The Full 90

The Morning Kickoff: Time for a rant about MLS and TV

The Morning Kickoff is your start-the-day-right collection of stories, opinions, news and videos from around the globe. We scour the Web, you click the link.

I don't know how to fix the myriad of problems that MLS faces when it comes to TV. (To name just a few: Painfully puny ratings; the need for the ultra-mega-super cable tier to get all four networks that broadcast games nationally (ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision and Telefutura); a high-priced (and buggy) subscription package; and the lack of a go-to night to showcase "premier" games.)

If I did know how to fix it, I wouldn't be sitting in this chair typing this screed. (That's what people without ideas do right -- complain? Or is my read of the whole Internet off?)

But... I do know how you DON'T fix it. You DON'T fix it by putting the league's two best non-mega-city (Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids) teams in a match THAT ISN'T TELEVISED AT ALL!* This only makes the situation worse.

*Besides ponying up $70 for Direct Kick and $50 for Match Day Live (which I've had no problems with, but I've heard negative things).

I hate mid-week games. I hate un-televised mid-week games against decent teams much, much more. It was a good game with lots of intensity. Unfortunately, most people will never know that.

Come on MLS. You're better than this. And your fans need better than this.

• In case you don't pony up for Direct Kick/Match Day Live:

Real Salt Lake beat wounded Colorado 1-0 to claim the Rocky Mountain Cup while Los Angeles and Toronto played to a scoreless draw.

• David Beckham picked up his fifth yellow last night (in just six matches!) and will be suspended for Sunday's game against the Chicago Fire.

He vented afterwards about MLS refs.

• The Columbus Crew, Sporting KC's next opponent, have not allowed a goal in three-straight games with a 1-1-2 record.

Of course, they have only scored 3 goals on the season -- none in the run of play from the forward pool of Andres Mendoza, Emilio Renteria, Jeff Cunningham and Tommy Heinemann.

Former Kansas City midfielder Chris Klein is the man in charge of revamping the Galaxy's academy program.

Colombian midfielder Diego Chara becomes the first designated player in Portland Timbers history.

It had been reported in some areas that Chara was Sporting Kansas City-bound (though that notion had been scuppered by Robb Heineman on Twitter).

I think I understand what happened here. The reports of Chara-to-KC were coming mainly from the Spanish-language press. They obviously were thrown off by the obvious similarities in the names Portland/Sporting. The Porting Timbers? Portland Kansas City? OK, that was dumb. Maybe it was the geographic proximity or the climate similarities between these two shining beacons of non-mega-city America. Or maybe it was just the involvement of Jack Jewsbury that confused things.

• Portland will play its first home game in Major League Soccer tonight as they take on the Chicago Fire at 10 p.m. on ESPN2. (Yeah, why not show RSL-Colorado on Thursday?)

• You know what that means right? If Portland wins... KC gets a free medium Firehouse Sub tomorrow. Go Portland!

Houston seem close to signing a new DP, Spaniard Sergio "Koke" Contreras Pardo.

• How awesome is Lionel Messi? He has 29 goals in 28 La Liga games and 48 goals in 46 games in all competitions this year.

He has 10 matches (11 if Barca reaches the Champions League final) to become the first Spanish-league player to hit 50 goals.

(And, as I showed you yesterday, he doesn't dive!)

• The U.S. men's team haven't won a game in 2011 and, as such, have

fallen to No. 22 in FIFA's completely unreliable rankings.

(Greece is 12!?)

• Former Kansas City forward Herculez Gomez is back to being awesome:

He's got three goals in two games for Pachuca.

• The final four for the Champions League is set.

Schalke took down reigning champs Inter Milan 7-3 (7-3!?) on aggregate


Real Madird dispatched Tottenham 6-0 on aggregate.

In the semi-finals, Manchester United faces Schalke and Real Madrid faces Barcelona. That's not bad. Three of the top four teams in the world this year (with Dortmund being the other) are gunning for the title.