Scores

16 October, 2014

To Be or Not To Klinsi

So if you weren't privy to the conference call with MLS Commissioner Don Garber or haven't read any of the transcripts floating out there, let me fill you in on what just happened.

Don Garber is pissed that the USMNT head coach belittled MLS as the retirement community of big name soccer players and guys that could beat me one on one but couldn't cut it against solid competition day in and day out.

Now look, that's not to say MLS is bad.  It's got it's good teams (Seattle, for example, has some solid play) and some bad (Chivas is still a team?).  The drop off is huge.  And against other CONCACAF club teams, we still look good. I mean, who wouldn't think a team of MLSers shouldn't easily beat a team from a country with a population of 40,000?  Hell, we do that every few months.  It's called USMNT v St. Kitts et al.

And, sure, you are marketing a league to families and kids and trying to make money, but you don't have the tax exempt status of the NFL, nor do you have the sheer number of domestic abusers, rapers, and druggies that MLB/NFL has, so spare me that you think this league is the top flight of the world that could hang with the EPL.

Do you seriously think we're top flight if we have to play an all star team of our players against a CL team and still fear regularly losing?

Look, just quit it.

And when you hired Jurgen, you knew you were getting a control freak.  The guy was flying back and forth between the US and Germany when he ran the Mannschaft.  At Bayern, he thought he could come in and change the culture (bad idea).  So when he comes to the US and you give him the reins and tell him to develop the youth through our NT, you expect him to say, don't play against the best competition daily, and challenge yourself?

The "Don" started yesterday's call like this:

29 August, 2014

EPL 2014/15 Predicitions

Back yet again.  We wanted to wait until the transfer window closed before we go jumping off the 10m and into the deep end this season.  So what are the upsets?  Where are the hidden gems? Let's find out.

El Nino "The Godfather"'s
1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Arsenal
4. Liverpool
5. Manchester United
6. Everton
7. Tottenham
8. Newcastle United
9. Swansea
10. Aston Villa
11. Southampton
12. Stoke City
13. West Ham United
14. Hull City
15. Sunderland
16. West Brom
17. Crystal Palace 
18. QPR (P)
19. Leicester City (P)
20. Burnley (P)
"The Professor’s"
1. Manchester City
2. Liverpool
3. Arsenal
4. Chelsea
5. Everton
6. Manchester United
7. Tottenham
8. Southampton
9. Newcastle
10.Stoke City
11.Swansea
12.Leicester City (P)
13.Crystal Palace 
14.Aston Villa
15.West Ham
16.Burnley (P)
17.Hull City
18.QPR (P)
19.Sunderland
20.West Brom
"Mr. X’s"
1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Arsenal
4. Tottenham
5. Liverpool
6. Everton
7. Manchester United
8. Sunderland
9. Swansea
10. Southampton
11. Stoke City
12. Newcastle
13. Leicester City (P)
14. QPR (P)
15. Hull City
16. West Ham
17. Aston Villa
18. West Brom
19. Crystal Palace
20. Burnley (P)

Disclaimers-
-Newly promoted teams are noted with a (P)
-These are based on signings as of 8/28/14


Player to Watch:
"Mr. X"-Juan Mata, Manchester United
As the midfield general for ManU, he's going to be the key for van Gaal this year.  Can he turn around  what looks to be a quickly aging and slowly failing team in the wake of Moyes?  If Rooney continues his scoring troubles, expect Mata to need to step up his scoring or Man U may make for a quick slide to mid table.

"The Professor" - Diego Costa, Chelsea
Diego Costa failed to impress at the World Cup, and his brief success at Atletico Madrid may have been a flash in the pan. Costa went from 10 goals in 2011-12 and another 10 in 2012-13 to an unprecedented 27 goals last year. This season, Chelsea will learn if last season was an anomaly for an over-rated player, or signs of greatness.

"The Godfather" -Remy Cabella, Newcaste
Alan Pardew once again taps into his French connection to acquire this promising 24 year old midfielder in hopes that he can become the next Yohan Cabaye.  In fact, Cabella replaced Cabaye in his debut for les Bleus this year.  Consider this: with only one international cap, he still gained promotion to the French World Cup roster.  He scored 14 goals in 37 appearances with Montpelier last season and helped them to their first ever league title in 2012-13.  The Magpies desperately need a presence in central midfield and Sissoko has shown he is not the midfield general that Cabaye was.  Cabella has a lot of promise but will have his work cut out if he is to appease the frustrated Tyneside fans who witnessed a brutal second half of the season last year while owner Mike Ashley counted his cash from the Cabaye sale.  

