Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Galaxy, Dallas Top Ten List

1. LA, Alan Gordon (Landon Donovan ) 3'
2.LA, Chris Klein (Landon Donovan ) 12'
3.LA, Alan Gordon (Kevin Harmse ) 15'
4.LA, Kevin Harmse (Alan Gordon ) 18'
5.DAL, Arturo Alvarez (Drew Moor ) 43'
6.DAL, Juan Toja (Dominic Oduro ) 78'
7.DAL, Arturo Alvarez (Juan Toja ) 82'
8.LA, Landon Donovan (unassisted) 84'
9.DAL, Carlos Ruiz (Drew Moor ) 91+
10.LA, Carlos Pavon (Landon Donovan ) 95+
DAL, Abe Thompson (Dax McCarty ) 96+

Okay that's two goals and an assist for Alan Gordon, two goals for Arturo Alvarez, a goal and three assists for Donovan, a goal and an assist for Toja ... you can count 'em yourself.

Ruiz had a beautiful bike that he was offside on.

Allen Hopkins' New Column

A great new column.
I find it interesting that Allen sounds, oh so composed, when talking about the "runner". Allen give up the act, we saw you on National Television when you met Beckham. I didn't think you were going to let go of his hand.

I also love to hear anecdotes like the one of Uncle Phil watching the
Hollywood United game. That little moment let's you know the man's passion
for the game.

SuperLiga Scenarios

Tonight and tomorrow will decide who moves on in the SuperLiga to represent Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol (FMF), for the million dollars in prize money.
Tonight pits LA Galaxy and FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park at 8:00pm and Club de Futbol Pachuca at Chivas de Guadalajara in Denver at 10:00pm.
Wednesday sees D.C. United facing Houston Dynamo in Houston at 8:00pm and Monarcas Morelia @ Club América in Chicago.

The standings as of July 30 are:

Group A

CD Guadalajara 4pts +1gd

LA Galaxy 3pts --

FC Dallas 2pts --

CF Pachuca 1pt -1gd

Group B

D.C. United 4pts +1gd

Houston Dynamo 4pts +1gd

Monarcas Morelia 2pts --

Club America 0pts -2gd

Group A Scenarios

* A win or a tie by Guadalajara against Pachuca would assure Chivas a spot in the semifinals.

* A win by the LA Galaxy against FC Dallas would qualify the team to the semifinals. If the Galaxy tie, they would need a loss or tie by Pachuca in the other group match, in order for the Galaxy to be guaranteed of qualification.

* A win by FC Dallas against LA Galaxy would qualify the team to the semifinals.

* If Pachuca defeats Guadalajara AND either LA Galaxy or FC Dallas WINS, then Pachuca moves on to the semifinals.

* If Pachuca wins and LA Galaxy and FC Dallas draw, the three teams would have four points. See tiebreakers below.

Group B Scenarios

* MLS is assured a representative in the semifinals (either D.C. United or Houston Dynamo).

* After two straight losses, Club cannot advance to the semifinals.

* Both MLS teams are guaranteed to advance only if Morelia loses or draws against .

* If Morelia wins AND D.C. United and Houston Dynamo draw, all three clubs would have five points. See tiebreakers below.

* If Morelia
wins by a score of 1-0 AND D.C. United and Houston Dynamo draw 1-1,
this would require drawing of the lots for a three-way draw to
determine the advancing clubs.

* If Morelia wins by two or more goals, and D.C. United and Houston Dynamo draw, the Morelia
would take the top spot of the group on the basis of goal differential.
The advancing club between Houston Dynamo and D.C. United would be
decided by drawing of lots.


Monday, July 30, 2007

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Freddy Adu going to Portugal. I think this will be a good fit for Adu. Out of the mainstream consciousness, Benfica still is a regular Champions League competitor.I think this move will give him a chance to prove himself on the European stage but still not be under the intense scrutiny he would find himself in the EPL. I think the style of play will be a better match for him as well. Here is some news video of Freddy arriving in Portugal.

Colorado's Mehdi Ballouchy has been suspended two games for this cheap shot. Here's what the Disciplinary Committe had to say:
In the Ballouchy incident, although the referee saw the incident and exercised his on-field judgment not to award a red card, an injury to Victorine resulted. In this circumstance, the committee reviewed the play and concluded that the challenge was an unequivocal red card offense and egregious. Therefore, the committee decided to suspend Ballouchy two MLS Regular Season games and fine him $1,000. He will serve his suspension in the next two Rapids games - Aug. 4 versus FC Dallas and Aug. 11 versus Houston Dynamo.
I feel it should have been more!

Milwaukee MLS expansion. A plan being pitched to place a soccer pitch on the infield of a NASCAR track has been given a provisional okey dokey by the MLS. The plan is to grab ahold of that line between speed and chaos, and wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra.


