RSL Cup blog taking a long much needed break

I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996.

However, over the past couple of years, and especially the last several months, I've began to see the ugly underbelly of this sport. Most likely it has always been there and I was just too naïve to see it, but I cannot not see it anymore.

I'm taking a much needed break from the sport of soccer. I may or may not be back. I may or may not update this blog, I don't know. It would be a shame since I've had it up and running for almost 10 years, but the fun I once had just isn't there any more.

Hopefully you fare better.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

20 years of MLS - power ranking

(coming soon)

LA Galaxy * 11 total points
International titles + 1
Supporters Shield + 4
MLS Cup + 5
US Open Cup + 2
Relegation boot - 1

DC United * 10 total points
International titles + 2
Supporters Shield + 4
MLS Cup + 4
US Open Cup + 3
Relegation boot - 3

Kansas City * 6 total points
Supporters Shield + 1
MLS Cup + 2
US Open Cup + 3

Seattle Sounders * 5 total points
Supporters Shield + 1
US Open Cup + 4

Columbus Crew * 4 total points
Supporters Shield + 3
MLS Cup + 1
US Open Cup + 1
Relegation boot - 1

Chicago Fire * 4 total points
Supporters Shield + 1
MLS Cup + 1
US Open Cup + 4
Relegation boot - 2

San Jose Earthquakes * 2 total points
Supporters Shield + 2
MLS Cup + 2
Relegation boot - 2

Houston Dynamo * 2 total points
MLS Cup + 2

New England Revolution * 1 point
International titles + 1
US Open Cup + 1
Relegation boot - 1

Miami Fusion * 1 point
Supporters Shield + 1

Real Salt Lake * 1 point
MLS Cup + 1

Portland Timbers * 1 point
MLS Cup + 1

Tampa Bay Mutiny * 0 points
Supporters Shield + 1
Relegation boot - 1

Dallas * 0 points
US Open Cup + 1
Relegation boot - 1

New York/New Jersey * 0 points
Supporters Shield + 2
Relegation boot - 2

Colorado Rapids * 0 points
MLS Cup + 1
Relegation boot - 1

NYC FC * 0 points

Orlando * 0 points

Chivas USA * - 1 point
Relegation boot - 1

Montreal Impact * - 1 point
Relegation boot - 1

Vancouver Whitecaps * - 1 point
Relegation boot - 1

Toronto FC * - 2 points
Relegation boot -2

Saturday, March 26, 2016

David Beckham, investors buy land for MLS stadium site in Miami

It's been awhile since I've posted a photo of Becks

( 3-25-16)

David Beckham's team ownership plans in Major League Soccer moved a step closer on Thursday as his consortium bought an area of land for a stadium site.

Ownership group Miami Beckham United (MBU), comprised of the former England midfielder along with his agent Simon Fuller and businessmen Marcelo Claure and Tim Leiweke, confirmed in a statement "the acquisition of two private properties totalling approximately six acres at 650 Northwest 8th Street" in the Overtown neighbourhood.

The statement added: "The acquisitions open the door to MBU's purchase of adjacent land required for development, now controlled by Miami-Dade County, at fair market value."

Claure, chief executive officer of telecommunications group Sprint, hailed the purchase as an exciting development and also talked up the practical and environmental benefits of the location.

"David, Simon, Tim and I have never been closer to realising our dream of fielding a soccer club that makes Miami proud," said Claure.

"We have the right site, the right ownership group, and a loyal base of fans counting down the days until our first match.

"We're all in on Overtown, and we couldn't be more excited about moving forward with plans to deliver the most responsible stadium in Miami history."

The site is within walking distance of downtown Miami and close to the Miami Beach area, with easy access by rail and metro.

MBU's statement concluded: "Once the County-controlled property is acquired, MBU will enter the formal entitlement process with the goal of earning City and County approval for its development plans."

Beckham played in MLS for five years with the Los Angeles Galaxy during an illustrious career that also took in Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris St Germain.

His Galaxy contract featured an option to buy a future MLS expansion franchise for 25million US dollars, which he exercised in 2014.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating 20 years of MLS

Man, this is making me feel old.

