2017 LA Galaxy/LAFC/MLS Thread
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Isaiah
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: 2017 LA Galaxy/LAFC/MLS Thread

Seattle is off their first MLS Cup still looks to be a strong side, LA Galaxy got younger and faster (which the team desperately needed), Toronto FC is still a contender and should've won MLS Cup, and two expansion teams joining the league as well.

I don't know how many of you watch soccer or the league in general, but this season is looking to be an exciting one.


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Aeneas Hunter
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:17 am    Post subject:

There are a number of interesting storylines. The parity based model of MLS makes the league unpredictable because no team has sufficient depth to easily withstand a string of injuries or the sudden loss of form of major player. This is what makes Seattle's run so improbable. One star leaves suddenly, another has heart issues. They manage to make the playoffs barely, then go on a run.

I'm interested to see what Atlanta does this year. They've made a number of fascinating moves, starting with the manager. The Galaxy are the flagship team, and it will be interesting to see how things go without Keane and Arena. Will Chicago finally bounce back with McCarty? Will Dallas finally get it done in the playoffs? Will Vieira keep rolling with NYFC?

And then there is the ongoing expansion saga. LAFC should do fine, unlike Chivas USA. But does the league look to smaller, enthusiastic markets like Sacramento and Cincinnati, or does it keep pushing for San Diego, St. Louis, and the like?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:28 am    Post subject:

MLS needs to cap expansion. There are a lot of cities interested but the depth of talent isn't enough for everyone. I don't even think the league can support 30 cities if you look at the NFL, NBA, NHL for examples. The support needs to be there and the league has only recently gone into the black.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject:

lakersken80 wrote:
MLS needs to cap expansion. There are a lot of cities interested but the depth of talent isn't enough for everyone. I don't even think the league can support 30 cities if you look at the NFL, NBA, NHL for examples. The support needs to be there and the league has only recently gone into the black.


If they're going to keep expanding expansion in the rate they're going then imo they need to start unlocking spending. Too much expansion with their single entity model runs the risk of the league being too diluted.
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Aeneas Hunter
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject:

Expansion is a complex topic. Here are some scattered thoughts on the subject:

1. The first question is whether, and how soon, MLS will become driven by national TV contracts. Right now, it really isn't. It is not clear that this is going to change anytime soon. The national TV ratings aren't that great, and revenue is largely driven by attendance. When MLS goes head to head with football, or to a lesser extent basketball and baseball, it isn't pretty. The soccer TV market is dominated by the EPL and Liga MX (though the Bundesliga and La Liga are coming on strong). I'm typical of a lot of American soccer fans. I watch the EPL on Saturday mornings, and I watch a few minutes of MLS if I happen to see it while flipping channels.

2. If MLS wants to play the national TV market game -- and I think it does -- then this informs a lot of expansion decisions. The fact that Cincinnati draws big crowds for its games is not as important as getting into media markets like St. Louis and Miami. If MLS really wants to compete with the Euro leagues, it must fight the TV battle and win. Otherwise, MLS will never have enough revenue to compete at the international level. It isn't a question of rising to the level of the EPL or La Liga. Right now, MLS is not at the level of Liga MX.

3. Nonetheless, the pressure to expand is going to be enormous. This country is way too big for a team with 20ish teams. This is complicated by the fact that the hotbeds of support for soccer do not coincide with the media markets (Portland is a prime example here). From an attendance perspective, it doesn't help that some of the existing teams, like Dallas, have picked locations for their stadiums that are less than optimal.

4. MLS will need to cap itself at about 30 just for scheduling purposes. I envision something like three conferences of 10 teams, where you play the other teams in your conference home and home (18 games) and then one game each against the teams from the other conferences (20 games). Once you get beyond that, it is hard to envision a workable schedule. I am NOT saying 30 is a realistic or desirable target, but rather that 30 is more or less a maximum.

5. This season, MLS will have 22 teams. LAFC joins next year. As most of you know, David Beckham has been trying for years to get a Miami team going, and it is sort of penciled in as the 24th team. I get the sense that the league is looking to go to about 28 teams. There is no shortage of suitors to take those next four slots (or five, if Beckham eventually gives up). Right now, the problem is choosing between (a) smaller markets like Cincinnati that are enthusiastic, and (b) larger markets like St. Louis and San Diego that would be better in the long run for TV purposes.

