Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Week In Soccer: The Redhead Returns

Alexi Lalas, the first American to play in Italy’s Serie A and the most marketable face of US Soccer in the 1990s was named President/General Manager of the MetroStars on Tuesday, replacing Nick Sakiewicz, who had alienated many fans of the club during his six-year run at the club. Not that Sakiewicz is going for want: he was promoted to head “AEG Soccer NY/NJ,” and presumably will be responsible for running the long, long, loooooooong-delayed Harrison stadium project which (we’re told) is only a week or two from becoming reality. Really. That’s what they said.

Lalas, the former Rutgers All-American and future US Soccer Hall of Famer was serving as the GM of the San Jose Earthquakes, a club owner-operator AEG now seems certain to jettison, perhaps to Club America of Mexico, who may move the Quakes to Houston for 2006.

Lalas took questions from the online community during a web chat on Tuesday afternoon, and while he clearly didn’t have all the answers as of yet, he certainly showed off his trademark sense of humor…

Rob from Hillsdale, N.J.:
Will an announcement about the stadium honestly be made in 1-2 weeks or will it really be 60 - 90 days?

Alexi Lalas:
It sounds like you've been around long enough to recognize that the concept of time with the stadium project is relative.

Nick from Secaucus, N.J.:
What benefits do you feel you have as a former player over a business man in the position of General Manager of an MLS team?
Alexi Lalas:
I'm better looking.

AEG, which currently owns Metro, Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy, DC United, and San Jose, is said to be close to selling four-time champion United as well, to a local DC-area consortium. AEG Pres/CEO Tim Lieweke made a point of noting that the Metros have been a bit ignored by the parent company, and that more effort will be put toward making the team more relevant in both the crowded NY sports scene and the national soccer scene.

On the field
The US U-20 team had the better of play through most of the match, but couldn’t score in a 0-0 draw with Group D powerhouse Germany in a FIFA World Youth Championship match in Enschede, Netherlands yesterday. The US (1-0-1, 4pts, +1GD) which hasn’t conceded a goal in two matches, in currently in 2nd place in the four-team group. The US should qualify for the round of 16 after its Saturday, 7:30am match (FSC) with group bottom dwellers Egypt (0-2-0, 0pts, -4 GD).In the 24-team tournament, the 1st, 2nd, and best four 3rd place teams advance out of group play.

Metros G Zack Wells made 14 saves a scoreless draw with DC United on Sunday in the swamp, marking young Wells’ fourth shutout of the year. The UCLA product was named Player of the Week in MLS for his efforts, which were one save shy of the all-time record for saves in a league match, held by former Metros G Tony Meola.

Last Week’s Results
Saturday, June 11th
US U-20s 1-0 Argentina
Columbus 1-0 Colorado
Kansas City 0-2 New England
LA Galaxy 1-0 Salt Lake

Sunday, June 12th
MetroStars 0-0 DC United
Chicago 2-0 FC Dallas
Chivas USA 1-1 San Jose

Tuesday, June 14th
US U-20s 0-0 Germany

Standings (Team, Points, GD)
FIFA World Youth Championship, Group D
Germany 4, +2
USA 4, +1
Argentina 3, +1
Egypt 0, -4

MLS Eastern Conference
New England 25, +13
Chicago 22, +3
MetroStars 17, +6
Kansas City 17, +3
DC United 13, 0
Columbus 13, -9

MLS Western Conference
FC Dallas 24, +10
LA Galaxy 23, +7
San Jose 15, 0
Salt Lake 11, -10
Colorado 8, -6
Chivas USA 6, -17

This Week’s Matches
Wednesday, June 15th
DC United vs. Chicago, 7:30pm
Colorado vs. LA Galaxy, 9pm

Saturday, June 18th
US U-20s vs. Egypt, 7:30am, FSC
Chicago vs. Kansas City, 4pm, ESPN2
MetroStars vs. Columbus, 7:30pm, MSG
DC United vs. New England, 7:30pm, FSC
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, 8:30pm
San Jose vs. Salt Lake, 10pm, HDNet
Chivas USA vs. Colorado, 10pm


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