Pachuca lost their first game with LA and were hoping for a better result against FC Dallas. They ended up tying Dallas 1-1, not the result they were looking for but it keeps them in contention

The return of six internationals helped Chivas beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.With the win, Chivas became the first Mexican club to win a SuperLiga match as Mexican teams had been a combined 0-2-3 in five games prior.

Houston Dynamo had a chance to clinch a berth in the knockout round of SuperLiga, but Monarcas Morelia had other ideas as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw Sunday night at Robertson Stadium.

United knocked America out of any chance at advancement with a 1-0 victory Sunday. Club America played a man down for the last 40 minutes and weren't able to overcome an early Rod Dyachenko goal.

Teams advancing to the semifinals will be decided following th elast Group games, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Friday, July 27, 2007

UK MLS Highlight Show

Beck's arrival in the States has spawned a British, MLS, TV show. David Beckham's Soccer USA debuted with Tim Lovejoy as the host. Below is part 4 which includes a lesson on American soccer commentary. Links to the other four parts are provided below.
Part 3, they talk about championship rings and America's love for statistics.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

Here's some quotes from a Mirror article:

"It's just seeing football in a completely different way. They interviewed Cobi Jones on the side of the pitch when he was a substitute. It just doesn't happen over here.

"They're doing football like they do their other sports - and they do their other sports very well. They're just 100 per cent full-on energy and entertainment.

"They're drawing all over the screen all the time with tactics and stuff. The exciting thing is whether we will be adopting any of that."

South American Infusion

While we're talking about every MLS team trying to bring some South American flair to their midfield. Everyone but Red Bull New York, who would prefer to use their DP slot on an injury prone player (two seasons playing over twenty games out of the last seven) who can bring the Scottish Premier League vibe to the team.There is a rumor floating about that Boca Juniors is interested in bringing their brand to MLS. Seems Boca is looking for private investors who would gough up ten to twenty percent of the team for the Boca name. They are looking at Miami, New York, LA, and Arizona. Here is an article.

Here are some highlights of a few famous Boca players:


Chivas 2 - Red Bull NY 0
The biggest highlight from last night's game was the fact that Dave O'Brien was missing from the broadcast team. It was a great broadcast. There actually were a couple of seconds here and there of honest to gosh silence. I don't even miss the fact that I probably missed out on an important tidbit such as, "You know Eric that Suarez once played for Pumas and Tigres and collects stuffed big cats due to this early influence."

Second Highlight:
As the teams come out after half-time, Allen Hopkins asked Arena what his message to the team was. Arena said, "Well, we need to be a little patient. We don't need to get two goals back in the first ten minutes, we gotta be good and sharp in the early part of the second half and try to get that first goal and hopefully the second will come." When it goes back to the booth Wynalda says, "I hope that wasn't the speech at halftime for Ghana."

Last but not least:
The fact that soccer is such an unfair game. New York took the game to the Goats for ninety minutes but Chivas made better use of their three minutes of possession.

A Couple Observations:
Who in their right mind pays a couple of million dollars for Claudio Reyna? While the rest of the league is trying to spend their money adding South American flair to the midfield New York wastes a DP slot on a player who has only played more than twenty games in a season, twice in the last seven years.I know if I'm a General Manager I'm looking for an injury prone midfielder who can bring some Scottish Premier League style of play to my team.
Jozy Altidore continues to impress me. Last night it wasn't his play on the field (although I love watching men try to contain this boy on corners), but his interview with Alan Hopkins. Hopkins asks about how different it is playing outside mid after playing a true striker. Altidore's response is and I'm paraphrasing here, "It's no big deal you drift out a little wider, but as a freshman I really need to learn to play all the positions." You gotta love it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007



This is the first meeting for these two teams this season. Last time they met it was a scorefest, with the two teams combining for nine goals. Don't expect that tonight though. Chivas has been doing well but they are 1-5-2 on the road - with their next four matches as the visitors. There are trips to New York, Kansas City and Toronto, with another game as the road team against the Galaxy, before their next home match Aug. 26 vs. Colorado.

Superliga update and Highlights

Last night DC United tied Morelia 1-1 and Houston defeated Club America 1-0. No big surprise but Houston definitely is the team to beat. MLS is currently 2-2-0 in the tournament. Each game has been tightly contested and I see no reason to fear that only MLS teams will advance (what a marketing catasrophe that would be!). I have enjoyed the tournament so far and my hope is that it will become a success and playing fields will be leveled in the future. I really don't see how MLS can continue their current calendar for much longer.


