Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
Posts by :
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19 – Showcase Photo by Mike Lawrence – Red Bulls midfielder Bolu Akinyode heads one past Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek
The New York Red Bulls routed defending English Premier League champion Chelsea, 4-2, on Wednesday night in the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls had to go with their second unit and players from their youth team, NYRB 2 in this one, as they used their main guys on Tuesday afternoon for their US Open Cup game with Philadelphia. Instead of their stars like Bradley Wright-Phillips, Luis Robles, and Sacha Kjelstan, they went with Tyler Adams, Sean Davia, and Kyle Reynish.
Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of takeaways from this match, “I think it’s important to have perspective. Clearly, they’re going to walk out of this game with a lot of confidence and bravado, but it’s a chance for them to have a big experience, and help cement some of the confident things we’re trying to build in them and the experiences we’re trying to build in them, so without them getting too much ahead of themselves, hopefully it affirms all of the work they’ve put in for the last six months, and that their coaching staff has so that they have the confidence to move forward in a real way and not an arrogant way.”
Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho said of the Red Bulls, “The kids they picked tonight were very good opponents for us – sharp, quick, fast, high motivation, I believe so happy to play against Chelsea. They gave us a good match, maybe better than they should, but a very good match.”
Mourinho continued and shed some light into what he wanted to take from this match, their first of what is their preseason, as the English Premier League season kicks off on August 8th. “They gave us a good training session. If we came in today and won 10-0, I wouldn’t be happy with that because it means there was no intensity and it was too easy, and that’s not good for us. We needed the game they gave us,” said Mourinho.
Chelsea came out firing, with their first chance coming in the seventh minute, as Victor Moses got a point-blank chance and Kyle Rennish came up with the save. In the 18th, Oscar had a free kick and sent it just over the crossbar. In the 20th, Kurt Zouma sent a brilliant header just wide.
In the 26th minute, Chelsea finally broke through. A long pass was sent to the right side of the field, and Oscar caught up to it. Oscar took it near the corner, and then sent it into the box to Loic Remy coming down the center of the crease, and Remy drilled it to make it 1-0 Chelsea.
Around this time, Chelsea’s big stars who were not in the game, like captain John Terry, Diego Costa, Ramires, and Eden Hazard went into the corner near Chelsea’s bench to do their running drills in preparation to enter the game. The crowd in that end gave them applause throughout the drills, which lasted through the end of the first half.
Most of the applause was for their captain John Terry, and he got the loudest cheers of anybody they sent in for the second half. Terry is their Derek Jeter and Mark Messier, a consummate leader who has led them to four English Premier League titles (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015) and the UEFA Champions League in 2012. Terry, a central defender, is 34 years old and playing some of his best soccer ever, competing in all 38 games in the English Premier League season last year. He has been with Chelsea since 2001, leading the team for most of this time with Frank Lampard, now at NYC FC, and Didier Drogba, who was at Chelsea for years, left and returned for this past title season. Drogba is a free agent at the moment, as rumors of a move to the MLS have been around since the end of their season in May.
The Red Bulls began the second half with a renewed energy, and they took it to Chelsea. In the 49th minute, they drew Chelsea goalie Asmir Begovic to the right post, leaving the net wide open. Terry was to Begovic’s left and stuck his foot out to stop a definite Red Bull goal.
What Terry took away, he wound up giving right back. Just a minute later, he sent a sloppy pass back to Begovic, and Franklin Castellanos slipped in to draw it away from Begovic and slam it home to tie the game at 1 in the 51st minute and send the crowd into a frenzy.
In the 70th, Castellanos sent one into the box, and Chelsea defender Ola Aina tried to head it away, but it went right to Red Bulls defender Tyler Adams, who is just 16 years old, and he shot it past Aina to make it 2-1 Red Bulls. Even though it was an exhibition (don’t believe the fancy tournament name), Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho was not pleased and pulled Aina immediately. Aina was part of the group that entered to start the second half.
In the 73rd minute, another bad header by Chelsea would be costly. This time, it was their stalwart defender Nemanja Matic, at the left of the crease, who headed it to Sean Davis in the center and he sent it through traffic to make it 3-1.
In the 75th, Chelsea showed why they were an elite team, something surely needed after this Red Bull onslaught. Eden Hazard scored off a beautiful free kick by Oscar to cut it to 3-2 Red Bulls.
Amazingly, just a couple minutes later, the Red Bulls crashed the net again, and Davis got his second goal of the game to make it 4-2 in the 77th. This capped a stretch of four goals in eight minutes. Davis said of scoring twice, “You know, I never really thought that we had them. They are such a great team that they could come back at any moment. They have so many great players, that a lot of us look up too. So the game could change quickly. I think after the fourth one we were feeling pretty good. We knew that they were a great team and they could turn it on at any moment.”
Marsch was asked if this game changed his idea of rotating younger players in upcoming matches, “Sean Davis was really good tonight, I thought he and Tyler Adams were fantastic. The Benfica game (on Sunday at Red Bull Arena), we’ll rotate more first team guys in and there will be kind of a mixed line-up for both halves, in these games, what I’ve found is that as both a player and a coach, that if you’re confident and ready to play, your game can hold up a lot even against really good players.”
Marsch said of implementing the same playing style through all levels, “I think that looked like a Red Bull team [tonight]. I think it’s important to acknowledge the job that John Wolyniec has done with the USL Pro team, Vadim [Kirillov] and Ibrahim [Sekagya], the job those guys have spent a lot of time with us and our team, and our training and our team, and we’ve tried to implement the type of play and style we want at all levels…the best part is I still think even with a bunch of different players on the field and some young kids on the field, it looked like us.”
Marsch said of his familiarity with the players he sent out there, “I’m very aware of all of these players. I watch all of their games, they participate in the first team training a lot, they always hold up when they come into our training sessions, and I think they’ve done well. I told them after the game that it was good for them to see them step on the field with belief and confidence in themselves and to play for each other, and not be phased. I think this is important for the continued process of what our club is becoming.”
Mourinho said of his team in his own unique manner, “You are speaking with the manager of the best team in England. We don’t have fragilities. We are a top team, we have top players. We started training six days ago. We did 11 training sessions in six days, we don’t need other players. We trust these players, these players are good.”
