MLS All-Star Rumors, Stats & More

While speculation continues over the Galaxy’s reported interest in former EPL star Nolberto Solano (see previous post), another rumor has resurfaced: the future of Landon Donovan.

The source of this one was two-fold.

Donovan was quoted by England’s Sky Sports as saying:

“The older I get and the more I play, the more I’m yearning for that highest level I can play at. I think the Premiership would be the best place to play.”

The Web site Yanks Abroad further stirred the pot when it quoted Donovan’s agent Richard Motzkin as saying “sure,” Donovan would consider a move overseas by Aug. 31, providing an actual date that lends a sense of urgency to the story.

A couple of observations.

First that quote by Donovan is not new. I’ve heard him say pretty much the same thing annually since he returned from his aborted stint in Germany.

Donovan loves Southern California. Still, if any club outside Germany dangled a big enough contract at him (his MLS paycheck is relatively modest by EPL standards) you can bet he would consider it.

The second report is more notable for what it doesn’t say than what it says. The Yanks Abroad report is technically correct, but they didn’t need to run to Motzkin to get the Aug. 31 date.


That’s when the European transfer window closes so Donovan would have to get traded by then or wait until the New Year.

So where does that leave us (and Donovan)?

Probably in exactly the same place as last week. Or last month. Or last year.

And remember, if MLS sold Jozy Altidore for $10 million as rumored, how much would they demand for Donovan?

That said Donovan will certainly be in the shop window at Thursday’s MLS All-Star Game (live at 4 p.m. on ESPN).

ESPN observed today that:

“ESPN International will provide live coverage of the match in 87 countries and territories reaching more than 17 million television homes. Tape-delayed presentation of the 2008 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game will also be distributed in 19 countries and territories reaching over 22 million homes.

While we’re talking numbers, the one-year anniversary of David Beckham’s arrival in the U.S. has prompted a small tsunami of stories summing up his effect on the game here.

Perhaps the best though is one the fewest number of people have seen because it appeared in the subscription-only trade magazine the SportsBusiness Journal.

So for those of you who haven’t (and can’t) see the story here are the salient stats from it:
*”Television viewership on ESPN2 rose 17 percent to an average of 289,000 viewers over 15 matches in 2008, compared with 246,000 viewers over 13 matches in 2007. Ratings remained flat at a 0.2 cable rating.”

*To put that in context the magazine observed “ESPN2 drew stronger ratings for its (midday) Euro 2008 coverage. … Those games averaged a 0.6 cable rating and 673,000 viewers.”

*”Average attendance for MLS over the first half of the season — which will be Beckham’s first complete season with the league — increased 8.8 percent to reach a 12-year high of 16,378.”

(To put that in perspective, those figures are skewed because of the massive 40,000-plus crowds Beckham draws in places like New York.

*”Beckham’s Galaxy led the league in average attendance with 22,586 fans through 10 home games at midseason this year. Only three other teams — Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC and D.C. United — averaged more than 15,000 fans a game.”

Returning to the subject of the MLS All-Star Game, after an altercation between West Ham United and Columbus Crew fans at a recent friendly between the two teams authorities will closely monitor the contingent of English fans arriving in Canada for Thursday’s game.

If you read my rant Tuesday on the All-Star game (be sure and check out the comments at the end of the piece) you know how feel about it. I’m not the only one who questions its value.

Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers didn’t sound too broken up about missing the game. But then, he’s going to the Olympics.

Finally, former Los Angeles Times Chivas USA beat writer Jaime Crdenas has bid an eloquent farewell to the newspaper (and possibly sports journalism).

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!