Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dempsey Scores Two Against Chelsea

Clint Dempsey has scored some big goals in the English Premier League, like the one against Liverpool that kept Fulham in the EPL in the 2006-2007 season. And now he's scored not one but two big goals against Chelsea to earn Fulham a draw in the West London derby.

The first goal came at the 10 minute mark, a cross from a free kick drifted past everyone to the far post where Dempsey waited. After chesting the ball he flicked the ball past Petr Cech as they were nearly face to face. The second goal came in the 89th minute off a corner kick. Dempsey rose above the rest to power home the header from near the penalty mark. Watch the highlights.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day No Dissapointment

No doubt, the match of the day was Arsenal-Aston Villa round two, with Villa's Zat Knight providing a stoppage time equalizer to grab a draw against the Gunners, who were up 2-0. The draw was more of a win for Villa given the comeback, and the boys from Birmingham will stay three points clear of Arsenal in fourth place.

Although Manchester City's 5-1 thrashing of Hull City did not provide the same drama, it was certainly an entertaining afair - entertaining to watch Manchester City carve-up Hull, that is. Stephen Ireland had his way with the Tigers defense all day, and his assists to Felipe Caicedo for the game's first two goals were almost identical plays.

There were several other interesting results as well, including including Wigan defeating Newcastle in a mid-table tussle, and Fulham holding on for a draw at White Hart Lane.

Results:

Man. U 1 - 0 Stoke City
Chelsea 2 - 0 West Brom
West Ham 4 - 1 Portsmouth
Tottenham 0 - 0 Fulham
Liverpool 3 - 0 Bolton
Man. City 5 - 1 Hull City
Everton 1 - 0 Middlesborough
Blackburn 0 - 0 Sunderland
Wigan 2 - 1 Newcastle
Arsenal 2 - 2 Aston Villa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Special One: I Have Too Much Energy

Some great quotes from The Special One. Basically, everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious. I'm looking forward to the Inter Milan versus Manchester United Champions League match:

Mourinho, who won the Champions League with Porto in 2004, said he would wait until much later in his career for an international coaching role.

"A national team has to wait 15 years for me," he said. "I have too much energy.

"Can you imagine me being a national team coach? Playing a game every month? Three weeks without a training session?."

Read more..

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LA Galaxy Finally Sign a Keeper

This comes way to late for the Galaxy. They blew it when they let Cannon go to San Jose. Not sure if this is the keeper that will save them, but it's a start.

Los Angeles Galaxy have signed goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, a veteran of the Jamaican national team.

Ricketts, 31, will be added to the MLS team's roster pending receipt of his visa and international transfer clearance. Terms of his contract were not disclosed.

Read more...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Champions League Draw: Manchester Versus Inter Milan

I'm looking forward to The Special One coming back to Theatre of Dreams and taking on Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.

Ties to be played February 24/25 & March 10/11

Chelsea v Juventus
Villarreal v Panathinaikos
Sporting Lisbon v Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid v FC Porto
Lyon v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Liverpool
Arsenal v AS Roma
Internazionale v Manchester United

What match ups do you like? Will Manchester United remain has title holders?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hacking Messi

They couldn't bring down the little legend. Yes, he's already a legend at the Camp Nou and soon will be around the world if he isn't in most parts already. He just needs to win the World Cup to cement his status. Yes, just winning the Cup, but I think Argentina very well could win it, and with Maradona as the coach. Yes, the little legends own idol. It's a ways off so let's just take a look at the highlights from the El Gran Clasico - Real Madrid versus Barcelona.

What did you think of the game?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Més Que Un Club

Wondering what the logo is atop the Barcelona jersey?

MÉS, which means "more” in Catalan and reflects the FCB slogan “més que un club”, brings together three partners that are not new to each other. Nike has supported FC Barcelona since 1998 and is a proud partner of UNHCR in the ninemillion.org campaign. Foundation FC Barcelona also has an existing collaboration in place with UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), supporting programs in refugee camps in the world.

The net proceeds from the sale of MÉS-branded products will be distributed through the Foundation FC Barcelona and UNHCR to fund projects which contribute to sports and education for some of the most disadvantaged youth and refugees in the world. Such programs use sports to teach youth basic life skills and key values and to bring communities together.

Read more...

El Clasico Preview

Game on, Real Madrid takes on Barcelona today at the Camp Nou. Out here on the West Coast the game will start at 1pm on Gol TV. Nothing like a preview video to get you pumped up for the game. Take a look.

Who is going to win? I say if Barcelona gets an early goal it could be goal extravaganza for Barca - with Eto'o, Henry, and Messi lighting up the score board in front of their fans.

This from the new coach for Real Madrid:

Ramos, a former coach of Barca's B side, moved quickly to shoot down Schuster's claim last weekend that it was impossible to beat the Catalans, insisting that Real have the quality to win in any stadium in the world.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What I Watched This Weekend

Manchester United did their usual never give up and win the game in the dying minutes. How can you not like a team that repeatedly never gives up? Wayne Rooney played tirelessly. Cristiano Ronaldo limped off with a rib injury.

Over in Spain, I caught some of the Villarreal game and again Jozy Altidore was starting upfront and played the entire game. Villarreal was able to come back and tie the game after they were down 3 nil. In the final seconds of extra time it looked like Jozy had a chance to dive and slide in a shot by Rossi, but for some reason he didn’t. He just stood there watching. Jozy looked a bit off in this game – I’d like to see him throw himself into the mix a bit more next time.

At the Camp Nou, it was Henry scoring a hattrick as Barcelona waltzed to a 4 nil victory over Valencia as Eto’o watched from the stands with Iniesta, who is injured. I’m assuming Eto’o was injured too. The second goal by Barcelona was pure brilliance, and Messi didn’t even touch the ball in the six pass sequence. Hleb sets up Henry perfectly for the finish in the end, putting the ball on a platter for his former Arsenal teammate to knock home.

Over in Germany, Luca Toni notched an injury time goal to put Bayern Munich on top 2-1. Compared to Barcelona, Bayern played a sloppy brand of soccer. However, it was not a style lacking in fight or desire to win. If there’s a theme in this post, it’s that the big clubs believe they can win until the very end and never give up. I wonder if Landon will find a place in Bayern's team? I hope he tears it up. I could see him working well with Franck Ribery– both are quick and use the ball skillfully and smartly.

This week there are some Champions League matches to look forward to.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

NCAA D3 Title Game Settled on PK's

Messiah College just won their sixth NCAA Division 3 Men's Soccer Championship over Stevens Institute of Technology. Messiah now holds the most titles in championship history, winning their sixth title in nine years.

Jeremy Thompson opened the scoring for Messiah in the third minute, and Stevens did not find an equalizer until the 80th minute when Jeremy Lippel. The game then went through overtime with no victor, and penalty kick were not what Stevens had hoped for. Messiah Goalkeeper Nick Blossey made three saves on some poorly taken penalties by Stevens, and Messiah won the penalty shootout 3-0.

