It's the first bye week of the young 2013 Major League Soccer season for D.C. United, and it comes at a good time for our hometown boys. According to Ben Olsen, the team will be working on fundamentals to overcome the problems exposed in last weekend's 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew, and to figure out what they will do for the next several weeks while Nick DeLeon is sidelined with an injury. We fans, however, are left to pass the time this weekend while waiting for D.C. United to get back on the field on Friday, Apr. 5, at Sporting Kansas City.
So, what should D.C. United fans do to kill the time? There's a thousand answers to that question, but whatever you choose to do, there's a good chance you'll have the opportunity to listen to (or watch) a podcast as you're doing it. Here are my five favorite podcasts to keep up on D.C. United, the United States Men's and Women's National Teams, and global soccer while doing something
I love to do I force myself to do like going on a long run. The only ground rule I set for myself in creating this Top 5 list was the podcast had to publish on a weekly basis.
1. Filibuster. Although I am a B&RU homer, I was not put up to this by our
taskmaster benevolent dictator, Adam, nor any of the other writers (Ben, Jason, Martin, or Rick) that appear regularly on the show. With that said, if you are a D.C. United fan and want a single podcast to review the most recent game, preview the upcoming game, hear audio from the team, get reports from down on the DCU farm in Richmond, hear guest interviews (including experts on the upcoming opponent), etc, then Filibuster is your one-stop, must-listen podcast. You'll get the best player analysis and tactical breakdown that you'll find anywhere, and your hosts are just as passionate about D.C. United and the US national teams as you are. If you're not a Filibuster listener, now's the time to become one. A new Filibuster episode is posted right here on the site weekly, and each normally runs 45-60 minutes.
2. The Daily. This is actually a video podcast that comes out every business day from the folks over at MLS. There's a rotating cast of hosts from among the personalities and writers you see regularly on the league's website. I never miss an episode, and since each episode is only 4-6 minutes long, it's a quick digest of the big news on-going in MLS, the US national team, and CONCACAF Champions League, while also providing recaps of recent games, previews of upcoming action, video highlights, and on-scene reports from the biggest events in MLS and US soccer. You can access The Daily through MLSsoccer.com, YouTube, or MLS's excellent MatchDay app.
3. ESPN Dallas: Soccer Today. This weekly podcast originates out of the ESPN affiliate in Dallas, Texas, and is hosted by Marc Stein and Steve Davis. The emphasis here is on MLS and the US national team, with some English Premier League and other European soccer thrown in as well. Soccer Today regularly has guests from around the world to go along with their analysis of the latest happenings in North American soccer. For a general overview of MLS and American soccer writ large, this hour-long podcast is superb.
4. Men in Blazers. If there is an acquired taste among my Top 5 podcasts, this is it. For fans of British humor and the EPL, this is the podcast for you. MiB is a weekly podcast with Michael Davies and Roger Bennett on ESPN's Grantland Network. These two British ex-pats focus their coverage on the EPL, but they also touch on the US national teams and MLS (in that order). If you're new to Men in Blazers, be warned that there's a lot of inside humor and running jokes (e.g. Von Traps, Anne Hathaway, and quarterback style), so you'll either need to commit yourself to listening to three to five episodes, or you can take advantage of the MiB Wiki to become a GFOP ahead of the curve. IMO, Men in Blazers is definitely worth a listen.
5. Pitch Pass. Although the Capital Soccer Show is no longer being produced, D.C. United fans can still hear Greg Roche on
his new podcast, Pitch Pass. This is a terrific new addition to part of the soccer-podcast-o-sphere. The focus is on interviewing some of the biggest personalities in American soccer, as well as some you haven't heard of but should have. You won't hear match analysis or previews, but you will get to hear an excellent interview--frequently involving Roche poking his guests with lines like, "Don't give me any player/coach speak." The production quality of this podcast is off the charts good. While the focus isn't exclusively on D.C. United, as a local guy, Roche has already interviewed Steven Goff and Chris Pontius in his first few episodes.
For soccer fans in general, and D.C. United fans specifically, this is a golden period with many excellent podcasts so readily available. Several of these podcasts just missed making my list. Some missed because they violate the "must be a podcast and publish every week" rule I set for myself. Others missed because I need to dedicate some more time to listening to them on a regular basis to learn what they are all about. And still others missed because I haven't yet heard of them.
If I've left off one of your favorite shows, tell us about it in the comments section below. Or, if you just want to take exception to, or agree with, one of the shows on my list, tell us about that as well.