In all fairness the 2006 campaign for the MLS was more of a rollercoaster than anything else. The highs and lows seemed to be one of the hardest things this young league has ever had to deal with.

Going into the season, there was much anticipation starting with the move of the Earthquakes from San Jose to Houston and Red Bull buying the Metrostars from AEG. The hype machine was in full force for teams like Chivas USA and crazed hope was there for the Columbus Crew. An announcement of the league expanding to Canada made things clear that the following season would be an interesting one.

2006 still will forever be known as the year the US failed to do anything bright in the World Cup. The year that Landon Donovan and the Galaxy failed to make the play-offs for the first time. One that saw the league’s two best teams failed to even make the Conference finals in the playoffs. And it was a year that the league’s superstars failed to shine.

I am not writing off the year as a complete disaster. There was plenty to look at and be happy with. The league had to feel good about getting new stadiums opened and new ones being close to finished…and the groundbreaking of other ones. I too am happy with one of the best deals made by the league…the creation of a player development system that should mirror those in Europe and around the world. I was also happy to see players like Richard Mulrooney and Alecko Eskandarian make their way back onto the field and show that they still had some play in their boots.

2006 saw a new champion but an old champion really. Houston in my mind will always be San Jose until there is another San Jose in the league. In my mind this is not the club’s first MLS title, but it’s third. I won’t down play the importance of that club winning the league because it is huge for that market and for the league’s sake of moving the club to that market this time last year.

2006 also saw an interesting winner in the MLS All-Star game. I have written many times for the league to get rid of the game due to its worthlessness but beating a juggernaut from England (Chelsea) always looks good in the record books. The win did nothing more than erased the feeling that the league had felt a year before when they were blown out on the road, in the middle part of the season to Real Madrid. To me, its all a level playing field when it comes to an All-Star squad from the MLS taking on a European team. Deep down I know that if the league is to maintain any sort of respect, they need to either do away with the game against a foreign club or go back to the good ol’ days of East versus West. That my friend is how you do an All-Star game.

A year is done but another one is on the horizon. 2007 will be one to be seen, that I can assure you. Add a new team (Toronto) and shake up some things and I think the MLS is on the right path. We all know the league will be a 16 team league by the end of the decade, it’s been said over and over that it will. The question remains where and when.

The time has come to move on. I figure now is the time that I highlight some things and just wrap up the year as best as I can.

Five best moments:

  • Announcement of a player development system – for the league to be a success and move away from its world status as a retirement league…this system will keep the MLS going for years…but only if it is done correctly…just mirror the bigger European clubs and the league should be fine…they have the money (whether or not they would want you to believe they do or not)
  • Enhancement of derby games – I loved the Rocky Cup this year, the Lone Star showdowns, the Atlantic Cups…that is how the league will continue to grow…derby games are nothing without passion and this year we had just that between some of these clubs…I really wish now more than ever that Tampa and Miami were still in the league…the MLS needs more derbies.
  • Houston winning the MLSI may not be a Dynamo supporter but it was huge for this team to pull this off in their first season in Houston…it will help keep fans in the seats and could lead to better things (their own stadium)
  • New Stadiums – got to love the Toyota Parks and the Pizza Hut Parks that are opening up everywhere in this league. Getting every team in their own place is huge for the league…its all about dollars and cents and teams having their own place and not some jumbo NFL stadium is big…just wait and see what it will do for New York when they finish theirs…big things are ahead there
  • Chivas Turnaround – I loved what Bob Bradley did with this club…sure they didn’t make it past Houston in the playoffs but they surely made things interesting in the West…more offense and at times better defense made this team fun to watch…I saw them twice this year in person and they were a handful to contend with

Five biggest disappointments:

