March 14, 2006

Bronco News & Notes From MLS

March 14, 2006

By James Edward
Deseret Morning News

PROVO, Utah -- In soccer circles, the No. 10 jersey is traditionally worn by the most skillful player on a team, usually an attacker or midfielder.

Reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho wears No. 10 for Barcelona. Ruud van Nistelrooy wears No. 10 for Manchester United and Zinedine Zidane dons No. 10 with France's National Team.

In Major League Soccer, Landon Donovan wears No. 10 for the L.A. Galaxy while Christian Gomez wears No. 10 for D.C. United.

A funny thing happened earlier this week with Real Salt Lake -- nobody wanted the No. 10 jersey. RSL's marquee offseason acquisitions opted to go with their numbers from previous clubs, if possible, instead of inheriting Clint Mathis' jersey.

Jeff Cunningham would've like the No. 11 jersey, but Chris Brown wore that number last year, so Cunningham will wear a jersey number that adds up to 11 -- No. 74. Chris Klein decided to convince Kenny Cutler to give up his No. 17 jersey, the same number Klein wore throughout his career in Kansas City.

So when the time rolled around for the newcomers to pick jerseys, rookie Mehdi Ballouchy jumped all over the No. 10 jersey.

RSL coach John Ellinger loves the confidence and guts it takes to claim the most prestigious jersey number in soccer before ever playing a regular-season game. Ballouchy was the No. 2 overall selection in January's MLS SuperDraft out of Santa Clara University, where he wore... the number 10.

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By Jeff Carlisle
ESPN Soccernet

Houston Dynamo breakout player to watch: Ryan Cochrane

After waiting in the wings during his first two seasons in the league, 2006 represents (former Santa Clara star) Ryan Cochrane's best chance for a breakthrough. Califf's aforementioned move to Europe, as well as Troy Dayak's retirement, has created a massive hole in the center of defense, and Cochrane remains the best candidate to fill the gap.

Last season Cochrane filled in for Califf and nominal starter Eddie Robinson when injury or suspension struck, and this season will see if he can replicate that form when handed a starting role. Cochrane provides a solid aerial presence, and is a good tackler. But he'll need to clean up his distribution out of the back if he's to enjoy the kind of season that will make people forget about Califf.

Another candidate is forward Alejandro Moreno. The Venezuelan may possess the most ungainly running style in MLS, but he still manages to get the job done up top. After seeing only spot duty during his first two years in Los Angeles, Moreno looked set to endure more of the same in 2005. But he saw increased playing time during the latter half of the season, and tallied eight goals and four assists. If Moreno is handed a starting role from the beginning, those numbers should increase.

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Larry Morgan
Long Beach Press Telegram

The Los Angeles Galaxy players were having dinner in San Jose last Thursday when coach Steve Sampson received a telephone call that informed him of the passing of general manager Doug Hamilton. The 43-year-old died while flying home from Costa Rica, where his team lost a CONCACAF Champions' Cup match against Deportivo Saprissa in San Jose. Hamilton apparently suffered a heart attack only minutes into the flight, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Galaxy was scheduled to play another preseason match on Sunday against another Costa Rican team, but those plans were shelved after the loss of their top executive and the club returned last Friday. Todd Dunivant did not make the trip and was heading to his Redondo Beach home after getting treatment for his ailing hip when he got a call from teammate and backup goalkeeper Steve Cronin. Dunivant said he could tell by the tone of Cronin's voice that "something wasn't right."

"Doug meant so much to this organization," Dunivant said of Hamilton. "Not only was he my boss, but I considered him my friend. You can't replace somebody like that. He set the standard for excellence at Home Depot Center and the Galaxy, and he won't be forgotten anytime soon. It's going to be tough to keep going, but it's something we have to do."

The Galaxy is expected to resume workouts on Thursday. Cronin said he sensed some of his teammates are still in denial about what happened last week, and the front-office workers he's talked to are taking the loss particularly hard. He also said returning to work might be difficult because Hamilton was a regular observer at practice.

"I was used to seeing him and saying, 'Hi, how was your day?" " Cronin said. "Now that's not going to happen. It will be tough for a long time, but we have to move on."