I remember watching this game, screaming for a goal to be scored since the entire sports media in the US was watching, most likely hoping for MLS to fall flat on it's face. And it almost did until Wynalda scored with just minutes to go until the clock ran down. Yes, sadly the clock used to run down, not up, when the league first began.

I still have this game on VHS tape. Yes, I am that old that I have VHS tapes laying around.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

D.C. United unveils a new logo

(by Stephen Goff 12-10-15)

For the first time since 1998, D.C. United’s logo has a new look. The MLS club unveiled the redesigned crest Thursday night during an event for supporters at Union Market.

The eagle remains the centerpiece, though its head is turned right instead of left. The soccer ball and gold star are gone, replaced by the stars and stripes of the District of Columbia flag.

Tom Hunt, United’s chief operating officer, called the new look “more of a modern evolution than a revolution.”

Through market research, the club concluded “the current brand did not adequately represent the United community.” However, United also wanted to maintain “a strong tie to the tradition.”

The change comes at a transitional time for the organization. Plans for a new stadium at Buzzard Point, near Nationals Park, played into the redesign of the crest. United is hopeful of breaking ground next summer and opening the venue in 2018. The team has played all 20 seasons at RFK Stadium, a rundown facility that opened in 1961.

The last time United altered the crest was after the 1997 season, softening a militaristic version of an eagle with three soccer balls.

The shape of the new logo, the club said, draws from George Washington’s family crest, featured in stained glass at Selby Abbey in Yorkshire, England.

The eagle’s head has remained the same since the inaugural 1996 campaign, but the club decided to turn the direction so it’s “looking forward.” The wings were enlarged to extend beyond the shield, “reinforcing the core brand value of freedom.” The red coloring is also darker than in the previous logo.

British-based graphic artist Peter Horridge crafted the new logo. He had redesigned the shields for the Liverpool FC and England’s Football Association.

Among MLS’s 10 founding teams, United has undergone few branding changes over two decades. Many organizations have altered their color schemes and crests. The Columbus Crew, 2015 MLS Cup finalist, changed its logo last year. Four original clubs have changed their nickname: New York (MetroStars to Red Bulls), Dallas (Burn to FC Dallas), Kansas City (Wiz, Wizards, then Sporting KC) and San Jose (Clash to Earthquakes).

United did not have any serious discussions about changing its nickname or colors, Hunt said.


10 year anniversary

1998 - 2016

1996 - 1997

Friday, March 18, 2016

New US Soccer logo released

The US Soccer national team today finally unveiled its new logo. Following the design language established by the overwhelmingly popular centenary crest, the new US Soccer logo boasts the US national teams' iconic navy and red in a sleek arrangement.

Drawing inspiration from the previous US Soccer logo's badge shape, the new USA national team crest simplifies a lot elements of the old crest, while also shifting the colors to darker and less cartoony shades of blue and red.

The three stars and the ball from the 1993 crest have been ditched, making place for a bold navy USA writing at the top of the badge. Dynamic red stripes adorn the lower half of the new USA soccer logo.

Barely changed since its creation in 1993 and often mocked for its outdated 1990s look, the US Soccer badge has been in need for a redesign for a long time. Building on the success of the centenary crest seems a very viable and logical decision, in the interest of the US national team's fans.

After Nike and US Soccer renewed their kit supplier contract until 2022, the two worked side by side on the new US Soccer badge, which is set to be first used on the new United States 2016 Home and Away Kits. The new USA Jerseys are set to be worn at the first-ever Copa America on US-soil, the 2016 centenary tournament.

Monday, March 14, 2016

License plates for Real Salt Lake win approval (nice little ode to the Loyalists too)

(by Lee Davidson 2-29-16)

Real Salt Lake doesn't often win by the lopsided score of 73-0 — but it did on Monday in the Legislature.
The House gave final passage to SB64 by that margin to create a special license plate to honor the team as youth soccer players and the team's mascot, Leo the Lion, watched from the galleries.
The new plate will also raise money for youth soccer programs. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, the House sponsor of the bill, noted that RSL sells more season tickets — 15,000 a year — than any other Utah sports team, so the plates could be popular.
People who buy the RSL license plates would be required to make a $25 donation to a state account that would make grants to organizations that help "youth soccer, build communities, and promote environmental sustainability."
It is expected that much of the money would go to the Real Salt Lake Foundation, which sponsors such programs.
Wilson noted the foundation creates an avenue for youth to become referees, which he said may help overcome a referee shortage for youth leagues in the state. He said it also partners with communities and schools to create youth leagues and after-school programs.
"Let's go make a goal and get this done," Rep. Rich Cunningham, R-South Jordan, told House members.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Life of a Capo: They may not always watch the game, but they always affect it

(by Jeff Crandall 3-5-16)

During the week they’re students, bartenders, airline maintenance technicians and white-collar workers.

