By Tony Edwards – San Jose, CA (Feb 4, 2014) US Soccer Players – It’s Tuesday and Tony is asking how seriously to take a ranking of the world’s soccer leagues that doesn’t flatter MLS. Also, San Jose’s rebranding, retired USMNT player Pablo Mastroeni potentially in charge at Colorado, and more on the Union’s off-season rebuilding.
What did San Jose get right in their rebranding?
With much fanfare, a big crowd, and uncooperative technology in San Jose, the Earthquakes unveiled their rebranding last Thursday. What was supposed to include a next step in how to broadcast a major event to an online audience didn’t go as expected, but what about the jerseys?
The Earthquakes now has a red road jersey. They’ve also gone back to a blue home shirt and black shorts, which is welcome. There’s far too much monochromatic thinking in MLS uniform design and it’s good to see the Earthquakes go back to the blue and black combination.
Beyond that, it’s difficult to find a really good logo in MLS. Seattle and Portland have striking ones. Others depend on your opinion towards the franchise. To me, San Jose’s is a case of overthinking it. Even with a nickname like Earthquakes, you don’t want to have to explain things.
So is MLS really the 49th best league in the world?
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics does this ranking every year. According to their determinations, MLS came out 49th this season.
From the IFFHS website: “The World ranking for the Strongest National Leagues has been determined annually by the IFFHS since 1991 on the basis of all national (championship, FA Cup) and (inter)continental (confederations & FIFA club competitions) results of the clubs. This principle has proved to be a very sensitive and an objective indicator.”
I’m sure it has proven to be, but funny how I don’t see a lot of players going to the Costa Rican league (ranked above MLS). Let’s also point out that the Eredivisie is ranked 21st in the world, which is pretty clearly a fluke. I don’t think a lot of people have any question that the Mexican league should be above MLS, based on head-to-head and salary, but that’s hardly news.
I’m not a huge fan of MLS becoming a mass importer of players. For me, one of the league’s missions has to be to develop American and Canadian players. However, that players from South America are not only willing, but apparently eager, to come here is enough proof that these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt.
Of course, if MLS clubs go three-for-three in eliminating Mexican clubs next month in the Champions League, that ranking will soar next year.
Bringing USMNT player Maurice Edu back to MLS is a good move for the Union. Who else did they sign this offseason?
Speaking of players wanting to come to MLS from Argentina, the Union’s new DP is Cristian Maidana, a 27-year-old midfielder. Or he will be when the work visa arrives. The Chester franchise upgraded their midfield, but how it all fits together is going to be interesting. Which of the five playoff teams from last season (plus Toronto) are the Union going to displace to make the playoffs?
So does Colorado need to do a “formal” coaching search?
Cheap jokes about ‘formal’ aside, Rapids President Tim Hinchey seemed to suggest the people in charge now, specifically former USMNT player Pablo Mastroeni, were going to handle things “while we start the formal search.”
What that means in practice is a good question. If it’s Mastroeni running the first team, you’d like to see him given the time to succeed. The Western Conference didn’t get any easier, and Colorado will be without Martin Rivero this season, but the track record of former USMNT players as successful coaches in MLS is good when they are given time to bring their expertise and team-building skills into play.
Which two teams have had the most roster subtractions this off-season?
According to the transactions page on the MLS website, both San Jose and Chivas have had 12 players leave their roster, for various reasons. Both teams have added seven players, so far. Kansas City had the fewest roster subtractions so far, with just three, while bringing in two players.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.