Both teams are predominant players in the national D3 soccer scene, and I actually had the personal opportunity to play against Stevens twice this season as a member of Utica College's team. Stevens is a very respectable opponent, as their run to the championship suggests. They can play out of the back and build up an attack through possession. Unfortunately for them, it was not enough on the day, and they lost in the worst possible way to Messiah. Still and congratulations are in order to Messiah.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Remembering Robbie Fowler

The former Liverpool great knew how to score goals and do the unexpected. Take a look.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dinho Free Kick for AC Milan

Take a look, Ronaldinho scores again for Milan. Does Barcelona miss him even a little bit? Perhaps they miss his free kicks...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MLS Cup 2008

The Cinderella story of the New York Red Bulls and their magical run ended today. After dominating the first 20 minutes, New York had nothing to show for its efforts, and Alejandro Moreno put Columbus on the board with a 31st minute goal against the run of the play. The angle of the shot was terrible, and Red Bulls 'keeper Danny Cepero really should have done better with the effort.

New York's Dane Richards diced up the Columbus defense in the 51st minute before slotting a beautiful ball into John Wolyniec for a tap-in, making it 1-1. Columbus scored almost immediately, however, with Chad Marshall heading home a Guillermo Barros Schelotto corner kick.

The goal was the eventual game-winner, and completely knocked New York out of its funk. Juan Pablo Angel could not seem to find the ball, and was completely taken out of the game. He was forced to drop deep into the midfield and still could not make things happen. The frustration was very evident on his face.

Perhaps the nicest highlight of the game was the third and final goal, with Schelotto playing in a perfect, deft chip from the 18-yard box that just made it over the heads of Red Bulls defenders for Frankie Hedjuk to head into the back of the net in the 82nd minute.

Really, the better team won on the evening. Columbus was by far the most consistent team throughout the season, and played remarkably throughout the playoffs. Really, it was a season of destiny for Columbus, whose 57 points were far and above most of the rest of the league. Schelotto has proved his worth now that he has won the MVP award for the regular season and MLS Cup, and provided one of the nicest goals of the season for MLS. Voter re-count on the Sierra Mist Goal of the Year? I think so. What a great way to end another solid season of Major League Soccer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In case you missed it at Soccer By Ives, here's a Bayern Munich training session with Landon Donovan.

One thing I take away from watching some of the video is how fast the play is. It gives you a good field view of the pace of the passing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eto'o: Will Retire in Paris

Eto'o is on a goal scoring tear this season but said he'd like to play in Paris at the end of his career:

"I dream of one day playing for Marseille, even though I am a Parisian," added Eto'o, who grew up in the French capital and owns an apartment in the city. "France, for me, is like Cameroon. So at the end of my career, when the time comes where my body is telling me to stop, I will perhaps play a last season in France.

"And also a season in Mallorca. I really owe them that."


Read more...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Surprise, Surprise: Red Bulls Win Again

By Jeff Kassouf

“Hit Left Post” was a common phrase used in the game report. It seemed as though the New York Red Bulls had made some sort of deal with the devil in order to secure their win against Real Salt Lake Saturday night.

After going up on a Dave van den Bergh goal in the 28th minute, the Red Bulls were on the defensive for much of the second half. Danny Cepero made seven saves on the night, but the woodwork made a few extra to catapult New York into its first-ever MLS Cup.

Will Johnson hit the post for Real Salt Lake in the 81st minute after stretching for a ball rolling across an empty net, all be it at a tough angle. Javier Morales than summed up the drama – and for Real Salt Lake, frustration – on the night when he hit the post in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

It just was not the night for Real Salt Lake, who was also appearing in its first conference final. The Red Bulls – the team with the worst record entering the playoffs – now travel to The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. to take on the Columbus Crew in the final. Neither team has ever won a title.

Watch the highlights...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eto'o Scores Four

I think Pep Guardiola should give Eto'o a huge bonus if he continues to play the way he's playing or at least not be so hesitant to give him a hug.

Before the season started Pep said he didn't need Eto'o and he wasn't in his plans. Eto'o has only scored goal after goal for Barcelona and everyone one them with a big smile. Sure, Messi has had a hand in nearly every goal, and is the engine that creates all the chances for Barca, but Eto'o is just a class player and turning into a legend at Barcelona.

Eto'o has scored 90 goals for Barcelona in total in his career with the club. His work ethic, passion, joy, passing, and goal scoring talent has made him a fan favorite. His four goals against Valladolid brought the fans to their feet when he came off late in the game.

On another note, I think Barcelona's Gudjonsson might be making more money playing for Barcelona than his country has in the bank. What a unique player Gudjonsson is, a surprise to most in the way he can deftly get around defenders and shield the ball. I don't think many thought he become the player he's become for Barcelona. If a player from Iceland can play for two of the biggest clubs in the world, in Chelsea and Barcelona, who can't achieve their dreams.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stretching: The Truth

From the NY Times, article on stretching:

Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. Muscles in motion don’t experience that insidious inhibitory response. They instead get what McHugh calls “an excitatory message” to perform.

Read more...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

MLS: Why Not Figo?

Luis Figo, yes he's an aging legend of the game, but I would think he could give a team a few good years and pass along a ton of wisdom to young MLS players. Figo has played for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Portugal, would he be willing to add an MLS team to that list?

Currently Figo is still injured but has yet to say if he's going to retire:

"I have been out for four weeks but I will be back to full training next week to continue the road to recovery," Figo told A Bola.

"The future? I will wait until the end of the season and then I will decide if I should continue playing or quit.

"Mourinho? He has brought an air of freshness to Italian football and thanks to him, I have new motivations.


Read more...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Donovan to Europe?

It looks like Donovan wants to give Europe another shot, and I hope he finds the right team and is able to have some success - find a team in the EPL or La Liga and score some goals over there. But it didn't seem like Beckham was all that excited about Donovan leaving nor was he so high it seemed on Donovan tearing it up over there. I thought he'd sell Donovan a bit more. I thought he'd say more than good luck:

Beckham backed his team-mate's ambition but said he hoped the American would stay at the Galaxy in 2009.

''I'd like to see him remain here but he's 26 years old, I've heard the rumours about him going to Europe and if he does, good luck to him.

''He's a good player, everybody knows that and he's succeeded here in the US so if he does get the chance to go to Europe and enjoy some success over there it's down to him.

''Obviously I hope he stays here because he's valuable to the team.''

Read more...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beckham Loan Spell at AC Milan

David Beckham could soon be playing in Serie A for Italian giants AC Milan if the club are successful in a bid to land the Los Angeles Galaxy star on loan.

The former England captain is determined to keep his place in the national team and a spell on loan in Europe during the Major League Soccer close season could be beneficial.

Read more...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barcelona Wants MLS Team in Miami

Big clubs want a piece of the American consumer's dollar:

“We hope our bid is strong enough to be selected,” Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, said in a telephone interview from Miami. “This is part of our four-year strategy to develop our image in the States and in this case we believe that Miami is the gateway to America for a lot of people from South and Latin America.”

