Friday, June 29, 2007

Same scoreline better result

Wake Forest's Justin Moose got a start in this game, his hustle and tenacity made up for his poor give aways. United went down a goal early but was able to regroup and assure us that Real Salt lake was just a bump in the road.The Brasilian with the worst nickname ever put his first MLS goal in the net. Fred was elated to finally open his United account after several weeks of near-misses, though he admitted that his goal-scoring celebration was somewhat hindered by the caution he received after pulling up his jersey to reveal a "JESUS LOVES YOU" message underneath.

"At halftime we just talked about keeping the ball," said right winger Justin Moose, who played a full 90 minutes for the first time this season. "They left a lot of space and we didn't really expose it in the first half. Second half, we were able to get the ball down and our playmakers were able to make some plays that turned into goals."

Argentia 4, USA 1

A predictable scoreline but one made difficult because the US scored first. In the ninth minute Eddie Johnson was brought down in the box from behind. Johnson buried the penalty kick shocking the crowd with an American lead. The kids that make up this Copa America only two minutes to relish in the glory as Argentina finished off a free kick to tie the score. The game went to half-time tied 1-1, a result greater than most expectations. The USA did a good job of holding the Argentines through the sixtieth minute or so. Then in the sixtieth minute Hernan Crespo scored his second goal. This was the crack in the dam that led to its total failure and a flood of chances for the Argentinians. The US was plain and simply outclassed and fought admirably. The substitions tell the story. Bob Bradley puts on Eddie Gaven, who until recently has been on the bench at the Colombus Crew. Argentina sends in Carlos Tevez who has Italian Serie "A" champions Inter Milan, Spanish League champs Real Madrid, and perenial EPL power Arsenal bidding for his services.
One bright spot is Benny Feilhaber's continued good form even against one of the world's best teams. The biggest surprise had to be the performance of Bornstein. Many have questioned Bob Bradley's continued use of Jonathon Bornstein but last night he showed why the coach holds such a fascination. Bornstein completely shut down Lionel Messi, so much so that Messi changed sides so he could make mince meat of Marvell Wynne.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So much soccer so little time

Okay, another busy Thursday. There's the Paraguay vs Colombia game at 6:30. I think we'll have to miss that to watch DC United (7:00pm ESPN2) redeem themselves after losing to RSL last week. DC will be missing Jaime Moreno, Bobby Boswell and Ben Olsen all representing their countries at Copa America. Colorardo Rapids will be short Kyle Beckerman also in Venezuela. Hopefully they will be finished in time to switch over to the USA and Argentina. It will be good to see our young guys get some experience and Argentina is always entertaining to watch. They are fielding pretty much the same team that finished a 26 pass build up with a goal at the World Cup.

Argentina vs USA , How do we match up?


USA's practice:

Argentina's practice:

If the visual doesn't do it for you, I crunched a few numbers. I compared just our midfield to Argentina's midfield. Here's what I came up with:

Argentina is taking 6 midfielders, average age 26, total caps 186.

between the six you have:

2 South American Youth Champions
3 FIFA World Youth Champions
1 Olympic Gold medal holder
They have won a combined 16 Division Championships
9 Argentina Primera
4 Serie "A"
2 La Liga
they have hoisted the following hardware:
2 UEFA Cups
3 Italia Super Cups
2 European Super Cups
1 Intercontinental Cup
1 Spanish Super Cup
they have also won:
2 Coppa Italia
1 UEFA Champions League

The USA is taking 8 midfielders, average age 23.5, total caps 55 (35 belong to Ben Olsen)

6 Have US youth team experience U17&U20

Between the eight you have:

10 years of college experience
1 year PDL experience
26 years of MLS experience (inflated because I'm counting this season and for instance Justin Mapp only had 28 minutes his first year with DC United)
1 year PSV Eindhoven
1 year Nottingham Forest (no Robin Hood jokes)
2 years with Hamburg SV

Oh yeah you've also got
1 Gatorade National Boy Soccer Player of the Year
1 Parade National High School Player of the Year

Yeah I think we match up pretty good.

Tonight's line up

dcole over at BigSoccer took a look at today's Studio 90 segment at It shows a split squad scrimmage, which he assumes would be starters vs the bench, and this was the line up;



Here is a link to the USA's team blog;
where you can find cool stuff like this:

Wednesday, June 27 @ 4:40 p.m.
We just arrived at the training facility and some of the guys jumped into the dugout to slip off their sandals or runners and put on their cleats. Little did they know they had a friend hanging out nearby as a two-foot long iguana was hanging out in the shade. The little bugger was pretty bold, making his way up to the bench, coming just inches away from a pair of Nike sandals (we'll provide a pic later). We’re literally sitting just a few feet away from it…(do these things bite? Ah, our security officer just told us they do. And that they taste like chicken. This guy would know, trust us. We are moving away…slowly…slowly…) After a little bit of picture taking and a couple of miss-hit soccer balls coming to close for comfort, 'Iggy' took off for the safer pastures across the parking lot. Good thing, too, because he wouldn’t want to have to deal with the gigantic Juergen Sommer if he came back to get his sandals.

