This weekend marks the last round of regular-season games in MLS for the 2008 season. There are still three playoff spots up for grabs (this column is being written before the conclusion of the New York-Chicago match on Thursday night) and five teams competing for those spots.
Even more important is the issue of the Total 90 mailbag. I received the first-ever mailbag question from Bleacher Report writer Tim Cary. A plaque shall be carved and bejeweled in his honor. Want to get in on the next mailbag, which will hopefully be a full-length column? Post your questions on my bulletin board or drop me a line via email. Remember, any and all football-related questions are welcome, not just those specific to American football. Get those questions in, readers!
The biggest news this week comes out of Los Angeles. It's MLS' worst-kept secret, but LA Galaxy star Edson Buddle will be making an appearance at La Curacao in South Gate, CA to sign autogra...
I've just been informed that nobody outside of Los Angeles county actually cares about the store appearances. That brings us to David Beckham's proposed loan move to AC Milan. This has come about because England boss Fabio Capello has announced (quite sensibly, I might add) that players who aren't performing at the club level will not be selected for the England squad.
Beckham can still contribute to the England squad and is willing to sacrifice a restful MLS offseason to help them qualify for South Africa 2010. He may find it difficult to break into the starting XI every week in Serie A, but manager Carlo Ancelotti has promised that Beckham would be used both domestically and in the UEFA Cup.
What will this mean for Beckham when the 2009 MLS season rolls around? Don't expect him to play a full season for Los Angeles. The Serie A season overlaps the MLS season, meaning that Beckham will have been playing for roughly a year straight at the beginning of next season with no significant rest. Bruce Arena will likely rest him quite a bit at the beginning of the season so he can contribute a lot later on.
As a result of New York's first-choice goalkeeper Jon Conway's ten game suspension for steroid use, backup keeper Danny Cepero was given his first ever MLS start. How did Cepero, a 2007 draft pick, reward his coach? By scoring a goal, of course. It's a historic goal, because it's the first time in the brief history of MLS that a 'keeper has managed to score. Cheers to Cepero for his efforts, we'll officially put Romario on notice that Cepero is on his way to a thousand.
Bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals begins tomorrow. The United States is among several countries vying for a bid. They'll be up against China, Russia, England and Australia. Sepp Blatter has hinted that a European nation is likely to host in 2018 and that 2022 would "perhaps be more preferable" for Australia to hope for.
This week's mailbag question comes courtesy of an excellent college football writer here on Bleacher Report, Mr. Tim Cary.
Can you lay out the mathematical possibility of LA Galaxy making the MLS playoffs (if they haven't been eliminated already)...and address the possibility of Donovan moving overseas at some point in the near future?
Tim submitted this question before LA was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Well Tim, LA's playoff hopes are pulling a Bon Jovi right now and Livin' on a Prayer. They need to win out and hope the teams in front of them lose. Neither scenario seems very likely since LA's last win came roughly during the 1849 Gold Rush.
The Galaxy's woes have most likely pushed Landon Donovan over the edge. He seems fed up with the situation in Los Angeles and European teams are showing interest, most notably Bayern Munich. He's young enough to still have several quality seasons for a team overseas and it seems likely that a few teams will make significant offers for him during the January transfer window.
If the offers are big enough, MLS won't be able to ignore them and Donovan can use his considerable clout domestically to influence a move. I'd like to see him ply his trade overseas, and I think Bob Bradley would too. Thanks for writing, Tim.
That does it for this edition of Total 90: Bleacher Report's finest (and only!) American football newsletter. Remember, get your mailbag submissions in!