Read more...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spurs Partner With San Jose Earthquakes

Spurs are struggling right now in the EPL, but that hasn't stopped them from making a deal with an MLS team:

''The agreement will focus on football and commercial development that will see the implementation of a best practice exchange program, with the objective of creating a lasting bond between the two clubs.''

Read more...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Zlatan's Goal

At first I thought he headed this ball in, but he skillfully uses the outside of this foot to angle the ball into the near post. Takes some flexibility just to get your leg up there in front of the defender. See the video here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Manchester's New Right Back: Rafael

I wonder how good his twin brother is, Fabio, who also plays for Manchester. That's the question I take away from seeing the new Brazilian right back Rafael play for Manchester United against Danish side Aalborg Boldspilklub in the Champions League.

Rafael was all over the place for Manchester, up and down the right side of the field. Rafael served in crosses, dug out balls and took two or three good shots - nearly scoring on one occassion. For his first game in the Champions League he was very impressive. He's just 18 years of old. Ferguson knows how to find talent.

Goal.com asks if Gary Neville's days are numbered with the introduction of Rafael.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Michael Bradley On Training

He was determined to be a professional soccer player. Great video over at Nike Soccer about his desire to improve on a daily basis. At just 21 years of age Bradley could become one of the greatest American footballers of all time. He's now playing in Germany for Borussia Monchengladbach after a successful few years in Holland's first division. Bradley can pass, tackle, dribble and even score goals. Check it out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beers With Frankie Hejduk

Frankie gives Columbus Crew fans a big cheers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clint Dempsey Interview

An excellent 5 part interview and story about Dempsey over at This Is American Soccer. It's worth reading.

Jozy Altidore Debuts for Villarreal

Jozy makes his debut for Villarreal as they win 1-0. He came on in the second half:

His replacement Jozy Altidore immediately looked more confident, outpacing Laure for a loose ball and dribbling his way beyond Albert Lopo into the box. His neat cut-back put the goal at Cazorla's mercy but his instant shot was straight at Aranzubia.
Read more...

Watch the highlights of his second half performance at the main site - Jozy's debut video.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Robinho Has Scored on Debut!

Robinho laced in a free kick at the top of the box to score for Manchester City against Chelsea. Amazing. The EPL is alight with a host of new stars, Deco over at Chelsea and Jo and Robinho with City. It will be a marvelous season in the EPL. But what a start for Robinho. He just flew back from Brazil and many said he wasn't going to start. See the goal from a fan's perspective.

Robinho is the biggest British transfer ever at $68.67 million dollars.

Here are the top 10:

£32.5m Robinho (Real Madrid to Man City)

£31m Andriy Shevchenko (Milan to Chelsea)

£30.75m Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham to Man Utd)

£29.3m Rio Ferdinand (Leeds to Man Utd)

£28m Juan Sebastián Verón (Lazio to Man Utd)

£27m Wayne Rooney (Everton to Man Utd)

£26.5m Fernando Torres (Atlético Madrid to Liverpool)

£24.4m Michael Essien (Lyon to Chelsea)

£23.8m Didier Drogba (Marseille to Chelsea)

£21m Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City to Chelsea)

Source.

Friday, September 12, 2008

AIG Manchester Sponsorship in Doubt?

What happens to the AIG logo on the Manchester United Jerseys if AIG goes under or is bought out by another company? Will they have to change up their jerseys mid-season? Has this ever happened?

It seems unlikely that AIG will collapse, but it is possible. Their stock dropped 30% today as more worries about mortgage exposure came to light.

I'd think a company like Herbalife would be more likely to fall apart, as some snafu develops in one of the nutrition products - but I know nothing about that company really. It certainly would be a disaster though for the already troubled LA Galaxy Beckham machine.

Players for Manchester United, the U.K.'s legendary football (soccer) club, will be sporting AIG logos on their shirts for the next four years. Man United's chief executive David Gill announced yesterday, April 6, at a press conference at Old Trafford that the club had agreed to a £56.5 million ($98.88 million) deal with American International Group.

The agreement is the biggest of its kind in English football, and will run for four years from the beginning of next season.
Source.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

MLS Player Breaks Leg Doing Flip Celebration

I missed this one. No wonder Ferguson didn't want Nani (Michael Jackson) doing those flip celebrations after he scored. Terrible for this player. Perhaps it was do to the turf they're playing on too.

Read article...

Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Teams

From Forbes:

Major League Soccer was on life support at the beginning of this decade. It was mired in a bitter lawsuit with its players, games were mostly played in football stadiums before sparse crowds, two teams had to fold and the league was hemorrhaging money. It looked like MLS might join an alphabet soup of failed soccer leagues including the NASL, USL and WISL.

Read the article...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How Much Does Robinho Make?

Try $300,000 per week. That's his new salary at Manchester City. It's sad that he's leaving Madrid already, but that's the way it goes. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the EPL, what with the propensity for defenders to kick a bit more than in La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo adjusted, so I'm sure Robinho can and will dance as much as he wants. I think he'll dazzle the crowds, just take a look at what he did in his first game for Real Madrid.

Does this mean that Manchester City will have a chance at winning the EPL or at least getting into the top four? Mark Hughes, another Manchester United player now coaching in the EPL, will have enough money to buy the player he needs it seems, and it is good to see Shawn Wright Philips back at the club, but it's still an up hill battle to match Arsenal, Liverpool, and so on. We'll see. I don't think anyone can beat the other Manchester team that wears red and just signed Berbatov.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jozy Altidore's NY Times Blog

I'm sure you're aware of Jozy's blog over at the NY Times, but if not, it's a great read and definitely worth check out from time to time. He's set to stay at Villarreal for at least the first half of the season - hopefully he tears it up and stays longer.

Take a look...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lalas Is Fired; Ruud Resigns

Not really a surprise, as the rumors were swirling around that someone was going to be on the outs. LA had lost seven games in a row, something or someone had to give. Now Cobi Jones is the interim coach. This must be very frustrating for Beckham, can't really focus just on soccer with the coaching situation always in doubt. They rallied last year and nearly made the playoffs. This year they'll have to do it again.

"There are two good people that for different reasons aren't part of this organization today, and that's a shame," Leiweke said. "The fact is, the players have to look deep inside themselves and understand they have to be responsible for some of this.

"Am I angry we find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in? Yes. This is not a fun week. The Galaxy hasn't made the playoffs for a couple years. Punting on this season is not acceptable. It starts Thursday."


Read the story…

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jog Through the Park

Barcelona jogged through Central Park before they played the Red Bulls in New York, but the jog through the park wasn’t much different than the actual match. It was a game of keep away and a few darting runs here and there that resulted in goals. The conceded goals were more out of laziness and boredom.