  • D.C. United – Sure they won the Supporter’s Shield in like mid-July…that means nothing until playoff time in this league…at least the league is making next year’s playoff push more meaningful unlike this year and those in the past…hopefully it will save us from this and…
  • FC Dallas – now everyone knows I am a huge follower of this club but nothing is more disappointing as a fan of the club and as a fan of the sport to see a club with this much promise fall in the playoffs…Colorado didn’t have this teams number…it has nothing to do with that…poor coaching and poor play had everything to do with it…and not to mention an unbalanced schedule
  • LA Galaxy – if I were ranking these this would be number 1…a bad start plus the absence of key players during the World Cup…don’t translate into success my friends…this team was tough to watch…no heart and no hustle…they really should have repeated going into the year…the talent was there and it should have happened but they fell short of the playoffs for the first time…in club history!
  • Youri Djorkaeff – from getting caught at the World Cup when he said he had to be in France to just the poor play from this Frenchman…probably the biggest reason why New York drew so many games to begin the year because Youri was no where to be seen on the field
  • The playoff format – everyone knows I believe the MLS should do away with its current and even next year’s format…I still hate seeing 8 teams out of 12 making the playoffs each season…the MLS drops the ball each year by not changing it

Good and Bad moves:

  • (Bad) Eddie Johnson – this was definitely a bad move for KC…Johnson hardly showed this season (2g 1a)
  • (Good) Eddie Johnson – this move worked out perfectly for Dallas…they got rid of a kid with high potential but a poor attitude…Johnson should be in Europe making the big bucks but with a poor attitude and pathetic showing on and off the field he will never make it anywhere but in the MLS
  • (Good) Kenny Cooper – Dallas struck gold with Cooper…this kid was everything that they had hoped for coming from Man United. Cooper was a breath of fresh air scoring in his first game as a member of the Hoops and ended up as one of the teams MVPs on the season
  • (Bad) Clint Mathis for Jeff Cunningham – why Colorado ever made this deal is beyond me…you trade a great goal scorer for an overpriced player who has done nothing with himself or for any team since 2001. Cunningham was an MVP candidate for RSL and almost got them into the playoffs for the first time
  • (Good) Ezra Hendrickson – Columbus’s lone bright spot of the year was picking up this guy…Ezra helped bring defense back to Columbus…sadly it was too little too late

Way to early projections for 2007:

  • New England will win the East – I see the Revs turning things around from a decent season this past year and actually showing up…Taylor Twellman won’t have a World Cup to think about and they may not have Clint Dempsey…but that shouldn’t matter
  • Chivas will win the West – yes…it could be a stretch but I think the Goats will pull through more and get some more players and really be dangerous…early on favorite will be Houston or Dallas but expect Chivas to continue to make strides with Bob Bradley (unless he gets the US National Team coaching job)…not to mention picking up Amado Guevara from New York earlier this week was huge…if Bradley, Razov, and Gurvara can get on the same page this will be an exciting team to watch
  • Toronto won’t be that bad – I see some good things in FC Toronto. I like Mo Johnson as their coach and the moves they have already done are good ones…getting Ronnie O’Brian was huge for this team…
  • The playoff field will include – New England and Chivas winning their conferences…those are automatic bids now…after that expect Houston, New York, DC, Dallas, Colorado, and LA making the playoffs. Colorado and Dallas may benefit from the new format or maybe someone like Kansas City will…
  • Houston will repeat as champions – I would love to pick someone else but right now…this very minute I believe Houston is the team to win it all next year…keeping De Rosiario away from going home to Canada may be tough but I think another season of him and Ching will be too much for everyone…plus Dominic Kinner is a very underrated coach
  • A big star will be signed – sometime between now and next August a big international star will sign with the league…the new Beckham rule will open up a lot of doors for people signing into the league…

Seeing how today is the final for the MLS with the MLS Cup pitting New England and Houston. I thought I would throw my two cents out there and predict a Houston win. Both teams have come on strong as of late so it is a tough game to pick but New England hasn’t had the luck that they want in the MLS Cup in their history. Houston has won titles (they won as the San Jose Earthquakes) so it is not all new to them on how to win one of these things.

I have finally gotten most of my stuff back online, the photo pages are working again and I am slowly getting everything back to the way it was this time last week. I believe the web site is working better than ever now too as is entering its four year on the world wide web.  Crazy to think that its been online that long now but it has!

My main email address is back up and running as well for those who do email me on a normal basis.

In other news….

The men’s soccer game is THIS Wednesday at 7 pm (6 CT) as the Mountaineers will face off against UNC-Greensboro. Not a big surprise to me that they got UNC-G instead of VT for that game. Its a game WVU should be able to win since they are the host seed. If you are in the Morgantown area be sure to check the game out. These guys deserve a rowdy crowd like they had for the Notre Dame game back in the season.