Mourinho said of goals for his team, “We want to win the first match. After that we’ll go match by match, competition by competition. When we play in the Premier League, we want to win the Premier League. When the Champions League comes, we want to win the group phase to be in the knockout stage. We go match after match, we don’t choose competitions.”
Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis on being an older guy in the lineup with this group: “I’ve played with a lot of those guys already this year with the USL team. They are a great group of guys and I was really looking forward to it. I know that maybe that it wasn’t the top team because we had a lot of them play in the Open Cup game yesterday but we still believed in each other and the group. Jesse believed in us. I was really looking forward to getting on the field and working hard with those guys and trying our best against a really good team.”
Davis said of the scoreline, “I don’t know how many people thought that, but like I said we believed in our group. I don’t know if you guys could tell but we stuck to our system and we did not just sit in. We tried to give them a game and that worked in our favor. Unbelievable night. I really proud of the group.”
Davis said of the “awe” factor of playing a big club, “I think from the opening whistle, we had a little more space than we anticipated. Jesse told us that, that was going to happen and we were going to be able to play.”
Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams said of playing against Chelsea as a 16-year old, “It is a lot to take in. Playing against the champions, you get thinking about that a lot, but you can’t really let it affect you. We’re all on the same field, but we’ve all got a job to do and I did my job and luckily I scored a goal as well so it was pretty amazing.”
On what he was thinking during the game, Adams said, “It wasn’t all the main first team guys as usual, so they had confidence to put us in the game and we did our job, that’s all I can say.”
Adams on if he was surprised they hung around in the match: “I wasn’t. We all played as hard as we possibly could, we made it tougher on them at times as well, so as long as you’re making it tough on guys like that it’s hard to score and that’s what we did.”
Adams said of when he thought they had a chance to win, “I think from the beginning. Jesse [Marsch] told us at the beginning of the game that it’ll open up, you’ll have times to play, you’ll have opportunities like that, we took our opportunities that came really, and we all have a system, and a philosophy that he put in our heads, a high-press, high-attacking energy mindset and we all stuck to the game plan and it ending up working out so tons of respect to him.”
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
A year ago at this time Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was in the middle of serving his one-year suspension for his use of performance enhancement drugs. Both Yankees management and the Major League Baseball Players Association had been threatened with lawsuits by his legal representatives months earlier before Rodriguez wisely decided to drop plans for litigation. Daily News baseball scribe Bill Madden was all but guaranteeing that Alex would never wear a Yankees uniform again.
Even those who were willing to give Alex a second chance a year ago were wondering if the year away from baseball for a guy who was turning 39 would atrophy his baseball skills. The Yankees were concerned enough about that factor that they acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres last summer and signed him to a long-term contract. The message to Rodriguez was to accept the fact that he would be a designated hitter if he wanted to collect what was left on his lucrative contract.
A-Rod will turn 40 next Monday and it’s safe to say that he’ll be enjoying the milestone. He had such a good first half of the season that many thought that he deserved to be on the American League All-Star team. The same Yankees fans who were hoping never to see #13 again now cheer him and cite him as a key reason that the Yankees were in first place in the AL East at the All-Star break.
At last week’s ESPY Awards Rodriguez showed the world that he can laugh at himself. One of the best bits of the show was bringing Alex on stage pretending to be as mute as Marcel Marceau while actor Ken Jeong read a list of things for which A-Rod was apologizing. To host Joel McHale’s mock consternation, Rodriguez issued mea culpas via his spokesman, Jeong, for “the water shortage in California” and “the Greek economy” but nothing of course was said about steroids.
Naturally you can’t write about the ESPYs without mentioning Caitlyn Jenner. Yes, Astoria native and NBC sportscaster Bob Costas was right. ABC, which televised the ESPN event, knew that Jenner would deliver ratings and that’s why she received the Arthur Ashe Award for displaying coverage. Nonetheless Jenner’s speech about the perils that the transgender population faces, especially its younger population, was quite moving. I didn’t think that there was anything exploitive with Jenner being honored by the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
The ESPYs also rightfully paid tribute to the late college basketball player, Lauren Hill, who succumbed to brain cancer at age 19 and dedicated her short life to raising funds so that the disease will hopefully be conquered; and to Cincinnati Bengals football player Devin Still who has had to put his career on hold to care for his young daughter who is battling pediatric cancer.
Former Mets Jason Phillips and Chris Woodward are both in their upper 30s and they are members of the Seattle Mariners coaching staff. They were back in town last weekend as the Mariners, who were led by former Yankees slugger Robinson Cano, took on the Bronx Bombers. “We watch a lot of Mets games on television so we know about their hitting struggles,” Phillips told me. Both guys chuckled and shook their heads no when I asked them if they would consider contacting Mets general manager Sandy Alderson for a tryout.
I asked Yankees rookie outfielder Mason Williams if he was aware of the musician and former Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour head writer who has the same name. “Oh yes, a few people made me aware of him. I checked out (his big 1968 instrumental hit) “Classical Gas” on YouTube. It’s a great tune,” he replied.
Keith Olbermann is notorious getting fired for generally ticking off some important television network executive. Ironically ESPN has cancelled his latest “Olbermann” talk show, which has been airing on its ESPN 2 channel at 5 PMdaily, because of the most traditional of reasons–low ratings. Sure, Keith can be a pompous windbag, but I have always found him to be entertaining. His last show will air Friday afternoon.
ESPN also announced that Colin Cowherd will be leaving the network which means that there will be new programming in the weekday 10 AM to noontimeslot on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. It would be nice if ESPN could devote that time to local programming instead of yet another national show from Bristol.
My suggestion to ESPN executives is to bring in John “Bird” Crowe to fill those two hours. Crowe is a veteran from Connecticut’s WICC (600 AM) and he has a working man’s style that is reminiscent of WFAN’s Joe Benigno although it should be noted that Crowe has been in radio just as long, if not longer, than Benigno.
Colin Cowherd is rumored to be on his way to cable’s Fox Sports 1 and he may get air time on Fox’s Major League Baseball and NFL pregame and postgame shows.
With the heat of summer fully upon us, this is the best time to get out to the Jersey Shore. A great weekend getaway is to take in a day at the beach at Belmar and then catch a Lakewood Blueclaws game that night at beautiful First Energy Park. The Freehold Radisson is located an easy 30- minute ride away from the beaches which makes their weekend rates a lot lower than many other lodging properties in the area. It’s also a short drive from the hotel to Great Adventure and it’s just about an hour away from Philadelphia.
Men’s fashions have always gotten shrift during the fashion weeks that are held each September and February. The Council of Fashion Designers of America should be congratulated for finally establishing a separate New York Fashion Week for men which had its inaugural run last week. Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Nautica were among the many companies that had runway shows.
It will be interesting to see what kind of ratings Spike TV’s three-night miniseries, “Tut,” will draw. Spike, which is best known for mixed martial arts and “Lip Sync Battle,” is trying to step on the turf of both the History Channel and Nat Geo with “Tut.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19 – Photo of Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles by Mike Lawrence
The New York Red Bulls were eliminated from the US Open Cup by the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday evening in the Quarterfinal match, as they lost 4-3 in a shootout after the game was tied at 1 after 120 minutes.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of the loss, “When you have a lot of pride in what you’re doing, when you empty the tank everyday and you come up empty, that’s what it does, it hurts bad, but my message is, ‘this won’t derail us in any way.’ Fortunately, we have some time now before we play a meaningful match and we have to keep our strong mentality. It just wasn’t our day. The different ways we got chances and weren’t able to put them in was a little odd, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
A big story heading into this match was the scheduling, and mainly how it ended up being on a Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 in the afternoon, ahead of the previously scheduled international Champions Cup match between Paris San-Germain and Fiorentina. Marsch said of this, “We tried every which way with Philly to re-schedule this, but they showed no flexibility whatsoever. We gave them probably five, six, seven options and they didn’t want to work with us. You feel like after all of that, and then for them to get the result, it makes it that much more painful. Obviously it’s not ideal but Philly didn’t want to work with us.”
The Red Bulls came out firing in this one, notching 11 shots on net, including 5 on goal, meaning they were high-quality. Most of those came in the first 25 minutes, but none of them yielded a goal.
The Red Bulls got a big break in the 40th minute when Philadelphia forward Conor Casey was sent off with a red card after taking down Damien Perrinelle on a challenge towards the sideline to the left of the goal.
Despite the man advantage for the Red Bulls, it was Philadelphia that broke through in the 55th minute when Cristian Maidana came down the left side, sent it into the box to Vincent Nogueira, how flipped it to Eric Ayuk coming down the right die, and Ayuk buried it to make it 1-0.
The Red Bulls got plenty of chances after that, with Sal Zizzo getting one immediately after entering the game in the 70th minute. In the 84th, they had a corner kick taken by Lloyd Sam, and he got it ot Mike Grella in the box, but he headed it wide.
Despite constant pressure, it took until extra time, in the 94th minute, for the Red Bulls to tie it. The ball was in the box, a Philadelphia defender tried to head it away, and it instead it went to Grella, who headed it to Lloyd Sam, who drilled it. Philadelphia’s defense played a flawless game until that moment, and it cost them the equalizer.
Lloyd Sam said of scoring the stoppage time goal, “At the time that was a great feeling. We needed a goal obviously and we got it, so I think you can imagine the relief for the team and me.”
In the overtime session, specifically the 11th minute, Philadelphia goaltender John McCarthy twice reached his hands out to prevent Bradley Wright-Phillips from getting a shot off. The ball then went to Grella, who shot it left.
Manolo Sanchez had a couple great chances in the 21st and 24th minutes. The first chance went off the left post.
Wright-Phillips had a great chance in the 30th minute of overtime, as he got off a great shot, McCarthy made the save, it ricocheted back to Wright-Phillips, who kicked it in for go-ahead goal. He was ruled offsides, as you cannot kick it back in after a save. This rule in some ways makes no sense, as it it a natural instinct to kick it back in after it is saved, as you would in hockey. (think the Rangers get a lot of goals this way)
The Red Bulls kept the pressure on in the final minute, and the referee blew the final whistle as Grella had control of it on the left side and was looking to make a play. Normally, the referee waits for a sequence like that to be completed before calling it.
In the shootout, the Red Bulls had Wright-Phillips take their first kick, and he hit the crossbar.
Marsch said of Wright-Phillips taking the first penalty, “Bradley stepped up and said ‘I want to take the first one’ so I said ‘great,’ I keep encouraging him to have confidence from the spot, obviously now that’s the third one that doesn’t go in for him, but I don’t want for him to waiver in his confidence. I want him to know how important he is to our team, and the belief we all have in him, so I know he’s hurting bad, but he’ll recover and he’ll be fine.”
Wright-Phillps said of his penalty kick, “I tend to not look at the goalkeeper. What frustrates me about that penalty is that I was very confident and I tried to be brave after missing two in one game and I just wasn’t rewarded for it and my team’s out of the Open Cup now.”
On his level of confidence heading into the penalty kick, BWP said, “Very. I was very confident. My record before this, I had 100%, I was very confident. I thought this would’ve been the penalty to help me get back on track by putting my team 1-0 up, but it wasn’t.”
The Red Bulls’ next two shooters, Dax McCarty and Mike Grella. made theirs. Philadelphia’s first three kickers, Sheanon Williams, Vincent Nogueira, and Maurice Edu all made their kicks, so they led 3-2 after the first three of the five were taken.
The fourth one for the Red Bulls was taken by Sam, and McCarthy deflected it and then just caught it as it nearly rolled in. The ball got halfway over, and it has to be 100 percent over for it to count. The Red Bulls still had a chance, as goalie Luis Robles stopped Fred to keep it going.
Sacha Kjlestan was the fifth kicker for the Red Bulls and he made his kick to tie it at four. The last kick for Philadelphia went to Fernando Aristiguieta, who faked Robles right and softly kicked it in to seal the victory.
This was the second time the Red Bulls lost to Philadelphia at home this season, with the first being a 2-0 loss on May 24th. Marsch said of the similarities between this match and the last loss to Philly, “[The matches] have been very similar, Philly has our number right now, so good for them, but the good news is we play them again August 1st so we won’t let that derail us.We’ll be ready to recharge our batteries and go again. ”
Marsch said of the player’s endurance after the Orlando match on Saturday, which was also played in hot and humid conditions, “I think both teams were toast. It’s not easy playing back-to-back hot, humid games. We went with a lot of the same guys because they felt good and I thought for the most part, a lot of guys played well. You would have to say, for most of the game, we played well. We played the game in their end, created chances. It’s weird because it’s two games now where it’s very similar games against Philly, and how we walk away with two losses is pretty surprising.”
