free page hit counter The Metrologist: March 2006
Not ready to make nice.

Good on a hot Texas summer day...


Welcome to MLS, Houston Creamsicles.

Bulls for Pele


Just a little more than 2 days before Season 11 gets under way in DC. Of course, that means the official site is comin' at ya with a big platter full of warmed-over pap and not-really-news. As in, Pele's supposed to be in da hizzouse for the home opener. I say "supposed," considering how he was similarly booked for the Cosmos Throwback Day in 2001, only to Lothar it at the last minute. (lexical note: the verb "to Lothar" may be used to describe any kind of unexcused continent-hopping, contract-breaking, or cradle-robbing, but is especially apropo when it involves all three.) Don't worry, even if he does, there will still be a bunch of guys older than my dad with lots of adjacent consonants in their names whom I never saw play, but were apparently pretty good.

Seriously, I won't knock them or that. Attempts like this, to build bridges between the memories of the Cosmos and the Metros should have been going on for at least the past 10 years. There ought to have been more attempts to acknowledge pro soccer's modern history, so good on RB for doing it now. Whether it's going to be sustained is another story.

That said - as they line up before the match, don't you think Mark Semioli, Esq., and Brian Kelly (now raking in the bucks on Wall Street, at least according to thirdhand scuttlebutt) might be glancing over at old teammate Gio Savarese, and thinking "you poor keep trying to get out, and they keep pullin' ya back in"?

Here's something funny. Ian Plenderleith - DC-based, but I'll try not to hold it against him - wrote a nice bit on the Red Bull takeover here. The less-than-enthused tone of that column came to the attention of corporate, who dispatched one of their crack bullshit sprayers to ply him with yet more trite jibber-jabber about how unique and innovative Red Bull really is. Blah blah blah. It's all to the same tune we've read in umpteen other statements since the takeover; "Red Bull is about spirit, creativity and helping athletes to acheive their potential." That's all just so much unctuous crap, it's hard for anyone with functioning brain cells to process. A little bit like Nike, Red Bull may pretend to be something more than a major global for-profit corporation - something more profound, more enlightened, or more avant-garde. But it isn't. Therefore, Red Bull is simply about making piles and piles of money; if they just admitted that, it would be harder to disbelieve every single superficially noble thing they say or do. Shortly after, Plenderleith wrote a follow-up based on and including that RB response, calling it what it is - rote, empty marketingspeak. Are we too cynical? Only time will tell.

From Formerly-Metro to Former Metro: Oh look, Clint Mathis insinuates that "friend" and former coach John Ellinger betrayed him by trading him over the winter. I say, Clint's got all the right in the world here. After all he did for you, John Ellinger! Giving up his burgeoning European career! And the consistent scoring! The tireless running up and down the field! The veteran leadership he brought game in and game out! The return on (a maximum salary-plus) investment!
I've got a soft spot for Clint Mathis that will never go away, but that sort of inability to look back and say "you know, my season really sucked" is Exhibit A in the case of Why I Don't Want To See Him Back In Metro, and cringed really hard when I read rumors to that effect.

Forwards are like busses...


You wait a whole offseason for just one, and then.....

The Eddie-for-Edson deal has mercifully been consummated, after 7 years and 34 days of waiting. Farewell to one enigmatic local product, hello to another. The draft-day sins of Octavio Zambrano have finally been exculpated...sort of.

Is J.P Peguero a Red now? That was the rumor on MF this morning, courtesy of Kristian Dyer, former and current ESPN man. But we're coming up on a day with no confirmation, so maybe this was just a contingency deal, something like the original Buddle-Gaven draft-day swap that never was.

But look, there's another signing. This one, not so earth-shaking. Welcome to the Metro Reds, career Metro reserve teamer Jerrod Laventure! Now that you're off the rolling 3 day contracts ("The O'Neill Peart special"), maybe that credit rating inches up high enough for you to secure a Capital One Tin Card. Maybe. No end to what you can do with a 16 dollar limit.

Note on Zoffinger


Red Bull New York. New York Red Bulls. New York/New Jersey Red Bulls. New Jersey Red Bulls of New York. "There's no law forcing them to put NJ in the name" "Zoffinger's agitating for state legislation." "Screw you, George Zoffinger"

Plus ca change...

The whole affair, the spectacle of getting-attention-for-all-the-wrong-reasons is just so, so, so, so typical of this franchise.

