free page hit counter The Metrologist: February 2006
Not ready to make nice.

It's Amado Day!


But first, a comment (which I hope doesn't blossom into a rant)

I usually wake up a little late on Sunday mornings, missing the first 45-60 minutes of the Serie A match on FSC.
Lately I've noticed that I rarely, if ever, miss anything important.
This morning's Cagliari-Lecce "clash" being a prime example. I came in at 0-0, and endured 45 minutes of godawful, banal, boring, bad soccer that was never going to lead to anything but 0-0 (unless, of course, either one of the sides had made good on their own-goal attempts. They weren't even capable of that, the donkeys.)
Being utterly neutral, why do I subject myself to this? I really should have slept in longer.

Of course, to hear some bar-room/rec-league pundits say it (yes, I'm setting up a straw man here, but only after I've stolen the souls of people I know and wedged em deep inside the straw) even a soporific, stone-dead Serie A draw beats out the best MLS match you could imagine. Or rather, even in a dismal, depressing affair like that played in Sardinia today, you see something different, transcendent. They don't just draw. They draw beautifully, elegantly, skillfully, in a way American players can only dream of. Mind you, it's American "fans," neat new Real/Milan/Arsenal replicas clutching for dear life around their fleshy middles, spouting this so much of the time.

This line of reasoning is crap, just like this morning's match. The play was crap. The ideas were crap. The players were largely crap. But people see what they want to see ("Serie A (cue: lusty panting) is always beautiful, always a step above"), and they also want to be seen as articulate, perceptive, knowledgable, no matter what. They want to make a statement that underlines their cultivated, specialized knowledge. That goes for any fan of any sport, I guess - but twice as much for US Soccer Guy, who works so damn hard to show he belongs with the rest of the world, but knows he'd blow his cred the moment he even suggested that the emperor forgot to put on his clothes this morning. Or that MLS might be worth following, much less that it's the equal of the big three or four in Europe. Which it isn't, just yet.

There's a peril of judging a league from matches in isolation, like I'm striving to avoid doing (God knows, I really enjoy Italian soccer much of the time), but which a lot of folks do with impunity when it comes to MLS. Two perils, in fact; that you'll invariably get it wrong, and that you'll look pretentious in being wrong.

Obviously, there are an awful lot of garbage matches in MLS. As there are in England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland, France, and any other nation you care to choose. If the fan you're talking to doesn't acknowledge this essential fact, don't believe that they've watched too much soccer. There's no argument that those great old leagues have something over our little league (and with many times the history, money and attention, why shouldn't they?) Yet the fact remains, even there; sometimes, soccer is simply boring. And bad. Really, really bad. It's the inevitable, sharp contrasts between the really bad, the tepid, and the utterly amazing - be it some superhuman move Ronaldinho pulls off, or John Wolyniec hitting the shot of his lifetime, and one of the really memorable shots I've seen in professional soccer - that makes it all worth waking up for.

So it was a half-baked rant after all. Hm.


Today is Amado Arrival Day, according to Ives. It's actually Amado Arrival Night, as he'll be getting in late and missing yet another day of training (or in this case, a match against the U-17s) We have Michael Lewis standing by at the airport for up-to-the minute coverage. Film at 11.

Putting together a picture of how the team is doing from press reports and the occasional bigsoccer post from eyewitnesses is akin to Kremlinology.

Stars ascending:
Adrian Serioux - looks like he's just about signed, sealed and delivered to the Metros. He's already been noted for his good work in the scrimmages, and that's after a three month layoff.
Mike Magee - I figured he'd be on his way out this winter, and I wasn't happy about it. He's only 22, has talent and has worked to get stronger and despite being bounced all over the field hasn't bitched. He's started off well this preseason, and Mo sounds pleased.
Jordan Cila - Hasn't been highlighted like Magee yet, but his name keeps popping up in the scoreline. Assisted on both of Magee's goals, so maybe they've got a chemistry there. Do remember, however, that Brian Kelly won the MLS Pichichi way back when. And look where that led him.
Josimer Altidore - Rates a mention, simply because he skipped school and made his first appearance in black and red, against Columbus. Certainly a historical moment we will look back on years later.

