Hey guys, I'm Ryan Sealock, and I will be helping out Tweed by posting some stories on a regular basis. I plan on doing an MLS news roundup at least once a week, and I will also be posting EPL results for those that follow the European side of the game. In specific, I will be highlighting teams with Americans, and more specifically teams with either Chicago natives or ex Fire alumni.
For my first column, I just wanted to do a run down of a few news points going on in the league, and possibly a few other interesting topics from the US or even around the world. I am sure you are like me, in that you care above the Fire first and foremost, and everything else comes after, but being a fan of the Fire also means I am a fan of the MLS, and I like to keep up on the news stories happening around the league. Follow me after the jump to read what's going on in the MLS world and occasionally going on in a few other places around the world. Feel free to discuss any points listed, and definitely feel free to give me feedback on any changes, subtractions, or additions you would like to see for future news roundups. JUMP!-Toronto FC fans are very upset with management, as prices were raised for season ticket holders for the 2011 season. In fact, the North End Elite, a TFC supporter group, pledged to stand in silence as a protest for the raised ticket prices during their Oct. 19th match vs. Deportivo Arabe Unido. The owners actually issued an apology letter to season ticket holders, admitting they "screwed up".
-All playoff spots are set, except for the final spot. Right now, the Colorado Rapids just need 1 point to snag the final playoff spot when they play the Galaxy Saturday night. However, KC is hot on their heels, and need to win, coupled with a Colorado loss to stay in the playoff hunt. The Wizards square off against New England Saturday night.
-Even though both teams have playoff spots locked up, it will be interesting to see how many starters play in the Real Salt Lake/FC Dallas match Saturday night. Both teams have impressive streaks on the line. For Real Salt Lake, they will be bringing a 24 match home unbeaten streak into Saturday's contest. FC Dallas has a much publicized 19 game unbeaten streak. Barring a draw, something has to give Saturday night.
-The MLS playoff format has come into scrutiny recently. The most recent vocal critic is Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, who has gone on record stating he would rather see the playoff matchups go to a seeding system, much like the NBA (where an 8 seed plays a 1 seed, 2 vs. 7, etc). Another popular argument is for the elimination of two conferences, and having a single table, much like the European leagues. Critics are up in arms due to the imbalance of power this year in the West vs. East conferences.
-Don't forget about Brian McBride's Appreciation Night Saturday, against D.C. United in what will be an emotional night for Brian's final home match of his career. It will truly be sad to see the legend go. It should be quite a memorable night Saturday.
-David Beckham has refused a final call up to England's International squad by Fabio Capello. Capello originally said he would not offer one more cap to Beckham a couple of months ago. He apparently changed his mind, and now the shoe is on the other foot as Beckham has turned down the invitation.
-The on again, off again sale of Liverpool looks like it is nearing completion. The American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are set to be ousted, only for Liverpool to be sold to another American owner, New England Sports Ventures, a group headed by John Henry that also owns the Boston Red Sox. A crazy legal battle has been taking place in the last week, with the old owners trying to bar the sale through the high courts of England. Liverpool fans have been up in arms for quite a while now, organizing protests and calling for the heads of Hicks and Gillett.
-How soon is too soon? Chelsea has reportedly signed an 11 year old striker for a reported amount of 10,000 pounds (a little over 16,000 USD).
-And, in international news, the US has officially withdrawn it's name for consideration for hosting the 2018 World Cup. We will now focus our efforts on the 2022 World Cup. Rumors have swirled for a couple of months that there might be a "handshake" agreement, in that if the US is willing to withdraw it's name from consideration for the 2018 WC, then that might strengthen and gather votes for the 2022 games. While the US has long been considered the favorite to win the 2022 WC, I am now hearing in the last few days that this may in fact not be true. Time will tell, the decision for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be announced by FIFA on Dec. 2nd.