James Coston's recent Hat Trick and QOTD got me back in the mood to do another one myself. After all, my last one came in late January so it's about time. The 3 topics I picked today are all good talking points, and 2 of the topics certainly have ramifications in terms of the Chicago Fire. As always, the customary QOTD will appear after the break, along with the rest of the hat trick. And with that, away we go...
1. I am going to be honest, I can't stand Carlos Tevez. The guy has talent that can't be argued with, but his 4 month long soap opera with Manchester City is pretty disgusting. I have mentioned him in my articles before, but a new development in the situation takes an already odd situation (which is happening more and more now in the world of soccer unfortunately) and really puts it in the realm of wackiness. For those that haven't followed the Days of Our Lives-like plot, here's the nutshell version: money, greed, fighting, and egos. Current Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and star striker Tevez had a falling out last fall. They just couldn't play nice, as this article describes. He was suspended, brought back, kept away from the first team, and everything in between. The boiling point was finally reached, with Mancini proclaiming that Tevez would never play for the club again, he would have to be sold. This wasn't a shock to many people as Tevez had been looking to get out of the club actively before this all went down.
Manchester City's asking price for Tevez was too high, and although a couple of deals nearly came to fruition, they fell through by the end of the European transfer window. So, everyone assumed that Tevez would just sit out until he was sold or Manchester City got a different manager, possible reconciling the situation, right? Well, wrong actually. In a shocking turn of events, after Tevez has claimed that Mancini "treated him like a dog", he is nearly back with the club again. That's right folks, he is trying to reconcile with a manager who said he would never play for the club again by accusing Mancini of poor treatment.
While both parties share some blame, I think Tevez is the one far more in the wrong (as numerous accounts of his behavior at Man City can confirm). Many professional athletes have large egos today, I understand that as it is part and parcel of the business. But Tevez takes it too far. The guy makes $315,000 a week! To me, being "treated like a dog" would mean you are being treated inhumanely. To Tevez, it apparently means having an argument with your coach (which happens at all professional levels) and getting your feelings hurt. If that's what it takes to make $315,000 a week, where do I sign up? Hey Carlos, countless people in the world have REAL problems. You make more in 6 months than most people do in a lifetime. Quit trying to play yourself as the victim. Be a man and be thankful for what you have rather than acting like a spoiled 3 year old. I couldn't care less if he ever gets to play again, in fact I hope he never does.
2. Part two of the hat trick is a sad one. For this, we head to the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and the legendary Scottish club Rangers. For those not familiar with the SPL, there are two teams that stick out well above the rest of the league: arch-rivals Celtic and Rangers, who together make up one of the best derbys in all of soccer, the Old Firm derby. Unfortunately, Rangers has fallen on hard times, and has shockingly gone into administration. For those unfamiliar with that term, think of it as declaring bankruptcy (in the UK, the term bankruptcy is more used for individuals declaring it rather than businesses). Needless to say, it's never good for anyone to go into bankruptcy/administration, and it's even more sad when it's a legendary club like Rangers. Most people would say the SPL has been in a downward spiral for the past 10-15 years as level of quality play has also fallen from where it used to be.
This certainly has implications for a few US players. Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya, and one Carlos Bocanegra all currently play for Rangers. I probably don't have to tell you that teams in administration can't afford their bills, and thus have to start cutting costs. While all the players I just listed have the talent to continue to play outside of the MLS, our recent speculation about if and when a Boca return could ever happen for the Fire can certainly be re-kindled. While there are many possible scenarios here, clubs in administration regularly have to jettison players to get their wage bills down and try to get control back of the club. This is also common when a team gets relegated and no longer has TV revenue or guaranteed ticket sales that playing in a higher, more prestigious league generates (i.e. EPL money vs. Championship money). This could get interesting if Boca, along with any of the other US players, ends up leaving Rangers. Could a return to the Fire sooner rather than later be in the cards? If so, it would be through the USMNT player allocation order. The team confirmed to HTIOT on Monday that Chicago does not retain his MLS rights.
3. Orrin Schwarz over at the Daily Herald is always a good read for any Fire fan. Orrin had a wonderful article yesterday pondering what may happen to Logan this year with the crowded midfield the Fire now have, something which was a weakness only a year ago. My how the times can change quickly. While we did have a blurb about this yesterday on the site, I felt it is certainly a very important topic that deserves a bit more inspection.
Although Logan sometimes causes a divide in opinions between Fire fans, you can't take away from what he means and what he has done for the club. Since being drafted in 2003, he has made 227 appearances for the Men in Red, as well as earning 6 senior USMNT caps. Apart from that, he is also the Fire captain. He has been a hard working and reliable player that plays any role asked, as well as providing a leadership type of presence to the team. Despite what some might feel about his soccer skills, who wouldn't want a player like that on your club?
With the busy offseason the Fire have had, the team now looks at a midfield that is distinctly its strong point. While we have an tremendous goalkeeper inand a very solid back line, when you look at depth and talent available, the midfield is rife with it. is clearly the best defensive presence there. Dan Paladini is certainly a very solid DM as well. When you throw in Grazzini, Nyarko, Pappa, and newcomer , the midfield suddenly gets very crowded. Part of the equation here is what formation settles on. That will help indicate who plays where and who the starting XI has room for. This is certainly a very good topic to debate. I have seen a couple of recent comments here on the site pondering this very subject.
One other thing to consider in all of this is the Captain's armband. While there is not set formula for who should wear it, traditionally it goes to someone that is going to lead the team into battle every game (if healthy, that is). If Pause does reprise his regular role, there shouldn't be an issue. However, if he starts seeing the bench more than he does the starting XI, it will be interesting to see what Frank does with the Captain's armband. While it's hard to take it away from a player for any reason, one has to wonder if it will be re-allocated if Logan doesn't see the starting XI nearly as much this year. Logan has long been a loyal Fire player, but Frank has the tough job of picking the best XI every game, regardless of who that is. We shall see how it all shakes out soon.
Question of the Day
Where do you think Logan will end up fitting on this years team? Have a say below: