GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 4

Thoughtful analysis and commentary about The Columbus Crew and Major League Soccer, largely based on an accumulation of data.

 

11. LA Galaxy Are Only Mostly Dead

Things have not been going to great for the LA Galaxy. It's bad enough that they're coming off their worst season in recent memory. Now, Don Garber looks ready to dump them for their sexy younger sister the Los Angeles Football Craft and they have to watch Gyasi Zardes score 20+ goals and lead the Crew to a 33-0-1 record this season. On top of that They've been inundated with injuries (and suspensions) throughout the first three weeks of the campaign, but fortunately they're approaching the sweet reprieve of the international break. Oh wait...* 

UPDATE: Looks like the Galaxy are getting ZLATAN.

*This paragraph is best read with a the world’s tiniest violin playing in the background. 

 

10. Kings of the South

Look, we tip our hard hats to Atlanta United. They earned a playoff spot in their first season and have been routinely packing 50,000-plus screaming fans into “Megatron’s Butthole.” Atlanta’s been a terrific success story for MLS, and we’d swap owners in a heartbeat. But(t), asking the Georgia Senate declare you “Kings of the South” after playing precisely 38 MLS games -- and winning zero playoff games -- is a bit thirsty, no?  

 

9. Jawns

We're just going to say it: the Sons of Ben are Right Proper Ladz. We may not share their taste in MLS teams, but damnit we respect their TIFO game.   

Brotherly Gang, cousin of the failing Massive Report, asked Philly's own Tifo Czar Ryan Bross about some of the finer details.

Precourt is on the left (west) side and the megaphone’s colors are the same colors used in the astroturf MLS2ATX “movement” started by Precourt Sports Ventures. There’s also a #SaveTheCrew sticker on the boat.

 Solodarity, comrades!

 

8. PSV Is One Step Closer To Blowing It In Austin, Texas

Approximately 11 hours after the two poor saps who headed Dave Greeley's pleas for support first showed up, Austin (Texas) City Council finally and unsurprisingly voted to approve a formal study of McKalla Place. While on the surface this might seem like a setback, but a couple councilmembers, including Leslie Pool who represents McKalla's district, are appropriately skeptical. Look, Twitter (and journalists) can immediately call -- and prove -- bullshit on every one of Precourt and Greeley's “commitments to the community” within minutes. Do you really think this grift is hold up through a two-month interrogation err study conducted by Austin city government employees?

By the way, the good folks in Austin haven't been shy about letting Boyish Anthony know general aversion to giving public assets to billionaire Sports Venturers. Exhibit A (for avaiation!):

 

6. MLS Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks

While Don Garber wanted all the attention trained on a baseball stadium, but the real action outta New York came in the form of another lawsuit filed against the league. 

Now we just may be a Cow Town blogger, but we're pretty sure two lawsuits three weeks into the season isn't a very good look. 

 

5. Rick 'N Rick

They’re back with a high-tech simulation of Saturday’s clash of MLS Charter Members. We have one word for you: Abuuuuuuuuuuuu

 

4. Lalas Abubakar

Even with Josh Williams — be still, our beating heart! — cleared to play, it’s going to be difficult to displace the second-year centerback. Abubakar is thriving for a surprisingly stalwarts Crew Back backline that has  been scored against the same amount of times as MLS has been sued three weeks into the season. And he’s putting up Wil Trapp-type numbers in the passing game. 

 

3. Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp: American Heroes

The Crew captain and keeper were called up to represent the good ol’ US of A in an upcoming friendly vs. Paraguay.

We were very, very tempted to use this space to launch a tirade against MLS for being basically the only league that schedules games during international breaks. (Gyasi Zardes was reportedly under consideration for a call-up as well but US caretaker manager Dave Sarachan allowed Greggggg to keep some of his team’s spine for Saturday.) 

Instead we’ll just observe that if Bruce Arena had called the Crew-some twosome up last year, the USMNT would be playing some meaningful games this summer. Although, failing to qualify for the World Cup may end up a blessing in disguise, what with all the state-sponsored hooliganism expected in Russia. 

Do the damn thang, Wil and Zack!  

 

2. Gossip! 

MLS players really dished out the dirt to ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle and Chris Wondolowski -- more like Miss Wondolowski amirite!? For real though. 

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Now, back to those juicy deets!

First off, the Crew's own Wil Trapp (T-3rd Most Underrated Player), King Harrison Afful (5th Toughest Individual Opponent) and Gregggggg Berhalter (T-2nd Current Coach You'd Most Like To Play For) all got due recognition from the gaggle of anonymous MLSers. Unnamed players also provided some golden quotes on plenty of other topics.

On the most overrated player in MLS:

"It was easier with Mix [Diskerud] and [Frank] Lampard and even [Andrea] Pirlo. Before it was easy. Me answering like that is probably a good sign for the league.''

On whether their understanding of general allocation money (GAM) and targeted allocation money (TAM), known colloquially as Don Garber Funbucks: 

"I've heard people talking about it, and I've just been nodding my head, but I don't have a clue."

On the current coach they'd least like to play for: 

"Whoever is coaching New England -- doesn't matter which coach it is."

 

2. #SoccerForAll

We know MLS promoted that hashtag last week, but for some reason — we can’t quite put our finger on it — it rang just a bit hollow. We truly do believe that soccer is for everyone and that builds bonds between different people and different cultures. That’s one of the reasons we’re so proud of our work with Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) and even more so of the groundswell or support we’ve gotten from the World’s Greatest Supporter Community. 

 

1. #SaveTheCrew

Contrary to opposition talking points, the #SaveTheCrew movement expanding. So much so that this rag-tag team is getting blamed for pretty much every time Dave Greeley and co. step in it in.

“Wow, Guillermo! #SaveTheCrew must have been so busy this week in Austin, Texas, that they completely dropped the ball here in Columbus,” you, a paid PSV troll, might say. 

About that...  

 UP THE LADS!! 

 

——— 

Guillermo O’Rourke is real-life, award-winning journalist and commentator. His book, Nine Lies: The Search for Crew Cat’s Killer still needs a publisher. Did you see something Good on line that should be featured in the next Starting 11? Tweet @gcgbag96 and let him know using the hashtag #DonGarberPeeTape.

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The first week of the 2017 MLS season is kaput and boy did it live up to the hype! Minnesota United and Portland Timbers combined for six goals (five of them Portland's), six other teams combined for three scoreless draws and a certain World's Greatest Team (Columbus Crew SC) put on a vintage (2016) performance!

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