Written by Will Parchman

These rings are otherwise gorgeous, but as far as that hashtag is concerned,  it’s like scatter-farting on the Mona Lisa. This is unspeakably… well, it’s not good, is it? In honor, we at TDS have meticulously combed the backlogs to bring you authentic team-specific hashtags for immediate ring printing were each to win the MLS Cup this season.

These are real. No they’re not. Unless they are. Not. Yes. OK.

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Written by Will Parchman

passing

The possession discussion has assumed a frantically confused tenor in recent months. It’s as though the hive mind of the global soccer fan has tired of the intricate Barcelona-esque passing networks to such a fantastical degree that it’s decided to snap the other way entirely. Instead of deifying possession, there’s an increasingly vocal subset that’s begun to evangelize for a more balanced approach. Play out of the back, yes, but don’t demonize a varied approach. Suddenly a bit of Route One doesn’t seem as out-of-style as it did even a few years ago.

With a few notable exceptions, the movement has largely been positive in the sense that it’s brought context to our ongoing debate as to how we quantify possession stats and how they continue to mold and fit into our understanding of how their utility fits into the construct of an average game. The extremists exist, as they always do, but we’re lucky that those advocating for 70+ percent possession or pure over-the-top long ball rarely get much attention anyway.

In MLS, that reality is unique. Here are some numbers, and then we’ll talk about what they mean in a minute.

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Written by Will Parchman

David+Beckham+2008+Pepsi+MLS+Star+Game+Ns9nA7Z2TCsl

The MLS All-Star Game has gone through a curious series of rebranding shape-shifts that’ve often left the spectacle feeling like more of a bizarrely arbitrary afterthought. It began in the typical American way, the league splitting the teams into an East and a West for two years until, in an odd spasm of decision-making, the league pitted its American players against its international players in 1998. It lasted one year.

The number of times the game has switched formats in the ensuing decade was dizzying. MLS went back to the East/West format for the next three years before switching to the All-Star format for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. For whatever it’s worth, MLS won both games, cannibalizing on a USMNT side in 2002 and dropping Guadalajara in 2003.
Finally, we went back to the East/West format one more time in 2004 before going back to the All-Star format for good in 2005. Got that?

In the nine MLS All-Star Games since, a selection of MLS players have played Manchester United and Chelsea twice, Fulham, Celtic, West Ham, Everton and Roma. Bayern Munich is bringing its historic team Stateside this summer for No. 10. Casual diversions, all. An “Us Versus Them” game that’s always felt vaguely like an unnecessary defense of the league’s vitality. A relic of a bygone era.

And it’s time it ended.

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Written by The 91st

MLS has been expanding like hot cakes recently: Atlanta, Miami, everyone’s darling NYCFC (or is it NYC FC?) and Orlando lining up to join the league in the next few years.

Down in the southeast out not everyone is a fan of David Beckham’s effort to bring MLS back to Miami.

It should come as no surprise to see this ad dropped by the Miami Seaport Alliance, trying to sway public opinion against the proposed plan to build a stadium in the Port area. Especially after already having one bad stadium deal on the local government’s books. Miami Beach has also come out against the project’s port location.

The Beckham deal isn’t expected to be of the same ilk, and it would be unfair to compare the two. Plenty of other locations are included in the stadium proposal — supposedly — but it’s another reminder that MLS to Miami is far from a done deal.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

cassar

“Rafe asks him, could the king’s freedom be obtained, sir, with more economy of means? Less bloodshed?

Look, he says: once you have exhausted the process of negotiation and compromise, one you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect. Before you even glance in his direction, you should have his name on a warrant, the ports blocked, his wife and friends bought, his heir under your protection, his money in your strong room and his dog running to your whistle. Before he wakes in the morning, you should have the axe in your hand.”

-Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring Up The Bodies’

I imagine this scene tinged with hues of this kind of kingly power normalized by the midwestern airspace that owned it. Like decrees issued from a man who’d ruled long enough to know his power was complete. Jason Kreis. Who’d question? And yet this man emblematic of Salt Lake City is putting down is crimson scarf for big lights, big money. We nod. And the Salt Lake shrugged and wondered who’d question? We love him. He is going because we made him. And yet who can we elevate in his stead?

Cassar. Of course it was Cassar.

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Written by Will Parchman

As you may have heard, Atlanta is MLS’s 22nd franchise. What happened to Miami (did Miami die?) is anyone’s guess, but here we are. The cornerstone of the south now plunges intrepidly into waters that may drown it. Wait and see time.

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Written by Will Parchman

rbny

Think about NYCFC for a moment. The first thing that strobes into your mind – go. Now hold on to that.

Among a mixer of many, there are two very specific things you can say about the relationship between New York City and NYCFC. The first is this notion that the club will be very rich and therefore a dubstep mashup of the Yankees and Manchester City, two parents living in a 3,000 square foot penthouse on the upper east side. We once presumed all the city’s soccer money would be dumped into the Red Bulls. Instead, as we’ve heard…

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Written by Will Parchman

MLS: Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers

The MLS Players Union went about its unorthodox business this week by pushing out its annual report on the league’s individual salary figures. Embedded within the report was a look at what the league pays its homegrowns. You can find that here.

I’d like to simultaneously point you in a different direction, toward England. On Friday, the Guardian’s Barney Ronay penned an economically wistful piece that pined for genuine player development instead of the shadowed outline of huge money and teams bought with its icy, impersonal thrust. You can find that here.

And here we are. A crossroads in the dampening American woods, or at least approaching one off in the distance.

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Written by Will Parchman

01.05.2007 Liverpool v Chelsea - CL Semi-Final;2nd leg; (1-1 agg, 4-2 pens)

In 1998, Manchester United was near the apex of its power in England. A year later, the Red Devils would win an unprecedented treble with the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League. As a handful of United’s brightest stars soon discovered, success breeds hatred, even within your own countrymen.

Before an international match in 1998 in the run-up to the World Cup at Wembley, Gary and Phil Neville trotted out to the field for a warm-up and were greeted with vociferous boos from the England fans. The chorus rained down: “Stand up if you hate Man U.”

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Written by Will Parchman

ATL

The sand ran out from my feet and into the ocean, and I walked over the coarse carpet toward a bonfire off in the distance. The emerald water hissed and sighed in the dark. This was away from Okaloosa Island’s quiet specter of hotel lights, many of them issuing from these oddly decorated seafoam pastel monuments. Tourists. There were always a strange amount of tourists in this broken town.

I was not in search of them. I was led down the beachfront by a friend I’d met during my time at the Northwest Florida Daily News, which introduced me to the darkened dens of Florida’s strangest coast. They called it the Redneck Riviera, but it always seemed like a unique kind of isolated beachhead to me. I often referred to it as Utah Beach in my head, but I never told anyone this.

The bonfire grew higher until finally we were upon it. There was a scuffed up red Ford pickup with a cracked tail light backed up to a group of about 15 huddled around this mass of light ripping through sea wood and Miller beer cases and a not insigificant amount of Florida football gear curling up in the heat. These were Georgia Bulldogs. All of them were wearing some scrap of camouflage. Even in the dark it made them stand out from the cool bed of sand spreading everywhere and I wondered what they were hiding from.

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