Who Whistles the Whistlemen?

[...] Abreu's friends and relatives immediately "rushed into the field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body.

Local news media say the spectators also decapitated Silva and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field.

While we just bitch about MLS refs on Twitter. Clearly, MLS fans just don't take their futbol seriously enough...

(full story -- h/t @GrantWahl)

Blame Canada

A curious thing occurred to me when news of United’s acquisition of Alain Rochat dropped, accompanied as it was by mentions of his being Swiss by upbringing, but Canadian by birth. Even if you discount Rochat’s Canadian-ness, doesn’t it seem strange that D.C. United has so many Canadians on the roster? De Rosario is the captain, Jakovic[1] is a key member of the defense, and Porter has been seeing significant time on the flank by dint of an injury rash in midfield.

Again, ignoring Rochat for the time being, that’s three Canadians getting major minutes for the club. And that made me think (1) why so many Canadians, and (2) what about the actual Canadian clubs in MLS?


Outside of Nana Attakora getting minutes as center back cover in San Jose, I can’t think of any Canadian picking up major minutes for an American MLS side (outside United, of course). But maybe that’s because the Canadian MLS sides are hoarding the limited supply of native talent?

Not so.

Vancouver, outside of the recently dealt Rochat (who, for the purposes of this post we’ll class as Swiss), has exactly one Canadian player (Teibert) who has featured even semi-regularly. Indeed, they only have three Canadians on their entire MLS roster.

Montreal? Bernier is a key cog in their midfield, but he’s one of just four Canadians on their MLS roster, and the other three are bench-fodder at best.

Of course, there’s always Toronto, the first bulwark in Canada’s MLS invasion. They do have a handful of Canucks (think Morgan, Osorio, Henry, Dunfield) in and around the game-day roster, but even then, only Morgan is among the top 15 on the roster in minutes played.

All of which begs the question: why does D.C. United, of all teams, feature what is likely the most significant Canadian playing presence in MLS?

And, sadly, the follow-up: is it any coincidence that the two teams which most feature Canadian players are the two teams that haven’t yet reached double digits in points and sit at the foot of the table?

Blame Canada[2].

  1. An inverted-Rochat, if you will; Jakovic was born in the former Yugoslavia but raised (and received his soccer “education”) in Canada.  ↩

  2. I’m being flippant, of course, and probably subconsciously channelling some of the furore surrounding the Sydney Leroux vs. Canadian fans nonsense, but still…  ↩

FM Scouting: The Sedan Trialists

No screenshots or in-depth examinations on offer here, but a quick dive into the FM 2013 Editor gives us a decent scouting report on the two CS Sedan players currently on trial with United. Based on the (admittedly) rough measure of current/potential ability, both are in the “not quite indispensable, but certain MLS starters if fit and on form” category (think Jakovic). Both are also low-controversy, ambitious professionals., which can’t hurt.

Mamadou Diallo

Positionally best as a striker, but also capable on playing on the right flank, Diallo fits the Benny striker mold in that he’s a hard worker with good strength and reasonable, if not great, technical quality. While strong, he’s not an aerial powerhouse, relying more on above average speed and movement, preferring to exploit the channels between defenders.

Sadly, while he’s rated as one with a flair for the big occasion, he’s not exactly going to set the world on fire with his finishing. His playing history backs this up as he’s never been what you’d call prolific.

Assessment: Don’t see much difference here between Diallo and the current stable of attackers.

Habib Bellaid

Bellaid is a center back who can also do spot duty on the flanks. He’s a smart, consistent, and determined player who reads the game well and is reasonably technical. He’s fast and strong, but maybe not the quickest over short distances, and prefers to play his way out of trouble rather than hoofing it.

It looks like he was a regular Ligue 1 and Bundesliga starter a few years ago, but has been bouncing around of late further down the tiers in Germany and France.

Assessment: His playing stats indicate a blend of Jakovic and McDonald. Couldn’t hurt to have another quality option in the middle, though I think I’d rather see Shanosky and White get blooded more at center back since this season is pretty much a wash minus a possible cup run.