Turd of the Week #25

RotMasters do not lose! Of course they didn’t play last week either, but what New Yawkah could complain?

SJ Clash do not lose! Of course they did not win either. Yes, it was another draw, and unfortunately another crapshoot — their MLS leading 11th. When you are drawing damn near every game anyway, and you trade away your best striker (albeit, one just rounding into form) then one would expect to go from drawing to losing. But drawing seems to be such an ingrained Clash habit that they are more of a threat to the eminence of Van Gogh than the dominance of DC.

MLS kicks speed; tries heroin: Rumors were emanating from the 83rd USSF annual general meeting that MLS will ditch the crapshoot but that it will suck Sepp Blatter’s little Swiss willie by using two referees. US Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher opposed the move, saying the only thing two refs would accomplish is more drop balls. And MLS still wouldn’t get the offside calls right …

Kerploosh! That flushing sound you hear emanating from Milwaukee is not another dose of intestine-twisting cryptosporids being dumped into the water system, it is the Rampage’s fortunes under the guidance of coach Cacho Cordoba. Yes, the man who was able to take a hopeful expansion Miami Fusion team, with enthusiastic crowds and drive it straight into a hole from which it has yet to recover — quality- or attendance-wise — is now doing the same to the A-League Milwaukee Rampage. Cordoba followed up his unceremonious sack of championship winning keeper Carmine Isacco with a 1:2 overtime (no crapshoot) home loss to arch-rival Minnesota Thunder, who featured another ex-Rampage champion, midfielder Mike Gentile. Then came last week’s disastrous 0:3 home loss to Tennessee Rhythm, a side of first-year semi-pros. Couldn’t get worse, right? Of course it can! We are talking Sampsonite coaching ability. Off an entire eight days of rest and training, Cordoba led the Rampage to another 0:3 butt-whooping by the Orange County Zodiac. Being a coach of Sampsonite ability, Cordoba of course had to install a new formation prior to a critical game and the Rampage 3-5-2 induced post-traumatic stress flashbacks in fans across America, or at least fans at Uihlein Soccer Park. It is getting to the point where the TotW staff wishes there were two teams in Milwaukee, so it would have one to support when the other was crap: a ‘City’ and ‘United’, like Manchester, or better yet like London where every punter with a spare quid owns a team.

Speaking of crap …

He Just Doesn’t Get ‘It’

A large amount of the following space was going to be devoted to the most recent episode of Turd Emeritus Steve Sampson breaking wind, but an abridged edition must do as there are yet more pressing issues that have since taken precedence. So ol’ Steve will be shunted aside the way emeritii are when their senile babbling becomes overbearing for those who have not yet returned to crapping their Huggies.Sampson said hardening (and accurate) public perceptions of his World Cup team as inept and overmatched are at odds with what happened in France: “Aside from the first half of the Germany game, I think we played very well.” A few more calls our way, a few less injuries, some more of this, some more of that and the US really truly was the best team in France! Bullshit. Coulda, woulda and shoulda have never won crap. A few more bad calls, a few more injuries, less of this and that, and the US would have been scraping the bottom of the barrel, stuggling to beat Macedonia. Oh wait. You mean the US did prepare for the World Cup by drawing 0:0 at home to Macedonia?

As oft-injured crap midfielder Brian Maisonneuve, a young Sampson wannabe, said, “A couple of breaks, it’s a totally different story, and Steve is a hero.” Hey, Brian, sucking up to an ex-coach will get you as far as ten cents on a New York taxi. Besides, the World Cup was last year, try using the proper tense next time you speak.

“I am amazed by the over-exaggeration of the results …” The results cannot be over-exaggerated. It was the World Cup, the most important soccer competition there is, and one that is only staged every four years. It’s not Santa Clara and the NCAA championship where you draw to be co-champions and play again next year.

” … and I’m particularly baffled by people continually saying we finished 32nd. How can you finish 32nd when you don’t play the other teams?” You are aware, Steve, being an coach of some international stature, FIFA ranks all World Cup participants at the end of the competition based on their results. You are also, therefore, aware that soccer rankings are done based on points (USA 0), then goal differential (USA -4), and finally goals scored (USA 1) — not that we needed it, because Japan escaped the sewer on goal differential. You might be spastic, but the World Cup ain’t the Special Olympics and you’re not a winner because you tried hard.

“I have no regrets about the World Cup,” Sampson said. “I wouldn’t change a thing I did.” Delusional or narcissistic? You be the judge.

Only thirteen months after the fiasco in France, this week the US were bronze medalists in the FIFA Confederations Cup, the highest US finish in international competition since the legendary 1930 team placed third at the inaugaral World Cup. Naturally, Sampson tried to steal some of Bruce Arena’s glory: “History will show that there was a tremendous amount of growth at all levels of U.S. soccer in the period between 1994 and 1998.”

