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March 2010 Archives

Jon Busch, the popular goalkeeper cut loose by the Fire five days before the Major League Soccer season started, could come back to haunt his old team.
The San Jose Earthquakes are trying to sign Busch and, if they do, he could start against his old Fire teammates in their Toyota Park opener on April 10.
Busch, 33, was the MLS goalkeeper-of-the-year in 2008 and started every regular season game for the Fire the last two seasons. The club opted to go with untested rookie Andrew Dykstra this season and waived Busch.
If Busch does sign with the Earthquakes he wouldn't necessarily be their starter. Joe Cannon, a veteran, is entrenched in that spot even though he has had a series of wrist and knee problems.

Major League Soccer now has eight soccer-specific stadium, still not enough but progress is being made.
I just took a tour of the newest such facility, Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. -- the home of the New York Red Bulls. The Fire was the Red Bulls' first MLS opponent on their new home turf.
MLS' New York franchise has struggled mightily on and off the field since it came into the league as the MetroStars in the inaugural season of 1996.
The club's new stadium was too long in coming (it took 10 years of planning to get it built), but the facility 10 miles from Manhattan represents a big step in the right direction. Playing at cavernous Giants' Stadium was ludicrous for a soccer team, and Red Bull Arena is a huge improvement. It was built without taxpayer money, the team sponsor footing the bill for the 25,00-seat facility that cost upwards of $200 million.
What's to like? Seats are lower to the field than at the Fire's Toyota Park, creating a loud but intimate environment that's ideal for soccer, and the dining atmosphere is superior as well.
What's NOT to like? Parking will be a problem, and the stadium hasn't exactly excited New Yorkers. Toyota Park is still a mystery to some in Chicago, who still confuse its location in Bridgeview with the South Side community known as Bridgeport.
Red Bull Arena has the same identity problem.
Upon arrival in Newark I asked a hotel shuttle bus driver, a waitress at the hotel and a cab driver what they knew about Red Bull Arena, which is in a Newark suburb. None knew much of anything, though it is just 10 minutes from Newark's Liberty Airport.
My cab driver was completely frustrated trying to find it, and the club is hoping a goodly portion of the fan base will use other forms of public transportation to get to the games.
There was a sellout for the first match, a friendly against Brazilian powerhouse Santos, and 7,500 season-tickets were sold before the Fire arrived for the first MLS match at the new facility. A sellout, though, wasn't a given three hours before kickoff.
Red Bull Arena may be the newest MLS stadium, and -- with the exception of parking -- a cut above most of MLS' other soccer-specific facilities. But I doubt it'll be considered the league's best after the rest of the league has a look at it.

No question dumping a veteran goalie for an untested one less than a week before the first game created some controversy. Andrew Dykstra can end it by playing well in his first Major League Soccer game on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls.
It'll certainly be a trial under fire for Dykstra, and in the long-awaited MLS unveiling of the Red Bulls' much-needed new stadium to boot.
Though the Fire brass denies it, the dumping of proven veteran Jon Busch would seem to be salary-related and going with two untested goalkeepers is risky, to put it mildly. Starting Dykstra is one thing, but shouldn't a veteran netminder be on the roster, too, just in case?
What do you think?

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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