Looking at the men’s backet (I can do this more now that the women’s team stunk up the place against UVA this past week). Plenty of solid matchups, but I do see most of the seeds winning their games. Shouldn’t be too many  real upsets in the second round. The Big East had a tough time of things in the first round with 4 of the 5 teams losing their games. Only St. John’s was able to advance into the second round. UConn, Providence, Rutgers, and Cincinnati all dropped games in the first round.

The set up is still very favorable for the men’s team to make a good run in the tournament. I still think they have every chance to make it to St. Louis for the Final Four. If they beat UNC-G they will get the winner of the St. Louis/Northwestern. They should be able to beat either of those teams as that game will also be played in Morgantown.


There are only four more weeks of school for this semester, five if you want to throw in Thanksgiving break. Plenty of work ahead for me though, but thankfully there is a holiday break coming up next week. And yes, I have already broke out some Christmas movies in my spare time. Last night Becca and I watched Elf. I am sure once Thanksgiving passes we will watch more Christmas movies. I know XM likes to provide 5 or 6 Christmas music channels. So I am excited for that.

Busy week ahead as well, but I will try to provide as many updates as I can about games and what not.

Alrighty, incase you missed it yesterday. The draw came out for both the men and women’s soccer tournaments. The men definitely got a good draw and have a solid chance to make it to the Final Four. The women, well…not so much but all is not lost even though they have to go on the road to Wake Forest this weekend. I will be traveling with the team to Winston Salem, NC to cover the events. Hopefully they can manage to beat two ACC teams as they play Virginia on Friday night and should end up playing Wake Forest on Sunday.

Hey it is possible.

In other news, has been renewed for another year! YAY! Hard to believe this site is about four years old now. It is still growing but I am also currently shopping for a new host for it. I found one but the process is taking longer than I expected. Some things have changed with transfering hosts over the years. It wasn’t this complicated before. I am mainly waiting on my current host to give me some authorization key to be able to transfer my stuff to them. So hopefully soon it will take place.

What does that mean for everyone else? Nothing much really, hopefully there won’t be any downtime for this site. Any more I have the most trouble getting this site to load up with my current host so that is the big reason why I am changing. Not to mention I found a new host that has all the bells and wistles that I want for half the price. Can’t beat that. Not to mention the random discounts they throw on there for certain things. I like discounts, so naturally I listen when I see a good deal.

Again, hopefully there won’t be any downtime as far as changing host and what not. Hopefully it will happen and no one but myself will even see it.

Alright, I do know some things for when it comes to the NCAA soccer tournaments. Expect the men’s side to get the first round bye and play in the second round on November 15th. So next Wednesday they should play. I will let everyone know who and what time too.

As for the ladies, it could be tricky. They honestly could end up on the road now for the first round. It is possible but regardless of where they  are at they will play on Friday night and should then again play on Sunday afternoon. Where and what time will be known on Monday.

Both brackets are released on Monday afternoon.

In other broadcast related news, the basketball seasons are about to get under way as well. Depending on soccer, the first home game for the ladies team is on November 18th. They do kick off their season on the road in the coming week. I may be doing a post game show for those games. Again it all depends on how the soccer teams are doing and when they play. Hopefully each team will be home for a while and it won’t matter. But we will see tomorrow when those brackets are released.

For those that are curious, the men and women failed to win the Big East tournament. The women lost to Rutgers on Friday after leading 2-0, they ended up dropping the game 3-2. As for the men, they took St. John’s to overtime in the championship game but with 4 seconds left in the first overtime, St. John’s found the back of the net to punch their ticket to the men’s soccer dance.

Conference tournaments end this weekend and this time next Monday we will be able to break down the brackets and make some picks for both the men and women’s NCAA tournament fields. If you are a fan of college soccer, this has to be your favorite time of the season. Lots of questions to still ponder but I think you can almost guess who will get what and where teams will go.

The men’s field is 48 teams, so selection can and will be tough with the amount of talented teams out there. Four teams will get hosts seeds for the entire trip to the final four (in St. Louis). Right now you can pick between 6 or 7 schools to get one of those four spots. I have my own ideas and in a way I hope I am right since it would largely effect WVU.

