Written by Will Parchman

MLS is getting another Ireland striker this summer. Wolves man Kevin Doyle is joining up with the Colorado Rapids July 1, apparently because he’s never heard of the Colorado Rapids. In any case, he’s not worried MLS will ruin his hopes for future national team call-ups. He should probably be more worried that he’s 31 and played 59 minutes in the Championship this year. But I digress.

Sky took the opportunity to quiz Doyle on some Americanisms. Like wall pass. And douchebag. Which coincidentally are the only two words he’ll need to know when he gets to Denver.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

It happened again. The Impact won another CONCACAF Champions League match.

After brushing aside Pachuca in the quarters thanks to the Thrust Heard ‘Round The World (and a goal or something from rookie Cameron Porter), the Impact smashed Alajuelense 2-0 at home on Wednesday night in the first leg of the semifinals. It should’ve been even more. As you’ll notice from the highlights, Montreal wasted a couple prime opportunities to make it 3-0 (or even 4-0) and put the tie to sleep. Because the Impact still have to play in Costa Rica. And nobody wants to play in Costa Rica. It’s the MLS/USMNT Thunderdome.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing about all this is that the Impact gave absolutely no indication they’d be even half this good in a spot where MLS teams have been historically terrible. Only one MLS side has ever made it to the CCL final, Real Salt Lake in 2011. And it didn’t win.

If suddenly in-form Ignacio Piatti manages to lead Impact into the final at all, let alone to a title, it’ll rank as the most surprising championship run in the tournament’s history after the Great Montreal Dumpster Fire of 2014. I speak for all neutrals, Montreal, when I say: “Wreck this damn thing.”

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

rbnywins

NYCFC are relatively newcomers to a block RBNY’s dominated on the youth level for years. With NYCFC’s new affiliate system setting the table for academy sides down the line, the Red Bulls have to confront a major metro challenger to their hegemony. But that’s a bit down the road.

The Red Bulls have a fairly deep academy system that utilizes what they call a Regional Development School below the U14 level in the DA. While it isn’t quite DA level in terms of training, it allows the Red Bulls vital time with a key development group before they reach the competitive stage.

Jump cut to this week. NYCFC hosted the inaugural 5v5 Coliseum Cup at Teaneck Armory, one of the first (if not the first) area tournaments hosted by the new MLS club. The Red Bulls’ U11 team won.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

sounders

Now that the MLS season is officially underway, lets take a brief look back at all the nationally televised games in 2015 and see what we can find.

National channel families included in the tally: ESPN, Fox, Univision and UniMas. All regional broadcasts are stricken from the discussion. I’ve left out the three Canadian clubs for obvious compatibility reasons. The Impact, Whitecaps and TFC are on their own scale entirely with TSN.

Perhaps most shocking (to me anyway), is that TV schedules don’t always reflect the league’s aesthetic realities. The Fire may improve after their dumpster fire of an opener on UniMas against the Galaxy. But they were given nearly twice the national exposure than were the defending Eastern Conference champion Revolution, an entertaining team that returns just about everybody. The Crew, a popular pick to win the entire league, has the smallest number of nationally televised games in the country.

There is a kind of method knitted into the fabric, here. Of the Timbers’ 12 nationally televised matches, for instance, seven are at home. Given Portland’s propensity for over-the-top tifos and rabid home support, not a surprise. Of their five away matches, two are at CenturyLink and one is at Yankee Stadium. Further, UniMas is clearly catering to the more Hispanic-rich southern belt. FC Dallas (6) Orlando City (5) and the Houston Dynamo (5) lead the way in network appearances this season.

As for the top clubs on each network this season: ESPN2 (Portland Timbers – 6); Fox Sports 1 (Seattle Sounders – 6); UniMas (FC Dallas – 6); Univision (Colorado Rapids/RBNY – 4); Univision Deportes (Chicago Fire/Houston Dynamo – 3). Should also note that Galaxy-Timbers is currently the lone game on Fox’s main network, while Galaxy/Sounders and Rapids/RSL (!) are the lone games on ESPN’s main network. I’m beginning to think Univision was stuck with the chewed end of the stick. Seven total Rapids and Fire games beamed cross country? Godspeed.

What do these numbers mean? That’s up to interpretation. MLS diehards will get their games regardless. MLS Live delivers all of them for around $75. But it’s dismaying that a national audience, ripe for swaying, has a far better chance to see a Fire-D.C. match than Revs-Crew. C’est la vie.

Tags:  , | 1 Comment
Written by Will Parchman

NYCFC played its first ever home game on Sunday and, coincidentally, also picked up its first ever victory. Goals from David Villa and Patrick Mullins (off a beautiful heel click-to-assist from the aforementioned Villa) set up NYCFC for a 2-0 win over the sliding New England Revolution.

The game was fairly well received on TV. Audiences in the UK actually watched at a clip of 55K, which outperformed the Barcelona game in the same weekend. Disappointingly, it only drew a 0.2 rating in the U.S. thanks to competition from the March Madness selection show.

