MLS CONFIDENTIAL: 'Game' facts; Not so much Wizardry

By Ridge Mahoney, Senior Editor
Soccer America Magazine

'GAME' RECAP: By now, word has spread that filmmakers Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh took some factual liberties with the story of the U.S. team that stunned England, 1-0, in the 1950 World Cup.

The England game was the second game played by the U.S. at the tournament, not the first as depicted in the film, "The Game of Their Lives." That touching scene when the players are first handed their uniforms at a U.S. air force base in Brazil never happened but it was certainly great cinema. And so on.

The film opens and closes at the 2004 MLS All-Star Game at RFK Stadium. Those scenes, in which actor Patrick Stewart plays veteran reporter Dent McSkimming, the only American journalist present at the 1950 World Cup, were added after principal photography had concluded and the film had been edited down to a rough cut. (Another actor portrays McSkimming attending the preparations in St. Louis and New York as well as at the World Cup itself.)

Co-producer Karen Baldwin believed the 2004 MLS All-Star Game scenes and Stewart's narration were needed to provide continuity and a central element to tie the film together.

McSkimming, however, died in 1976, the year after Pele joined the New York Cosmos and two decades before the launch of MLS. The magic of Hollywood knows no limits.

NOT SO MUCH WIZARDRY: Kansas City is performing some feats of magic better left unperformed: making leads disappear.

Twice it blew one-goal leads last weekend in San Jose before losing, 3-2, and the Wizards led the MetroStars 2-0 two weeks ago before settling for a 2-2 tie.

In both games, Kansas City violated one of soccer's most sacred tenets, according to defender Jimmy Conrad: "Don't give up a goal in the first five minutes or the last five minutes of a half. We've done that the last couple of games. I don't know what else to say. I'm at a loss for words, which is unlike me."

San Jose equalized for the second time five minutes before halftime when Brian Ching headed in a corner kick swerved into the box by Brad Davis. Against the Metros, Sergio Galvan Rey started the Metros comeback when he scored in the 44th minute.

"It's uncharacteristic, I guess would be the word," says Conrad, who was taken down in the penalty area to earn a penalty kick that Josh Wolff couldn't put past Pat Onstad. "I don't know. We give up a goal that's uncharacteristic, and I just think we get a little tentative. It's just a habit we need to break straightaway. We've given up a lot of untimely goals."

Kansas City has conceded seven goals in three games, including a 3-2 win over Colorado on opening day that it led 2-0 and 3-1. The Wizards boasted the league's best defense last year, with 30 goals allowed in 30 games.

"I think we're resting on last year a little bit," says Conrad. "We were so good last year and we tightened up and did a lot of things that were right. We have to accept that last year is last year and focus just on this year."

SITTERS: Former San Jose midfielder Ronnie Ekelund has turned down an offer from the MetroStars, according to a source, hoping to land a spot with the Earthquakes. Ekelund has bought a home in the San Jose area and wants to play one more season in MLS... . Post-concussion syndrome has forced Columbus midfielder Ross Paule to retire. He played 192 regular-season games in his eight MLS seasons. As a rookie in 1997, he played in the MLS Cup with Colorado.

Next story loading loading..