Samuel Etoo came off at half time and was sitting on the bench all showered and changed. He wore a gold watch that was probably worth more than most of the Red Bulls player’s salaries. And remember, this is a game where Barcelona was without Messi, as he’s in China scoring goals for Argentina. Etoo is still on the fence it sounds like, will he stay or will he go? I just can’t see how Barcelona will let him leave. He notched two goals in the last two pre-season friendlies. Sure, it’s not like scoring again top La Liga sides, but they’re goals nonetheless. He has to be one of my favorite players. He’s plays with such energy and enthusiasm yet is clinical in his finishes.

New Barca signing Alexander Hleb looks like he will fit in well to the Barcelona side. He was constantly turning Red Bull defenders inside and out. Is he as good as Deco? He’s a different type of player, perhaps a bit more dynamic although less of a laser precise type of passer. But with Iniesta continuing to play better and better, Barcelona can live with out Deco. Asked what the Red Bulls could take away from this game, John Harkes side a lot of good fitness work, he’s right. The ball doesn’t get tired remember, and Barcelona had it the whole time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Huckerby: Burst of Speed

It was another Englishman who lit up the pitch in Oakland early on, and that was Darren Huckerby. I meant to get out to Oakland to watch the game live, but got up a too late to catch BART and get out there. Yeah, I was out the night before and slept in longer than I thought I would – the game was at noon though, and early start even still.

But what caught my attention from the get go was the burst of speed that Huckerby showed during the game. I think he is the only player in all of the MLS who attacks the space and goes at players with some gusto and purpose. Perhaps there are a few other players who will take players on at pace, Landon Donovan being one, but nobody really attacks the space and shows a true change of pace. Jaime Moreno will go at player but he sort of glides wonderfully along – teases the defender into making a mistake. Huckerby is a welcomed addition to the MLS, how much is he getting paid?

Read more...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jozy Altidore: Love Those Siestas

Worth checking out over at the NY Times, Jozy's pre-season training camp with Villarreal.

Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 MLS Mid-Season Report Card

By Jeff Kassouf

With the MLS All-Star Game here again for the thirteenth time, the unofficial halfway point of the season has been reached. It seems like just yesterday that Houston was lifting the title again on a brisk November day in DC, but time has continued to tick away to another showdown between an internationally recognized club and the best in Major League Soccer.

Read more...

Friday, July 11, 2008

El Superclasico

Battle for first place in the West. Two teams that have to share facilities, that’s got to get annoying at times, especially if you lose when you play one another. So it was all to play for. A derby. Not quite on the level of the ones in the EPL, but the opening minutes were at a fast clip.

This Superclasico would end in a draw, but bubbled with intensity and there were some good moments from both sides. Sasha is an exciting player. Beckham is as good as it gets. Donovan needs a new challenge as he drifts in and out of the game. He must go over seas to play.

Read more...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's All About Euro 2008

Sadly, the tournament is coming to a close, but we've still got the semifinals and final to enjoy. Here are a few of our past articles on Euro 2008:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Draw with Argentina

My quick thoughts on the U.S. versus Argentina friendly; what with Argentina coming out and smoking Mexico a few days earlier, I would have thought the U.S. would suffer a similar thrashing. There was an intensity to the first half and the game from the get go. Kasey Keller received some kind of honor before the game – perhaps a big gold watch for his services, a retirement present.

Eddie Johnson finally showed up – at least a little bit. He’s got to show more fight though. Adu and Edu both should have played the whole game. Dempsey got a little pissed off and played better than he has in quite a while. Think he’s got a bad back though, saw him holding it and stretching it before the second half started.

The crowd at Giants Stadium looked wild and ‘fight club’ like as the rain started to come down – believe they were on their feet for a majority of the game. Tim Howard saved the U.S. on at least four occasions. Messi came off in the second half – the U.S. giving a collective thank god. If he’d stayed in his good for at least a goal or setting someone up for a goal, especially as players tire. Heath Pearce is the real deal at left back. Technically, the Argentine side is like no other, they are dazzling with their skill.

Landon Donovan is turning into the leader of this team and he’s a fighter. The U.S. should walk through the qualifying phase of things, however, they do need to bring Brian McBride back into the fold or find a forward who can score goals. I have no idea why Pablo Mastroeni received his red card. Sacha Kljestan came on and was a big spark. Adu still needs to be humble – he did get whacked a few different times towards the end but he’s got to just concentrate on playing, look at Messi, he never gets ruffled no matter how many times he’s chopped down. Let your teammates take care of the complaining to the referee and revenge.

This has got to be a big boost to the confidence of the U.S. team. They had a rough game against England, improved some against Spain, and then showed some heart and potential against Argentina. But, if Howard doesn’t make the early saves then this is an entirely different game. Momentum and confidence is so important.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Ass Pass

There’s the safe back pass to the keeper to clear the ball. There’s the brilliant and clever back (body part) pass by Ronaldinho. But now there's something more, we have Blanco’s pass with his own back side.

Yes the ‘ass’ pass. Skip to the end of the video below to see the highlight clip. The pass is at the 10 minute mark. Sure, Blanco's got a bit more 'ass' to shield the ball with but you probably didn't think he could use it to pass. I wonder if Kim Kardashian could use her booty like this.

See the video...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Red Beats Blue: Manchester United Win

A few themes that I came away with...

Peter Cech saved The Blues and the posts saved The Reds. I’d call it even. This game was a battle from the get go. I loved it and would watch the game again. The quality and intensity of the game puts the EPL on the top of the heap of world football, if it wasn’t there already.

Below are a few themes that I came away with from the game, but I'd say you should try to watch the game if you missed it or catch a majority of the highlights. It was that good. Or if anything, watch the penalty shoot out.

Read more...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

MLS: Chivas Battle Back

Chivas 3 DC United 1

A surprising turn of events, and the kind of turn around that can lift a club to bigger heights—give the club a boost of confidence for the ensuing games and potentially the entire season.

Preki exudes an intensity that must filter down to his players. His eyes are always darting around whenever the camera catches him on the sidelines. This might be a leap, but in the past, the bulk of the MLS coaches were a haughty bunch, thinking they new everything. Now, the MLS has a strong group of former players who know the game, who played the game well, and know how to treat players.

Gallardo cut the ball back and accurately laced home the first goal for DC, but the second half was all Chivas. Jesse Marsch will be all over the TV and Internet highlight clips as he was caught diving in on this goal.

The classy Gallardo is a quite a few notches above everyone around him. He was fouled blatantly a few times and his passes were too sharp and fast for his own teammates—he’ll have to tone it down a bit. He’s not playing with on the Argentine national team anymore. Marsch, who would score later to redeem himself, is tireless and a fighter, the kind of guy you want on your team. And, to give Marsch a bit of a let off, he was playing out of position, as Preki tried a 3-4-3 system to start things off as they were low on defenders but switched at half to the usual 4-4-2.

Atiba Harris had his hand in all three goals for Chivas. And Flores, who came on for Ante Razov, is becoming much more than just a good story but the real deal:

Flores, the original Sueno MLS winner who had a goal and an assist in a recent swing through England with the U.S. under-20 national team, scored his first career MLS goal in the 82nd minute when he ripped a shot from the left side of the penalty area, set up by a cross-field pass by Harris after he was sprung free with a long ball over the top from Kljestan.

