Monday, December 11, 2006

USMNT head coach position

So, apparently Klinsmann is no longer in the running for the USMNT head coach position. (Yes, I know I'm a little behind here with the soccer world, but you would be, too, if you've had the same past couple months that I've had!) And, unless there some other news has broken with the past couple days, Bradley is in. As Kali said, this was something we all expected back when in his days in Chicago.

What does this mean for the state of US soccer?

The good: he's not that bad of a coach, and I personally consider him to be at the same level as Arena, who, up until this year, did a pretty good job of making the USMNT a somewhat credible contender on the world stage.

The bad: same as above; I consider him to be at the same level as Arena. The USMNT is at a point where what they need is to break out of their plateau. And while I could be wrong and Bradley could be the one to do that, fresh blood and a different coaching style is far more likely to be successful.

The ugly: again, same as above. Remember this past summer? Do we really want to see a repeat of that? The element of surprise that the USMNT had back in '02 is long since gone. They have got to start playing at a higher level if they hope to do well. Again, there's the whole fresh blood issue that could be important here.

Friday, December 01, 2006


While I welcome comments on this blog and am all for free speech, I have a zero-tolerance policy for spam, and will not hesitate to delete any spammish comments that I may get.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanks to D for providing the link to this insightful article into Adu's Premiership training.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blogroll addition

Please welcome An American's view on Futbol/Football/Soccer to the blogroll. Good stuff.

MLS and miscellaneous soccer musings

So, Houston won, as you doubtless already know. I was not really rooting for either team this time around; I live in Texas and could therefore go for the Texas-based team, but I'm a Northerner by birth, and have long been a "closet admirer" of the Revs. That said, I watched simply because it's soccer and the MLS final to boot (pun intended). During the playoffs, I predicted a DCU-FCD final, but, as we all know, that did not happen. Either I suck at predicting soccer outcomes, or MLS is still in an exciting, unpredictable stage. I'm not quite sure which it is. Let's see how I did this past year:

1) I was rooting for the USMNT this past summer, and we all know how that went. I'll spare you the agony of having to reread the numbers.
2) I was rooting for Germany and England, and neither made it to the final.
3) The World Cup was (if you count all the rounds) was basically won by PKs, and so was the MLS Cup. If you've read my blog for any period of time, you know what I think about that.
4) I was rooting (and will continue to do so) for Columbus, and their 8-15-9 record is nothing to brag about.
5) I predicted a DCU-FCD final, and not even one of them made it.

Basically, this has not been a good year. Looking head, the Crew have a chance for a fresh start with Sigi next year, and with the upcoming Women's World Cup, Americans have a (traditionally) solid team to root for.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Boswell Facebook group

Hehe. I looked up the Facebook group that Kali mentioned. If you're on Facebook, do a search for the group Bobby Boswell is my Cosmopolitan Bachelor of the Year! Good 'ol Facebook.


Have you voted? (Thanks to a DCU e-mail for that link. Yep, I got an e-mail from DCU. Pretty cool - then again, that's probably just my stressed-out, sleep-deprived, caffeinated brain talking. Don't mind me.) Today is the last day for you to vote for (or against) Bobby Boswell in Cosmo's (the magazine, not the now-defunct team) bachelor contest. I could say something here about the shallowness of American culture, but I won't. So go vote, while I go finish my papers that are due today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Columbus and FCD

Apparently it was to my best interests to have disppeared from the soccer blogosphere and all things MLS for the last few weeks: Columbus apparently sucks. Yikes. So much for the coach firing and hiring; they're currently 6-12-8. On a more positive note, FCD is apparently doing quite well, but that's hardly news - they were one of my main predictions to win the Cup last year. (Then again, I'm hardly known for accurately predicting outcomes.) What else have I missed?

The Zidane drama continues

Let me start this post by saying that yes, I am alive. I do still exist. I've just been living in this alternate universe that revolves around things like work, school, master's thesis research, and little else. According to the BBC, Materazzi breaks Zidane silence. Apparently, assuming that all parties involved are telling the truth, it was a crude comment about Zidane's sister that caused the headbutt. Will the drama ever end?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Zidane headbutt - will it ever end?

This is getting a bit ridiculous. There is now a song entitled Coup de Boule (Headbutt). According to the BBC, it's a big hit in France. Since my ability to comprehend French singing is a bit rusty, I googled the lyrics. From what I can tell, they're pretty faithful to the song. (If you don't speak French, sorry - you can always try to google an English translation.) This song has its own website, where you can listen to the song, watch the music video, and, as with all big hits, listen to remixes. Yikes.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

RBNY-Columbus match

First of all, I want to give my sincerest apologies for my lack of regular posting over the past few weeks. Due to circumstances beyond my control (I moved and have had issues getting my cable and Internet set up and working at the new place), I've been TV-less and with very limited - I repeat, very limited - Internet access over the past few weeks. As the cruel irony of nature would have it, I picked the Columbus-RBNY match this past Wednesday to watch. RBNY 2 : 0 Columbus. Ugh. I definitely agree with J Michael that it was a very frustrating game to watch. It was like watching the USMNT back in France '98, or last month. I shudder to think of it. Columbus has got to tighten up the holes in their offense and start setting up and finishing goals. On the other hand, I was very impressed by the performance put in by RBNY. (Folks, this is a historic moment - I just praised RBNY's performance. I never thought I'd actually say that!) Henderson's goal was a classic, straight into the far back post, off of a beautiful setup by Buddle. At least it wasn't a complete waste watching the game.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Arena the new RBNY coach

Arena signs on to lead Red Bulls My favorite quote from the article is this:
Now Bruce Arena is looking for a new challenge, and there is perhaps none bigger in Major League Soccer than coach of the New York Red Bulls.
Now I don't know about you, but that seems like a jab at the team with only 3 wins so far this season. Nice.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blogroll update

Yep, it's time for yet another blogroll update. Please welcome Inswingers to the blogroll.

Final thoughts

What on earth was Zidane thinking? Ever since watching him in '98, I've had immense respect for him as a player. From the looks of it, he was definitely provoked. But to totally lose it and headbutt your opponent, in front of billions of people, during the most-watched game on the planet, at a critical moment towards the end of the final, in front of card-happy refs? How dumb can you be? I would love for someone with expertise in lip-reading to find out what Materazzi said (thanks to du Nord for the link).

Italy won on a shootout. If you've read any of my posts over the last month, you should have a pretty good idea what I think about teams who win matches on PKs, be they the result of penalties or a tie-breaking shootout. Needless to say, I was not happy watching this match.

On a much happier note, Germany soundly beat Portugal 3-1. It was beautiful. And even though I've been rooting for Germany all Cup long, I must say that the Portuguese goal - a diving header - was beautiful. It definitely scores as one of my favorite goals of the tournament, even though it was scored against my team. Good game, and no shootouts. Beautiful.

On a positive note, I'm suprised how many Americans were familiar with what was happening in the World Cup this year. Back in '90, I was completely unaware that there was a such thing as the World Cup. From '94 to '02, the number of non-soccer fans who I had contact with and who were aware of the World Cup grew slowly every tournament. But this year? Not only did a much larger number of people know that the World Cup was going on, but many of them had a basic idea of which teams were winning and had opinions to boot (pun intended). Soccer and the World Cup really are taking off in the US, regardless of how the USMNT does.

So after catching up with the final, it occurred to me that Columbus had a game this past weekend. (Yes, I really did forget a Crew match. It's really quite sad, though the World Cup is a good enough excuse for me.) Turns out they lost. Ugh. My soccer weekend may have started out well with the Germany win, but it ended quite poorly with Zidane's stupidity, the French loss to Italy, and a Columbus loss.

I think I'm going through World Cup withdrawal. Now it's back to four years of MLS for me. And besides, I have only one more year to wait until the Women's World Cup.