But the match itself at Yankee Stadium was rocking, despite the wonky sight-lines and the converted baseball field. At 44K, the attendance outstripped any Yankees game from last season. Which is not nothing. But the establishment of a bonafide home fan base from the jump via flagship supporter’s group The 3rd Rail was perhaps the best bit of news. After the match, fans spilled into the New York City night to celebrate and climb lamp posts, which is an NYC tradition. For every occasion.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

maxresdefault

Three numbers. Three moments. One MLS opening weekend. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Eight (Number of times Boniek Garcia was dispossessed)

Boniek Garcia lives in his own head space. At his most Bonieky, he brooks no intrusion from opposition or teammate alike. He is ostensibly the John Matrix of MLS. For those not in the know, the greatest movie ever committed to celluloid is 1980′s Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Commando. Thanks to Movie Body Counts (a real website that really exists in the real world), we know Matrix commits 81 murders over the course of the movie’s tidy 92 minutes. In the final scene alone, he commits 71 of those with no backup. The final kill involves Matrix ripping a steam pipe off the wall and throwing it through a human body before it pierces another steam pipe.

Tags:  , , , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

Brad-Evans-580x322

MLS opening weekend largely went off without hangups. Orlando City played in front of its thousands (its filled bowl, if you will) and managed to give them a dramatic late equalizer against fellow neophyte NYCFC. Seattle packed in nearly 40,000 for its opener, a breathless 3-0 dismantling of New England. LA opened its title defense with a smashing 2-0 win over the Fire.

Generally, all went according to blueprint. A blissful distraction from the contentious meetings that wrapped up just days before the season kicked off.

But the mental and physical repercussions of those talks reverberated well into the weekend for the handful of players who had bellied up to the negotiating table. Here’s newly converted center back Brad Evans after Seattle’s win Sunday night. Evans weaves through his mental and physical condition in the days following concluded negotiations, the impact the deal will have on the next round of negotiators in five years (when the current deal expires) and the notion that not everybody was happy with the deal.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

mixfinal

MLS has always been a league of entertainment. Now allow me to head off your guffaws about the MLS of the 90′s with running shootouts and the pre-Beckham era without figureheads and the MLS of now which, we have been told many times, is not the English Premier League.

Entertainment is a relative term, and when you have a domestic league for your own you appreciate it in the way you do a child. It will disappoint you in the same turn that it stokes your competitive fire. MLS has done its share of disappointing this offseason. But it is here, and it is soccer, and in that way it is beautiful. And, yes, entertaining. In spades.

If you imagine the league like a nascent dimmer switch, there’s been some all-seeing entity gradually cranking it closer to 10 since 1996. It isn’t close yet, but it’s better. There are real rivalries and build-in allegiances and newborn traditions turned expectant traditions, if not entrenched. The building blocks our children will experience as a full-fledged house are still being pulled out of the kiln, but it’s improving. The switch is turning. Slowly. But it’s turning.

But it has not, by the same token, always been a league of genuine artifacts. For years the vitriol was synthetic. There were a handful of D.C. fans who legitimately hated the very heart that pumped blood to the New York Red Bulls. But there were not many. During the first Sounders March to the Match, there was a sense of wide-eyed wonder about it. That we are doing something new and exciting. But it was never something planted in the ground like a weathered signpost, directing fans to something so uniquely them that you saw it from miles off.

Tags:  , | 2 Comments
Written by Will Parchman

bluehell

The MLS season got its highly anticipated curtain-raiser on Friday night. A matchup between defending champs LA Galaxy and defending trying-not-to-die Chicago Fire went about as expected. LA bossed possession, the Fire looked like a toddler lost in the mall and the Galaxy ended up winning 2-0. As the world turns.

While the Fire scuffled to a performance that made all of us fear for Harry Shipp’s future, the KC Cauldron was busy. The Cauldron is the preeminent fan supporters group for SKC, and they share a regional overlap with the Fire. The two teams have had a simmering feud on field, but it’s never been the nation’s hottest. Maybe something about that Midwestern sensibility.

While the Fire got stomped into nonexistence by the Galaxy, the Cauldron had a bit of fun on Twitter. And by a bit of fun, I mean they danced themselves into an ecstatic oblivion unknown to most of mankind. They leaned on this #cauldronafterdark tag and let their fans, well-wishers and just general internet malcontents just swing away by flooding the Fire’s home #cf97 tag with pictures of food. And it was brilliant.

Strap in. This is going to take a glorious while.

Tags:  , , , | 4 Comments
Written by Will Parchman

mls

In his 1917 book ‘The Life of John Caldwell Calhoun,’ author and historian William Montgomery Meigs wrote of Calhoun: “(He was) a high-strung man of ultra intellectual cast.” A smart orator, Calhoun was strong-minded and apt to curry favor with those who took to his particular brand of rabble-rousing. He was persuasive and driven, rising from the House of Representatives to the Senate to posts as U.S. Secretary of War and Secretary of State. From 1825-1832, he was the seventh Vice President.

Perhaps Calhoun’s most prominent stance, the one that dogs him into legend, was his de facto leadership of the War Hawk Party. After he was elected to Congress for the first time in 1810, Calhoun immediately set out the war drums and began banging. Bulldozing the nuance of the Napoleonic situation in Europe and alienating an enormous chunk of the liberal northeast, Calhoun and his followers agitated for war with Britain.

Outrages over international slights and naval impressment fueled Calhoun’s meaty and endless rhetorical diatribes. There would be no compromise.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment