The offseason is a brutal mix of rumor, speculation, and roster rebuilding. If you checked out after November, we understand. But here is some PSP original content you might have missed: Eli examined possible Union formations, focusing on the 4-4-2, the 4-3-3, and the 4-2-3-1. We also looked at Union players with the most to prove and came together for a two-part (part 1; part 2) roundtable to talk about the upcoming season. Dan checked in with an Eastern Conference preview, and I wrote that the new unbalanced schedule should benefit the local lads. Also, there is still time to Put A Snake On It.
Peter Nowak tells Kerith Gabriel that, despite the offseason changes, he still feels like the team’s core is together (coughLeTouxcoughcough). Gabriel Gomez, who seems so perfect that I’m starting to wonder if he was sent back from the future to save the 2012 season, tells Gabriel (Kerith, that is) he is prepared to be a leader: “Because I’m a player with a lot of experience in a team with many young players, [I’m here to] instill confidence, to instill assurance and to help with offense and defense for the team to find that balance. I know how to do that very well.”
The Brotherly Game runs some numbers and projects how much space the Union have under the 2012 salary cap and says it looks like things will be a bit tighter than seasons one and two.
Jonathan Tannenwald spoke with Seba Le Toux, Jordan Harvey and Justin Mapp after Vancouver and Montreal opened the 2012 MLS season.
The Portland Statesman says the Timbers are looking for consistency this year.
RSL had a beast of a second half to knock off LA at home. Colorado opened the season with a win and, of course, it took Vancouver four minutes to get on top of Montreal in the expansion side’s first MLS game.
Toronto FC blogger Waking The Red looks at Darlington FC, an English club perilously close to disappearing (h/t Joel)
The Big Lead throws a few questions at MLS VP of Global Sponsorship David Wright. Unsurprisingly, most of his answers involve the word, “sponsors.” When asked about going to a regular international schedule, Wright said: “There is a reason we’re not aligned with that calendar right now. Weather is an issue in our climate. It is tough to play games in places like New England, Philadelphia and Toronto in early March. The European calendar would have us playing games in January and February in those markets. At the end of the day, I don’t think this is a big issue for our League.”
The NY Times has five questions about the New York Red Bulls. Like most things Red Bulls, the questions and their answers are boring.
Across the country in LA, Kevin Baxter looks to generate some hits by asking if MLS fans should be scared of the league’s current direction.
Baxter expands his argument in the Modesto Bee. He implies that the DP rule is creating Haves and Have-Nots in MLS, with teams like LA and NY able to spend a ton of money outside of the salary cap. Golly, this sounds oddly like what Steve Nicol said the other day. Nicol: “They have talent, they have money and the way MLS is set up, you have to know the rules and these guys can manipulate the rules to help them.”
This statement drove MLS employee/blogger Simon Borg mad. Borg: “The speculation surrounding big market bias resurfaces every now and then. But it’s got to stop. There are 15 other owners outside LA, NY and Seattle, not to mention an MLS Players Union, who would never just sit idly by and allow “manipulation.” Mr. Borg, this is an old and empty argument. What are the other owners going to do? Are they going to call a meeting and demand that the DP rule be immediately changed so it ceases to be a loophole? No, instead what you see is the new owners in the league (hey, Vancouver!) using the loopholes exposed by teams like LA and NY to load up with DPs in unlikely positions (hey, Y.P. Lee!)
Simon Borg. You are a soccer reporter. Are you happy writing stories with sentences like this: “The club did not disclose details of the contract, but reports indicated that Lee is on a one-year deal with an option for a second.” That is not information! You know what Steve Nicol and Kevin Baxter are saying? That MLS should be releasing basic information like player salaries, salary cap hits, and how much money is being spent on players outside of the salary cap. As a reporter, don’t you think this information should be made public? And if you don’t think so, could you clarify whether your position is as an independent reporter or a member of the MLS PR department?
FakeSigi doesn’t think Jeff Kassouf is giving the full story on MLS’s association with the Women’s semi-pro game.
This is just my favorite headline of the day. Pretty much says it all.
So here it is: Sebastien Le Toux’s first MLS goal for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Make sure to put your favorite Adele song on before you watch.