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

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