Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Manchester United annihilates the Arsenal FC investment fund

Last Sunday, Arsenal was set to face Manchester United in what looked to be an enticing matchup.  Keyword: looked.  What Gunner fans hoped would be a thrilling victory turned out to be the most brutal thrashing Man U has delivered since their match against Grandma Gertrude's Pre-school for the Intergalatically Stupid.  Yes, Manchester United caught Arsenal with its pants down at Old Trafford, and what was exposed wasn't very impressive.  Make no mistake, the final score of 8-2 is a misrepresentation of the course of the game...it should have been 10.  Rooney got his hat-trick; Ashley Young scored on a screamer into the top right corner...twice; hell, even Ji-Sung Park got in on the action.  When Arsenal team-member Carl Jenkinson (who's not quite deserving of the title "player") was awarded a red card in the 77th minute, Arsenal fans violently questioned the call.  "Who the fuck is Carl Jenkinson," hollered one supporter.  "Isn't there a mercy rule or something," called another.  With one day left to acquire new players, Arsenal will hope to find some players worthy of the Premiership.  The trouble is that few players are willing to take the risk of being sucked into the supermassive black hole that is Arsenal's defense, especially for the few nickel's that Wenger is willing to pay.  But who knows, maybe the Gunners will fend better in the Championship division.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Abby Wambach: our atom bomb

It's almost here.  Tomorrow is the World Cup final match between the American women and the pigmy people of Japan. Those miniature Japanese girls have upset Germany and Sweden on their road to the final, and are looking to defeat the US with similar elven magic. The US, however, possesses a weapon that could single handedly crush it's Japanese opponent...like ant repellent. Some call her Abby Wambach, but I prefer "the Atom Bomb." Like a man among teeny tiny girls, Wambach's head could well be the deciding factor in tomorrow's match. Anyhow, the United States women have led an entire nation to watch a women's athletic event, leading most American sources to agree that they better not blow it. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Women's World Cup: worth a watch

Okay, I'll admit it.  I was a skeptic.  Women's international soccer?  I would have preferred watching bowling.  But Sunday's quarterfinal game between the US and Brazil turned all my cynicism into fan-hood...like alchemy.  A 121st minute goal to send the game into penalties, despite a Brazilian player's attempt to waste time through faking an injury.  A US victory, nullifying Brazil's second half penalty goal, awarded on a phantom foul.  Fast paced, exciting, and packed with poetic justice, that was a world-class game.  And a message for all you skeptics who still maintain that women's soccer isn't soccer: please, remove your tampons and just enjoy the game.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Four "must-happens" for the US to contend at the 2014 World Cup


I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about what the US needs to do to become a World Cup contender.  Let me tell you, firing Bob Bradley is not going to cut it.  No personnel changes within the US national soccer program will catapult the US into the top tier of international soccer.  The change needs to be bigger: much bigger.  Here are the 4 things that need to happen for the US to win the 2014 World Cup.
4. Bye bye Bob Bradley.  That’s the easy one.  If any of you have a legitimate reason to keep him as the US head coach, please, enlighten us; at this point, I think even Bob Bradley’s not sure what Gulati (President of United States Soccer Federation) sees in him.  And for more reasons to axe him, well, see below.
3. Seek more contribution from our younger players.  It’s a new age of soccer.  World class players are rising at younger ages than ever (Messi, Rooney, Fabregas) and I’m not sure that older guys can keep up with the newcomers.  If you’re scratching your head, think back to what the young Mexican attackers did to our veteran defense.  Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.  At 22 and 23, Giovanni dos Santos and Chicharito don’t look like they need another few years to develop, and a 32-year-old Carlos Bocanegra looked like my grandmother trying to catch a butterfly.  Amusing, but not going to happen.   
2. Sabotage.  That’s right, sabotage.  It’s unlikely that the US will beat a team like Italy.  But it’s even more unlikely that they will beat Italy, then Spain, then Brazil.  That’s what it takes to win a World Cup.  But say we pull a few political strings.  Say Spain better not play David Villa unless they want, I don’t know, complete economic collapse.  The same goes for you Brazil.  Maybe the US’s chances are pretty good after all.
1. Pray.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A farewell to coach Bob Bradley

After going up two goals in tonight's Gold Cup final against Mexico, US head coach Bob Bradley opted for a more feminine style of play.
"I'm just really glad that no one was hurt.  It gets pretty messy out there," Bradley said in a fictitious interview.  "After all, it's just a game."
Mexico went on to score four consecutive goals, winning the match 4-2.  Soon after, Bradley announced his stepping down from the head coach position.
"I've never told anyone this, but my dream has always been to go into uniform design."
Leading the rally for a good, clean game was none other than Michael Bradley, coach Bob Bradley's son.
"After I scored at the beginning of the game, daddy told me I had done well and could take a break for the rest of the game.  He even promised he'd build that treehouse I've always wanted!"
This is not the first time Bob Bradley's US team has blown a two-nil lead in the championship game.  In 2009, the team led Brazil 2-0 at halftime in the Confederations Cup final when Bradley had a similar lapse of mind.
On the bright side, the US has all the tools to be successful at the international level (Dempsey, Donovan, Adu, Agudelo...): what's lacking is a man to weave them all together.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gold Cup Finals

The US meets rival Mexico Saturday night in the final match of the 2011 Gold Cup.  Mexico has looked a strong side the entire tournament, despite the suspension of five players in a doping scandal.
The US, on the other hand, has looked far shakier on the path to the final match.  Losing to Panama in the group stages, the side barely slipped by in the semi-final rematch, thanks to a clutch performance by Landon Donovan who came on as a substitute (for reasons only God and Bob Bradley know).  The major talking point of this 1-0 win was the heroic and timely comeback of Freddy Adu.  The Benfica forward entered the game as a late sub and proved that he still has the speed and foot-skills to perform at the international level.  
My prediction for Saturday: 3-2, US takes home the cup.
I give Mexico two goals only because Chicharito is a goal-machine.  The guy has scored seven goals in four games this tournament, and allotting him anything less than two goals is a slight on his ability and may trigger his goal-scoring wrath upon the US.  I wish no such wrath upon my countrymen.  
Chicharito, be appeased.

A call to all soccerheads

This is a blog for all the soccerheads of the world (I say all grudgingly, Man U fans).  Let me define my terms:
if you could juggle before you could walk;
if your boots cost more than your mortgage;
if in times of need you ask, "What would Messi do?";
then you qualify as a soccerhead.
And if you don't...well, you'll get there.
The purpose of this blog is to give soccerheads a safe haven until the next Clasico (ie Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, for all not-quite-yet fanatics). 
I was recently watching baseball "highlights" on SportsCenter (yes, notice highlights are parenthesized) when I decided that my efforts at post-Premier League entertainment were futile.  Then, the epiphany: unite the soccerheads of the world in a World Cup-esque manner, assuaging off-season woes.
So this is it.  The soccer square.  Where the beautiful game lives on while baseball hogs the TV.
Humor, boot reviews, and much soccer-talk to come.