Murricah’s Game – Eastern Conference Promises

Yesterday I began my quest to try and care about Major League Soccer. I took a half-assed look at some of the teams and today I shall apply the same rigorous research as I explore the rest of the Eastern Conference. I’m not really sure what the title of this post means, but Eastern Promises was a good movie and features probably the best naked man fight scene ever, if you’re into that sorta thing. Anyway, let’s dive right in. To the soccer, not the naked fighting.

New England Revolution. TM.

Gut Reaction: I love the concept of their crest. Soccer ball flag FTW. But this logo looks like some bullshit a six year old drew with a crayon. I’m a huge Yankees fan and nominal Jets/Giants fan, so habit alone makes it hard for me to cheer for any New England team. But I’ll try not to let my prior sporting prejudices color my judgment. Supposedly Boston’s a cool town, but the stadium’s 40 minutes away. But I’d bet that’s pretty standard for most MLS sides, this is just the first one I’ve bothered to check.

Personnel: There’s actually a couple names I recognize, so that’s exciting. Being Jewish, I appreciate the presence of fellow yid Benny Feilhaber. I also appreciate that he’s not terrible like Jonathan Bornstein. Shalrie Joseph may be getting old, but he has awesome hair. In addition to the players I’m familiar with, The Rev have signed three Colombians during the off season. And while none of them can match the follicular fortitude of their countryman Carlos Valderrama, they still might turn out to be pretty good. I realize as I’m writing this that it probably seems like I have a weird obsession with hair. Yeah, well, so what if I do? Your mom loves it when I run my fingers through her curls.

History & Trvia: They’ve never won the MLS Cup, but have managed to lose it a whopping four times. So they’re basically the Elgin Baylor of MLS teams. Or the Buffalo Bills, to go with a less random reference. Their supporters group is called the The Midnight Riders and the north stand is called The Fort and it’s clear they have some kitschy little “hey it’s like we’re in the Revolutionary War” bullshit theme going on. It’s not cute. Their mascot is surprisingly not Musketty the Anthropomorphic Musket, but a Fox named Slyde. I’ll hazard a guess that this is because they play in Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, MA, but it could also just be a strange coincidence. I’d hate to presume. At any rate, I hope he and Dynamo Diesel get into awesome fights when these teams play each other.

Is it the New York Red Bulls or Red Bull New York? I have no fucking clue.

Gut Reaction: I think it’s bullshit. The MetroStars was a perfectly fine name. Owners should not be allowed to change a team’s name to promote brand synergy or business integration or whatever fucking buzzwordy corporatespeak is the correct descriptor of this travesty against humanity. Fuck your energy drink.

Personnel: Some guy named Hank? Henry? Terry? Something like that. Sounds like a dick.

History & Trvia: They’ve never won shit. From what I can tell, they don’t even have a mascot. This team sounds bootleg as hell. Not even the presence of Spurs cult hero and Carling Cup winner Teemu Tainio can help save this team for me. I was born in New York and I love going back to visit, but I’m not becoming a fan of RBNY. Sorry. I cannot support a team with what’s his face on it. Oh, and fuck Rafa Marquez.

Philadelphia Onion

Gut Reaction: This is definitely one of the cooler logos out of the teams I’ve looked at so far. And that brown/blue color combo is unique and totally awesome. Philly’s not that far away (relatively speaking, of course) so that’s a plus. I hate the Phillies, but this feels like a team I could maybe get behind. Let’s dig deeper.

Personell: I remember hearing lots of good things about Le Toux, but it looks like he’s gone, which probably isn’t good. 45 year-old Freddy Adu is still nominally only 22, and after a big performance at the Gold Cup last year could finally perhaps maybe possibly fulfill his potential. Danny Mwanga wants to become an American but since he’s not German-American Klinsy probably doesn’t know he exists.

History & Trivia: As an expansion team, The U haven’t won anything yet. The University of Miami also call themselves The U, and hey guess what assholes, you can’t take your nickname from the word “University”. Basically everyone is a fucking University. Unlike the cockbags from South Beach, Philadelphia’s name starts with a U, so they are perfectly entitled to their nickname. They don’t seem to have a mascot though, which makes me has a sad. The Sons of Ben is their supporters group, and that’s badass. For whatever reason, the Revolutionary War/Founding Fathers theme surrounding this team comes off way cooler than with the Revs.

Sporting Kansas City. RIP Wiz.