Golden Boot Award:
“Mr. X”- Romelu Lukaku, Everton (Runner-up: Balotelli, Liverpool)

The kid is a beast and the team that finished in the top half last year only got better with this signing.  Expect him to do even better than last year without the looming ax of loan or sale over his head.

"The Professor" - Sergio Aguero, Manchester City.  (Runner-up: RVP, Man U)

"The Godfather" - Robin Van Persie, Manchester United. (Runner-up: Daniel Sturridge)
If he returns quickly to full health and isn't sold off, then you must consider RVP the odds on favorite to take the scoring title.  The most accoplished striker in the league, there is no other legitimate goal scoring threat for the Red Devils.  While Suarez may be biting off more than he can chew with Barcelona, RVP should find the comfort zone with a Dutch compatriot at the helm this season.

Best Signing of the Offseason:
 “Mr. X”- Luis Suarez, Barcelona
Consider this addition by subtraction.  Having his third biting attack in as many seasons while in Brazil, offloading this guy should have taken forever and had Liverpool paying someone to take them.  Instead, they got Barcelona to squeeze him in in their pending doom of a transfer penalty for a mere £75.0m and they in turn invested £16m of that on a better, slightly less unhinged forward in Mario Balotelli.  That's a hell of a profit.


"The Professor" - Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
I am convinced that he was simply the best forward in the world at the World Cup. Barcelona decided they would buy low and sell high, selling Alexis for top dollar and buying troubled Luis Suarez, presumably at a discount because of Suarez's inability to keep his mouth off of other players. Arsenal may have purchased a player who will take over the game, while the Gunners' rival Liverpool sold the league's best scorer.

"The Godfather" -Diego Costa, Chelsea (Runners Up Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal)
This proven scorer is just what the Blues needed up front to make a run at the league title.  He achieved 27 league goals last season for Spanish champs Atletico Madrid, 43 in all competitions,  and brings skill, experience, and particularly aspirations of shiny new hardware to the south London squad.

Most Improved Team:
"Mr. X"-  Chelsea
Is that even possible?  Sure they lost Lukaku and David Luiz and managed to ship Ba out of the country to Turkey (less competition I guess) but they signed Remy, Drogba and Costa.  Their goal scoring should go up and their stout bus parking mentality may ease a little so we should all benefit from their play.  Less bus parking, more goals, less complaining about Chelsea trying not to lose rather than trying to win...

"The Professor" - Everton
Yes, hard to improve on last season's fifth place, but the addition of Gareth Barry is the final piece of the puzzle to free the attackers, and signing Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea will bring instant chemistry with Kevin Mirallas. Most importantly, they lost NO significant players during the off-season.

Most Over-rated Team:
"Mr. X"- Manchester United
Simply been unimpressive in the preseason.  Couple that with needing to sign 3 Southampton players and seeing off several promising ones means that either van Gaal is an absolute genius or an absolute mad man.  Perhaps Moyes wasn't so unlucky getting his gardening duties early this year.

"The Professor"- Manchester United
If they finish in the top eight, they should consider that a success. Two starting defenders, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, went bye-bye during the off-season and no decent replacements were brought in, except 18-year-old Luke Shaw from Southampton.

Team to Watch:
"Mr. X"- Chelsea
Shurrle is an absolute beast and with the signing in the wee hours of Remy when Liverpool and Spurs were linked to him is a coup.  This is how Man U ought to have rebuilt... younger and better rather than just filling roster spots.

"The Professor" - Liverpool
They brought in the core of Southampton's excellent young prospects (Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, and Dejan Lovren). Will they immediately have an impact or will the Reds bring them along slowly?

Biggest Star of the Future:
"The Professor" - Ross Barkley, Everton
Ross Barkley was arguably England's best player at the World Cup, and has been handed the attacking midfield starting position by Everton coach Roberto Martinez. With the superb Belgian pair of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas in front of him, and with Gareth Barry and James McCarthy taking care of the defensive responsibilities behind him, Barkley should notch a ton of assists now that he is in the first eleven at the age of 20.

"The Godfather"-tie: Andre Shurrle, Chelsea and Robbie Brady, Hull City  (Runner Up: Andres Weimann, Aston Villa)
As far as Shurrle goes, I feel like this is cheating. He is so talented that this is an obvious choice.  You don't need to quote stats here, just watch the 23 year old German play.  I was immensely impressed with him last year and was eager to see him in the World Cup.  A true star in the making.  Now, Robbie Brady here is my real favorite.  I have not seen an Irishman display such grace and creativity on the pitch in a long time. I loved him last season but he gets lost in the relative obscurity of Hull City.  The former U-21 International Player of the Year hold the record for the most U-21 international goals in Irish history, is a graduate of Manchester United's youth acadamy, and scored a goal to go with two assists in his debut for his countries' full senior squad.  A pleasure to watch.

28 August, 2014

van Gaal Hates His Life

At this point, after a solid run in Brazil's WC2014, van Gaal could have had his pick of clubs. He chose to step in and right the ship that is the aging SS Man U.

Let's put it this way, when Twitter is trending #bringbackMoyes, you know something went wrong. 

What, you may ask? How about their only chance for silverware outside of outright winning the Prem this year getting dashed by lowly MK Dons.

Going into the match, MK Dons would have just loved to keep the score line honest. After, the Red Devils would have just liked to keep the score line honest. At half, MK Dons had shocked with a 1-0 lead by Griggs. After the half, Griggs scored again as Afobe, on loan from Arsenal added another brace and van Gaal was left gasping for breath (or maybe not since he stuck around on the pitch post game signing autographs).  At least they signed di Maria for ~$75m... he'll save the club single-handedly, right? Right?

4-0 the final as League One (3rd division in England) side moves on.


MK DONS 4-0 MANCHESTER UNITED - CAPITAL ONE CUP... by PremGoals Video: dailymotion
Photo: ManchesterEveningNews

26 August, 2014

EPL 2014/15: Liverpool v Manchester City Highlights

Good thing Liverpool signed Mario "Why always me?" Balotelli before the match, because it took the sting away of having their rear ends being served to them by Man City. Jovetic netted on either side of the half and Aguero scored before the 70' leaving Liverpool scratching their heads where it all went wrong. If not for a Zabaleta gifted own goal in the 83', Liverpool would have been shut out at Eithad Stadium. 3-1 the final Video: playwire

25 August, 2014

EPL 2014/15: Manchester United v Sunderland Highlights

Manchester trotted out the 3-5-2 yet again and seem to have suffered for it. In a surprisingly close match, new signing Juan Mata scored early, but the Black Cats' Rodwell leveled before the half and that remained the final score in a match that saw Sunderland look much better than they should have. 1-1 the final. Video: Playwire

EPL 2014/15: QPR v Tottenham Highlights

Arry Redknapp's return to White Hart Lane went all wrong and in a hurry as his attempt at a 3 man back line was shredded to the tune of 4 goals. Spurs looked masterclass throughout, and there is no way to tell yet if it was the horrible tactics of QPR or that they are finally gelling after a disappointing season last year. Chadli put away 2 goals, and Eric Dier, in his 2nd game, headed home his 2nd goal for the club off a brilliant corner. After missing several sitters, Adebayor finally found the net to make it 4-0 before making way for Soldado. The man of the match, though, had to be Lamela as he was responsible for two assists and looked dangerous throughout the match. For his part, Erikson could have made it 5-0 had not QPR had a lucky crossbar when his brilliant free kick ricocheted off and bounced down and out of the goal mouth.
Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers by t11omaster222 Video: Dailymotion

24 August, 2014

EPL 2014/15: Arsenal v Everton Highlights

Everton were massively unlucky this game as Roberto Martinez's team had the Gunners looking disappointingly pedestrian through most of the match. With a 2-0 lead heading into the final 10 minutes, Ramsey and Giroud managed to snatch a point from utter embarrassment and Arsenal manages to limp away with a 2-2 draw in what could easily have been a loss. Final, 2-2. Video: Playwire

EPL 2014/15: Chelsea v Leicester Highlights

This one wasn't that close. The Blues held nearly 2/3 possession and as many in the shots in department as Diego Costa fired home again in his 2nd game and Hazard doubled the lead in the 2nd half. Chelsea win 2-0.
Chelsea v Leicester City by t11omaster222 Video: Dailymotion

17 August, 2014

EPL 2014/15: Everton v Leicester City Highlights

Timmy Howard couldn't put on another stunning display like his World Cup efforts this summer.  Leicester, for it's part, made the most of it's first time back in the Premiership in 10yrs as 4 minutes from the final whistle, as Wood latched onto a rebound and put it home.

Final 2-2.


Leicester 2 - 2 Everton [Premier League... by V1Voir
video: footytube

EPL 2014/15: Manchester United v Swansea City Highlights

New line up, new highly touted manager in van Gaal, and a new result.

Swansea scored early Sung-Yeung found the back of the net.  It wasn't until the 2nd half until Man U leveled, and what a level as Rooney pulls a bicycle kick goal from 4m out.

Ex Spur Gylfi said it wasn't over though. Scoring in the 72', he put Swansea back on top, and there it held as the Red Devils looked flat, and executed poorly.

Final 2-1 Swansea as Man U loses it's first home opener match since 1972...


Manchester United 1 x 2 Swansea City All Goals... by lancepremium

Video: Footytube

EPL 2014/15: Tottenham v West Ham United Highlights

West Ham always plays Spurs tight and this match was no different.  While many Hammer fans decried the weak attacking lineup for West Ham, Spurs gave them hope with an early harsh red in the box as Naughton was called for a handball in what should have been a no call as the shot was going over and it was a reactionary block.

That said, West Ham beat the Lloris on the ensuing pk, but also beat the inside of the goal as Noble fired just wide.

With nearly 30mins of man advantage, West Ham couldn't make a thing of it and then managed to get one of their own sent off as Collins got a 2nd yellow and their meager advantage trailed away.

In the final seconds of injury time, it wasn't Ade, nor any attacking player for Spurs for that matter, but U21 England international and new signing, left back Eric Dier that wove through the back line, collected a sweet through ball, and netted the winner from the edge of the box.  Final, 1-0 Spurs.



Video: Playwire

EPL 2014/15: Arsenal v Crystal Palace Highlights

And we're back for a new season!

Crystal Palace struck first, and until the waning seconds of the first half, it looked like Arsenal was going to pull a Brazil and dominate possession but still lose.  76% possession for the Gunners, and it wasn't until Puncheon saw a 2nd yellow for CP that Arsenal managed to sneak away with what should have been a runaway win.  2-1 the final.


Arsenal vs Crystal Palace 2-1 by Mylife1971
Video: footytube

22 June, 2014

World Cup 2014: Portugal vs USA Preview

2W-1D-2L
5 GF 5 GA

That's the head to head matchup stats for Portugal and USA heading into tonight's anticipated match.

But that isn't the deciding factor. C. Ronaldo has been practicing for only 15-30mins for the last few days with the team (don't let the icing fool you, as we should all be doing that after games). Pepe, the Brazilian born Portuguese player, is out with a red card he stupidly picked up against Germany for a taunting scrape of a headbutt. Defender Coentrao and GK Rui Patricio are both out with injuries. That's a heady bunch of good players that Portugal is going to sorely miss.

For the USMNT, Altidore is out. This is arguably, just a big a loss for us as for Portugal to be missing several players as while Altidore has had trouble scoring, with only 2 goals for club/country since December... December (let that sink in) and both of those, while good, were against Nigeria in a warmup friendly. Wondowlowski is probably the closest forward that we have in terms of Altidore's style, but he's not as fast (although I think he's a more opportunistic forward in the mold of Joe Max Moore style scoring) and Johannson, the US born but lived in Iceland player who has better passing and vision than Altidore, and a respectable scoring rate in the Dutch Eredivisie. The US isn't really set up for Johannson's style which may likely see us settle on putting Dempsey and his broken nose up top alone.

We haven't played Portugal in nearly 12 years, but we did win the last two, including a surprise 3-2 win in Korea during the 2002 World Cup. Unfortuately, records don't mean much, and are only predictors. The important thing here is both teams need the win to get through. Portugal needs to come out hard as they need to overcome a 4 goal deficit and need to make that up against the US and Ghana (who just took Germany 2-2 yesterday).

Expect a high tempo game, and hopefully, we score late as our cheap attempts at possession/bunker defense are our biggest liability as seen against Ghana. Also be ready for some flopping in the box or near as C. Ronaldo taking free kicks is a dangerous sight. The US also needs to be careful on the counter attack as Dempsey is lazy coming back when losing possession and will be a defensive liability anywhere but up top, especially with his broken nose excuse.

Our prediction, a 2-1 result for the US (with Bethany Dempsey standing in for Clint and Irina Shayk for her man C. Ronaldo), with the US then automatically qualifying for the 2nd round.
21



Photo: USSoccer, SportsIllustrated, Banzaj.pl

13 June, 2014

World Cup: Australia vs Chile Preview

This one is going to be the anticlimactic finish to the day for most. Australia v Chile. So let's get to it. A few to choose from, but most are recent for Australia.
Mark Schwarzer 
 v
Elias Figueroa

Schwarzer has been a steady rock in the back for Australia.  With a career some 20 years and 109 appearance for the Socceroos, Schwarzer has appeared in 3 World Cups, Uefa Cup twice, and been a team Player of the Year and nearly as long player in the EPL.  Schwarzer's abilities can't be looked over, and he can be perhaps considered the best Aussie player ever.  He finally announced his retirement this year.

Figueroa has 47 appearances for Chile with two goals to his name at the international level.  Perhaps the most visually/spacially aware player in the game in defense, Elias is by far the most storied Chilean player of all time.

World Cup 2014: Netherlands vs Spain Preview


Ooooo kids.  Pull up a chair and let me tell you about two of the most storied players in the game.

Alfredo Di Stefano

vs.

Johan Cruyff

Di Stefano, born to Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires,

World Cup 2014: Cameroon v Mexico Preview

Well, it's off and running.

Today we get our first full day of games, which of course seems to overlap with my USSF licensing class and drive there, but so be it.

I bring you your first matchup of the day:

Roger Milla 
vs.
 Cuauhtemoc Blanco

World Cup 2014: Brazil vs Croatia Highlights

Well... Brazil was looking pretty suspect along the back line yesterday and Croatia came out surprisingly to attack. Good to see teams want to win against them rather than lay back and try to draw.
That said, here are your highlights (*Warning: I've had to relink a video 3 times as FIFA has been ruthless in cracking down on any vids, even highlights):

 
Brazylia - Chorwacja 3:1 All Goals & Highlights... by GoldenNightpl

Two things of note, if Brazil can't shore up that defense before the 2nd round, they are going to more than the ref's help to win and there were some seriously suspect calls in this game. Sure, there was a hand on Fred's shoulder, but he dropped like a rock (which we here at TSI never like to see) and that whistled foul in the Brazilian box on a in air challenge was dubious as I've seen that same call in several other UEFA/CL games not be whistled as it was a 50/50 ball.  Would Croatia have scored? Maybe, maybe not, but to whistle that dead so quickly will make me question that ref next time.

Your final, 3-1 Brazil, just as we predicted. Video: Dailymotion

12 June, 2014

World Cup 2014: Brazil v Croatia Preview

Alright kids.  Last World Cup we did a WAGs matchup and we'll continue that with our Facebook page, but here, we'll show the true fans a matchup worthy of their time.

Today, at 3pm CST, Brazil v Croatia.

In our minds, it'll be:

vs.

Both phenomenal players for their countries.  We could have gone the easy route with Pele, but Socrates was more than a player, he was a statesman and all around great man of the people.

We'll give you a taste...

05 June, 2014

Landycakes or Bust?

A few days ago, I was talking with some people at a local Buffalo Wild Wings.  Naturally, with the World Cup coming up, talk turned to the chances for the USMNT and the surprising exclusion of Landon Donovan.

One of the people said they wouldn't watch because Landon was the all time leading scorer for the US and his exclusion meant we were doomed to fail.  Another pointed out that we had the Group of Death (Portugal, Germany and Ghana) and we wouldn't get out of the group anyways, but he was still going to watch.  Surprisingly, the bartender piped in that Landon was a glorified penalty kick taker and his stats were overblown anyways so maybe Klinsi saw something that we don't and decided that was the reason to drop him.

Seems fair enough.  Heck, even Italy dropped Rossi (I know he's still recovering from injury) for the 2nd time in as many WCs so while he could have played on both US campaigns, he gets to play a part of neither Italian one (somewhere, I can hear snickering).

03 June, 2014

FIFA Ethics Head Lays Groundwork for "No Fault"

As this will come to no surprise to anyone, the head of FIFA's Ethics Committee investigation into "alleged" bribes of the Ex-Co to secure the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has decided not to review several million (that's with an 'm') documents recently released by the Sunday Times of England supporting allegations of bribery.
"After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by 9 June 2014, and to submit a report to the adjudicatory chamber approximately six weeks thereafter," said Garcia.
"The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations."
Garcia's investigation wraps up on or around June 9th, just days before the kickoff of 2014 WC in Brazil and the impending announcement of Blatter's re-nomination bid as FIFA President.  

The timing couldn't be more telling of the expected results of this "investigation" of FIFA into itself.  This is akin to the US Government appointing a telecom lobbyist to run the FCC and coincidentally, forward a proposal to allow telecoms to charge extra money for "faster internet" access.

It's a sham. It's immaterial whether Garcia, the head of the investigation of FIFA by FIFA, uses the recently released documents.  The willful ignoring of the evidence released is going to call into question his impartiality, as if his paycheck coming from FIFA didn't already do that.

12 April, 2014

Champions League final four

Thibaut Courtois saves Atletico Madrid's victory over Barcelona. UEFA.com
Atletico Madrid were the biggest winners in this week's second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, eliminating Barcelona by a 2-1 aggregate score. In Camp Nou last week, early substitute Diego put the visiting Atletico ahead 1-0 in the second half with an impressive long range shot. Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois heroically kept Atletico ahead until the 71st minute, when Neymar equalized for the home team on an assist from Andres Iniesta. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw. In the second leg this week, Atletico Madrid's Adrian Lopez hit the goalpost in the fifth minute. David Villa collected the ball and crossed it to Lopez, who headed the ball in front of the goal for Koke to volley into the net. Later, Koke would repay David Villa with a near assist but Villa struck the crossbar, nearly driving a dagger into his former team. Atletico went on to win 1-0 at home for a 2-1 aggregate victory over Barcelona. Atletico Madrid are having a much better season, in first place to Barcelona's third place (trailing Real Madrid as well).

26 March, 2014

USA hosts Mexico April 2

Credit: Tony Quinn - ISIPhotos.com
The final warmup for the US team before the World Cup Roster is set will be a week from today, April 2, against Mexico in Phoenix, AZ. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN at 11:00 pm Eastern / 8:00 pm Pacific. This is the last chance for most of these players on the "bubble" to try to make the World Cup squad.

All of the players on the Roster for Wednesday's Friendly are based in North America, either in MLS or Mexico. Nick Rimando looks to solidify his position as the #3 goalkeeper on the World Cup roster after EPL starters Tim Howard (Everton) and Brad Guzan (Aston Villa). Will DaMarcus Beasley be the starting left back in the World Cup? Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Brad Evans should round out the starting back four. Michael Orozco and Clarence Goodson have certainly earned a roster spot, too. So, it looks like Geoff Cameron and Edgar Castillo are out, or at best, deep on the bench.

In the midfield, most of the starters are here: Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, and Graham Zusi or Eddie Johnson on the right wing. This might be the last chance for Brad Davis, Kyle Beckerman, or Maurice Edu to prove they are good enough for the World Cup roster. The guy I want to see in a tryout, Brek Shea, is not available, nor the probable starting left wing, Fabian Johnson.

Finally, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore have already nailed down starting spots on the World Cup roster, and I'm sure Aron Johannsson will be on the bench. That leaves only one more forward spot on the World Cup roster. Will Chris Wondolowski earn it?

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

08 March, 2014

FA Cup Quarter 2014: Arsenal v Everton Highlights

Özil, Arteta and Giroud throws his two in as Lukaku keeps the scoreline from being a blank as Arsenal moves on to the Semis of the FA Cup. Arsenal 4 Everton 1.



Video: Foxsoccer

EPL 2013/14: Manchester United v West Brom Highlights

Jones, Rooney and Walbeck all score as a newly upped Shrek manages to down West Brom 3-0.  Maybe no one will notice they lost a mid week CL tilt against Olympiacos 2-0.



Video: Dailymotion

07 March, 2014

USMNT v Ukraine or I Don't Want to Play In Brazil


Like a bad highlight reel or a Rocky and Bulwinkle show, the US didn't play to win, or even to impress.

No, they played to get off the team.  The lone bright star out there was Howard.  Stopping two through ball first shots by Ukraine, he couldn't carry his defense on his shoulders.

