Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Late Tackle, 12 07 2016: More MLS Cup Crap, Portland and Expansion, Plus Expansion (and Sad Mix)

No, please. Throw away my shit for me.
For anyone who cares about such things, I’m trying to choose how many items to cover in these daily things. I’m hung up between three topics and five. Split the difference today. But one of ‘em feels weak. Shit. Anyway…

More MLS Cup Crap
The work of hyping a cup final takes many shapes and runs from good to bad (not to pick on that last one but it's only of interest to someone who hasn’t paid attention at all for the last month). As for the good stuff, I bumped into a couple today: one a tactical preview (but with a shitty title, at least on mobile: “Jordan Morris Poses Problems for TFC,” which really sells it short), which dives decently deep into things (personally, I found the Armando Cooper stuff enlightening); the other, which also didn’t promise much by title, looks at how the MLS contestants, (again) Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, built their rosters. It’s more of a how-to than it looks, especially the stuff about both club’s academies. If I had to give a long-term edge of any kind between the two teams, it’d go to Toronto. Take away Jordan Morris (please!), and I’d rate Toronto’s pool higher.

On a note that relates only because these two teams are in the Cup, I read somewhere that Nick Hagglund has “become a force” on set-pieces. I’m hung up on “maybe” for now, because I don’t think TFC can count on the absolute shit marking that Montreal put on Hagglund in the first leg.

One more on MLS Cup, and those participating in it. It’s cool to see TFC’s Jozy Altidore pick up a littlehype, because he’s playing out of his goddamn mind right now. I’m thinking back, specifically, to a back-heel that he used to set up one of Toronto’s goals against Montreal. Next-level shit, kid. and from a guy I still call the smartest man in MLS.

Timbers: Keeping an Eye on the Furniture During the Garage Sale
Stumptown Footy put up a very thorough piece on which players the Timbers should protect from the grasping, sweaty hands of Minnesota and Atlanta United FC(s) during next Tuesday’s expansion (a local Chicago Fire blog did a really good piece on their options, very loose). My first thought was to call Stumptown’s post too long because, honestly, this doesn’t feel so complicated. After a second look, I agree with their implied argument that only the top 8 players (plus Michael Farfan) come easy (and hereby endorse said Top 8). The work of picking the next three protected players depends a lot of the project of bringing in new players (which project the Portland Tribune described at wonderful length; related, the word “wonderful” has been forever tainted for me by that goddamn Fred Meyer commercial: hate that thing). With that in mind – and, to be clear, struggling – the other three players I’d protect are:

Lucas Melano (while praying for a decent ROI)
Jermaine Taylor (defensive cover/flexibility for the rebuild)
Jack McInerney (who I’d consider trading later, but losing even 5 goals isn’t losing nothing)

OK, you can throw shit at me now. I might throw shit at me later…

Mix Mixed Up
If you’re among the people who looked at New York City FC’s Mix Diskerud and then immediately looked elsewhere, you’re probably not so shocked to see that NYCFC is looking to unload him. It’s not hard to feel sympathy for Diskerud, but he’s just one of those guys who came in…pretty damn overrated. Still, I can’t imagine there’s nowhere he could go and prove useful…even as I can’t say I’d want him for the Timbers. So, yeah. Umm…

Expansion, The Road to 28 Teams (and Speedbumps thereon)
Word that St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay and North Carolina have thrown their hats as candidates to join MLS, I decided to check back on in just who all’s running. As things currently stand (and as I think we all know), the league expands to 22 teams next year when Atlanta and Minnesota join, and then it’ll bump to 23 confirmed teams when LA FC joins in 2018. The Miami bid is still on hold/so fucked up that I stopped paying attention, so I’ll just leave things at 23. That leaves five available spots for…how many candidates?

It’s sort of a mess, really, not unlike the GOP field heading into 2016, only with fewer assholes. I don’t know that it makes sense to add Miami – and I’m not checking either – but they’d be a decent choice, y’know, get the American Southeast a little more involved in the party, etc. From what I gather, Sacramento and St. Louis are looking good, so that’s 25 teams, leaving three spots.

Personally, and I know it’s real early in their bid, but I’d like to see Carolina get a team. Good place, good spot, etc. California has enough teams, so screw the San Diego bid (no offense guys!) (Also, did I mention that I’m getting my list of candidates from Wikipedia’s page on this topic?). Miami would be good, but they seem to struggle with the whole business of getting their shit together. OK, with Carolina, that’s 26 teams, and two spots left….

…fuck it, going hometown, so that’s Cincinnati in. Uh, who else…Detroit? Is that too much Midwest? Does San Antonio – i.e., more Texas sound better than more Midwest? Mmm…these are not easy choices. There’s the warm weather thing to consider…crap.

OK, here’s my barely considered vote for the three remaining spots: Carolina, Cincinnati, and…yeah, Detroit. They need it more…

Taking thoughts on all the above. Go dump in my feed or comment below. Back tomorrow!

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