Written by Will Parchman

LAFC

MLS worked over Chivas USA’s carcass like a gun-wielding trainer rapidly attending to a track horse that’d just broken its leg around the second turn. Just a week after MLS commissioner Don Garber officially dropped the hammer on the Chivas USA franchise, including any accrued history, we have LA2.

Or, for now, Los Angeles Football Club. Welcome to the party, LAFC. Here’s what we know so far.

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Written by Will Parchman

The late aughts were an interesting time in our soccer history. They signified both a time when slapping Darude’s Sandstorm onto a highlight package wasn’t considered a sin against humanity, and when Steve Zakuani was among the most coveted young players in the States.

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Written by Will Parchman

hamid

The idea of a “best” performance in soccer is by nature subjective. Some will see certain aspects as more desirable than others. Pure goal-scoring output without consideration for the surrounding swirl of motion, for instance, which is why you won’t see Bradley Wright-Phillips on this list, but why you will see Thierry Henry. All things that contribute to my own personal esthetic filtered through performance.

So here we are. My 10 best individual 90-minute bursts of brilliance during the 2014 regular season. Let’s get cracking.

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Written by Will Parchman

LD3

We will miss Landon Donovan. Probably more than we know.

As we eulogize Donovan’s professional playing career in videos and words and deeds and Tweets and posters and laurels and wreaths, we do so in the midst of sporadic moments of emotion that bubble up quickly and recede in quiet.

Donovan did this to us.

“The face of a soccer generation.” He was the first and likely last of his ilk. No one before or since has presided over the game in America during such exponential rise in popularity, and it doesn’t particularly matter if a more gifted player comes along down the line, as he most assuredly will. He wasn’t Donovan. He wasn’t there. For the committed souls who pushed into the dawn in 2002, for The Beckham Experiment, for the best U17 World Cup the U.S. has ever seen and Algeria and the Chastain bra and all of it.

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Written by Will Parchman

DG

Every so often your senses defy you. In the world of U.S. soccer, Wednesday was one of those days.

The announcement that MLS commish Don Garber was preparing to hold a flash press conference on Wednesday afternoon lit through the soccer world like lightning. It was unexpected, and its genesis was hard to miss. What it produced was probably the most astonishing teleconference in the history of U.S. soccer. And not in a particularly good way.

Let’s back up. The USMNT was in Florida this past week for a pair of friendlies. and Jurgen Klinsmann had some choice words on the moves Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley made in coming home. You can read Brian Straus’ entire story here, but the part that seemed to so incense Don Garber is probably this.

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Written by Will Parchman

s2

SEATTLE – A panel of nine sat spread shoulder-to-shoulder Tuesday on a dais inside a pavilion at the Chihuly Gardens, an ornate snake of red glass flowers clinging to the ceiling crawling above their heads. They were gathered to announce the Seattle Sounders’ “unprecedented event,” and it was hardly surprising that men like Sigi Schmid and Adrian Hanauer were among their number. The announcement of a Sounders USL PRO franchise, after all, was a hardly contained rumor.

But there was also a group joining them who became significant soon after the press conference began. Representatives of the Sounders’ major supporters’ groups joined the team’s administrators, and it soon became obvious why. The announcement of the Sounders’ USL PRO franchise came first, the Sounders 2 beginning operation in 2015 as a standalone franchise under the Sounders’ developmental umbrella. Between Schmid and Hanauer was Andrew Opatkiewicz, a fitting visual considering the day’s ensuing events.

What came next was a surprise. The Sounders opened up 20 percent ownership of the new USL PRO franchise to the fans through a new organization called the Sounders Community Trust. The details of the trust are still filtering out – fans can buy in and have a voting stake in the club’s decisions – but the announcement was met with rapturous applause inside the pavilion Tuesday when it came down. Unsurprisingly, it was wildly popular among the Sounders faithful.

The establishment of a USL PRO franchise certainly wasn’t unprecedented. In fact, the Sounders’ Cascadia rivals in Portland announced their USL PRO venture, called T2, earlier in the day. But to have this level of fan ownership at any level in a soccer franchise in America?

Unprecedented indeed.

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Written by Will Parchman

It’s been a tough year for Chivas USA fans, who watched the Goats struggle on the field (as  per usual) before getting the news just weeks ago that the team was essentially folding. You feel for the diehards who’ve stuck it out through mostly lean years. At least for the next two seasons, they’ll have to find new allegiances. Or perhaps just root for whoever the Galaxy are playing.

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Written by Will Parchman

Wesley-Sneijder2

It’s been three months since troubled Turkish giant Galatasaray paid Wes Sneijder’s salary. That’s a problem. In fact, that’s such a problem that FIFA has a protocol for this. Sneijder can legally step out of his contract for no fee during the ensuing transfer window, and judging by Galatasaray’s frequent problems (and those of the Turkish league as a whole, which is racked with issues), it’s hard to see him sticking around beyond January.

This kicks up a cloud of dust that has to involve MLS, if only speculatively. Sneijder is 30, and he’s the exact type of No. 10 MLS craves so desperately. He’s also the kind of low-risk signing the league needs. Creative, doesn’t rely on his physicality, unreal vision. His form’s dipped since he moved to Turkey (duh), but it stands to reason a soft landing ground will change that.

The question now is merely where.

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Written by Will Parchman

zoundz

Over on Reddit, there’s a pretty interesting discussion going on regarding a built-up table piling three years worth of results on each other for a cumulative MEGATABLE. This is what that thing looks like, and it’s pretty fascinating.

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Written by Will Parchman

joonnho

It’s becoming increasingly obviously that world soccer is entering a phase where possessionally sound soccer is praised and boot-and-chase becomes increasingly more derided. Whatever merits that presents, what about MLS? Which players are most consistently inclined to play the smart and/or killer pass?

If you’re starting a team, here are the three most robust possessional midfielders in the league as judged by me in light of the numbers. Let the games begin.

3. Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

In darkened pubs and rum-soaked living rooms across the world, the GOAT conversation rages through time’s thick tunnels. When we talk about Messi or Fat Ronaldo or Hot Pants Ronaldo or Zidane or whoever, the discussion’s buck generally drops dead at the consistency argument. Yes, so-and-so was world class, but for how long were they world class? Was it the sustainable equivalent of farm-raised eggs, or did they simply make trips to the proverbial grocery store to buy a few successful seasons before fading back into the dusky twilight?

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