My top four seeds for the men’s bracket are:

  1. WVU – if the Mountaineers win the Big East, this will ring more true than ever. They currently own the nation’s best record at 15-1-2. Even if they come up short in New Jersey this weekend I believe WVU has done enough this season to get a least one of the top four spots in the NCAA field.
  2. Wake Forest – The Decons have been coming on stronger and stronger and I believe they will lock up the ACC this weekend in Maryland. It won’t be easy though, and it wouldn’t surprise me that if they do win the ACC they could end up at number one. Really whoever wins the ACC should and will be a top four seed if not THE top seed.
  3. Maryland – thanks to homefield advantage in the ACC tournament, the Terps should get a top seed in the NCAA bracket, though as runner up in the ACC title game…I think Wake has them beat
  4. California – Some think SMU, others think another ACC team, but I am going out west, mainly since the west does need a host and Cal is about it…maybe Santa Clara could snag this spot but I think Cal is it

The next four seeds are a little bit differnet, they get the right to be home for a while but once the quarterfinal hits, they will have to travel

5. Virginia – if you haven’t noticed the ACC will dominate the top 8 here…
6. SMU – The Mustangs have been in the top 3 all season, but that one loss against UAB will hurt them
7. Duke – could very well win the ACC too
8. Santa Clara – could flip-flop with Cal

I won’t get into the rest of the 48 team field because I don’t have all night to speculate things but I do see the ACC getting four teams in the top 8 seeds and another team (Clemson or UNC) right out side the top 8. The Big East will and should send 7 teams (WVU, Notre Dame, UConn, Rutgers, Providence, Cincinnati, St. John’s) and could send one more (South Florida).

Don’t be too surprised if WVU gets a team like VT or Campell waiting for them in the second round of the tournament (top seeds get a bye in the first round).

Now as for the women, things are a little more open as they field a bracket of 64 teams. Its like March Madness but only in November.

It is hard to seperate much between the top teams in women’s soccer. Some say its UNC and some believe it is Notre Dame. Some also like UCLA and Santa Clara. Its tough but I expect each of those four teams that I just mentioned to be the top four teams (or your number one seeds so to speak) for this bracket.

As for your "number 2 seeds" I like WVU, Florida State, Portland and Texas A & M. These teams will be home until the quarterfinal matches. You could also make a case for Oklahoma State, Penn State, Florida and Illinois for one of these spots. A lot does come down to regional brackets and what nots that I don’t even want to get into.

I think the Big East will send 6 but out of those 6 it could be interesting. Notre Dame, WVU, Villanova and I believe by now Rutgers are a sure thing for the ladies field. After that it could come down to the following four teams: UConn, St. John’s, Marquette, and Louisville. And really, the Big East could get lucky and send 7 or 8. It is always interesting to see who gets selected and who doesn’t in this case.

Again, Monday night we will know more for sure when both brackets are released on ESPNews. However, we do know that this weekend’s games will easily impact anything that goes into the brackets. Might see a few surprises and we might not.

So as you may have listened or heard…or even read at this point the men’s and women’s teams have both advanced to the Big East semifinals for next weekend. I will be traveling to New Jersey to call the men’s games now. I am not a 100% sure when the game is on Friday but I will let everyone know so you all can be sure to tune in and listen to a big and important match!

The men play Rutgers, a team that they have yet to face this season. Rutgers will be at home and that has some people a little upset that the top seed in the tournament has to travel and play the number two seed on its homefield. Hey, that is just how it works, schools put up host bids for these tournaments and Rutgers is hosting it this time. Not biggie if you ask me. Marquette hosted the women’s tournament last year when many felt that they shouldn’t. Its just the lay of the land, that is all.

So a full week for me here with school and then traveling to New Jersey. I am excited though. I called my second game this season as play-by-play man last night. I felt things went alright, since it was only my third time doing it overall. Still, it was a blast to do and I am looking forward to doing more as the team goes on.

Now, the important thing coming up will be if the men get a host seed (a top 4 seed really) for the NCAA tournament. That would be HUGE. It would mainly mean that they would be home until the Final Four (if they were to advance that far). Homefield is huge and hopefully the men can earn it next weekend. I still believe they have every way of doing so.

As for the women, they advance to the semifinals as well in the Big East like I said. They should get a good seed for the women’s NCAA tournament as well. They should host a few games too. They may need to win the Big East tournament to get a chance to host like the men.