6. I believe that pro soccer in the US will eventually evolve into a tiered pro/rel model. This is not going to happen anytime soon. In fact, it may not happen during my lifetime. Right now, we have one more or less stable league (MLS), an ambitious basket case league that could fold at any time (NASL), and a loosely structured less ambitious league that is doing just okay (USL). Pro/rel isn't even an option until there are multiple leagues that are financially viable. For the foreseeable future, relegation from MLS would be death sentence, and that is not going to fly.

7. This leaves the question of how to go about developing the lower tier leagues. Assuming that the NASL eventually folds, I would not be surprised to see MLS look to form some sort of joint venture with USL. A number of MLS reserve teams already play in the USL. In the long run (again, probably not during my lifetime), I could see MLS evolving to a two-tier structure with a 20 team top division and a 20 team second division. Given the size of this country, that sort of structure would work brilliantly. Getting there is going to be a chore, though.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:45 pm    Post subject:

Relegation doesn't work in American sports leagues. Theres barely enough interest to keep the MLS going even after 20 years. The difference between our leagues and theirs is that soccer aka football aka footie is pretty much THE sport over in Europe and South America. It is their passion and sporting history going back 140 years at least. When you think of the oldest clubs in football overseas they are as old as some of our MLB teams and with the history and rivalries to boot. The fact that the MLS hasn't folded even after countless soccer leagues have failed in the US is an incredible feat in itself, considering how much competition there is for sports fan to choose from here in the US. My prediction is that they might expand to 26 or 28 teams.....the problem with the MLS is that the talent is already pretty diluted with only 22 teams.
Also the economics works against the MLS....there is only so many sports sponsorship dollars to go around in the US. Most of those have gone to the successful leagues like MLB, NFL, NBA, etc........
In Europe that isn't really a problem considering soccer doesn't have much competition for advertising.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:08 pm    Post subject:

I am not a fan of pro/rel, but I still think it will eventually happen with soccer in the US. Again, I don't expect to see it in my lifetime. I don't think that the competitive pressures from other sports in the US would keep it from happening. Soccer is carving its own niche, and frankly I am surprised by how far it has come in the last 15 years. The bigger problem is the lack of a viable second league.

In the history of US sports, there has always been a rival league that arises. In baseball, it was the American Association and later the American League. (I am setting aside a couple other leagues that never became viable.) In football, it was the AFL. In basketball, it was the ABA. In the end, the result was a merger each time.

The rival league arose because the existing league didn't produce enough product to meet demand. As things stand, MLS is in that boat. 22 teams is not even close to enough to cover a country of this size. Unless MLS preempts competition by forming its own second tier or partnering with USL, it is inevitable that someone will fill the cracks in the soccer landscape.

Instead of a merger, I think we'll see a combination with a pro/rel mechanism. A sizable portion of the US fan base wants this anyway. The Euro snobs will always be pushing for it. One day, probably after I'm dead and gone, I think it will happen.

As for the talent pool, I don't really agree. The talent pool in soccer is international. We can't outbid the big five Euro leagues, but we can compete for players with everyone else both in terms of dollars and in terms of being a desirable place to play (as opposed to China, for example). The big story this offseason has been the shift in spending by MLS clubs from aging Euro stars (Gerrard, Lampard, Villa, etc.) to younger players from overseas. I think MLS will shift from being a retirement league to being a feeder league. That is the next logical step in the development of MLS.

If you mean American talent, you're probably right. The status of US player development is a subject into itself. We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before we can match the rest of the world in development.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:02 am    Post subject:

Does anybody know much about new Galaxy Designated Player Romain Alessandrini ?

Aeneas Hunter

You keep referencing "my lifetime." What is your expectation 10,20,30, 50 years?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject:

I turn 58 this year. I don't think it's going to happen in the next 20-25 years.

Alessandrini is an example of the new wave of DP signings. He's a winger who was on the fringes of the France team at his peak, but who never really became a star. He was part of the Marseilles system. He's not a kid, but he's not old, either. If you're lucky, he'll be another Giovinco. If not, he could still be a pretty good player.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject:

This is a good illustration of the weirdness of MLS.

