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Musket Rounds: 4/14/2011

Behold! For the first time in over a month, I am posting a Musket Rounds piece on each of the days I originally set out to publish them! In the same week!

Today we have relegation as a sports savior, MLS on the international scene, a tribute to a very special Midnight Rider and more.

First, Jeff Lemieux pens a tribute to Monty Rodrigues, who recently stepped down as president of the Midnight Riders after eleven years on the job. []

The Portland Timbers appear to have signed their first Designated Player, Colombian attacker Diego Chara. So, just to recap, both of this year's expansion teams have DPs, but the Revs are still looking. [Soccer By Ives]

Kyle J. McCarthy gives his two cents on MLS midweek fixtures and the reasons why the quality on display tends to be less than exemplary. []

More after the jump.

The Portland Timbers will play their first-ever MLS home match tonight at the renovated Jeld-Wen Field. Zach Dundas explains how this is a microcosm of how soccer brings about the decline of the nation-state. [Run Of Play]

Magnakai Haaskivi has produced an interesting study of the import and export of soccer players and how MLS fares in both areas. By the way, you'll never guess which country is the world's greatest importer of talent. [Avoiding The Drop]

Neil W. Blackmon writes about the contrast of the American sports fan, resigned to his team's futility year after year, and the world sports fan who cannot afford resignation when relegation lurks around the corner. But, as you will read, eternal American optimism makes things look a little less bleak. [The Yanks Are Coming]

Here is part 3 of Chris Nee's excellent series on the resurrection of the New York Cosmos. [Two-Footed Tackle]

Finally, James T was recently hired as Sepp Blatter's personal diarist. Here he recounts his first day on the job in Switzerland and the dangers of mentioning Mohammed bin-Hammam in front of Sepp. [Unprofessional Foul]