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Congratulations to Gary Mackay-Steven of Dundee United F.C.- and a product of the Ross County F.C. youth academy- who was selected by Scotland manager Gordon Strachan for the upcoming matches against Wales and Serbia. If he plays in either match he will earn his first senior cap.
Ross County F.C. manager Derek Adams won his third SPL “Manager of the Month” award for the club’s performance in February- he is the first non-Old Firm manager to win 3 in a season. It will come as no surprise that the club has recently offered him a contract extension.
I have no way of quantifying this statement, but I just have a gut feeling that this is going to be a breakout season for Major League Soccer. Generally speaking I think the league has taken a step forward every year of its existence, but it seems like the league is poised to take two or three steps forward this year. The quality is improving, the league is getting younger, it seems that “current” international players are overtaking “former” internationals, and more than anything else, the eye doesn’t lie. The quality of play from match to match is just consistently better.
Having said that, I am working on a theory that even as MLS improves and produces more U.S. players of quality- whether they stay in MLS or move on- the USMNT is not going to improve. My reasons for believing this are as follows: Despite the fact that the U.S. is the largest “footballing nation” in the world in terms of overall population (only China and India are bigger and they have other sporting priorities), we will never reach the elite level because we do such a terrible job evaluating talent. Part of that is because there are simply too many players spread over too great an area (never mind those playing overseas) to possibly be seen under the current set-up. As a result, we’re unable to put together a player pool of 35-50 players who can compete with the top nations, almost all of which are only 50% as large as the U.S.. I know the FIFA rankings are flawed, but for Montenegro to be ranked above us with a population identical to that of Boston speaks volumes.
The New England Revolution begin their season tomorrow with a match against the Chicago Fire. That, unfortunately, is all that I can tell you. I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on this subject. Are they going to be as bad as they were last year? Are they going to sneak into the playoffs? Are the off season signings as good as they seem at first glance? Is rookie Andrew Farrell really going to be as good as people are staying? I have no clue about any of these or a thousand other questions. Maybe I’ll have a better idea after I get to see them in person against SKC on the 23rd (with faithful reader and sometime contributor KCGunner!)- or maybe not.