAF Gold Cup in a slightly different light. And maybe it puts Landon Donovan's recent comments in a slightly different light as well with Donovan taking the flak for a decision that the Galaxy likely would have wanted to make in not releasing Donovan for the Copa America.
It's going to be interesting to see if US Soccer goes with a mostly MLS based team for the Gold Cup and a European based team for the Copa America.
A solid MLS preview e-zine
The people from Big Apple Soccer.com and their affiliated sites from New England, Chicago, Dallas, and LA have put together a solid MLS preview e-zine.
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.