Marsch on if the team was unable to take advantage of the man advantage: “I don’t think it even should have gone to penalties, but at the same time, we were lucky to get the goal at the end to push it to extra time so you could look at it both ways. Certainly I think if we’re sharper on the day, that we put that game away early. Even when it was even up, I thought we had chances. That’s two games against Philly where you feel like we’re in control for a lot of the game, but we’re just unable to make plays and punish them, and on the other side, they were able to make plays and punish us.”
New York Red Bulls midfielder Mike Grella 0n the tough loss: “We really felt like we could put together a really solid run and maybe win something here, but to end like that where they were a man down, we had plenty of chances and to lose in penalties…I don’t know, but tough, very tough.”
Grella on being out of the Open Cup: “We have to just pick it up again. The next match in the league, no question, is more important so we need to pick it back up. We’re having a really good run in the league so we have to keep that going.”
Grella said of this game being similar to the regular season face-off, “I thought it was very similar. We were all over them in the first and had some chances, and even in the second half. They sat back in, made it difficult for us, sat in a shell, and then hit us on a counter and scored, then they bunkered in from there. They made it very difficult and I think it was a carbon copy of the game we played against them in the league.”
Lloyd Sam on his feelings after the game: “That was an emotional roller coaster, getting the equalizer then losing it. It’s just thinking about the league now, which obviously you have to concentrate on anyway. Obviously Open Cup is gone, we put a lot into it but it didn’t work out.”
Wright-Phillips on if they shouldn’t have let it get to penalty kicks up by a man, “Should’ve never got to penalties, but it did and they were obviously mentally stronger than us or maybe the luck was on their side today, but you’re right it shouldn’t have gone to penalties. We had enough chances to win that game.”
On if the quick turnaround playing two games in four days effected the team, Wright-Phillips said, “It didn’t play into it. I think we looked like the better team when they had 11-men and I think we looked like the better team all day. We’re a fit bunch of lads and it showed, we just didn’t finish our chances.”
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles said of the game, “Congratulations for Philly. They did really well dealing with the adversity, the heat, and 10 men. They limited our chances. The goalkeeper had a great game. When I look at our team I am just proud of our guys. This one is a tough one because this was one of our goals. We really felt that we could win. Having the sort of path that we did. Able to play at home against Philly. Regardless of the time and the sort of weather that we are going to go up against. The boys felt very confident. Philly played well. They made more penalties.
Robles said of the Open Cup tournament, “I think it brings a lot of value to what we are doing, understanding that nothing is a throw away. That we want to be the winner in every game that we play and every competition. I think that this is a mindset that is infectious and if it continues to permeate thought out the organization not only for this season but for next season there’s not doubt in my mind that we will win the US open cup and MLS Cup. There’s more than just quality on this club there’s a lot of character and I know that sooner or later when the season goes on, that character is what is going to carry us through every obstacle and every adversity. It’s what is going to allow us to be successful.”
Robles said of it being an elimination game, “I think the big letdown was when everyone walked into the locker room today, we all thought we were going to win. Sure you look at this past, sure there was a belief but there wasn’t that same sort of authenticity that existed here. I envisioned us wining and us celebrating even when we were going into the pks. I think that’s the hardest part. Dealing with the result when you so believed that it was going to be the other way around.”
Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin said of the win, “First and foremost it’s the Union’s biggest win in their history. The fan support was incredible, I thought that our players showed a ton of heart, the heart of a lion. I couldn’t be more proud. They represented the badge very well, they represented our fans, our city, left everything on the field so yes, it was a weird game, but at the same time I think there were some really special moments to hang on and fight and claw, people can talk about tactics and principles of play, style, and all these things, but at a certain point it comes down to men on the field and wanting to win and not lose at all costs. I thought our guys brought a mentality that was incredible on the day, yes, Red Bulls had 37 shots on goal, they had us pinned in, I thought the red card was soft, I thought it was a clumsy tackle by Connor [Casey], but it’s not a straight red card and that kind of ruined things, which was a pretty good game up until then, but our guys held on and again I couldn’t be prouder of the group.
Curtin said of John McCarthy’s performance, “Great game. The little things too, coming out on the one where Wright-Phillips looks like he’s in one-on-one and then the scramble in the box, you start to see a young goalkeeper grow up which is impressive and you know he’s come up big in penalty kicks twice in a row so [I’m] very happy for him, could’ve kicked the ball a little better more consistently, yes, but I get on him still because I want more, I’m greedy, but happy for him, great win for the team, and he did a great job.”
Robles said of McCarthy, “John is a young goalkeeper, that has come up though the system and he has done well in his opportunities and I feel like he has a big future ahead of him.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 Photo of Cyclones pitcher Matt Blackham by Mike Lawrence
The Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees renewed their fierce rivalry this past week, with both teams near the top of the New York-Penn League’s McNamara standings.
The series began on Wednesday night in Staten Island, and the Yankees came away with the 4-3 victory. The Yankees got the winning run when Cyclones reliever Carlos Valdez committed a balk in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The next night in Brooklyn was an incredible pitchers’ duel between Staten Island’s Colton Mahoney and Brooklyn’s Matt Blackham. The Yankees won it 1-0 on a Ryan Krill RBI single in the 5th inning.
The next night, the Cyclones responded and beat the Yankees 4-3, led by Jeff Diehl’s two-run home run in the fourth inning. The irony of this night was that the Yankees gave out caps with #BeatBklyn on them.
Enjoy Mike Lawrence’s photo essay from Thursday night at MCU Park:
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 – Photo of Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, and Andray Blatche by @LolitaLens
Greg Hrinya has written the definitive work on the Nets’ transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn, and it has been a wild five years. There was the season the team won just 12 games, Kris Humprhies and a known socialite, the drama around Deron Williams, Billy King’s reckless trades, and the overriding theme is how the team never lived up to their full potential.