MLS Rules Flowchart
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject:

Dempsey Health Update
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:56 pm    Post subject:

I heard about Villa getting a red card via video review, but I haven't actually seen a game with the system in place. This will not be used during the regular season, though MLS wants to implement it during the second half. Welcome to the future.

http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/heres-what-video-replay-in-soccer-will-look-like-courtesy-of-mls-preseason-020617
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:29 am    Post subject:

While I generally enjoy figuring out complicated legal mechanisms like the NBA CBA and the like, the MLS stuff is just too freaking weird. It's easy to criticize the Rube Goldberg-esque rules of MLS, but let us not forget that those rules have actually allowed MLS to become the first stable soccer league north of the Rio Grande. But, while we should all appreciate that fact, someone else can figure out how all of these rules work. See the flowchart three posts about this one.

http://www.espnfc.us/major-league-soccer/story/3070576/major-league-soccer-encouraging-investment-in-homegrown-players
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:32 pm    Post subject:

Not LA Galaxy, but the new LAFC football stadium is progressing pretty fast in construction. Supposed to be ready for the 2018 season. You can see a giant hole in the ground and concrete already being poured on the site where the Sports Arena used to be.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject:

Yep, and there is talk that Chicharito could be arriving in MLS at that time, with LAFC as one possible destination.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject:

MLS is smart by not going wild on their cap.

It's part of their sustainability plan -- fans need to be patient. MLS itself is still figuring some stuff out, they are the first football league to implement this complex model and are learning in the process.

For those who follow MLS, i'm sure ligamx pops up in your radar every now and then, specifically when the champions league knock out stages come. Well rumor has it that liga mx owners are pushing to mimic the MLS no-relegation style. This would eliminate the "Open Cup" equivalent in mexico, which would unlock roster dates for ligamx teams.. Makes the possibility of a Liga MX/MLS league stronger.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:59 pm    Post subject:

Pro/rel is something that fans obsess about because of the English system. I know that it is used almost everywhere else in one form or another, but you don't hear the same level of discussion about relegation in any other league. (And, unlike a lot of US soccer fans, I do pay attention to leagues other than the EPL.) Pro/rel in England has a sort of romantic gloss that appeals to a lot of fans.

I mention this because I am fairly certain that, if pro/rel actually threatened the powerful clubs in England, they would get rid of it or at least neuter it. If there was truly a prospect that Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Liverpool could get relegated in a fluke season, those clubs would change the system. Yes, I know that most of the big clubs were relegated in years past, but these clubs were not worth billions of dollars back then. Yes, I am also aware that clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle, Leeds, and Man City (prior to the arrival of oil money) got relegated, but none of those clubs were elite world powerhouses at the time. If Man U or Chelsea could realistically go down, the big clubs would pull a power play and get the rules changed. This sort of thing has happened before, both in England and within UEFA.

The same principle applies to MLS. While no MLS franchise is worth as much as any of the major Euro clubs, these franchises are still worth a lot of money. The expansion fee is what, $150M? Can you imagine a scenario in which anyone would buy an MLS franchise if they could get relegated to, say, the USL? It's not happening, at least until there are fundamental changes to the structure and economics of soccer in the US.

With that in mind, it would not surprise me a bit if the Liga MX rumblings are true. Several of the Liga MX teams have grown in value enormously, and there is a lot of revenue just from US TV rights. Liga MX already protects the big clubs from an accidental relegation through the three year rule. Even then, there was the embarrassing episode where a team got relegated and just bought a surviving team, moved it, and changed its name. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to see Liga MX switch to single entity or a league/franchise structure like the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing start happening elsewhere.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:14 pm    Post subject:

I don't think relegation will happen in the US simply because soccer doesn't have the kind of history or fanaticism like in England. Simply put soccer is in the 2nd tier of pro sports here in the US....something like relegation would basically bankrupt a franchise and kill it. I can't see investors putting down hundred million dollar fees for expansion only for them to devalue a franchise if they are terrible for a year. Sports in the US relies a lot on corporate dollars to bring in revenue as well, and relegation would basically put a stop to that and put a franchise into dire straights.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject:

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
Pro/rel is something that fans obsess about because of the English system. I know that it is used almost everywhere else in one form or another, but you don't hear the same level of discussion about relegation in any other league. (And, unlike a lot of US soccer fans, I do pay attention to leagues other than the EPL.) Pro/rel in England has a sort of romantic gloss that appeals to a lot of fans.

I mention this because I am fairly certain that, if pro/rel actually threatened the powerful clubs in England, they would get rid of it or at least neuter it. If there was truly a prospect that Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Liverpool could get relegated in a fluke season, those clubs would change the system. Yes, I know that most of the big clubs were relegated in years past, but these clubs were not worth billions of dollars back then. Yes, I am also aware that clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle, Leeds, and Man City (prior to the arrival of oil money) got relegated, but none of those clubs were elite world powerhouses at the time. If Man U or Chelsea could realistically go down, the big clubs would pull a power play and get the rules changed. This sort of thing has happened before, both in England and within UEFA.