I think the men have put themselves in good position to get that top four seed as of last night. Not to mention, despite the weather, there was a pretty good crowd out there last night. If you didn’t listen, it was cold, rainy, sometimes snowing, and extremely windy. So windy at times the ball would get in the air and catch the wind and it would block it down. It was amazing to watch really.

Well, I will hopefully be back sometime this week with more updates on everything.

The start of both men’s and women’s Big East tournaments are about to get under way. Since I have seen most of these teams first hand, it made sense to set out a little prediction for the finals.

I will start off with the ladies bracket. The two number one seeds get a bye (Notre Dame and West Virginia) while each two/three matchup is very nice.

Notre Dame will get the winner of the Seton Hall or Cincinnati/St. John’s. Big drop off in teams for the Irish to play in the second round. Looking at it I would probably have to take the Red Storm to advance to play Notre Dame. Either way, Notre Dame should have no trouble in this bracket. Once they move on they will get the winner of the Villanova/Marquette. I think the Golden Eagles at home are a little too much for the Wildcats (who I still feel are one of the more overrated teams). But I will sneak Nova in with the upset.

So, the first semifinal will have Notre Dame and Villanova.

The second part of the bracket shows West Virginia getting the winner of the Pittsburgh/Louisville game. I like the Cardinals in this match but don’t sleep on the Panthers. This one could go either way but it shouldn’t spell trouble for West Virginia with either team. WVU should move on and play the winner of the UConn/Rutgers. UConn in an unfamiliar role, going on the road for the conference tournament. I still think they can beat the Scarlet Knights on the road and advance to play WVU.

The second semifinal will pit WVU and UConn.

I like Notre Dame and WVU to win their semi’s and Notre Dame to win the Big East. The Irish are just too strong and will look to push for a National Title. Don’t get me wrong, WVU is good and I still stand firm on my final four projection for this squad but they have to show that they can beat a strong oppenet like UConn before they can even think to beat a Notre Dame.

In the Men’s Bracket…things are a little differnet. First round matchups are interesting all across the board.

First up is the USF/Seton Hall matchup. The winner will play WVU…in this one I have to take the home team in USF. The Bulls haven’t been the team that I expected them to be from the begining of the season but should be able to muster up a win at home against a Seton Hall team that has been up and down all season. I do expect WVU to beat either one of those teams fine, and thus sending the Mountaineers to the semifinals.

Next is the most lopsided of the first round games, Notre Dame and DePaul. The Blue Demons aren’t much of anything and Notre Dame should have no trouble getting by and will go on to face Rutgers. I like Rutgers since they should use their homefield advantage to perfection. Not to mention they will have the homefield throughout the Big East tournament. However, I believe Notre Dame will get by on the road…yes…I know…its a tough pick but I wouldn’t mind seeing another Irish/Mountaineer clash again this season.

After that is the Louisville/Providence match, the winner will play Cincinnati. I like the Friers in this one, though I believe Cincinnati will prevail and move on to the semifinals to face….

UConn. The Huskies should have no problem with the winner of the St. John’s/Pittsburgh match. I will go ahead and say St. John’s will win and play UConn, pitting two solid storied clubs against one another.

So, in the semifinals, I like WVU over Notre Dame and I like Cincinnati over UConn. I am sticking with my pick from almost two months ago saying that the Big East final will be WVU and Cincinnati, and now I will preject WVU winning it all. Homer pick, sure, but I think this team can do it.

Alright, both the men and women have wrapped up their regular seasons.  Both did very well this season. The men won their first ever Big East regular season title, going undefeated in conference play (only loss of the year was at then-#1 UVA). The women won their division outright and will host the winner of Louisville/Pitt next Sunday at 1 pm.

As for the men’s next game, they will not play Pitt in a make up game tomorrow night. There was basically no need for that game so it will not be played. Instead they will get the week off and play on Saturday against the winner of the Seton Hall/USF game. That game will be at 7pm, again on Saturday.

After that if both teams will I will be traveling with the men’s team to New Jersey for the finals of the Big East tournament. I will have more info on that as it comes up! Just keep checking back for more!

In what I hope is the last of the eight team playoff format in the MLS. I felt it would be the right time to take and preview things for the upcoming playoffs that start later on today. First round games are two legs, meaning you play a home and home with whoever you are playing. Some interesting matchups and some that are just so typical and boring that I would rather not care to watch.