Hrinya’s book is named The 5-Year Plan: The Nets’ Tumultuous Journey from New Jersey To Brooklyn, and the title comes from Nets Prnicipal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s declaration that the team would win an NBA championship within five years of his purchase of the team in 2009.
Early on in this book, Hrinya displays descriptive flourishes that make this book a very enjoyable read. He describes the Nets owner as such, “Prokhorov emerged as a sort of messiah for Nets fans. This international man of mystery knew little about American basketball (or the English language, for that matter), but he had a plan. No one was prepared to stand in his way, either. He offered significant wealth and looked like he stepped out of a handbook on James Bond villains – an intimidating, stoic, six-foot-eight leviathan.”
The book begins with the 2009-10 season, the first year that Hrinya, who went to Marist College, began covering the team for Examiner.com.
Two anecdotes perfectly describe the 2009-10 season. The first was of one fan promotion the Nets would do at the Izod Center. “The most outrageous came from a partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill. Between the first and second quarters, the Nets’ acrobats, known as Team Hype, sprinted onto the floor as if running a fast break to catapult wrapped Chipotle burritos into the stands. One night, a launched burrito landed in a section of the press area like a carefully heaved grenade,” writes Hrinya.
Hrinya then describes an open practice the team held at Ramapo College as such, “As thousands of weary college partiers nestled into the confines of their dorm rooms on a Saturday morning, the Nets invaded the campus to almost no fanfare. They struggled to fill the Division III Bill Bradley Sports and Recreation Center, which struggled to fill 1,500 fans. The scarce fans in attendance that October morning in 2009 witnessed a caliber of basketball that left some – at the very least, me – aghast.”
The offseason heading into that 2009-10 season saw the Nets clean house, sending their lone star, Vince Carter, with Ryan Anderson, out in a trade for Courtney Lee, Rafter Alston, and Tony Battie. Hrinya astutely described it like this, “With the Nets floundering and a new ownership regime on the horizon, management decided to start slashing prices like Crazy Eddie in the summer of 2009.”
Early in the season, the Nets hosted the Boston Celtics in a game on November 7, 2009 and this passage sums up Nets games in Jersey perfectly: “With 16,119 fans in attendance, a new phenomenon blossomed for Mikhail Prokhorov’s recent acquisition. Whenever an opposing team of any repute ventured to East Rutherford, that visiting crowd invaded the Nets’ arena like zoo animals at feeding time. A glistening sea of Celtics green blinded the attending media members.”
Hrinya defends the fans for not showing up in Jersey. “Who could blame the New Jersey fan base for abandoning the team? The organization clearly indicated that the Nets would be grabbing a cup of coffee in Newark before moving operations to Brooklyn. The Nets planned to finish the 2009-10 season in the IZOD Center before taking a two-year lease in Newark’s Prudential Center while the Barclays Center in the New York borough underwent construction.”
Nets management, starting with CEO Brett Yormark, promoted the team with an eye to Brooklyn while the team wound down their time in New Jersey, with slogans like “Jersey Strong, Brooklyn Ready.” Hrinya says of this, “Yormark and company were deluded enough to expect Jersey residents to continue supporting a team destined for another state. New Jersey represented obsolescence, while Brooklyn provided global marketing and chic trends. The dim prospects for winning before the move merely added grave insult to a massive wound. The team had one goal: put a winner in the billion-dollar Barclays Center. None of the New Jersey results mattered.”
That is exactly how it played out, as the Nets started the 2009-10 season with an 0-18 record, and Head Coach Lawrence Frank was fired amidst the streak after the 16th loss. Frank routinely only dressed 7 or 8 players a night, as the roster, as weak as it was, dealt with massive injuries.
The Nets stumbled to a historically bad 12-70 record in the 2009-10 season with Kiki Vandeweghe as both the head coach and general manager. When Kiki was dismissed unceremoniously at the end of the season, Prokhorov brought in Avery Johnson to be the new head coach in May 2010. The interesting thing was that he was hired before a new general manager was named, so essentially Johnson got to work with Prokhorov on choosing his new boss. The choice for General Manager was Billy King.
Hrinya pointedly and accurately described King as such, “King looked like a former basketball player with exceptional height and several post-retirement pounds. His pleasant demeanor and overall friendliness made him a good candidate for an NBA negotiator. In all fairness, anyone given the keys to Prokhorov’s basketball kingdom would surely walk around with a smile glued to his face.
“Johnson executed a perfect coup. He cleverly placed a patsy in line to take the fall in cases where things went awry. Which they did. But in the meantime, the Nets hired a formerly disgraced personnel executive who had virtually destroyed the Sixers organization. Many might examine Philadelphia’s situation and credit the Sixers’ success to King, but that thinking ignores significant portions of the story,” wrote Hrinya.
He then goes on to describe all the horrendous moves that King made in Philadelphia, like trading for Chris Webber, who was well past his prime in 2005. King also gave a 35-year-old Dikembe Mutombo a $68-million contract extension in 2001, gave backup point guard Aaron McKie a $35.5 million deal. Eric Snow received $29 million in 1999, and then an extension in 2003 of between $18 and $25 million.
Hrinya continues, “He also absorbed lousy contracts in trades, like those of one-time Net Keith Van Horn, Kevin Ollie, and Glenn Robinson. King’s penchant for spending big money on fringe players or those past their prime would foreshadow events to come in Brooklyn. He butchered the Sixers organization after inheriting a perennial MVP candidate (Allen Iverson), yet somehow he found himself working for the richest owner in sports with a billion-dollar stadium on the horizon. That must have been some job interview with the Nets.”
King’s tenure in Phiadelphia certainly did foreshadow what he did with the Nets, as he threw a lot of money around and make reckless trades. He traded a lot to Atlanta for the bloated contract of Joe Johnson, sent three first-round draft picks to the Boston Celtics for the ancient Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, and sent a lottery pick to Portland that turned into Damian Lillard for Gerald Wallace, and gave him a large contract.
They all were to please one diva-like player that they brought in at the trade deadline in February 2011, Deron Williams. From the minute Williams arrived, he was always battling an injury of some kind. He had an ailing wrist when he was acquired from Utah and problems with his ankles in the Nets’ first two years in Brooklyn. A running theme as well was his endless excuses as to why he and the Nets did not perform better, with the weakest being complaints about the sightlines at Prudential Center.
