Homelessness and Hunger in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times recently ran a series of editorials on the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles.

Homelessness burst its traditional borders several years ago, spreading first to gloomy underpasses and dim side streets, and then to public parks and library reading rooms and subway platforms. No matter where you live in L.A. County, from Long Beach to Beverly Hills to Lancaster, you cannot credibly claim today to be unaware of the squalid tent cities, the sprawling encampments, or the despair and misery on display there.
Today, we are paying the price: The economically homeless are now estimated to make up more than half of L.A.’s unhoused — and it is their rising numbers that are fueling the unprecedented growth in that population. More than half of the people surveyed by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority last year said they were homeless because of an eviction, foreclosure, unemployment or “financial reasons.”
Until the mayor and the members of…

NYCFC v LA Galaxy line-up guesses

Alessandrini is definitely out. Pontius is day-to-day.

What is the starting XI?
Defense picks itself: Bingham/Cole/Skelvik/Ciani/Feltscher
Simply want the unit to get used to playing together. Might see some rotation during fixture congestion and when the training staff identify players who need a break. However, barring any injury issues, we should be seeing this line-up most of the time.
Forward: Kamara
Don't have any idea who they will rely upon if Kamara gets injured or needs a break during the season!
Midfield: Defensive: Kitchen/Carrasco Offensive: JDS/GDS/Boateng
Will assume Pontius is going to be rested. Lletget isn't ready to start. He will probably get subbed in around the 60 minute mark to continue stretching out his minutes and testing out his surgically repaired foot.
Bench: vom Steeg Steres/Romney/Hillard-Arce Husidic/Lletget/Alvarez
Lletget should be first off the bench around the 60 minute mark. Husidic could get in around 70-75 minute mark. Alvarez may get his…

Cardiac kids of Queens Park Rangers: QPR 1 Derby County 1

QPR dominated possession, got the shots but as is often the case, were down by a goal and almost out.

On this day, Luongo got the header across the line on a set-piece at the 87th minute!

QPR sit fairly safely in the lower part of the mid-table 10 points above the relegation zone.

The front office has serious financial constraints but they do have some solid players and hopefully in the next transfer window they can spot some overlooked talent and up-and-coming players to bring in.

Am not enough of a fan to know the contract situation of the existing players and who could be let go for cost reasons. As for selling players on at a profit, I don't know if any members of the current roster has had such a dramatically good season such that QPR could do a Southampton.

Historic day for LA Soccer!

There are, once again, two soccer teams in Los Angeles!

Seattle 0 LAFC 1

Click here for the video highlights.

LAFC's first match as a club and they got the win. Diego Rossi the 20 year old young phenom from Uruguay got the pass from Carlos Vela, the DP from Mexico, and fired the shot into the goal!

Meanwhile, LA Galaxy aim to put behind the dreadful 2017 season.

LA Galaxy 2 Portland Timbers 1

Click here for the video highlights.

Ola Kamara was signed to get goals from the striker spot and he delivered at 32 minutes. Allesandrini got the second in short order at 34 minutes. LA defense held on just giving up one goal.

When I started following LA Galaxy routinely (2010), the stadium was shared with Chivas USA. However, at that time Chivas USA was already in bad shape and eventually went under after the 2014 season. Will be interesting to see if the front office at LAFC will do a better job. So far, they have made a lot of good moves: new stadium, top notch manager in Bob Bradley, …

Market Value of Players and Clubs

It is very hard to compare soccer clubs from different leagues and by extension players in one league versus players in another league.

In continental competitions, there can be some indicators of relative strength. For instance, the top Spanish teams have dominated European Champions League so they are regarded as the strongest. However, how does the 3rd and 4th place Spanish League teams compare to the top 4 in other leagues? Head-to-head competition gives clues but it is hard to be sure. Anyway, it is this concept that drives the "UEFA club coefficients" which is the soccer analog to NCAA basketball's RPI. From those stats, one can see that the 3rd and 4th place Spanish league teams compare very favorably to the rest of Europe.

But when you get beyond the handful of top teams in the top leagues, it gets harder to compare. And it is even tougher to compare MLS in the USA relative to what is happening in Europe.

One attempt to rate strength is "market value" o…

Star Trek Discovery - Episode 15 Season Finale spoilers and opinions about season 1 overall

The breakneck pace of episode 13 was going to be hard to top and indeed episodes 14 and 15 seemed almost a let-down yielding a somewhat muddle-headed finish in episode 15, "Will You Take My Hand?"

First off, hats off to the actors.

Doug Jones and Mary Wiseman are clear fan favorites and I would second the vote to declare them the break-out stars of this flavor of Star Trek.

Anthony Rapp, Shazad Latif, Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh have been very solid especially Yeoh who got to play BOTH a very admirable and good Georgiou and a deliciously very evil Georgiou.

Sonequa Martin-Green has also been very good. Thus, I hesitate to detract from her fantastic performances but unlike other editions of Star Trek, the story lines rested very heavily on the singular character of Burnham and her choices. Yes, the Original Series was mostly Captain Kirk but Spock and McCoy had their own stories that were quite substantial and Kirk's development as a character rested very heavily on hi…

Star Trek Discovery Episode 14 - relationship status: "Its complicated" and other things

Episode 14 was a break from the shot-em up action of episode 13 and soon to drop season finale episode 15 on Sunday that will probably have a fair amount of shot-em up.

Thus, it was a time for some heart-to-heart talks among the cast and crew.

At the center of it all was Tilly. She talks to Tyler and others join in. She talks to Burnham to get Burnham to talk to Tyler.

Meanwhile, Saru continues to grow as a character as he is now the captain of the ship and shows his blend of getting the job done in the opening when he quickly sized up the situation in the transporter room. He also exhibits compassion as she filled Burnham in on Tyler's condition. He continued to display his generosity and firmness in the sickbay conversation with Tyler.

Stamets took center stage for a scene with Tyler and his response was what you would anticipate from the character we have seen develop through the series. Well done by Rapp. He also steps in with his engineering acumen with the terraforming the d…