Own Goal of the Year: The own goal of the year goes to Riley of the San Jose Earthquakes, a miscommunication and a bit too much mustard on this header and his got the own goal of the year in the bag. In terms of importance though, he’s got nothing on Liverpool’s Riise. San Jose is going to have a tough time getting out from under two tough losses in a row, and they play Houston next week in a sort of divorced family of a game.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ben Olsen Is Loved

Ben Olsen as media maven, Anti-Beckham, tireless worker, wedding ceremony performer, and Bride pic proof that the MLS has made it....

I always used to say you’d know the MLS had made it when you started to seeing beer and car commercials on Fox Soccer Channel and GOL TV. You know, ads for Bud and Benz rather than the much loved and becoming but kitschy ads like the Sauna Twin, Kick Medic, and the Perfect Push Up.

Now there’s another sign that the MLS is an accepted part of the American sports world, Ben Olsen’s wedding pictures in Bride magazine. Yeah, Ben Olsen’s wedding pictures in Bride magazine are a signal and proof that the MLS has ascended into the American lexicon of sport. This isn’t Beckham wearing his under wear in an ad hovering over an LA freeway ramp, this is Ben Olsen – the now missing, injured, little engine that could for DC United. I’m just saying that when players who might not be the league’s stars start having their wedding pics in the glosses then the league is well on its way.
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Juggling in the Game

A few new articles and videos to check out this week. Here we focus on the art of juggling and actually using it in the game. Take a look at these videos and see how it's done:



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Manchester Will Face Chelsea in Title Game

Chelsea 3 Liverpool 1

Michael Essien is a machine. I was hoping he’d score on that maze like run but maybe he should have crossed it instead of trying to slot into the near post. But the real deal today was Drogba, perhaps the pre-game trash talking by Benitez turned him from the flopper to the strong goal scorer he once was. He nailed the ball into the lower corner on the first goal and proceeded to run to the corner flag and slid on the ground. That wasn’t the end of his celebration though, thought better of it and slid on his knees in front of the Liverpool bench.

Michael Ballack cracked a shot from forty or so yards away that Pepe Reina pushed wide. Ballack never seems to sprint or make any quick moments, always straight-backed posture as he jogs along the pitch. I guess he doesn’t need to sprint when he’s reading the game rather than diving in. He's a player that doesn't seem to be doing anything and then scores off a header or long range shot.

It was a lively match, good possession play by both clubs, but Chelsea deserved to win the match what with the great play from Essien, Drogba, Carvalho, Lampard, and so on. I think overall their collective play, positioning, role players, and general desire were much higher than The Reds.

Javier Mascherano deserves praise—he’s a solid piece to build any team around.

Early on in the game Torres had a chance to score, Gerrard had put him through with a sharp pass but he dribbled in too close and didn’t get the shot off early enough. If they’d scored then the game might have swung their way.

Now Chelsea and Manchester United will battle for the EPL title and then the Champions League title. Ferguson looked on from the stands, wonder who he was rooting for.

Turquoise Blue Period for Barca

Manchester United 1 Barcelona 0

Barcelona was decked out in their turquoise blue, a beautiful color for a jersey, but with the end result being they failed to advance it more symbolized the somber blue period for this once renowned Barcelona club.

As the camera scanned the players during the Champions League anthem, Eto’o gave a wink. He would also race off the pitch when he was substituted out for Bojan with about twenty minutes to go. I just like his forthrightness, his seriousness and his joy of the game. I was hoping that we’d see more of Eto’o and his wink and smile, but it wasn’t to be. Not many clear cut chances for Barca again with all the possession.

It was a day for Paul Scholes, who at 33 years old doesn’t have too many finals left in him. Scholes latched onto a poorly cleared ball from Zambrotta (centered right into the middle) and knuckled the ball into the far corner on the hop. You never see much emotion form Scholes but it was all over his face after this one. He was like a child at a surprise party with his face all joy and disbelief at his good fortune.

I think the game deserved another goal, and one from Messi or from his magic wand so to speak. As the announcer said, he was a wizard with the ball, cutting up Manchester United at times, slipping past and around defenders, or straight up dicing them as he did Paul Scholes in the corner towards the end of the game.

One thing did show through, Barcelona did battle to the very end, all the players showed respect and heart in the game, but they just lacked that extra punch. Messi never seemed to be phased, no matter the stage of the game, he just kept plugging away but didn’t have enough help. If there was anyone who didn’t get involved as much he normally does it was Iniesta.

Alex Ferguson referred to Barcelona’s style as the ‘passing carousel’, and said they wouldn’t change their game. He was right, there was no change and there were moments that it looked like Barcelona might nip on in for a goal. But there was no momentum for Barcelona, nobody that lifted the game’s emotion. Messi was steady and deadly. Deco was clever and shifty but that extra something wasn’t there. In some ways it’s like they just need or are used to Ronaldinho adding that something else—the older brother taking things on the chin. Stepping up to take the free kicks and score important goals.

Perhaps Gudjohnsen would have been a smart player to start, used to the English game having played with Chelsea?

It was a sparkling match from the get go, and Manchester was lucky to get a break and thankful for Scholes exceptional finish. Before, the first fifteen minutes were all Barca, looking like a repeat of the game at the Nou Camp. But once the Scholes’ goal was in they were off and running, momentum on their side and a new spirit in the team.

If you look at all the players from both clubs you can’t really find fault with any of them. Henry, even though he played a short time, did create and have a few chances on goal. He’s never been one to score with his head. Henry, even more than Eidur Gudjohnsen should have been given the start since he knows the English league so well. Maybe he’d add that spirit.

One player that stands out though from both teams is Tevez. He holds on to the ball so well, knows when the team needs to win a corner, knows amazingly how to use his body and let the ball bounce where it needs to and scoop it up, he’s always steering the ball into his own space and then laying it off. What I loved though is when he chased back and slid in and won the ball.

The emotion was clear in Cristiano Ronaldo; a few times he drove at Barcelona and ended up with good chances on goal. But he also mopped about and complained, even earning a yellow card as Zambrotta shielded him off the ball.

Giggs came on late and settled things, but did try to force a lofty through ball over to Tevez. He’d just come on though, and had to get a sense of the game. I’d say if there’s one thing that’s different about Giggs and then Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s that he’s more apt to make that extra pace or cross when he should. A few times Ronaldo or Nani had broken free exceptionally well, dragging the defender in on the dribble and then cutting back out for their shot. But there were moments when they’d done all this, drawn all the attention, and there was an unmarked teammate on the far post wide open. I just see Giggs seeing those players—he’s the wise old veteran and these players will soon learn to find the player. Look out when they do. Both teams really are full of incredible young players.

Ji-Sung Park is what Dirk Kuyt is for Liverpool, a tireless workhorse who plays smart soccer. Only Park is a bit more skillful I’d say.

The crowd at the Theater of Dreams was loud and boisterous, more so than they have been, with flags waving and songs being song. In the past they’ve been castigated for being too sedate and posh, there was nothing but noise form them today.