During the 2011-12 season and continuing into that offseason, the Nets tried to acquire Orlando’s Dwight Howard to play alongside Williams. Hrinya does an excellent job of describing the soap opera surrounding that, and how it all was meant to help the case to keep Williams, who was a free agent in 2012, a Net as they moved to Brooklyn.
“This Nets’ philosophy, which had begun when the team had Carmelo Anthony in its sights, now continued with Dwight Howard as the prize. King would acquire the star, Johnson would coach the star, and Yormark would market the star. What a triumvirate,” wrote Hrinya somewhat in jest. The Nets ended up not making the trade for Howard, instead keeping Brook Lopez, which probably worked out better for them anyway.
Hrinya does an exceptional job describing the long process to get the Nets here, which involved Bruce Ratner building Barclays Center as part of a larger multi-development plan using eminent domain and, when the severe recession of 2008 hit, how Prokhorov came in to save the day.
He describes the amenities at Barclays Center and how the Nets left behind two arenas for the glory of this new billion-dollar arena. One of the highlights was all the food vendors on the concourse, to which Yormark said at the time, “Everything is made to order, it’s fresh, some of it’s organic. It’s truly a culinary experience for anyone that comes into the building.” To which Hrinya wrote, “The culinary options may have made fans forget that they came to watch a basketball game.”
Yormark made a vow that would turn out not to be true at all and that Hryina documents, “Yormark yearned for the days when Nets fans would finally outnumber the competition. He even guaranteed as much following a bizarre game against the New York Knicks on April 19, 2012. ‘The nights where there are more fans for the opposing team than ours won’t happen in Brooklyn,’ Yormark told the Daily News. ‘We’ll have diehard fans that are going to grow up as Brooklyn Nets fans.'” Anybody who has been at Barclays the past few years when the Knicks or Lakers or whatever team LeBron James plays for can attest to the fact that there are plenty of fans for the road team in the building.
The book gives a day-by-day description of the 2012-13 season. There was Hurricane Sandy delaying the opener, the Nets’ torrid start followed by a bad December in which Avery Johnson was fired as head coach. Avery was fired when the team was 14-14, and this was after he coached the team the last two years in Jersey, which the organization punted. The perception of some was that he deserved to coach the entire first year in Brooklyn.
Hrinya took a different view, “Johnson did not receive a bye for all those New Jersey losses. The head coach had failed for his third consecutive season, and that ultimately led to his downfall. Other head coaches had surely won with less. The recently deposed signal caller had always pointed to future improvement without ever taking responsibility for the present. And he followed his modus operandi during the fallout.” In his farewell comments, he looked at the first two years as being rough and then he would have the first two years in Brooklyn.
One of the quotes that showed how funny Johnson was dealing with the media was not about basketball (Hrinya does provide plenty of those), but it was on Kris Humphries’ wedding to Kim Kardashian. Johnson, along with King, was at the wedding, and Avery said the following of it, “Kris is a focused young man and we know he’s real passionate about the game of basketball. The life that he’s leading right now, that’s just a part of this new social media, that’s just a part of his lifestyle.” To this quote, Hrinya responds, “In Johnson’s eyes, all the kids engaged in that sort of behavior because of that dang technology.”
Hrinya describes when Kardashian first met Humphries after attending the Nets’ game with the Heat in October 2010. The media was walking behind her entourage after the game, and she was possibly on her way to meet Humphries. Hrinya says of this, “Sounded like love at first dunk. In Humphries’ defense, she stuck around after the Nets had suffered a 101-78 blowout in which Humphries finished the game with six points and four rebounds. She was a keeper.”
Going back to the 2012-13 season, it was marked by the Nets’ surge after P.J. Carlesimo took over head coaching duties, big games throughout that season like when the Miami Heat came to Brooklyn for the first time, and the first-round loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The next turn in the plot of this book, which reads like a novel in how it is crafted, is when Jason Kidd is hired as Head Coach and the blockbuster trade with the Celtics that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce here.
He analyzes how Williams would be affected by the Kidd hiring and how they were good friends. “The hiring never bothered Williams. It never bothered King, either, and he stood to lose a lot more than the point guard. He positioned a win-now team with a coach who would surely experience growing pains. Given Williams’ track record with head coaches, his friendship with Kidd had crossed enough minds to warrant questions.”
Earlier in the book, there is a discussion of Williams’ relationship with Utah Head Coach Jerry Sloan and how D-Will was blamed for the longtime coach resigning. Williams was then also blamed for Avery Johnson being fired just 28 games into the 2012-13 season, right after Williams made the surprising move of criticizing Johnson’s offense and praising what he used to run in Utah with Sloan.
The Nets started the 2013-14 season miserably, falling to a 10-21 record with a blowout loss in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve. Within this dreadful run, Lawrence Frank, who served as Kidd’s lead assistant, was dismissed after repeated clashes with Kidd’s on things like the infamous “soda incident” and cursing out Frank once for also standing up on the sideline.
The Nets turned it around with a comeback win in Oklahoma City on January 2, 2014, coincidentally when Kidd stopped wearing ties. They surged into the final few months of the season and finished with 43 wins. There is also detailed analysis of the Nets’ signing of Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in major American professional sports, in February 2014 and whether it was more for basketball or historic reasons, as well as who the Nets could have gotten besides Collins.
The Nets played a classic first-round series with the Toronto Raptors, which featured many great moments from Pierce. The series went the distance, and the Nets won Game 7 when Pierce blocked Kyle Lowry at the buzzer. The Nets’ reward in the second round was the Miami Heat and they were dispatched in five games.
The book’s alternate title could have been “Doing it all for Deron.” The Nets crafted this team to make him comfortable in Brooklyn, which he never really was. He also never lived up to his $100 million contract either, part of the reason the Nets won just one playoff series with him here.
Hrinya says this of the Nets’ relationship with Williams, “Management allowed Williams to hold the franchise hostage. Considering his lengthy injury history, they allowed one player to wield far too much power. The move paid dividends in the sense that the Nets attracted other star players, albeit past their primes, and continued to brand an evolving product. From an Xs and Os standpoint, the move was a disaster. At no point did Williams ever have a clean bill of health. He received more injections in his ankles than a thoroughbred race horse.”