LA Galaxy1003
CD Guadalarja0011
FC Dallas0011
CF Pachuca0100


Houston Dynamo1003
DC United0011
Monarcas Morelia0011
Club America0100

Highlights can be found here

Washington Nationals 2 - DC United 1

Yeah, you read that right. The Nationals took two points from DC United last night when a beautiful ball across the goal took a wicked bounce off third base, causing Emilio to miss a sitter. DC United ended up with a 1-1 draw in Superliga action last night. While it makes a cute headline the baseball seams on the field at RFK are the least of DC's worries. The team appears to be lacking discipline and mental toughness. The tie with Dallas last week, giving up three goals in 40 minutes just highlighted this particular problem. Once again Fred is cheating into the middle leaving the wing open defensively.
Can Tom Soehn correct this before the play-off run? My guess is no. I have a feeling this season is going to be much like your freshman year in college. After getting away from the strict discipline of Piotr Nowak, there's going to be a year of giddy freedom and poor decisions. The only thing that will change that mentality is failure and the realization that Dad was strict for a reason!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SuperLiga, July 25th

Don't forget Telefutura or free on MLSnet

DC United vs. CA Morelia, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo vs. Club America, Roberston Stadium, Houston, Texas, 10 p.m. ET

Here's what the game notes have to say about Monarcas Morelia:

"Now seven years removed from their first championship in the professional era (Invierno 2000), Monarcas Morelia have reloaded this year in advance of SuperLiga and their Primera Division opener on Aug. 4 against Veracruz at home. Morelia recently added two Brazilian attackers, Wanderson de Souza and Marcío Batista, both from Clube de Regatas-Brasil, while also securing the services of Mexican international Fernando Arce with a long-term deal. Most recently, Morelia continued their preseason
preparations with a 2-2 draw with Léon."

Hopefully DC will snap out of its current form tonight but we still have some troubling injuries. Moreno, Namoff, Kpene and Moose will not play tonight because of injury. At least Ben Olsen will be back.

The second game should be very interesting because Houston seems to be hitting on all cylinders still.

Hopefully after tonight the Mexicans can scream in unison "we're in preseason!".

Late: Good, Bad and Ugly

Vacation still has me a little off balance. I didn't post the week's good, bad and ugly Monday morning. This week it was easy, they all could be found in multiples at Saturday's 'Beckham Debut'.

Of course exposure for MLS ranks up there along with Jennifer Love-Hewitt's front row seat, but I'm going with Drew Carey.

When the history of soccer in the US is written, I believe there will be two heroes mentioned. The first will be Phil Anschutz, affectionately known as 'Uncle Phil' to hardcore American soccer fans. Anschutz, who at one time owned five teams in MLS and kept the league afloat with very deep pockets. His investments and patience has allowed the League the time necessary to establish themselves in a tough sports environment. The second will be Drew Carey (yeah I know, if you're going to dream, dream big)whose passion for the game shows every time he opens his mouth. He has been 'pimping' American soccer in just about every interview he has ever done, often taking away precious air time from the reason he was asked to a talk show to begin with. His interview at the Galaxy-Chelsea match was classic though. ESPN had a roving reporter finding celebrities in the audience and talking with them. Drew said he was excited that others were discovering the game but continued looking over his shoulder at the action on the field. He then says something to the effect that ESPN cut away to an interview the other night and missed a goal and he didn't want that to happen now. Good stuff!

WOW! A lot to pick from here, Tommy Smyth with Beckham's hair, graphic, Eric Wynalda's fascination with Posh's sun glasses, but I'm going with the sell out crowd.

Here's the problem, you get a sell out crowd in LA to see David Beckham limp around for twelve minutes, cheering wildly when he touches the ball. The Galaxy are playing a Club with the highest profile players as well as the highest paid players on the planet. The bad is the fact that the crowd is a result of one gimpy player rather than the unbelievable talent on the other side of the ball. We're talking about England's captain, John Terry and a World All Star team of Ashley cole, Steve Lampard, Drogba, Cech, Makelele, Essien, Carvalho, Schevchenko but that's not enough to fill the stadium. Maybe if a couple of them had been in People magazine last week.


Without a doubt this goes to the LA management for putting Beckham on the field at all. I don't think I need to waste my time on a lot of verbage.

First Night of SuperLiga

The Galaxy come away with three points, defeating Mexican Champions Pachuca, 2-1. Donovan gets the game winner and no, Beckham didn't play. Most news outlets are saying LA 'stole' the game as both goals came against the run of play in a rather lackluster game.
The game of the night was the Chivas - FC Dallas matchup. The game looked like a game between bitter rivals. Dallas was unlucky to come away with only one point after their 1-1 tie. The game was end to end action, physical and intense. FC Dallas got on the board first with a nice chip by Alvarez. When looking at the highlight you'll notice Toja started this series and his run to the far post helped open things up a bit. Minutes later Chivas equalized after putting one in the net after a possible handball no-call. Watch the highlight video and remember how many times I have told you guys to play to the whistle. If FC Dallas' backline hadn't decided to become ARs there would not have been a goal. The intensity and physicality continued to escalate until Drew Moor received a red in the seventy second minute. Moor was retaliating foolishly to a high elbow. Dallas continued to attack and was unlucky not to put the game away. Ruiz went down in the box late, offering an opportunity for a make up call
that the referee decided not to use. Maybe if it hadn't been "El Piscadito".

