Monthly Archives: April 2019

Midweek 9 Roundup and Legal Theories vs. Kaku



Hello soccer fans! And welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

Midweek games are in full swing, and every game surprised:

  • NYCFC get another win over the under-performing Chicago Fire
  • DC United gets back to winning at the expense of the Crew, who are in a free fall
  • Montreal nets three against the Revs
  • Zlatan and the Galaxy can’t score vs. MNUFC
  • Surprising and surging San Jose salvage a draw vs. Seattle

In a special segment, Nick gives a basic legal analysis to whether the fan that was struck in the face by Kaku’s stray kick has any legal recourse. Learn about basic legal negligence, intentional conduct, and the comparison case law from baseball.

Thanks again for tuning in and supporting the show! Please join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer, via email at podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com, or in the comments below.


Pick-A-Player, Howard’s Rant, and Week 9 Roundup



Greetings soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, we take a twitter question asking us to pick-a-player who our favorite team could reasonably attain. Thanks to FC Cincinnati fan Eric Turner (@eric_turner7) for his question:

Keeping focused on a real, attainable player, Mike thinks Toronto FC could benefit from signing Omar Gonzalez in the allocation order. Nick wants young, European talent to make its way to teams like Sporting KC and Chicago in an effort to change up some of the styles of play the teams have been known for. Also, the hosts give their take on the Tim Howard Instagram rant against a fan critical of his performance in the Rapids’ 4-1 defeat at Chicago.

Finally, in the league roundup, our hosts recap all the Week 8 action. Out west, LAFC and the LA Galaxy continue to dominate headlines and stat sheets. Here are some quick takes on the current status of the teams:

Teams on the Rise

  1. LAFC – A disinterested LAFC lost 1-0 at Vancouver, only to beat Seattle 4-1 a few days later. Vela doing Vela things.
  2. LA Galaxy – 2nd in the West, conceding only 1 goal per game. And they have Zlatan.
  3. Philadelphia Union – Won 2 of 3, and 4 of 5. When scoring 2 goals, they haven’t lost.
  4. Toronto FC – Can Pozuelo keep up his amazing form (4 goals, 5 assists in 4 games) now that Jozy picked up an injury?
  5. San Jose Quakes – Goals and wins and points!

Teams on the Decline

  1. DC United – Dropping points after being poised to separate from the rest of the conference.
  2. Columbus Crew – See DC United.
  3. Sporting KC – Losses, goals conceded, and injuries the likes KC hasn’t seen in a long time.
  4. Minnesota United – Maybe that rebuilt defense wasn’t so rebuilt.

Thanks for listening! Please join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer or via email at podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com.


Gold Cup Preview, MLS Week 7 Roundup, and the Legal Case vs. Kaku



Hello once again, soccer fans! Thanks for returning to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, the hosts explore the draw for the Gold Cup, recap all the Week 7 MLS action, and even make a case for a fan’s possible lawsuit vs. RBNY and Kaku.

As for the Gold Cup, the four groups are drawn, and the United States Men’s National Team will face Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, and Panama. If you like story lines, this is the group for you! As you know T&T knocked the USMNT out of World Cup qualifying in 2018, and the USMNT has already faced Panama in a January friendly. How will these teams come out during the Gold Cup tournament? The US needs to be prepared for anything.

In Week 7 of Major League Soccer, we saw some movement in the Eastern Conference while the top teams in the Western Conference continued their domination. Here’s how things stack up at the top of the table:

Eastern Conference

  1. DC United – Regaining its form, DC is once again top of the conference. Can anyone knock it down?
  2. Columbus Crew – Despite the loss, the Crew remain a contender. Their margin for error is very slim, but so far have been able to overcome it.
  3. Montreal Impact – Montreal in 3rd place!? Enjoy it while it lasts, as this team has the tendency to yo-yo up and down the standings.
  4. Toronto FC – Even after their loss to Seattle, TFC have the best points per game in the conference, suggesting last year was a fluke. Watch out for the men in red.

Western Conference

  1. LAFC – Best team, best player, best coach. LAFC have a goal differential of +16 over 7 games, and they still are improving.
  2. Seattle Sounders – Finally, a strong start. Can they sustain it throughout the entire season? They way Jordan Morris is playing, Seattle just might.
  3. LA Galaxy – Zlatan keeps scoring, the Galaxy keep winning. Just imagine how good they could be when their role players start thriving.
  4. Houston Dynamo – As Nick put it, Houston is “The other contender in the West.” They haven’t lost, have a talented attack, and have a coach who has been around the league. Houston could surprise come playoff time.

 

Thanks for listening! Join the conversation in the comments below, on twitter @SOPSoccer, on facebook, or via email: podcast@sonsofapitchsoccer.com.

Thank you to our sponsors: Donovan Food Brokerage and Nice! Pure Icelandic Spring Water.


Goal Scorer Trivia and MLS Week 6 Round Up



Greetings soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Thanks for checking out the website and for listening in.

In this episode we welcome Kei Kamara to the Top 5 All Time MLS Goal Scorers list. This striker has played for 7 MLS teams and 2 English Championship teams, and has consistently scored goals at every stop. Congrats to Kei!  Around the league, the hosts recap all the action and give their takes on the teams going forward.

TEAMS ON THE RISE

  • LAFC – Can’t get any higher than the top.
  • Philadelphia Union – 3 straight wins, 4th in the East.
  • Chicago Fire – Draw vs. a surging TFC, and we’ve yet to see Gaitan at his best
  • San Jose Quakes – Technically, when you win your’re first game of the season, you’re on the rise.
  • Orlando City – Goals are coming, and so are points!

