07 December, 2013

MLS Final Shootout

Real Salt Lake met Sporting KC for the MLS Cup on a frigid afternoon today at Kansas City's Sporting Park. The temperature was the coldest ever for an MLS final, at 20 degrees F (the second coldest, in Toronto 2010, was over twice as "warm" at 43 degrees). Sporting KC lined up in a 4-3-3 (Nielsen; Sinovic, Besler, Collin, Myers; Feilhaber, Rosell, Nagamura; Zusi, Dwyer, Sapong) while RSL played a standard 4-4-2 diamond (Rimando; Wingert, Schuler, Borchers, Beltran; Beckerman, Grabavoy, Gil, Morales; Findley, Saborio). The game was very rough but referee Hilario Grajeda  let most contact go without calling fouls, and for excessively hard fouls was not particularly quick with yellow cards, issuing three in the first half. Sporting KC made the first substitution very early, as center midfielder Uri Rosell suffered an ankle sprain in the 5th minute and was replaced by Lawrence Olum.

Goalkeepers Nick Rimando and Jimmy Nielsen kept the first half scoreless with spectacular saves on CJ Sapong and Robbie Findley, respectively. Early in the second half, Real Salt Lake broke the scoreless tie as Kyle Beckerman found Alvaro Saborio at the 18 yard line. Saborio put some moves on Matt Besler and created enough room to shoot the ball past Jimmy Nielsen in the 51st minute.

06 December, 2013

History Lesson

Press Association
Quick, which is the only team in the USA's group that the U.S. has never beaten? FIFA World #2 Germany? USA beat them 4-3 earlier this year. FIFA World #5 Portugal? Last time we played them in a World Cup, 2002, we beat them 3-2. So, with 2 of the top 5 teams in the world in our group, which team have we never beaten? Ghana. The USA lost to Ghana in the last two World Cups, in 2006 in group play and 2010 in the knockout round, and is 0-2 all time against the Black Stars.

However, let me take you to one of the greatest matches in USMNT history: February 6, 1999. Remember that day? I do. I have the match on VHS somewhere around here. At the time, Bruce Arena was winless as USMNT coach and his USA team had not scored a goal in their previous 3 matches. But on that day at RFK Stadium, Jovan Kirovski, then with Fortuna Cologne, collected a pass from Jeff Agoos, got around Germany defender Markus Babbel, and shot the ball into the upper corner past Oliver Kahn to give the US a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Next, in the 24th minute, one of my all-time favorite USMNT goals took place when Tony Sanneh, then with Hertha Berlin, ran straight at the ball, which was at the feet of German center back Jens Jeremies. Sanneh emerged on the other side of Jeremies with the ball and had no defenders obstructing his path to the goal. He easily put the ball past Kahn to double the USA's lead. Finally, in the 26th minute, Chris Armas found Eddie Lewis open on the left side of the penalty area, and Lewis crossed for Claudio Reyna, then with Vfl Wolfsburg, who scored for a 3-0 USA victory, with all three goals coming from German-based US players (Kirovski's Fortuna Cologne was then in the Bundesliga2).

World Cup 2014 Final Draw

Wish we were home to watch this live and give the updates, but things are what they are.

In case you had some far flung fantasy about how far the US was going to make a run in the WC, the odds are already 100:1 that they don't make the quarters because of the recent change in POT seating from the averaged world rankings to the newer and more recent FIFA rankings.

How screwed up is it?

Portugal is in Pot 4.

Wanna know how really screwed the US can actually get?

How would you like to see Netherlands, Spain, US, and Portugal all in one pot?

Yeah, that would be about as crappy as it can be.  Luckily, FIFA won't let that happen.  We all hear the rumors of heated/cooled ping pong balls, and we can see it at it's best later today.

So where will that leave us?  We could still draw Ghana.  Fudge....

How bout another possibility?

Brazil, Ivory Coast, US, Italy.

Ah for #@%! sake, really?  Yeah. Take a second and go here for a FIFA WC 2014 simulator of possibilities.  Let us know the screwed up and inevitable doom that you see the USMNT facing next summer.

Maybe it's a good thing we have to work today.  Otherwise, I'd be drunk on Caipirinhas.

Photo: FIFA

05 December, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Everton v Manchester United Highlights

The last time Everton won at Old Trafford? 1992. 

In what was a pitched battle, it was Oviedu that put it into the net in the 85' that sunk Man U to new lows.  Moyes loses yet again, and this time to his old team, how's that for irony?

1-0 the final.  Somewhere, a refs phone is ringing unanswered in overtime...

Video: Footytube

EPL 2013/14: Chelsea v Sunderland Highlights

Barnburner, this one.  7 goals on the night, but it was an own goal by Bardsley that won it for Chelsea.  Hazard put in a brace and Altidore had a sweet back to the goal shot that put him on the score sheet.

Final, Chelsea 4 - Sunderland 3.

Video: Footytube

EPL 2013/14: Fulham v Tottenham HIghlights

Both teams needed a win.  Fulham, for their new coach, Spurs for the fact that AVB doesn't seem to know how to get his team to score a goal.

Luckily, someone won.

Wasn't a barn burner, and any time you forward has only a handful of goals in a season and almost all are from the spot, you don't want to be tied to rumors that your selling a proven, albeit undersized goalscorer in Defoe.  Well, guess that's par for the course, and Spurs are just happy to have a win.

Video: Footytube

02 December, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Hull v Liverpool Highlights

What looked to be a sure win for Liverpool with the teams going into the half 1-1, turned sour real quick as despite holding a nearly 66% possession, Liverpool loses 3-1 including a master own goal by Skrtel.

Video: RUtube

01 December, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Manchester United v Tottenham Highlights

Rooney pulls out the penalty on an iffy call as United manages to squeak 1pt out of their free fall to the bottom while Spurs finally find some scoring in this 2-2 draw.

Video: Footytube

25 November, 2013

MLS Final: RSL at Sporting KC

Fans at Sporting Park show their support.
Matt Rzepkowski (mdr1395) via Instagram

The 2013 MLS final will be held Saturday, December 7, at Kansas City's Sporting Park (pictured here), at 4:00 PM Eastern/1:00 PM Pacific, broadcast on ESPN.

Real Salt Lake rode the momentum of a 4-2 victory over Portland at Rio Tinto Stadium on November 10 into the finals, by a 5-2 aggregate score. In the first leg, team captain Will Johnson gave the Timbers a short-lived 1-0 lead, until Javier Morales caught fire. Morales found Chris Schuler on a corner kick for the tying goal in the 35th, and Robbie Findley scored six minutes later to give RSL the lead. Morales assisted the next goal by Devon Sandoval, and then scored himself on a corner kick from Joao Plata to make the score 4-1 after 82 minutes. Frederic Piquionne added a stoppage time consolation goal with a header to put Portland's deficit at 2 goals heading into last night's second leg at JELD-WEN Field. Futty Danso put the ball in the net first with a header off a corner kick in the 15th, but was called for a foul. In the 29th minute, Donovan Ricketts saved a shot by Luis Gil, but could not catch the ball and dropped it right in front of the goal. Robbie Findley tapped it in easily to give RSL a 1-0 lead. Danso scored again on a free kick in the 33rd, but was ruled offsides, and the score remained 1-0.

