Written by Will Parchman

repib

On Feb. 5, 2014, David Beckham strode onto a stage in a smart suit snapping blithely in a tropical Miami breeze. With MLS commissioner Don Garber beaming like the moon-showered plains of the Masai Mara and Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez on his other side, Beckham helped announce that his new Miami team – whatever it was called – was to be the league’s 22nd team. Expansion had come to Miami a second time, or so it seemed.

The twists and turns since then are too innumerable to count, but it has never really seemed as though Miami was ready for Major League Soccer. The stadium deal has whipsawed from an inevitability to an impossibility, but the newest news this week is not particularly cheery.

After Chivas USA folded, Atlanta United, LAFC and Minnesota United were all confirmed in Miami’s place while its stadium deal is either ironed or left to flail under the placid waters of the Biscayne Bay. That is 21, 22 and 23. It appears for now that Garber’s round number of 24 teams by 2020 is missing by one.

Or maybe not, says Sacramento. Maybe we are the one.

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

garber

Don Garber’s dogged resolve to usher MLS into the world’s upper echelon has been documented ad nauseum down the years. He’s been saying it since at least 2011, when he predicted MLS would become one of the best leagues on the planet in 10 years. Ambitious. Silly? Probably.

He has not eased off those predictions in the four years since he made those remarks. Late last week, Garber got on his charger and raced into battle for MLS again, claiming this time that while 2022 might’ve been a mite too lofty a goal, it’ll happen. Someday. Somehow.

And then this, from that same story.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

MIGUEL

Patrick Vieira is the new NYCFC coach, just like Grant Wahl predicted a few weeks ago. Whatever your personal thoughts on that (I am skeptical!), Vieira is unquestionably a fresh face in a selfsame MLS coaching fraternity. From that vantage, this is a fun move, if not a shrewd one.

More importantly, this injects fresh ideas, new vivacity and just a different damn face onto an MLS sideline, which is a fantastic thing for everyone involved. American professional soccer coaches are often too boring to mark them for individual notation.

Ideologues, we are not.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

MLS referees (or PRO Referees, depending on your parlance) are constantly on the defensive, although I suppose that’s the plight of all refs in this mad, mad world of ours. In this video, Fox aims to take you behind the hood of what a game’s like from a ref’s perspective.

It’s a more nuanced look at a maligned profession that you actually probably don’t know a ton about. Maybe think about that the next time you’re pouring your anthrax into that envelope?

Tags:  , | Leave a comment

No League for Old Men

Written by Will Parchman

oscy

An era is a thing like mist. We tend to study it not by its margins but by the defined space in the middle of things, where its weight is made most real by its density. Where the gravity makes the most sense. We are a people made uncomfortable by the indecipherable margins of mist, so we focus on those concrete things we can understand. This is where I can see. This is where I cannot.

We do this too with age. What we are in growth and death is ancillary to the real meat of our middle years. As if the bookends are not the most valuable.

Tags:  | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

Jones

Like most new Designated Players, Jermaine Jones signed a two-year contract when he entered MLS in 2014. He was 31 at the time, and a ceremony with an envelope sent him to New England. It was weird.

Jones’ tenure in New England has been studded with the kind of angry malaise that’s marked the passage of his soccer ability into old age. All the extremities of Jones’ wildest neuroses as a player have come home to roost during his time in MLS. He tracks runners when he wants, stakes out attacks when he wants, joins the forward movement when he wants and kicks out ankles when he wants (which is often).

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Travis Clark

The MLS playoffs have already seen some epic moments just four games into the random knockout frenzy that crowns a league champion.

Thursday night was no different. After Montreal Impact’s runaway 3-0 defeat of Canadian rivals Toronto FC, Sporting KC’s trip to Portland produced an instant classic.

Both sides needed late equalizers to advance to overtime and penalty kicks respectively. SKC defender Kevin Ellis netted an 87th minute goal to make it 1-1 and secure overtime. After a sensational 96th minute goal by Krisztián Németh put KC up by one in overtime, Maximilliano Urruti scored in the 118th minute to send the game to PKs.

That’s where things hit another level of crazy. The penalty kicks yielded some of the worst misses you’ll ever see (I’m looking at you Matt Besler and Jack Jewsbury), Sporting KC had two chances to win, only for Ellis to hit the post and Saad Abdul Salaam with one of the unluckiest misses you’ll see.

The Timbers finally won when goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey converted his penalty, and then he went on to save from his counterpart Jon Kempin, who entered the game in the 84th minute, replacing the injured Tim Melia.

Full shootout video is courtesy of reddit/MLS.

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

Fri

Finally, for the first time in four tries, the Sounders knocked the Galaxy out of the postseason on Wednesday night. The game was as entertaining as it gets in MLS, and after four goals in the opening 22 minutes, Seattle’s Erik Friberg roped home the winner in the 73rd.

This was his first goal of the season.

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

bald

Historically anyway, rookies in MLS have needed a few years to land on international radars. The league’s reputation, say, 10 years ago didn’t lend breakout rookie performances to immediate buzz overseas. Heck, it took Clint Dempsey two years of burning up the league with the Revs to earn a contract with Fulham. And you saw what he did there.

Those days are probably drawing to an end. Because nobody would be surprised if perhaps the league’s two best rookies this year aren’t with the league next year.

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

New York City FC manager Jason Kruis on the substitutes bench before the game

As he is wont to do, Grant Wahl dropped an entire arsenal worth of bombshells Wednesday in his regular Insider column. The top item was the shifting structure of power within USSF as the fed comes to terms with Jurgen Klinsmann’s bizarrely nebulous role. Jay Berhalter is reportedly shouldering more of the technical director role. Which… OK?

That relegated the next news item to perhaps second fiddle, though its implications were no less stark. The Manchester City figureheads guiding NYCFC are strongly considering ousting head coach Jason Kreis after one season sans playoffs in favor of Patrick Vieira. You know. The Patrick Vieira.

And I quote.

Multiple sources connected to Manchester City and New York City FC say Jason Kreis’s job as the coach at NYCFC is in real danger. It’s not a done deal yet, but all signs are pointing to his replacement being Patrick Vieira, the 1998 World Cup winner and former Arsenal star who has been serving as Man City’s elite development squad manager.

Here are my thoughts on that.

Tags:  , , , | Leave a comment