Taking the good calls with the bad

Martin Rogers
Yahoo! Sports

I am an idiot. And a genius. And everything in between.

What I really love about writing this column for Yahoo! Sports is the variety in the feedback responses I get.

The same comment about Eddie Johnson, Michael Bradley, Hope Solo, David Beckham or Cuauhtemoc Blanco is capable of eliciting replies that are polar opposites.

And that is what soccer is all about. It is a game that has always been more about opinions than statistics and that is why it is probably the No. 1 topic of conversation around the world.

Thank you to everyone (well, almost everyone) who wrote in. As always, the level of interest has been overwhelming, and humbling. It is greatly appreciated.

My comments below appear in italics.

EDDIE JOHNSON ("Making the leap," Sept. 13, 2007)

Don't get me started. Eddie Johnson is a rubbish player in comparison to any striker in the Premiership. He will be a flop over here, guaranteed.


Great article on Eddie Johnson. I think Eddie has a chance to make it in the Premiership as you have correctly pointed out in your article. Eddie Johnson is a very strong and talented player and I think Europe would be a major test for him to prove himself and compete with the best players in the world. And if he were to succeed, it would also encourage more African-American kids to play soccer.

Leslie E. Zafra
New York

It seems that the miserable weather over in England has put good old Mike in a grumpy mood. I agree with Leslie and feel Johnson has a good chance because he is big and strong and has good touch. It looks likely that he will go to a Premiership club in one of the next two transfer windows and it would be great for U.S. soccer if he were to do well. But the wonderful thing about the Premiership is its unpredictability, and that's why Mike's guarantee of Johnson's failure makes him sound foolish.

U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM ("USA's breakthrough performance," Sept. 9, 2007)

What's your take on Michael Bradley's game against Brazil and his overall development? I think, like his game in the under-20's World Cup, where he was easily one of the best players on the field, he is among the best players – and perhaps the most promising one – on the senior team.

Randy Dirth

Bradley has impressed me and I think he has a lot of potential. It is a tough situation for him (being the coach's son is never easy), but he is answering his critics with his solid development.

Sometimes I wonder whether we were watching the same game. Brazil was MILES ahead of the U.S. when it came to ball control, passing and creating scoring opportunities. And let's not forget this was a home game for the U.S., which is a HUGE advantage in international soccer. Final result: Brazil 4, USA 2. A comprehensive beatdown – the scoreboard doesn't lie.

Daniel Song

I don't want to be rude, but this is ridiculous. The old chestnut of "the scoreboard doesn't lie" is over-simplistic and pointless. How many times have you seen a soccer game where the final score did not reflect the balance of play? Also, the reference to the home game was strange, given that the vast majority of the crowd was supporting Brazil. So maybe we were watching different games. I was watching the one at Soldier Field, where the United States were still level at 2-2 with around 20 minutes left. Maybe Daniel was watching a game of FIFA '08 on his PlayStation.

The United States has become one fastest developing countries in the sport of soccer. Do you see them winning the ultimate prize of the World Cup before nations like Mexico or Paraguay, where soccer is the sport that dominates the population?

Oscar Romero
Fullerton, Calif.

The U.S. still has some ways to go Oscar, and the World Cup is always so tough to call. For a start, whenever it is held in Europe or South America, it is normally won by a team from that continent. It could take another 10 or 15 years before the U.S. is in a position to challenge the very best in a major tournament. Mexico is dangerous in any tournament and can beat any team on its day. The Mexicans' best chance would be at a World Cup staged in South America or the U.S. Paraguay have some solid players but are not serious contenders yet.

HOLLYWOOD UNITED AND ANTHONY LAPAGLIA ("L.A.'s other galaxy of soccer stars," Sept. 20, 2007, and "LaPaglia's dream role," Sept. 20, 2007)

St. Louis has always had tremendous amateur soccer. This would be an opportunity for Anthony to get involved with MLS. I am sure he wants to stay on the West Coast, but this will be successful.

Tim Cantoni
St Louis

I hope St. Louis gets sorted out with an MLS franchise soon, as the city has a great soccer tradition. I think LaPaglia is more likely to turn his attentions to a California franchise, however.

Regarding LaPaglia's interest in an MLS team, with his finances, he should start at the USL-1 level. U.S. soccer needs a strong second division, and with Seattle probably moving to MLS in 2009, USL-1 could use another team. With the frustration he expressed about how his Australian team was run, I have a hard time believing he'd be OK under anyone but himself. Which is why I suggest USL-1.

Austin, Texas

You could be right Eric. He doesn't seem short of money though, and he appears to be serious about getting involved at MLS level.

MLS should learn something from Hollywood United and the way it has started to create a youth system. It is fundamental having squads playing in lower-level leagues to groom talent.

Jeff Chew
Palamos, Spain

MLS clubs are making big strides forward with their development systems, which are vital for the future of the game in the U.S.. For an amateur club, Hollywood United's approach is outstanding and U.S. Soccer could certainly use more people with the vision of Anthony LaPaglia and Ian Carrington.

CHIVAS USA ("Chivas USA's collective effort," Sept. 17, 2007)

I was wondering if you think Chivas USA could benefit from a move to San Diego? I think it would be good for them get out of the Los Angeles Galaxy's shadow.

San Diego

This is an interesting point and it's one that has cropped up from time to time. It could possibly have merit, but only if there was a soccer specific stadium for Chivas USA to play in. In that situation, it could work, but I believe the Chivas hierarchy are committed to making it work in Los Angeles – and they are having a fantastic season.

TOP FIVE LEAGUES ("Ranking the world's best soccer leagues," Sept. 19, 2007)

My question is regarding your top-five leagues breakdown. I noticed when you mentioned the MLS you stated that it was a United States League. Well, having Toronto in there sort of makes it a North American league. I know Toronto FC is new, but as anyone who has watched a game can attest, it is probably one of the better venues in the league to watch a game.

Dan Sadler

Absolutely right Dan, and I apologize for the oversight. The Toronto FC fans have been sensational this season and the club has been a welcome addition to MLS.

FULHAM'S AMERICAN CONNECTION ("American pipeline to the Premiership," Sept. 28, 2007)

Can the other Premiership clubs sign American footballers like Fulham in order to increase their strength?

Apurva Bhide

It just depends on the player and the club. I don't believe Fulham deliberately went out looking for American players, but it has been impressed with the physical fitness and professionalism of the four they have signed. There is certainly a higher opinion of American players in the U.K. now so more could follow.


I firmly believe Jose Mourinho was sacked at Chelsea! Plain and simple. Where is his next job? Cheers!


Mourinho is so unpredictable that he could turn up anywhere, but I think it will be a big-club job as the time is not right for him to move into international management. Many in England want him to replace Steve McClaren as national team manager, but I reckon he will take some time off and then resurface the next time a job comes up at a huge club like Real Madrid or AC Milan.

Sometimes it is so difficult to be a football fan in the U.S. Landon Donovan is the U.S. player of the year? Come on! Tim Howard fully deserves this award, hands down.

Dava Ombadykow
Las Vegas

Yeah, I would probably have gone for Howard as well. It's been a tough season for Donovan in MLS, but he would have gotten most of his votes based on his performances in the Gold Cup.

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