Now this I know is true

SI.com and AP are saying that DC has signed Brazilian defender Roger. The Offside doesn’t think so. Let’s break down why this is probably true.

Well, DC has plenty of history signing South American pros, so this part sounds credible. It’s not like they’re reporting the Rapids are signing him.

Lance is the biggest sports daily in Brazil, so they seem like a credible source.

Well, there’s the usual ambition we’ve come to love out of imports to MLS. No mention of anything like trophies, wonderful.

Ohhh, so he’s coming off an injury to a crucial body part. Wait, what, DC United signed an injury-prown foreigner? I cannot imagine it. That much-vaunted video system does more than tape players, it apparently releases a sweet-smelling gas into the air inside the front-office that convinces them they can cure any kind of injury. This certainly is sounding credible to me.

Also, adding credibility to this story is the fact that this guy both is 5-9 and and an outside back, thus solving a problem that DC doesn’t have. United has lots of guys who can play outside back. DC has practically no one who can competently play center back.

Cue Vince Lombardi…

“What the hell is going on out there?”

Impressed and surprised by US Soccer

I have to admit, I was absolutely positive US Soccer was going to go with its wallet and stick the US-El Salvador qualifier here in DC – home of America’s largest Salvadorean community. In DC, that match is an assured sellout and would’ve produced one of those electric half-and-half atmospheres that we saw in past qualifiers at RFK against Honduras and Guatemala.

According to Goff
, US Soccer is actually prioritizing the home atmosphere over a guaranteed big sellout. Does it mean that RFK could end up with another damp squib of a qualifier like Cuba? Sure, but in the end, it’s not about putting good matches close to me (or the rest of American soccer’s best fanbase). It’s about putting the team in the best position it can to win. And that’s what Sunil Gulati and US Soccer are doing, despite them probably leaving some gate-receipt cash on the table.

Well done to them for making the right call there.

Training Camp Thoughts

With MLS teams beginning to open training camp, across the country I am beginning to sit down and figure out who is actually going to play for each of these teams. Obviously a few signings here and there could change all this, but here’s who I am feeling good about and who I am not feeling so hot for.

Teams I am feeling good about:

The Galaxy. Bruce Arena seems to be on the road towards making a credible MLS team out of the absolute crater he came upon last season. I always thought Thomas Rongen left the largest roster craters upon departure, but Gullit certainly is in the running after 2008. Ricketts cannot possibly be worse than the stiffs the Gals had in goal last year, and just the simple presence of MLS-tested vets like Dema, Miglioranzi and Magee will help this team. I am curious to see just where Arena goes with his defense and if he chucks Omar Gonzalez and/or AJ Dellagarza into the lineup immediately. Finally, the biggest change, the extremely-likely departure of Landon Donovan and the still-looking-likely departure of David Beckham gives Arena the potential for a lot of room to work on this roster. Assuming the cap space does get freed up, could we see him chase an experienced CB and another scorer during the season?

New York. The Red Bulls continue their experimentation with the concept of continuity which, considering they’re a cup finalist, is a good thing. I like their moves so far and assuming that just a few of the “relay team” members up front have enough skills to stick in MLS, that kind of speed will bother a lot of defenses in this league. It still seems to me that they have questions in goal, unless they decide the future is now and hand the keys to Cepero.

Toronto. Sigh, if only they had a competent coach rather than the poor man’s Joe Kinnear. This team reminds me a bit of DC last year. If the defense and goalkeeping can just not stink completely, this unit (especially with DeRo) should score enough to make them playoff contenders. I’ll make this bet, Carver doesn’t make it to the end of the season. I can very much see this team canning him (potentially with Mo taking back the reins) and having a NE-post-Clavijo sort of run.

Teams I am not feeling good about:

United. The ole’ hometown team is not leaving me stinking of optimism right now. The more I think about their draft, the less I like the fact they didn’t trade up to get Gonzalez. (Lifton, you’ve convinced me.) On top of that, Gallardo’s hair appears to be the only part of him he hasn’t injured in the past year. If Olsen cannot return, we’ve just seen it confirmed that his salary cannot come off the books and at the moment United has only one central defender worthy of starting in this league. All this on top of the continued reliance of big money players that aren’t getting any younger like Moreno have me concerned that United has fallen into its old trap of falling in love with its own guys again and not knowing when to say goodbye.

Colorado. Does anyone ever feel good about the Rapids, ever? Not to get too Gardner-esque, but you never want to hear your coach saying this anymore.
And if this team had to play teams like Kidderminster Harriers and Stevenage Borough they might have a chance of succeeding. Also, you have to wonder a bit about their scouting when their draft produces players from George Mason, Albany, South Florida, Redlands, Winthrop, and Michigan. While a few of those teams ended the season high in the polls, they don’t immediately strike you a factories for pro players.

Chivas USA. Rumors of a managerial shakeup, sales of their best players, and former players ripping the tactics. To blatantly rip off Bill Simmons, ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Chivas USA! Feel the excitement!

That’s it for now. If your favorite team isn’t here, it doesn’t mean they’re doomed. I just haven’t had a chance to read too much about them yet.