IN A PRE-EMPTIVE strike against the Sizzling Sky Sports Stars and Stripes Small Screen Soccer Kick Bowl Spectacular sure to come after Golden Balls acceptance of a lucrative early retirement package and/or exciting branding opportunity in a fresh market for shirt sales to teenage girls, here is everything you the Boro fan need to know about the stateside game…
Boro’s favourite tattooed parmo-loving Bolivian, Jaime Moreno, is still a goal-scoring legend in MLS. In fact the podgy poacher who looked hopelessly out of his depth in England (three goals in 37 games first time around between 1994 and 1997 and one in six in his second loan spell in 1999) is the second highest all time goal-getter in this low level league.
Moreno has scored 103 goals in 238 games for DC United of Washington, won the Golden Boot in 1997 with 16, has two championship medals and was named in the All Time MLS XI in 2005 and “continues to play well despite concerns about his weight.”
And in another bit of Boro cultural ephemera Ronnie O’Brien – who pipped Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein in a Time Magazine millenium internet poll to be named ‘Person of the Century’ but was later disqualified after an ‘Ireland based vote-rigging scandal’ was rumbled – is now plying his trade with moose bothering MLS new boys Toronto FC.
Midfielder O’Brien was last seen on Teesside leaving the Riverside in 1999 shaking his fist angrily and shouting: “I’ll show you Robbo,” cartoon fashion in response to the then boss’s laughter as it was revealed he had signed a logic-defying deal with Juventus. “What as a sweeper? Sweeping the changing room floor more like, son,” went the reported exchange.
O’Brien never played for Juve but had a nomadic few years in which he had spells on loan at Lugano in Switzerland, Dundee then Serie C Lecco before joining Dallas Burn where he became a cult hero. He turned their season around and was pencilled in for big things but suffered a badly broken leg but bounced back to make the MLS best XI two seasons running then fell out with the new coach and ended up in the bench before being ‘drafted’ out to Toronto this season.
Here is that MLS team by review in full:
Chicago Fire: play in a Charltonesque retro Boro red with white chest band strip. Best player name: Logan Pause. Former players include one time Boro target Marcus DeBeasley, nicknamed Run DMB after his head down, sprint forward, fall over like you’ve had a cap popped in yo ass playing style. Other old boys feature Hristo Stoichkov and Eric Wynalda.
Columbus Crew: have natty Beastie Boys style rap crew logo as their badge. Ex-players include Stern John, Brad Friedl, John Harkes, Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda.
DC United: The roster includs Jaime Moreno, Justin Moose and Devon McTavish. Please let them team him up with first draft offensive-defense backer Jermaine McSporran next semester.
Kansas City Wizards: Nicknamed ‘the Friends of Dorothy’. Former players include Richard Gough, Preki and Eric Wynalda.
New England Revolution: A K-Tel collection of former US greats have been through here. In fact if you asked the average Englsih fan to name every US player they knew it would be this list – Alexei Lalas, Tony Meola, Tab Ramos, Warren Harkes, Clint Dempsey, Eric Wynalda.
Red Bull NY (formerly Merostars): a team more than any other that specialise in signing ageing, porky former World Cup winners living on past glories like Yuri Djorkaeff, Lothar Matthaus and yes, even Boro’s lardy latin heavyweight half time team talk specialist (“pass, pass, pass, goal , nightclub, lager, lager, lager”) Branco after he landed in the money laden escape pod in 1997. Oh, and Eric Wynalda.
Toronto: The US disproves any notion that they are insular as they invite a Canadian team to enter this year’s World Series of Soccerball. Ronnie O’Brien is managed by controversial Old Firm double bigot hate figure Mo Johnson. Only MLS team never to sign Eric Wynalda.
Club Deportivo Chavas: LA’s latino ghetto boyz, based on the dirt poor Mexican community and featuring a roster of players with mix and match stereo-typed interchangable names – Garcia, Lopez, Luis, Guevara, Ramon, Diego, Estaban, Erico Wynaldero – and Preston Burpo.
Colorado Rapids: Now featuring former Boro target Clint Mathis, Shaun bartlett and former star of Britain’s top franchise, the Uniteds of Manchester Terry Cooke (apps 1, 7 sub). Former stars include Anders Limpar, John Spencer and stocky shot-stopper Chris Wood.
FC Dallas: Having drafted Ronnie O’Brien out to the Lumberjacks boss Steve Morrow (he of being dropped by Donkey Adams and breaking his arm career over fame) has first picked former NASA defensive net-minder Shaka Hislop.
Houston Dynamo: Paul Dalglish… say no more.
LA Galaxy: now bossed by former Linkin park air guitarist Alexei Lalas, David Beckham joins a team in which he will be the second most famous player. Becks will have to contend with life in the shadow of one time Vasco de Gama, Coventry and FC Koln star Cobi Jones. Jones has been at glamour boys Galaxy for ten years and is the MSL’s big cheese. He has 164 caps for the USA and more MVP awards than can be calculated by maknind’s puny science. And, let’s be honest, he was always rubbish here.
Real Salt Lake City: described as “an experiment in branding” the one time Utah Polygimists cynically aimed at the latino market and apoted both the Iberian royalist moniker and the Spanish national side’s kit.. and a tendency to fail when the heat is on. They do however have in-demand teenage ball-juggler and Champ Man legend Freddy Adu on their books. For now.