The same principle applies to MLS. While no MLS franchise is worth as much as any of the major Euro clubs, these franchises are still worth a lot of money. The expansion fee is what, $150M? Can you imagine a scenario in which anyone would buy an MLS franchise if they could get relegated to, say, the USL? It's not happening, at least until there are fundamental changes to the structure and economics of soccer in the US.

With that in mind, it would not surprise me a bit if the Liga MX rumblings are true. Several of the Liga MX teams have grown in value enormously, and there is a lot of revenue just from US TV rights. Liga MX already protects the big clubs from an accidental relegation through the three year rule. Even then, there was the embarrassing episode where a team got relegated and just bought a surviving team, moved it, and changed its name. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to see Liga MX switch to single entity or a league/franchise structure like the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing start happening elsewhere.


Leeds United and Newcastle are some big names that wen down.

United, Liverpool, and Arsenal are pretty traditional, and i'd argue that Leeds and Newcastle are on their level, or were, to some extent.

The Chelsea's and City's of the world because a lot more popular with their Billionaire daddies.

England is on a whole 'nother level though. Their infrastructure in football from minors to EPL is unparalleled.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject:

Relegation works in England because they live and die watching footie....fans riot, etc, whatever fanaticism you think of Americans have for pro football, they have many times over for soccer over there. They don't care about MLB, NBA, NFL or whatever sport to keep them busy during the year...its pretty much soccer over there. Considering they pretty much invented the game and have hundred plus years of history invested into club soccer its not a surprise. In the USA, we don't have anything close to that, which is why relegation will probably never work here.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject:

marga86 wrote:
Leeds United and Newcastle are some big names that wen down.

United, Liverpool, and Arsenal are pretty traditional, and i'd argue that Leeds and Newcastle are on their level, or were, to some extent.

The Chelsea's and City's of the world because a lot more popular with their Billionaire daddies.

England is on a whole 'nother level though. Their infrastructure in football from minors to EPL is unparalleled.


I mentioned Leeds and Newcastle. At one time, they may have been close to the level of the big clubs, but that was a long time ago. The world has changed. The value of the top clubs in the EPL is reaching the level of NFL franchises. Leeds and Newcastle were never at that level, even at their peak. The relegation of Aston Villa was a bigger shock to me, to be honest.

Anyway, my point is that all of the talk about the traditions of the English game is a bunch of hooey. If relegation actually threatened billion dollar franchises, the big clubs would get rid of it. Remember the G-14.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:22 pm    Post subject:

lakersken80 wrote:
Relegation works in England because they live and die watching footie....fans riot, etc, whatever fanaticism you think of Americans have for pro football, they have many times over for soccer over there. They don't care about MLB, NBA, NFL or whatever sport to keep them busy during the year...its pretty much soccer over there. Considering they pretty much invented the game and have hundred plus years of history invested into club soccer its not a surprise. In the USA, we don't have anything close to that, which is why relegation will probably never work here.


Book recommendation: Soccernomics

Some of the sections of this book are sort of BS (like the argument that the competitive balance in the NFL is no difference from the competitive balance in the EPL), but a lot of the discussion is fascinating. In particular, the book shoots down a lot of the myths about the fanaticism of English soccer fans. When you cut through the mythology, English fans sound pretty much the same as American fans. There are hardcores, casuals, bandwagoners, etc.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:33 pm    Post subject:

Getting back to MLS itself, here are ESPN's pre-season power rankings:

http://www.espnfc.us/major-league-soccer/19/blog/post/3069976/major-league-soccer-power-rankings-clint-dempsey-champs-seattle-sounders-top

Here are MLS Soccer's picks:

http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/03/03/mlssoccer-com-staff-predictions-2017-mls-season

Here is the GM poll:

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/03/02/2017-mlssoccer-com-general-manager-technical-director-survey

And my fearless pick for the MLS Cup Final: Dallas over Columbus.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/footy-mcfooty-face-san-diego-bad-hombres-among-leading-contenders-for-san-diego-mls-expansion-team-name-025155411.html
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:25 pm    Post subject:

I like San Diego Coronados and Mission San Diego.

Top pick so far San Diego Soccer Club is sooo boring.
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