July 25, 2015 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Taking the long view with the US National Team
CHESTER, Pa.---Let’s be clear. Results matter in sports. Coaches who don’t get results get fired. It's plain and simple. But there are different kind of results. Yes, winning the Gold Cup, appearing in the final, even winning the third place game should mean something. Same for getting to the Confederations Cup, even though it is a contrived tournament created by FIFA to further clog the calendar and extract money from fans and sponsors. But not winning those competitions (or in the case of the Confederations Cup not getting there) is not the end of the world.
July 13, 2015 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
What’s next for women’s soccer?
So, what’s next for women’s soccer? The United States won its first World Cup in 16 years, drawing a record TV audience for a soccer game of some 25 million, as well as a throng estimated at 200,000 for the victory parade down New York’s ”Canyon of Heroes.”
June 13, 2015 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Grandstanding politicians don't help
First, a geography lesson. U.S. Soccer is headquartered in Chicago. Hope Solo, when she is not on the road keeping the U.S. Women's National Team in games, lives in Washington. The state, not the city that is domicile to our largely do-nothing congress.
June 11, 2014 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
What the Union need in a new coach
For the second time in little more than two years, the Philadelphia Union have an interim coach, the third coach in the team's five-year history. And team President Nick Sakiewicz promises a "serious global search" for the next permanent headman. Better Sakiewicz should save the frequent flyer miles and scour MLS lineups.
May 4, 2014 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Time for a change at Union?
When John Hackworth took over as Philadelphia Union Team Manager a little less than two years ago, he took over a struggling team that had made the playoffs the year before, been remade over the offseason and was stuck in the bottom half of the MLS East with a 2-7-2 record.Now the Philadelphia Union finds itself with a team remade during the offseason and is stuck in the bottom half of the MLS East with a record of 1-4-5.
September 18, 2013 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
HBO Sports could use a soccer primer
So, HBO’s Real Sports has finally discovered soccer. After doing a one-sided hatchet job on Chivas USA a few weeks ago, the cable TV magazine show aired a downright positive piece on Seattle Sounders FC Tuesday night. Sort of.
September 10, 2013 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
The air is different at a big event: USA-Mexico has that feel
COLUMBUS, Ohio---Big events have a certain feel to them. Sports fans know what those events are. Sometimes they are championship games. Sometimes they are rivalry games. Red Sox-Yankees, Michigan-Ohio State. There is something in the air. It’s different. You start to feel it approaching the stadium. It grows moving through the streets or the parking lots and becomes overpowering inside the gates.
May 27, 2013 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
14 is not 42
Robbie Rogers did a courageous thing by coming out, and then un-retiring, becoming on Sunday night the first openly gay male athlete to play in a game for a major professional sports team in the United States.
January 20, 2013 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Michelle Akers: Simply the best
Every sport has its legends -- Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Gordie Howe, Jesse Owens, Arnold Palmer, Richard Petty, Billie Jean King. Names that resonate even with non-sports fans. Even though she does not think so, Michelle Akers belongs on that list.
December 6, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Greatest American team ever? Not the Galaxy.
Following the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo to capture their second straight MLS Cup on Saturday, former Galaxy player and current team executive Chris Klein proclaimed the team the greatest in American soccer history. While winning back-to-back MLS Cups is impressive, the Galaxy are not even close to the best ever, by a number of measures.
December 2, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
A fitting exit for David Beckham
David Beckham left Major League Soccer on Saturday as he entered it – amid happy, celebratory chaos, his welcoming press conference and final hoisting of the MLS Cup trophy bookending a sometimes rocky road through the still-developing landscape of American soccer.
October 16, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Home at last
KANSAS CITY,Kan.---For as long as the United States has been playing World Cup qualifiers, it has been looking for someplace where it would truly have a home field advantage.
August 6, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
A true classic
In the short history of women's soccer at the world level, there have been a handful of epic games and epic performances. Monday’s Olympic semifinal match between the United States and Canada was one of the best.
July 29, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
All for One?
Hope Solo is probably the best women’s goalkeeper in the world. But there is something Solo is even better at than stopping opponents’ shots---stirring up controversy.