But when the weekend comes, their responsibilities change. Perched at the head of large swaths of their club’s most ardent fans, they serve as pseudo-orchestra directors, actively conducting their fellow supporters in organized song, chants and visual support.

They’re capos. They may not always watch the game, but they always affect it.

As some of the most recognizable faces in a club’s supporter community, each small band of capos are minor celebrities. Photographers snap candid shots. Television cameras focus in on their efforts. They’re front and center, but that prestigious position is far from the ethos of the capos themselves.

“A good capo shouldn’t care about celebrity status or personal glory,” says Pattrick Stanton, a long-time capo with Section 8 Chicago. “You’re there to lead and inspire a group of people into one voice that will help the players on the field. In order to inspire, people need to respect you as a motivational leader. If you’re in the stand to be a celebrity, you’re doing it wrong.”

Currently the longest-tenured member of a group of 10 Section 8 capos, Stanton first rose to the position in 2005 when the usual suspects couldn’t make it to a Chicago Fire friendly in Milwaukee.

“It was an opportunity for me to step in and keep everyone on the same page,” he says. “It was me working to express this raw emotion and passion I felt and at the same time help lead your team, reminding them it may be a friendly and a lot of them are young, but that this was their opportunity to prove themselves, just like it was mine.”

In Portland, Camm Murray was a college student who had an affinity for soccer and latched on to the vibrant grassroots support generate by the Timbers Army while they were still a part of USL.

“The first match I went to I sat in the section behind Timbers Army, the second match I started to get involved at the back of TA and it just became a slow progression where I eventually found myself at the front of the section with a lot of people closer to my age,” Murray remembers.

Of course, not all clubs rely on capos to generate support. Columbus Crew SC's Nordecke is one notable exception, preferring a leadership-by-committee approach to dedicated capos.

Among those that put someone on the stand, the collection of capos is usually a small circle.

Generally, there’s no secret handshake or initiation ritual, but you must prove yourself before being granted access to the stand. What that means varies between each supporters group, but the measures are in place to make sure anyone who assumes the role understands the responsibilities and privileges that go along with it.

“You make your bones in the middle of the section near the drums,” says Empire Supporters Club capo Steven Ferreza, who helps lead the South Ward during New York Red Bulls matches. “People that want to be a capo go in the middle and stay in the middle. If you see a capo that is struggling, help them out. You spend a couple of seasons in the middle and when the current capos think you’re ready, they let you know.”

“[In Portland] the most important quality when considering a capo is that they’re trustworthy,” adds Murray. “If you also prove yourself to be a trustworthy person – you come to matches, you handle yourself well, you get involved, you do volunteer work and tifo – if you make yourself known and make it a point to show that you care about what’s going on and want to make the North End a better place, that’s your in.”

In Chicago, along with meeting the minimum standard of being a Fire season ticket holder, supporting the club at an away match is also a prerequisite to occupying the iconic red stand at Toyota Park. According to Stanton, it’s on the road where newer chants are honed and bonding occurs.

“When you stand up in that stand and you look out into the crowd, it’s the 78th minute and we’re down 2-1, what are you going to draw from? What’s going to inspire you to keep going and push the team on for the last 10 minutes?” Stanton says. “That’s my friend, I just spent 17 hours in a minivan with him going to New England. It feeds you, you feed off of it. If you don’t know them, you don’t know who they are or where they came from, you don’t have the same feeling or ability to inspire.”

Of course, there are significant drawbacks. Being a capo comes at a cost: they generally see very little live action despite being feet from the game.

