Pitch Points writes in its diary

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Alan Winn, thinkin’ ’bout soccer ball. Photo by Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Alan Winn, writin’ ’bout life. The Nashville SC rookie striker is writing a diary for the PDL website. That’s actually secret code for “does a weekly exclusive interview,” but there are still some interesting tidbits.

“I thought Pittsburgh did a wonderful job of staying organized. They had their 3-4-3 system going on and defensively they dropped to a 5-4-1, so they were very organized and structured and, credit to them, they were hard to break down.”

Good tactical talk (obviously something very near and dear to this site).

Also: :galvao: The fan favorite on his move to the USL side from last year’s PDL roster:

“It’s like the whole city has a positive energy,” said Galvão. “I feel positive vibes in the city, and that’s something that I haven’t felt in many of the other cities I’ve visited in the States. It’s definitely great to be in a great city with a great team with a great staff, a lot of good people and experience. The whole package together makes me feel very happy and very excited.”

What he said.

MLS players polled. Many of the questions are lame. But there are nuggets of goodness in some of this MLS player survey.

“There’s an emphasis right now with this league on signing young players from abroad with the TAM money, which is good from a business perspective. But if we want our young players to develop, if we want our federation to develop, if we want our national team to develop, these guys need to get games.”

Agreed – though I always point out that it’s not MLS’s job to help the federation develop talent, it’s the coaches’ job to win games and help the team make money. That said, I have wondered if TAM ends up resulting in comparable talents getting more playing time if they’re not domestic, from a simple “we have invested in this guy whereas that guy was cheap, so let’s not waste our money” perspective.

Do you favor promotion/relegation in MLS?

Yes: 63%
No: 36%
No answer: 1%

Editor’s note: In 2017, those in favor of promotion and relegation numbered 54 percent of those asked, compared to 49 percent in 2016 and 64 percent in 2015.

What the players said:

“To play on a team that’s fighting against relegation, it makes games mean something. In MLS, where we haven’t made the playoffs, those games are dumb at the end of the year. Because people just tune out. Fans tune out.”

“Where we haven’t made the playoffs” is pretty key here: As currently constructed, the playoff race (where every team that makes it has a chance for a championship) is similarly interesting to a relegation race. The difference is where in the table it happens – and of course to a certain extent, the seriousness of the consequences when you lose.

Click through, because there’s quite a bit more, including a pretty popular opinion (and one I agree with) that the playoffs in MLS take way too long. They ultimately make for a ridiculously long offseason for teams that don’t make the playoffs, among the many things that’s an issue with MLS’s ability to develop talent.


USMNT. Dave Sarachan extended as the USMNT’s interim manager through June. Kind of “blah” (especially after Tuesday night) but at the same time, if you’ve come this far, you may as well wait until after the World Cup to see who is and isn’t available. Gotta get him working in the best interests of the federation and MNT program rather than the interest of just worrying about a result, though.

The lack of a general manager thanks to a moronic job description plays a role here. Sarachan’s goals and those of the federation are not necessarily aligned right now. That isn’t to say they’re opposed, just orthogonal to each other.

Landon Donovan enjoying his mentor role in Mexico. I’ve brought this up before, but Donovan is a guy that US Soccer needs to get involved. However much of his “I’m here to help teach, not to play” is BS, that he’s at least saying it is meaningful. He can also be a help to young guys in figuring out a career path – because of, not despite, his failed stint(s) in Germany – and that’s what I’ve advocated for USSF to involve him doing.

In that vein, going along with obvious development things that the federation doesn’t think to do, how about a program through MLS (or maybe through the national team program, to include guys playing at a higher level overseas) that has career development stuff for post-playing days for these guys? I know there are some limited programs, but if Landon Donovan had the opportunity to earn USSF coaching licenses, or get front office training right now, wouldn’t that benefit the federation (in a huge way) going forward? Lack of quality coaches problem gets smashed in one generation of players.

A lot to unpack from this story about NYRB’s development. There are certainly legit arguments from the Columbus side of things (before even getting into #SaveTheCrew talk) that central Ohio doesn’t produce enough talent for a full USL side, but… doesn’t it still make sense to have an owned/operated team that you populate partially from your academy and partially from traditional USL signings?

Save the Fairgrounds, a topic that just won’t die. Steve Glover is engaging in a disingenuous, bad-faith effort to try to prevent a stadium from being built at all. “I don’t want a stadium” is a fine position to have (though one I – like probably every reader of this site – obviously disagree with). Misrepresenting that position to try to undermine Metro Council legislation that has already passed just makes you a bad guy (which every constituent from District 12 that I’ve talked to mentions is not a newsflash).

Now District 2 Councilman DeCosta Hastings has hastily (no pun intended but I REGRET NOTHING) joined forces trying to get the stadium moved to Metro Center. It’s a delay tactic for Glover, a face-saving one for Hastings after he rather embarrassingly showed he forgot what he voted for in November – or never read it in the first place – and now has to look like he’s sticking up for his constituents. After last week’s meeting, the chances that this goes anywhere are exactly zero, but Glover seems to get enjoyment out of the constant embarrassment he subjects himself to, and Hastings has put himself in a position where not proposing a #MMLSSTMC bill is no more embarrassing than the 37-2 annihilation his proposal is bound to take on the chin.

In actual productive stadium talk, not Metro Councilmembers putting their egos above the good of their city, NPR has a piece on the community benefits agreement meeting that took place last Thursday.

Etc.: ‘grats to former Michigan striker Francis Atuahene, who was assigned to OKC Energy by FC Dallas and scored his first goal opening weekend. … A ban on heading in youth soccer may be on the way around the world after the US started it. … The differences between the focus of the Canadian Premier League and MLS are interesting as a case study at the very least – and could be another factor forcing MLS to step up its game, at best. It launches in 2019. … Profile of US Youth International Indiana Vassilev from local media – to Aston Villa (where he just signed). … Talk on college soccer’s role in the development world. For now, it obviously doesn’t really fit in. I’m willing to wait for this thing to blow up in the next 2-3 years before I bother figuring out the way to shoehorn it in. … Nashville Scene talkin’ Goalden Ale and Nashville SC.

Don’t forget to follow the site on Facebook and Twitter. If you come across a story you think I should include in a links roundup, send ’em to me there or you can e-mail me.

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