Did you really think DeRo would be kept from making an impact? Houston's big-time, big-game striker Dwayne DeRosario did what he usually does; score a huge goal, as the Dynamo rallied past the Buffalo Bill-like New England Revolution 2-1 in last Sunday's MLS Cup in DC. Houston not only became the first back-to-back MLS Cup champ since the Scum did it in 1996-97, but the core of this Dynamo team (which was the Earthquakes before their '06 move to Texas) has now won four MLS Cups together, matching DC United. SI's Grant Wahl has a great summary of the game here. Gotta feel for the Revs, who have now lost three straight title games.
Ok, I'm done feeling for them. Season 13 can't come soon enough.
Now the much too-long MLS off-season begins with today's Expansion Draft to stock the revived San Jose Earthquakes, who'll play at Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium as they wait for a sweetheart stadium deal to coalesce. Current MLS sides were allowed to protect 11 players each. New York left the entire reserve squad plus Francis Doe, Mike Magee, Joe Vide, and John Wolyniec unprotected. Will any of them head West? My money's on Vide, who came on strong late in the season in the Red Bulls' midfield and ably helped New York push the Revs in the postseason.
Was all-time New York goal scoring champion Clint Mathis left unprotected? No, he was traded to FC Circus in Los Angeles for what Metrofanatic called "a ham sandwich." It actuality, Cleetus' $400K salary was the prime reason for the move, and the RBFO are looking to bring in younger high-priced talent. Watching Clint play for NY has been nothing short of a love affair. When he was on (which admittedly was not always), Mathis was the lethal striker that found a way to make the difference. A Soft spoken rebel, he's been a joy in a NY uniform. Wonder how he will fit in on the Galaxy's roster, but best of luck, pal.
Red Bull continues to invest in MLS and US Soccer with its' multi-million dollar buyout of AEG's half of the stalled Red Bull Park project in Harrison. Will this mean the construction will begin soon? Wake me when it happens. New projected opening: Summer '09. Sigh.
On Sunday the World Cup 2010 Preliminary Draw will be held in South Africa, and the Yanks will learn their path to a sixth-straight WC Finals. Will they pull Grenada again in the first round? Montserrat? Anguilla? Stay tuned.
Off soccer for a minute, the news this week that NY Jets fans routinely spend their halftime trying to get female fans to "go wild" is incredibly disturbing. That the NJ Sports & Entertainment Authority (which manages Giants Stadium) allows the behavior is absolutely unbelievable. We all know that there will always be a segment of pro sports fandom that goes to games simply to get drunk and act rowdy. As a season ticket holder of the Red Bulls, and partial plan holder of the Mets and Rangers, I've seen plenty of drunkness and fights in the stands in my day. However, these idiots should be identified and have their season tickets revoked immediately. Jets owner Woody Johnson should state unequivocally that such behavior will not be tolerated, and the NJSEA, which has been aware of the problem, should be fined.
As a soccer fan, I cringe everytime someone brings up "soccer riots." This degrading, adolescent behavior by Jets fans seems just as bad, and the NFL and the Jets should be called on it. On a lighter note, as a Giants fan, I'm not surprised. Jets fans rank just above DC United fans on the evolutionary scale, anyway.