Author: Steve Davis

FC Barcelona v Levante U.D - Copa del Rey Quarter Final

Pondering those Carles Puyol-New York City FC whispers


I’ve known Jason Kreis since he was a rookie midfielder who practically refused to speak to the press; he humbly preferred that reporters talked to the established veterans, never mind that he was already one of his club’s top talents.

Still, I cannot pretend to know what’s in the guy’s mind.

I can, however, speculate with some education. And I would speculate that this Carles Puyol-to-New York City FC thing is a bunch of hooey. As we know, 80-90 percent of these aging-Euro-to-MLS media plants are hooey, so I’m not exactly betting the longshots here.

No, Kreis probably doesn’t have the final word on this stuff. Honestly, between the suits abroad (at Manchester City) and technical director Claudio Reyna, who knows where the balance of power lies with this fledgling of a club?

But here’s the deal. Puyol, who presided so regally on some absolutely wonderful FC Barcelona teams, is about to turn 36 (on April 13).  So, that will a “36” with a recent history of injury – and that is not a good 36.

New York City FC will not begin passing and trapping until 2015 (when the club officially begins as MLS club No. 20). So, a month into his first MLS season, Puyol would turn 37.

And as I like to remind everyone at every turn, the extensive travel and the summer heat of MLS is tough, tough adjustment. It’s tough on a 27-year-old, much less a 37-year-old with a history of injury.

Chances of Puyol leading Kreis’ back line a year from now? Just a little bit better than the chances that I’ll be leading his back line at this time next year.

Obafemi Martins in form for Seattle; what does that mean for other matters around CenturyLink?

Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin

An interesting thing is happening in Seattle. While everyone awaits Clint Dempsey’s arrival and wonders if he can slip out of the mean ol’ fog that has descended around him, and while so many wonder whether these Didier Drogba whispers may come to fruition around the Pacific Northwest side … the team is scoring goals.

Imagine that! Eat your heart out, Drogba!

And the goals are largely thanks to Obafemi Martins.

Seattle is 5-0-2 in the preseason; Martins has three goals, including the team’s only tally Wednesday in a 1-1 draw with Houston in the ongoing Carolina Challenge Cup.

While the team’s preseason record is no big deal – preseason success, often inflated by wins against lower-tier pro clubs or even college teams, is no indicator of what’s ahead when things get real – Martins’ good form is certainly a point worth discussion.

Will it, for instance, change the equation as Seattle ponders Drogba (who may be going elsewhere one way or the other)?

Will Martins’ good form remove some pressure from Dempsey, who won’t feel the immediate weight of needing to carry his team’s scoring burden?

Will an in-form striker allow Dempsey to fulfill a slightly different role, just a little further from goal?

A roster spot in New England for Shalrie Joseph? Far from a done deal

Kalif Alhassan, Shalrie Joseph

There aren’t many figures around MLS who are reservists, at best, and probably heading toward a bunch of late-appearances and U.S. Open Cup starts, who can still command our attention.

Shalrie Joseph is one of them.

Joseph, as we all learned last week, is in the New England Revolution’s preseason camp.

This wonderfully thorough piece from The Bent Musket, a New England Revolution blog, does a great job of detailing all those pot holes and low-hanging branches along this road.

There are contract complications and perhaps some politics that brush up against the possibility of hard feelings.

Here’s just a slightly different take, or perhaps the very same take, just seen a little different way: It’s all about Joseph and what he’s willing to accept.

He has always been a fiercely proud man. But at this point, as a 35-year-old midfielder who spent a significant portion of his career playing on artificial turf, he has to realistically assess his ability to contribute.

And he has to be willing to accept a completely different role. Scott Caldwell is this team’s holding midfielder.  That’s not to say Joseph cannot come in and fight for a spot; that’s fine.

But he’s probably not going to unseat Caldwell, who performed so well last year as a rookie. And he has to show right now that he’s going to be a loyal soldier, a total professional and 100 percent supporter of all coaching decisions, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”

Joseph is in that small group MLS men who served brilliantly over a bunch of years but never won an MLS Cup. Taylor Twellman and Jason Kreis are other fine examples.

So it would be great to see Joseph finish a remarkable career where it started – but he’ll have to make some personal concessions to get there.