Note: edited to correct links

Thursday, July 06, 2006

MLS update

I will return temporarily from my World Cup-induced partial MLS sabbatical to bring you the following updates (yeah, I know, no World Cup matches for two more days and only two matches left for me to get my World Cup fill until next summer):

1. DCU
2. FC Dallas
3. Houston
4. Chivas USA
5. New England
6. Colorado
7. Chicago
8. KC
9. Columbus
10. LA
11. NYRB
12. Real Salt Lake

Chivas USA winning games? Did I read that right? The things that happen when I stop following MLS for a few weeks!

If the Cup were to be played today, it would be between DCU and FCD. A quick glance at the stats would seem to indicate that DCU would have the upper hand. However, if the World Cup has been any indication, surprising things do happen, and I'm not as good at predictions as I would like to think.


France 1 : Portugal 0 I was cheering on France for this game, though the day job prevented me from being able to see any of it. However, now that I've had a chance to catch up on what happened, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I'm happy that France is in the finals; this way, I'll have someone to root for. I always watch the final anyways, regardless of who is is in, but it is so much more fun to be able to root for one (or both) of the teams. On the other hand, the only goal scored was a PK. Yes, a freaking penalty. Now I can partially rationalize this away by arguing that both teams had defenses capable of keeping the ball out of the goals for a full 90. However, as I have said before, I will never be able to fully accept the outcome of a crucial match that is decided by a PK - even if my team is the one who benefits from it. (Is it just me, or have PKs (and their accompanying dubious calls) been more ubiquitous this year?)

I spent my 4th watching the Italy 2 : Germany 0 match. Coming from someone who displays a hint of patriotism only when the USMNT or USWNT play, or to a much lesser degree, during the Olympics, this should not come as a surprise.

This match was good, even if the result was not to my liking. I was not able to accurately predict even one of the teams in the final. However, I at least accurately predicted that:
I see Germany as being a very serious contendor. I expect them to make it to the final, or if they play badly, to the third place match.
That at least came true; Germany did make it to the 3rd place match. They played very well for the first 90. So did Italy. There were close calls, the intensity was palpable, and the refs did not make any dubious calls (in my highly subjective opinion, that is). And, as My Soccer Blog so succinctly puts it,
once they [Italy] saw that the ref was not going to buy their diving, they actually played without all the acting. Who knew the Italians could play without rolling around in the pitch like dogs scratching at fleas?
The first 118 minutes were filled with intense, hard-fought, well-played soccer. And as much as I hate to admit it, those goals by Italy were good, beautiful goals. And although many people (myself included) agree that Italy advanced on the merits of some Oscar-worthy acting and bad calls by the refs, they did deserve to win this game. Their defense kept a strong German offense scoreless, even though Germany seemed to have the upper hand for most of the game. That brings me to another thing: am I the only one who misses the golden goal?

Every World Cup has its share of surprises. USA '94 had the USMNT advancing out of group play (probably other stuff too, but I was relatively new to soccer at the time and it was my first exposure to anything higher than community soccer leagues, so I don't remember much more). France '98 had Croatia placing 3rd. Korea/Japan '02 had the USMNT making it to the quarterfinals. And so on. This year's surprise comes in the form of a final between Italy and France, and a relatively early exit from an under-achieving Brazil. I never dreamed of Italy being in the finals this year. (On a side note, it kind of makes me happy that the USMNT was able to tie one of the teams in the finals.) And although I did not expect to see France in the finals, they've played well enough, and apparently their World Cup success over the past decade has been entirely dependent upon home continent advantage (France '98: champions, Korea/Japan '02: early exit). On that note, it should not come as a surprise for them to be in the finals in a bordering country.

Note: edited for typos

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blogroll update

Yes, it is yet again time for another update. Please welcome New York Red Bulls to the blogroll. That makes me wonder: why aren't there any more Columbus blogs out there? (Stop that smirking, all you non-Crew fans!) If you know of some, feel free to post the links in the comments.

Quarterfinal musings

My Cup prediction accuracy keeps going down and down. Just the other day I predicted a Germany-England or Germany-Brazil final. However, as you may well know, neither prediction is now possible. Well, a final with Germany in it is still very likely, and after seeing France play, a final with them in it is also looking very possible. I'll be rooting for both of them in the semis.

My thoughts on the English loss are mixed. I am definitely sad to see them leave. However, at least they left after a good performance. Somehow it is easier for me to accept a team losing after they have played well, than after they have played poorly (hence my prolonged sadness over the USMNT's early exit). Now I realize that this is something that few Americans wuld understand, but it was a good game. Any game where two teams can play for a full 120 and not score one goal is a good one. Why? It means that they are two evenly matched teams. The excitement and intensity that just radiates from that kind of match is completely incomprehensible to the average American fan, yet it drives the average futbol fan. So, while I find that kind of match, played between two evenly-matched teams playing on the highest level known to the sport, intensely exciting, it is still sad that the game had to be decided by PKs. I never consider games decided by shootouts to be accurate representations of the quality of a team's play. (That may very well be due to my years as 'keeper.)

I was completely shocked when I saw that Brazil was out in the quarterfinals. Out of all the World Cups that I've watched ('94, '98, '02, and of course '06), this is the first time that I have not seen Brazil in the final. For that matter, I won't even get to see them in the 3rd place match. Do you have any idea how absolutely huge this is for me? Brazil not in the semis? Who knew?

Note: edited for typos

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Round of 16 & MLS

So Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 and France beat Spain 3-1. I was rooting for Ghana against Brazil (can we say "underdog?"), but I was fulling expecting Brazil to win by 3-4 goals if Ghana played normally, and by 2 goals if Ghana played exceptionally well. Having just watched the highlights for the game, I was surprised by how easy Brazil's goals seemed. Granted, it is Brazil and that's what they do, but don't even try to tell me that their third goal was a hard shot! Hmm...Brazil beat Ghana. Ghana beat the US (and yes, I say Ghana still would have won, regardless of that insane PK call). The numbers don't speak too well for the quality of the USMNT's play. Just sayin'.

I was rooting for France against Spain, and was naturally thrilled when they won. It reminded me of the exuberance I felt back when they won the Cup in '98. Today's match was an exciting game, despite my initial ambivalence after seeing Spain's PK put the first goal on the board. I remember thinking that this game had better not be decided by PKs. (I really want to see the stats on the number of PKs called and cards given this year, in comparsion to previous Cups.) Thankfully, it wasn't. France scored three beautiful goals in a close, hard-fought game. This is what World Cup matches are supposed to look like - hard-fought games between two evenly matched teams that are not decided by dubious calls. Beautiful.

Now as for the quarterfinal and semifinal results, I'm seeing a Germany-England or an '02 Germany-Brazil rematch as highly likely.

The quality of MLS seems to have gone up over the past decade. I remember my first post-World Cup sabbatical MLS game I watched back in '98. I could not believe the huge disparity between the level of play in the Cup and the level of play in MLS. 4 years ago wasn't so bad, although I certainly did notice the difference. This year has been a bit different. Not only have I not taken a complete World Cup sabbatical from MLS (yep, I've followed the scores and actually watched a game), but the level of play in MLS seems to be a lot closer to that of the world. Now it certainly is not on the same level as, say, the Premiership or Serie A, but it has gotten a lot better.

