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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Written by Will Parchman

Jose Mari took a ball to the face. It looks like it hurt. Mari reacted like it hurt, anyway, and he crumpled to the deck pretty quickly thereafter. It probably didn’t hurt that much, however, and Mari’s screaming riposte to the ball’s ultimate question (does this hurt?) seemed like a bit much.

Referee Juan Guzman agreed. Atiba Harris happened to be in the vicinity, and when his left arm casually swung off his side, nowhere near Mari’s face, Guzman saw yellow. Immediately. Even if he didn’t actually see the foul. Or any foul. Good times.

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Written by Will Parchman

thompson

Talk about MLS and how it raises its young has increasingly swirled around the topic of incentive. That is, whether the league can offer enough of it for players to jump at an uncertain opportunity either out of college early or straight from high school. That, unfortunately, has to start with money.

Today, we got a glimpse of that when the league released its update of the salaries of every player in MLS. You can see the entire list here, but today we focus on the future. Specifically, Homegrowns.

When I spoke with Cristian Roldan recently about his decision to put off MLS, he talked about how he wasn’t ready, how he needed more time to develop. But also talked about the salary figure, about needing to see it before he made a decision. Make no mistake, MLS needs players like Roldan, and the money wasn’t enough, at least not yet. Roldan stayed in school another year.

It goes without saying that in order to compete with top leagues worldwide, MLS needs a larger war chest. But what isn’t mentioned as often is that MLS is also competing with college scholarship money. If a school like Washington or Virginia offers you money to attend school and play soccer, which often works out to be worth far more than a rookie contract in MLS, well, that’s the capitalist system at work. Wages drive markets.

So how’s MLS doing on incentivizing the jump for its best young talent? Here’s a list of every Homegrown player signed this calendar year and what those players make. Note that these are all base salaries.

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Written by Will Parchman

ruudd2

There are great coaches in MLS history. Many of them are in MLS right now. But there are also many not great coaches in MLS history. This is a list of the five worst as judged by me. My criteria is wide-ranging and impossible to explain in anything less than 4,000 words, so I’ll leave it at this: it’s highly scientific and not at all whimsical. This is serious business.

Let’s count it down. Beware: No. 1 is a doozy. Apologies in advance, TFC fans. You’ve had a lot of awful coaches.

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Written by Will Parchman

MLS held its Draftapalooza on Wednesday between NYCFC and Orlando City. The two 2015 expansion teams were asked to have a draft for another draft in order to determine which team has top bidding for discovery players, the MLS SuperDraft and six more acquisition mechanisms. It was all terribly confusing, as Jason Kreis confirmed with astonishing completeness pretty quickly.

Partway through the process of picking which mechanism they favored, Kreis did a bad thing. He picked top billing for discovery players. He didn’t want top billing for discovery players. Oops.

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Written by Will Parchman

ohyes

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the most incredible thing.

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