Take the poll: Are the Galaxy and MLS better off without a violent defender like the departed Nigel de Jong?


When it comes to an opinion about a tough, imposing defender like Nigel de Jong few soccer fans are on the fence.

A player variously known as Nigel “King Kong” de Jong or the “Lawnmower” with a track record for violently injuring opposing players like former U.S. international Stuart Holden is either abhorred for his uncompromising, some would say dangerous style, or lauded for being the linchpin of an effective back four.

But it goes further than that.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has pointed out that de Jong’s qualities go beyond the merely physical; not only did he win 82 percent of his tackles during his brief Galaxy career, but he has completed more passes than any other player on the team so far this season.

“We don’t have an educated public that understands what he does,” Arena lamented earlier this week.

What do you think?

Are the Galaxy and MLS better or worse off for the departure of defender Nigel de Jong

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Poll: Thumbs up or thumbs down? Should the Galaxy re-sign Beckham?


You’ve heard the news, now take the poll:

Should the Galaxy re-sign David Beckham?
Yes, his 15 assists were a major reason the Galaxy won MLS Cup
Yes, but not at $6.5 million a year, especially if he heads off to the Olympics for a month
No, he can’t repeat his success in 2011 at his age
No! He’s been an over-rated prima donna for five years. The Galaxy should have offered more money to keep Juninho
Free polls from Pollhost.com

And if you’ve got more to say, feel free to leave a comment

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MLS Soccer Saturday Gameday: Chivas USA (0-2-2-) at Vancouver Whitecaps (1-2-2)

i-fc165d815d55a197ad842211d04bddbb-feilhaber.jpgWill it be Benny and the Goats? (AP Photo).

The big news this morning for Chivas USA fans is that cultured U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber has returned from Europe to join MLS – and the club gets first crack at him.

So what should the Goats do?

Is Feilhaber the sort of quality midfielder Chivas USA can build a team around?

Or should Chivas USA take a pass on the OC native to maintain their spot at the top of the allocation order because they’re stacked at midfield and need a top-quaity striker more?

Or should Chivas USA take the talented player and then dangle him as trade bait?

Take the poll.

What decision should Chivas USA make regarding Benny Feilhaber? The club should:
Take him!
Pass on him
Select him – and then trade him
Free polls from Pollhost.com

As for today’s game:

*Reporter Phil Collin has a Chivas USA notebook.

*Here’s the Vancouver perspective.

*Teenager and overall top MLS draft pick Omar Salgado could make his Whitecaps debut today.

The game kicks off at 4 p.m. on Prime.

i-8fa442abfa341d0ffaa81bf355f6277c-whitecapsfans.jpg‘Caps claps: Vancouver is hoping its fans can turn their stadium into a Whitecaps cauldron and play their part in cheering them onto victory today (AP Photo).

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The vuvuzela poll

i-df1ac4dbbf03d354aecd33dea012cc99-usvuvuzela.jpg(AP Photos)

We had to ask.

The vuvuzela is:
Part of the soundtrack of South Africa, an enriching cultural experience
Something I can live with
They’re irritating, but don’t ban them
Damn annoying! Ban them
What’s a vuvuzela?
Free polls from Pollhost.com

By the way, couldn’t resist:

*Meet the Vuvuzela Symphony.

And also here’s who to blame/thank for the thing:

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — If only defender Neil Van Schalkwyk had not scored a tying goal for the Santos Cape Town youth team against Battswood 15 years ago, the whole noisy brouhaha over vuvuzelas might never have come to dominate the World Cup.

Amid the crowd’s celebrations that day, Van Schalkwyk saw a long, homemade, tin
trump et being blown — and an idea was born.

“That is the moment that stuck,” said Van Schalkwyk, who is credited as the inventor of the instrument that is loved by South Africans but has drawn a deluge of complaints from TV viewers around the world.

i-2b093dce21c4906ecf3a25901450e137-yellowvuvuzela.jpgWorking in a plastics factory, Van Schalkwyk figured there had to be some way to produce a horn with a similarly blaring sound.

“I lost a lot of sleep,” the 37-year old Van Schalkwyk said. “Now, my apologies to those who are visiting that they are losing a bit of sleep,” from vuvuzelas, which can be heard deep in the Cape Town nights. Some are even sold with earplugs included.