Edited for typos

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Well, England beat Ecuador 1-0 (at least two of my teams remember how to play, the other being Germany), bringing my soccer-betting record to 1-1-1. (A friend and I bet on who would win, with the loser having to switch to the winning country's Firefox skin. Nothing big or humiliating, but good fun anyways.) Beckham's shot was pretty sweet - you can check it out in the highlights if you have a good enough Internet connection.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pre-Cup prediction accuracy

It is now time to see how accurate my pre-Cup predictions are. Here are the teams I predicted to advance (bold type if they advanced, italics in parenthesis they advanced, despite the fact that I did not predict they would):

Group A: Germany and Ecuador
Group B: England and Trinidad (Sweden)
Group C: Argentina and the Netherlands
Group D: Mexico and Portugal
Group E: USA and Italy (Ghana)
Group F: Brazil and Croatia (Australia)
Group G: France and Korea (Switzerland)
Group H: Spain and Tunisia (Ukraine)

Out of the 16 I predicted, 11 advanced, giving me a 68.75% accuracy. Of the 4 teams I was rooting for (US, Ivory Coast, England, and Germany), the two former have gone home, and the two latter ones are still in Cup play. Now that Ghana is is no longer a threat to the USMNT, I'm rooting for them when they play Brazil.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My $.02 worth: US-Ghana

I actually had this post ready to go last night, until my wonderful Internet connection suddenly went down on me:

Most of the time I love being right. However, when I predict my team's failure to advance, as I did during halftime of the US-Czech game, I actually prefer being wrong.

My first thought after watching the game tonight, was a shocked, "We lost to a PK. We lost to a stinking PK!" But then when I thought about it, that PK was not what lost the match for the US. What lost the game was when the USMNT failed to show up to play. They chased too much. They gave up the ball too much, on passes and when dribbling. They failed to shoot, and when they actually shot, they failed to get the ball inside the 8 by 24 foot box that we fondly refer to as the goal. Arena had a defensive lineup, when what the USMNT needed was goals. What went right?

I find it ironic that the #2 ranked Czech Republic and the #5 ranked US did not advance, but the #13 ranked Italy and #48 ranked Ghana have. Yes, number 48. I'm beginning to put less stock in the rankings. (Then again, I tend to trust them when the USMNT moves up in the rankings, and less when they move down, so I guess I'm a tad biased there.)

The question now becomes: how many more days does Arena have left as coach? I find it funny that just a few weeks ago, USMNT fans were singing Arena's praises. And although all still admit that he has done more for the USMNT than any other coach, the consensus now is that his time is up.

Good thoughts to cheer you up:

1. Ghana advanced. From what I understand, this is huge for them. From what I've seen, they've played the past three games well, and deserve to advance. I applaud them for showing up and playing with heart. They deserve to advance, even though it means being pitted against Brazil. If they win or at least put in a decent showing accompanied by a goal or two, my respect for Ghana will skyrocket.

2. The Women's World Cup is next year. The USWNT has always proven themselves worthy at the highest level of play. The numbers speak for themselves: out of 4 WWCs, the USWNT has won 2. The 2 times they did not win, they placed 3rd. They have never lost a final. Unlike the USMNT, the USWNT consistently shows the world that they know how to do things like dribble, pass, shoot, score - you know, the things that we refer to when we talk about playing soccer.

3. After their horrible performance in Germany, the USMNT just may have regained their element of surprise. So that was their master plan: lose, so that in four years, no one will expect them to win. I see it now.

4. Did I mention that we have only one year to the WWC, when we will have the opportunity to watch a USNT that knows how to play?

I thought the WC Matchtracker was good, but then I read Maradagwa's liveblog of the game. Stinking awesome, especially the comments scattered throughout.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

US-Ghana: Final result

I was unable to follow the second half at all, not even on MatchTracker. Ghana 2 : USA 1. When I was forced to stop following it, about a minute into stoppage, the US was tied, and Italy was ahead. I was happy. The next time I was able to check the scores, right after the end of both games, Italy had won and the US had lost. Ouch. That leaves the USMNT only slightly ahead of where they were 8 years ago. In '98, they had 0 points and only one goal (and a messy one at that). This year, they had 1 point and only two goals (and one of them an own goal at that). What does this mean for Arena's job and the future of US soccer? My $.02 worth will have to wait until later tonight, when I am finally able to see the game and figure out where we went wrong.


Goooaaaaaalllllll!!!!!! The USMNT actually scored, after the other team scored first!


At least Italy scored. There's still a glimmer of hope, if the USMNT is able to tighten their defense and start scoring.


Call me a pessimist, but we're out of the Cup. The USMNT has already given up a goal. So much for advancing.


So the US-Ghana match begins, and I'm stuck somewhere away from a TV. Thank God for MatchTracker - and as I said before, the WC MatchTracker is pretty doggone good. It's also preventing me from being as productive as I should be, but oh well. The US must win with several goals, and the Czechs must not win. If my math is right, Italy must win or tie (preferably a scoreless draw), for the USMNT to have a chance of advancing. This may very well be the last chance for 4 years, for the USMNT to show the world they know how to play futbol. Go USA!

Edit: I stand corrected. Both Italy and the USMNT must win. If Italy ties, then the US must score a lot of goals.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

MLS and Italy-US

Maybe MLS has made it into the big time. The currently gracing the official World Cup site (the English version, anyways) shows Harkes and the DCU celebrating one of their MLS Cup wins.

Harkes: Unrealistic expectations on US

Big improvement required, say US stars Uh, you think? I think this statement qualifies as a candidate for the Biggest Understatement of the Year Award.

US must step up a gear This one, too.

I personally was more worried about the US-Italy game than the US-Czech one. I still don't see the US advancing, but I'm still holding out a faint hope that they will.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Firefox World Cup extension

Check this out. If you use Firefox, you can download a World Cup extension. You can choose a skin based on the country you're rooting for and see all the latest results on a sidebar. It's definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

WC Matchtracker

Has anyone else used the World Cup Matchtracker? I find it is updated more frequently and is much more informative than the MLS version. (All of that to say that it provides a nice distraction from my "real work", and that the MLS matchtracker people should take lessons from the WC matchtracker people). My vote for the Most Unthanked Man/Woman of the Cup goes to the men and women who serve as the Matchtrackers.

World Cup hopes crushed?

(I was going to use a more creative title like "the US hopes are kept in Czech, but just about every other American blogger has already done that, so I'll spare you yet another pun.) I'm sure that by now, you are aware of the that the US was slaughtered by the Czech Republic Monday. If you're curious, you can see what the players have to say about what went wrong.

Thanks to summer classes and the day job, I was unable to watch the game live. I was able to briefly follow the match on Matchtracker while scarfing down a very quick lunch during a 5-minute break (the very beginning of the 2nd half), and the second that I saw that the US was down 2 goals, my first thoughts were, "We're done." For someone who is normally very optimistic, as soon as I saw the result, my first thought was that the US was out of the Cup. Statisically speaking, if you lose your first match, your chances of advancing are very slim. Several hours later, I happened to run into a guy wearing a shirt with the USMNT shield on it. Naturally, I asked him the outcome of the game, pessimistically expecting the worse, while simultaneously hoping that the US would for once find the nerve to get their act together. No such luck. I inquired if the loss was because the Czechs were that good or the US was that bad; after a couple seconds' reflection, he responded that it was both.

Glutton for punishment dedicated fan that I am, I decided to watch bits of the game after I got home. What happened to the team that surprised the world by beating Portugal, and was prevented only by a stroke of bad luck from beating Germany? (Yes, I still believe that the US played better than Germany did in that game.) What I saw was far more reminisceint of France '98. Even though I am a firm believer that most Americans should get more exereicse, Keller was far more active than he should have been. Where was the defense? Heck, where was the offense? Two weeks ago while lamenting the Crew's crushing loss to DCU, I made the comment that I had better NOT see the USMNT play a game like that in Germany. Unfortunately, my worst fears were realized. To reiterate what I've thought for years, once the USMNT is down a goal, they completey fall apart. Oh sure, there have been exceptions. There have been times when they still managed to pull together and win. However, those times are few and far between.

