Written by Will Parchman

NYCFC

 

On Monday, Gothamist’s Dan Dickinson revealed the final two competitors for NYCFC’s badge design. After a seemingly endless parade of selfies and ironic selfies and proto-ironic selfies (you don’t want to know) and whatever else was shoved into NYCFC’s Twitter feed during their badge competition, we have two very un-ironic competitors.

For me, it’s perfect if you take the more colorful interlocking NYCFC from the misshapen badge and import it to the circular badge. Then you’ve got a hit.

 

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Written by The 91st

Porter

At times, we all need a little direction. Even if that direction is leading us right off a cliff. Which is where we intend to guide you today.

As the 19th MLS season kicks off this weekend, we give you a reason to watch and a reason to ignore all 19 of the league’s teams. And it wouldn’t be TDS if we didn’t talk about some exciting young prospects too, right?

Chicago Fire

One reason you should care: Mike Magee. Is there anything else to say? Switching clubs in 2013, Magee went on to claim MVP honors, scoring seemingly at will. Now the race is on for him to go on an Edson Buddle-like run all the way onto the 2014 U.S. World Cup squad.

One reason you shouldn’t care: Frankly, there was a lot of turnover in Chitown during the offseason. Frank Yallop replaced Frank Klopas in the head coaching role, which means that the Fire is entering 2014 with a lot of new faces and a potentially new look. And a lot of times, newness in MLS doesn’t lend itself to the best soccer — at least at the beginning of the season.

Young player to watch: U.S. U20 international Victor Pineda signed with the Fire back in 2010… and has yet to make an appearance for the first team in a regular season match. Can he convince Frank Yallop he’s worthy of minutes this season? He showed flashes of excitement at last year’s U20 World Cup and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the question to see him finally debut this season.

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Written by Will Parchman

TimbersD TimbersO

The Timbers just redid the paint in their training center in Portland, and it’s just so… Portland. All the things we enjoy about the Portland Porters: Pressure, possession, steely glares in the gloaming, Will Johnson’s annoyingly effective face, Darlington Nagbe’s lifeforce, all that damn green… maybe my wall mural would’ve looked different.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

pedro

According to this report right here, Malaga’s Pedro Morales is already in Vancouver. The Whitecaps are on the lookout for a No. 10 since Camilo bounced for Mexico, and this could be the answer. Could this mean Javier Morales’ incumbent role as MLS’s ‘Best attacking midfielder with the last name Morales’ is in jeopardy?! Tension. So much tension.

Here’s another thing: Morales’ nickname? Pokegol. I’ve heard Spanish announcers call him Pikachu before. This immediately becomes the best nom de guerre in MLS.

Since this is the internet, we have literature on Morales. Well, it’s more like videos set to crap music, but beggars and choosers and you know.

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Written by Will Parchman

Toyota-Field-Interor-Sideline

MLS’s expansion to 24 teams by 2020 is a top priority item. I’ve said my piece on this before. Placeholders and overgrowth and quality over quantity. The league is trending upward, it’s just a matter of focusing its growth through the proper channels.

Texas, it seems, is high on the agenda. Austin recently splashed into the news via Michael Wilt, a local developer who could use “Austin FC LLC” to open the channels on a new stadium soon. Meanwhile, San Antonio is angling for a jump to MLS from the NASL, and the Crocketteers are on the case. For those counting, that would make four MLS teams in the state of Texas. If it seems like a crowded house, it’s because it would be.

To be sure, the state of Texas is enormous to the point of absurdity. Driving from the Louisiana border to El Paso is roughly the same distance as El Paso to the Pacific Ocean. Which crosses three states. Even within that galactic empire of sand and trees, Austin and San Antonio are close cultural cousins, sharing a stretch of I-35 than spans just 80 miles and occupying similar spheres of influence. Oh sure, Austin is the cooler relative, hosting trendy technology and music festivals, goading residents to try ever newer and stranger food concoctions and trading on its ability to stand as a blue dot in a sea of red.

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Written by Will Parchman

chivas-guys-dance

The Goat Parade reported today that Chivas Guadalajara filed for two separate patents in January on Los Angeles SC and Los Angeles F.C.  What do they look like? Why yes, there are image mockups on these already.

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Written by Will Parchman

You may remember this fun video from June in which then-RSL-AZ academy member Trevor Hyman gave you a first-person view of the Casa Grande, Ariz. home where RSL’s training setup resides. It was a lot of fun.

Call this the senior team equivalent. You get to see how the pros train from a first-person perspective. As always, the GoPro carries the day.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

nelsen

If nothing else, Ryan Nelsen proved in 2013 that he was a pragmatist.

With a handful of blunt instruments at his disposal and not much in the way of bite, he mostly operated out of a comfortably bland 4-4-2 with a decidedly defensive mindset. Bread and butter stuff from the Kiwi. When life hands you a cheese grater to cut through a barbed wire fence, you fix up a grim visage, settle in for the long night ahead and start grating.

In Alex Olshansky’s final Tempo Free Table of the 2013 season, his findings bore out TFC’s frustrating possessive ethos. TFC tried to wrestle possession as much as possible, but they were tremendously profligate with their touches. Despite having more possessions per game than all but two teams, they were able to string together more passes than just one, the midfield-averse Chicago Fire.

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Written by Will Parchman

The annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival is gathering its films, which means the respective trailers are beginning to pop up here and there. This one, titled Muerte o Gloria: The Rise fo the American Soccer Fan, looks especially good. The story of the D.C. United fan is essentially the story of the MLS fan from the beginning, and this one digs back into the roots of MLS’ supporters groups culture.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

clint

In 2012, Tim Cahill played in 12 regular season matches for the New York Red Bulls, racked up 1,080 minutes on the field and scored one goal. By most accounts, his initial transfer-shortened MLS season was underwhelming. He often struggled to get involved and entered the 2012-2013 offseason with uncertainty clipping at his heels. Would NYRB’s latest DP be another mild disappointment? The following season was a mystery.

In 2013, Clint Dempsey played in nine regular season matches for the Seattle Sounders, put in a grand total of 651 minutes in an MLS uniform and scored one goal. By most objective measures, Dempsey’s initial blast of MLS air was a bit stale. Unlike Cahill, his form hadn’t suffered in the EPL on the eve of his transfer, and monstrous expectation had been heaped on his shoulders after his historic and somewhat controversial transfer.

Now, Dempsey is mired in an offseason much like the one Cahill had last year. Big player, grand expectations and a sudden and immediate need to meet them.

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