Van Schalkwyk began with 500 trump in 2001. A year later, he caught a break when
a company bought 20,000 as a promotion.

“It was, ‘Wow, this is the ultimate achievement,'” he said.

It was only a beginning.

He could not trademark the horn itself, “because a trumpet is a trumpet and has been around for centuries,” he said. So his company, Masincedane Sport, trademark protected the name “vuvuzela” instead. He defines the term as “to sprinkle you, to shower you with noise.”

Now Russians are knocking on the company’s door, as are Brazilians, for cooperation deals to get the authentic vuvuzelas there, too. Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup.

“It happened in the past few days,” he said. “It looks like the vuvuzela is going to Russia.”

Through the German company Urbas-Kehrberg, Van Schalkwyk already gets a percentage on European Union sales.

The craze is global. A vuvuzela was confiscated at Yankee Stadium in New York this week. In Britain, grocery store chain Sainsbury’s said it had sold 43,000 vuvuzelas at a cost of 2 pounds each — at a rate of one every two minutes.

Of course, far from everyone is a fan.

In France, they dislike the beehive din so much that a cable TV channel offers vuvuzela-free broadcasts for all World Cup matches, with the trumpZZTOets digitally tuned out.

Players have been criticizing the noise because they cannot take advice from the bench, and visiting fans have no chance for community singing amid the noise.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been leading the defense, though, much to Van Schalkwyk’s pleasure, calling it essentially African and refusing to ban it.

“We got 11 different languages (in South Africa) and certain songs are not understood by everyone,” Van Schalkwyk said. “There is one language they do understand and it is the vuvuzela.”

Even Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has come out in defense of the sound that’sbeen ubiquitous at this World Cup.

“It is amazing to see how it has transcended all levels of society,” Van Schalkwyk said. “I mean, that Archbishop Desmond Tutu can actually come out and defend it, considering all the criticism. Out of respect for the way that we celebrate football, people should also take that into consideration.”

i-f81f27d515cc57933cb91af838307ee5-kidvuvuzela.jpgIn the meantime, his company is putting 100 people to work during the World Cup.

With souvenir vuvuzelas selling for as little as $5, tens of thousands of fans are expected to return home from South Africa with a couple in their luggage. Van Schalkwyk thinks about a quarter of the estimated 2 million horns in the country are certified vuvuzelas.

He dismisses the players’ complaints about the noise, saying that after Spain exited last years Confederations Cup, where the world at large first got to know the vuvuzelas, the players still took many home in their luggage.

“After Argentina’s performance,” he said, “Lionel Messi will not be complaining about the vuvuzela bothering him.”

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Arena, Gonzalez, Donovan, Thornton, Ricketts Among MLS Award Finalists

Here’s the full list as released today by MLS:

Goalkeeper of the Year
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Fair Play Finalists – Individual
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Pat Onstad – Houston Dynamo
Steve Ralston – New England Revolution

Comeback Player of the Year
Brian McBride – Chicago Fire
Ben Olsen – D.C. United
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Visa Defender of the Year
Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders FC
Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew

adidas Referee of the Year
Alex Prus
Ricardo Salazar
Kevin Stott

Rookie of the Year
Stefan Frei – Toronto FC
Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
Chris Pontius – D.C. United

Coach of the Year
Bruce Arena – Los Angeles Galaxy
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC
Robert Warzycha – Columbus Crew

Newcomer of the Year
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC
Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player
Jeff Cunningham – FC Dallas
Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy
Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

MLS begins handing out awards Wednesday when the Goalkeeper of the Year and Fair Play Award (Individual & Team) are named.

Not much to quibble about there. Any notable omissions? Surprise contenders? But if Dallas had made the playoffs, Cunningham would have had a strong case for MVP. And did Olsen really “come back?”

The first one is a toughie and has an obvious local angle.

Who is your pick for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year?
Kasey Keller
Donovan Ricketts
Zach Thorton
Free polls from Pollhost.com

(With apologies to Mr. Thornton for misspelling his surname in the poll).

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Thursday Kicks

*An excellent Landon Donovan profile is here. I’m betting LD heads to Europe sooner rather than later.

Which reminds me – have you cast your vote yet for the Honda Player of the Year poll? Do it here.

Lastly, the Cal State Northridge men won their conference opener against UC Riverside Wednesday and next face New Mexico. More here.

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