Gut Reaction: This logo is pretty cool, but I’m not sure how I feel about their rebranding. Obviously it’s way less offensive than RBNY, but it’s still a little weird. I get that MLS teams want to sound more legit and have European type club names (FC Dallas, DC United, don’t get me started on Real Salt Lake), but it feels clunky and inorganic to me. Is Kansas City a Sporting Club? Do they have other sports associated with the soccer team? No? Then don’t call it a fucking SC. American sports teams have nicknames and that’s just a fact of life. Also, wizards are cool.

Personell: SCKC have a surprising number of players I recognize. Teal Boon-boo-ree and CJ Sapong are both hoping to become the longterm solution to the USMNT’s problematic number 9 role. Bunbury hasn’t really been great his last couple outings, but Sapong looked really good in his cameo against Venezuela in January. Kei Kamara and Bobby Convey seem to promise lots of bombing runs down the wing, which as a Spurs fan I can certainly appreciate. Zusi scored the winner in that Venezuela friendly, but I honestly can’t remember how he looked besides the goal. I want to say bad. But, who knows.

History & Trivia: They won the Cup back in 2000, but haven’t repeated. Their mascot is Dynamo the Dragon. I have three thoughts about that. First, dragons are totally awesome and would own any other mascot in a fight (except maybe San Jose’s unholy abomination, but we’ll come to him later). Secondly, uh, why isn’t their mascot a wizard? Thirdly, is it not weird to have your mascot named after another team? Like if Gunnersaurus was named Liverpoolsaurus? That’s weird as hell, right?

Toronto FC

Gut Reaction: Meh. The logo is classy looking, but doesn’t wow me. Toronto’s rumored to be a cool city, but, you know, still Canadian. They’re supposed to have a great atmosphere and really passionate fans, so that’s definitely a plus.

Personell: Canadian legend Julian de Guzman has been back from his European adventures for a couple years now, and presumably he’s still good. Dutch nearly-man Danny Koevermans banged in 8 in 10 last year. He was an excellent goalscorer in the Hollish league, but never quite good enough to make the jump to the Oranje. ManU youth product Richard Eckersley is also in Toronto. No idea if he’s good, but he made first team appearances for United, so he’s probably not terrible. Oh, and handballing motherfucker Torsten Frings is here? I don’t know if  I can forgive that.

History & Trivia: They haven’t won anything, they don’t have a mascot, and their nickname is the Reds. None of this is particularly inspiring. Presumably they’ll have a pretty good rivalry with the Impact going forward, which will be weird since the Bank of Montreal is the shirt sponsor for both teams. I bet BOM pays Toronto way less money. Suckers.

I guess that’s it for the East. I’m surprised to find that Philly and Kansas City of all places seem pretty promising options. But I do wish KC was still the Wizards. Do other Kansas fans feel the same way? New York is almost definitely out of the running since I don’t think I could ever cheer for Thierry Henry. New England and Toronto both fall somewhere in the middle, and I’m not super excited about the prospect of either of them. But who knows how I’ll feel once I see them in action. Check back tomorrow as I take a look into the teams in the west.

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3 responses to “Murricah’s Game – Eastern Conference Promises

  1. @Lorber- The name change for SKC was not well received at first. Most supporters clubs still use the Wizards nickname periodically. But a season like last year’s, winning the East reg season and advancing to the Conf Finals, cured a lot of that and people are embracing/used to it now. Plus, as you said the crest is cool, much cooler than just the word Wizards.
    The mascot is now some blue dog (no clue on the reason or name b/c I hate the adults-in-furry-costume mascots). The dragon was a vestige of the Wizards era and was named Dynamo long before the Houston franchise moved from San Jose. One more reason to dislike Houston.
    Finally, yes they are technically a sporting club. They have a rugby team (early stages) and are looking at other options. I suspect if Kansas City ever landed a NBA or NHL franchise these guys might get involved and try to put that team under that umbrella as well. In their brand-speak, it’s an evolving process. All that said, do I agree that it’s somewhat clunky and inorganic? Absolutely. But they’re my team, so whatever. If the trade off was Euro-snob name vs. being painted as Harry Potter nerds (which was happening a lot by soccer haters in the Midwest), I’ll take the Euro-snob name. It at least feels more like a soccer team and less like some minor league family-friendly crap that the suburban parents only do on the youth soccer team’s group discount night. And people don’t care that the name is Euro-snobby now because we had a really exciting summer last year. Time for me to shut up.

  2. Let’s just accept it. You’re going to be a Timbers fan. Stadium is in the city (and surrounded by bars), Portland is awesome, and they’ve got a freaking chainsaw.

  3. It’s all about the []_[]. We invented swagger…or at least that’s what all the t-shirts on campus tell me.

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