Today was the big day. Finally, all of the foreplay is over. Major League Soccer is here. And it opened in fantastic style, with Seattle's insanely awesome fans cheering on a 2-0 Sounders win over expansion Philadelphia.Of course, this being the MLS, the pageantry of the first kick had to come on the same night as one of the most epic college basketball games in NCAA Tournament history: Kansas State's 101-96 double-overtime thriller with Xavier. (Cue the soccer haters trashing the low ratings. Serves ESPN and MLS right.)My day job had me locked down with basketball, so tonight's update is quick(ish) and educational(esque). More after the jump.
Wrapping up a days worth of news, links, rumors and rampant speculation.
It's official, Sunil Chhetri is a Wizard. And we just becamea really, really big deal.
At least in India. From The Star's Terez Paylor:
The Wizards announced Thursday that they have agreed to terms with forward Sunil Chhetri. (Peter) Vermes said Chhetri, who spent a week with the Wizards during the preseason on a trial and is widely regarded as one of the top players in India, obviously made a terrific impression during his time with the team."He's a very good technical player who has a really good soccer brain on the field and connected very well with the players we have on attack," Vermes said.
Also worth noting:
Vermes confirmed that the signing of Chhetri gives the Wizards 10 international players — one more than their nine allotted slots."Right now we have 10 international players, but I don't foresee that being the case in a week or so," Vermes said. "Nobody has to go right now because he's not on the roster until his paperwork gets approved."
Hmmm. Wonder what, exactly, that means. Guess we'll find out when Chhetri's paperwork processes.Also, Jimmy Conrad is out as the captain. Davy Arnaud takes his spot. I'm not following the motives behind this move. It's possible that Conrad's involvement with the CBA and missing some training camp played a factor. Or, it's a new coach trying to stamp his authority on the team. It will be interesting to see how Jimmy reacts. It's now a certainty that Arnaud is a starter this year. [The Kansas City Star
Plans for Game Day
We here at The Full 90 love game day. (As avid soccer fans, words can't express just how much we love ourselves some live soccer.) So, as such, we plan on giving you as much information as your brain can handle (or at least as much as our fingers can type) leading up to Saturday's 7:30 p.m. kickoff against DC United.Here's a rough schedule of what you can expect between now and Saturday.Friday:
- · The final part of The Full 90's "Meet The Wizards" roster breakdown, focusing on the strikers.
- · The kick-off of a weekly segment: Five for Friday, wherein we ask a soccer figure (be it a Wizards player, coach, rabid fan, blogger, etc.) five questions. Up first, new Wizards TV play-by-play guy Dave Borchardt.
- · A look at just where in the world the new Wizards have come from.
- · Terez Paylor on coach Curt Onalfo's return to KC.
- · My final thoughts (lineups, predictions, etc.) before the first kick.
- · Everything you ever wanted to know about DC United but where afraid to google for yourself. (This will be a regular feature of the blog, and will appear after this week on the day before the game. Well, we won't make it DC United every time. Obviously.)
We hope that this will get you just as fired up for the first kick as is humanly possible. If anything else comes up, of course, we'll get to that too.
Around the MLS
Of course, you can do plenty of reading about last night's Seattle's 2-0 victory over Philadelphia. I say start withGoal.com, MLSSoccer.com, The Seattle Times
andThe Philadelphia Inquirer. This week's MLS schedule (adjust your DVRs accordingly): Today
· Chivas USA v Colorado Rapids - 9:30pm on Direct KickSaturday
· Columbus Crew v Toronto FC - 3pm on Direct Kick
· FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo - 3pm on Telefutura
· New York Red Bulls v Chicago Fire - 6pm on ESPN
·Kansas City Wizards v DC United - 7:30pm on KCWE (Ch. 29)
· San Jose Earthquakes v Real Salt Lake - 8pm on FSC
· LA Galaxy v New England Revolution - 10pm on FSC
Around the World
Soccer Insider has the complete (and, boy, is it ever complete) list of the soccer games on TV this weekend. [Soccer Insider
And just for fun...
Michael Harrington will have a career after soccer. He's surreal.Did you happen to catch that strikingly dashing bald man in the gray jacket loading up his plate with burrito filling? Yeah, that was me. I'm now slightly more famous than I was 2 minutes ago.