FanDuel - WFBC

May 30, 2012

Eric Wynalda's 'Eff You' to American Soccer: Eric Wynalda, U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame striker and Fox Soccer commentator, has been an outspoken opponent of many of the current practices of Major League Soccer -- all the while coveting an MLS coaching position. He has been described as one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. soccer and and a "frickin Twitter train wreck" by the owner of the Portland Timbers. Tonight the train wreck pays a visit to Portland. Wynalda has put together a group of soccer cast-offs named Cal FC, out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Playing in a bottom tier of U.S. Soccer, wearing hand-me-down uniforms of the Chicago Fire, working day jobs and practicing sparingly, Wynalda's team has won two games in the US Open Cup competition over higher rated teams. Tonight they face the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer with a chance to move into the fourth round of the tournament and provide their manager with a measure of redemption (via MetaFilter).

posted by rcade to soccer at 12:23 PM - 14 comments

We have a bottom tier of U.S. soccer?

posted by cheemo13 at 01:00 PM on May 30

It's soccer, all the way down.

posted by yerfatma at 02:05 PM on May 30

I knew about USL and PDL, but didn't know there were levels below. Nothing like the 11 main tiers of the English pyramid, though.

I've never been a fan of MLS; I've never been to Red Bull Arena even though it's a 15-minute train ride for me. Maybe it's because I follow English football down to the Conference levels, but I see MLS sides level with the Championship to League Two.

posted by jjzucal at 02:57 PM on May 30

Maybe it's because I follow English football down to the Conference levels, but I see MLS sides level with the Championship to League Two.

I never understood this argument against MLS. Why should it matter if the league is not on par with the best in the world? A league as young as MLS can't be expected to be top shelf 16 years into its existence. Yes, there are many things that could/should be improved. But it's a far cry from where it was in 1996.

Don't mean to call you out specifically jjzucal. I've heard this argument so many times. Once in a while we can convert someone. So if you're game, first beer at RBA is on me.

posted by goddam at 04:16 PM on May 30

Wow, both of them seem utterly illiterate on Twitter.

posted by Drood at 04:44 PM on May 30

Why should it matter if the league is not on par with the best in the world?

Because we call it American exceptionalism, not American respectably good all things consideredism.

posted by rcade at 07:44 PM on May 30

We've just barely gotten to the point where the British will drink (some of) our beer. The soccer may take a while yet.

posted by beaverboard at 08:31 PM on May 30

Because we call it American exceptionalism, not American respectably good all things consideredism.

Oh, don't be so hard on yourself. It's not respectably good.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:14 PM on May 30

Timbers are currently ahead 29-9 in shots on goal. And are losing 1-0 in Extra time.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:46 AM on May 31

Final tally was something like 43 shots to 10 in favour of the Timbers and Portland missed a penalty for a final score of 1-0 to Cal FC.

Magic of the cup'!

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:16 AM on May 31

The Dayton Dutch Lions had a similar game here against the Columbus Crew. They were badly outshot yet beat their MLS opponent 2-1 to move on to the next round. Not sure if this speaks poorly of the MLS or that these teams may not be taking this tournament as seriously as the lower tier teams.

posted by jagsnumberone at 02:59 AM on May 31

Why should it matter if the league is not on par with the best in the world?

Because life is too short to watch bad soccer.

posted by scully at 07:26 AM on May 31

But it's not always about the "quality", feel the width.

The A-League is on par with MLS, and clubs in both would probably sit around the top of League One in England. League One is full time professional and many clubs attract dedicated crowds of up to 10-12,000 (or more say, if you're Sheffield Wednesday).

While there might be a better product up the road or on TV, my local product is what I want to see, care about when they win or lose, and feel part of when I'm singing in The Cove.

And I can take Mrs Owl and the kids for less than $50. Travel and drinks included.

posted by owlhouse at 09:27 AM on May 31

I agree with owlhouse here: as I said on MeFi, the issue isn't really where MLS stands against the biggest leagues in the world: it's whether there's sufficient depth in the system to allow second- and third-tier pros to make a respectable living -- while keeping the top national-team pros playing in the US. (The fragility of the women's game beneath the international level is a useful comparison here.)

I was just at an A-ball baseball game, which is definitely more about giving people a pleasant summer evening's distraction, and while I don't have any illusions about it being a lucrative lifestyle for most of the players, it's a living. I've been to non-league matches in the UK where the crowds are even smaller, but there's a genuine camaraderie that keeps the club's head above water.

Wynalda may do some good here by accident, because the US needs its local teams of valiant cloggers who pull off giant-killing evenings.

posted by etagloh at 11:11 PM on June 01

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