Here are the highlights:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MLSnet showing Superliga free

The SuperLiga, four teams from MLS and four teams from Mexicos Primera Division.Playing for bragging rights and a million dollar prize.

Group A

* CD Guadalajara
* Los Angeles Galaxy
* FC Dallas
* CF Pachuca

Group B

* Club America
* DC United
* Houston Dynamo
* CA Morelia

TUE., JULY 24, 2007

FC Dallas vs. CD Guadalajara, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas, 9 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. CF Pachuca, The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif., 11 p.m. ET

WED., JULY 25, 2007

DC United vs. CA Morelia, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo vs. Club America, Roberston Stadium, Houston, Texas, 10 p.m. ET

SAT., JULY 28, 2007

FC Dallas vs. CF Pachuca, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas, 8 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. CD Guadalajara, (TBD), 10 p.m. ET

SUN., JULY 29, 2007

DC United vs. Club America, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo vs. CA Morelia, Roberston Stadium, Houston, Texas, 10 p.m. ET

TUE., JULY 31, 2007

FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas, 8 p.m. ET

CD Guadalajara vs. CF Pachuca, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Denver, Colo., 10 p.m. ET

WED., AUGUST 1, 2007

DC United vs. Houston Dynamo , Robertson Stadium, Houston, Texas, 8 p.m. ET

Club America vs. CA Morelia, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill., 10 p.m. ET

TUE., AUGUST 14, 2007

Semifinal 1, (TBD), Time TBD

WED., AUGUST 15, 2007

Semifinal 2, (TBD), Time TBD

WED., AUGUST 29, 2007

Final, (TBD), Time TBD

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vacation's Over

Vacation was fabulous, final score Sharks 2 - Humans 2. Two sharks caught while on the coast and two people attacked while I was there. The fishing was typical summer fare; a little bit of everything and alot of nothing. I only saw two games while away, the Argentina-Brasil match for the Copa America Cup and the MLS Allstar game. I'll comment a little on each of those later. It seems I took a great week to 'vacate' because there wasn't a lot of good news, the U20's were beaten by Austria, DC United might as well have lost giving up three goals in less than forty minutes to tie FC Dallas and the reserves lost the Open Cup game to USL2 team Harrisburg Islanders.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Leaving today for vacation. Going low tech so you are on your own until next Friday.
Make sure to catch the U20's playing Austria today on ESPNU and Telefutura. I'll be on the road so cell phone updates would not be frowned upon.
Copa America continues at 5:00pm with the third place game; Uruguay vs Mexico.
Next Wednesday is the first U20 semifimal game at 7:30pm on ESPNU.
Next Thursday has the U20 second semifinal game at 7:30pm on ESPNU and the MLS All Star game vs Celtic at 9:00pm on ESPN2.

Soccer Snobs

For all these years American soccer fans have had to deal with the
Euro-snobs, both here and across the pond. These are the people looking
down their long noses at the state of American soccer without ever
seeing any positives. I think the old fans among us have learned to
laugh off the usual prejudice from these snobs just as we have from our
own media outlets. What I want to warn you about is becoming a soccer
snob yourself. What? It could never happen I live the game and I do it
here in the USA! See that's the problem, you've been an MLS fan since '96, you know who ABMOD is, you remember when Landon's Dad was posting on BigSoccer. Well that's great but there's this David Beckham
thing. Yeah I know the media orgy is killing you, you realize his on
the field impact isn't going to be huge, but how are you going to deal
with his off field impact? Whether we like it or non soccer fans are attracted to the spectacle. I avoided discussing it on my blog but when I did mention his name I had the highest traffic volume ever.The thing is when these newbies come calling are you going to educate and help them learn about your passion or are you going to be like Segroves used to be on BigSoccer? I know it's tough, it's like following that local band that used to play in the club in town. For ten years you follow the band, loving them, hell they are 'your' band. Then suddenly they hit the top forty, everyone loves them, they appear on TRL and they're not 'your' band anymore, they're everyone's. Usually at that point you try to find a 'new' band. What I'm trying to say is just because Beckham is here don't go find a new band. You and I both know soccer in America had already reached the tipping and was going to make it before Beckham. Treat the people drawn to you for your soccer knowledge as someone who stumbled across the U20 game against Brasil as opposed to someone who saw the photo spread in "W" magazine. Maybe you could direct them to this article: Why America Should Fall in Love with Soccer.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pretty Sure Mathias Cardaccio is Spanish for Young Punk!

The U20 game against Uruguay saw a lot of what's wrong with soccer today. Uruguay seemed to try to even the field by hacking, diving and utilizing off the ball fouls. The first half saw Jozy Altidore limping after being 'stomped' on during a set play then having to leave early in the second half after a scissors tackle apparently finished the job. Mathias Cardaccio appeared to be head and shoulders above his teammates in this regard. Where there was trouble he could be found. The big screen in Toronto showed him shove, then throw an elbow that missed, and follow through with a fist that caught Danny Szetela in the ear. Everyone in the stadium and viewers worldwide saw it but not the referee. Then after a hard fought battle and great come from behind victory the USA began to celebrate. The Uruguay U20's, emulating their senior team's performance against Brasil in the Copa America, tried to start a brawl.
Interestingly enough it was not Cardaccio that started it but reviewing the tape he is the only one that did any more than push and shout. Cardaccio stomps Bradley high on the leg and appears to spit on him. Bradley, following being restrained, had the best response possible, flashing the two, one scoreline with his fingers (he did not show the back of his hands while doing this).
Cardaccio currently plays for Uruguay's Club Nacional, but with his performance last night I feel sure an Italian club will come courting soon.

U20s Advance to Quarter Finals with OT win

Michael Bradley got his foot on the end of one in the 107th minute to put the USA up 2-1. The USA held on to the lead to advance to the Quarter Final game against Austria. Once again the USA gutted a game out, and with a little luck, they were able to save the win. I don't think enough can be said about the importance of grinding one out. It is what separates the 'good' from the 'great' teams.
Uruguay was much better than Brasil at cutting out passing lanes and isolating the wingers. Freddy Adu ended up alone in the middle. The USA started bypassing the midfield and sending longball after longball over the top.
Rongren made no adjustments and we saw giveaway after giveaway.
The possesion at halftime saw the Americans with 52%, but Uruguay making much more use of their 48%.
The referee lost control of the game and early in the second half Jozy Altidore went out with an injury from a scissors tackle (no card).Rongren replaced him with Akpan which seemed to be of little help. Altidore is able to hold the ball and wait for midfielder's runs but Akpan just seemed lost. Zizzo appeared to be limping and in the 54th minute Rongren put Dax McCarty in for him. Around the 70th minute Uruguay scores off a rebound that Perk dropped. Dropped may be harsh but it was some very 'soft hands'.
The goal seemed to wake up the USA who started applying more pressure. Rongren decided to use his last sub to put in Ferrari for Beltran in the 81st minute. Two minutes later the Uruguay coach decided to go defensive and pulled his goal scorer Suarez. Almost immediately Uruguay began losing its shape as the USA began applying more pressure. Gustavo Ferrin (Uruguay's coach) could also see things starting to unravel, and was screaming up and down the sideline. In the 87th minute Danny Szetela
brought down a ball in the box and put in a cross for a crashing Akpan who was cut down from behind by Cardaccio who scored the own goal (how just). The US barely held onto the tie as Uruguay sent a header of the post in stopage time.
In extra time the Americans just got better and better, it appeared that the USA's fitness played a big role (it is hard to judge because Uruguay was throwing alot of elbows, stomping on feet, and making late tackles, which just really takes it out a player.). Finally in the 107th minute a Freddy Adu corner was slapped at by the Uruguay keeper and was forced back in by Wake Forest's Julian Valentin, and finished by Michael Bradley.
This was an ugly game, but I can't tell you how important this kind of win is. The USA was losing with four minutes left and came back not only to tie it, but win in overtime. They worked hard, got lucky, and gutted it out. To use a Ray Hudsonism they showed "testicular fortitude". I feel like this game drove a stake through the heart of the "USA underperformers" title.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Live stream for tonights U20 action

For those of you who are channel challenged and lack ESPNU or Galavision for tonight's game against Uruguay, the CBC will be showing it live here:
7:30pm eastern

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

While several companies and organizations, including Viacom and The Premier League, are spending their energy fighting YouTube, there are several forward thinking companies that are joining. Here are a list of soccer related channels that I have come across so far.

The United States Soccer Federation

FC Bayern

Chelsea FC


Major League Soccer

Nike Soccer

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rooney, 'put it where you want it', Nike ad



Beckham, Hello Goodbye Commercial

Okay you saw what the storyboard looked like, here is the finished product:

U20 match up with Uruguay

I think the biggest fear as a fan is that the USA will come out flat. After the big win against Brasil the hope is that this team does not underestimate Uruguay. Fans may remember the 2005 loss to Italy, another third place team, after beating Argentina. Well there are a few guys on this team that also remember that, here's what Danny Szetela about that:
“I think in 2005 we beat Argentina and a lot of guys thought with Italy being a third-place team it wouldn’t be real tough test. We learned our lesson then and now we have to concentrate on Uruguay and understand that they are a really good team

On what he told his teammates about 2005:

“I told them we need to keep our focus. We made some history by beating Brazil, but we have to put that game aside and turn our focus on the next game. I think that’s what happened last time. We took our focus off of Italy a bit, so I think it is very important to keep our mind on Uruguay.”

Freddy Adu and Nathan Sturgis have also talked to the team about the 2005 experience.
I also believe the fact that the Brasil game was five days ago will also help this team remain focused on the game at hand.
As is the custom, in International tournaments all yellow card counts have been reset to zero. Uruguay will be without their starting Gk who is serving a suspension for a red card issued in the last game.
Look for Uruguay to try to take the speed out of the USA game with some very physical play. While Uruguay is not expected to bunker, they will probably be playing counter attacks.
The big threat is striker Edinson Cavani of Italian team,Palermo. He's supported by Luis Suarez of FC Groningen. The best of the midfielders is attacking player Juan Surraco of Udinese. The way this team shut down Pato for Brasil, we should be able to contain him.
Here's the video of his goal in his first game in the Serie 'A':


Lady Panthers Camp Update

Just a quick update from team camp at Wingate. I heard that all of the girls survived the first day of work and heat. The girls coach is Oliver from Costa Rica. In tournament matches the girls lost to South Carolina State Champs, Bishop England, 2-0. The ladies tied their second game with Alexander ? (Central?), who knows I was trying to get information from a teenager, 1-1.

U20 Round of 16 Decided

Sunday night the final two games were played to decide the teams moving on in the round of sixteen. Surprises included all four African countries advancing and the host country (Canada) washing out. Here are the match ups for the knock out rounds.
July 11th
Austria vs Gambia
USA vs Uruguay
Spain vs Brasil
Japan vs Czech Republic

July 12th
Chile vs Portugal
Zambia vs Nigeria
Argentina vs Poland
Mexico vs Congo

How cool would a USA, Mexico championship game?

Monday, July 9, 2007

This Weekend's Good, Bad and Ugly

The Houston Dynamo are playing like champions. Their 1-0 victory over DC United has turned their streak to eight unbeaten games. The Dynamo looked like they really have no weaknesses. DC coach Tom Soehn said, "Defensively, I thought we were pretty solid. We didn't give them a ton of chances, nor did they give us. It's the type of game you expect it to be between two good teams. Like I said, unfortunately we didn't hit that first opportunity." United play well and I believe are still the team to beat in the East.

Red Bull New York ended their losing skid at five games, downing the Rapids 1-0. That victory put New York in sole possesion of first place in the East with twenty four points, with DC United and the New England Revolution tied for second with twenty three points each. The Revolution and United have each played one less game than Red Bull NY.

I am still amazed at the heartache and anxiety half(made up statistic) of American soccer fans felt over the team we sent to Copa America. The hand wringing about not sending our best to the great CONMEBOL tournament still confuses me. The USA needed to win the Gold Cup to qualify us for the Confederation Cup in 2009, playing in 2010 World Cup venues. The thing is in 2009 we send our 'A' team to Copa and our 'C' team to the Gold Cup. It's all about what's best for the World Cup. Anyway the argument about the difference in the confederations is what I find funny. Everybody always argues that CONCACAF is a two horse race, well the truth is so is CONMEBOL (okay so it's Secratariat and Seattle Slew) with Uruguay always in the mix. Just look at the second round results.
Argentina 4 - 0 Peru
Mexico 6 - 0 Paraguay
Venezuela 1 - 4 Uruguay
Chile 1 - 6 Brazil
Yeah that's 22-2 aggregate score in what is supposed to be an incredibly tough tournament, now that's ugly.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Beckham Commercial Storyboard

I've really tried to avoid all the hype surrounding the arrival of David Beckham. That money train is so crowded there really is not room for anyone else. The fact is that you could dedicate a blog to the hype alone. You guys already know it is a good thing for American soccer, but I also know you're soccer fans not Beckham fans so I'll continue on the path that I've been following (with this one small detour). I'm posting this because it is an actual copy of the storyboard used to pitch this commercial to ESPN. The background music will be the Beatles, 'Hello Goodbye', (ask your Mom to sing it for you). This is what it looks like when you work for an ad agency. The actual commercial was filmed two weeks ago so you may see it soon. It will be interesting to see how they take it from an idea to film. Enjoy this slide show, if you put your cursor over the slide the controls should appear.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

USA 2 BRASIL 1, U20s video highlights


Giving Thanks

Following last night's defeat of Brasil by the U20s, I think some thanks are in order.

First I think we need to send a general thank you out to cable tv programming executives. It is not mere coincidence that the U20 play the way that they do and they are the first generation to benefit from better soccer tv coverage in the United States. I have told you guys this over and over, "how to you expect to excel when you don't know what it's supposed to look like?". Thanks to soccers increased popularity the U20s are the first group of youngsters coming up that had the ability to watch high level games at their finger tips. Do not underestimate the power of this seemingly insignificant fact.

