Monday, November 22, 2010

MLS News and Notes: Monday Morning Edition

Congratulations to the Colorado Rapids for winning the 2010 MLS Cup last night in extra time. It was a Dallas FC own-goal, created by former New York Red Bull, Mac Kandji, that proved to be the game winner in a 2-1 victory. Mac went down with a sprained knee on the play that saw his mad scramble of a cross deflect off the thigh of Dallas defender, George John. Who imagined when Kandji was traded to Colorado for Mehdi Ballouchy that it would be Mac holding up the MLS Cup?

In other MLS news, Commissioner Don Garber announced that the 2011 MLS Cup playoffs will be changing to a 10-team format. Specific details about how the 10 seeds will be allocated was not available. How these rushed and half-complete ideas are so regularly generated by the Commisioner's office, I don't know. I imagine something like this:

MLS Security Guard: Sir, the Eastern Conference championship was contested by two Western Conference teams. That seems kind of stupid to me.

Don Garber: Hmm... Mabye. But what can we do about it? We can't get rid of conferences, even though most MLS fans hate them. This is an American league. Americans only understand conferences and playoffs.

SG: If I can be frank, maybe it is you who only understand conferences and playoffs.

DG: Yes, that's what I said. All Americans prefer conferences and playoffs. So how do we fix this?

SG: Well, I guess, if you have the top three teams from each conference in the quarter-finals, it will guarantee that at least one team from the conference will be in the finals.

DG: Yes, great! But we still need four wildcards. I like that, as do all American sports fans.

SG: You could have a wildcard play-in round and expand to 10 teams, sir. But that seems like a lot of playoff teams in an 18-team league.

DG: Excellent! I was worried, with expansion, that less than half of teams would be eligible for playoffs. This way, more than half will get in again, reinforcing the irrelevance of the regular season even more! Americans love playoffs! I'm going to go announce it now!

SG: Shouldn't you figure out how it all works first?

DG: No! I need to make some sort of important half-time announcement! When have we ever been forthcoming with complete and understandable information anyways? We'll cobble together some half-assed idea later! Oh! And I'm going to say that we'll "simulate promotion/relegation." What does that even mean? Who cares! Alexi has a fun hat!

Well, something like that, anyways.

And finally, the off-season begins in earnest today, as all MLS clubs make available their Protected Rosters for this week's Expansion Draft late this afternoon. The Great Matt Conroy, aka, WhoShotSam, put up his theoretical protected list a couple weeks back. I'm going to take my stab at it. Except for those automatically protected, my list in is approximate descending order of most likely to least likely to be protected. My last couple of protected players and my first few exposed are what I consider to be the "grey area."

Auto-Protected (Do not take up a Protected Slot.)
Juan Agudelo
Georgi Chirgadze
Tony Tchani

Thierry Henry
Rafa Marquez
Joel Lindpere
Tim Ream
Dane Richards
Bouna Coundoul
Mehdi Ballouchy
Carlos Mendes
Chris Albright
Sinisa Ubiparapovic
Austin da Luz

Brian Nielsen
Roy Miller
Jeremy Hall
Conor Chinn
Carl Robinson
Ibrahim Salou
Danleigh Borman
Greg Sutton
Irving Garcia
Luke Sassano
Andrew Boyens
Carey Talley

Juan Pablo Angel (?)
Mike Petke
Seth Stammler

I see Jeremy Hall being taken, at which point we can protect one more player, which would hopefully be Danleigh Borman. If we lose a second player, I'm guessing Carl Robinson or Conor Chinn, maybe Greg Sutton depending on the other exposed 'keepers.

Questions I have about the rules: First and foremost, do we know if JPA is still considered to be under contract? If so, as a DP with a no-trade clause, we would be required to protect him. Second, I'm pretty sure Nielsen is with RBNY on loan--how does this work? I realize he his technically on loan to MLS, but if the team that owns him does not want him to play at another MLS club, do they have the right to revoke the loan? Any Viper's Nest readers have the answers to these questions? Post them, and your own protected lists, in the comments section.
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