“That’s how it goes,” Ferreza says. “Over the course of 45 minutes in the stand, I probably see two or three minutes of the game.”

“You evolve into experiencing the game with your other senses instead of your eyes,” adds Stanton. “You can hear the crowd on the sides of you. Someone wins the ball and plays a good through ball, I can hear one side of the stadium go crazy and then out of my periphery, I get the fact that they’re standing up.”

Another sacrifice comes in the form of the physical toll being an active capo can take on your body. A sore throat from prolonged screaming over the course of 90 minutes often accompanies bruises, cuts and scrapes that come as a result of jumping, dancing and cajoling in the capo stand during a match.

Because it’s such a high-intensity experience, capos rotate in and out during matches to give each other breathers. The cycle also allows a new crop of supporters to earn their own experience – an important step and rite of passage in making sure support stays strong over the years.

“This generation of people older than me, they’re waiting longer to have kids. When those people hit their 30s, they see these kids that are also coming to matches – young helpful hands that want to get involved,” Murray says of his experience in Portland. “For the people that don’t have sons or daughters of their own, that’s the easiest way to pass on what they do to make sure that the support remains strong and is always happening.”

At age 29, Stanton is entering his 11th season in the capo stand. He sees his own retirement on the horizon, and with it a mission to pass the torch to a new generation in Chicago.

“Thirty in capo years is like age 90. I don’t know if my body can keep going like this for more than a season or two,” he says. “The physical nature catches up with you a bit and the rest of life can get in the way. It’s not that you’re not as passionate or devoted, you just have to realize you can’t do it the same way. I’m sure four years from now I’ll still try and make my cameos in the capo stand, but I truly hope that someone will come along that plans on devoting the next five years of their life to loving the Fire like nothing else.

“That’s what it takes to be a leader.”


Friday, March 11, 2016

LA Galaxy take MLS Super Cup 2015

( 4-12-15)

Alan Gordon scored midway through the first half and the Los Angeles Galaxy held off the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Sunday to snap a two-game scoreless stretch.

In the 23rd minute, Omar Gonzalez headed a free kick toward the far post and an unmarked Gordon headed it home in his 200th MLS appearance. It was the first goal in three games for Los Angeles (2-2-2) after being held scoreless in back-to-back matches for the first time since 2012.

Jaime Penedo made 10 saves for the Galaxy, including a sliding block of Aaron Kovar's open attempt in the 87th minute.

Seattle (2-2-1) is winless in its last 10 games at Los Angeles, with its last win coming in 2009.
Gordon started in place of Robbie Keane, the reigning MLS MVP, who was out with an injury. U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey sat out for the Sounders.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Colorado's uniforms

So this morning I watched a re-play of yesterday's Colorado at San Jose season opener. (San Jose won the match 1-0)

But all I could think about while watching it was how Colorado's yellow/blue uniform should actually be RSL's road uniform or 3rd uniform. I know, I can't believe I'm saying it but I am actually envious of this Rapids uniform.

We all remember RSL's "Victory Gold" uniforms, they were an excellent 3rd uniform. But for some reason they only lasted one year.

Colorado has beaten us to the punch, they stole a uniform that should be ours. Couple that with our exit from the CONCACAF Champions Cup and I'm already on a downer.

And the season has just begun.

Friday, March 4, 2016

2016 season starts Sunday !

It's been a depressing winter, time for more enjoyable days.

2016 MLS jerseys

Thursday, March 3, 2016

CONCACAF loss doesn't keep RSL from showing promise

(by Brad Rock 3-3-16)

Not the world. Not the hemisphere.

Maybe the U.S. and Canada.

The only way now for Real Salt Lake to win something big this year is to do something special in Major League Soccer’s season. RSL opens MLS play Sunday at Orlando.

It can’t come too soon.

Though it’s only March, already Real has tried to win North America and failed.

Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium, Utah’s other major league team fell in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, losing to Tigres UANL on aggregate. That came as no surprise. A 2-0 loss last week in Mexico rendered Wednesday’s match at Rio Tinto almost irrelevant, as Real could only muster a 1-1 tie.

Tigres is arguably the best team RSL will face all season. Too bad for RSL it had to come on the front end of the season. There goes another shot at international acclaim. In 2011, Salt Lake lost to Monterrey, Mexico in the CCL final.