Thank you Peter Nowak! You tried to make Freddy Adu a complete player, forcing him to play both sides of the ball. Last night you could witness the pay off. Altidore's first goal game from strong defensive work of Adu.

Last but not least we need to thank the ESPN suits that deemed it proper to replace the third showing of a hot dog eating contest with a soccer match. The fact that it was the most exciting game in US soccer in sometime hopefully rewards you for your decision. Please take the time to contact ESPN and let them know how happy you were their decision. A little positive reinforcement may help with future programmin decisions.


Friday, July 6, 2007

U20s Defeat Brasil 2-1

Jozy Altidore put two in the back of the net tonight giving the US a victory over Brasil and clinching first place in their group. Over the next few days you will hear alot about how great Altidore and Adu performed along with several other young players on the U20 team. I want you to check out Jeff Bull's blog and what he has to say about "Phenom"-onology. I want you guys to try to keep it all in perspective and take Jeff Bull's advice:

"So here's a new deal: let these kids play and let their achievements speak for their quality; let no one be "The Real Deal" till they prove it on the field and against grown-ups."

Here is my take on the game.

Freddy Adu's performance was outstanding. Yes he played well, had some sick moves, and great passes. What impressed me the most though,was Freddy wore the armband well. He played like a captain, directing teammates, playing tireless defense, getting into Brasil's head. When the team was beginning to fold, he picked them up almost single- handedly and kept the team attacking. A great job!!

The second most exciting numbers of the game (2-1 scoreline being first) was possesion, Brasil 51%, USA 49%. This team moved the ball well and with confidence. Yes there were errant passes but they're kids.

Chris Seitz could have been MOTM, ensuring that the USA will continue its reputation as producing great keepers. Kasey may want to pick up a few tips on distribution from him.

The first half our midfield dominated Brasil's (did I just write that) at times frustrating them to the point of playing long balls bypassing the mids.

I've already told you how I felt about Altidore, this game did nothing to change my opinion.

The most important thing was the fact that as a team these guys gutted out the win, which gives me great hope for the future of USMNT soccer.

Good news, Bad news

Red Bull fans jumping off the bandwagon

The Good news is Red Bull New York lost last night helping to shore up DC's first place standing. The bad news; Houston rolled over them winning 4-0 and we must face them Sunday. Houston is on a seven game unbeaten streak and are beginning to look like a championship caliber team. United will have all of their Copa America players back as the US and Bolivia did not advance. Bobby Boswell played a full ninety minutes Thursday while Ben Olsen stayed on the bench. I'm not sure about Moreno and I'm in too much of a hurry to check.

Under the ironic category, Houston is having a Faith and Family night Sunday, this is the same League that fined Fred for showing his "Jesus Loves You" t-shirt when he scored last week.

"The Faith and Family night is pretty cool though, here's what MLSnet.com has to say about it:
How has your faith helped you overcome obstacles in life? At Sunday's (July 8) game against D.C. United, Houston Dynamo fans have the chance to bridge faith and athletic fervor during the team's second annual Faith & Family Night.

Musical artists such as The Soul Influence will participate at halftime, and the postgame event at Robertson Stadium will include testimonials by Dynamo and D.C. United players, along with members of Houston First Baptist Church and Praise 92.1."

The Tipping Point

In a move that I predict will be looked back on as the tipping point in mainstream acceptance of soccer, ESPN has decided to air tonight's U20 World Cup game (USA vs Brasil) on ESPN as well as ESPNU. ESPN in a bold move has decided to usurp the third showing of the World Championship hot dog eating contest. Stunned, Competitive Eating News has not yet responded to this unbelievable disrespect shown to the competitive eating sport.
If the USA wins this game they lock up the win for their group. Hopefully they can match the display they put on versus Poland. Make sure you tune in tonight at 7:30 to catch the action.

This just in, the hot dog eating contest has been moved to "THE OCHO" :

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Well maybe take is too strong a word. Emilio scored a goal against the run of play and Troy Perkins made it hold. Three points is three points and manning up with this kind of win will make the difference down the stretch. Interestingly enough our performance against Kansas City (as poor as it was) could still bring us Goal Of The Week honors and/or Player Of The Week.
Don't forget what New England is all about:

D.C. United 13 7 4 2 23 23 17 6
New England 13 6 3 4 22 24 16 8
Kansas City 14 6 5 3 21 24 20 4
New York 13 6 4 3 21 24 16 8
Columbus 15 4 4 7 19 18 21 -3
Toronto FC 14 5 7 2 17 17 23 -6
Chicago 14 4 7 3 15 12 21 -9

Quick Reminder: GET TO WORK!!

Touch is everything!

