wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Monday, March 20, 2006

JOB 100% healthy and coming to MLS

...reports Yanks Abroad. This is huge news on both levels. Let's consider the first part first. If JOB is truly at full health, that's unalloyed good news for the US. As possibly the most talented player ever to take the field for us, he could shore up our midfield in a defensive role, play left mid, or even slot in at left back.

But can we be so confident that he really is back to full health? The quote in Y-A was from his agent, so should be taken with a healthy dose of salt. And even if it is true that JOB is 100%, that doesn't mean he's match-fit. ADO Den Haag doesn't seem to want him, and so one might say that if a team at the bottom of the Dutch Eredivisie isn't interested, perhaps something is amiss that should concern us as well. There is of course time to train into match fitness before the Cup (particularly if JOB goes to MLS), but then again what's to say that this isn't just the prelude to another injury? I love the guy, but JOB has been to injury-prone for me to feel confident that he can stay fit between now and June. But Lord I hope he does--even if we have to cover him in bubble wrap until the team arrives in Hamburg.

So what about the second part, O'Brien to MLS? This is still in the rumor stage, though talks are apparently ongoign with an undisclosed team. The soccerati have all kinds of opinions about where JOB will end up, many of which reflect an impressive understanding of the byzantine MLS salary-cap and player-allocation rules. The long and short of it seems to be that the frontrunners are Chivas USA and the Galaxy, given JOB's preference for SoCal (man, can I relate to that).

Chivas would be my preferred destination for John between the two. I don't think it does MLS any good to have a terrible loser of a franchise, so while I have no love for Chivas and think that the whole project was shakily conceived, since we're stuck with them, getting a quality player with star potential would be positive for the league overall. Plus, CUSA have seemingly given up the weird ethnic restriction thing they had been implementing during their first season, so JOB would be a good addition in this direction.

JOB might also go to the other LA team, not unlikely since he's been training with the Galaxy earlier this year during his rehab. The Galaxy already have Donovan, so the idea of arguably our two best midfielders playing for the same MLS team could create huge talent disparity issues. Of course, is this bad? Some might say no--that to have the equivalent of a SuperClub in MLS would galvanize support either in favor of or against the unusually strong team. I'm not sure about this; I wasn't an MLS supporter in the early years so I can't speak for what the feeling was like about DC United when it won three of the first four Championships (and was in all the first four finals).

Bottom line, JOB at full strength would be great--and unexpected--news. JOB in MLS would also be a major positive. It's too early to start counting on anything, though; the best move is to wait and see how this turns out.


Blogger mirarchi said...

JOB will re-injure himself within a month of coming back and getting playing time for whatever MLS club he ends up with. Bank on it.

12:12 PM, March 23, 2006


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