Monday Soccer Insider With Kartik Krishnaiyer

Editor’s note: World Soccer Talk’s Kartik Krishnaiyer kicks off a brand-new weekly column that’ll delve deeper into many of his insights from the past weekend of world football. Look for his column every Monday.

The Football League kicked off its 125th season on Friday and the sentiment of the matches was well displayed by the league. A lot of people knock English Football’s willingness to take foreign money and allow rampant foreign ownership, but this weekend once again showed nobody has the time honored traditions, nor the traveling support throughout the professional game, that England does.

It is just one weekend and I am not Owen Coyle’s biggest fan, but his free-flowing attacking style seems to fit this current Wigan Athletic team very well.  I felt that Coyle’s tactics at Burnley and Bolton showed a degree of naivety and I always felt he benefited from favorable press coverage because of his personality. When Dave Whelan selected Coyle to replace Roberto Martinez after the Spaniard’s move to Everton, I was shocked. But perhaps Coyle is the right fit for this specific set of players. Wigan maintained a lot of quality after the drop and should be one of the favorites to back go up to the Premier League regardless of who manages them.

It was especially good to see how lively Leon Best was coming off the bench for Blackburn Rovers in the 1-1 draw at Pride Park against Derby. Best was a great hope for the Republic of Ireland and I felt that when he linked up with Newcastle, the sky was the limit for him. Unfortunately, injuries and other factors limited his effectiveness but yesterday’s dynamic performance was a good sign of a recovery that Blackburn can benefit from.

Joey Barton played well for Queens Park Rangers. But I don’t want to spend too much time on him until we know who will actually be with the club after the transfer window shuts. Harry Redknapp has lots of decisions to make about his side. They have a lot of excess baggage that needs to be shed but can also help them for a few games in August in the Championship. One good sign was the return of Alejandro Faurlin, who — for my money — was the best player in the Championship in 2010-11. Faurlin was quickly discarded by Redknapp when he took over last December and the Argentine spent an unhappy few months on loan in Serie A before returning to QPR following relegation. Faurlin is the type of tested Championship player QPR needs more of instead of Premier League rejects and high wage earners.

I find it very telling that Alex Morgan is featured in the long FOX Sports 1 Happy Days are Here Again promo while no male American soccer player is featured. No question, at this point in time, her and several other US Women’s National Team players are more prominent than any of their male counterparts.

One of the most underrated transfer signings of the summer could be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Borussia Dortmund. A versatile attacking player at Saint-Étienne in Ligue Un, he should provide important cover and depth for BvB this season.

The Cesc Fabregas saga appears to be nearing an end. Or is it? All indications are that the player is not going anywhere but I still think a potential Wayne Rooney sale could force Manchester United to make an offer Barca cannot refuse for Fabregas.

We saw the return of the New York Cosmos this weekend. The Cosmos brand, still arguably the biggest in American soccer, is so big that Pele lit up the Empire State Building on Thursday and the team rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Friday. A sellout crowd saw the Cosmos defeat traditional rivals Fort Lauderdale 2-1 with the winning goal in stoppage time.  Many have opted to ignore coverage of the Cosmos return and that is certainly a choice that can be justified, but the sellout crowd and general enthusiasm around New York this week for the game could not be ignored. As a side note, Fort Lauderdale took as many traveling fans to this game a 1,000 miles away as they typically do to their local derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. That alone says a great deal about the historic nature of this rivalry and the Cosmos return.

Congratulations to the Austin Aztex and RVA Football club, winners of the PDL and NPSL respectively. These are the fourth division leagues in the United States and a very important link in the development chain for American and other US based players.  Neither league gets as much love as it really deserves in the US soccer press, and I was personally disappointed to see so little coverage of either title game this weekend among more American counterparts in the media.

26 thoughts on “Monday Soccer Insider With Kartik Krishnaiyer”

  1. With MLS wanting to expand to 24 clubs could you see Cosmos forcing their way in or are they married to the NSDL?

      1. I think they are committed to NASL for the foreseeable future. But we’ll see long-term what happens.

  2. Nice to see Krishnaiyer is at it again. Patronizing MLS and US Soccer by talkinjg endlessly about minor league and minor league teams and claiming the women’s game is better than the men’s. Do us all a favor and move to Europe if you hate MLS so much.

    Dempsey the ONLY US Soccer story this weekend yet it’s Cosmos and some minor league NPSL b/s from him.

    As for Alex Morgan they include that because they have the right to the girls league and not MLS you idiot.

    Between Gaffer and Kartik the self-laothing American complex on full display every day here.

    1. This is the problem. Lots going on this weekend outside MLS including two titles decided. Pity you don’t feel those grassroots clubs, players and fans are worthy of support.

    2. Why are lower league clubs “grass roots”? Are they not just real shi*y players running around trying to play the game?

      Tiny leagues and well below sub-par players will ALWAYS be just that… tiny. There is no talent. It’s laughing at a team, not with them.

      And the argument that the US soccer press should shed more light on these minnow clubs and teams just doesn’t hold any weight.

      It’s like trying to make the argument that ESPN’s baseball recap shows and whatnot should also devote a ton of time covering single (or double) A ball. But, they don’t. Know why? Because it bl*ws. No one cares.