This book is a must-read for Nets fans, or really NBA fans in general, as a lot of their moves affected many teams and it’s fun to piece together all the ripple effects of King’s wheeling and dealing.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The Nets requested waivers on their point guard Deron Williams on Saturday, putting an end to a tumultous three years in Brooklyn. There are reports indicating that the Nets bought out his contract and Williams is heading to his hometown Dallas Mavericks.
Nets General Manager Billy King said in a statement on Saturday, “I would like to thank Deron for everything he gave the organization over the past 4 ½ years. I would like to wish Deron and his family good luck in the future.”
This is the best thing the Nets can do this offseason, as this is a perfect example of an addition-by-subtraction move. The Nets are now free from the albatross that became his 5-year, $100 million contract, which had $40 million left on it. They free up cap space and also can greatly change the attitude of their team.
It was interesting that Williams and Joe Johnson were not mentioned at all on Thursday during the Nets’ press conference announcing the re-signings of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. King was selling the case that Lopez and Young are the core of the team. In some ways, they are the core of what King would like, a group of upbeat, positive guys going out playing basketball.
The rumors of Williams’ buy-out heated up Thursday night, just hours after the press conference. and there has been talk of Johnson being traded to Cleveland.
This is all happening just about three years to the day that Williams signed the five-year deal with the Nets and Johnson was traded here from Atlanta. They were feted in a celebration at Brooklyn Borough Hall on July 13, 2012 and the tandem was called “Brooklyn’s Backcourt.” By the end of their third year together, they looked more like “Brooklyn’s Busts.”
Williams was never right for New York City, as he was a surly guy who had no interest in the high-profile nature of where he played. He also was not anywhere close to a leader, as he would show up his teammates on the court whenever they made a mistake by doing things like putting his hands on his hips.
He never had a clutch moment or a game-winning shot, like Joe Johnson repeatedly had in 2012-13, or Jarrett Jack this past season. Jack became the starting point guard for most of the season for his big-time play.
Williams’ time with the Nets was epitomized by the first-round series with Atlanta in April. He was awful throughout the series, except for a big performance in Game 4.
The lasting memory will be when he missed a game winner in the closing seconds of Game 2 in Atlanta that would have evened the series. After he missed the long baseline jumper, he stood staring at the rim with this smirk on his face. I still don’t know what to make of it, what he was thinking. Was it the fact he was still getting his $20 million even though he never hit these types of shots? Was it that the Nets were two games away from elimination, thus closer to vacation? Was it ultimately that he just didn’t care?
The Nets did everything to make him comfortable, especially artificially building a winner in Brooklyn with reckless trades, like the one that brought Gerald Wallace here from Portland for a pick that turned into Damian Lillard; the Joe Johnson deal with Atlanta in which they gave up multiple first round picks, and the riskiest of all – the trade with the Celtics that brought Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry here for a package that included three first round draft picks.
A sign of how difficult Williams can be was when he was in Utah and he pissed off longtime Head Coach Jerry Sloan so much that he resigned. Sloan was as mild-mannered a man as you could find and the fact he was that enraged by Williams spoke volumes. Sloan’s resignation came just two weeks before he was traded to the then-New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline in February 2011.
This gave Williams the justified reputation of being a coach-killer, and his time with the Nets confirmed it. The Nets went through four coaches in his time here, Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd, and Lionel Hollins. The Daily News reported on Friday that Williams and Hollins nearly came to blows this past February while they were having an “airing of grievances.” (What did they think this was, Festivus?) Whatever it was, it doesn’t sound good, and one thing that was clear from Hollins in his first year here was players better follow what he wants.
When Williams came to the Nets, he was acknowledged to be one of the best point guards in the league with Chris Paul. It is no contest now, asPaul is still regarded as the class at that position. Williams has to really find himself again in Dallas.
Rajon Rondo also was in the conversation of best PG, mainly due to his postseason performance. His career has also taken a tumble, and he wound up going to Dallas from Boston last year, and had a tough time dealing with Head Coach Rick Carlyle. They argued during a game on the court once, which brought a one-game suspension and their relationship never improved. It got so bad the Mavs sent him home during the playoffs. This should serve as a cautionary tale for Williams, that Carlyle and Dirk Nowitzki won’t put up with his act.
For the record, Williams (6’3”, 200) appeared in 277 games (258 starts) with the Nets after joining the team via trade from Utah on February 23, 2011. He registered averages of 16.6 points and 7.5 assists in 34.2 minutes per game and was named an All-Star in 2012, his first full season with the Nets. In 2014-15, Williams appeared in 68 games (55 starts), recording averages of 13.0 points and 6.6 assists in 31.1 minutes per game. Williams also saw action in 25 playoff games with Brooklyn, averaging 15.6 points and 6.5 assists in 36.5 minutes per game.
In 716 career games (664 starts) split between the Nets and Jazz, the 31-year-old Williams has averaged 17.0 points and 8.5 assists in 35.1 minutes per game.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
English soccer legend Frank Lampard is all set to make his debut for New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium this Sunday against Toronto FC.
Lampard is the all-time scoring leader for Chelsea, with 172 goals there, and he won three English Premier League championships, the 2012 UEFA Champions League, and four FA Cups.
Lampard addressed the media at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at the Hyatt Grand Central. He opened it by talking about joining NYC FC and playing in the United States, “It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. MLS is a fantastic league which I’ve seen grow over the recent years, and having spoken to everybody at the Football Club, it was a very easy choice for me, great challenge for me to come and play here, and to live in this great city and be part of a new project, starting a club, starting a fan base, which has been great the first half of the season, and hope to improve on that.”
He committed to join NYC FC last summer as the club’s first big signing. It was only the beginning of intrigue as to what was really behind the deal. In August, it was announced that Lampard would play for NYC FC parent club Manchester City to ostensibly keep him in shape for the NYC FC season, set to begin this past March.
Lampard thrived in the early stages of the season for Man City, with the most emotional moment coming when he notched an equalizer late in a game at Chelsea in a game in late September. He declined to celebrate out of respect for his former club and the fans, some of whom booed him as he entered the game in the second half, gave him a rousing ovation.