Anyways, I will just start in the East and move my way West to preview things here.

New York Red Bulls v. DC United – Some could be calling this just another year for DC but I don’t know yet. I think the Red Bulls will give the men in black and red a fight. These two are Atlantic Cup rivals and do typically have good games with one another. DC won the season series 2-0-2, but that doesn’t mean the Red Bulls will go down without a fight. I will take DC in this series basically because they have "been there" more times before and have the better talent to win this.
DC advances

Chicago Fire v.  New England Revolution – I kind of yawn when I see this matchup and I feel it is more of a toss up than anything. I know it is the #2 v. #3 match in the East but it so bland this year. Neither team excites me enough to want to pick over the other. Chicago won the season series 2-1-1, so they do have the success against the Revs, not to mention the hunger to erase what happen last year in the Eastern Conferernce finals against the Revs. Look for physical play but don’t expect a lot of scoring. Taylor Twellman needs to step up and show that he can make things happen again for the Revs, while Andy Herron needs to continue having a solid season for the Fire. I like Chicago in this one though, it just seems fitting for the Fire to win.
Chicago advances

Now moving out West…

Colorado Rapids v. FC Dallas – Dallas sure has limped into the playoffs like they did a season ago. And sure enough they face the team that gives them a lot of trouble, the Colorado Rapids. Dallas needs a strong result on the road because they could slip up at home. Sure they have been tough at the Oven this season but they need to learn how to walk the walk in the playoffs before they can talk the talk. A strong showing in Colorado will do just that for the Hoops. They do have the home field advantage for as long as they stay in the playoffs (the MLS Cup is in Dallas this year). They have to keep that in mind and stay hungry.
FC Dallas advances

CD Chivas USA v.  Houston Dynamo – This is one interesting matchup that I will pay attention to. I think there is enough firepower on both sides that will make this series worth watching. Is Chivas the darkhorse to win it all this year? Yes. But Houston is a team that has the players to do the same. They split the season series 1-1-2,  so expect close games with scoring. Razov and Ching will be the two to watch in the attack, but it will come down to Dwayne de Rosario and Pablo Garcia in the midfield leading the way for the two teams. Its a true tossup but I am going with Chivas.
CD Chivas USA advances

Could I be right with all of this? Probably not but we will see. The playoffs kickoff and I can’t wait for the MLS Cup.

With the start of the MLS playoffs coming up in the coming weeks I sat and pondered at the future of this young league and I think its time for some change.

Yes, next year there will be some change. Another new franchise will kick up with Toronto (don’t call us Inter) FC. Looking at how things are going in the league there are currently 12 teams split into two conferences, an east and a west. Right now each year the top four teams advance at the end of the season to the playoffs.

Now conventional wisdom would tell this young league that eight teams in the post season is too many considering you only have 12 teams overall in your league. Not to mention what are the changes with adding an odd number to the mix next year to make it the unlucky 13.

I look at it like this, it is the perfect time for the MLS to finally do what the world does and play in a single table format. Scheduling can still be the same but it is time for what every league in the world basically uses. Having the odd number of teams really allows the MLS to explore this opportunity for at least a season and see how the fans respond to it.

Honestly, in a way they have always had a slight single table format with the competition for the League Shield, which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season. I love the League Shield and want to keep it if the single table format does take place next season.

Sedondly, I think the MLS needs to redo their playoff format. Even if they stick with the current conference format, there should be no reason to allow over half of each conference into the playoffs each season. It’s really a lose-lose situation. It devalues the regular season for most teams, like a FC Dallas or a DC United who basically knew they were going to make the playoffs since about the middle of July.

Single table or no single table, I do like the playoff system. Its an American thing to do, and even some smaller European leagues are doing it for their promotional purposes to their top tier leagues. Keep the playoff system but only take the top teams, meaning that if it is a conference slate, only take the top two teams from each. It will put more emphasis on the regular season and give fans something to cheer a little harder for. Less is more for this type of situation.

And even if things get switch to a single table format, take the top four teams. It would still work in the same capacity. Take four teams, first round be a two legged series (like they do in the opening rounds of the playoffs now) and then have the wonderful MLS Cup.

Once this season ends it will be the perfect time to explore these options. It will only improve the product that is growing more and more each year.