MLS Playoff Widget

Now that the MLS season is close to an end, the playoff picture will start to come into clearer view. Using the Embed Widget module for Drupal, I was able to take a block containing the standings as a single table and make it available as a widget that anyone can put on their own website. The hardest part was theming it to look halfway decent, because the module wants to use the Color API module to generate a color scheme automatically based on one color. I overrode that with a single theme preprocess function to get the exact colors I wanted.

You can get the code for the widget over at Behind the Badge.

Sounder at Heart has questions about how ties are broken, so I’ll have to give that another look to make sure its on the up-and-up.

Soccer stadium in Price George’s county?

I’d be tremendously happy to see D.C. United get its own stadium anywhere that is Metro accesbile. But the tone at the end of the article, about the county not being able to offer the team any incentive is confusing. AFAIK, the team hasn’t been looking for any locality to fully fund construction of a stadium, ala the Nationals, but would ask for investment in infrastructure improvements. If the latter are used to build better roads, bridges, etc that will benefit the whole community, I think its a win. It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, stadium developments happen this year and with this economy.

Prince George’s sets goals for soccer stadium

Still, Campos said it would be difficult getting the county to put forward any funding to attract the team.

“Right now, it would be tough with everything going on,” he said. “Clearly, we have way-bigger issues to worry about.”

Byrd agreed that governments have little to offer financially to the team.

“Incentives do not abound at this time,” Byrd said.

Jorge Flores living the dream

I hope US Soccer can find, and cap, more players like Jorge Flores, although there’s a lot of debate about how many undiscovered, diamonds-in-the-rough like him are out there. Still, if MLS and US Soccer can give opportunites to players like him, we could add some much needed Latin-flair to the game here. OK, I’m done channeling Paul Gardner now.

From TV to M.L.S., One Mexican Teen’s Soccer Dream – NYTimes.com

A lot more people are coming to know Flores, an 18-year-old, left-footed midfielder who had scored three goals in three games for Chivas before Thursday night’s 1-0 loss against the Red Bulls in East Rutherford, N.J. The most recent goal — a left-footed volley he ripped into the side netting against Columbus — was the type of dead-perfect shot any player dreams about hitting.

Blatter’s 6+5 Rule

The Sports Economist notes that the latest rule proposed by FIFA, limiting pro teams to a mix of 6+5 domestic and foreign players, would negatively impact Americans playing Europe. It would also lower the quality of play at home, since MLS would not be able to import more skilled players from the region and South America as it expands. Expansion will put more demand on the player pool, and lets face it, college soccer isn’t going to meet that demand by a long shot.

It is possible that soccer clubs would simply comply with the six plus five rule and keep on as they are. But lawsuits are sure to be filed by players who end up returning to a low-paying domestic league (think Irish, French, and Americans; this rule would also retard the development of players from the USA).

Quaranta in Baltimore Sun

Some candid talk from Tino about what was (is?) lacking in him as a professional soccer player. Kicking it into gear — — baltimoresun.com

In a recent interview, Quaranta (Archbishop Curley) said he often took his life as a professional athlete for granted. Now, after turning an invitation to train with United this season into a full contract, he is eager to not only become one of the best players in MLS, but to also perhaps go overseas and leave his mark on the world. To do that, the forward must supplement his natural ability with an unyielding commitment to staying in shape. "I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t take care of my body. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do as a professional," Quaranta said. "Yeah, I did take it for granted. That’s the truth. A lot of people might look at that and say, ‘He was ungrateful.’ But that is just the truth. That’s where I was at that point.