Written by Will Parchman

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Sit with this for a moment — exactly who are the Houston Dynamo?

There is no way to cushion the barbed fact that the Owen Coyle era in Houston was a twisted wreck of misshapen identity. It wasn’t that Coyle didn’t know the American game or the American player or even the system in which they inhabit. At the end, it didn’t look as though he cared to learn.

More than any other team in the league, Houston desperately needed its last shift in coaching paradigm to work. Forget for a moment that Coyle came from outside the league (where the success ratios drop precipitously compared to those with domestic experience) and focus instead on everything around him, on the shroud around the club itself. There is no more puzzling market in the country, and no club has failed to tap into its own city like Houston has failed. Coyle was the opening. Or so they thought.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Christian Seifert first met Don Garber in Miami in 2007. The year was an important historical marker for the working legacy of both men, albeit in significantly different ways.

Two years earlier, Seifert was elevated to CEO of the DFL, the governing body of the top two tiers in German soccer: the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. A former executive at MTV, Seifert brought a distinctly different and 21st century approach to the position. In 2000, as part of a broad effort to reorganize the German system following a string of disastrous performances from the national team, the DFL was formed to oversee the top two tiers as a sort of single conglomeration of individual shareholders. This is how Seifert saw the clubs, not necessarily as separate entities but as 36 individual parts of a single overarching business.

The only other nation to do it this way is France, and the German model quickly separated itself as the city on a hill. Among other benefits it allowed the second tier to benefit more heavily from TV revenue, the impressive rise of which in Germany has been badly overshadowed by the funny money being tossed around in England.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Tata Martino lost in the court of Argentinean public opinion. And when the gavel hit there was no doubling back.

How will MLS receive him, if he is next?

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Written by Will Parchman

garb

The battle lines in the intractable standoff over training compensation in the U.S. are fairly distinct. On one side, youth clubs are drawing up all the power they can muster behind the notion that they deserve a small cut (we’re talking 1-5 percent here) of the transfer fees doled out to players they helped develop. The MLS Players Union, meanwhile, asserts that practice is tantamount to robbing money out of the players’ pockets.

The MLSPU is, to my eyes, on the wrong side of this fight. And Don Garber, the commissioner of the players in the league that union represents, may have just undercut the message.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus, Garber danced through myriad topics: expansion, the validity of the investment in MLS, NYCFC, Miami. In the midst of that, we had this exchange.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In case you’ve forgotten (and you probably have!), the CONCACAF Champions League is currently dragging itself through the final stages of its group phase. Knockouts don’t begin until next year, so by October this is the last you’ll see of the CCL for a while. Friendly reminder: an MLS team hasn’t won this competition since the refresh in 2008.

The Whitecaps traveled to face Sporting KC in Group B action on Tuesday night in front of what looked like six mildly interested fans. Vancouver led 1-1 into the game’s twilight when Alphonso Davies, the kid who set the USL record earlier this year as the youngest player to get a game in the league’s history, popped up with this brief bit of bank-shot majesty.

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Written by Will Parchman

ATL

Each time a new academy star is birthed, twinkling into existence in the Development Academy’s firmament, the rest of the country stops for a brief moment to take stock. This is a moment for external analysis (Are They Going To Make Us Look Bad) and introspection (Are They Really Making Us Look Bad).

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Written by Will Parchman

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The words come spilling out like so many marbles, barbed phrases like “unfulfilled promise” and “unfortunate turn of events.” Every time an American player retreats across the Atlantic to refill MLS’s coffers, the darker side of the discussion is inevitable. Most of us simply nod and go about the business of the day.

It is a tricky thing, objectively analyzing a player’s decision to remove themselves from the cement mixer of Europe and return home to MLS. On one hand it does feel somewhat like a vanquished party retreating from the line of battle. To a man, they were in Europe to, as renowned pirate Henry Avery might put it, fulfill their destiny as men of fortune and seek their fortune.

And yet there is also the nagging thought lurking somewhere in the back that perhaps that isn’t all of it. That maybe there can be a victory in retreat.

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Written by Will Parchman

nico

If Steven Gerrard’s truncated half season with the LA Galaxy in 2015 was not a full fledged dumpster fire, then it was something resembling a small blaze in a dirty trash can.

Gerrard was OK in spurts, leaning on his wooden, rickety legs to spray a few incisive passes and amble around the deep woods of the Galaxy midfield in an attempt to find some meaning. He was hardly a disaster, although for $6 million you wonder what you should reasonably expect.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The MLS allocation rule set is strange, fundamentally hard to understand and needlessly convoluted. This is not news. But every time something happens to throw that back into the collective face of the league’s fans, it gets a mite harder to stomach.

This time, it’s over a player. A very good player, in fact. His name is Jeremy Ebobisse, and according to the Washington Post, he’s already signed with MLS.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In some strange and almost unaccountable ways, fate brought Mauro Diaz and FC Dallas together. Or at least it would be easy to think so.

Diaz grew up in the vaunted River Plate system in Buenos Aires, surrounded by world class talent essentially being baked for someone else’s dinner table. River, like Boca Juniors down the road, trades off its highly prized youth players it sells to Europe for exorbitant sums that then fuel the academy and first team to produce more. For a time, Diaz was in that oven.

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