Off the boil:
Carlos Fangueiro - For every mention of his skillful play, there's another of his lack of tenacity and yapping. Do we really need another Amado in the midfield? Barring something special, I bet he's the first one out.

Hard to say:
Piotr S. - A Bigsoccer poster claiming to have been at the Metro-RSL match (and who fakes that sort of thing?) described him as a cut above the rest (also some interesting comments on Wynne, Hendo, and Altidore there). Other reports have him only showing "flashes". If Serioux is all but done at a nice price, how likely is it that Mo will sign another DM, especially at the higher salary a European vet is likely to demand?
Eddie Gaven - It's only match reports from early preseason scrimmages, but he hasn't stood out yet. Is his fire lit?

Looks like Metro v. U-17 (do we share Josimer?) is being streamed on at 4 PM.

You don't spit into the wind. You don't tug on Superman's cape..


You don't pull off the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you never, ever, turn your back on, leave your credit cards laying out around, lend lawn equipment to, or otherwise mess around with Bob Gansler.

In the wake of the Johnny X story breaking recently, perhaps the weakest rationale that I've seen on Bigsoccer (motto: "Celebrate Weak Rationale!) for preventing teams like the Metros from signing their academy players without putting them up on the open market (either via draft or Szetela style lottery) is that smaller cities will be at a disadvantage, that inevitably and inexorably the major markets will leverage their enormous (and lets face it, far more attractive, sophisticated and witty) populations in ways that just can't do, and so will turn into unstoppable dynasties. Well in response to this, let me say;

a) boo hoo hoo. Hoo hoo. The shackles have been on the big market teams long enough.
b) Remind me again what part of Paterson, Queens or Yonkers that Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Clint Mathis (god rest his talent), to name but three, are from? The "smaller cities" - let's call them the Hunt Clubs - aren't exactly playing in soccer wastelands, either. Aren't they notorious youth soccer hotbeds? Doesn't half the Revolution side come from spitting distance of Arrowhead Stadium?
c) Bigger isn't always necessarily better. In fact, smart is usually best. Smart, like handing the reins of your club over to black-souled crypto-deviants like Bob Gansler.

Here's a man who gleefully sack-punched Bob Bradley a couple weeks ago by drafting Yura Movsisyan. Bob covets the kid, trades down on the assumption that he'll be there - not least because he's a poor Armenian immigrant whose biggest dream is to play close to home, becoming so popular among the adoring crowds in the second-largest Armenian city in the world (hell, for all I know, LA is the largest Armenian city in the world) that they actually change the club's name to Pyunik USA. It's a great story in the making, and if Bob B. was leaving obvious signs of using his first pick on the guy, you've gotta figure that the couple coaches ahead of him, all things being equal, would lay off.
Not Gansler. Bobby G. grabbed him - given that Yura's reportedly a project (with huge upside, but a project all the same) it's hard not to think that Gansler did it just because....he could. For shits and giggles. Or because he really is a Bad Man. Hey, there's an Armenian somewhere in KC. Yura can be a great story for that guy.

Now less than a month later, there's Kenny Cooper. Same drill. A Dallas kid who's coming back from Europe for the express purpose of playing at home. He might be halfway decent, but no one's tipping him to walk into the top 5 in scoring next season, so it's not like exhibiting a little gentlemanly reserve would be like saying "no thanks" to Ronaldinho. Cooper's a talented kid who wanted to develop back at home. Does Gansler say "well, thats nice, I wish him luck, but not against us"? Does he fuck. He jumps in there with a discovery claim and figures to score a player, a pick, or something out of the deal. Because in the MLS setup, the position that Dallas is thrust into is one of weakness.

Well, that was the initial storyline that we were getting from the stories coming out earlier. The end result - which is by no means very clear even now, is that Cooper goes to Dallas for nothing (thus, apparently no triple-threat trades between KC, Dallas and Metro today). Muddying the waters more is Dallas GM Michael Hitchcock (courtesy 3rd Degree)

""Discoveries are not tradable," said Hitchcock. "Kansas City simple passed on their discovery claim as Cooper did not fit into their plans."

