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Monday Soccer Insider with Kartik Krishnaiyer

portland timbers tifo Monday Soccer Insider with Kartik Krishnaiyer

England’s 4-1 thrashing of a good, albeit injury depleted, Montenegro side should be further evidence that the self-loathing elements of the British press just do not see what Roy Hodgson is building and why he has England playing the way he does.

Honestly, I don’t see a lot of cracks in this England side. Playing organized and tight as Hodgson insists on playing them means England will be competitive in every game next summer in Brazil, regardless of the opposition and irrespective of how stylish that opposition appears to be. No other national side on the planet has the pace and ability to counter the way England does. Andros Townsend’s development just adds to that, giving England additional cover for Theo Walcott. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be back soon as well. If England can find a reliable midfield ball-winner, reaching the World Cup semi-finals will not be out of the question. People’s personal preferences dictate slick football with nice passing. But England can play a different way, some would say “negative,” but I would say different — plus indigenous and progressive in its own way. I believe England will do well next summer in Brazil.

Switzerland, under one of the most decorated club managers of recent times, German Ottmar Hitzfield, is an interesting multi-ethnic side. The Swiss bounced back from a poor European qualifying campaign with a strong World Cup qualifying campaign in a weak group. The Swiss could be a tricky side to face next summer representing the same sort of difficult team to face at the group stage that they did in 2006 and 2010.

If Bosnia Herzegovina can wrap up World Cup qualification on Tuesday by defeating Lithuania, they will take a victory lap in November in St Louis in a friendly versus Argentina. The Missouri city has a large Bosnian exile community, and World Cup qualifying could give Bosnians everywhere some degree of closure on the 1990s Balkan wars.

The Portland Timbers supporters tifo unveiled on Sunday night at Jeld Wen field may be my favorite tifo of this season. As an obsessive Beatles fan, it may in fact go down as one of my favorites ever.

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rowdies who have won the Coastal Cup over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for the fourth consecutive season. It was also a banner weekend for Flight 19, the Strikers supporters group, who took a coach full of away fans (myself included) to St Petersburg for the game.

Speaking of the NASL, Commissioner Bill Peterson has been active on Twitter and on the airwaves during the past few weeks. His controversial interview with Pieter Brown of Ultras Alive is a must listen for anyone interested in lower division American soccer. Peterson talks in very aggressive terms about the potential competition between the NASL and Major League Soccer, echoing and expanding upon his comments to the BBC World Service the previous week.

The reaction among supporters I spoke with about the Ultras Alive interview on Saturday at Tampa Bay-Fort Lauderdale match was almost universally negative. While Peterson lays out his case case for why he feels the NASL can challenge the MLS’ hegemony over top-flight American soccer, most fans who are veterans of the minor league circuit in the United States are not in favor of yet another soccer war. Having seen teams and leagues come and go, most fans are skeptical of anything that could jeopardize the economic viability of the league. Many supporters just laughed at the interviews while others were genuinely unhappy that the league they support may embark on a reckless course. I will admit I was surprised by the reaction, having assumed the anti-MLS sentiments of some of the fans I know well, combined with almost slavish support of anything NASL has done or said in the past meant they would be more open to the idea of NASL challenging MLS, as preposterous as it might seem for most people. But it seems recent events chronicled best by Neil Morris of Indy Week have soured many of the most loyal supporters on NASL’s vision for the future.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

17 Responses to Monday Soccer Insider with Kartik Krishnaiyer

  1. jtm371 says:

    how is that Clint to Seattle deal working out worst than Clint to the Spurs.what a joke talk about someone stealing without a mask for the last two seasons.
    I know if he was healthy he would have been away for international duty but what the heck has he done for Seattle.SQUAT!

  2. Cosmos Fan says:

    The fans of the Florida teams do nothing but whine.

    They are jeleous of the Cosmos success.

    What we have done is nothing short of remarkable.

    Without the advantage of a ramp up to the season the other teams had we have run away with the league.