In the East, Sporting KC were in control after a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium on November 9. Needing only a win at home Saturday, Sporting found themselves in a hole after only 3 minutes, when a shot by Boniek Garcia, assisted by Brad Davis, bounced off KC center back Matt Besler and into the net to give Houston a 1-0 lead. But 11 minutes later, CJ Sapong collected a bad touch by Houston center back Bobby Boswell, and shot it into the net to tie the game and match 1-1. In the second half, Benny Feilhaber lifted a ball in the air to Dom Dwyer, who converted the winning goal in the 63rd minute of a very hard-fought battle, with lots of shots and saves by both Jimmy Nielsen and Tally Hall.

21 November, 2013

WCQ: Portugal v Sweden Highlights

Kids, this game was just unbelievably good.

Portugal, and more specifically, C. Ronaldo, had scored a goal to go up 1-0 aggregate going into this 2nd leg playoff qualifier for Brazil.

Seemingly, CR had put it out of reach for good when he struck first in this match. 


Zlatan decided he wasn't having any of this.

Two quick goals in a matter of 6 minutes saw Portugal and Sweden go level on goals and then the game was on.

At this point, a good player steps up, and as much as we dislike the person that is C. Ronaldo, the skill is just undeniable.

Here, let's let you take a look:

Yeah, that's just sick.  Zlatan 2, Ronaldo 3 (4 agg.) in this playoff match.  We knew one good team wasn't going to Brazil, but damn if this wasn't watch worthy, especially after watching how boring Austria v US was at the same time.

Video:  footytube

13 November, 2013

Haggis Anyone?

107,765...  That was the attendance in the first meeting at Hampden, Scotland's stadium in Glasgow, between the US and Scotland back on April 30, 1952.

At that time, that was nearly 30,000 more than the previous attendance record for Scotland and definitely, by far, the largest the US had ever seen.

Now maybe it was the fact that the US had previously upset England at the 1950 WC and let's be honest, the Scots love anyone who beats the Brits.  Either way, the US only fielded 6 of the 11 players that were on the squad that beat England.

By the 30' mark, the US was down 4-0 to Scotland, en route to a 6-0 loss, but the US has come a long way since then.  They weren't to face each other again until 1992, but since then they have faced off 5 times, and the US has gone 2-2-1 with a  +4gd, the most recent match being 5-1 in the US favor in 2012.

The US is using this as a tune up for the World Cup in Brazil, and we'll see quite a few possible USMNT starters, what with the following player pool:

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (7) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Michael Orozco (Puebla)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City)
FORWARDS (6) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)  Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Scotland will be just happy to play a game, after yet again getting a tough qualifying group and failing to qualify for Brazil.

We expect a 3-1 win for the US, as the USMNT takes on Scotland at 2pm CST on ESPN2 and Univision.

Photo: USSoccer

08 November, 2013

MLS Final Four: Added Extra Time

Pictured: Bobby Boswell and Omar Cummings celebrate the overtime goal that eliminated the #1 ranked Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday (MLS via Twitter). The goal was the second overtime goal for Omar Cummings in two consecutive matches, after coming off the bench to score in both playoff matches against RBNY.

Wednesday and Thursday night were amazing for MLS fans, as three of the four MLS quarterfinal playoff matchups went into added extra time to determine a winner. MLS does not use the away goals rule, so if the aggregate score was tied after two 90-minute games, another 30 minutes determined the winner, regardless of the exact scores of the individual games. And that is exactly what happened in Harrison, NJ, and Kansas City on Wednesday, and in Sandy, UT, last night.

03 November, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Liverpool Highlights

Carzola and Ramsey both score as Arsenal just prove too much for Liverpool in this one.  Arsenal win 2-0.

Video: dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Fulham v Manchester United Highlights

Goals by Valencia, RVP and Rooney before the 25' mark saw Man U sit back and cruise to an easy victory.  Don't let the slightly lopsided stats in Fulham's favor fool you.  It wasn't close.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Hull City v Sunderland Highlights

How do you know you'll have a bad day?  Try two red cards and a keeper going out before the half with a concussion.  Oh, not enough?  How bout an own goal? Poyet has to be wondering what black cat crossed his path as despite all this, they somehow managed to only lose 1-0.

Video: footytube

EPL 2013/14: Manchester City v Norwich City Highlights

Sometimes it's not your day.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, you get your ass handed to you.  Today was that day for Norwich.  Manchester dropped Joe Hart to the bench (even when they were up 6-0, he didn't even warm up), and England's possible replacement between the posts, John Ruddy decided to make all English keepers look bad (or maybe Hart look not so much so?) as Man City just absolutely punished the Canaries, 7-0.

Johnson with an own goal and 6 separate City players scored.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Chelsea v Newcastle United Highlights

Had to put these up, and no, it's not because The Godfather put a gun to my head.  Chelsea dominated this game.  More shots, more possession, but when you don't play to win, you lose.  Newcastle came out, balls to the wall, and did one thing, attack.  2-0 Newcastle on goals by Gouffran and Remy.


31 October, 2013

Seattle, Houston win

The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo won their preliminary round matches, and will host the #1 ranked teams in their respective conferences this weekend. Portland will travel to CenturyLink Field on Saturday, November 2, and Red Bull NY will visit BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday, November 3.

On a rainy night in Seattle, the Sounders forced Colorado 'keeper Clint Irwin to make several saves early in the first half, and then USMNT right back Brad Evans, playing right midfielder for the Sounders as usual, scored in the 28th minute on a failed clearance by the Rapids defense. My pick to win MLS Cup, Seattle, took a hit when starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning got a red card in the 85th minute, with Seattle leading 1-0 at the time, for handling a ball outside the penalty area. Gspurning will be suspended for the first leg of the home-and-home series against Portland. The good news for Seattle fans is that Gspurning's backup is a pretty good goalkeeper by the name of Marcus Hahnemann. Perhaps you have heard of him. So, with Seattle down to 10 men, Colorado pushed for an equalizer and were caught forward in the 93rd minute, when Clint Dempsey found Eddie Johnson open in the penalty area, and Eddie Johnson made the final score 2-0, Seattle.

Portland and Seattle are each 1-1-1 against one another in their three previous meetings this season.

In Houston on Halloween night, Will Bruin opened the scoring for the Dynamo with a give-and-go "wall pass" with Ricardo Clark, who back-heeled it back to the streaking Bruin. Will Bruin one-touched the return pass past Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Later, in the 27th minute, Montreal's Hernan Bernardello of Argentina blatantly pulled down Houston's Boniek Garcia of Honduras in the penalty box for a clear penalty kick. Boniek Garcia waved off team captain Brad Davis and put the PK away himself to double the Dynamo lead. Finally, in the 72nd minute, with Montreal pushing forward, Will Bruin beat all the Montreal defenders and dribbled around Troy Perkins to score his second goal and make the final score 3-0. Houston finished the game with only 8 players, following 3 red cards, but their season was over anyway.

Red Bull NY has beaten Houston in all three previous meetings this season.

Photo: Brad Evans celebrates his goal on Wednesday,  MLS via twitter

Real Madrid v Sevilla Highlights

This one just got way out of hand.  Benzema and Bale with a brace EACH and 2 assists each and Ronaldo nets a hat-trick in this affront to defense.  Real wins 7-3 in this mid-week matchup.

Video: footytube

28 October, 2013

MLS Playoff Preview

The 2013 MLS regular season is in the books. Red Bull NY finishes with the best regular season record to win their first MLS trophy of any kind (MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, or US Open Cup) despite being active for all 18 MLS seasons, originally as the NY/NJ MetroStars.

Ten MLS teams make the playoffs, with the #4 and #5 teams in each conference, East and West, playing in a one-game knockout preliminary round. The survivors will then join the top 3 teams in each conference in the quarterfinal round (conference semifinals) for a home-and-home aggregate series. The four conference finalists will meet for another home-and-home series to determine who goes to the one-game MLS Cup final, to be played on December 7 at the home of the team with the better regular season record. This is only the second time in MLS history that the MLS Cup final will not be held at a predetermined neutral site.

24 October, 2013

Why Can't I Coach in the EPL?

After the latest string of firings, Halloway included, I felt I needed to enlighten some of you as to what it takes to coach in the EPL.

In the US, most in the coaching ranks are familiar with the USSF standard ratings, E, D (state and national), C, B, and A licenses. Typically, you won't see a D1 school being coached by someone with anything less than an A license. I say typically, because there are some with a B.

For the B license, typically you need either 1+yrs with a C License from the USSF, the Advanced National Diploma from the NSCAA or five years of coaching experience (any level) AND five years of playing experience with a Senior National Team or five years of FIFA recognized professional playing experience. There are a handful of ex USMNT players with these licenses as well.

For the A license, you have to have your B for 1-3 years and be at least 21yo.

The C-A licensing are all 7-9 day residential courses with analysis and testing throughout. From the level D to A, there is testing on a pass/fail (C-A has 5-1 rankings with 5 being a fail and 1 a pass, if you fail one, you can retake that section before the residency is over, but fail again and you're out till 1 year hence).

Basically, just to get to your A license, you have to

21 October, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Aston Villa v Tottenham Highlights

Traveling to AV, Spurs were looking to turn around last week's embarrassing mishap at the hands of West Ham. Their first half didn't help anything. Where possession and shots stats really are misleading, Spurs looked rushed, and gave up stupid passes, basically trying to give another game away, but were saved by a Townsend cross gone awry. Townsend was trying to find Holtby at the back post around the 34' mark and to his credit, Holtby, marked and covered by Guzan, decided instead to duck as the cross found the inside of the left netting. The second half saw Soldado finally score from the run of play and Spurs walked away 2-0 winners to stay in the CL hunt. Video: Footytube

20 October, 2013

EPL 2013:14: Sunderland v Swansea City Highlights

Bet Poyet is having a Twix moment right about now. His first game in charge of floundering Sunderland sees his ass handed to him without so much as a thank you. Bardsley and Fletcher both score own goals and Bony, a pk as Swansea manhandle the Black Cats, 4-0. In USMNT news, Altidore sees only 8' as he comes on late after the Fletcher giveme. Video: Rututbe

EPL 2013/14: Manchester City v West Ham Highlights

Horrible defensive lapses lead to two Aguero goals and Silva puts the nail in the coffin as West Ham manage only a token goal from Vaz Te. City win 3-1 ahead of their CL game Wednesday. Video: Rutube

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Norwich City Highlights

Oezil scores twice as Arsenal simply destroy the Canaries at home. The Gunners sit 2pts above 2nd place at the moment. Final, 4-1. Video: Rutube

EPL 2013/14: Liverpool v Newcastle Highlights

51000 packed St. James Park to watch 10 man Newcastle hold Liverpool to a 2-2 draw. Liverpool, for their part, needed a stupid red by Yanga-Mbiwa on Suarez (doesn't Suarez do enough to earn a red card on himself, so why bother fouling him?) to save face. Sturridge scores late as Liverpool are happy to get out of Newcastle without a loss. Video: Rutube

EPL 2013/14: Manchester United v Southampton Highlights

Moyes is really starting to feel the pressure as they give up a last second goal to Southampton and blow a chance at the full 3pts despite RVP putting them up early. Man U is 5pts off the CL pace at this point. 1-1 the final. Video: Rutube

EPL 2013/14: Cardiff City v Chelsea Highlights

A scary opening 10 minutes as Cardiff find the net first, but Chelsea settle down with goals from Eto'o, Oscar and a brace from Hazard as the Blues run away with the 3pts, 4-1 winners at home. Video: Rutube

16 October, 2013

Dichotomy of Class

Been seeing some interesting posts and tweets today... That said, I think the two things below will show you a huge gulf in sports.

While the USSoccer tweet isn't easily accessible unless you go through a time stamp check (perhaps they took it off?), what the 2nd shows you is that sports are still played by pros.

Sure we see divers, and cheats, and foulers. Sure we see horrible refs and fans raining debris onto the pitch. What we rarely see is the honest baller, understanding when to show some humility and instead of cheering a meaningless win, consoles a fellow player that may not have the chance again...

Classless v. Classy.

15 October, 2013

USMNT Saves El Tri

Not often can you say that, but with Panama going ahead 2-1  in the 80th minute, the US could have rolled over taken the loss.  They'd already won the group, and the .000009% chance they had at being a seed for the World Cup draw in Brazil next year went out the door with a Switzerland win over the weekend.

Mexico, for it's part, needed a win by a decent margin, and a Honduras loss, or at least not to have Panama win, just to qualify.

At this point, I'm thinking what you're thinking: "It's over.  Mexico couldn't right the ship fast enough."  They were down 2-1 on a 2nd goal by Costa Rica in the 64'. After the first five minutes in Jamaica, the Jamaica/Honduras score was 1-1 and everyone just felt that last place Jamaica was going to get crushed.  It was 2-2 at the 60' mark.

Then this:
3 goals between the US and Panama in the final 13 minutes of play. 

Mexico, holding on to dear life and a chance for a home/away playoff against NZ (the Oceania winners) for one last chance to see Brazil from the pitch, kept it close.

Sure you could say that Mexico held their fate in their hands.  Sure we would all miss El Tri going to Brazil  But, either way, I expect a bottle of mezcal by my doorstep when I get up because as much as everyone hates the US/Mexico rivalry at game time, especially the loser, there's just something about it that makes you want to see it...

Full Highlights of the US game:

Video: Beinsports

13 October, 2013

Mexico Wins In Style

Mexico was finally about to win a match, leading 1-0 over Panama at Estadio Azteca with only 10 minutes left. Then, as so often happens, Panama tied the match with an 81st minute goal. But then, new Mexico manager Victor Vucetich earned his keep in his first qualifier. Vucetich brought in Raul Jimenez in the 83rd minute. In the 86th minute, THIS happened: Video: ESPN

09 October, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Manchester United v Sunderland Highlights

Interim managed Sunderland couldn't have been happier with a Gardner 5' goal.  The problem is, it's a game of two halves and little know 18yo Belgian, Adnan Januzaj, who has previously been playing for the Man U youth teams since he signed from Anderlecht two years ago.  Januzaj drops 2 on Sunderland in a matter of 6 minutes and Man U stave off Sunderland.

As quick sidenotes to the game, Januzaj is eligible to play for Belgium (he's played up through their NT youth teams), Albania, and Serbia (and even Kosovo since his parents technically hail from there).  Additionally, Sunderland seems to have convinced Poyet that a 2yr contract in the EPL with a promising team is a good choice.  I guess that may be true as it's only two years so they aren't on the hook for much if he fails, and if he succeeds, he can be re-upped.

Video: RUtube

07 October, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v West Bromwich Highlights

Yacob scores for West Brom in the dying minutes of the 1st half, and suddenly, Arsenal look like they might be in trouble.  Lucky for them Wilshire gets a little worried about it and equalizes in the 63'.  This game was surprisingly closer than it should have been for the Gunners, so they may have to watch it in the future, lest they blow easy points and cost themselves their chance at a title in the Manchester era.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Chelsea v Norwich City Highlights

Hazard and new signing Willian with last second goals for Chelsea to push them over Norwich despite a 2nd half equalizer from Pilkington and Nowrich.  Oscar with the early goal that the Blues were happy to sit back on and almost cost themselves the 3pts.


EPL 2013/14: Tottenham v West Ham Highlights

Spurs... could have moved a little closer to the top, but no, at home, you completely implode as West Ham look like world beaters.  Reid, Vaz Te and Morrison all score 2nd half goals (one via the nutmeg) to not only win, but pants Spurs in from of the home crowd at White Hart Lane.


06 October, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Crystal Palace v Liverpool Highlights

It was all first half Liverpool as they were up 3-0 before the half on goals from Suarez (returning from his 10 game ban from last season), Sturridge, and a pk from Gerrard to finish the game off.  Gayle's token goal for Crystal Palace at least made the scoreline bearable.

Video: MSPHighlights

30 September, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Liverpool v Sunderland Highlights

Guess he has a lot of catching up to do now that he's finished his 10 game ban, but Suarez came back in style.  Two goals and no players bitten, as Liverpool roll the now de Canio-less Sunderland 3-1.

Video: Dailymotion

29 September, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Swansea Highlights

Yeah, Shrek scores!  Boo, Man U loses it's 3rd this season!  At least, that's what I imagine people are saying.  Personally, we think that's what happens when you don't have SAF using his little phone to call in favors from the sideline like 8 minutes of extra time.

Either way, don't let that distract you from a great display by West Brom. Almalfitano and Berahino sandwich goals around Rooney's all in the space of 10 2nd half minutes.  2-1 the final as West Brom gets a much needed win.

Video: oleeh

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Swansea Highlights

Despite dominating possession and shots, Swansea can't overcome the superb finishing of Arsenal as the Gunners stay atop the table with help from a 62' Ramsey goal.  2-1 the final

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Aston Villa v Manchester City Highlights

Ah... you have all had one... that great weekend.  Perhaps it was getting a few free pints at the local pub.  Maybe it was the wife giving you tickets to your favorite team's matchup with a rival.  For us, it was watching Saturday's great matchups, and this was one of them.

AV came back from being down not once, but TWICE as El Ahmadi, Bacuna and Weimann all score in the 2nd half and Villa downs Man City 3-2 in front of 34000 screaming fans.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Chelsea v Tottenham Highlights

Siggurdson knocked in his 3rd of the season early, but Chelsea, as usual, kept it close.  After a late Terry equalizer, the Blues were more than happy to display their boring 'park the bus for a point' strategy and rode that out to prevent an embarrassment.  Final, 1-1 at White Hart Lane.

Torres may also see an extended ban after constantly getting into it with Vertonghen.  Two yellows saw him leave the match, but replay shows him gouging Vertonghen and the two were just short of exchanging telephone numbers before the final whistle.

Video: Dailymotion

23 September, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Stoke Highlights

On a plus side, USMNT player Geoff Cameron scored for Stoke.  The downside?  Yeah, Arsenal punished Stoke 3-1 as Ramsey, Mertesacker and Sagna all score.  3-1 the final.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Cardiff City v Tottenham Highlights

Despite dominating this one, Spurs needed a last second goal from Paulinho to squeek out the 3pts.  Spurs now move 2nd in the EPL, just off Arsenal on goal differential. 1-0 the final.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL 2013/14: Manchester City v Manchester United Highlights

Rooney scores a late token goal, but don't let that fool you.  This game wasn't even close.  City were up 4-0 before the 51' and looked like CL champs as Man U floundered in every aspect of this match.  4-1 the final here as Moyes looks like he needs a hug.

Video: dailymotion

09 September, 2013

Egypt Staying Perfect

So what will be the thing you're watching on 9/10?  Apple's new Iphone iteration?  Perhaps Obama begging Congress to let the US attack yet another nation?  We here at Soccer Insiders recommend going with Option #3.

 Egypt v Guinea

You read that right... Egypt plays host to Guinea in the final match of qualifying before the group stages of the WC for Africa.  Bob "Skeletor" Bradley will be leading the Pharaohs to what is at present the last remaining undefeated streak in the WCQ 2014 of ANY TEAM.  Still can't believe I'm typing that.  Bob... Bradley... Egypt... undefeated.

Yeah, the are 5-0 in this 2nd round of qualifying, and even if they manage to blow their streak and lose, they will still progress on points as they are 5pts clear of 2nd place Guinea.

They have 5 more home/away matches, but the top 5 places progress to the World Cup in Brazil, so fully expect to see the Pharaohs return to the Cup and make a mess of things for the favorites in 2014.

Photo: Soccersartorialist

World Cup Qualifier: Cape Verde v Tunisia Highlights

First, I'm gonna apologize for the video quality here.  Not surprising to find hq stuff for Cape Verde. And for those of you looking for the cheap laugh of seeing a Fock in goal, will be disappointed (yes, they have a backup keeper who goes by the singular name of Fock). That said, damn.  The Godfather and I followed Cape Verde during the run up to the WC 2006 in Germany, hoping that we could get tickets to the US, but if we couldn't, we wanted to go to their games.  Sadly, Cape Verde Blue Sharks stumbled in the last three matches and failed to qualify. Here, though, Ramos and Plantini score and put Cape Verde through to the next round.  Cape Verde 2 - Tunisia 0 (plus a fired coach).

After this surprise win, that forced the 2nd firing of a Tunisia coach inside a year, you have to wonder about the 179th largest nation as it gears up for another surprise WC run.

Now, remember, now that they move on to the 3rd/final round of qualifying, Cape Verde plays five two-legged ties. Played October 11-15 and November 15-19, 2013. With winners qualify for the finals. Africa gets 5 entries for the WC in Brazil.

Video: Footytube

08 September, 2013

World Cup Qualifying: Honduras v Mexico Highlights

Playing at Azteca.Check

Raucous home crowd and sitting just off the US pace. Check.

Win. *chirp chirp*

Yeah, Someone forgot something, and it was a win.  Now, Chepo is finally out after being given more than enough rough to strangle himself and the Mexican NT dreams after they went up 1-0 early, then blew it 2-1 to drop them even further into a hole and possibly force (if they're lucky) a playoff with Oceania winner New Zealand for a WC 2014 Brazil spot.

For their part, Honduras isn't a bad team, at all... but when you win only 1 time in the last 7, something's gotta give.

Video: Footytube

World Cup Qualifying: Costa Rica v USMNT Highlights

You knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

Sure, new stadium, no threat of snow for which to cancel a match or at least protest if you are Costa Rican, no bags of piss or batteries being hurled down on the players thanks to the space provided by the new Saprissa Nacional.

But when Bradley went down in warmups to a twisted ankle, you knew it wasn't going to be very good either.

A porous back line, horrible marking, and lackluster play doomed the US as Dempsey converted from the spot for the US's only goal.  Costa Rica makes the most of the new stadium and home turf, 3-1 winners.


04 September, 2013

Friendly: Mexico v USWNT Highlights

Sure we like to keep the rivalry close, and sure, Mexico has done a great job catching up the US in quality of play on the women's side.

But that wasn't apparent last night.

Wow, 7-0.  Wasn't even close.  Just one of those matches you hope you can make someone forget about.  Good thing whatever you post on the internet stays there and this is going to be a punch line for years to come.

Siete a Cero.

Video: MSN

01 September, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Liverpool v Manchester United Highlights

Well, well... What do we have here?  Looks like a 4' goal by Sturridge stands up and Liverpool start the season 3-0.  Rooney-less Man U couldn't unlock the goal and we now have Man U sitting 7th, Stoke in 5th and Liverpool leading them all... someone tell me it's April Fools.

Video: footytube

Bale Out

It's all coming fast and furious today.

With Spurs signing Erik Lamela and Romanian center back Chiriches, it might be lost on you that Bale just sold for £80m plus incentives.

 Let me state that again... £80m.

Well, we all know that this won't be paid all up front. Hell, Real still owe Spurs for Luka Modric ffs...

What is not lost is that Spurs have managed to pull a complete coup. Cristiano Ronaldo sold to Real for £80m in 2009. Now Real has gone and avoided breaking that record by tossing in player incentive clauses for Spurs that would conceivably avoid upsetting the delicate ego of C. Ronaldo.. I'm quite sure that Merc7 will not be happy about having that overpaid title usurped, but as a Spurs fan, I gotta say, Levy outdid himself. No one was going to pay remotely that price, but the underlying fact remains, one player cannot a team make.

With £80 million in hand, Spurs can have remade their entire lineup. They've already offloaded some dead weight in Gallas (too old) and Bentley (crap) in the offseason on outright releases. They've sold Huddlestone and they have a completely rebuild mid. With their two new signings come through, you won't need last year's Player of the Year to score goals. Spurs have the poor mans Bale in Chadli and if the can convince Lennon to not be so mercurial, they have the other wing covered. French NT goalkeeper Lloris at the back... Really, they could shore up a new back line and still have about £15mil left from the deal to go buy themselves a happy meal. That's a nearly complete rebuild of a team that finishes in the top 5 consistently.

But let's look at this realistically from Levy's point of view.  Sure, Bale is a great player.  Hell, just 4 short seasons ago, Bale was considered a blight on the team by many fans as whenever he was in the starting lineup, they failed to win.  Funny how time changes all things.  Also consider this, when do you usually prices for marginal players heavily inflated?  Right after you sell someone for an obscene amount.  If anything, Levy has gone about this the right way.  Bring in the replacements and players you want first, then sell the player that will pay for all those improvements.  Probably saved Spurs nearly £40mil in price inflation alone.

With just the purchases this offseason alone, Spurs have passed the £110mil mark spent all by themselves (about 1/5 of the total transfer price of all moves this summer by all English teams according to Sky Sports). So between the Huddlestone, Parker and Dempsey sales, and the Bale bomb, I'd say Spurs improved and made money...  Tough to see that happen.

Is it sad to see Bale go? Sure. But for that price, "see ya, and don't call us, we'll call you" seems pretty apt to say.

Photo: sportzwiki

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Tottenham Highlights

A lot is going to be made of this match.  Arsenal will claim dominance again as Spurs fail to win with a rebuilt lineup and Arsene will state he doesn't need to make any purchases (although, rumor has it he's eyeing Ozil with Real Madrid and the Spurs know this and have held up the Bale sale hoping that Arsenal can't get the move done in time).  Either way, Spurs dominated and tried, but in the end, a goal is a goal, and Arsenal saw Giroud score for them.  1-0 Gunners.  Next time, it may not be so favorable.


EPL 2013/14: Hull City v Manchester City Highlights

Coming off a Cardiff loss, Man City was looking to get back on track lest Pellegrini gets shown the door.  Lucky for him, Manchester turned it on late in the second half and saved them the embarrassment of a draw.  Manchester City wins, 2-0.

Video: footytube

EPL 2013/14: Fulham v Newcastle Highlights

You'd think that a team with the former Spur duo, Bent and Berbatov, and another Spur, new signing Scott Parker, would be able to get off more than 3 shots all game.  You'd also think wrong.  This was completely lopsided everywhere but on the scoreboard.  Let's hope Newcastle can find the net more, but in the mean time, they'll settle on the 1-0 win and the 3pts.

Video: Footytube

EPL 2013/14: Crystal Palace v Sunderland Highlights

Looks like my boy, the persecuted Ian Holloway, got his first win of the season. Altidore was out injured as well in this one. Tight affair with lot of sloppy passing to start, but the Eagles scored early and rode that to the win.  An O'Shea trip in the box cost Sunderland the points on a pk, and O'Keefe finished it in Fergie time with the 3rd goal.  Final, 3-1 Crystal Palace.

Video: Footytube

27 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Chelsea v Manchester United Highlights

Well, Rooney played, so maybe the rumors about him going to Chelsea are false?  Then there was that bit by the Special One telling Rooney that if he wants to leave Man U, he's got till Wednesday to step up and say it.  Is it me or is that him seriously mind screwing Man U?  Guy gets points on this one.

Anyways, this turned out rather boring. RVP was completely shut down, Torres was disappointing as usual, and Rooney got cheers from Chelsea supporters for running all over the pitch after the ball.  Final, 0-0.

Video: Dailymotion

26 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Cardiff City v Manchester City Highlights

Ah... Well, Man City never does well in Wales.  But it is just Cardiff City, right?  If you saw the first half, you'd be probably surprised to see the 2nd half.  Two new teams, both hell bent on scoring the winner came out.

Dzeko got on the score sheet early for Man City, and the final goal came in injury time for Negredo.  Surely that must have meant a Citeh win any other day, but Cardiff just kept scoring.  It was the Frazier Campbell show as he netted two, including the game winner.  See, now maybe you will listen to me when I tell you to watch Cardiff in our preseason predicitons...  Final Cardiff 3 Man City 2.

Video: MSPHighlights

25 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Swansea v Tottenham Highlights

I told you earlier that Soldado was the best signing of the season in the EPL.  Looking at them sitting 3rd on the table, a point back of Chelsea with a game in hand, I'm not looking too shabby.

That said, Soldado has scored both his goals now from the spot.  Including the lone one against Swansea.  Not saying Spurs shouldn't have won, they did, and Vorm ought to get MoM honors for stopping all those shots, but they do need to start scoring from the run of play or all this early lead before their usual late season collapse may be for nothing.  Spurs win 1-0.

Video: FoxSportsInternational

EPL 2013/14: Arsenal v Fulham Highlights

Well, Podolski finally showed up.  Too bad he'll probably disappear again for several games.  The game also begs the question, despite winning their CL game handily this week and then putting in a good showing here, does Wegner get some breathing room?  Or are all the haters going to come out when the window closes for now and Arsenal slip?

Either way Gunners, enjoy the show.  Arsenal wins 3-1 with a token goal by Bent to save face for Fulham and Podolski nets two for Arsenal.

Video: MSPhighlights

24 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Aston Villa v Liverpool Highlights

Considering the Hammers had to play Chelsea mid week, I didn't think they were going to even bother showing.  Tough way to lose as they dominated possession and shots, but in the end it was a phenomenal Sturridge goal that got the points for Liverpool and nothing for AV.  Final 1-0.


23 August, 2013

Functional Training with Brian McBride

It's always good to see players lend their experiences to the up and coming... And we could always use another McBride.

Video: USSoccer

22 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14: Aston Villa v Chelsea Highlights

This going to be a long week for Aston Villa.  Chelsea then on Saturday they play Liverpool.  I don't really see them getting points in either.

A tough early own goal by Luna puts Chelsea up, but Benteke equalizes in injury time in the first half.  The second half, though, was much difference as the tired legs started to show for AV and Chelsea saw them off with an Ivanovic goal in the 73'.  Final, Chelsea 2 - Aston Villa 1.

Video: MSPHighlights

Where the hell did I end up?

I know we all like to joke about this happening to us, but what would you do if it actually did happen?

Sport Bladet's Kristoffer Bergstrom and Oskar Mansson caught up with former Hammarby offensive mid Sebastian Castro-Tello in Azerbeijan (translated from Sport Bladet):

 "Where the hell did I end up?" Castro-Tello dreamed of La Liga - but came to Azerbaijan

BAKU. For his entire career Sebastian Castro-Tello, 26, has dreamed of La Liga.

"I do not know exactly how it happened. The only thing I knew about Azerbaijan was that they had Eurovision," says former Hammarby player. "The cell phone rang one day late." Sebastian Castro-Tello said from his hotel in Baku, where he arrived after a terrible spring season at Hammarby.

The man on the other end was from Las Palmas in the Spanish second league. They examined the number ten and Castro-Tello was somehow interesting. Perhaps these involved a sample game, perhaps a loan, maybe a transition. Was he interested? Sebastian did not know the details. He had for years hoped to come to Spain, this chance fell down in his lap, he was flattered, but answered honestly. "No, not anymore.Yesterday I signed a 1 year contract with a club called Ravan.Where? In Azerbaijan."

20 August, 2013

Where in the World is David James?

Was trying to come up with a title here... anyways, I was going through some of our predictions a few weeks back and stumbled upon the fact that in the modern era of the EPL, no winning manager has ever been English.

Man U fans always cross my mind, but SAF was Scottish.  And Moyes?  Also a Scot.  Which led me to look at his playing history.  His first club? Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja (IBV).

Yeah, don't ask me to pronounce it.  My Icelandic is horrible.

Regardless, their current assistant coach is a player/coach in the old school mold.  At 43, he's played for his country's NT, making 53 appearances before retiring from international play.

David James.  When his signing was announced, attendance skyrocketed.  With so few clubs, they need all the help they can get and James might be just that.  Placing 3rd last year, IBV seeks to improve it's standing and hopefully eye Europe.


18 August, 2013

EPL Season 13/14: Chelsea v Hull City Highlights

The Special One makes a special return... Chelsea see off Hull City as expected, 2-0. By the way, check that Lampard free kick goal to put Chelsea up 2-0... dirty. Video: Dailymotion

EPL Season 13/14: Crystal Palace v Tottenham Highlights

Ian Halloway is back... More important, we get to welcome the Crystal Palace Crystals! Oh, and Tottenham have Soldado score a pk on his debut so Spurs win 1-0. Video: DailyMotion

EPL Season 13/14: Everton v Norwich City Highlights

Roberto Martinez and Ricky van Wolfswinkel debuted this match, one as coach, one as player, and neither won. 4 goals in 20 2nd half minutes resulted in a 2-2 draw. Fair result for an evenly matched game. Video: Dailymotion

EPL Season 13/14: Fulham v Sunderland Highlights

Well, the Jozy show made it's debut. Unfortunately, Jozy forgot to score in it. Well, can't win them all... especially when you outshoot your opponent 21 to 5 (Jozy had 4 of those shots himself) and still lose... ouch. Fulham walks out 1-0 winners in this lackluster game. Video: 24hrsportnews

EPL Season 13/14: Arsenal v Aston Villa Highlights

I'll just leave this apropos tweet from Arsenal fan, Piers Morgan to tell you how the day went at home for Gunners fans. 

Final, 3-1 Aston freakin Villa... Somewhere, Spurs fans are laughing. Actually, probably everywhere. On an upside, it could have been 4-1 AV as Benteke missed his 1st pk...
Video: Fox Sports

EPL Season 13/14: Liverpool v Stoke Highlights

Sturridge's 1st half strike was all Liverpool needed to win 1-0.  Closer than should be expected from Liverpool.  Let's hope they step it up as the season goes on.

EPL Season 13/14: Cardiff City v West Ham Highlights

Welcome back to the EPL Cardiff... oh and here's how we play... 2-0 heap of smack down as West Ham... yes, the West Ham... hands Cardiff an opening day loss.  Joe Cole and Nolan the goal scorers.

Video: Dailymotion

EPL Season 13/14: Manchester United v Swansea Highlights

David Moyes' first test was passed.  As much as we ripped on him for losing to the best of Thai XI in preseason, the thing that matters is league play.  And RVP lit it up for him.  Two goals for last season's golden boot and another two for Walbeck (his 2nd looked like he's been practicing on the Old Course) with a token goal by Bony for Swansea.  Final, 4-1 Red Devils.

Video: Fox Sports

17 August, 2013

EPL 2013/14 Predictions

Here we are again.  Your preseason picks to win it all.  Will Liverpool finally return to the top 4?  Can the Special One push Man City out of the way to a title?  Will Spurs finally crack the CL ceiling? Let's find out.
El Nino "The Godfather"'s
1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester United
4. Tottenham
5. Arsenal
6. Fulham
7. Everton
8. Liverpool
9. Newcastle
10. West Ham
11. Sunderland
12. Southampton
13. Swansea City
14. Cardiff (P)
15. Norwich
16. West Brom
17. Aston Villa
18. Stoke
19. Crystal Palace (P)
20. Hull City (P)
"The Professor’s"
1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Arsenal
4. Manchester City
5. Tottenham
6. Liverpool
7. Everton
8. West Brom
9. Fulham
10.Swansea City
11.Stoke City
13.West Ham
17.Hull (P)
19.Aston Villa 
20.Crystal Palace (P)
"Mr. X’s"
1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester United
4. Tottenham
5. Arsenal
6. Everton
7. Liverpool
8. Fulham
9. Sunderland
10. Swansea City
11. Cardiff (P)
12. Newcastle
13. Norwich
14. Stoke
15. Southampton
16. West Ham
17. Aston Villa
18. West Brom
19. Crystal Palace (P)
20. Hull (P)

-Newly promoted teams are noted with a (P)
-These are based on signings as of 8/16/13

Player to Watch:
"Mr. X"-Paulinho, Tottenham
AVB is calling him the next Lampard...  Not sure if that's exactly accurate, but if you look at the remade Spurs, he's got some serious people that he can feed the ball to (Bale, Soldado, Holtby, Dembele, etc) and they can make a team pay.  If he flounders, someone is going to have to pay.

"The Professor" - Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Upon being transferred from Chelsea to Liverpool in early January 2013, Sturridge scored 10 goals in 14 games in relief of Luis Suarez, who was suspended for biting off more than he could chew. Now, at the age of 23, Sturridge makes the volatile Suarez and his baggage expendable. If Sturridge gets the job done, there is no reason to keep Suarez and his appetite in Liverpool any longer.

"The Godfather" -Jozy Altidore, Sunderland
The 23yo American has been on fire for the USMNT of late.  He understands the demands of the EPL, having played for Hull City for one year in 2009.  Consider that he netted 26g in 24 games last year in the Dutch Eredivisie and Dutch Cup last season and 22 goals in all games in 2011/12.

Golden Boot Award:
“Mr. X”- Michu, Swansea City. His conversion rate is crazy. And he's only a midfielder on paper.  Of the top 6 goal scorers last season, the only one who hit the mark more accurately was RVP who was 18.4% to Michu's 18.3%  (Runner-up: RVP)

"The Professor" - Robin Van Persie, Manchester United.  (Runner-up: Bale, if he stays)

"The Godfather" - Robin Van Persie, Manchester United. (Runner-up: Wayne Rooney)

Best Signing of the Offseason:
 “Mr. X”- Soldado, Tottenham.
Spurs need something, anything up top to score.  Last season's lead scorer was Bale, and they only really have two other recognized forwards on the squad, oft injured Defoe and mercurial Adebayor.  Soldado will be the point man up top and expect him to start lighting up the scoring chart with that deep squad behind him feeding him the ball.  If he attracts any attention in the box, Defoe and Ade both could easily finish.

"The Professor" - Jozy Altidore, Sunderland
Obviously he is interesting to us, as fans of the USA, where we have seen him regain his scoring touch over the past year. In 2012-13 at AZ Alkmaar, Jozy scored 31 goals, breaking Clint Dempsey's record for most goals by an American in a season. Jozy struggled in the EPL in 2009-10 at Hull City, who relegated to the Championship that season. This is his second chance.

"The Godfather" -Marouane Chamakh, Crystal Palace
Sadly, we may only get to enjoy the loquacious Ian Holloway for one season.  But I am curious to see if the 29yo Moraccan Chamakh can produce for the newly promoted squad.  He saw little of the field for Arsenal as Robin van Persie's backup after a nice career at Bordeaux, but actually managed 8 goals and 4 assists in only nineteen games over the last few seasons and scored 3 goals in four games in 2010/11 Champion's League action.

Most Improved Team:
"Mr. X"-  Cardiff City.
Sure they returned to the EPL just this season for the first time in about 50yrs, but in dropping £27million on 5 players, Cardiff is seeking to make this a long term thing in the EPL.  Their low goal scoring is being supplimented by Frazier Campbell and new signing Andreas Cornelius.  At 20yo, Cornelius is a beast.  6ft4, 18 goals in 34 matches for FC Copenhagen.  Frazier played for multiple EPL teams before moving to Cardiff where he scored 7 in 12 matches and South Korean Kim Bo-Kyung has been great in the middle for them.  With the addition of former Spur, Steven Caulker on the backline, expect them to surprise. 

"The Godfather" - Manchester City.  
Sure, the team has replaced head coach Roberto Mancini, lost Carlos Tevez, Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure.  But they hit the transfer market early and with gusto.  They bring in Jesus Navas, who came on for the final 30 minutes of Spain's victory in the World Cup final against the Netherlands.  Stevan Jovetic has played in the last eight CL competitions.  And Alvaro Negredo adds further depth.  The early timing of these signings has given them adequate time to integrate so look for City to come flying out of the gate.

Most Over-rated Team:
"Mr. X"-Man United. While I should be loath to pick them here as they will finish top 4, they've got a new coach in Moyes who has to follow in huge footsteps of SAF.  Couple that with an unsettled Rooney, and De Gea being off and on, and you may see them struggle.  The top 5 this season are all going to be neck and neck and it's going to come down to who chokes first, and I think the top grossing team in the EPL will be that one.  Plus it doesn't hurt that I get to rip on the clueless Man U bandwagoners who wear their gear and have no clue of who's in the starting XI.

"The Godfather"- Manchester United.  It is a telling sign that coach David Moyes is already hedging his bets and stating that it may take "two years" for the Red Devils to adapt to his style and tactics.  What's worse is the inevitable departure of Wayne Rooney, who was brilliant last year and desires a move to Chelsea.  They have been inconsistent in the preseason and the loss to Thailand's Singha XI all-star was telling.  Fans will lament the retirement of legendary Sir Alex Ferguson in a short time.