Pardon me while I call bullshit on that "discoveries aren't tradable" idea - I don't have the gas to go looking now, but I challenge any one of you hundreds and hundreds of readers out there to find an instance of a discovery pick being traded. If it's not exactly legal, then the player is simply "picked" and shifted, all the same. I think the only thing that happened was that Bob Gansler got a call from Uncle Lamar asking him to ease off. Gansler may be a Bad Man - and that's a good thing to be in a world filled with stupid, easily exploitable rules (i.e. the world of MLS) - but I don't think he's a stupid one.

The morals of the story?

- The MLS system for distributing these players is funked up, and as long as it is, I can't get that agitated over machinations like this. I wouldn't be taking the guy out for beers n' laffs after he'd just shaken me down thanks to a stupid league setup, but that's beside the point. Good on Bob Gansler for taking advantage of the system while he can.

- The Metros damn well better not think of putting a guy like Johnny X, or any other academy product, through the Generation Adidas-lottery draft rigamarole. Because there is little, if any honor among MLS coaches.

Amado is in camp, sez the official roster on

We sez that someone at was reading this on the plane down to Florida. That's if "soccerwriter" in the Old Quarter of Bigsoccer has it right...and without giving any secrets away....The Metrologist figures anyone who shares his Christian name ought to get the benefit of the doubt.



Who creates a blog named after, and dedicated to lampooning, the floppiness of a second-year RSL forward?

The guy or gal behind You Dive Like Jamie Watson, that's who.

A simple idea, with the potential to be brilliantly banal, or banally brilliant. The soccer equivalent of

Still waiting


That means we'll have one, two, three.....

The Metrologist apologizes for his post-draft hiatus, but he's only just come to after passing out. It's bound to happen when you hold your breath for a week and a half, waiting for the other shoe to finally drop on the Amado, Eddie and Ante trades (while simulataneously racking your brain for more cliches to describe the situation). Just imagine that multi-pronged attack - Eddie and Edson blazing past helpless defenders, Youri and Al Ocation spreading passes left and right from midfield, and Chelsea phenom Joe Keenan holding it down at the back. Did you smell Metro glory? Because I did.

Of course, it never came to pass. Perhaps because the first, floppy-haired domino to fall got picked up at the last minute, and our first rounder sent to California for Marvell Wynne.

That left many Metro fans (The Metrologist included) a little surprised, but heaving a sigh of relief. Well, not so fast. Michael Lewis writes this morning that Amado and Eddie could be packaged up and sent to an unnamed team for a player and allocation. Metrofanatic does a good job of reading my thoughts on such a deal; who on Columbus and KC (the most likely trading partners) is worth swapping Guevara for straight up, never mind along with Gaven? No one, I say.

Sure, there's an allocation in there, too. And just look at some of the recent success stories that have come via the allocation process. DaMarcus Beasley begat Andy Herron, Cory Gibbs begat Pando Ramirez, Carlos Bocanegra brought back Samuel Caballero. And how we could forget that part of the Donovan allocation landed us Daniel Garipe?


In the past few weeks, we've learned a little lesson about dashing for the fire extinguisher at the first wisp of smoke (keep in mind, Matchnight and Big Apple Soccer were reporting the Gaven-Buddle deal as done). But the smell of smoke is still blowing around the Swamp; Amado's coming back from Honduras (sometime) carrying two jerry cans of gasoline, along with a couple pounds of nitroglycerine in his pockets. And he's promising to do jumping jacks. Let's just hope Molexi know what they're doing.

EDIT for a thought: On that note, Marc Connelly over at the second-best Connecticutite-penned soccer blog notes how the longer this goes on, the more Amado's trade value falls. I'm afraid that's awfully optimistic of him. It may already be a lot lower than we think, and it has little to do with time. The moment Amado made noises about jaking his way out of the Metros, every GM in the league had to be thinking "if he would do it to them, he might do it to us, too." So he's contributed to driving his own stock down, and Alexi seems likely to hold the line and not get rooked.
Oh yes, it's a mess.


I'm not sure what he'd say now if you could find him, but a few weeks ago Sol Campbell was again quoted as being interested in playing for the "Metro Stars" in a couple years, when (we assume) he is old and unreliable. "Or somewhere like that."

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