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.
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 TheCrew.com
at 4 PM.