On to Moscow to face The Blues or The Reds—the EPL is quite good it seems.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Landycakes Celebrates a Bit Too Much

He may be MLS Player of the Week, but Landon Donovan didn’t earn any style points with his ridiculous antics over the weekend. Here’s the video clip – you can see it right after the first L.A. goal. There’s Donovan, screaming at his marker who has fallen on the play.

Now the defender wasn’t some scoundrel, it was Patrick Ianni. The same Patrick Ianni who would be a priest if he wasn’t playing professional soccer. And there he was, on the receiving end of a remarkable verbal lashing from the man considered to be the best active American soccer player.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gary Neville is Back

Manchester United 1 Roma 0

It was good to see Gary Neville back in a Manchester United uniform after 13 months on the sidelines. He pulled up the captain's arm band when he entered the pitch with great satisfaction I'm sure. He even got in a tough tackle near midfield as it looked like he was playing sort of a left sided central midfielder.

But the match was about Tevez and Hargreaves. Tevez scored on a marvelous header from a cross by Owen Hargreaves--who should make all Canadians proud. He's fit in nicely with the Red Devils and had a good game against Roma. Hargreaves was everywhere, and got the assist on the winning Tevez goal. His cross bending in perfectly for Tevez to glance home with his head--Tevez did make a savvy dive to meet the ball, but a cross worthy of Beckham.

Oh how bad must Roma feel these days, Manchester has made their lives very frustrating and woeful. What a match lies ahead in the semifinals, Barca versus Man U, let's hope Messi is fit to play but sadly, Ronaldinho I hear is gone for the year.

Tevez Header

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Have a Competition In Me

"I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people."

Liverpool 4 Arsenal 2

It was either the 'competition' line from There Will Be Blood for the title of this piece or 'I've abandoned my boy', think the competition line fits this game better, as both teams never gave up, nobody abandoned nothing.

I was thinking I’d much prefer to watch the Barcelona match on Wednesday, seeing how these clubs have just played one and another the game would be a hunkered down one goal type of conservative stalemate—Benitez going the route of advancement by any means possible. But this was a back and forth game from the first whistle.

Crouch got the start. Both he and Henry are two forwards that are seemingly destined for the trading block and will be looking for new homes next year.

How helpful would it be for Arsenal to have the services of Rosicky? The dynamic Czech midfielder adds that extra spice to a side that controls the ball so well, but he’s lost for the season.

Best third installment since Empire Strikes Back. Think Derek Rae was right with this introduction. A ‘wall of sound’ from the Liverpool faithful that watched on.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

LA Won't Fold Yet

LA Galaxy 2 San Jose 0
What a difference a few days make, and what a difference an early goal makes, and what a difference playing a poor team who's just been brought back into the league makes. Momentum equals confidence and LA refuel their confidence with nutmeg goal by Beckham ($5,500,000.08). If San Jose's goal early on wasn't offside, this game could have been much different.

The Galaxy got off to a marvelous start against San Jose through the hustle and pressure of Donovan, who won the ball and setup Becks to the point he could not but score. Sure, sometimes those chances are so easy they give you too much time to think. But Beckham has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England--he's the real deal.

San Jose is a team that's going to have a tough go this year if this game is any early indicator, as they failed to piece much together in this first game. There were moments that Beckham didn't even touch the ball and the Galaxy were slicing around the Earthquakes with near flair. For the majority of touches by Beckham, he was able to initiate a number of dangerous attacks and that's what sets him apart. The Galaxy need a forward badly, or need Gordon ($72,504.00 per year) to turn into Van Nistelrooy quick like. But that's like Henry joining Seattle, it won't happen.

Looking on in the crowd were Posh and the kids and Kobe Bryant and his wife's ring and the rest of the family in tow. The Galaxy put on a smart display of football--they looked cohesive and Donovan ($900,000.00) is a player that you'd love to see in Europe. Since he has a full array of talents but is playing in a Sunday league when you compare his abilities to those he's plying his trade against day in and day out. If he could play in Europe he'd really prove he's a star, right now he's just a star in a lower level league when compared to the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, and so on.

But don't knock Donovan for any lack of toughness. He's a player who battles, and is always srunning and getting into the mix. In the past he has had games where he fads into the background, but those are much more rare these days. In one moment, Nick Garcia met Donovan's upper leg with his foot as both players didn't hold back from going for a fifty fifty ball near the half line.

Two players who'd you expect to have an impact on the game didn't, Romiro Corrales and Ronnie O'Brien, neither had their names called enough. O'Brien did whip in a cross across the goalmouth but there was no one there. Kei Kamara, a tall forward who was active throughout the game, held the ball up for San Jose fairly well but didn't have much help or there was no communication between him and the other forward. This is just the first game for this club though and in the MLS you just need to win ten or eleven games to get into the playoffs. I think they'll struggle but come together if they keep up the fighting spirit.

So the story is LA's on the rebound and have a lot to build off of. Their coach remember has played for a few good teams in his day. Oh how great it would be to be a young player joining this side. Ruud Gullit was drinking a lot of water on the sidelines, his eagerness and desire clear, he wants to win. Look for LA to pick up a few more players and go on a good run. The absence of Xavior was probably a blessing for this club too.

Extra: LA's defender Brandon McDonald ($12,900.00), yes that's his salary, needs Becks to throw a few dollars his way now and again.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

MLS Watch: Shielding

Don’t watch the EPL and then the MLS

I caught some of the first MLS games of the season, here are some quick thoughts. It all comes down to each team’s new signings, good ones and terrible ones and or players they shouldn’t have let go.

I caught these games after watching the EPL, something that I wouldn’t recommend doing, since there’s no way the MLS can compete with that league and won’t and just makes the MLS games frustrating—but the MLS games still drew me in, the league does keep getting better. It just takes time.

One thing that stood out in the EPL was the way players hold on to the ball like it was gold, and no matter what the score was or at what point in the game they were trying to keep the ball. Tevez and Anderson for example, they both shielded the ball late in the game with an infectious intensity. Tevez on the sidelines holding up the ball to win a throw, and then Anderson in the corner to win a corner, both with such fight you’d think it meant much more, it was a game within a game, and they were up 4 nil. It’s kind of like king of the mountain, and not letting the other team get any glimpse of the top peak. That’s why Manchester United will win the league and a basic reason why the EPL is better than the MLS, and that’s not because of all the other obvious reason—high flying action from end to end with fans nearly on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo, Torres and so on.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poland Friendly

United States 3 Poland 0

All goals from set pieces. Carlos Bocanegra got a goal off a free kick from out wide by Donovan. The ball glancing off his head and then shoulder and dribbling into the side corner. Oguchi Onyewu also scored off a corner from Donovan—battling with the Poles for positioning (all the Polish players where big and strong). And Eddie Lewis struck a nice free kick with his left foot.

It was a very casual match, not much fight from Poland despite the whistling crowd. They might have underestimated the Americans and got caught on the early set piece goals.

