It has just been a Dempsey heavy week. After Mr. Clint Dempsey put his hat trick together, he has been the center of attention. Oh Boy! Oberto chose this week to announced that Deuce, along with NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher, have signed endorsement deals with the local beef jerky producers.
It is no surprise that his play last weekend drew some extra attention from Seattle's next opponent. Midway between Houston and Dallas lies Dempsey's home town, Nacogdoches, Texas. He's sure to get a warm welcome when he and the rest of the Sounders visit Dallas Saturday, and Big D Soccer is ready for him with a detailed scouting report.
While it has only existed for a mere 18 years, the DC United-New York Red Bulls rivalry has let its share of bad blood. With the two teams facing off again this weekend, Once A Metro is looking at two of the best games that have been played in the Raccoon's Nest, RFK Stadium. It isn't a list that United fans are likely to agree with, so be prepared for some bias.
Last week, The Bent Musket asked their readers who New England's top rival was. They got some responses back, including a number naming Robert Kraft. Rough crowd.
Another problem has arisen for David Beckham and the Miami crew. The land they hope to build their stadium on currently houses a fuel spill recovery center, and the city neglected to sign off on a proposal that would have moved the facility to another location. This is in addition to previous troubles with city officials wanting to build yet another series of large office buildings on the property (next to the dozens of empty ones along Miami?)
In most parts of the deep south, there is only one sport which matters: Football, Football, American Football. It is into this area which Don Garber and MLS are expanding into heavily at this point in time, the most stable situation the league has ever been in. Their level of success in markets like Atlanta's will either propel them onto the world stage or be an anchor holding the league back for the foreseeable future. Top Drawer Soccer thinks of Atlanta as a bellweather for Soccer in America: "If Soccer can make it here, it can make it anywhere".
A name that has been going around for the new team is "Atlanta Phoenix". That is one of a number of nuggets out of this Sports Illustrated article looking at how the league will deal with having 24 teams. Among the scenarios looked at are two conferences of 12 and three of eight. It also mentions that the league is "sensitive" to frustration with the ever-changing playoff format, and interested in coming up with a permanent plan. Expect an announcement party next Thursday.
While Seattle has been a very notable exception, the history of MLS in NFL-sized stadiums has been more akin to 1500's America than to current day USA. (By which I mean sparsely populated). New England and DC continue to be reminders of how ill-fitting the 70,000 stadium is for modern day MLS. US Soccer Players stops short of naming the plan for Atlanta to play in the new Falcons stadium a return to "MLS 1.0", instead calling it a middle ground between the old days and Seattle's "unique" approach.
As the league continues to grow in stature, expect more of pieces like this one from Grantland, detailing the league's turnaround from double contraction to mass expansion. This "part one" article features quotes from Joe Roth and Merritt Paulson, but focuses on the successes of the Soccer Specific Stadiums as well as Toronto's launch and Sporing Kansas City's rebrand. (Never forget the Wizards).
The NASL is pushing the envelope again, attempting to make their league championship an automatic berth into the CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. For now, they are setting their sights on knocking off a few MLS clubs on the way to a US Open Cup.
Cheers surely rang out around the city of Hull in England as the FA rejected the name change proposed by Hull City owner Assem Allam. Allam has been trying to change the team name since purchasing the club at the end of 2010. Allam did save the team from financial disaster, but his attempt to change the name of a 109 year-old club wasn't terribly popular (as you might imagine).
12:05 PM Juventus-Olympique (ESPN3)