USA in Copa America

With Mexico's success last night against Brasil hopes might rise that the USA could have a good showing at Copa America. I just want to tell you that you need to squelch any feelings of optimism you might have. I'm generally not a doom and gloom kinda of guy nor an extreme optimist. While some people see the glass half empty and others see it half full, I usually see it as being twice as big as it needs to be. The USSF and Bob Bradley decided that the main goal was to win the Gold Cup which we did. Copa America is looked at as a chance to 'blood' some young players and take a look at fringe players.The thing is all our best young players are in Canada getting ready for the U20 World Cup.

The roster:

U.S. Men's National Team 2007 Copa America Roster

No. Name Caps/G Club
17 Beckerman, Kyle M 1/0 Colorado Rapids (MLS)
13 Bornstein, Jonathan D 7/1 Chivas USA (MLS)
4 Boswell, Bobby D 2/0 D.C. United (MLS)
7 Califf, Danny D 14/1 Aalborg BK (Denmark)
19 Clark, Ricardo M 6/0 Houston Dynamo (MLS)
12 Conrad, Jimmy D 21/1 Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
10 Davies, Charlie F 1/0 Hammarby IF (Sweden)
3 DeMerit, Jay D 3/0 Watford FC (England)
5 Feilhaber, Benny M 7/1 Hamburger SV (Germany)
11 Gaven, Eddie M 3/0 Colombus Crew (MLS)
8 Gomez, Herculez F 0/0 Colorado Rapids (MLS)
23 Guzan, Brad GK 1/0 Chivas USA (MLS)
9 Johnson, Eddie F 26/10 Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
18 Keller, Kasey GK 100/0 Bor. M'gladbach (Germany)
16 Kljestan, Sacha M 1/0 Chivas USA (MLS)
21 Mapp, Justin M 5/0 Chicago Fire (MLS)
15 Moor, Drew D 0/0 FC Dallas (MLS)
25 Nguyen, Lee M 1/0 PSV Eindhoven (Holland)
14 Olsen, Ben M 34/6 D.C. United (MLS)
6 Pearce, Heath D 6/0 . FC Nordsjælland (Denmark)
20 Twellman, Taylor F 24/6 New England Revolution (MLS)
2 Wynne, Marvell D 0/0 Toronto FC (MLS)

U.S. Men's National Team
2007 Copa America Roster By Position
Goalkeepers (2) – Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Defenders (8) – Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Dan Califf (Aalborg BK), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Drew Moor (FC Dallas), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
Midfielders (8) – Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Lee Nguyen (PSV Eindhoven), Ben Olsen (D.C.United)
Forwards (4) – Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Herculez Gomez (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)

The other Copa America game last night

Chile comes from behind to beat Ecuador 3-2. 'Nuff said.

H. Sanchez saves his job O. Sanchez loses his

In the second huge upset of the tournament Mexico downs Brasil 2-0. Mexico, missing three of their European players that played in the Gold Cup, impressed against a Brasilian side that forgot how to Samba. For all the pregame talk about a divided Mexican locker room and disheartened players the Mexican team controlled the game from the start. Mexico's young gun Castillo continued to shine, scoring the first goal and missing two chances late in the game. With the last move of the game, Castillo broke away, ran half the length of the pitch, rounded Doni and then shot wide of the open goal.El Tri's tired legs started to show in about the 60th minute and Brasil began to press. Mexico played a very disciplined defensive game (it just feels weird writing that)and keeper Guillermo Ochoa came up with several huge saves to seal Mexico's victory. This win will save Hugo Sanchez his job for a while longer and probably will cost Oswaldo Sanchez (GK in Gold Cup) his.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Copa America TV Tonight

Chile vs Ecaudor at 6:35

Brazil vs Mexico at 8:45

If you don't get GOLTV or Telefutura on with your cable system you can watch on your computer courtesy of UNIVISION.

Copa America Update

Last night the Copa America began.

The first game saw Peru upset Uruguay 3-0.

The second game saw Bolivia tie Venezeula 2-2. DC United's Jaime Moreno scored the Bolivian's first goal. This is Moreno's first call up for a meaningful game in five years.
Here is Moreno's goal:

Copa America

I've put this off as long as I possibly could.
First of all I wanted to enjoy the victory over Mexico as long as possible. I also didn't want to bore you with explanations about the Copa America and why we are playing in it. But the tournament began last night and the USA will be playing Thursday so here we go. Copa America is another FIFA regional tournament. Just as the Gold Cup goes to the champions of CONCACAF, Copa America crowns the champion of CONMEBOL (CONfederación SudaMEricana de FútBOL)or the Confederation of South American Football.The USA and Mexico have been invited to play in the tournament this year.
The tournament is being held in Venezuela. I won't get into all the political stuff but the US and Venezuela are on less than friendly terms. Here is a cool map showing the stadiums where games will be played.Here's the groups and schedules:

Group A - Uruguay,Peru,Bolivia,Venezuela

Uruguay 0 Peru 3

Venezeula 2 Bolivia 2

Bolivia v Uruguay
9:00pm Sat 30 June. San Cristóbal

Venezeula v Peru
11:15pm Sat 30 June. San Cristóbal

Peru v Bolivia
11:30pm Tue 3 July. Mérida

Venezeula v Uruguay
1:45am Wed 4 July. Mérida

Group B - Ecuador,Chile,Brazil,Mexico

Ecuador v Chile
11:30pm Wed 27 June. Puerto Ordaz

Brazil v Mexico
1:45am Thu 28 June. Puerto Ordaz

Mexico v Ecuador
9:00pm Sun 1 July. Maturín

Brazil v Chile
11:15pm Sun 1 July. Maturín

Mexico v Chile
11:30pm Wed 4 July. Puerto la Cruz

Brazil v Ecuador
1:45am Thu 5 July. Puerto la Cruz

Group C - Paraguay,Colombia,Argentina,USA

Paraguay v Colombia
11:30pm Thu 28 June. Maracaibo

Argentina v USA
1:45am Fri 29 June. Maracaibo

USA v Paraguay
11:30pm Mon 2 July. Maracaibo

Argentina v Colombia
1:45am Tue 3 July. Barinas

USA v Colombia
11:30pm Sat 5 May. Barquisimeto

Argentina v Paraguay
1:45am Sun 6 May. Barquisimeto

EU, 'papa' de Concacaf

This is for Troy.
That was the headline in La Opinion, a spanish language news outlet. Here is a translation of the article:

Landon Donovan did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity to plunge the delicious sword of irony and sarcasm even further into the Mexican wound.

"Does the United States continue to be the giant, the papa of CONCACAF? It's pretty clear, isn't it? We won, we're Mexico's daddy in soccer,” said the smiling U.S. forward.

Before taking penalties, Landon Donovan performs a ceremony on the field.

He squats down. He makes some gestures and kisses his knuckles. He explains for the first time what that possible refuge means when he must punish from penalty spot.

"It is something to calm to me. To take a penalty means a lot of pressure. If I'm not calm, then I'm going to be distracted by the crowd, by Oswaldo and the other people who are there. I do it to calm myself down, to relax and to not let myself get distracted by what's around me," said 'Captain America'.

"It's like when I was eight years old, I would go to the corner to forget about everything else. That's why I squat down, etc. To be able to take the penalty with calm and concentration. And I scored, didn't I? Another goal against Oswaldo,” commented Donovan.

You fooled Oswaldo Sanchez and he remained standing still.

“Yes, I imagine that Oswaldo had seen the videos of the other three penalties. I suppose he did. Ha, ha, ha! And he thought that I was going to shoot down the middle, and I knew that that's what he was expecting; to stay firm and it would come right to him. But I put it to the side and fooled him," said Donovan.

"I'm happy for the win. We beat Mexico again and showed that we are the best team in the region. We are going to the Confederations Cup and I put another goal past Oswaldo Sanchez. What more could I ask for? Ha, ha, ha,” stated the attacker of the LA Galaxy.

“We're going to the Confederations Cup and I hope that we have the best tournament of any CONCACAF team,” he said.

Mexico already was champion of a Confederations Cup, the one that they organized in 1999.

"Good, we'll try to equal that," he responded.

Bob Bradley, coach of the United States, met with Hugo Sanchez at the foot of the bus.

The the coaches greeted each other with an ample smile and a strong handshake.

What was said? They congratulated each other and wished each other luck at the Copa America.

Bob Bradley spoke of the victory over Mexico.

“It feels good to be the champion. It feels good to win. You feel good when you play well and get the victory. We're in the Confederations Cup and we're sure that we're going to represent CONCACAF with a lot of success,” he explained.

He didn't go into details about what it means to beat Mexico or be the "Giant" of CONCACAF.

“Mexico is a good team and a strong rival. Today we had to play hard to beat them. I have nothing but respect for them in every sense,” he added.

Benny Feilhaber was as proud as a peacock.

His ferocious bomb from long distance sealed the game and gave the victory to the United States over Mexico.

"It was simple, I wanted to put it there… and that's where it went. Ha, ha, ha," the American joked.

"I hit it with my soul, with the desire to score a goal against Mexico. I hit it with all my strength and it went in. I don't think that anybody could have gotten to that ball," said Feilhaber, who plays with Hamburg of Germany.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gold Cup Victory Celebration

You need to watch this video provided by the USSF. It shows pregame, the all important halftime in the locker room, and the post game celebration.
If you are wondering why Miss USA is sitting with the team, she was recently loudly booed by a Mexican crowd in a competition. Smith said she received numerous letters and e-mails of support, many from U.S. soccer fans accustomed to their national team playing road games at home.

“I didn't understand why,” said Smith, who will sit in U.S. Soccer's private box at Soldier Field today. “So I did some research. I know why now. These men have faced so much adversity, and they have been so successful. It's a testament to their character. Overnight, I've become their No. 1 fan.

“I've been on the edge of my seat waiting to see if the U.S. and Mexico would play each other (in the Gold Cup). When I found out they were, I said: 'I've got to go to that game.'”

This is the letter she had sent to the soccer federation:

June 22, 2007

Dear U.S. Men's National Soccer Team,

For as long as I can remember, professional basketball has been my all-time favorite spectator sport due to my own personal love for playing the game. However, due to a recent personal experience, I have discovered that I now have a new favorite professional sport: Soccer!

During this past May, I represented the U.S.A. at the 56th Annual Miss Universe Competition in Mexico City. It was a great honor and pleasure for me to compete at this international level, but along with that privilege came a bit of adversity.

Aside from a highly publicized graceful "fall" in front of a television audience of nearly a billion people, I felt the wrath of some of the hometown crowd and was consistently "booed" whenever "USA" was called out. I received many calls and letters of support afterwards, many from U.S. National Team fans.

As an amateur athlete, I appreciate the skill and stamina required to play at the top of your game for 90-plus minutes on the field. But now I have a greater appreciation for your team and what you must endure when you compete in hostile environments while representing our country. I also want to make my supporters aware of the similar, and often worse, conditions you experience almost every time you head out onto the field.

Congratulations on making it to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Finals! I want to make sure you know I am rooting for and supporting each one of you. As someone who can relate to you at this time, I am the newest recruit to "Sam's Army" and I will be cheering absolutely the loudest for you.


Your new #1 fan,
Rachel Smith
Miss USA® 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Weekend's, Good, Bad and Ugly

Yeah, good that the USA won, but it was more than that. This is probably the best game between the two teams since the 2001 win in Columbus! What a game! You saw the best of what CONCACAF can be.Attacking flowing soccer ruled the day over the USA's usual, get behind the ball and counter, style that was the trademark of Bruce Arena's tenure.
Neither defense or keeper was allowed a minute to let down their guard. The game was physical but didn't resort to thuggery that is so often seen late in this match up. Mexico took it to the USA in the first half and remarkably the US took it to Mexico in the second half. Bob Bradley must have done a heck of a job in the locker room at halftime, and his sub of Ricardo Clark for Pablo Mastroeni was just what the team needed. Fielhaber's volley was certainly World class as was Mexico's young player Andres Guardado. I am not looking forward to facing him and Castillo in the future.
You have to give props to the ref who called a great game but let the boys play.
Here are the highlights:

DC united's loss to Real Salt Lake, who hadn't won a game all season. There isn't really much to say. Here's what the coach and Ben Olsen had to say:

"On any given day, anybody can win, and if you don't come out and do the little things that win ball games - the hustle and the 50-50 balls - you're going to be on the wrong side. If you do that your chances increase, and we didn't do that today."

"It's not hard to figure out what happened. We came out soft and light and took them as if they were a last-place team, and they came out fighting for their lives. That's what you saw."


Once again the Mexican players walk off the field without shaking hands or trading jerseys. It's a sad way to end what was an incredible game. Grant Wahl tried to educate us on this behavior in an article in Sports Illustrated. Wahl explains, "When I ask my friend, the journalist Miguel Ángel Briseño of Reforma, about it, he mentions the word ardido -- a sort of rageful pride or courage that's common among Mexican soccer players."..."It's not so much about the Americans (although that's certainly part of it) as it is about the way Mexican players treat all their most heated rivalries." Trying to give it a cultural spin does not change the fact that it is unsportsman like and unacceptable.
And Once again the Mexican Coach makes excuses about a loss. This time it was not having enough time to train together, topped off with "The better team did not win today." I like to believe in karma and I think if Mexico would start to "man up" to their losses they might have a chance to turn their slide around.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Fielhaber with a beautiful volley for the game winner.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tri, Tri again

Well, game day is here and The USA is a slight favorite in the match up at 3:00pm.
Let's face it we have owned Mexico, winning eight of the last eleven games. Even more at home, as we are unbeaten and unscored upon in our last nine meetings on home soil. But the problem with all streaks is that they must end. The longer the streak is the odds of it ending increase exponentially. Just ask Real Salt Lake and DC United. United went to Utah last night holding a hot hand. They were undefeated in their last seven outings, facing a team that hasn't had a win in their last twelve games. Both teams ended their streaks last night with Real winning 2-1. So I would not be surprised if the Nat's streak ended versus Mexico today. Will I be dissapointed? Absolutely, I might not be right for a week or two. As Demarcus Beasley said:
"It's not just a game when we play Mexico. It's more than a game. It's for our fans and our country. If you can't get up for a Mexico game then you shouldn't be playing at this level."
So enjoy the game because no matter what happens it is sure to be intense and full of drama.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bob Bradley's "to do" list

1. Buy Eddie Johnson a bus ticket to KC leaving today

2. Bench Bornstein

3. Make sure we don't give Pardo a free 25 yard shot

4. Channel Parkhurst's positioning to Gooch

5. Ensure USSF continues to pay Blanco's room service and buffet bills

6. Get Onyewu inside Borgetti's head

7. Don't let us get in a position where a ref can determine our fate

8. Start Howard

9. Maintain shutout

10. Score two goals

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Turn outs have been good for summer soccer. I believe every rising freshman has been out except one. Remember these sessions are your chance to make an impression! Make certain it is a GOOD ONE!

Like I said "a nailbiter"!

Although the United States controlled the game, once again we just can't seem to close the deal. Up 2-0 at halftime the US failed to extend their lead. Landon Donovan whiffed on an open net and Eddie Johnson once again has proven he just doesn't have what it takes at the International level.In the 76' minute Canada gets its foot in the door with a nice shot by Hume. Then in the 89' Michael Bradley gets a red card for a professional foul trying to stop another counter. The US goes down a man. Canada continues pressing and 4 minutes and 10 seconds of the announced 4 minutes of stoppage time Canada sends a through ball in and Canada scores. But wait the Center Ref waves it off saying the Canadian was offside! The game ends 2-1, USA advances. Who knows maybe the Costa Rican coach was right, CONCACAF wants a US-MEX final.
Michael Bradley and Frankie Hejduk will not be available for the final Sunday due to cards.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

USA vs Canada, 7:00pm, Thursday

This might turn into a nail biter! The USMNT needs to control the midfield, especially Guzman and De Rosario, they will be the difference makers for the Canadians tonight. The US roster will be interesting because we have several players in foul trouble. Oguchi Onyewu, Frankie Hejduk, Tim Howard, and DeMarcus Beasley all got yellow cards from the quarterfinal match against Panama. A caution in this match would mean sitting out in the finals or third place match. Canada’s only player carrying a yellow into today’s match is Martin Nash.

El Diablo Returns!!

Marco Etcheverry is back at DC United. A week ago this article showed up on a web site about Marco in South America.Roughly translated:

Etcheverry was present during San Lorenzos practice on wednesday in the Boedo area of Buenos Aires. He will be present for Sundays game against Arsenal de Sarandi where San Lorenzo could be crowned champions of Argentina.

As a function of his new job for his former team DC United of USA, Etcheverry is completing a tour through South America to evaluate the work of the clubs. "This (San Lorenzo) clubs youth system is a good model"
El "Diablo" spent last week in Brazil and signed a cooperation agreement with Atletico Mineiro.

According to Argentinas influential daily sports newspaper "Ole", Etcheverry observed the first teams practice toured the facilities and met San Lorenzos coach Ramon Diaz.

The at a press conference at 5:30pm it was nade official. Here's the press release:

"D.C. United announced today that the club has retained former United midfielder Marco Antonio Etcheverry to serve as Special Consultant to the President. In his new role, the legendary playmaker will serve in a number of capacities, ranging from scouting activities, serving as a liaison to Latin American countries and working as an ambassador for D.C. United domestically and internationally. Etcheverry will also work closely with D.C. United Director of Youth Development John Maessner in providing training and technical support for United's youth teams and academy programs."

"Marco is arguably the greatest player to ever grace Major League Soccer," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "He led us to unprecedented success and international respect. We are excited to continue this relationship, as Marco's passion and knowledge will be of great assistance to our on-going initiatives on and off of the field."

"A seven-time MLS All-Star, Etcheverry is one of the most accomplished players in League history. Etcheverry's cultured left foot carried the Black-and-Red to MLS Cup titles in 1996, 1997, and 1999, earning individual accolades as Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player in 1998 and MLS Cup MVP honors in 1996. The talented midfielder earned MVP honors for the 2002 Pepsi All-Star Game played at RFK Stadium. He was named to the League's Best XI squad four consecutive seasons from 1996-1999. In 2005, Etcheverry was named to the League's All-Time Best XI and currently stands fourth in MLS's all-time assist rankings (101)."

This really solidifies DC United's excellent job in scouting South American talent. It's also good they could find a place, for a member of DC United's pantheon, on the payroll. Hopefully Eddie Pope will be next.

You can see a little of Etcheverry in this video featuring MLS' TOP 11.

MLS ultras

Steven Wells recently wrote an article for the Guardian titled, US soccer punks 1,McFans 0. In it he talks about the growing American fan base and the difference these supporter groups are making. He writes:

"With the entire US soccer press (such as it is) fixated on how Mr Posh Spice is going to save American soccer (from what, exactly, nobody ever says) very little attention is being paid to the ongoing revolution in US soccer fandom. Sick of the dull, pasteurised, one-size-fits-all, preprogrammed Disneyfied McFan experience that's all but got a deathgrip on US pro-sports, soccer fans have increasingly been doing it for themselves."

For those that think the MLS supporter groups aren't as hardcore as Their European counterparts or South American "ultras" he notes:

"Recently I was at an indoor soccer game working for FourFourTwo magazine, cheering on the Philadelphia Kixx in the company of a rowdy mob that calls itself the Sons of Ben. With their custom-made scarves, raucous chants and vigorously thumped bass drum, the 60 Sons made more noise than the rest of the arena put together....
Now here's the thing - the Sons of Ben aren't Philadelphia Kixx fans. They're fans of Philly's Major League Soccer team. But Philadelphia doesn't yet have an MLS team. Which is to say that, despite having scarves, songs, chants, replica shirts and flags, they're fans of a team that doesn't yet exist. It's almost as if - in the manner of the South Sea cargo cultists - they're trying to will a Philly team into existence. They even organise trips to New York Red Bulls games, just so they can boo them. How hardcore is that?"

This is a great time to be a soccer fan in America.
Here are the links to DC UNITED's supporter groups:
The Screaming Eagles

That SOB (son of Ben) Brad asked for a link, so here it is:
Sons of Ben

Here's a video highlighting MLS supporter groups:


Finally a Primetime game that should be worthy of watching, Chivas USA vs Houston Dynamo.
Chivas USA continued their hot streak with another shutout victory, getting two second-half goals for a 2-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids last Saturday at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA leapfrogged two positions in the Western Conference, now with 17 points from 10 matches, a point ahead of Houston Dynamo and five in arrears of first-place FC Dallas.Houston has had a week off but are also on a three game winning streak. Houston will be missing four starters that have been called up for Gold Cup play. Brian Ching and Ricardo Clark will be facing their teammates Pat Onstadt and Dwayne De Rosario as The USA faces Canada at 7:00pm. Chivas will be missing Jonathon Bornstein who will be playing for the USA. The Houston front office has thought of everything to make sure their fans don't have to decide between the Dynamo or the USMNT. Robertson Stadium will have four big screen TV's set up outside for fans to watch the Gold Cup game prior to coming in to see the MLS game. While Houston is missing its firepower, Chivas may have some with a back line that has seen three consecutive shutouts, however. Claudio Suarez was forced to leave Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, and central defense partner Shavar Thomas also went off late with an ankle injury

Sarachan Burned

Hamlett on the left Sarachan in the middle

As I suspected the DC United victory over the weekend was the last nail in the coffin for Chicago's coach. MLSnet is reporting:

"Chicago Fire Soccer has announced that Dave Sarachan has been relieved of his head coaching duties, effective immediately. Denis Hamlett, an assistant coach for the Fire for 10 seasons, will take over as interim head coach as a search begins for Sarachan's replacement. Hamlett will make his debut on the Fire bench Friday night in an international friendly against MKS Cracovia of Poland at TOYOTA PARK (8:00 p.m. CT)."



While other European teams are trying to gain a foothold in the U.S. market through Summer Tours and Camps affiliated with high end Clubs, Celtic has taken a different approach. Celtic have set their sights on inner-city kids who have been traditionally denied access to the beautiful game. Celtic have teamed up with Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray, who has bequeathed a fortune to the Salvation Army to fund community centres in some of North America's most deprived areas. Chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "The programs in America, like those at home, are about getting kids involved in sport, healthy living and education at no charge." No charge being the operative word. Celtic plans on setting up programs in thirty cities in the U.S. and Canada. Celtic have already started working with the Salvation Army via the Atlanta-based Global Events Group, who are sports consultants to the Christian movement.

Here is the link to the Celtic FC site.

My hats off to Celtic in finding a way to expand their brand in a remarkable way. Hopefully their good deeds will be rewarded with the discovery of some diamonds in the rough.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FC Dallas cracks

I almost forgot there were a couple of entertaining moments Thursday night. The first was when Chris asked if the "FC" in FC Dallas stood for FrankenCooper.Frankencooper is the nickname of Dallas' large striker pictured below (just visualize a couple of neck bolts and you get the idea).

The other was when the announcing team was discussing Dallas coach, Steve Morrow's professional career with Arsenal. When they cut to a picture of the coach, Chris said "he doesn't look like a soccer player, maybe an ultimate frisbee player!".
You be the judge:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gold Cup Update

The semi-finals are set. The United States will face Canada and Mexico will play Guadeloupe. Canada and Guadeloupe, we are talking real bracket busters here. No need to worry though according to Costa Rica's coach CONCACAF has already decided it will be a USA/Mexico final Sunday in Chicago. The semi-finals and Finals will be held in Chicago. The semis will be Thursday with the US playing at 7:00pm(est) and the Mexico playing at 10:00pm.

The weekend's Good, Bad and Ugly

DC United continued their unbeaten streak, extending it to seven games, defeating the Chicago Fire 3-1. The game was never in question as Chicago's injury riddled team arrived in town. The Fire's plan was to bunker and hopefully come out with a point. Rod Dyachenko had a bunker busting goal in the sixth minute and Emilio put one in the net either side of halftime. This Moves DC ahead of Chicago in the standings and just four points behind Division leading New York. The loss will probably escalate the calls for the head of Fire coach, Dave Sarachan.
Notice the pair of Wake Forest University bookends in the picture above. Justin Moose and Brian Carroll are former Deacons.

ESPN primetime Thursday for a dissapointment for the second time in a row. Real Salt Lake versus FC Dallas was one of the ugliest games I have had to watch lately. I suddenly felt I was transported five years into the past. The quality of play was poor and the field Salt Lake plays on is a disgrace. I thought I was finished watching games with painted out football lines. The least they could have done is used a Futsal ball. The old artificial surface was like playing on concrete. A stoppage time goal for a Dallas victory did not make up for the ninety minutes lost from my life. Following are the MLS Goal of the week nominations. The first goal is the strike from Dallas, notice the field and how that ball bounces.

Hands down it had to be the Gold Cup's Mexico vs. Costa Rico match up. In a game that referee Terry Vaughn let get out of control we saw the worst of CONCACAF soccer. The game saw thirty fouls called against Costa Rica, who ended the game with eight players and 16 fouls for Mexico. The fact that Mexico had to go into over time to defeat the short sided "Ticos" makes you wonder if their Coach will have a job when World Cup qualifying comes around. Following the game the Costa Rican coach didn't mince words:
"The same hits that Mexico gave us, we gave them. But we got the yellow cards and the red cards. This isn't a game of girls. We hit, it's a card. They hit, it's play on. Had Mexico won [fairly], we would accept it. But these things were clear. They were very clear."
Here are some lowlights:

Friday, June 15, 2007


Ben Olsen wins MLS Goal Of The Week as well as Player Of The Week. Olsen is a class act and deserving of any honors he receives. Dan Loney echoes alot of our feelings on his blog.
"So if we’re a little harsh here at DLSIA Worldwide towards players who have the talent but don’t live up to it, it’s because we’ve seen guys who could have but didn’t get the chance. Congratulations on the hat trick, Ben."

Here were the goals up for the award:

USMNT vs Panama

Gold Cup quarter-final, Saturday 4:00pm, FSC and Univision
This is not your Father's Panama! This game will not be a cake walk for the USA.
If you saw their performance against Mexico you might be a little nervous about Saturday's game. For those of you saying What? and didn't see the game let me fill you in. Mexico got out of their game with 3 points by the skin of their teeth.Panama reminds me of US teams of old, technically unskilled, but big strong and the ability to run all day. What they lacked in tactical skill they made up for with speed and fitness. I think this will b ea fairly tight game but we will end up breaking them down and advancing after a 2-0 win. Here are some highlights from Panama's last game:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007



Allen Hopkins' is reporting on his "MLS News & Notes" segment on ESPN's website that Eddie Pope will be retiring at the end of this season. Pope is a Carolina boy, born in Greensboro and went to Southwest Guilford High. According to Wikipedia, "Pope had a very successful career playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1994, he was a first team All-American, and also earned All-ACC and All-South Region honors. He came to MLS in 1996, as the second pick in the MLS College Draft, having been selected by D.C. United."
As far as I am concerned probably the best defender the U.S. has seen. When I hear the number 23 I don't think of Jordan, Beckham or Lebron, I see Eddie Pope.
His career has been stellar, three MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields, one US Open Cup, one CONCACAF Champions' Cup, 1997 MLS Defender of the Year, Four Best XI awards (tied for 4th best in MLS), nine-time All-Star, 82 caps (tied for 16th all-time in the US), made three World Cup teams and started 9 WC games, one Olympics and won the 2005 Gold Cup. And, of course, scored the game-winning Golden Goal For DC United in the MLS Cup 96! In addition he hit the game winner when DC United defeated Vasco da Gama for the Copa Interamericana Cup in 1998.
It's a shame he is retiring in Salt Lake but I will always remember him in a DC United uniform. There is a lot of talk on the DC United boards about signing Pope for a day so he can retire in the red and black.
As m vann at BigSoccer said "Is it wrong that I would rather shake the hand of this Pope than the real Pope?"

Turf is going down on Method Road

This week they began laying turf at the new soccer stadium at North Carolina State. The turf installation is expected to carry on through the week.The State men's team looks to play on the new turf for the first time August 24, when they host Western powerhouse UCLA in an exhibition.

Nelly Furtado

Here are a couple of pictures taken from showing Nelly Furtado rocking a United jersey. Please visit his site to see the rest of the pics from the concert.

"On June 8, Nelly Furtado performed at the Patriot Center. She wore a D.C. United jersey during her song Forca, which was the theme song of Euro 2004. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)"

USMNT 4 El Salvador 0

Last night the United States rolled over El Salvador, winning 4 to 0. The U.S. has won all three of its first round games (the only team to do so) and has not allowed a single goal. I hope you watched the game last night because it was a clinic on possesion soccer. The U.S. worked triangles beautifully and were stringing up to twenty passes together. The next game will be a quarter final match up Saturday, against Guadeloupe or the third place team in Group C (depending on the results of tonight's games).Here are the goals:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Soccer Starts Tonight

Summer soccer begins tonight at 6:00pm. Please remember that only one player graduated from last year's high school team. First impressions are very important, so here's my advice to put your best cleat forward.
Nothing says freshman on the soccer field than a bunch of guys standing around shooting at the net. You guys know the routine, try acting like it! Grab a partner and start knocking the ball around, get warm and stretch, repeat.
Talk on the field! You understand the game, let everyone know you do!
Play with your head up, if you don't you're going to get ROCKED!
Lastly but most importantly don't be a scaredy cat...