    Also your claim that NASL is a “minor league” is laughable. How can a “minor league” have the most sucessful and recognizable club in the history of American soccer while the “major league” as they call themselves and you seem to agree they should be called has teams and brands as anonymous as the Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and Chivas USA?

    HOW IS THE NASL MINOR LEAGUE?????

    Besides, the Cosmos are right now better than 2/3 to 3/4 of the teams in that so called “major league.”

    Also you reference Peterson’s interviews. MLS is a CLOSED LEAGUE with no growth potential, compared to NASL which is an open league with no salary cap, no restrictions on spending, no forced rules, no draft, and so on and so forth.

    So he makes a lot of sense. NASL will suprass MLS as he says in the next 3-4 years. The Cosmos have proven they are already at a higher standard than MLS and the other NASL team are not far behind.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

      You obviously have not followed lower division soccer in the USA for a very long time so rather than taking you down point by point, I will let you learn over time like so many others, myself included have. Every fan of a lower league team seems to have gone through a phase like yours before discovering that reality is very different.

    • Miami says:

      You are a total idiot. The Cosmos have had the rules the rigged for them and if you believe NASL with its constant money problems and fly-by-night owners is in any position to compete with MLS, you ought to go into used car sales with Peterson.

  3. brn442 says:

    So England will do well in Brazil after all? Without the help of “naturalized” footballers?

    Apparently, there are two writers named Kartik, writing for this site.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

      In fairness I did not write the headline for that piece. I have firmly said consistency for many months now on the EPL Talk Podcast that England will exceed expectations in Brazil next summer. But I think winning the World Cup will require competing on the same level as other sides which means considering naturalized footballers. If you listen to the podcast you know I have been very pro-Hodgson and consistent on this.

      • brn442 says:

        To be fair to the FA, I’m not sure that fan power had anything to do with Arteta not putting on an English shirt.

        The fact that he is not even British – naturalized or not, may have a lot to do with it.

        Also, it does not help that he’s never made any real desire to play for England, or will be eligible if he did, or that he may not even be good enough.

        I have no problem with any country, including England – recruiting non-native citizens, or anyone – ( the billion+ of the commonwealth for example,)as long as they have the passion & desire to play for the three lions and are eligible – per FIFA rules.

        I do however, have a problem with any federation recruiting slightly above average players – by their standards – (like Arteta,) to represent a country they have no real desire to play for, or have “any” ties to, not even any dubious parental lineage (1/2 the Irish team?)or were already naturalized.

  4. Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

    I have also been consistent in calling out the self-loathing English press whose obsession with Barca and Spain is sickening. Let England be England. After all it was the English who invented the sport and have grown it worldwide, not the Catalans or Spanish national side. Journos in England seem to want to wind-up audiences and not consider that England can have its own style of play that does not mimic Spain and yet be alright. Slick passing football is a personal preference of journos not a recipe for success when you have England’s talent pool.

    • brn442 says:

      Self-loathing is not just an attribute of the the English press; it’s how the English at large – cope with relative mediocrity, including sport, of a declining empire, in a post-colonial world.

  5. Paul says:

    So when are we going to discuss Fernando Dempsey’s for Seattle?

  6. Flyvanescence says:

    “England need a ball-winning midfielder”–another not-so-subtle reference to Gareth Barry? LOVE IT.

  7. Pele Head says:

    Coastal Cup? That is cute, by the way, the Cosmos were thoroughly romping the Railhawks.

  8. Smokey Bacon says:

    Holy sh*t! I find myself agreeing with brother Kartik on something. I’m with you regarding England. Hodgson is making progress. Things could get derailed tomorrow night but I’m telling you, we have turned the corner. I’m not sure about the need for a ball winner in midfield. England are becoming very strong in that area. Hodgson is to be applauded for introducing the likes of Barkley and Townsend. Hodgson has added organization and made us tough to beat. Now we are starting to see some team spirit. It’s all positive. Hopefully we can bury the ghosts of 1973tomorrow night.

  9. Scrumper says:

    Attack may be getting better but England are very frail at the centre back position. Whenever Montenegro really forced an attack the back line were all over the place. A better team will have us in trouble.

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