Maxi and Elliott Proudly Present: The Ben in Lasers Podcast

For too many years, US soccer has been on the tipping point of becoming great. As more and more Americans follow the beautiful game and ponder profound questions like “What EPL team do British Ex-Pats think I should support” or our personal favorite “Why are we firing Jurgen Klinsmann today”, some voices have been left behind. US soccer fandom as a nascent institution has the chance to be a multicultural “tossed salad” of fans, or….white people from Austin who claim to have invented (or laughably “perfected”) the breakfast taco will forever ruin it. There is no middle ground.

Thus, after months of “false dawn” advertising where Maxi and I used Twitter as part of our brilliant PC campaign and to test the waters, we have decided to record a proper podcast. Of course, this presented a myriad of important and salient issues like 1) How the fuck do you record a podcast, 2) How the fuck do you upload a podcast, and, most importantly, 3) How do you get Maxi’s deep husky voice to sound less Barry White sexy so listeners will focus on the actual content? Continue reading “Maxi and Elliott Proudly Present: The Ben in Lasers Podcast” »

Celebrating Johan Cruyff the Asshole

Lots of smart and knowledgeable people have chimed in on Johan Cruyff, the Dutch soccer legend who recently passed away. Yet, as pointed out by Brian Phillips on Twitter, nobody has noted or observed or come to grips with the fact he was an asshole. Like all geniuses, Cruyff was difficult to work with as a player, a coach, and even an executive. He had ideas, the ideas were black and white, and you were with Cruyff or against him. When I saw Cruyff was an asshole, it is a compliment. Lots of people are assholes and forgotten, but to truly be an asshole and beloved is arguably the pinnacle of humanity.

Everybody loved Cruyff except the people who he detested and criticized constantly, and even they left flowers at his homage at the Camp Nou. Continue reading “Celebrating Johan Cruyff the Asshole” »

A Somewhat Modest Proposal for the USMNT

Let’s not shit ourselves: the US loss to Guatemala was bad both in terms of the result but also how bad the US played. But let’s also not forget that: most US fans have detested Jurgen Klinsmann since 2012. Nothing’s changed, but bad results increase the volume of the echo chamber.

Still, before sharpening your pitchfork and joining the “ax him now” people, a few thoughts. Spoiler: you will be offended and disagree with all of them. Continue reading “A Somewhat Modest Proposal for the USMNT” »

Ask An American Soccer Fan: The AO Rally

In case you missed the joyous news, “Rog” aka Roger Bennett of the Men In Blazers will be at the AO (American Outlaws) rally before the USMNT plays Guatemala on Friday night. He will remind you that soccer is about to get big, give you two-minute summaries of every game in the latest Premier League “fixture”, and you will thank and love him for it. However, not all is well. In case you forgot, Noah Davis penned an investigative feature for Fusion last year on how sexism has started to appear at AO gatherings. Elaine Teng of The New Republic went to BlazerCon last Fall and observed that the MiB podcast enthusiasts are not a particularly diverse group.

Luckily, we were able to track down a few eye witnesses who went to BlazerCon and plan on attending the AO rally featuring Rog. We are incredibly jealous, but maintained our professional composure to ask them point blank: did you see a diversity problem at BlazerCon? Continue reading “Ask An American Soccer Fan: The AO Rally” »

Where have all the Enganches gone?

The above picture recently surfaced of now retired Juan Roman Riquelme with Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano and Riquelme’s son. Arguably, Riquelme was one of the last enganches to excel in Europe and possibly the world. Of course, you ask, what exactly is an enganche?

Allow me to explain. Continue reading “Where have all the Enganches gone?” »

Proposed New Salary Cap Exception Rules & Acronyms MLS Should Adopt

TAM. DP. MLS has some pretty good acronyms when it comes to toying around with that pillow-soft salary cap. Just over a week ago, NYCFC traded Andrew Jacobson for TAM. In a sense, the trades for TAM are the single entity equivalent of a European transfer fee – one team “trades” a player and gets cash to burn, in this case space outside of that pesky salary cap. Twitter alit with fans pretending that “TAM” was an actual last name, and it took all the restraint of an Odysseus-tied-to-the-mast for me to not order a NYCFC jersey with “TAM” on the back.

Still, I think MLS could raise its acronym game. Here’s how. Continue reading “Proposed New Salary Cap Exception Rules & Acronyms MLS Should Adopt” »

The Ultimate Hater’s Guide to Hating MLS and Circular Reasoning

As the hater of choice for refined consumers such as yourself who don’t drink wine from boxes or eat cheese in small plastic-wrapped slices, you no doubt were disappointed, as was I, by Vuelta de Muerte‘s recent MLS preview. Basically, Patty Fiordorojo appears to enjoy MLS, be knowledgeable about MLS, and anticipate the MLS season with a small ounce of joy. This is in striking contrast to the typical MLS observations of Billy-you-know-who.

So, my friends, you are left to wonder: who will hate on MLS? Me. Your second favorite hater. And how? Circular reasoning, mon ami. That is how. Continue reading “The Ultimate Hater’s Guide to Hating MLS and Circular Reasoning” »

The Flaws of a Fallen Angel Narrative

Sporps writing today. Bloody hell. In February, SB Nation published and then deleted a detailed feature on Brian Holtzclaw, the cop convicted of several counts of rape. The story suffered from a fatal flaw: the desire to humanize a serial rapist and abuser of public trust by detailing the convicted rapist’s past sporting accomplishments. The attempts to a) possibly explain his atrocious actions and/or b) cast doubt on his guilty were less than half-hearted – they were insulting to anyone with a brain. Of course his family doesn’t think he’s guilty. Lots of athletes suffer injuries, and concussions, and don’t get drafted by the NFL, and don’t prey sexually on the weak under the color of law.

Yet this got me thinking more generally about sports writing, reporting, and a recent feature on Adam Johnson. Continue reading “The Flaws of a Fallen Angel Narrative” »

The Sketchy FIFA-related “Election” You May Have Missed

Last week, the man who once handled balls with dexterity and grace became the head of FIFA. Laughably, some members of FIFA tried to advocate for a non-secret ballot and even transparent voting booths. Yet even if the FBI and Swiss investigations (and the resulting problems finding corporate sponsors) prompt FIFA to cut down on corrupt broadcast deals and cash-for-vote swaps, the large and unwieldy structure will still be a large pork-barrel amalgamation of special interests. One country, one vote, and the majority of the countries in FIFA have depressingly low GDP’s and even lower scores on the Transparency International index.

It’s simple math, really. But, alas, your attention should not have been in Switzerland, but rather the Americas. Another ruse went somewhat undetected. Continue reading “The Sketchy FIFA-related “Election” You May Have Missed” »