Written by Will Parchman

David-Beckham-Wallpaper

David Beckham’s arrival stateside was notable, but not for one of the reasons typically elucidated en masse. He was not in his playing prime, his feet robbed of their buoyancy by the weight of time. Neither was he capable of swinging the needle of soccer fandom on his own. He may have been inside the palm of the handful of the world’s best at one moment, but by the time he arrived in L.A. he was merely Among The Very Good Ones. An unbelievable set piece taker and a sulking Ent during the run of play.

We know this now.

What some shielded at the time but now wholeheartedly acknowledge was that Beckham’s true value was merely himself. His mannerisms, his thin, warbly accent, his slowly fading European memories, the knowledge that he’d been inside the Bernabeu, knew Alex Ferguson, had his vacations covered by magazines and newspapers. And yes, his damned hair and his damned face. In short, his personality. You cared about him, whether you loved him or loathed him or landed somewhere in between. You had opinions.

The package MLS bought included his ability on the field – without it, he’d have just been another underwear model – but it wouldn’t have been nearly as enticing without all his delightful humanness. It wouldn’t have birthed an entire addendum to the MLS rulebook.

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Written by Reshad Bahadori

Well this just has everything. Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee, MLS and KICK TV team up to give us a spoof of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. We got cameos from Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Thierry Henry, Omar Gonzalez and many many more. Watch, laugh and be entertained.


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Written by Will Parchman

DeAndre-Yedlin-in-Sounders-kit-with-new-hairdo

The league’s Homegrown initiative has expanded in lockstep with the growth of the Development Academy’s viability as a producer of pro-level talent. But which teams tend to use it better than others? And how is each MLS team approaching the rule as a whole? Let’s find out.

I went on a relatively exhaustive journey through all 19 MLS side’s Homegrown histories to extrapolate the nutrient rich developmental soil each side’s been tilling – or not, based on past practices. You’ll notice, for instance, that no team’s had more Homegrown players play more minutes than D.C. United. And San Jose’s number is just a shade behind. Just a shade.

A couple notes. The players marked inactive are no longer in the league, and a few players moved to different clubs within MLS after signing initial Homegrown deals (Tristan Bowen, Josue Soto, etc). I’ve counted all of those players’ minutes with their home club – provided they moved within MLS – to give their developer credit for pushing along a pro player, regardless of where those minutes were counted (though most all played the entirety of their careers with their home clubs). This also only applies to players who signed Homegrown contracts, and these minutes numbers are up to date as of July 16.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

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Written by Will Parchman

sad

In a sense, we are all still hung over from the great panic in Salvador. It smarts. There is little else to do but accept the realities of the day and all their implications, deal with them in their turn and plow ever onward. Thankfully, we have MLS fast on the approach, which for now will be a welcome ointment for the gash the Belgians so brazenly left us with, bleeding profusely as they dance into the next round. We are left with another round of fresh, barely understood wounds that will fester at least in some respect for another four years.

There are pointed questions to be answered. Jurgen Klinsmann must turn some of his fledgling talent loose to club teams, not all of which are sure-footed situations, and must pray that the best of his talent can stiff-arm stagnation.

But for now, like a gust of the purest of winds, here comes MLS. Welcome back. It feels good. Natural, even. For many of us, MLS over these next few months will be our catharsis, a single cog in this tortuous spin cycle that holds us in thrall to its stubborn orbit. The love turns to loathing turns to love again, and it’s hard to see where the seams are. Soccer is this oversize ball that just turns.

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Written by Will Parchman

On Wednesday night, the Union managed to sneak three points away from a Sporting KC team that had lost just once in its first nine. Cristian Maidana scored in the 81st, and those infamous Philly boo birds were probably quieted at least for a bit. John Hackworth probably still heard them from Kansas City, but that’s beside the point.

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Written by Will Parchman

garb

On Monday, MLS announced a landmark eight-year, $90 million per year deal with Fox, Univision and ESPN for all-important television rights to broadcast the league’s games. The deal quadruples the previous one in place and, whoa, it really happened. Monday was a big day.

What follows are a few important themes trawled up by MLS’s most recent foray into television coverage. This is an important day. Don’t let the occasional vagaries of rights packages and raw figures dull the artistry that goes into something like this.

Thanks to this deal, today’s been called one of the biggest days in MLS history by Jonathan Tannenwald, our resident MLS TV guy. I’m inclined to agree. Here’s why.

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Written by Will Parchman

Albert Rusnak with ball in Croatia MF3B3704

News broke this week that Jason Kreis traveled to Falkenberg in Sweden to scout Manchester City loanee Godsway Donyoh as a possible loan poach for 2015. NYCFC of course has an allocation of four loan slots it can fill from the MCFC mothership, and it appears that process has begun in earnest.

This is all an educated guessing game, but Manchester City’s list of current loanees provides an ample and talent-rich pool from which NYCFC can draw. With Donyoh already on the radar, here’s a glimpse at a few other young, developmental targets NYCFC could be tracking down in advance of their maiden voyage in the spring of 2015.

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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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