May 30, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
U.S. celebrates its past, dreams about the future
LANDOVER, Md.---While those of us who have been big supporters of the Soccer Hall of Fame mourn the loss of the campus and museum in Oneonta, NY, one of the nice things about combining the annual Hall of Fame inductions with a U.S. National Team game is that it provides the opportunity to not only reminisce about the rich past of the sport, but also look at the present, and perhaps even a little ahead to the future.
April 21, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
The Philadelphia Union may have been desperate to get their second straight win, and first of the year on the road, but their performance at Home Depot Center on Saturday night was nothing short of disgraceful.
April 2, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Chinaglia--The real straw that stirred the drink
In the 15 years that the North American Soccer League bounced its red white and blue star-laden ball across the continent, there were many great players who played in the league. World Cup winners, international superstars and legends like Pele, George Best, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Gerd Mueller.
None dominated the league and the headlines like Giorgio Chinaglia, who died on Sunday at age 65 in Florida.
March 10, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Ghost of NASL still haunts MLS
It’s not clear if, when working late at Major League's Soccer's midtown Manhattan offices, Don Garber hears the wind blowing through long abandoned soccer nets, or if he hears the eerie guttural chant of “Cos-Mos, Cos-Mos” that once cascaded down on the now demolished Giants Stadium. But it is clear the Commissioner of Major League Soccer knows there is an otherworldly presence hanging over MLS, which kicks off its 17th season Saturday with 19 teams.
January 17, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Indoor soccer is alive in Kansas City
Indoor soccer is alive and relatively well in Kansas City. Even if it is in a bit of a time warp. But hey, that's always been part of the beauty of indoor soccer. Turn out the lights, pump smoke on the field, blare 80s disco music and watch guys run around on the turf like they were in a pinball machine
January 7, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Whoops, WPS misses big opportunity
Thursday afternoon in the main ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber will step up to the podium to announce the first pick of the MLS Super Draft. Twenty-four hours later, Women’s Professional Soccer CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan will step up to a similar podium in a much smaller room at the same convention center and announce the women’s league’s first pick.
September 27, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
KC got it right
KANSAS CITY, Kan.---With all due respect to PPL Park and Red Bull Arena, both wonderful MLS stadiums, Kansas City has raised the bar.
August 18, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Great sports town? Prove it.
If this is such a great sports town, Saturday afternoon is the time to prove it. The Philadelphia Independence are playing their first game at PPL Park, a WPS semifinal game against Women’s World Cup heroine Abby Wambach and magicJack. The stadium is way too big for the crowds the team normally gets, but this is a chance for this great sports town to really step up and prove how great it is.
July 10, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
It’s not always the best teams, with the best players, with the most skill, that win. Sometimes it requires guts, persistence, a little luck and a player that can pick up the team and almost singlehandedly will them to victory.
June 26, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
A tale of two Phillys
CHESTER, Pa---There is no doubt Philadelphia is a passionate soccer town. Heck, it’s passionate about all its sports teams—well, almost all of them.
May 10, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Tough times for the women’s game
Seeing Brandi Chastain doing a promo for the upcoming Women’s World Cup reminded me just how much has changed in women’s soccer since that glorious summer in 1999, when the U.S. team was the darling of the entire country and Chastain wound up on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated after ripping her jersey off to celebrate her championship-winning penalty kick.
December 3, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Not shocked at FIFA’s decision
If FIFA had awarded the 2022 World Cup to Phoenix, Arizona, that would have been a shock. That they awarded it to Qatar, an Emirate with roughly the same population and summer climate, is not.
November 16, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
MLS embracing some NASL history, mis-remembering other
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber is certainly more accepting of the North American Soccer League, its history and what the league meant to U.S. soccer and to developing soccer fans around the country than the league’s previous administration. But he still needs to get some of his facts about the league correct.
August 29, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Thanks for 35 years of memories
There is a line in the epic baseball movie Field of Dreams, where James Earl Jones says baseball has marked the passage of time in America. Maybe so, but in my life it has been soccer. Sure I have been to many memorable sporting events, the World Series, Super Bowl, U.S. Open and New York Marathon, but it has been soccer that’s been there almost every step of the way.
August 8, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
To designate or not
A sellout at Toyota Park Sunday and another at Red Bull Arena next Sunday. It looks like the signing of designated players is having the desired early effect on Major League Soccer by boosting attendance for the teams signing the players.
