MLS Superdraft 2011: A Fan’s Perspective

I've just returned from the 2011 version of the MLS Superdraft in downtown Baltimore, and first things first, permit me to clean the blood slowly trickling out of my eardrums.  This was quite possibly the loudest indoor venue I've ever attended, and I've seen Whitechapel at Ottobar.  Unbeknownst to myself (and perhaps a fair majority of MLS fans), the Superdraft has a long history of taking up residence in the Charm City, despite the closest team being a good 40 miles down the I-95 Corridor.  Every third year since at least 2005, Baltimore's downtown Convention Center has hosted MLS' Collegiate and Supplemental Drafts, and judging from the exceptional turnout today, it is a tradition which I can't imagine ending any time soon.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I first learned that the draft was visiting my adopted city; I've lived here for only three years, moving just after the last incarnation of the draft, and I can't remember ever seeing it on TV or anybody caring too much about it, to be honest.  I heard through Barra Brava and the Baltimore Brigade contacts that groups would be attending and meet-and-greets (drink-and-drowns) would be held at Pratt St. and Tir Na Nog ...
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Golden Julius: Defender’s Strike Gives D.C. an Unlikely Win in Toronto

At this point, United fans would welcome a goal from anyone on the squad, but defender Julius James must have been on few people’s minds to snatch the only goal in an otherwise dour affair at Toronto’s BMO field. The former Toronto big man had netted only two previous goals in MLS before settling Branko Baskovic’s 81st minute free kick on the six-yard box, feigning—maybe tripping, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt—and slotting home past Stefan Frei, much to the chagrin of the 20,000+ fans in attendance. It was a welcome turn of late-game fortune for United, who have let in an astounding 14 goals in the final 15 minutes of their 23 games this season.  The squad was buoyed by the returns of the Montenegrin Baskovic and Canadian Dejan Jakovic from International call-ups, Jakovic not having to travel far to meet up with the team after a series of Canadian friendlies.  The Montenegrin Maestro and veteran Canadian had little calming effect on the side in the first half however, as possession was given away far too often and Toronto displayed early signals of intent when Dwayne DeRosario smacked a shot off Troy Perkins’ post.  But the Canadians’ attack soon ...
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Bucking Branko: Why D.C. United Missed On Its Latest Designated Player Signing

On a day when most in the nation’s capital are celebrating a decrease in American firepower in Iraq, those of a soccer-minded persuasion are simply left wondering, “Where will the firepower come from?” D.C. United have played 26 competitive matches this year, and managed a meager 25 goals from them. The figure becomes even worse reading when U.S. Open Cup matches are taken out of consideration: 15 goals in 21 matches reads United’s utterly laughable league scoresheet so far this campaign. The record for ineptitude in the final third is 25 goals in Toronto’s inaugural 2007 season, and while I’m all for one-upping those Canadians whenever possible, this is one record no one in D.C. wants to claim. In order to avoid that ignominy, United will need to tally 11 goals in its remaining 8 league games. To offer some perspective on just how it long it might take United to score 11 goals, Danny Allsopp is currently the club’s top scorer, registering a lofty four goals—for the entire season. The fact that new coach Ben Olsen has apparently dumped any hope of saving face in the league for a Portsmouth-esque assault on the Cup certainly doesn’t bode well for avoiding the infamous record either. So who ...
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