The grass isn't the only thing that needs water in this weather. Guys your age usually lose 1.5 litres of sweat per hour when performing intense soccer activities in heat like this. a study last year showed that nearly two thirds of the soccer players being tracked were showing up for practice already dehydrated. It is extremely important to be drinking plenty of fluids before practice and after practice as well. The U.S. Soccer Federation recommends: "that parents and coaches ensure children are well hydrated before practice and games. During activity, young athletes should drink on a schedule; because thirst is not an accurate indicator of fluid needs, athletes should drink before they become thirsty."

You need to be aware of the signs of heat illness. If someone becomes unusually fatigued, dizzy, and nauseous or has a headache during exercise in the heat, have them stop, rest and drink fluids

Here is a link to the United States Soccer Federation's guidelines.

Once is chance, Twice a coincidence, Three times ...

is a pattern. Well about a month ago Lionel Messi scored a goal which looked remarkably similar (some said eerily) to a goal that Diego Maradona scored at the 1986 World Cup. Alot of goals look similar so what's the big deal? Well Messi is the twenty year old, Argentine phenom that plays with Ronaldhino at Barcelona. The Argentine media was quick to pronounce him the "New Maradona". Diego Maradona is an Argentine soccer legend that played in four World Cups and received the FIFA award for best footballer of the 20th century. Here are the goals side by side:

So why am I posting this a month late? Last week Messi scores another goal remarkably similar (some said freakishly) to a goal that Diego Maradona scored at the 1986 World Cup.Here are the goals:

So, twice is a coincidence and three times is a pattern. The scary thing is that three times is also a charm (you know, Beetlejuice,Beetlejuice,Beetlejuice). Let's hope that Messi doesn't mimic Maradona's off field life which is full of substance and alchohol abuse. But it will be intriguing to see if Messi becomes FIFA's footballer of the 21st Century.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Carlos Costly for Mexico

Honduras delivers a great upset Sunday defeating Mexico 2-1. A Honduran player with the unlikely name Carlos Costly scored the brace for his team. As usual El Tri and their coach don't man up to their loss. Here is Ives Galarcep's take on the whining and crying.

DC United 4 Red Bull New York 2

Like all great rivalries this one tends to bring out the best in a team. The fact that Ben Olsen scored a hat trick gives you an indication of how well United figured out the Red Bull stingy defense. This is Olsen's first career hat trick and DC United's first in six years. DC United won the game with 10 men as Bobby Boswell was sent off with a second yellow during the game. Boswell posted a video of his performance on Nickelodeon's GUTS, when he was eleven and had this to say:
"Now if ever a red card was deserved (yeah I said it!), it was for this performance, not what happened yesterday around 2 p.m.-ish. But, I digress…"

USMNT 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0

With a goal from Eddie Johnson and another from Brian Ching the U.S. cruised by T&T on Saturday. Wake Forest grad Michael Parkhurst started his first game for the National team. Here is a link to an interview with Parkhurst and other behind the scenes video.

USMNT 1 Guatemala 0

Carlos Ruiz may have disappointed in his appearance for MLS Primetime but he surely showed his fish like flopping skills when his country's team played the U.S. in the opening game for us in the Gold Cup.Oguchi Onyewu was sent off in the sixtieth minute with his second yellow. The last thirty minutes made me as nervous as the young roster seemed on the field. The bottom line is I hope you watched the Houston vs Colorado game Thursday night because the Gold Cup game was very, very ugly.

The Gold Cup

Currently the United States Men's National Team is competing in a tournament for the Gold Cup. This competition is to decide the champion of the CONCACAF Region. CONCACAF is an acronym which stands for The Confederation of North, Central American and Carribean Association Football.The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is a member of CONCACAF, which in turn is a member of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). This is much the same as Lenoir Youth Soccer Association belongs to NCYSA which is governed by the United States Youth Soccer Association.
The Gold Cup is like a mini World Cup. The competition has three groups of four teams.Here is a link to the groups, schedule, and standings.

Like hitting the Trifecta

Wow! What a weekend! There is so much to catch up on. I feel like I hit the trifecta. New York loses to a 10 man DC United, the USMNT wins their two Gold Cup games and Mexico loses to Honduras. It doesn't get much better.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Drew Carey update

Drew blew everyone away Tuesday, with his generosity. He donated $160,000 to "Mooch" Myernick Memorial Fund. According to :
"Drew Carey surprised an already giddy crowd at the Drew Carey vs. U.S. Soccer $100K Video Game Challenge when, after dominating the opposition and going 4-2 in six matches playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA Soccer 07 on Xbox 360™, he decided to not only pay the full $100,000 that was at stake in the competition, but also doubled up on his two losses to the tune of another $60,000."
Drew only lost two matches, one to Taylor Twellman and one to Landon Donovan.