On much happier news, Germany and England, two of the other teams I've picked as favorites, have done quite well so far. From what I've seen of their games so far, they're doing quite well. Too bad I can't say that of the USMNT.

On a side note, if you want somewhere to watch World Cup games - other than than your own living room, that is - and if you happen to live close to a soccer store, and also just happen to "have" to buy something - anything - soccer related, it wouldn't hurt to pop in for a nice leisurely "look". I guarantee you that they will have the World Cup playing on a TV (or two), and there's nothing quite like watching a soccer game while being surrounded by everything soccer. Talk about a great enviroment. Just a hint.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup predictions

For the record, I had this post ready to go Friday morning, before any of the matches kicked off. (You know, Blogger always seems to have issues with publishing at really bad times.) That is to say, that all my predictions were made pre-Cup play. (And C - you know who you are - I really did make that prediction about your team advancing, and after seeing the results and clips from their first match, I still stand by it even more.)

I know this is an MLS blog, but you have got to be kidding if you think I am going to ignore the greatest soccer event on the planet. In fact, I normally ignore MLS during the Cup (regardless of whether any of my teams make it far), and this year is the first year that I plan to at least follow the MLS scores and standings during the duration of the Cup.

I have to keep reminding myself why I decided to register for summer classes and ask for more hours at work - during World Cup year. I keep having to remind myself that I want to a) graduate with and b) pay for my MA. I keep telling myself it's worth it.

If you haven't yet played around the official FIFA World Cup site, you really should. You can check out the standings, match schedule, video highlights after each game, down load all sorts of screensavers and wallpapers to dress up your desktop, etc. If my memory serves me right, in '02 they added new wallpapers after each round, so it wouldn't hurt to keep checking back to see if they've uploaded anything else.

My predictions for the teams to make it out of group play:
Group A: Germany and Ecuador
Group B: England and Trinidad
Group C: Argentina and the Netherlands
Group D: Mexico and Portugal
Group E: USA (yes, I'm biased) and Italy
Group F: Brazil and Croatia
Group G: France and Korea
Group H: Spain and Tunisia

I see Germany as being a very serious contendor. I expect them to make it to the final, or if they play badly, to the third place match. They have the home country and continent advantage. (Only once has a South American team won in Europe, or vice versa, and that was decades ago when Pele played for Brazil). I do see Brazil easily making it to the final, though history is against them winning it. The last time the Cup was in Europe (France '98), Brazil made it to the final and lost to the host country. I wouldn't be surprised to see a repeat of that performance.

The US has made significant progress since the '98 debacle. They placed 8th four years ago, and I expect them to make it that far again this year. Then again, coming out of their horrible performance in France, they had the element of suprise in '02. That element has diminished, though I argue that it's still there. After all, few people expect the US to make it to the top four. Here's to hoping they don't screw up.

All of that said, the World Cup has been known to surprise us. Few people expected the USMNT to beat Portugal and place 8th four years ago. Few people expected to see Croatia place 3rd 8 years ago. Suprises do happen, and I'm excited to see what surprises are in store for us this year.

Every World Cup (from '94 to the present), I pick 3 or 4 countries to closely follow and cheer on. The USMNT is a given. The other countries I'm plugging for this year are England, Germany, and the Ivory Coast. Yes, I really am cheering on a team that I don't expect to make it out of group play. Remember what I said about surprises? I always pick a team that I consider to be an underdog, and my usual pick didn't qualify this year, so the Ivory Coast is my next best choice. I'm going for England, simply because I always have. Now mind you that if any one of these three end up playing the USMNT at any point, my loyalties to the USMNT are far stronger. If two of the three (England, Germany, and the Ivory Coast) end up playing each other, then I'll be happy regardless of the outcome. It'll be even more interesting if it happens in the final. In '98, two of my teams happened to be France and Brazil, and so that was definitely an interesting final for me to watch.

A few final words: Go USA!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Why you should root for DCU

Don’t have a favorite MLS team yet? Pick DC United. DCU is the most superb team in MLS today, and is by far the best team that one can possibly root for. Why? Let me count the ways:

1. None of their coaches ever make crazy comments about sending their opponents to the hospital.

2. They have guys like Moreno, who earlier tonight celebrated his 100th goal.

3. They have some very good, dedicated fans and fan groups, who help give DCU a consistently good turnout at matches.

4. They are not named after some soft drink that makes me think of matadors.

5. They still have their original name (think about it - not many teams can claim that distinction!).

6.They have some wicked awesome goal celebrations - spitting out Red Bull after scoring against RBNY? Priceless.

7. They are not coached by some guy named Sampson.

8. They have Adu. (Did I just say that? Not sure if this is the right list for that one...)

9. They have several MLS Cups under their belt, which is more than what I can say for the Most Under-Achieving Team in America.

10. They are at the top of the Eastern Conference at the moment, which is a position that is not at all foreign to them.

11. They were the Bruce’s proving grounds before the USSF tapped him to take the USMNT head coach position.

12. They do not give up five, yes, five, goals to their opponents in a single match. (Don’t even get me started on that one!)

What is there not to like? DCU is, by far, the best team out there in MLS today. Did I just hear you right? Did you just say that you would rather watch the Premiership or the World Cup, than watch and root for DCU? Ha! None of those have anything on DC!

Columbus-DCU match now. (Click on this link if you do not already know what I'm talking about.) 5-1??? What on earth? All I'm saying is that I had better NOT see the USMNT play a game like that in Germany - that is, unless they play like DCU. That also leads me to my next post, which should be up later sometime tonight or tomorrow. You know, Mama always told me I shouldn't place wagers on games. Right now I'm kind of wishing I'd taken her advice. (Though I will admit that I wouldn't be saying this if the score had been flip-flopped and Columbus had won.)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Crew to see how they stack up to D.C.

The Columbus Crew are in search of their second home win as they host D.C. United in Week 8 at Crew Stadium

D over at DCenters and I have a little wager running over tonight's game. Suffice it to say that sometime this weekend, you will have the rare opportunity to see one of us eat some crow on our blog.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Movie trailers

Oh, and one more note regarding Goal!. Before the movie, they showed a trailer for a movie (a documentary, from the looks of it) that's coming out this summer about the NY Cosmos. Looks interesting. Sadly, I can't remember the title for the life of me. They then followed this with a trailer for an upcoming NFL sports movie. Seeing as I was at a "real football" (soccer) movie, I found the inclusion of that American football trailer quite amusing.

News and Views

Columbus Crew Stadium Turns Seven Years Old Today OK, now everybody join in on three. One, two, three:
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Crew Stadium!
Happy birthday to you!
Wet weather no problem for Crew Rainy matches can be fun, especially if it's not too cold. (Ever tried playing in the rain when it's in the 30's or 40's? It's not as much fun then.) It's even nicer if you have a really crappy field to play on, that turns into one big mud puddle by the end of the match. Sure, it's a challenge to play on and the risk of injuries goes up, but man oh man is it fun!

Oh Canada! Why MLS In Toronto May Just Work I personally am all for Toronto FC. (Though they may want to think about a different name - sure, it's not bad to have a traditional name like that, but a pinch of creativity wouldn't hurt.)

Roundup for MLS action in Week 7

Movie Review: Goal! The Dream Begins

Yep, it is now time for the first ever Crew Fan Movie Review (and probably one of the only ones, seeing as there seems to be a dearth of soccer movies out there). The movie: Goal! The Dream Begins. Good movie, even though there was a couple of times when I had to silently glare at the guy a couple seats down from me. (You know how at the beginning of movies, they have those announcements and commercials to turn off your cell phone? Why do people find those so difficult to comprehend?) Basically, the movie centers around Santiago, a poor immigrant kid from LA, who gets the chance to try out for Newcastle. The acting was good, the sets decent, and the soccer action believable. The plot...well, it was your typical Sports-Movie-Zero-to-Hero Plot. If that type of plot drives you nuts, you probably won't like it, but if you, like me, happen to find that sort of movie enjoyable, then you're in for a treat. It even almost made me consider, however briefly, changing my Premiership loyalties over to Newcastle. Almost, but not quite.

For those of you a bit too strapped of cash to join in the Free Beer Movement, this could be your chance, especially if you happen to live near a cheap theater (or one with a really good student discount, if you're a student). You get to see some great soccer, see that soccer players can and do make it big (in both fame and money), and hopefully gain more of an appreciation for soccer. And face it, many of us Americans will never get to travel to English to watch and experience a Premiership match, and frankly, it's simply a whole lot more fun watching the action on the big screen, than on your TV at home. Oh, and there just so happens to be on-screen appearances from several big names - Beckham and Zidane immediately come to mind, though I know I'm forgetting others.

As for anyone who might be protesting the inclusion of this movie review on an MLS-dedicated blog, I had 3 MLS "sightings" in the movie (if you've seen Goal and noticed more, please leave a comment):
1) During the beginning of the movie, one of the characters makes a comment about the LA Galaxy
2) During one of Santiago’s matches at the beginning, you can see the MLS logo on the wall of the stadium
3) I could've sworn I saw the back of a Fulham jersey that said "McBride" (ok, so this isn't strictly an MLS sighting, but he used to play for the Crew, so I say it counts).

So, was it worth my $8? I thought it was. Although it will certainly be enjoyable on DVD, the large screen and surround sound definitely made the experience more enjoyable.

Weekend roundup

Grabavoy's first Crew impression a winner
New Crew members make immediate impact Sadly, I was not able to watch this match. Perhaps my hopes for the Crew will actually be realized this fall; only time will tell if their improvement is permanent, or merely some temporary luck.

FCD, Dynamo 'own' up to tie game You know, I thought that a FCD-Houston rivalry would be good for MLS. This match wasn't too bad. Yi stood out to me as a pretty solid defender. And as for the own goal - ouch! Nothing quite strikes fear into the hearts of a goalie or defender like the words "own goal." Yikes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I did it...

I survived. Finals are over; papers have been turned in. Perhaps this is a sign of dementia, but over the past couple of weeks, I began to think about the similarities between taking finals and playing soccer. (Go ahead and say what you're thinking: "Crew Fan, you're crazy." Now that it's out of your system, you can continue reading.)

In school, you spend weeks being trained by your professors/teachers. You learn all sorts of facts (in theory, anyways), and may even have the chance to put them into practice. You then spend hours and hours studying on your own.

In soccer, you spend weeks being trained by your coaches. You learn all sorts of techniques and plays, and hopefully have lots of chances to put them into practice. You then spend hours and hours training on your own.

See? It makes sense to me!

Monday, May 08, 2006

I think I can, I think I can..I think I can make it through the next few days. These past couple weeks have been just insane for me, and I am very much looking forward to the moment that I finish my last final and turn in my last paper. After that joyous occasion, I will once again resume providing you with those thrilling, thought-provoking posts that you have come to know and love from me (stop rolling your eyes!). Until then, wish me the best as I plod along!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blogroll update

I've made it a point from the beginning for my blogroll to accurately reflect those soccer blogs that I read on a daily (ok, almost daily) basis. It just occurred to me that it hasn't been updated in a while (read: Crew Fan has a ton of studying and "real writing" - you know, the kind that my grades hinge upon - to do). Please welcome Are You Loyal? and DF in Deutschland to the blogroll.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

If the Cup were to be played today...

Yes, it is once again time for my MLS predictions, based upon the current standings:

If the Cup were to be played today, it would be between DCU and FCD, and though it would be a close match (like someone once said: football, baseball, and basketball merely have games; soccer has matches), DCU would probably win.

My statisitical predictions aside (if you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know how accurate that is; if you're a new reader, the answer is "not very"), I do see Columbus as a serious contender this year. After a rough start, they seem to be getting their act together. And besides, after last year, they're the underdog, and the underdog always has the advantage of the element of surprise.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

At least no one was sent to the hospital...

This is attempt #3 in publishing this post. Attempt #1 was accidentally published prematurely and subsequently removed (after being saved to my harddrive), and I was forced to save attempt #2 to go deal with some personal stuff. So here goes:

Well, if RBNY and DCU have been been aiming for lots of press, they certainly have succeeded over the past few weeks. I just doubt that it's the kind they were looking for:
Here's what the Washington Post has to say: Eskandarian's Celebration: Question of Taste, and you read read D's take here. If you missed that match (like I did), but have a high-speed Internet connection, you can see his "celebration" here. As for the Official Response, well, MLS Might Have a Beef With Ridicule of Red Bull.

Then you see this:
Eskandarian named Player of the Week
Say what? The guy whose celebrations have earned him potential disciplinary action has been named Player of the Week? Now I'm not saying that his actions were necessarily right or wrong. I did find his celebration sort of amusing, though in a childish, immature sort of way. His teammate tossed him a Red Bull - not a water bottle or whatever it is they drink out of in games - but a Red Bull, which he promptly opened, drank, and spit out. A spur of the moment decision? You're kidding, right? Premeditated? Most likely. Funny? Sort of. Unsportsmanlike? Maybe, though I highly doubt that very many people trust MLS to make a good, smart decision on this incident. But for crying out loud, if you're going to punish him, don't turn around and name him player of the week for his actions in the very same game! (Though at least no one ended up in the hospital.)

And if that wasn't enough, then you see this: Assistant GM of MLS' Red Bull Team Quits. The beginnings of a mass exodus?

Drama, drama, drama. Whoever said soccer was boring, has obviously never been exposed to MLS.
'Pitch' proves a good catch for FCD

Roundup for MLS action in Week 4

Donovan has a point to prove to the Germans

Sunday, April 23, 2006

News and Views

Schmid's Crew steals points from L.A. Wow, all that time buried in the books must be getting to me. Only when I read the second sentence of this article: Facing former coach Sigi Schmid for the first time, did I realize the irony and beauty in Columbus beating LA yesterday. Sigi beat his former team, who's probably wishing they still had him. (Then again, if I were a Galaxy fan who got stuck with Sampson, I'd probably be saying that, regardless of who won.)

'Family' man Lalas happy to be home Does anybody else see the irony (and, depending on your opinions, the incredible justice) in Alexi being on the same team as Sampson? His former coach? Two highly controversial (and often hated) people leading the same team? Come now, I can't be the only person who sees this as an ironic twist of fate!

MLS All-Stars to face Chelsea in Chicago Um, since when is this news?

Late drama as Hoops top Wizards

Weekend recap

Sorry for my lack of regular posting lately. Life has succeeded in getting in the way of my soccer-viewing habits quite a bit lately, and will probably continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. (Now all grad and college students repeat after me: I love the end of the semester. I love writing massive final papers and studying for finals. I love practically living in the library and single-handedly keeping the coffee industry booming. See? It works! You're starting to feel better already!)

Columbus 1 : LA 0

Yes, you read that right. Columbus won a game! Whoohoo! And, as always seems to happen when something big happens, I managed to miss this game.

I did, however, manage to catch the FC Dallas 2 : KC 1 match. 2 goals scored in stoppage, within the space of about two minutes. Melikes. I am an unbelievable sucker for stoppage goals, especially when they either create or break a tie. This is what exciting matches are made of. Despite my Columbus loyalties, I was thrilled when Pitchkolan scored right at the end. Cooper also played a pretty solid game, scoring early on. I wasn't thrilled with KC's play, though their tie-breaking goal was pretty exciting.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

All-American XI

OK, so this borders on shameless self-promotion (yep, there I am - they must have been getting desperate), but you really ought to go check out and regularly read The All-American XI. It's good stuff.

News and Views

Red Bulls lament free kick chances OK, so I'm linking to this article only because of the picture of Pele. I think it's pretty wicked awesome when the likes of Pele support MLS, even if it's just a publicity stunt, and even though his support of the NASL didn't exactly help save the league.
Shades of the glory days From the mouth of Pele himself: "I worked hard several years ago to show the American people what is futbol, soccer,'' said Pele, now 65. "I want to see Giants Stadium with 65,000 or 70,000 people. I want to see an average of 30,000 people. We can get them to come back and see what kind of show there is for soccer here now." Well said, though I think he really meant to say that he wants to see Crew stadium full.

D.C. gets first win on Moreno double DCU beat Chivas USA. Not surprising. What is surprising is Chivas USA's win last week against Real Salt Lake. After last year's horrible performance and this year's addition of Bradley, I expect a much improved team this year.

RED BULLS: Beckenbauer interested in rekindling his relationship here

What's in a Name? So Far, Just Two Ties

Colorado-Columbus musings

Colorado 3 : Columbus 1

After months of counting down the days until the '06 season, my job-related and academic obligations sadly forced me to miss opening day. Though, from what I've read, I didn't miss much from Columbus.

I did, however, have the opportunity to watch Colorado stomp on Columbus yesterday. After Columbus's exhilirating goal in the first half, their defense and offense completely fell apart. As a Columbus fan, the game was rather painful to watch. I kept having flashbacks to the USMNT's performance in France '98, with a defense that you could pour water through, and an offense that can't seem to set up good shots. Still, it seems terribly disrespectful to Sigi to compare him to Sampson. I had (have) to keep reminding myself that Sigi probably needs at least a few more weeks to get the Crew's act together, figure out works, and patch up those holes in the defense. Hopefully that will happen sometime before, say, the playoffs.

As for Colorado, they had some pretty good shots, and, moreover, they finished them well (Columbus should take some lessons here). Other than the Columbus goal in the first half, Cannon and his defense did a pretty good job shutting down the Crew's chances. It will be interesting to see how Cannon will hold up this year; I was relatively impressed with his performance (I just wish he would have screwed up at least a couple times last night).

Note: edited to fix a broken link.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until kickoff of the '06 season: 1

It's almost here!

Happy (belated) anniversary

Well, the 2-year anniversary (March 29) of this blog has come and gone. A few short musings on this momentous occasion (momentous to me, anyways):

Two years ago, due to a lack of friends with interests in MLS, and living hundreds of miles away from Ohio and any other Columbus supporters, I decided to start this blog as an outlet to air my thoughts and opinions about all things MLS. In that time, I have changed the layout of the blog at least a couple times, posted from all over the world (ok, so only from several places throughout the US and Japan, but I say that counts), and have relatively recently gained readers.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until kickoff of the '06 season: 2

News and Views

Wow, I can definitely tell that the new season is upon us; the number of articles that came up in my news searches drastically shot up. Here's a sampling of some of them:

Chelsea Football Club & AEG announce U.S. alliance I first heard about this over at the Rogue. First the news of the All-Star game, and now this. I'm not quite sure what to think of it. Does it say something good about the quality of play in MLS, or is it more of a patronising act? Personally, I think that Chelsea is more concerned with improving their image in the US, than with improving MLS. Too bad for them, I already have a favorite team in the Premiership, and it's not Chelsea (I'll give you a hint: their name rhymes with the name of D's favorite team). Still, regardless of Chelsea's motives, I think that it will benefit MLS in the long run.
Chelsea seek to crack America

Out with the old Crew, in with the new Like I've been saying, I have high expectations for Columbus this year. I expect them to make it to the playoffs this year, and to win the final within the next few years.

Learning from '05, improving in '06 for Chivas USA Chivas USA is another team that I expect to do better this year (then again, they can't exactly do worse than they did last year, so that's not saying a whole lot).

'Embrace the Colors' campaign launches If you have a decent Internet connection, you can watch the commercial in Windows Media Player. Personally, I think the ad is no better than MLS' previous attempts at advertising themselves, but at least it's something.

Gazing into the crystal ball on the '06 season The best thing about this article is the picture. Gotta love it.

New team in Houston is among changes in MLS

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until kickoff of the '06 season: 6

Yep, we have only one week left until the start of the second decade of MLS. This has been a pretty busy offseason. Remember the "early years" of MLS, when MLS seemed to fade off the planet during the offseason? I'm not sure if MLS actually is busier now, or if the media (specifically, the Internet) has simply picked up more of it.

News and Views

Wizards beat FCD in Saturn Challenge Cup My newly adopted team (FC Dallas, due to my current geographical location--just don't take that to mean that my loyalties to the Crew have diminished any! they haven't!) lost. The sheer irony of it all is that the Wizards' opener is against my beloved Crew. It will be devastating if the Wizards beat Columbus, too. Here's to hoping that Sigi will lead the crew on to a solid season and victory this year.

Changes start at top for Chivas USA Bradley's a good coach. I expect to see a seriously improved Chivas USA this year.

MLS Originals Enter Their 11th Season Just 10 players remain active who have played at least one game in of the first 10 seasons. Wow, I thought there were more of them than that. Most of the guys have since retired or moved on (McBride immediately jumps to mind).

Houston beats N.Y., wins Challenge Cup I was about to make some comment about Houston's two name changes over the past several months have a positive effect on their performance, until I remembered that NY, too, just had a name change. So never mind.
Edit: Remember what I said about matadors beating bulls? If this isn't proof, I don't know what is.)

Between now and this Friday, March 31, you have the opportunity to question the Commish. If you have something to say, now's our chance, people.

Red Bulls roll out new team, attitude

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

News and Views

The spotlight's on Arena This article describes Arena as the most successful coach in American soccer history, a statement that I'd have to agree with. He's done very in building up the USMNT after France '98. Will he lead the USMNT to the top 8 again this year? Better yet, will they make it to either the final match or the third place match? Going by how the USMNT has done over the past few years, I'd have to say the chances are good. And besides, upsets do happen. Honestly now, who expected Croatia to place third back in '98? The US defeat of Portugal in the first round four years ago was equally surprising to many people.

Philly next stop for MLS
N.J. wary of new MLS team's name
After Red Bull brouhaha, no word yet on next NJ team's name
After the whole 1836 mess and the resentment caused by the Red Bull NY name change, you have no idea how freaking hilarious I find the tension over the Philly/NJ name.

MLS supports Rowan's stadium plan

Investors buying into the idea of this American league

Players hope to stamp pass vs. Germans

The Crew MLS Season Opener Is Just 11 Days Away

Edited to correct a couple broken links. I hate it when that happens!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 16

Misc MLS news

Twelve MLS players on U.S. roster

De Soto submits proposal for Wizards complex

The Nowak fining debacle

The MLS big wigs should probably consider careers in landscaping; they seem quite adept at digging holes for themselves. First for the Official Statement on the latest debacle in MLS:

Statement from Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber After conducting a thorough review, we find that D.C. United Head Coach Peter Nowak made improper remarks during the D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake pre-season game on February 17, 2006 in Bradenton, Florida. The League has fined Peter Nowak an undisclosed amount.

MLS Fines Nowak Undisclosed Amount

I think that a quote from Shakespeare is in order here (from Julius Caesar, for those of you who aren't as nuts about Shakespeare as I am): Beware the Ides of March. Julius Caesar was murdered...on the Ides of March...despite being warned of impending danger. MLS came out with a statement that put them in a much deeper hole and helped "murder" Nowak's name, regardless of whether he is guilty...on the Ides of March...despite warnings from the fans (D did an especially good job) and newswriters alike. I, for one, sense the irony in that. Why is it so difficult for MLS to simply state the reasons for their decision? Any writing or debate teacher will tell you that it is not sufficient to merely state your opinion; you must clearly and logically state your reasons. Lawyers provide evidence for their cases. MLS provides nothing. How hard is it for Garber to simply say something along the lines of the statement proposed by D? The situation certainly isn't quiet. Talk of the fining is in the Washington Post, and all over the blogosphere. Now MLS has made some Really Dumb decisions over the course of its existence (especially in the early years), but I think this comes close to beating all.

Monday, March 13, 2006

News and Views

Red Bull purchases MetroStars Red Bull New York. Well, that's yet another MLS team name change (though certainly not the first for the NY/NJ Metrostars / Metros). I wonder how long it will take for the few remaining MLS teams with their original names to change. When MLS first announced the team names back in '96 (or maybe before? can't remember), I remember thinking that names like the Crew (and their logo) and the Rapids were a bit, well, odd. I personally was glad when the Metros dropped the whole NY/NJ part; it was pretty cumbersome to say. As for the Red Bull NY name change, am I the only one who has visions of matadors (and yes, I am familiar with the Red Bull drink - that stuff makes me thing of matadors, too)? Matadors defeat bulls. Hmm, that'll give fans of the the Red Bull NY's opponents something to chant.
Q&A with MLS Commissioner Garber The Commish weighs in on the Metros' sale to Red Bull.

Ruiz rides bicycle to Goal of the Decade Not a bad choice, really. And, it was scored against DCU, not my beloved Crew - all the much better. I think it's final: I really am a sucker for bicycle kicks.

McBride extends Fulham stay

Friday, March 03, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 29

News and Views

U.S. earns hard-fought win Gotta love Arena's response to a reporter who inquired as to Adu's chance of making the USMNT in Germany: He's 16 and I think there will not be that many 16 year olds playing in the World Cup. That's just my guess. I could be wrong. Am I the only one who interprets that basically as, "No, but I'm not telling you yet"?

D.C. United fall to Getafe in Spain
Nowak pleased despite United loss
D.C. United Starts Strong, But Loses to Spain's Getafe

MLS coming to Oklahoma

Monday, February 27, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 33

News and Views

The MLS Goal of the Decade nominees are down to five. My personal favorites are McBride's goal in '96, and Ruiz's goal in '05. What on earth is Rosario's goal doing in there? Sure, he made it from outside of the box, which, believe me, takes both skill and luck. And while it may be good enough to make it into, say, the top 25, I don't think it deserves to be in the top 5. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that it exhibits particularly good teamwork, skill, a spetacular shot, determination, or luck. In short, it has none of what I consider to be the defining characteristics of a good goal.
Five finalists remain on top goal ballot
McBride Up for Goal of the Decade

FC Dallas Announces European Leg of Preseason Schedule

Edited for clarification.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

News and Views

The Goal of the Decade nominees have been narrowed down to 10. Go vote.

Totti's injury may boost U.S. at Cup Rusnak believes that Totti's recent injury may very well boost the US's chances in getting out of group play this summer. Whether or not that is true (in my opinion, probably not), I disagree with the statement on the grounds that it is cruel to delight in someone else's injury. Rusnak also references a recent episode of The O'Reilly Factor, in which Drew Carey showed support for the USMNT.

1836 tumble to Real Salt Lake Am I the only one who thinks that the Clash's/Earthquakes'/1836's recent move is going to hurt them for at least the beginning of the season this year?

Canero chooses America

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 34

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 35

We are precisely 7 weeks away from the beginning of the 2006 season, and the drama has already begun. This off season may have started off slow, but it wasn't slow for long. Anyone else remember back when nothing ever happened during the off season? Either more is happening now, or the media is simply doing a better job of reporting on it.

News and Views

Time to embrace this thing they call soccer I saw this linked to on Mike's site. People have been making these kinds of claims for years. Would I love for soccer to become #1 in the US? Yes. Do I think it will happen anytime soon? I hope so, but only time will tell.

You may have noticed that I have yet to weigh in on the racist allegations against Nowak. That is because I do not know enough about the situation and am waiting for what I hope are the results of an insightful, objective investigation on the part of MLS. Besides, D has already written some good stuff on the situation.

Robertson a cozy home for 1836 Um, what happened to the name change?
Houston 1836 fans to pick their seats See previous comment.

Arena selections for Poland game gives hints of World Cup roster

Friday, February 24, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 36

News and Views

Beckenbauer pays visit to MLS office Beckenbauer met with Commissioner Don Garber and conducted exclusive interviews with ABC that will be used during World Cup broadcasts this summer. Here's to hoping that there will actually be decent network coverage of the World Cup in the US this year. Granted, it has gotten better over the years, but I am still disappointed in the lack of major network coverage of World Cup, MLS, and soccer in general.

Anticipation surrounds FC Dallas

FCD's Ruiz grants wish for teenager

Four Trialists To Join Crew In Cyprus

Galaxy, Saprissa battle to 0-0 draw

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 37

Young players and the MNT

Teen phenoms need plenty of guidance Major League Soccer, in contrast to other U.S. pro sports leagues, has no age minimum. That's because it fears losing American players to leagues overseas. "Unlike the NBA and the NFL, we aren't the dominant player in the world market," said Ivan Gazidis, MLS' deputy commissioner. "We're a relatively small player. Around the world players are signed young. Most don't go to college. For us to set regulations would simply mean young kids dead set on being pro would sign with overseas clubs." It all comes down to economics - if they can't sign here, they'll sign elsewhere. This reminds me of what happened back when MLS iniated Project-40. Their rationale was to build up a strong base of young players. I found it interesting that MLS had to rationalize their choice in the media, by saying much of the same things: players overseas sign young, and few of them go to college, much less play there. Things certainly have not changed!

MLS players called in vs. Poland

Saturday, February 18, 2006

News and Views

Expansion Sweepstakes - Round 3 This article provides a rundown of 6 cities (Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and San Diego) with hopes of obtaining an MLS team. I'm not sure if Cleveland has the fan base necessary to sustain an MLS team. Football yes, basketball yes, baseball yes. But soccer? Maybe yes, but maybe no; like the author says, if they do show up at Browns Stadium for a US World Cup warmup match, then they'll have every chance to give Columbus a derby partner. However, if Cleveland does get a team, they better also get a good soccer-specific stadium. Browns stadium may be relatively new, but it is still an American football stadium. However, if they do get a team, it would provide an intense intra-state rivalry, with Columbus being an easy 4-hour or so drive away. As for St. Louis, I think they probably have a fan base sufficient to sustain an MLS team. Between Cleveland and St. Louis, St. Louis probably has better chances of getting an MLS team. Again, this would open the door for yet another intra-state rivalry. Rivalries make matches more exciting, and I don't think that anyone would disagree that MLS needs all the excitement and intensity that it can get.

Chivas USA yet to settle on captain Here's to hoping that Bradley can get the team in shape to do well this year.

Pope quite a star, but quietly

No triangle in Bermuda: Revolution forced to realign defense

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 42

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Countdown '06

Days until the kickoff of the '06 season: 46

News and Views

MLS won't slow down during the World Cup It's more likely most armchair fans will opt to watch as many as three World Cup games a day on free TV and forget MLS for the duration. MLS is already virtually the only "major" soccer league in the world that insists upon relentlessly plunging on for the duration of the World Cup. Hmm, that's what I have been saying for years. I think I've finally accepted that MLS will continue as it always has during Germany, but that doesn't mean that I'm actually going to watch anything but the World Cup. Come on. Watch the best players in the best countries in the world duke it out on the world stage, or watch MLS. That's a pretty easy choice for me.