Sorry but Eddie Johnson hopefully just played his last game for the United States.

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Extra: Bojan Magic

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Liverpool Versus Inter Milan

Where would Atletico Madrid be if they still had Fernando Torres? Wow. They’d be quite a side, and they’re already near the top of La Liga, but if they didn’t sell him, they might not have been able to buy the players they have now. That’s another story that’s in the works, but for today, let’s recap some bits and pieces of the Champions League game that put through the fourth English side into the quarterfinals.

It’s was simply this, Fernando Torres took a pass and turned in what seemed to be the opposite direction of where he should have turned his body when he was at the top of the box, and stroke the ball home decisively with his right foot. The ball hung in the air for a second and then was in the net. 1-0 to Liverpool.

El Nino turned his back as if he was or could have laid the ball off to someone making a trailing run at the top of the box, as he turned the ball was shielded from the keeper. He could have trapped the ball with his left foot and struck it with his left. But what he did was perfect and deceptive, and surprised everyone, the turn away from the goal threw everyone off.

Inter has a few good chances early on, but Liverpool’s keeper was ready, deflected a strong shot and was cat like in holding on to a close in flick after a ball was cut back on the six yard box. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was off his game, sending at least three free kicks over the goal, wasting good chances for Inter.

Can’t wait for the next Champion League matches.

EXTRA: He's captain of the Serbian national team and the winner of the name of the game: Stankovic.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What I Saw This Weekend in Soccer

I only caught bits of pieces of football (soccer) this weekend. I did catch the entire last episode of The Wire though. I couldn’t miss it. Sad to see it end, but sometimes it’s good for a good thing to walk away at the top, a la Seinfeld. Plus, it’s time to sort of lead your own life, and not have your mood tied to the ups and downs of a fictional Baltimore city life, as moving, smart, and funny as The Wire was. I miss Bunk, Bubs, McNulty and the Avons, Marlos, Michaels, and Snoops. Now, it’s all about football, Champions League, Euro 2008, EPL, La Liga and even the MLS will start up in a few weeks.

The great joy for me is not just goals, and underdogs beating giants, or giants pulling out the win in the last seconds, it’s the shared joy of the players when their combined efforts result in a goal. The one twos and give and goes and four or five passes that lead to a goal.

I didn’t see a whole lot of that this weekend though.

I caught part of the Fulham versus Blackburn match, which turned out to not just showcase American field players, but also an American based keeper battle, Keller versus Friedel. The battle ended in a draw, 1-1, as Fulham tied the game off another Bullhard free kick in the late minutes.

Eddie Johnson struggled in this game, as though he can’t get his feet under him correctly and then doesn’t know when to go at goal or lay the ball off right away. He’ll learn quickly if he wants to stick around, and this all could be the best thing for him in terms of his growth as a player. He’s probably learned more in this short time in England as he has his whole life. It will be interesting to see where Dempsey, McBride, and Bocanegra end up when Fulham goes down. Those three are class players. Hopefully they’ll land at another EPL club.

Over in Barcelona, where you’d expect to see wonderful give and goes and sublime passing, there wasn’t enough. It was old Arsenal teammates taking on one another as Barcelona met Villarreal at the Camp Nou, with Henry facing his former French partner Robert Pires. No Messi on the pitch, as he’s out with a hamstring injury. Messi tearfully departed the pitch last week. Xavi scored again, he’s on a goal scoring tear, after an Iniesta cross from the byline from a give and go with Ronaldinho to get down the line. This goal tied the score 1-1, after a first half penalty kick for Villarreal. Villa, in third place, are a strong side, and they went ahead after a series of short, sharp passes enabling Tomasson to almost walk in. 2-1 Villarreal was the final.

Ronaldinho hit the post on a superbly struck free kick late in the game, just wasn’t to be. He was eager from the moments I saw of the match, calling to his teammates to raise their game. Wearing the captain’s arm band, I even saw Dinho slid to win the ball near the corner. Let’s hope that Barca can recover from this and still push Real Madrid for the title.

Extra: Dos Santos came on in the dying minutes, blue Nikes on his feet I think. I have more people searching the site for what type of soccer shoes he wears than most other players.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mourinho Speaks

Not too nice but what would you expect from the Special One. If he ain't dancing down the sidelines as if he's scored, he's going to speak his mind. I think the goal that Porto scored in the Champions League, a free kick that knocked out Man U and Tim Howard was unable to save, was the start of the Jose Mourinho adventure. He's competitive and what do you think he's going to say about playing Chelsea again, but where is he going to coach next year. That's the big question. Is it Barcelona?

I hope to play them next season in the Champions League,' said the Portuguese, speaking in Valencia at the official global launch of MiCoach.

'If I play them in the Champions League, I want to go there and kill them - that's my message.'
I can't wait to hear word from the Jose Mourinho Puppet on this topic, haven't heard from him in a while, below is an old but good video.

Jose Mourinho on Setanta

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cantona Backs Man U

A legend during his time at Manchester United, Cantona has a lot of respect for Ferguson and backs this years squad as the team to win the Champions League title:

Cantona went on to explain that the Scot's thirst to consistently hit new heights was behind his longevity, insisting he remains 'the greatest'.

'He always sets new goals for his players. If he wins the Champions League this year, he will find a new target for next year.

'That is why he has been at Old Trafford for 21 years. He always finds something more after a win, that is why he is the greatest.'

Reflecting on his time under Ferguson, Cantona said: 'I will never forget anything about my time there and the way the fans treated me, and until the last minute of my life I will have this club in my heart.'
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EXTRA: It's closer to summer here in the United States, not Christmas, but this is too good not to post. Jose Mourinho wishes all a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barcelona & Real Madrid Split Screen

Atletico Madrid 4 Barcelona 2

Real Madrid 3 Recreativo 2


Henry nearly collided into the keeper twice. He was one and one and miss trapped one ball and then miss timed another, as Messi looked on from the bench, and Deco too. Messi came on later but it was too late. Henry again has yet to shine in Barca and he’s scoring goals, it’s just that the demands are high for him.

Atletico Madrid, with the Uruguayan Forlan and the Argentine Maxi, are in fourth place in La Liga and you can see why. Barcelona went ahead after an incredible overhead kick by Ronaldinho. Guess who’s back. Well, let’s hope. But Atletico fought back and won the game 4-2. They have a lot of skillful players in Maxi, Simao, Forlan, and a youngster named Aguero.

Puyol struggled in this game and was more of a help to Atletico. He was involved in three of the goals for Atletico. One a deflection, so he’s excused on that one, but on another he lost the ball and the ball was picked up and after a few feints, nailed pasted the keeper. The scorer of both of these goals was Sergio Aguero, a young Argentine, both strong and quick, and short and squat like Maradona. Top clubs like Bayern and Liverpool where in the hunt for this player but Atletico scooped him up for a record payout for the club. And then Puyol also caused the penalty, as he fell from behind on top of Aguero who was about to shoot free and clear in front of the goal. Not a good night for the Barca lion.

