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Fake SIgi

The first MLS Cascadia Derby is over, but not before drawing almost every US fan’s (and soccer writer’s) attention away from the USWNT-Japan match in Columbusindicative of the plummeting fortunes of the US women’s game these days in this country, and maybe for feminism as a whole. “Consider your perception of the importance of a regular season MLS game relative to a men’s World Cup warm up game. Now to a women’s World Cup warm up game. It sort of boggles the mind, doesn’t it? And it wasn’t long ago that perception gap would have been unthinkable.” (Fake Sigi)

(Image: Slutwalk Vancouver 2011. Image credit: neonsighs/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)

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Against The Run of Play

The Run of Play — soccer blogging’s chalice of ambrosia, or a site where “far too many wasted words populate posts that go nowhere,” the Wordpress equivalent a Yngwie Malmsteen wankfest“? “I’ve built my own site on rage, heartbreak and transcendence. Nick Hornby sat utterly depressed at dozens of soccer games and so have I. Sometimes the purpose of sport is to mark time, feel miserable about something, get close to someone of the same gender, or a hundred other things that don’t involve enjoyment of the sport, and that’s totally fine.” (Fake Sigi)

The Late Late Late Show

MLS start times are as inscrutable as the ways of Job’s Yahweh…or are they? We want to be the league that no one really knows about. Scheduling games at the same time as say, a Plastikman show, gives us credibility in the burned out post-industrial urban markets of the midwest and northeast…. And not only will we be moving the times, but as this campaign evolves, you’ll see more games being pulled off tv and the internet. Promotion cycles will revolve mostly around stapling fliers to telephone poles, postings to obscure usenet groups and social media accounts that are started for one week and then pulled down, things like that.” (Fake Sigi)

Read of the Day: Self-Branding

A brand is something that prompts a choice, entices you to pay a premium. So while Houston and Vancouver are taking shit for some recent T&A advertising that’s not family-friendly, the real marketing issue for MLS is that nobody knows what the league stands for. If the core brand identity can’t answer “why are we here?” maybe that’s why we aren’t. (Fake Sigi)

Read of the Day: Charlie Davies Is For The Living

A woman is dead, another in prison, and Charlie Davies is alive and reborn as a soccer star. Unfair? Uncomfortable? “The one life that did emerge intact just happens to be the one that the soccer community collectively wants to see succeed, so we celebrate that life….We cheer because it makes us sad, hurt, and uncomfortable to think about anything else. Life is the most important thing. To live is to be grateful, even when those around us die or are interrupted.” (Fake Sigi)

Reads of the Day: There is No Methadone for This

The party’s over, and we’re already forgetting what she looked like. Futfanatico says reality has already been digested by the Spanish metanarrative, while David Gendelman at Fair Play says we’re all already losers. At True/Slant, Zach Dundas argued before the match that the two squads embodied the two sides of soccer: control versus incident, era versus accident. Fake Sigi says it wasn’t the worst World Cup ever, just “crap soccer masquerad[ing] as the pinnacle of the sport.” And The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle enjoyed watching the upending of North American notions of sport as a series of Hallmark moments.

Is the World Cup a Turd Sandwich?

Is anyone else just a little discomfited by the mandatory Kumbayas to World Cup nirvana? “Everything about this tournament feels cold and inhuman to me. It feels like everyone is going through the motions and dancing around a giant — how do I say this? — turd sandwich…Having to watch Bono prance around on a stage while post-colonial third world teams labor impossibly against the debt-laden richer nations has convinced me that the 2010 World Cup exposes more about what’s broken in our world than what’s correct.” (Fake Sigi)

Jeff Cooper in the Soccer Park with a Candlestick

Why did owner Jeff Cooper kill off St. Louis Athletica? Was it his own illiquidity? A stupid choice of business partners? Inattention? Sexism? A sinister plot? In any case, it seems that WPS — not to mention the team’s players, fans and beat reporters — knew next to nothing about the team’s Potemkin Village financial situation until it all collapsed. “Right now it depends on which Jeff Cooper you want to believe in. And neither one is attractive.” (Fake Sigi)

Read of the Day: Waiting Out the Fizzy Water

What does the push for another New York MLS team mean? It means Don Garber and the league’s owners have clearly “given up on the New York Red Bulls ever amounting to anything other than a financial sinkhole and a clever fizzy water ad,” an upside-down marketing scheme in which Thierry Henry means multi-millions in drink sales, not branding for MLS. After 15 years, MLS is biding its time until Red Bull sells or moves the club, watching “the last days of the most Pyrrhic of victories.” (Fake Sigi)

The Obligation to Support Women’s Soccer?

Should people support women’s professional soccer out of a sense of obligation? Should we shame MLS fans who don’t stick around for the WPS half of doubleheaders, like this past weekend in Washington? While the technical level of WPS is higher than MLS, which is plagued by bullshit fouls, cards and complaining, supporting any game should always be “our own choice and never an obligation.” (Fake Sigi)

Rethinking the MLS Audience

MLS attendance is up almost 20% year over year, belying fears about early crowds being down this season. Anyway, the figures have always been “slavishly tracked and overanalyzed,” argues Fake Sigi — attendance is just one factor of many that determine MLS teams’ profitability. Meanwhile, Ian Plenderleith of When Saturday Comes says the annual summer march of big Euro teams to the United States for “hollow, half-hearted” friendlies shows these clubs are “stuck in the 1980s, in the condescending mindset that thinks the US is still an unconquered footballing backwater.”

Read of the Day: The MLS Web Site Disaster

mlssoccer.com has come under withering criticism since its debut last month for missing data, screwed-up functionalities and a bent toward European news. But it’s worse than that — it’s a slapdash affair that belies a “complete lack of understanding of the digital medium” and is an “unforgivable and inexcusable” misstep by an marketing-led organization that “relies so heavily on publicity to bridge the gap to profitability.” (Fake Sigi)

Is Title IX Killing U.S. Men’s Soccer?

Why are U.S. women’s national teams favorites in world competitions, while the men are still struggling? Dwight Collins of Ocala.com blames Title IX for drying up men’s college scholarships and forcing those players to other sports. Kristine Newhall at Title IX Blog blames too many football scholarships; Eric McErlain at Saving Sports pulls some numbers; Fake Sigi turns a searing kleig light on the whole conceit.

MLSoccer_Soccer.soc

MLS_Soccer.soc: The new Major League Soccer website screams that MLS is part of the international soccer community and wants to appeal to American fans of such. But what happened to building the brand? Do we really need another ESPN Soccernet? (Fake Sigi)