Nov 8, 2007

Friday Footy Links A Day Early

With Ruud Gullit-to-L.A. Galaxy talk swirling, Soccer Insider's Steven Goff takes a look at how foreign coaches have fared in MLS and finds they haven't done very well. The comparison is fraught with issues, however, as Goff excludes the likes of Steve Nicol, Frank Yallop, Thomas Rongen, Steve Morrow and others who might appear to qualify as foreign. He defines "foreign" in this context as "guys who had little working knowledge of MLS and came to coach." I guess Nicol's two games as interim player-coach in 2000 qualifies as substantial working knowledge? And what about all the U.S.-born coaches who had just as little "working knowledge of MLS" (whatever that is) as these "foreign" guys, but who ended up successful managers? Whatever, I suppose the point is that maybe foreign coaches aren't all they're cracked up to be. It is true that Gullit's managerial record to date has not been very impressive. Then again Joe Torre's managerial record was not very impressive either before he was hired by the Yankees... has an interesting piece on how blind allegiance to Claudio Reyna (the Red Bulls' newly-crowned Least Valuable Player) cost Bruce Arena not only this job but his previous one as well.

The Offside has a piece on Pele's recent missives. By now we probably know about Pele's critique of how David Beckham was sold to the U.S. public as a goal scorer. (Incidentally, I remember July Foudy going on an entire diatribe in Fox Soccer Channel's season opening telecast about how this is exactly what we should not expect from Beckham. I suppose Pele missed that one? Hard to fathom, as he must have been paying very close attention to make his remarks, right?) But more interesting to the offside is Pele's idea to banning teams from using defensive walls on free kicks. I'm not entirely sure how it would work, but I don't see the point in the first place. Some of the best goals in my opinion are freekicks where the ball seems to defy physics to circumvent the wall.

By the way, don't confuse The Offside with The Offside Rules. Both are excellent blogs, which is why I am touting them here. The former had the Pele bit and the latter tells us about the launch of Chelsea's U.S. Web site. Yes, apparently the Abramovichs felt the need to Yankeefy (not my word; I can't claim credit) their Web presence. I personally find these Anglicisms to be some of the best things about soccer writing (part of the reason why you see them sprinkled in here on occasion). Conversely, I find use of Americanisms in soccer/football to be one of the most annoying aspects of broadcasts in this country. Whenever I hear about "turnovers," "shots-on-goal," "interceptions," "hail Mary passes" or somebody "going deep" I want to throw a rock through the TV. I actually started watching the Spanish-language broadcasts (which I barely understand, though I am making progress; during yesterday's Copa Sudamericana game I actually learned that "lateral" means throw-in) as a result. Either that or mute the sound altogether.

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