The US attack looked anemic.  The defense was worse with poor marking and slow recovery.  The lack of possession in midfield was also disturbing.  I could have sworn we were running a 4-2-3-1.  Should lend to possession and defense, but instead, I learned that Onyewu is about 5yrs past his retirement and our D, when not standing and ball watching, was busy doing anything but playing soccer.

This game was abysmal.  Maybe it was because I was sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings next to Ukrainians, and that I bet them a beer on the result.  Maybe we owed them one for telling Putin, "bad... shame on you".  Who knows.  What I did learn was for our USMNT, I better not see Gooch, Brooks, Jones, or Castillo.  Duece looked more like Once for his lack of impact since his move last year to Spurs, and this latest move to Seattle.  Altidore made a huge mistake going to Sunderland to sit the bench for a relegation bound team.  Shea has ability, but isn't getting any better right now and Johannson looks like his technical work with AZ in Holland has been the biggest help.

Honestly, I think we've been overrating EPL action for US players of late.  We seem to exude physicality on the pitch, but we lack the technical and creative ability that Belgium and Netherlands seem to bring out in us (see Johnny O'Brien).  

I just hope was don't play like this in Brazil, or that Russia 2018 thing is going to hurt.

By the way, attendance for the match: 1573
Temp at kickoff: 62F
Enjoy the highlights below... or don't.


Video: Ussoccer

09 February, 2014

Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC

Jermain Defoe is carried off the field by teammates
after his final home appearance for Spurs (Reuters)

I was interested at the hullabaloo near the 80 minute mark of today's NBCSN Premier League match, when Jermain Defoe entered the game as a substitute for Aaron Lennon. It was his last game at White Hart Lane, a crucial 1-0 win over Tim Howard and Everton, who are neck-and-neck with Spurs in the standings. The 31-year-old England National Team regular is moving to Toronto FC when MLS training begins at the end of the month.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored the game's only goal in the second half. Everton entered the game with a slim one-point lead in the standings over Tottenham. The win moved Spurs ahead of Everton in the standings for fifth place and a bid in UEFA. Jermain Defoe circled the field afterwards as the fans showed their appreciation of his 11 seasons with Hotspur. Glad I tuned in to see the historic moment.

26 January, 2014

We Need to Have a Talk About the 2018 World Cup

With just days until the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with it's palm trees and them buying snow (don't get me started on that...), the safety of the US, and every other countries' for that matter, is in doubt.

Recently, the Russians announced that they were looking for a Black Widow (a wife of a now dead jihadist) in the Sochi area with fears that she was going to bomb, either by herself, or in conjunction with others, at least one locale for the Olympic events.

There are several IOC members on the FIFA Executive Committee that has already accepted bribes democratically voted to pick Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

So the lingering question here is, if the Russians can't keep the Olympians, their families, or fans safe, should we still keep Russia as the 2018 site for the World Cup?

15 January, 2014

Klinsmann arrives in Sao Paulo


The USMNT is working out at Morumbi, home of Sao Paulo FC 

Yesterday, Jurgen Klinsmann held the first USMNT workout at their World Cup camp in Sao Paulo. The team will train in Sao Paulo and then return for a friendly against South Korea at the Stubhub Center, formerly Home Depot Center, on February 1 (5:00 Eastern/2:00 Pacific, broadcast nationally on ESPN2). Since European leagues are in mid-season, Klinsmann only took one non-MLS player, Mix Diskerud, and 25 MLS players who are in the off-season for the workout. In my humble opinion, very few of these players are going to make the World Cup squad, with the exception of the three starting defenders in camp (Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Brad Evans), and Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, and Eddie Johnson. Early reports from camp suggest that Benny Feilhaber, born in Rio de Janeiro, has been a hit at press conferences with the Brazilian press.


GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) - See more at: http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2014/01/140112-mnt-brazil-trip.aspx#sthash.jdgmowal.dpuf
GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) - See more at: http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2014/01/140112-mnt-brazil-trip.aspx#sthash.jdgmowal.dpuf

07 January, 2014

Spring is Coming

Only a couple months out of the spring soccer season here for high school/clubs.  We'll be trying to throw out some training tips to get you ready over the coming weeks. In the meantime, here's how to start getting your weak foot caught up:



Video: STRSkillSchool

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