Team to Watch:
"Mr. X"- Spurs
Wow, what an offseason.  Bale has been tapped up by everyone on the Real Madrid squad except for the water boy. Wait, the water boy has now posted an editorial as to why Bale should join the Berbenau.  Still not sure how this isn't illegal in FIFA's eyes, but if I was Levy, I'd take the 100mil pounds and a pat on the back side and move on.  We already saw them do this with Modric not two seasons ago, so it shouldn't be a surprise that that is how they do it in Spain.  That said, all the Spanish forwards seem to be making their way to the EPL.  Spurs have signed Soldado for a whopping 26mil and with him they get the out and out striker they need.  Paulinho in midfield from Corinthians (a 2nd Brazilian to go with Sandro) and Chadli seems to be the poor man's Bale and they signed him too for less than 1/10th of what Bale should go for.  Really, the only thing they need to concern themselves with now is a couple healthy center backs and you have a solid squad that can press.(Runner-up: Chelsea. If the Special One can't replicate his results from his first go round, we'll be calling him the Fired One before 2/3 of the season is done. Special Runner-Up: Crystal Palace.  My boy Holloway is back in the EPL!  If only he wasn't left scratching for players with pocket change).

"The Godfather" - Tottenham Hotspurs.  Although the departure of Gareth Bale seems inevitable, they have quietly brought in capable players such as Chadli and Capoue and otherwise keep a solid squad intact.  Look for them to qualify for Champion's League with a top 4 finish in the EPL this season.

Biggest Star of the Future:
"The Professor" - Nathan Redmond, Norwich City
At the age of 19, Redmond shows a lot of potential and should get a chance immediately at Norwich. He arrived in the offseason from Birmingham City, where he became a starter upon Birmingham's relegation to the Championship in 2011. Redmond scored 7 goals in 37 games as a 17-year-old in his first season as a starter, in 2011-12, and is likely to start at Norwich City.

"The Godfather"-Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Norwich City
The striker with the unfortunate last name has notched 54 goals in 119 appearances between Portugal and Dutch first divisions over the past few years.  Signing with Norwich on a 4yr may be the best deal for both parties.  If he does well, Norwich are moving further up the EPL and Ricky will be doing it as their star #9. (Runner Up: Mario van Ginkel, Chelsea.  The Dutch invasion continues with this promising 20yo transfer from Vitesse Arnhem.  The U21 International midfielder produced 11 goals in 41 games last season for his side who finished fourth in the Eredivisie.  Further, he made his senior debut at the age of 17, back in 2009/10)

Bosnia v USMNT Highlights

Wow... Not like either team was fielding a team of scrubs.  In Bosnia, the US went down early, 2-0...  And made an amazing comeback.

A hat-trick by Jose Altidore and EJ notches another as the US mount a spectacular comeback, 4-3.

Video: Footyroom

15 August, 2013

Liverpool Home Kit 2013/14

Now, I'm no Pool fan, but I think they may be on to something here...  It may be in the best interest of most soccer fans and the EPL to boost kit sales, wouldn't you think?

Video: JodieBennett

03 August, 2013

Soccer Skills Ep. 1

These guys are the shiz.  Got some good tutorials.  If you are looking to put a nice hook shot around a wall on a free kick, from personal experience, can't be better explained than right here.  Enjoy.

Now, we'll be trying to bring you some foot skills vids from time to time, so stay tuned.

Video: Oneunit3d

29 July, 2013

Gold Cup 2013: Panama v USMNT Final Highlights

Brek Shea.  Gotta be the most inconsistent player on the USMNT as of late.  But here, he does his good player imitation.  Sweet goal, and US wins the 2013 Gold Cup 1-0.

Video: USSoccer

25 July, 2013

Gold Cup 2013: Honduras v USMNT Highlights

EJ gets another (seems like he's refound his form finally) and Landycakes scores two... neither from the PK spot! The second for LD was particularly sweet as it came less than 1 min after Honduras' Media scored to bring it to 2-1.  Landy's 2nd put the spread back to 2 goals and the US rolls to the finals, 3-1 winners.

Now for those of you who didn't catch the match live, Klinsmann managed to get himself sent off late in the game.  How, you might ask?  For questioning the Costa Rican ref's lack of eyesight  (never mind a elbow EJ got to the face in the box and we were denied a pk) when Beasley's leg apparently turned into metal and attracted some hidden magnet in one of the Honduran player's feet. 

I swear, at the rate Beasley gets kicked and fouled, I'd be surprised if he's still able to walk at 50.  It might be understandable on a thug level to foul this guy so much but this is like having the record for getting hit by the most pitches in baseball.  It has no reward and it hurts like hell.

Winner of Panama and the US match gets to face the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup for the right to play in the Confederations Cup in Russia, 2017.


Gold Cup 2013: Mexico v Panama Highlights

Mexico... where for art thou Mexico?  I know sometimes a team can fall on hard times, but not 4yrs ago, we were talking about how Mexico was just leaving CONCACAF in the dust as they were one of the superior teams in the world.


Well, they couldn't beat Panama on home soil.  Whoops, did I say home?  I meant the US where they draw more fans than in Mexico...

Either way, Blas Perez opens the scoring for Panama in the 13'.  Montes equalizes 13 minutes later.  Torres just finishes it in the 2nd, and that's game.  Panama to the finals, 2-1.

Winner of Panama and the US/Honduras match gets to face the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup for the right to play in the Confederations Cup in Russia, 2017.


22 July, 2013

Gold Cup 2013: Costa Rica v Honduras Highlights

Sometimes, it's not your day.  Costa Rica dominated possession by 2/3, and were definitely more physical, but couldn't put one into the net.  Instead, it was former US youth player, Andy Najar who was the hero as his lone strike was what won the day for Honduras.  Honduras moves on, 1-0.

Video: Fox Sports

Gold Cup 2013: El Salvador v USMNT Highlights

When you have Goodson opening the scoring for the US, you know it's going to get out of hand real quick.  And it did.  Landycakes, Corona, Diskerud and EJ all get on the scoring sheet as US roll, 5-1, into the semis.

Video: Footytube

14 July, 2013

Gold Cup 2013: Cuba v USMNT Highlights

After an early scare when Cuba went up 1-0 in the first half, the US settled down and got things done.  Landycakes levels the score in stoppage of the first half, then a Joe Corona first goal in Red, White and Blue and two more from the aging Wondolowski sees the US roll to a 4-1 win.  US automatically qualifies for the next round with a game in hand.


10 July, 2013

Gold Cup 2013: Belize v USMNT Highlights

Wow, either Belize really is that bad, or Klinsi has been tanking games on purpose.

Either way, Wondo gets the hat-trick, Landycakes scores and notches 2 assists to make him the only USMNT ever to be in the 50/50 club (goals/assists), and the US trounces Belize to make us look like an actual contender 6-1.

*(apologize for the rather grainy vid as US Soccer has been really slacking in getting up full game highlights yet).
Video: footytube

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