PAUL KENNEDY: Troubling sidebars

To say the least, MLS is not off to a good start. A week after Doug Logan assured us that the percentage of games ending in the shootout would not continue at its record rate, it actually increased. Ron Newman is already gone, and two or three more coaches could follow shortly if they aren't careful. In Miami, we have Ivo Wortmann turning the Fusion into his own private Project-40 team. The shootout debate and controversial coaching moves aren't the problem. They come with the territory. Attendance has been largely disappointing. (Dallas is the notable exception.) One wonders what's the future in Miami. (Rochester?) Just last year, everyone was calling Lockhart Stadium the model for MLS stadiums to come. Now, Logan says the stadium is too far away to draw the Miami ethnic fans. Wasn't this supposed to be the year of no excuses? Speaking of excuses, here's what Chicago GM Peter Wilt said about the deplorable condition of Soldier Field: "It's April in Chicago and we're 20 feet from the lake." (Los Angeles Times) The problem is, even good news these days is overshadowed by troubling sidebars. The Fire beat the baseball White Sox's opening day crowd, but the story is how little respect the Fire gets from its landlord, the Chicago park district. In Washington, D.C. United draws a record crowd, but the storyline is how the fans turned on United and cheered for San Jose and its two Salvadorans. (United coach Thomas Rongen was way off on this one, going on before the game about the "synergy" of the fans as a reason for D.C.'s invincibility at RFK.) If D.C. United, the most successful club in the history of American soccer, can't depend upon area fans to support it, MLS is in big, big trouble. FANS: LET'S HEAR YOUR VIEW Click here to log onto (Soccer) American Graffiti. Then click on the topic titled "YOUR VIEW: Troubling sidebards" and respond to Paul Kennedy in 200 words or less. Best responses may be reprinted in Soccer America Magazine. If YOUR View is selected, we'll send you a cool T-shirt and pin... Because You're FANATIC.
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