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The Daily Dirt March 21, 2018: Mixing it up

MLS overrated rankings and other soccer bits

MLS: Real Salt Lake at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday, almost halfway to being halfway to watching Atlanta United again. At the very least Miguel Almiron and Darlington Nagbe will face off next week in a meaningless international friendly. Andrew Carleton might also get more than 16 minutes in a game and Chris Goslin will get a chance to play at a higher level than U-17 as the USMNT U-20s take on the French U-20 side in Alicante, Spain - that game will be on today and followed up by a re-match on March 23. The team will then take off to play the U-21 Atletico Madrid team. So while we’ll be missing Atlanta trouncing some team like Vancouver, there will be some players in action - and ATL UTD 2 kicks off this weekend.

And you thought there wasn’t going to be soccer.

Anyway, onto the Dirt...


While a lot of teams in MLS have been middling about, transferring in the odd European castoff, giving dozens or fewer minutes to their academy players, and hoping one way or another to make the playoffs, the New York Red Bulls have done things a little differently. At some point, Atlanta should be positioned to repeat the success the Red Bulls have had with bringing their academy players up into the senior team, but the Five Stripes aren’t quite there yet - Andrew Carleton not withstanding. Alex Schieferdecker of Fifty Five One has a look at what has made the Red Bulls able to get to where they are and has some commentary about what a team like Minnesota can also learn from the Red Bulls.

Speaking of a pipeline to professional soccer, this is not so good...

Finally, in MLS - the annual ESPN narc fest where players trash talk their peers appeared. MLS is a weird league where guys like Bastian Schweinsteiger who make millions upon millions of dollars play alongside bench fodder making Honda Civic money. Imagining a World Cup champion screaming at a player like Matt Polster for not making a play that Phillip Lahm would is a never ending source of joy for me about the league. Anyway, Giovani Dos Santos is one of the soft-tattooed-millionaires who hasn’t done much and is still highly paid in the league - he’s the new Mix Diskerud! Oddly, two players who were on a record setting team that won MLS were right behind him with Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Imagine that, players have as poor of judgement as some fans and journalists, weird.

Here are your overrated players:

1. Giovani Dos Santos

2. Michael Bradley

T3. Jozy Altidore

T3. Gyasi Zardes

5. Paul Arriola

6. Benny Feilhaber

7. Tim Howard

8. Darlington Nagbe

9. Brek Shea

T10. Juan Agudelo

T10. Alejandro Bedoya

T10. Nemanja Nikolic

13. Dom Dwyer

And under rated:

1. Ignacio Piatti

2. Dax McCarty

3. Cristian Roldan

4. Wil Trapp

5. Darlington Nagbe

6. Ilie Sanchez

7. Joe Bendik

8. Albert Rusnak

Notice anything weird? I know I can’t believe Bedoya isn’t way higher on the overrated list. That and Nagbe is on both lists - perhaps there will be more on that later.


Pep Guardolia is a good soccer manager. Even with a team full of mercenaries bought by an oil fueled oligarchy, Pep is why Manchester City is winning the Premier League here in March. This tactical analysis by Training Ground Guru goes into how the manager uses the half-spaces - if you want to know what the hell that is, read about it.

SB Nation is lucky to have a writer as talented and insightful as Zito Madu. He has an essay about visiting Dulwich Hamlet, the semi-pro club in England that has been locked out of its ground by a real estate developer and is fighting to get it back. But it’s not really about that, rather he talks about the time he visited the club and what he learned from the visit about his own life - it’s a pretty incredible piece.


A throwback

You should listen to


Fair readers, I got an emergency call to join the MLS Fantasy Insider Podcast as a guest last night, so there was no TDD yesterday - I know you missed me. If you love the fantasy game, even if you just like bantz and takes about MLS it’s a good listen.