May 25, 2014
MY TWO CENTS
The Starting Eleven
Will Smith is a soccer fan from Brooklyn, N.Y.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Will Smith
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
It was certainly a big week in "world football" (so pretentious!), wasn't it?
From the U.S. men's national team drama to the all-Madrid Champions League final to local shenanigans, there's a lot to cover. So, in no particular order, let's cover the 11 stories that caught my eye and maybe yours too:
1) Cahill is the key
With Tim Cahill away on international duty, the Red Bulls suddenly became a sub-par team that loses its shape, can't play two-way midfield, score in the air, win 50-50 balls or string two passes together. I have nothing against Australia, but I'm rooting for them to get knocked out of the World Cup quickly so Cahill can watusie his Aussie butt back to Mother Red Bull ASAP.
2) Play Bover please
It's clear that Red Bulls midfield, without Cahill, is struggling. Dax McCarty is lost, Eric Alexander is unsure, Jonny Steele is off his 2013 form and there isn't a creative clue among them. Would it kill coach Mike Petke to start Ruben Bover in the middle? The Spanish youngster has looked good in limited minutes and reserve matches. What's the worst thing that could happen? They go on a losing streak? They are already there.
3) That Real-Atletico Champions League final
I'm a Mets fan. Thus, I generally root for the underdog and dislike the establishment. Clearly, I was rooting for Atletico on Saturday. So, their stoppage-time implosion stunned me. I can't imagine how awful it must feel to all those Atletico fans in Madrid. I imagine it's like the Mets losing the 2000 World Series to the Yankees ... if the Mets had the lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7.
4) Cosmos Attendance Woes
The Cosmos drew 3,581 fans to Hofstra for Saturday night's tilt against the Indy Eleven. For a team coming off a second division championship and playing well, that is just not acceptable on a beautiful Saturday night. Long Island sports fans are terrible. They didn't support the Nets or the Islanders and they don't support the Cosmos. If the Belmont stadium bid fails, and I expect it will, the Cosmos should high-tail it over to MCU park in Brooklyn, where the fans actually care and show up.
5) What is the goal of the NASL?
Any talk of the North American Soccer League challenging MLS' first division status is idiotic and delusional. Any talk of relegation/promotion is unrealistic at this time. NASL needs to take a good look at itself and decide what it wants to be when it grows up. My feeling is that it should just focus on being the best second division possible; sort of like the CBA was to the NBA before financial mismanagement brought it down.
6) Xavi to NYC FC
It looks like the New York expansion side is interested in the outgoing Barcelona man. While always a pleasure to watch place pinpoint passes, Xavi's inability to provide any defense whatsoever may do the side more harm than good as the rest of the midfield will have to cover for him. It's not like he will be surrounded by Barcelona's all-stars. I figure his offensive prowess will earn NYC FC half a dozen wins and his defensive immobility will cost them six others, making him the most expensive zero impact player in MLS history.
7) The Klinsmann - Donovan drama
So much has been said and written about Donovan's exclusion from the World Cup squad already so I'll keep it brief. For whatever shortcomings Donovan has, on or off the pitch, real or imagined, there's no way he's not one of the 23 best players available to coach Jurgen Klinsmann and I think the U.S. will miss the offensive prowess he possesses.
8) Conspiracy theorists
Of course, this being the internet, conspiracy theories abound. My favorite has Coach Klink tossing aside Landycakes aside so his native Germany can easily defeat the U.S. en route to a World Cup trophy. Sure, as if Germany isn't likely to beat the U.S. anyway and isn't considered one of the favorites to win the Worl Cup regardless. Ridiculous.
9) World Cup preparations
Brazil's wasteful, excessive and inadequate preparation for the upcoming World Cup is shameful and a black eye for the sport. Just because a country can play the game beautifully doesn't mean they can manage the business of the game.
10) Raul to the Cosmos
It has been rumored for some time now that Spanish Legend Raul is on his way to the Cosmos for the fall season. At 37, he's not the player he was but his signing does three things for the Cosmos: (a) it makes a much needed splash (b) it helps them with their sub-par finishing and (c) puts the team in a legitimate position to compete for the Lamar Hunt/U.S.Open Cup.
11) What does it take to be the best?
With the World Cup soon upon us, we'lll be hearing more than enough about either Messi or Ronaldo being the "best player ever!" Not in my book. To be the best ever, as I see it, you need to be a World Cup winner, a domestic champion, a European champion, be able to play multiple positions and have left an impact on more than one continent. Congratulations, Franz Beckenbauer. You are the greatest of them all and no one comes close in my book.
The next month should interesting. The World Cup, the Open Cup, MLS and NASL races are ahead of us.
As Nick Sakiewicz used to say, see you in "30-60 days."
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