Here's a previous post on working on touch.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


It's The Fourth and thank goodness, as American Soccer fans we have something to celebrate.The U20 National team destroyed Poland yesterday, six to one, in the Youth World Championships. The US is now in first place in their group after tying South Korea in their first game. The team was exciting to watch and played some very attractive soccer. After the South Korea game, some pundits had written Freddy Adu off and were asking the hard questions about what went wrong with his development. I don't know if he was reading the press, or just knew that his hopes of playing overseas depended on a breakout performance, but Freddy Adu dominated the game and scored a hat trick to boot. To quote Mark Twain, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." The other thing that I think was exciting about this performance was the fact that Poland scored first in the first five minutes of the game. The US showed no loss of confidence or panic and just picked apart and dominated Poland for the balance of the game.
Here are the highlights:

Another reason to celebrate, DC United plays Kansas City today in a game that will decide sole possesion of first place. Even with United's roster loss to the Copa America thay bounced back nicely to beat the weather and Colorado four to one in last weekend's match up. The last four weeks has seen three DC players receive Player of the Week honors.
Week 10: Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
Week 11: Luciano Emilio (D.C. United)
Week 12: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)
Week 13: Nicholas Addlery (D.C. United)
Justin Moose should see another start today and we may see Greg Vanney, who came from Colorado in a trade, bring some experience to DC's back line.

Have fun today! Guys please be careful using or observing fireworks!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Locker Room Fodder

If this quote from Argentina's coach isn't hanging in every USMNT's locker room between now and the World Cup, a coaching opportunity has been missed. Alfio Basile told the press, "It was only one match, and we only beat the United States."

My Apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finish each day and be done with it[But for God's sake finish!].You have done what you could [That's the worst part]. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in[cough*backpass*cough]; forget them as soon as you can[Sorry, indelibly etched]. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit [And enough finishing drills] to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Monday, July 2, 2007


This Weekend's Good, Bad and Ugly

Fred finally put a tally in the goal column for DC United. This is exciting because it indicates that Fred may finally be figuring his wing role. He has been struggling with the transition to flank play after playing centrally with his last club. Soehn was pleased with his performance, saying:

"He has made a lot of strides," said the D.C. boss. "He is definitely energetic going forward. He's got great ideas. He's getting in [behind the defense] - we don't always reward him with that. As we now stretch the flank and he understands how to play the flank position, he's pretty valuable to us. We understand him better and he understands us better."

The U20s started their chase for the World Youth Championship Saturday. I don't think I actually wrote that I thought we could perform better in the Copa America with this team but I sure was thinking it. Of course that was before I saw them play.Chris Seitz, Real Salt Lake's GK is the only thing that stopped this game from being four or five to one. As coach Thomas Rongen said:
"Well we are not happy with the way we played tonight, but we’re happy with the result. Quite frankly, we are lucky to have come away with a draw against a very good Korean squad. Korea was strong and fast and quite frankly we didn’t do our part to match up with them tonight."
Hopefully before they face Poland (who shocked with a win over Brasil in their first game) Rongen can figure out to get the wings involved so Altidore can get some service.

I've spent a week and a half defending the USSF's decision to take a reduced roster to Copa America. I accepted the roster and have always been impressed with Bradley's ability to identify and develop young talent. It's just that one name that jumped out at me and everyone else who follows US soccer, Eddie Gaven. My thought process is, Bradley's a pro, you trust his work with young guys, Eddie is still very young, maybe Bob knows something that Sigi Schmidt and Bruce Arena don't. Who knows the kid might just need the right motivation and the proper venue to show his stuff. So in the sixty something minute against Argentina, Bradley pulls Ben Olsen out and gives Eddie his shot. We all know what happened, the left side of the field turned into a four lane highway an the inevitable torrent of goals poured down. So at this point I think the sub is a bonehead move, but hey what do I know? I'm thinking maybe Bradley is trying to save Ben's legs to improve our chances for a result later. Maybe he know's we don't have a chance to get a result in this game and it will be the only game of the tournament he'll be able to look at Gaven. I'm still with our new coach, the outcome was inevitable and we've all seen where a team will hang with an opponent for sixty or sixtyfive minutes then be broken down like a card table.
The next day I take a look at everyone's opinion on the game nad I come across Bradley's quote about the Gaven substition. Bradley said. "I thought some fresh legs would not only allow us to continue what we were doing but give us more in attack. There was a point there where I thought [Argentina] was also getting tired, and I thought a little bit of energy would pay off."
Once I saw that quote I knew this was UGLY. Marvell Wynne looks like a turnstile and you think Eddie Gaven will give us more in the attack!? Any U12 coach knows that if you've got a weak back you had better put a midfielder strong on both sides of the ball in front of him! So here I sit crushed knowing what all bloggers and forumites know in their hearts, the coach is not any smarter than me. So while I haven't lost all faith in Bradley this is certainly strike one.