I have to be honest - the sudden flare-up of enmity at George Zoffinger and the NJSEA resonates very little with me. I couldn't care less. It's not like anyone's suddenly finding out Zoffinger is a nitwit, a double-dealer, or a vampire who lives on the blood of tenants like the Metro. That's always been the case and will be as long as we're under his thumb. While I've got no love for him, if anything, I think Jerseyites fighting to have their state represented is proper and just (the problem, of course, is that this isn't a grassroot Jerseyite movement - this is a guy trying to make political hay). Regardless, message boarders sniping about a "state inferiority complex," and how NJ ought to just shut up and be "NY" are wrong. Every argument I've read about "New Yorkers coming to games and spending money," as if that was good enough, has proven extremely flimsy. This is about more than a few tax dollars. The cause is just, even if the guy pushing it is a leech.

That said, lets say the Jersey contingent wins. What then? New York/New Jersey Red Bulls is a stupid, clunky name. As is every jarring permutation you could come up with.

But then, so is anything with "Red Bulls" in it, anyway.

Into the homestretch of the prologue


Less than two weeks before the Metro Reds take the field in earnest, and if you can claim you know what this team will look like, you're lying. Hell, take that literally; I'm getting the strong sense that on the evening of April 2, the starting eleven will be warming up in their Underarmour, waiting on a couple gnarled old seamstresses to finish darning up the new jerseys. Anyone want to bet our first glimpse at NY96's new look comes when they trot on the field at RFK?

That's a superficial aspect of things, of course. Yet it's a decent metaphor for the half-baked state the team is in right now. What we can't see, but know, is that there's still a ton of experimentation going on. It's all about Mo throwing formations and player combinations at the wall, to see what sticks. Stammler at forward? Why not? Three-man, four-man backlines? It's supposed to be half-baked.

An old, consoling refrain gets invoked after a couple goalless, (and apparently) threatless stinkers like those we've had in Carolina: "It's only preseason." Well, it is only preseason. And if we know one thing after ten years of MLS, it's that no one wins the league by July. It's not merely impossible, what with the playoffs; it's bad strategy. Coming out of the gate red-hot, like LA '96 or Revs '05, can burn a team out long before the finish. I'm not a big believer in MLS teams going wire-to-wire in any event. It just doesn't happen very much.

If you believe the first five to eight weeks of the season is something like a play touring and working out the kinks before hitting Broadway, you don't get apoplectic after getting blanked by a second division side that's been together for a week. You don't put a huge weight on what happens in the "final dress rehearsal", tomorrow night against Houston.

However, does Mo really have the luxury to play around for the first quarter of the season?

Considering that the massive overhaul hinted at over the winter never really came off - considering that this is largely the same personnel as what we finished off with, t he question(s) today should be; how much worry is warranted over the lack of a physical, go-to striker?Youri's a force, but it's unfair - and stupid - to put the weight of the world on his 38 year old shoulders.

Why is there nothing on the horizon?

Shouldn't this improvement process be a little further along by now?

Metro Reds


A Statement on a Strange Day


The Metrostars (nee' New York/New Jersey Metrostars) of Major League Soccer died today, March 8, 2006 at the age of 10, after a short illness caused by investment.

I have not written anything about this incredible saga in the last few days for a variety of reasons: because I am stuck under a mountain of work already and facing deadlines by the score; because I have entirely too much to say about it and would probably spend the whole day going on about it; because I already have spent nearly two days going on and on about it, on message boards, arguing with people who see this as simply wonderful. It's not.
That doesn't mean everything was perfect under the status quo. It wasn't.
Still, I refuse to sing my heart out for "Red Bull".

There are no protest options, no Ryman Leagues available to us.

Yet one idea, after all the shock (well, I can't say utter shock), anger, resentment, distress and so on subside, remains. An idea that came to me in a flash of inspiration, an epiphany, at around 4 this morning, when I was unable to sleep. The Metrostars are gone but "Metro" and it's history will not be. The hard-headed, spirited assortment of people who have banded together over the past 10 years to make the whole thing fun - no matter how much "hardware" wasn't won - won't let it be.

The Metrologist sure as hell isn't getting rebranded; instead, he's going along with the core of committed, anti-shill Metro supporters - perhaps you could call us the Refuseniks '96 - who will find a way to rebrand this rebranding. To make alternate word and visual symbols that link us to the boys on the field, to, if you like big words, create a supporter vernacular. To declare symbolic independence from "RB".
Short n' sweet, we just aren't going to call it what the new guys are branding it. But we thank them for the money they (potentially) will put into this team, and we'll appreciate them keeping Giorgio Chinaglia at least a continent away from us at all times.

An announcement will soon say it is "RBNY". For me, RBNY could only ever mean "Red-Black New York." As for the team's common name, right now, "Metro Reds", perhaps "Reds" for short, leads the discussion here. But that's still to be settled, over time, and by the supporters who'll be using it.

Join us.

Damn you for inventing the internet, Al Gore.


Stuff like this makes me hate people.

I mean, read the umpteen "comments." Or don't. Puts the lie to the idea that Guardian readers are a headier bunch than the rest.

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