Written by Will Parchman


NYCFC is apparently rolling out some music video called “New York City all the way,” which is as hilarious as it sounds. And David Villa is in it, sort of pantomiming every fifth word and shifting from one leg to another like he’s trying to shake a crab out of his pants.

NYCFC has been accused of being obtuse where its fans are concerned. From labeling Frank Lampard’s stint at City a loan when he was a City player all along, to a laundry list of restrictions on fans at games that includes “old school hollow cones” in lieu of megaphones, NYCFC’s front office has had a rough offseason.

But now, the chance to redeem themselves via song is here. And here it is! It’s really bad!

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Written by Will Parchman


It’s a simple question, but the answer that follows is endlessly complicated.

How much experience is enough to take over the role of an MLS team’s personnel czar? And does the position require MLS playing experience?

Every team has its own answer. Some reword the question entirely. Of the league’s 20 current teams, 12 employ what they call a “technical director.” Five more list their front office personnel gurus as general managers, while the Dynamo’s Matt Jordan (GM/Vice President) and Garth Lagerwey (GM/President) have their own unique handles. The Vancouver Whitecaps, meanwhile, don’t have a GM or a TD. Greg Anderson’s “VP of Soccer Operations” handle is as close as it gets, but the ‘Caps also employ a president and a “Head of Analysis & Scouting.”

For most of these clubs, the distinction between GM and TD is academic. Almost like choosing to call it a field or a pitch. One has traditionally American undertones, the other does not (and in fact, NYCFC and Orlando City both refer to “sporting directors” instead of “technical directors,” but we’ve given them the benefit of the doubt).

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Written by Will Parchman


Mario Balotelli is unhappy again.

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League knockouts last week with a thudding loss to Besiktas in Turkey. Dejan Lovren rifled the decisive penalty over the bar, and the Reds went marching home, hat in hand.

In the midst of the fray, Mario Balotelli resembled a giraffe on stilts. Unsure of himself and on a booking, Brendan Rodgers opted to sub off Balotelli in the second half. Consider that Balotelli is maybe the best penalty taker in world soccer right now (and that he made the winner against Besiktas in the first leg), and you can imagine Balotelli’s disdain as he clopped off the field. This, in fact, is what the Italian thought of the decision.

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Written by Will Parchman


Every MLS city is defined by its food. Why, you ask? Because everything is defined by food. So what if we took the top Yelp-rated restaurants in every MLS city, mashed them together and related it back to the hometown club? What you end up with is the best, most objective measure of a team’s identity known to man.

I mean, you don’t really get that at all. But you kind of do. Just follow me.

This highly scientific ranking, cooked up (FUN WITH PUNS) by some of the nation’s top think tanks, are based on how well (or poorly) each institution is reflected by the city’s best restaurants. And how good the food looks. And if none of that fits it’s not really based on anything. Food. Soccer.


20. Colorado Rapids (Commerce City, Colorado)
Top joints: 1. The Butcher Block Cafe, 2. El Jardin, 3. The Bison Grill

Ah, the ‘burbs. Where large corporations stash factories on cheap land to prop up their absurdly overstuffed bottom lines. Commerce City has an oil refinery. Its No. 1 restaurant is also a greasy spoon, which perfectly encapsulates the Rapids. A subdued atmosphere and product with a couple good, young cooks being hampered by management’s reluctance to embrace change and pour money into the restaurant. They’ll leave eventually because the kitchen isn’t ventilated and the owner stops by every now and then to administer his Tuesday face slaps with his rhinestone-studded white glove. But ENJOY ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HERE, CIUDAD DE COMMERCE. Can… I perhaps get my Sloppy Joe to go? Thanks. It smells like rat farts in here.

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Written by Will Parchman


Fiery rhetoric from the MLS Players Union, stone feet from MLS owners and public dithering from caught-in-the-middle MLS commissioner Don Garber have stolen a slice of the offseason spotlight from, you know, actual games. How to plan for the season when a proverbial axe hangs over its exposed neck?

But there are, in fact, games on the horizon. Whether we reach them whole is a matter worth pondering, but let’s live in a realm devoid of gray hairs, heart palpitations and stoppage-induced night terrors today. Let’s assume the season goes off without incident, players are given some measure of free agency freedom, the owners’ bloodlust for control is satiated somehow and Garber gets a vacation. In fact, we all get vacations. To Tacticsland. That’s how today works.

Here are three of the most pressing tactical questions heading into the 2015 season. How does LA fill the Great Donovan Void? Where does Giovinco fit? And can Dom Dwyer and Sporting KC possibly sustain its breakneck pace?

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Written by Will Parchman


When Orlando City and NYCFC kick off the MLS season in Orlando on March 8, it’ll represent a unique crossroads in the expansion era of MLS 2.0 and beyond. If we omit the Houston-San Jose movement saga of the mid-aughts in this study (for myriad reasons), MLS expanded by eight between the Florida contraction era and the 2014 season. Those eight are split neatly down the middle: those teams that existed previously as lower division franchises, and those that did not.

In this case, Philadelphia, Toronto FC, Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake were hacked out of fresh rock, while Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal and Portland received top flight facelifts. Orlando City and NYCFC are arrayed on opposite ends of this divide. While Orlando City has previously established fan support, community backing and history, NYCFC is approaching MLS from a fresh-blooded, moneyed trajectory.

What does that mean for the future of MLS’s two newest franchises, historically? As you can imagine, history is not on NYCFC’s side.

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Written by Will Parchman


The story of the last week wasn’t Chelsea worming a late winner through 84 sets of legs to beat Everton and keep a cushiony lead atop the English Premier League. Nor was it Atletico Madrid’s stunning 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid (though that was satisfying as peeling a dried layer of Elmer’s glue from your 12-year-old palm).

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Written by Will Parchman


As ink-black storm clouds center their power over MLS’s ongoing CBA negotiations this shortening offseason, sounds of entrenchment tools clatter down both battle lines. On one, players hunker down in defiant opposition of the league’s lack of any form of free agency. Along the other, the league’s ownership is cantankerously growling that the league they bought into didn’t have any level of FA, which was probably a primary middle-term selling point for at least a fraction of them.

And so here we are. Divorced from the 2010 CBA negotiations in that the players are more defiant and yet similar to them in that the players are threatening a strike. Unlike in 2010, though, the sides were closer on a deal all along, as Geoff Cameron recalls.

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Written by Will Parchman


On Monday, promising Sith Lord apprentices NYCFC dropped a developmental hammer on the U.S. After greedily snatching up 11 local affiliate youth satellites, NYCFC told us what they planned on doing with them.

Turns out, that involves making an entire league.

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Written by Will Parchman


Kaka’s Orlando City career is technically like two weeks old, considering MLS preseason is only barely just underway. But it’s off to a flying start. Kaka scored a penalty and assisted on another goal in a dominant 4-0 win over FC Dallas in a closed-door scrimmage. Perhaps the best news for OC fans? Kaka didn’t injure himself already. Count your blessings.

But Kaka’s best moment from his maiden MLS voyage weren’t his moments on the scoresheet. It was this 16th century-style public shaming of FC Dallas midfielder Kyle Bekker.

Do we… do we send Bekker’s family flowers in loving memory?

Kaka is one of just four Balon D’Or winners still playing professional soccer somewhere on earth. Considering Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will ping-pong back and forth on the award until they’re 40, it might stay that way for a while, too. So enjoy, MLS. Kaka is going to do some silly things this season.

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