As for the whole Freddy wanting to go to Chelsea thing (interesting how, in the context of soccer, we can merely say "Freddy" and still know precisely who we mean), is he kidding himself? He is hardly a regular starter for DC and is not looking like a very likely candidate for Germany, and he thinks that he can make it in Chelsea? Perhaps he will in a few years, after he has had more playing time and a chance to develop his skills, but now? I don't think so.

Manchester United Won't Sign Adu "We are not interested in Freddy Adu," Ferguson told Manchester United TV on Monday. "We have watched him as a youngster, but there is no interest in him at the moment." Ah, there certainly is nothing quite like stating the obvious.

Real Salt Lake falls 1-0 to the Crew Maybe this is a foreshadowing of things to come? We can only hope so.

Have you voted for the Goal of the Decade yet? Next week the finalists will be narrowed down to 10.

The Clean Sheet: Long time, no chat This is Palace's first article in some months; he kind of recaps his opinions of the last several months.

Florida notes: United keeping busy

Chivas USA plan goals within reason

Guevara's repentance most likely a mirage

Wizards’ deal a blockbuster

Friday, February 03, 2006


I think I'm in denial about Sunday, hence my decision to write this post. I need a little "soccer fix" to get me through Super Bowl weekend.

Schmid has high hopes for Crew trio First sentence of the article: Since the Columbus Crew ended their disappointing 2005 campaign, much of the talk has focused on change. There's nothing quite like stating the obvious. Here's to hoping that the changes will be effective in, well, changing the Crew's performance this coming season. In my opinion, Shmid will be good for the Crew this year (take that for what it's worth - I am certainly not perfect when it comes to predictions!).

Crew GM McCullers ready for season

Adu, Ralston released from U.S. camp I'll admit that Adu isn't a bad player. In fact, he's pretty good. However, he isn't the best player in the US soccer right now, and I frankly sometimes get a bit tired of all the publicity surrounding him.

Notes: Cup hopefuls build cases for making U.S. team

Veteran advice for Rapids hopefuls

Dempsey's play opens U.S. eyes

Monday, January 23, 2006

Kinnear family weighs in on extension Looks like Kinnear is moving to Houston with the team. That should help the team's playing this year. (Then again, take that comment for what it's worth. If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you're probably aware of my abilities when it comes to predictions.)

2006 Supplemental Draft to be held Thursday Columbus is near the top of every round; they need all the help they can get.

Adu, Reis earn caps in U.S. draw

Ivy League players snubbed in Friday's MLS draft

Friday, January 20, 2006

All the latest SuperDraft gossip

MLS CONFIDENTIAL: Chivas USA looks to deal Well, seeing how Chivas' last season went, I think it is pretty obvious that they are going for some major changes, but that's just a guess. What do I know? In fact, they'd better go for some big trades. And, while I'm at it, that comment goes for Columbus, too.

Protected players will get long look from MLS teams Lopez argues that
Certainly, the college route has proven successful for some MLS players. However, no college players were used by the U.S. national team during World Cup qualifying. Arena selected only professional players from either MLS or the various European professional leagues.
The majority of the world's professional (soccer) players don't get their start in college, and, frankly, the same can be said for most American players. It's just a guess, but maybe a factor is that the players who don't go the college route, have a chance to play at a higher level younger, thus developing their skills more.

U.S. soccer world flocks to Phila. Hmm, maybe this will be push necessary for Philadelphia to get (or, at any rate, start seeking) an MLS team.

Ex-area standout coveted by MLS

Son of ex-Cub Wynne aims high in MLS draft

Without further Adu, teen star must find way to beat the odds

United Will Be Cautious With Trades, MLS Draft

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

News and Views

Schmid continues search for talent Hopefully he’ll end up with a combination that will get the Crew back up to where they need to be (at the top of the league, of course).

Guevara unhappy with GM's criticism I have three words: Grow up, Guevara.

Midfielder Kovalenko to leave MLS

Albright injures knee with U.S. team

Fire Announce Preseason Schedule

D.C. United sale terminated

U.S. Goalie Gives Shirt Off His Back This isn’t strictly about MLS, but it is interesting nevertheless.

Real Salt Lake to host draft party

Looking for a side dish, not a main entrée

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

MLS news and views

Walsh: Those Who Can't Play or Coach
Sigi Schmid and Bob Bradley. Besides Bruce, these are the two best coaches ever to walk an MLS sideline. Hmm, I think I have to agree with this statement. Come to think of it, Bruce has done a very good job with the national team over the past, what, seven or eight years. (I can’t remember how long it was after France ‘98 that he took the coaching job.) Let’s hope that he can keep the team heading in the right direction.
All but a handful of soccer writers are morons. They are either soccer brain dead or are regurgitating crap that they have heard others say. Does that include me?
Soccer is at a time now much like surfing was in the 1950s and 1960s. Twenty years from now people will look back and admire MLS players that play the game for love and not a lot of money. I’ve always thought that there is something more enjoyable about watching those who play for love of the game. However, it is most likely is true that at least the majority of professional players worldwide, including those making bundles of money, are in the game because of their love of it. Yes, they may be making some good money, but there certainly is an element of love of the game that got them that far. It is also true that those making more money typically are making the money because they, simply put, are very good at what they do, which makes for an enjoyable experience for the spectator.

The state of U.S. Youth Soccer

Crew add two defenders to roster Anything to get the Crew playing well again.

John, Gutierrez swap cities in trade

Chicago forward Andy Herron suspended for six games

MLS Player Combine to begin Thursday

Note: I've corrected the links; they should work now.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My wishlist for 2006

1) I wish for the USA men to win the World Cup, or, at the very least, make it into the the top 4. They made it into the top 8 four years ago, and they're sitting pretty nicely at number 8 in the current FIFA world rankings, even ahead of powerhouses like England (9), Italy (12), and Germany (16). Go USA!

2) If number 1 doesn't come true, I at least want a country that has never won the World Cup to win. Yes, Brazil is good and it is exciting to see them win, but, well, they've had their day. Besides, who doesn't like the underdog? I think it's about time for some changes.

3) I wish for Columbus to win the MLS Cup. I've stopped bothering to count how many times they've come close.

4) While I'm at it, how about some good deals between MLS, major networks, and advertisers? It's time for MLS to gain more publicity in the USA.

5) What happened to the hype over WUSA? If the US wants to keep up with the rest of the world, they need a women's league. I find it ironic that the USA, who were among the first countries to have a solid women's team, now no longer has a league. (Yes, I know why the WUSA failed; you don't need to remind me. However, this is my wishlist. I can dream, can't I?)

Now we know

Yep, we now know why football, er, soccer, is so exciting. Check out the BBC's report on the Surprise secret to soccer appeal. The Los Alamos National Laboratory has concluded that Football is more likely to produce an unexpected result. Interesting conclusion. In my studies and research in my academic field, I have learned to carefully choose my methodology and body of data when conducting any sort of study. These researchers decided to make unpredictability - how often a leading team is overcome by an opponent with a worse record - the best measure of how exciting a league is. Although I do agree with the conclusion - yes, I think that soccer is the most exciting sport in the world, and that is due in part, but only in part, to its unpredicatibility. I also enjoy the creativity, beauty, and intensity of the game. You probably have your own reasons for liking the game. My point is this: this study certainly is interesting, but take it for what it is: a very one-sided study that fails to address other issues. (I realize that they probably cannot analyze all possible options, however, my point is that the casual observer ought to be discerning about the methodology used in any study, including this one, as trivial as it may seem.)

Note: this post has been edited for grammar.

News and Views

Elliott leaves Crew, signs with Fulham Ah, another Crew player leaving for the Premiership - Fulham, no less. Same club as former Crew member Brian McBride. I'm half-tempted to stop rooting for Man U and start rooting for Fulham. I'll have to give that some thought.

Chivas USA close to adding Suarez