After the Chelsea game, Manchester City Manager Manuel Pelllegrini made it clear he wanted Lampard to stay past his transfer deal was up in January and stay there for the full season, which would go until May. It was obvious that his time with Manchester City was more valuable than being ready for the NYC FC season opener in March. It then was revealed that Lampard’s contract was with Manchester City and not NYC FC, so by this point it was obvious that this was a ruse to get Lampard to Man City without bringing him directly over from bitter rival Chelsea.
The shame of Man City keeping Lampard for the full season was how little he was used after January 1st, and only saw significant time in the final few games when Man City’s title hopes were gone. He scored six goals in 32 appearances this past season.
On his biggest challenge with NYC FC, Lampard said, “That’s a big question I suppose. I think the challenge is to come here and do the best I can, simple answer – win. I think it’s the perfect challenge for me at this part of my career. The decision to come here was an easy one relatively. The MLS, the way it is, the club itself, as I said earlier, how it was sold to me. My challenge is to try to win. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I had a lot left in me in terms of fitness, in terms of freshness. I’ve always had a huge desire to win throughout my career and been fortunate to do that. My challenge is to show people I’m here to win and play well as regularly as I can.”
Lampard will be joining a team that includes David Villa, the all-time leading scorer for Spain; and Andrea Pirlo, the Italian star who was just signed on Monday. They all competed against each other in the UEFA Champions League and the World Cup. To the question of if he ever thought about the chance to play with them, Lampard said, “I did think that, I was fortunate enough to play against many great players, and I have to say David and Andrea are right at the top of that list. I played against David when he was very young back at Valencia. I remember him very well, the quality of him was straightaway. Andrea Pirlo, he’s a joy to watch as a footballer anyway, and there was one time at Chelsea where there were rumors that he was going to come and play when Ancelotti was there, and he wanted to sign him, but it never happened. Both are players I’ve admired from afar, an absolute joy to play with. I didn’t realize it would happen at this stage of my career, I’m a lucky man to be on the same squad as them.”
Lampard said of his first week training with NYC FC, “It’s been great for me, I mean I had a couple weeks break, which is good for my freshness. I was really excited to get back on the training field with the players and I was fortunate because I have met most of the squad, pretty much all of them before I met Jason (Kreis, NYC FC Head Coach) and I had those conversations, so it didn’t feel like a complete new say at the office, it was very comfortable for me straightaway, so enjoyed training. The quality of training was high, as I expected it to be. I’ve seen the boys train before the season in Manchester. Jason’s sessions are very sharp and it was very easy for me to fit in. It was a joy to train this week, get to know the lads a bit more, and hoping I do everything on my end to integrate as quick as I can, making friends, making relationships on and off the pitch, just try and help the team.”
On if there’s any regrets about how his move here played out and if that will motivate him to make his mark here, Lampard said, “I’ve always been a very determined character. In football, my career’s always been about big moments, and any player who’s had as long a career as I’ve had will have moments of decisions, and how to learn from them. So, for me, I’m not interested in looking backwards at all, very, very excited to be here. I’ll try to make all my answers on the pitch in the coming months this season and next season.”
On his impressions of New York, Lampard said, “I haven’t done the subway yet, but I will. It’s too big a city to take all in in one week, especially when you’re training and trying to rest in the afternoons. I did drive the car the other day, which was interesting (he said with a laugh). It’s a great city, I mean, I’m delighted to be here, I’m a city boy, I lived in London for many years. I love the energy of the city, the sounds, which we can hear now as we’re talking (referring to a siren outside), so that’s made me very comfortable straightaway. I will explore it as time comes. I’ve been very pleased, such a great reception here. People talk about soccer here, and talk about how it’s easy it is to walk down the street and not get recognized compared to England. You wouldn’t know it from that because I can see the game’s really growing. I walk down the street now, lots of people interested in the games and NYC FC, so for me that’s been a pleasure. I’m blessed to live in a great city like this and play my football here.”
On the pressure of playing here: “This is what it’s about. If it was to come play in a country without pressure, it’s a holiday. A lot of pressure means that you’re in a serious business.”
On how much he has followed NYC FC throughout the first four months of the season and what he can bring to the team, Lampard said, “I’ve watched a great deal actually, I’ve watched I would say probably 55 percent of the games. Fortunately, they are broadcast over in England regularly now and now, with the internet, you can watch most games. I obviously wanted to see them, I’m a big football man anyway, it’s my life, I enjoy watching football. In terms of what I can give the club, I’ll try to do what I’ve always done, Jason said I will be a center midfield back. I don’t see myself as an attacking midfield player, I like to help the team with and without the ball, so I’ll try to do that. Then, obviously, I’ll try to create and score goals, I think that’s probably been one of the defining things of my career is scoring from midfield, so if I can do that for the team, as well as working for everyone else, I’ll try to do that.”
Lampard’s father saw most of his games in England. He said of how many games his father will see here, “I’m picking my dad up at the airport tomorrow (Wednesday), so he’s in already essentially, and my sister. I’m not sure my dad can commute as regularly as he did, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong family around me, family and friends. I think my hardest part is going to be to get them to stay away because this is such an attractive city to come to. I’m going to be inundated with people wanting to come, so I do have a job to do, people think I’m on holiday, I think my friends do. I’m grateful if they come over, my dad hasn’t been to America for many years, I’m glad to get him here once, and hopefully he enjoys the experience and keeps coming back.”
On the MLS having a playoff structure far different from the English Premier League, which does not have playoffs but has relegation, Lampard said, “I think it’s great, to me it’s great because it’s a new experience. I don’t know that Jason (Kreis) or people who played here involved in the league regularly can give you some more details or reasons why it’s so good or not so good. For me, it gives us a real interest that every team probably has an interest in it longer into the season, you know, in England, we pretty much know the two or three teams that can win the league very early on, so that’s nice. It’s a different culture, just the way it is. With regard to the parity and the teams being slightly more even, it’s a good thing.
“Going back to England, we would know two or three teams can win the league, I think here you see different teams have strong seasons and you never quite know who’s going right until the end, so it can be an overly quite exciting finish. I’m just going to enjoy the ride and that’s the way it is here, so we’ll see,” said Lampard.