May 29, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
For U.S. change has been for the better
PHILADELPHIA---When one reaches a certain age—and I don’t know what that age is, other than I am sure I have reached it---you have a tendency to look back at things and remember how they were and to think about how much has changed. Some remember the good old days, perhaps a little too fondly than they really were and others decry how much things have changed, usually for the worse.
April 28, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Will over-expanding be a problem for MLS?
Major League Soccer has caught lightning in a bottle with its last three expansion efforts. Toronto FC continues to fill BMO Field game after game, despite the lack of much of a reason to do so from the revolving door of players on the at-long-last-grass pitch.
It’s your fourth inaugural game for a new soccer franchise in a city that’s not even your hometown, and when something happens in that game that no one else in the press box has ever seen happen before and you have.
February 24, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
No buzz to spring training
There is no Freddy Adu coming into Major League Soccer this year. No David Beckham, either. There isn’t even a “will he or won’t he be back” debate or feud between Beckham and Landon Donovan. In other words, there is no buzz in the run-up to the coming MLS season.
January 7, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Labor battle can hurt soccer
Labor problems have plagued every American sport for the better part of the past four decades. Baseball, football and hockey have endured and survived major work stoppages.
I am not sure Major League Soccer can.
December 5, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Draw does matter to many
To read or hear certain comments in the media the last few days, you’d think no one in the United States cared about Friday’s World Cup Draw in South Africa.
Don’t tell that to the folks who gathered in Nevada Smith’s in New York or Fado’s in Philadelphia or La Huasteca and ESPN Zone in Los Angeles.
April 27, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Who hosts the World Cup should be a no-brainer
Sometime within the next year or so, one or more large loose leaf binders, videos and power point presentations will make their way from an office in New York to Zurich Switzerland. A letter in support of what those materials contain has already been sent by President Barack Obama.
Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter James Taylor wrote those lyrics in the 70s.
Now I’d like to add one more line.
I’ve seen everything.
February 2, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Voting for Hall of Famers a tough process
Last year, when no one among “modern era” players was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame , many of my colleagues railed about the process. There were a number of deserving candidates, but none got the required 75% of the vote from the members of the media who make up the voting panel.
January 15, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
MLS Draft has become a must-see event
ST.LOUIS, Mo---Back when the National Football League started opening its draft to the general public, in the late 70s, you could always count on Jets and Giants fans to show up for the event at a New York hotel. Maybe even a few fans would make the trek up from Philadelphia.
December 31, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
USWNT was 2008’s best overlooked story
The tv shows and sports magazines have been filled with the top stories of 2008. From the New York Giants winning the Super bowl to the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series. From Tiger Woods’ amazing performance in winning the U.S. Open on a bad leg to Michael Phelps and his eight Olympic Gold Medals.
Good thing then, that MLS imported some real fans from New York and Columbus to give The Home Depot Center some real soccer atmosphere. Other wise the place would have been pretty quiet, and that would have been a shame given the performance the Crew and the Red Bulls put on.
October 11, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Troubles? Not on this night
WASHINGTON, D.C.---No doubt this country has a lot of problems. The economy, the bailout plan, the war, the tenor of the Presidential race. Showing our patriotism and moving on to the next round of World Cup qualifying, however, do not seem to be among them.
May 16, 2008 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Plenty of soccer in the area
The Philadelphia market is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Major League Soccer. While that milestone is still two years away, there is plenty of soccer all around the area for someone looking for an inexpensive alternative.
Jan 8, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
If Seattle can, why not Philly?
I’m not going to make any predictions as to whether the state legislature will come through with the rest of the funding for the MLS stadium in Chester. Predicting what politicians will do is often more difficult than predicting the weather, and unlike the weather, you usually have less than a 50-50 chance of being right.
August 7, 2007 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Soccer bashers need to wise up
This is a column 30 years in the making.
I’ve held my tongue, or in this case typing fingers, for that long, deciding it was better to ignore the soccer bashers than to get into a war of words with them.
June 23, 2007 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Nomadic coach finds a home
There’s a former coach of a Philadelphia team, who has lived somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle, going from team to team, winning games and then moving on to the next team.