The man has a future in politics … or as MLS President.

(Sorry, I did run on a bit, but I am idiocy intolerant and they don’t come any more idiotic than Steve Sampson. On with the remainder of our show …)

MLS replaces Curley with Shemp

Hasta la vista, Prãsident Crapshoot MLS

There’s been a whiff of desperation in the air the last two weeks: First, Doug Logan consummated his relationship with Lothar Matthäus (though the groom has been defenestrated and the honeymoon isn’t until January 2000 anyway). Then, like a randy billy goat, the Centrifuge pursued and mounted Ecuadorian international Ariel Graziani (though a free transfer, Graziani is surely not selling Ecuadorian happy dust to get by). With a still raging hardon, the Centrifuge eloped with college star Chris Albright, stealing him away from his betrothed, Bayer Leverkusen, in the middle of the night. Logan was poking his pee-pee wherever he found an empty hole. He almost nailed France’98 star Davor Suker, instead having to settle for the warm embrace of Suker’s former countryman (minus the odd ethnic cleansing, or two) Sasa Curcic. The Centrifuge seemed to be seeking more willing partners than even renowned satyrist Bill Clinton. Perhaps the Centrifuge simply knew his gig was up and was willing to sacrifice league financial stability in order to save his own weasely hide?

“It’s clear I’ve lost confidence of the board of governors and it’s time to move on,” Logan said, totally ignoring the fact that he had long since lost the support of the fans, but was willing to whore himself for $250,000 annually for 3½ years anyway. What did MLS fans get for their million bucks?

The Centrifuge predicted a 15% increase in average attendance from the league’s first year to the second, but it fell 16%. Apparently the fans didn’t just want cheerleaders and blaring music, but cheerleaders stripping to blaring rock music. You guessed it, attendance fell again in year three, giving birth to 1999, the “Year of No Excuses”. Attendance has increased slightly this year, mainly thanks to Women’s World Cup doubleheaders and Lamar Hunt graciously paying for a new stadium in Columbus, not due to anything so mundane as commissionorial competence. In fact, attendance this year has plunged in MLS’s two most important markets, LA and New York (home of Step’N’Fetchit’s powerhouse RotMasters team).

But now the Centrifuge is gone, Tweedle Dumb pushed out the window by Tweedle Dumber, John Kluge, and his Step’N’Fetchit, Stuart Subotnick. “I hope they know what they’re doing,” said a Faithful Reader. Of course not. We are talking Stuart Subotnick and Robert Kraft here, the Brutus and Judas who wielded the weapons of death. (Kraft is the billionaire button pusher who presides over the dynasties in San Jose and New England.)

In a way it’s almost sad: who will TotW have to pick on now?

The new emperor is Don Garber, the 41-year old former Senior Vice President of the National Football League’s International division (what was once — honest to God! — called the World League of American Football, WLAF, or “we-laugh”). Garber might not know soccer from rugby from his ass from a hole in the ground, but I think we see what Tweedle Dumber and Step’N’Fetchit were looking at when they went a courtin’. Afterall, those two yahoos are the ones who hired RotMasters marketing honcho Jim Leahy despite him stating that “The only way you could get me out to a soccer game is if my kids were to drag me out.” During his NFL tenure, Garber managed to expand his empire from just five employees in New York, to 130 people in six countries, while increasing revenues 250% and profits 400%, via such stratagems as “location-based entertainment” and “retail destinations”, not actually putting a decent product on the field. (Having TJ Rubley as your best quarterback is equivalent to having Alexi Lalas as your top striker.) The game? Ahhh, who cares if the product sucks, we’ll just market the hell out of it!

But no one could be worse than Logan. Well, at least in theory. Is Garber Claudius, a fool crowned by his predecessor’s murderers, or Julius Caesar, due to conquer all before him? (Before, of course, being murdered in turn.)

I don’t know how old the Centrifuge is, but he looks a heck of alot older than the new guy. Though Garber has no soccer-specific knowledge, youth and enthusiasm could carry him a long way. On the other hand, it could simply be that Stuart Subotnick is tired of John Kluge pushing him around and needs an easily manipulable lap dog of his own. The truth will be known when the first pissing match occurs between the league and the billionaires, if ever. (The eternal lack of tension between the league and its sugar daddies would be even more revealing regarding whose hand is up whose butt pulling puppet strings.) We shall see.

Incompetence in an organization is a top-down problem. It does no good to fire incompetent middle managers: an incompetent senior manager will just hire more incompetent middle managers, who will hire more incompetent employees. The only way to end the cycle of incompetence is to hire a decent senior manager. If the owner is incompetent, then you are truly screwed. What owner is going to ever fire himself? Because his shit don’t stink.

Join me now in tossing rotten vegetables at our second two-time dishonorees, and incompetent owners,

John Kluge & Stuart Subotnick

Co-Turds of the Week

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