So for now, the approaching MLS season is the goal. Yet after two non-league games, there are still things to be happy about. RSL put forward strong efforts in both games. The threat of Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata looks to be a productive blend.

Even in losing, the vibe with Real seems better than last year. The team took a 1-0 lead on Plata’s first-half goal, Wednesday. Had Movsisyan not hammered his shot in the 55th minute off the post, and Javier Morales not been stopped on his penalty try in the 74th, the complexion would have changed.

Through it all, 12 shots (four on target) were signs this team will score.

Despite being winless in the newly minted soccer season, the international games weren’t an abject loss for RSL.

“We saw some really good stuff,” general manager Craig Waibel said on his Claret and Cobalt Daily radio show, this week.

And on Wednesday, RSL saw even better stuff. Instead of lasting 60 minutes before powering down, this time RSL remained competitive until late. The matter wasn’t fully decided until Andre-Pierre Gignac got past Nick Rimando in extra time.

Aggressiveness wasn’t the problem, but jet lag and lack of live playing time may have been. Since gathering for training camp in January, Real has been to preseason camps in Tucson and San Diego, then on the road in Monterrey, Mexico. In addition, it opened the season just last week, while Tigres was in midseason form. It’s a format that has vexed all MLS teams. D.C. United also lost to Queretaro in the quarterfinals, this week.

If nothing else, Wednesday’s match gave Real a chance to air things out. This wasn’t a match to nurture and nurse. It was an all-or-nothing event. At the same time, RSL couldn’t get reckless. Everyone in Rio Tinto Stadium knew an early goal by Tigres would effectively end the suspense.
Turned out the goal didn’t come until the end.

Any fears that Real would come out flat disappeared abruptly, once the game began. It was a considerably more inspired team than the one that meekly exited last season. RSL broke through in the 22nd minute when Kyle Beckerman erased Andre Gignac at the top of Real’s box, after which Plata rolled in a shot.

It was as pretty a sequence as anything Real scored all last season.

Two games into the season, RSL has shown impressive persistence. But at halftime, you had to ask whether it was simply a replay of last week’s loss in Monterrey. In that game, RSL hung with Tigres through the first 60 minutes but faded down the stretch. This time it even had a chance at a second goal in the first half, but Plata missed on a header from center box.

Movsisyan nearly scored the equalizer when his shot from the box hit the left bar in the 55th minute. It might have worked had he tapped in the shot, instead of drilling it. Still, you couldn’t blame the effort.

Interest in Real is obviously high. The season ticket base continues to thrive. Wednesday’s match was a sellout. Meanwhile, the legislature just approved the addition of RSL logo license plates. Which may be symbolic. On one hand, Real’s international fortunes sank on Wednesday. On the other hand, RSL license plates could soon be showing up in Utah at every stoplight.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Champions League: How Real Salt Lake Can Advance

(by Matt Gaschk 3-1-16)

Real Salt Lake has a mountain to climb on Wednesday in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series against Tigres.  After falling behind 2-0 in the first leg last week in Monterrey, Mexico, RSL now needs a win by at least three goals to ensure advancement in the aggregate-goals series.

The following are the different scenarios for how the second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium could play out.
If RSL loses or draws by any score, Tigres will advance to the Semifinals.

If RSL wins by one goal, Tigres will advance.

If RSL wins 2-0, the match will go to a 30-minute extra time period with two 15-minute halves.  In that event, the away goals rule is disregarded for goals scored in the extra time.  The team that leads after 30 minutes will advance.  If the match is still tied after 30 minutes, it will go to a best-of-five penalty kick shootout.  If it is still tied after five shooters, the penalty kicks will continue until one team scores and the other does not.

If RSL wins by two goals with any other score (3-1, 4-2, etc.), Tigres will advance because it will hold the first tie-breaker with an advantage on away goals.

If RSL wins by three goals with any score (3-0, 4-1, etc.) the Claret-and-Cobalt will move on to the Semifinal round for the second time in club history, facing the winner of the D.C. United-Queretaro series.

Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT, with live television coverage on Fox Sports 2 and local radio coverage on ESPN 700.