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Taken from football365

All Change At LA And DC, But Results Stay The Same

Compiled by Gavin Willacy

IT IS generally accepted that Washington's DC United and Los Angeles Galaxy are the biggest two clubs in MLS and the best two teams. Or else, it used to be until recently. As LA swan towards the title, unbeaten all season, things are getting desperate at United. With just two wins and a draw in their opening dozen games, the champions are on course to miss the play-offs. And with a third of the season gone, it is all change at both clubs.

United have made a rallying call, a cry for help. So which major international stars have they signed to reverse their fortunes? Romario? Gazza? Hagi? Nope. They have put their faith in Pete Marino, unwanted by Tampa Bay and without a club all season, and Michael Blackwood, a 20-year-old striker from Aston Villa reserves.

Marino, who has not even played for the USA – and let’s face it, everyone who can kick a ball won a cap in the early Nineties – has played in MLS for Columbus and Kansas City and for Bayer Leverkusen's amateurs, but he is hardly a star name. Blackwood is a shot in the dark.

After the start the champions have had, you can, to a degree, understand such moves. But over in southern California, it’s all gone bonkers.

The proverb 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' clearly doesn’t exist in Tinseltown. The Galaxy, looking supreme and with the best attacking unit in MLS, were so desperate to sign Mexico star Luis Hernandez that they have released two of their famous three-pronged attack to make room for him.

Getting the 31-year-old, who has scored 35 goals in 73 international appearances including four goals at France 98, is a major coup for a league making concerted efforts to get in top stars before they draw their pensions. But it may not be so hot for the Galaxy, despite the noises coming from Pasadena.

Predictably, president Tim Leiweke was thrilled: the prospect of thousands more Hispanics spending their Saturday nights – and their dollars – in the Rose Bowl would obviously appeal greatly to the club's backer. But the silence coming from coach Sigi Schmid was deafening.

In order to get former Boca Juniors ace Hernandez, and one imagines he had little choice in the matter, the league system meant two must go, including a major international. Logic said that had to include a striker and it was with much anguish that Schmid waved bye-bye to exciting youngster Clint Mathis.

The league have drawn up a table for distribution in which the previous season's worst teams get the surplus players as each one becomes available. So Mathis has gone to the MetroStars – and boy do they need him – while defender Joe Franchino is now at the New England Revolution, who certainly don’t.

In order to make a peg available for Franchino, Revs coach Fernando Clavijo let striker Eduardo Hurtado join Liga Universitaria de Quito in the Ecuadorian first division. The Foxboro flop was signed on a free in December but he played only three times for the flying Bostonians, starting just once.

And movements in the Galaxy did not end there. As the roster already included the maximum four 'senior international players', they also had to get rid of someone to let in Hernandez. El Salvador star Mauricio Cienfuegos was clearly going nowhere and Haitain midfielder Sebastien Vorbe has only just arrived, so the axe fell on under-performing Costa Rican Roy Myers instead.

The MetroStars pounced for him too - in a straight swap for midfielder Brian Kelly - and with new boys Myers and Mathis up front, the New Yorkers swept to a 3-2 golden goal victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday in front of nearly 30,000 fans in Giants Stadium.

"It's very exciting to come here," said Mathis, who has been re-united with Octavio Zambrano, the coach who signed him from college when he was LA boss in 1998. "There's no bitterness towards the Galaxy or the situation. I look at it as a good career change. It really isn't frustrating, but no-one wants to leave where they are all settled in. After a couple days I had time to think about it and became very excited to come here."

The notion that a perfectly-settled and happy player can be transferred to the other side of the country without his consent is causing ripples in MLS.

In a free market, Los Angeles would have kept Mathis but sold Myers to bring in the cash and free up a space in attack for Hernandez. Instead, they were forced to dismantle a winning team. It's like England before Jimmy Hill and Jean-Marc Bosman!

"The exchange of players is ridiculous," Dallas Burn Sergi Daniv told 365. "It doesn't make sense. Unless you are an international star, you can't really decide where you want to go. You are told which club you are moving to. It worries me. You never know what's going to happen. We were on the coach before a game in Los Angeles when Leonel Alverez was told he was going to New England. You can't plan your life when things like that can happen."


THE good people of Kansas City finally turned up in droves to watch the stunning success of the Wizards continue. Over 17,000, the club's fifth biggest crowd ever and the largest for four years, saw Peter Vermes and Miklos Molnar score as KC made it 11 games unbeaten with a 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday. The Wizards could equal LA's record start to the season – they won the first dozen in 1996 – at Tampa on Saturday.

With his 11th clean sheet of the season, Kansas City goalkeeper Tony Meola extended his MLS record to 615 minutes without conceding a goal. It opened up a six point gap between them and also-unbeaten LA in the Western Division in a week when not a single team changed places in the three divisions. Third-placed Colorado Rapids must already turn their attention to getting more points than at least four other clubs to make the play-offs as the top two streak away.


NEXT in line to embrace a reject are Miami Fusion , who have confirmed caretaker boss Ray Hudson - the former Newcastle player and annoying TV pundit - as their new coach.


FINALLY, some brighter news for the good folk of RFK. Stalwart United defender Jeff Agoos, who has continued to do a fine impression of Stuart Pearce (pre-broken leg) at left-back while all around him falls apart, could win his 100th cap for the USA at the Nike US Cup next month.

He is one of 11 MLS players in Bruce Arena's 22-man squad to play South Africa, the Republic of Ireland and Mexico, earning a recall after missing out in most of this season’s internationals.

Only four other players have represented the States more than 100 times, including Cobi Jones, who will become the USA's record caps winner if he plays in all three games of the tournament. Jones currently has 126 caps, two behind leader Marcelo Balboa's 128.

Arena has picked more European-based players than ever before in a squad captained by Rangers star Claudio Reyna. They include Liverpool's Brad Friedel, meaning record-breaking Meola drops out in favour of a reserve team regular. Doh!


NOSTALGIA CORNER
23 Years Ago This Week... George Best and Charlie Cook arrived in Los Angeles and played four games in ten days for the Aztecs. In the third, LA won at Seattle with Georgie getting the winner. That was the start of an incredible run in which the Belfast Boy scored in five successive games as his team won six in a row. But Trindadian Steve David was THE MAN – he scored 26 goals in 24 appearances in 1977, 14 of them coming in Best's first 11 games.

Mind you, that included a 5-2 defeat in front of 57,000 in Giants Stadium: Best and David both scored but were overshadowed by a Pele hat-trick for the Cosmos!
 

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thanks for the link!

the fool has no knowledge of MLS (see first 5 paragraphs)...the rest is good

Nostalgia tid bits is cool!
 

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I just thought I'd bring it across after reading it. I myself have little to no knowledge of MLS, but as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans. Well I'm in Idaho, and since I can't get into Baseball or American Football, I've turned my attention to MLS.
 

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Idaho fann.....how are things going in your quest for soccer ? Will your main town feature a game on the USOP

united states Open Cup

Mls meets a -league and 2nd divison team in small soccer towns.
for more info see www.us-soccer.com

click for lamar US open cup...news

does your cable provider carries fow world sports ? In the mean time, enjoy the trashing of southafricans, mexicans or Irish.

[This message has been edited by palermo (edited 08-06-2000).]
 
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