Written by Will Parchman

Don-Garber

Earlier this month, MLS commissioner Don Garber said an interesting thing about the league in an interview with Sky Sports. The commish has long been externally bullish on the league’s prospects, partly in an effort to echo the strides the league’s made and partly to inflate the league’s value beyond its current stature to a wider global populace that has little frame of reference when it comes to MLS.

But this was as lofty as he’s ever been. This is where I’d like to focus today.

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Written by Will Parchman

MIazg

The East Face of K2 is a giant sheet of unstable ice and snow coating an almost vertical front of rock, studded by craggy spurs extending outward like ridges on the back of an alligator. There have been so few attempts to even try and scale K2 from this route that we only have anecdotal evidence of its danger via satellite imagery.

K2 is called The Savage Mountain by climbers because its ascents are so carefully guarded by the swiftly changing weather and its vicious sentinels of rock and ice and its coulees that extend into the glacial bowels of the mountain. And on a technical level it is hard to access, difficult to climb, and impossible to predict. Everest is the Hollywood of mountains. K2 is a back-alley film lot in Boston.

Mountaineers are fond of saying that there are no predictable mountains, but some are certainly easier to understand than others. K2 is still an enigma, and many of its angles have yet to even be attempted. The East Face has withstood fewer than 10 assaults, and nobody has ever dared attempt an ascent entirely up the face itself.

Now, let’s talk about the New York Red Bulls and the mirage of predictability in MLS.

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Written by Will Parchman

Every now and then, MLS teams resume the time-honored tradition of pulling a couple players into the marketing department to make a couple calls to season ticket holders. It’s typically a good time: jokes, laughs, the whole shebang.

The Sounders put out one such video this week. Chad Barrett, Andy Rose and Zach Scott rang up a couple unsuspecting fans, and we settled in for the normal barrage of chuckles. But we got so, so much more.

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Written by Will Parchman

Villa

Whether or not you’ve heard of The Players’ Tribune yet, it’s already carved out a significant niche in the American sports landscape. Players (and teams, by extension) are controlling more of their own narratives on their own, which is both refreshing and perilous. Refreshing in the sense that we can see things through new eyes, and perilous in the sense that it’s far too easy to control the message. PR for PR’s sake.

In David Villa’s case, the reality seems to be somewhere in between. In his most recent expose in TPT, Villa was engaging without being overbearing, real without being saccharine, and deferential without being disingenuous. It wasn’t perfect, but it certainly felt real. And that’s something in this context.

Anyway, there were some good, bad and damn hilarious quotes to emerge from Villa’s article. I encourage you to pick through it. And then come back here and we’ll enjoy the best bits together. These were my favorites.

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Written by Will Parchman

Yes, we brought you Kei Kamara and Benny Feilhaber doing similar things yesterday, but this is Tommy Thompson and Harry Shipp, the Homegrown Wonders. When that’s the case, you don’t question. You just enjoy. Real life FIFA skill games for all the wins.

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Written by Will Parchman

Benny Feilhaber’s spent the better part of the last two years ripping up MLS back lines with measured killer balls, and Kei Kamara probably leads the MLS MVP race right now with a league-high 20 goals. And still Feilhaber gets the time-honored Klinsmann Snub. Beautifully predictable.

Anyway, Kamara and Feilhaber got together to run through some FIFA 16 skill games. You’ve always wanted to do this. Watch a couple pros get the chance. Semi-related anecdote: can someone please bring back the Benny Feilhaber show? If anyone’s poised to take Jimmy Conrad’s job in 4-5 years, it’s the ‘Haber.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

nagbe

Earlier this week, American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta said something about Jurgen Klinsmann. I want you to read it.

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Written by Will Parchman

Magnus-Nilsson-with-gun-a-001

The story about how Jurgen Klinsmann came to casually dismiss MLS in that manner of his that sweats ebullient nonchalance is codified in Reddit’s MLS scrolls now. He skirted the edge of things, dancing upon its razor by neither overtly diving in nor staying out entirely. Klinsmann is a curling eyebrow in the midst of an overheated argument about Donald Trump in a Shriners backroom in Des Moines, Iowa. He is inviting you to see into the layers he’s creating but never implicating himself directly. He knows the ramifications of speaking directly, and so he does not.

So when he says Bradley “has to prove he hasn’t lost a bit” by going to Toronto FC, he was neither saying TFC was beneficial to his development nor overtly detrimental. He is playing to his base without kneecapping his wider bloc. He is politicking.

The story, though, was not about Klinsmann’s comment. It was about Bradley’s body language. This AP story from Eric Adelson in the aftermath of Klinsmann’s initial comments fills a volume the length of Gibbon’s Roman histories.

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Written by Will Parchman

carl robinson

MLS is making strides in player identification and development. Whatever you may feel about the speed at which it’s doing this, things are better now than they were a few years ago, and a few years before that, and on we go.

But if you look at the numbers, those strides are primarily concentrated in clusters. MLS (and specifically our academy, college and club system) has done yeoman’s work developing holding midfielders, defenders, keepers and, in smaller numbers, strikers for the next level. If the USMNT is anything, it’s a mirror reflecting the player pool as a whole. And at each of those positions the U.S. has generated a player worthy of distinction.

The area where the U.S. system has not succeeded, however, is with attacking midfielders.

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Written by Will Parchman

20yrds

I woke up punching my headboard. It was at that point I knew it was going to be a good day.

My wife and three young daughters were already awake, downstairs. I heard them clinking around in the kitchen, readying for the day. The sun was free, pouring in through the composite Venetian horsebone blinds (from an original 16th century Venetian warhorse, whose bones we purchased on the deep web) onto our merino wool-backed, 22 karat goal-threaded Charlotte Thomas Bespoke bed sheets. My wife once told me there are people in this world who sleep atop less than 1,000 thread-count sheets. My incredulity stretched like my stomach after  a Wagyu beef truffle-and-diamond burger from Serendipity 3 on East 60th. I still have trouble digesting both.

I flipped off the bed and strutted to our 1,500-square foot closet, my legs kicking out from the knee like a goose-stepping Nazi. My morning routine. I flung open the jewel-encrusted sliding doors, revealing smooth fabric hanging limp from identical rose gold hangars and stretching into the mists of time. I cleared the gathered sleep from the corners of my eyes to see the glory itself: 67 identical light blue adidas track jackets, paired with 67 identical light blue adidas track pants.

The way the white stripes lined up made me smash apart the sliding doors. Today was going to be a good day.

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