Gol TV did something I hadn’t seen before; they flipped back and forth between the Real Madrid and Recreativo game and the Barcelona game. Raul went up against the keeper bravely as a cross came in and won the header, tying the game as Recreativo got an early goal off a corner. Later, Recreativo had two players sent off and Madrid one. Enter Robinho. Within minutes of his entrance into the game he scored. It was a solid strike into the near post as the ball popped back to him. On his second, he flipped the ball over the keeper after he was put through. He was all smiles after scoring both goals after a quick thumb sucking gesture in honor of his baby, but the ease to which he plays, scores, and beats defenders is unmatched right now.

Jose Antonio Reyes came on as a substitute late in the Barca game. Where has he been? He scores the goal that wins the title for Real Madrid last year and disappears. His transfer from Sevilla has in some ways I’m sure enabled the revival of Sevilla as a club, giving the club money to buy other players, but I’ve just not heard much from him of late.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Manchester Versus Newcastle

Man U 5 Newcastle 1

Newcastle have two wonderful wingers in James Milner and Damien Duff. Milner more so than Duff, as he was cutting and turning marvelously at times, only to not shoot when he should have and then missing out on the his intended target when he did cross. He’d set himself up with a fake cross or cut back—the defender sliding past him, but fail to truly make something happen.

On the other end, for Manchester United, they have a little known player called Cristiano Ronaldo, and with one cut back and cross, he was able to pick out Rooney free and clear at the far post for an easy tap in volley with the inside of his foot. One zero to Man U. Ronaldo burst down the line and then cut the ball back sharply and served a perfect ball to Rooney.

Manchester seemed to have a bit more bite, decisive when they were going to goal, and winning the fifty fifty balls when they were on the defensive end.

Newcastle, with two former Manchester United players in the midfield, the red haired Nicky Butt, although he’s got less and less of the red hair now and he’s currently has the most yellow cards in the EPL. And then the white haired Allen Smith, who’s not afraid of getting a few yellow cards here and there either. Both appeared understandably frustrated, as they get used to playing on a losing side.

Along with the bite, there’s a bit more of a click ability within the Manchester United side, players know where one another are, whether that’s just good football or they’re a team that’s begun to gel, but they knew where their teammates were running and exchanged the ball with a certain seamlessness. Click. Click. Click. Goal.

As one of the announcers of the game on Fox Soccer Channel said:

There’s no jealousy. They all want one another to score. When you’re with a top club, it’s all about the team.
Early on in the first half, before Manchester United got their first goal, Michael Owen was setting up for a volley, in clean and one on one with the keeper, only to have Rio Ferdinand get his leg in to break it up and tumble Owen over. There was no call, but it could have been a penalty. Ferdinand did unbalance Owen enough to warrant a call. But there have been much worse no calls, Rio did get a piece of the ball as he stuck out his leg.

Later, Michael Carrick charged forward on the dribble and stroked a through ball along the pitch as Ronaldo zipped past and behind his defender. He raced on the well weighted ball and was one on one with the keeper, slotting the ball home easily. The play was a bit of a counter attack, straight up the throat of the defense, and an early ball and great run by Ronaldo made for a smart goal for Man U. 2-0.

When you’re near the bottom of the table, stuck in thirteenth place as Newcastle is, momentum is hard to hold on to, especially when you’re down two goals at the half.

It was more of the same in the second half.

Another through ball to Ronaldo, he touched the ball around the on rushing defender and scored his second. 3-0 Man U.

Newcastle was able to pull a goal back by way of a pile up after a missed header (the free ball smashed home) but late goals from Rooney (a superb bending ball into the upper corner) and a Saha strike near the penalty spot put the total to 5 for Man U an 1 for Newcastle. The title chase is still on as Arsenal could only come up with a draw.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Milan Versus Arsenal

AC Milan 0 Arsenal 0

Pato, the eighteen year old new prodigy for AC Milan, got his first start in the Champions League. He is fast and had a few clever touches early on, flicking the ball over a defender to take a shot. He looked sharp and tough, as he held the ball up for the club, but went off late with a calf cramp, it looked like.

Kaka constantly pushed forward with every touch, there’s no hesitation with him. He’s simply a dazzling player and AC Milan could have notched a counter attack winner. Arsenal held most of the position, and had a few near misses. Shooting the ball directly at the keeper, their team lacks a clinical finisher. They’re top of the league in England but if they had someone who could finish, they’d be unstoppable. That said Emmanuel Adebayor is the leading goal scorer in the EPL. They just create so many scoring chances as is. If they had someone else, or someone else steps up, they could win a lot of trophies.

I love when Arsenal makes the extra pass, but at times that’s exactly what hinders them from scoring. However, I’d rather see them try it, that neat extra pass separates them from all the other teams. When they’re running on all cylinders, those passes produce loads of goals. Momentum and confidence is so much part of soccer. As this team grows and matures, they’ll be even more dangerous. They also just miss a player like Van Persie.

Late in the game, a few seconds left in stoppage time, Emmanuel Adebayor hit the cross-bar after Walcott beat his defender down the line. Walcott had just come on and went directly at the defender, dusting by him.

One player that stood out was Gael Clichy, who they said has interest from Juventus, I can see why. He’s everywhere on the pitch, from defense to the attack, and he’s just a left back.

For some reason, a few fashion bits:

No nifty scarves around the necks of the Italian side even though it looked like a cold night in England. Gloves were worn though, no scarves around the necks as I saw last week on many of the Italian players in their matches. An odd ski like scarf that seemed only appropriate on an Italian pitch. In England, with snow on the ground they probably will just wear short sleeves.

Carlo Ancelotti who's been head coach of AC Milan since 2001, wore a coat with more shiny zippers on it than a young raver, as he looks to repeat as CL champs and add one more Cup to Maldini’s retiring total.

Sadly, Ronaldo was not part of this match, his career most likely over, out for a year at least with another knee injury.

Other

Something that jumped out at me, and is easier said than done, is when coming on to the ball to shoot you have to square your hips towards the goal.

Alex Ferguson, let it slip that Cristiano Ronaldo had a tummy ache and would miss out on a game, and then said he had a bit of diarrhea as well. Seemed a little bit too much information.

AC Milan’s nickname: Rossoneri (Red-Blacks)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nike Inspiration: Becoming Legendary

When you talk about inspiring commercials, you might think of some of the now almost legendary Nike ads. Ads that are normally at a slow pace, with few words and powerful music. They’re the epitome of the combination of good art—words, music and images combined to make a point or tell a story. Nike has been consistent in their out pouring of inspiring commercials, from Just Do It to Michael Jordan's classy ads. The Nike ads are less ads then an idea or concept, a way or plan.

The ads don't make me want to run out and buy Nike gear, and I like Nike gear, but they do make me want to do something, put some work in so to speak. Get better at whatever it is I'm doing.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Site Focus

We've decided to focus mainly on our soccer portal site, please take a look at our site, I'm sure you'll find some useful tips, videos and or insight into the world's game.