Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller said today that Major League Soccer players have known all season what the World Cup teams are learning only now: Adidas’ Jubulani soccer ball moves unpredictably sometimes.
“We knew from the first day of preseason that this was going to be a lot of problems,” he said. “These guys haven’t been playing with this ball, they get it a couple of weeks before, and you’ve heard that it’s not a lot of fun. And all of us in MLS are just kind of chuckling a little bit. This has been our nightmare for the last couple of months.”
However, no World Cup team has had more nightmares than France -- and they are unrelated to the ball. The team opened with a scoreless draw with Uruguay, then lost 2-0 to Mexico, with striker Nicolas Anelka cursing out his coach at halftime. The next day Anelka refused to apologize and sent home. And on Sunday, the players argued with their fitness coach and then refused to practice.
Watching the near-mutiny from half a world away was Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.
“You obviously hope that you have the respect of your team and your team is in your corner and you guys are all pulling the rope in the same direction,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to be the case right now with the French team. … Certainly, there’s a disconnect there between the coaching staff and the players right now.”
There's more about the Sounders' World Cup break in my Monday TNT story.