TEAMS ON THE FALL

  • DC United – Rooney sees red in a blowout loss to LAFC, and a draw to Montreal have people scratching heads.
  • Sporting KC – Tired legs and a 5-0 thumping in Concacaf Champions League.
  • Portland Timbers – Has the championship window closed?
  • Red Bulls New York – 3 straight losses. This hasn’t happened since May 2017.

Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, follow us on twitter and facebook, and join the conversation in the comments below.


Pro/Rel for MLS? and Week 5 League Roundup



Greetings, soccer fans! Welcome back to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer podcast. This week in Major League Soccer saw a flood of goals, a couple hat-tricks, and a spectacular debut from TFC’s Pozuelo. But first, we turn to an issue that is never far from American soccer fans thoughts: Promotion and Relegation.

In a prior blog post, Nick put forth the arguments against Pro/Rel, and Mike agrees the league is not yet ready for such a system. Briefly, Pro/Rel is not suitable for the MLS or US Soccer because of the lack of:

  1. financials
  2. media coverage at all levels
  3. overall popularity
  4. de facto promotion via expansion franchises
  5. potential to drive away talent.

What are your thoughts on Pro/Rel for MLS? Should it be implemented? Can it work?

Next, the hosts break down the Week 5 action from around the MLS. With a weekend that saw 42 goals scored, the major headlines were from the offensive side of things. Specifically:

  1. TFC stays perfect; Pozuelo with a brace in his debut
  2. Sporting KC has an offense! Ties MLS single game scoring record with a 7-1 victory
  3. Gyasi Zardes scores again, despite the haters
  4. LAFC and Carlos Vela dominate the Quakes; Vela is early MVP favorite
  5. Pomykal leading FC Dallas’ “Play your kids” movement

 

Thanks for listening! Be sure to leave your comments below and follow us on twitter @SOPSoccer.


Arguments Against Pro/Rel for MLS



There are still people that want Promotion and Relegation for Major League Soccer. They walk among us, they sit beside us at games, and they interact with us on social media. I fell victim to one of their ridiculous tweets while enjoying LAFC’s recent dominance over San Jose. This particular tweet argued that there would be more fan interest if there was Pro/Rel in MLS. I immediately flew into a rage. So much so, I’m taking it to the internet!

If you’ve followed this issue, you’re familiar with the basic arguments against Pro/Rel.

  1. Financials
  2. Media
  3. Popularity

Financials
Owners won’t invest in a team that could get relegated. Fans won’t invest in a team that gets relegated. Also with Pro/Rel, teams/franchises with more money are will stay at the top of the table. You end up with a Tampa Bay Rays situation or an EPL situation where only five or six teams have a legitimate shot at the title. That is no way to grow the sport of soccer in America.

Media
The market isn’t there to cover 60 teams, assuming three divisions of 20 teams each. Baseball is arguably the most popular sport in America, and there isn’t great coverage of Double-A ball. We could have Pro/Rel, but who would know about it? The USL currently gets minimal coverage, so good luck finding your MLS team that just got knocked down a league. Unless you like paying for extra cable packages or online subscriptions, you won’t see your team. When was the last time you watched an Indy Eleven game?

Popularity
Simply put, soccer is not popular enough to support Pro/Rel. I think that the Pro/Rel argument comes from fans of European leagues. They want a copy of those leagues in the USA, but it’s apples to oranges. In Europe, soccer is literally the only game in town. Also, those leagues have 100+ years of development, both in on-the-field talent and off-the-field marketing. You want brand loyalty, go to an English Championship or even League One supporters.

In addition to those three arguments, I’d like to put forth two more:

  1. There’s already de facto promotion
  2. Pro/Rel for MLS would scare away talent

De Facto Promotion
There is already de facto promotion in the MLS. Put another way, who are your expansion teams and what are their origins? Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Orlando, Minnesota, and Nashville are all clubs that had origins in lower divisions of American soccer, but were awarded MLS franchises. These clubs had both success in their leagues and financially sound business plans. They were essentially promoted by MLS. Many in favor of Pro/Rel argue that owners would be encouraged to spend more. The ownership of the clubs named above did and were rewarded for it.

Pro/Rel Scares Away Talent
No top level talent would sign for the MLS if they could get relegated. If they do, there will be clauses in their contracts forcing transfer or sale. That means the top talent in the league will be sold off cheaply, the teams would lose on their investment and lose on their marketability. Imagine if Colorado, DC United, Los Angeles Galaxy, Orlando City, and San Jose were relegated over the last two seasons. Assuming their DPs had some sort of relegation sale clause, we’d lose the following players from MLS: Tim Howard, Paul Arriola, Wayne Rooney, Romain Alessandrini, Gio and Jona dos Santos, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Nani, Dom Dwyer, Josue Colman, Valeri Qazaishvili, and Chris Wondolowski. And that doesn’t even contemplate players that wouldn’t sign with the MLS.

To be clear, I’m not against the idea of Pro/Rel for MLS. I’m just against it right now and for the short-to-middle term future. Give it another 20 years, where there are two viable, marketable, and competitive leagues, and I’ll reconsider. I’d rather see energy put into developing academies, soccer specific stadiums, USL affiliates, and training facilities. Pro/Rel isn’t feasible in today’s MLS or the current American sports culture, and those in favor need to understand that.

 

Thanks for reading!
-Nick