Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's Perfect News

-The second leg of World Cup Playoff Qualifiers are now complete, and the last 5 are in. Here's a recap:
*In a distant timezone, Australia has pulled off a huge upset and gained their first World Cup birth in over 30 years, knocking out Uruguay. Aust won the match 1-0, tying the series at 1-1, then won 4-2 on PK's. Coach Guus Hiddink proved that he has magic in his fingers by getting them qualified! He should be the next USA coach for sure!!!!
*In Bahrain our neighbors to the south from the island nation of Trinidad & Tobago had a glorious day, winning 1-0 and advancing 2-1 to the final as well! Hooray T&T! Hooray Beer! Hooray Beenhakker! Hooray Dwight York! That makes i 4 CONCACAF teams in the World Cup! Pretty cool huh?!?!?!
*Czech Rep landed in the World Cup for their first time, beating Norway 0-1 again for a 2-0 total. Tomas Rosicky scored for CR and Petr Cech kept another clean sheet.
*Spain settled for a 1-1 draw in Slovakia and easily won 6-2 on agg.
*Turkey & Switzerland drew 4-4 on aggregate, but the Swizzz had the 2 away goals to clinch their birth. The real bad news for Turkey came after the match, when their fans started pelting the Swizzz players with garbage in supposed retaliation for curses & obscene gestures that Sui players made after the first leg Saturday. The Sui ran for the tunnel only to be met by Turk players who started to pound on them, then the Turkish police, who were supposed to be acting as security, got in on the act of beating the Neutrals. I have seen lots of video footage and its impossible to know who did what first. There is a clip of a Swiss player kicking a security person as he left the field, then lots of Turkish players kicking the crap out of a Swiss player in the tunnel. I love the passion of the Turks, and I know it's a cliche, but what the hell is up with the anger and violence that seems to pour from that nation. It's not always someone else's fault when you are constantly involved. But.....
-The draw for groups will be held Dec 9 at 1pm central time. See it live on some ESPN attribute.
-MLS will hold its annual pre-draft combine Jan 12-15 in LA at the HDC, and then the Superdraft on Jan 20 in Philly.
-A couple more highlights from my weekend in Dallas. These two are both a little sappy, which is not my usual style, but real nonetheless:
*On Saturday afternoon we were near downtown Dallas so we got directions to the area known as Dealy Plaza where President John Kennedy was assassinated in '63. We found the place easily enough, and great parking too. As we walked over to the street corner were Kennedy's motorcade had to slow down that day and make a sharp left turn toward the infamous grassy knoll, I felt a huge chill go thru my body and got goose bumps all over. It was pretty heavy standing there. Intense.
*The second incident was at the actual game, just before kickoff they had all kinds of ceremonial stuff like introducing the all time league best 11, having some parachuters drop into the field and the national anthem. But the one that struck me is when they had 2 massive fighter planes fly really low right over our side of the stadium. Those things were impressive.
-I was glad to see the two teams in the Cup play in their full colors. Blue for New England. Gold & Green for LA.
-MLS commish Donny "I Love The Clash" Garber headed to Germany today to speak with Bundesliga teams about doing business with MLS. Even if you don't agree with everything that this league does, you have to admit that the top people work very hard, and are always looking for new angles. I like that.
-Our southern friends the Mexicans cried a little tear last night as their Tricoloures were pounded 3-0 by Bulgaria in Houston. Ferchristsakes BULGARIA! What happened Ricardo?
-Mexico continues their games on US soil with a match on Dec 14 v Hungary in Phoenix at Chase Field (which used to be called Bank One Ballpark).
-Robert Wagman of Soccer Times give his thoughts on the MLS All-Time Best 11.
-Ronaldinho won France Football's Ballon d'Or. (aka the Euro Player of The Year.) Who else ya gonna pick? My only other thought is Frank Lampard.
-You wanna see a scenario where 2 MLS teams decide to swap players and they both lose? Of course it would have to involve Chivas and Salt Lake, cuz last year they proved that they just don't get it. Yesterdays swap: Brian Duseth for Douglas Sequeira. Ugh. You can have 'em both if you want 'em.
-Word is that DaMarcus Beasley tweaked his hamstring in the USA match v Scotland. But there was no mention of the injury on the PSV website where they are usually pretty up to date with mentioning even little injuries.
-Ronaldo is ready to play for Real Madrid this weekend in their huge matchup with Barca on Saturday. See the match live on GolTV at 10am central time from the Bernabeu.
-Grahame Jones of the LA Times ranks the 32 teams who are now in the World Cup.
-Two from Rob Hughes: Australia squeezes into World Cup -and- World Cup turns ugly
-Todd Dunivant is the least known defender for the champs from LA. Read a feature story on him at Soccernet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any truth to the Mathis to Columbus rumor? Sigi said he wanted a forward to complement buddle- someone who could be versatile like a Donovan or Moreno. Mathis could've had better stats this past year if he'd had a decent supporting cast (not jordan cila).

1:01 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

you never know with mathis...
i sent an email to lauren who covers salt lake for the tribune and asked her about a bunch of players
she said she had an appointment with the team officials and will ask then

2:15 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

in her reply today she said:

Countess wasn't a good fit in the clubhouse, and spats with the staff late in the season didn't help his case. He's rehabbing from shoulder surgery in Southern California.

My guess is this team wants dramatic improvement over its five-win first season. And they're willing to make wholesale changes in order to find it. This next month or so should make for some interesting moves.

Or, as GM Steve Pastorino said, ''We're not finished yet.''

(no word yet on Mathis)

9:15 AM  

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