      Krishnaiyer, I’m sure that your time working for the Strikers has left a soft spot in your heart for these lower leagues, but to the rest of us, it’s simply painful to stomach.

      New York who? Cosmos? Pele painted something green? what?


      You get my point.

      1. But Dorian, for many of us in the United States, the NASL or USL-PRO or PDL or NPSL (and other leagues) are OUR local team. I’m guessing you live near a MLS city, which — if true — skews your perspective. The lower leagues are an important part in the growth of the sport in this country. To ignore or dismiss them is doing a disservice to the game. No one is saying that the lower leagues are more entertaining than MLS.

        1. I’m no fan of Kartik but I can’t understand the grief he’s getting over his passion for the lower leagues. It’s the one aspect of his writing that I quite enjoy.

          Why all the hate? How did it become MLS versus NASL. Unfortunately Kartik has helped fan the flames somewhat but it’s a pointless debate. In a funny way maybe it’s a sign of progress that we can discuss US soccer in all it’s forms.

  3. They didn’t call Comrade Krishnaiyer the “Minister of NASL Propoganda” for nothing. Talking up the Cosmos which no one cares about. As a Man City fan you should know that if Cosmos were really a big deal NYCFC never would have been conceived.

    You would think after he left NASL because rumor has it he wasn’t wild about the challenge to MLS the leadership was launching he would stop regurgitating their talking points.

    As for the Alex Morgan thing, she’s hot. That’s the only reason she’s in that commercial. No one cares about her playing ability.

    1. LT — or should I say Tony since you’re posting comments under two different names from the same IP address.

      Just because you may not care about the New York Cosmos doesn’t mean that no one else does. It’s a big story from the weekend. Pele and Carlos Alberto flew in for the re-launch.

      Your comment about Alex Morgan is completely disrespectful to her and her teammates. She’s an incredible footballer, and a Gold Medal winner. A couple of the reasons she’s in the video is because she’s an American icon and she’ll be playing a big role at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which FOX Sports has the rights to.

      And it’s propaganda. Learn to spell.

      1. I’m no fan of the Cosmos but I can say that they’re a bigger presence here in NYC than I would have thought going forward.

    2. LT, interesting take on one of the best female players out there. I call that sexist, chauvinist and totally disrespectful.

      1. I think it’s a bit naive to think her looks don’t play a part in the whole marketing aspect. Tremendous at the sport, but her looks give her an extra push.

  4. I’m betting this new feature might have a shorter life span than a new fall sitcom on Fox.

    Kartik’s controversial corner has a better ring to it.

    1. It’s only viewed by some as controversial because some of his opinions are not the same, old repetitive things we hear from the soccer press on a daily basis.

  5. Sigh!!! i miss gaffer’s postings about Gus Johnson. havent seen one of them in a while.

    oh btw i agree LT STFU about Alex Morgan.

  6. Kartik – good piece! I agree fully on the Wigan/Owen Coyle point, and I kind of want to see Barton stay in England (and ultimately return to the Prem with QPR). With Jose back the league is seeing another increase in personality, so I love having guys like Barton around.

    …I’m going to add to the Cosmos comments…for most of us it’s a non-issue. I’ll start paying attention when they play in front of more than 5,000 fans regularly and with international-caliber players. (I know, 12k on opening night, but let’s see how long that lasts)

  7. Great point on Faurlin Kartik.

    What do you think about Hoilett, Barton and Zamora potentially staying in the Championship?

    None is really a “Championship player?”

    I like the Karl Henry signing.

    1. Hoilett is an interesting one because he seems to have really slipped after seeing himself as some sort of spectacular player. Being in the Championship with no Prem takers must be humbling indeed. Maybe now he’ll finally be willing to play for Canada. :)

      Zamora can help QPR but also can help a low-end Prem team. He’d be a good signing for a team fighting relegation but age and fitness work against him.

      Barton of course did play in the Championship the one season Newcastle was down, but a year after playing in Europe with OM and also featuring in some big games vs PSG he just may not behave himself for the full season.

      I think he’ll want to go back to OM as they are in the Champions League or go to the Prem, perhaps to Everton his boyhood club.

  8. Oh and yes I LOVE the Karl Henry signing though he and Barton playing together could be well, a real risk to end a game on nine men. :)

    But Henry the type of battling, passionate midfielder that QPR totally lacked last year.

  9. Thank god no Bale chat.

    Iteresting nothing on CR7 comments after the Everton game that he wasn’t sure about his RM future tho.

  10. Good piece. Best stuff in a while on this site. Great to be covering so many topics that people care about but don’t always find coverage on here.

  11. Keep it up Kartik. Love the coverage of the lower divisions both here and in the UK.

    I felt the Fox Sport commercial somewhat strange myself. The theme song made me a bit uneasy. Was it a swipe at ESPN? Will Fox take a lighter or less serious look at sports then ESPN? We will soon find out!

  12. I have a title for this column


    Let us see. Wigan, Blackburn, Queens Park Rangers = Minor League English teams

    Alex Morgan = NWSL. FOX not withstanding women’s league

    Cosmos = MINOR LEAGUE


    I guess Krishnaiyer is writing a column for all the geeky, loser minor league fans to talk among themselves about minor leagues.

    This site does not cover MLS well at all. The Major League in the USA much more compelling and important than all the “grassroots” soccer Krishnaiyer advocates on both sides of the Atlantic!

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