Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blue Green Black Jack Mary News

I am glad to be back after the nice long 3 day holiday weekend. We flew past 60,000 visitors to du Nord while I was relaxing in the sun! So thanks so much to all of you for reading the ranting!
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Let's start with something classic from Ken The Keeper: Soccer players in Chile play an exhibition game with a magnolia tree planted in the middle of the stadium as part of an art project.
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Cimmy Jonrad has another great self-praising-deprecating article at ESPN's Soccernet. (I have to admit it's not his best effort though.)
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Two nice wins for Team USA this past weekend. 2-0 over Venezuela and 1-0 over Latvia. I thought all three games last week were real tough challenges. Ahead of time many people questioned the quality of the competition, but I think it turned out to be just fine. I don't have much to add as far as over all analysis, but I will find you some links. The team now has yesterday, today and tomorrow (Wednesday) to themselves before reconvening Thursday to travel as a group to Hamburg and begin the World Cup training at their home base.
USA 2-0 Venezuela on Friday in Cleveland with goals by Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey
-Match report from Steven Goff of the Washington Post
-Match report from Akron Beacon Journal
-Player ratings from Soccer America
USA 1-0 Latvia on Sunday in Hartford with the goal by Brian McBride
-Match report from Jere Longman of the New York Times
-Match report from the Hartford Courant
-Players ratings by Soccer America
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After Deuce Dempsey scored against Venez he did a new dance. Many, myself included, were wondering what it was all about. A dude on Big Soccer fills us in.
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The US Players Assoc talked to Michael Bradley, who somehow was training with Team USA and got two caps during the Send-Off Series.
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From Sherri: Here’s a picture of the official giant USA jersey that was hanging from the parking garage next to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from May 27 –30. It's made of heavy nylon and measures 80 feet across and is 71 feet tall. Very cool, thanks for sending the link!
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There is a very good video feature on Landon Donovan that looks like it was created by Nike. This link is hosted by Google.
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Clint Dempsey did not play (or even suit up) for the Latvia match after suffering from muscle spasms in his back. I have had this problem and it can be mind-bendingly painful. I hope his is mild and over quickly.
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The newest member of the USA WC squad Gregg Berhalter left his long time German club Energie Cottbus last week, and has now signed a contract to join 1860 Munich. I find that a bit of an odd move though, seeing as Cottbus just got promoted to the top flight Bundesliga while 1860 are still stuck in the 2nd division.
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Frank Giase of The Newark Star Ledger focus's on local boy and USA Captain Claudio Reyna and his injury habits.
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For the last few months Grahame Jones of the Los Angeles Times has been subdued and even-handed about the state of the beautiful game in America. Today he is back to his old high and mighty bullshit though, dwelling on the negative and speaking his brilliant mind from his amazingly lofty perch. Sure America is not nearly as futbol crazy as we would all like it to be, but it's far from horrible. Here is a bit of his wisdom to suck on: The U.S. attracted a total of 80,522 fans to its three World Cup send-off games during the last week. Australia's send-off game, against European champion Greece on Thursday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, drew a crowd of 95,103.
Good for you Grahame. Pointing out our deficiancies! What else was going on in Australia this weekend? I would bet not much! But here? Well let's see: 16 Major League Baseball games each day; the NBA Semi-finals; and a little car race called the Indianapolis 500. I would guess that paid attendance at those events combined would be somewhere approaching 1.5 million. Not to mention a huge 3-day holiday weekend. How does that stack up against 95,000. Not bad you pompous ass.
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A great piece of World Cup news for players and fans alike: Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast has pulled out of the World Cup finals after injuring a knee. Hooray knee injuries! Hooray Beer! Hooray Jamaica! He is a terrible referee, as bad as I have ever seen. How he got on the initial list is beyond me.
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Yanks Abroad has an interview with America's heroic flavor of the month Jay DeMerit who starred for Watford in their charge to the English Premiership.
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Ronaldo has reportedly turned down a 10 year $120 million contract to play for the New York Red Bulls. Wow, he turned it DOWN! That is an awful lot of money to walk away from. He won't get that offer a couple years from now.
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New England will play a friendly against Celtic in Foxboro on July 17th.
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Simon Kuper of the London Financial Times: World Cup ‘facts’ that miss by a mile
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See the movie trailer for "Once In A Lifetime" - the documentary film about the New York Cosmos. What I like most about the trailer is that they allude to the fact that Giorgio Chinaglia is to blame for the team's downfall. Hahahaha! I love it. It appears to have footage of my childhood team - Minnesota Thunder too.
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MLS matches last weekend:
Salt Lake 2-2 Colorado - 3 goals in the last 15 minutes saved this one from being an absolutely unwatchable mess. Do these teams have any clue how to pass a ball, and does John Ellinger have any clue how to coach a team? His substitution pattern was downright weird. He moves Attiba Harris from the lone striker position back to the defensive midfielder role, then watches Harris make 2 hideous tackles in which he gets yellow cards and thus a red card. That was all on Ellinger. Somehow the team nabbed a goal a man down to salvage the draw. Ellinger and Harris both owe the team an apology for that one.
New England 1-1 Houston - New England holds Houston down for nearly 90 minutes and gives up the late one to lose 2 points at home. How come Houston nearly gets in a fight every game?
Kansas City 1-3 DC - Jaime Moreno and Freddy Adu were really magnificent in this game. Gorgeous passes and timing! I thought Kansas City was going to have a full team melt down at one point after some hideous refereeing decisions that went against them.
Chivas USA 1-0 Chicago - Clinker City. That's what I would name this game. Chivas scored 1 minute 4 seconds into the match, and then for the next 88 minutes and 54 seconds little or nothing happened, except maybe Tony Sanneh getting hurt again for Chicago.
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League Single Table:
21 FC Dallas
18 DC United
14 Houston Dynamo
13 Kansas City Wizards
11 New England Revolution
11 Colorado Rapids
11 Columbus Crew
10 Chicago Fire
8 Real Salt Lake
8 New York Red Bulls
7 Los Angeles Galaxy
7 Chivas USA
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On Saturday New York beat Bayern Munich 4-2 in a friendly. Bayern were without many stars who are preparing for the World Cup, but they still had plenty of fire power on hand, including Roy Makaay & Claudio Pizarro (who scored both of his teams goals) starting up top. Jean-Philippe Peguero got 2 for NY, with Amado Guevara (actually playing for his team and scoring on a pk) and Edson Buddle getting the other two goals. Bayern spent 10 days in the US and their media director kept an online diary that is pretty good.
-NYNJ soccer talked to long time Bayern Munich & France defender Bixente Lizarazu (who retired from the game after this match).
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Former hated Milwaukee Rampage goalkeeper Dan Popik has been signed by Columbus as their back up to Noah Palmer, making him the teams 6th keeper this season after all those awful injuries.
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The LA Galaxy will play a friendly against Crystal Palace Wednesday July 19 in, of all places, Richmond VA. Why Richmond? I have no idea.
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While the supposed genius newspaper writers up in San Jose are busy ripping MLS and their plans to come back to the Bay Area, the leagues head man Don Garber gives a hefty dose of medicine to the Bay Area about what will be needed from the teams fans if they are to have any chance of a team returning and thriving. This is actually from the Kansas City Star which feels (and I totally agree) that their town needs to wake up to this reality as well.
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Buzz Carrick of 3rd Degree has a Q & A session with Dallas's Argentine keeper Dario Sala.
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My Minnesota Thunder team was dreadful again this past Saturday. It was their second home game of the season and they failed to show up in the first half! It made me mad. The second half effort was much better, but outside of a few moments the quality was not there at all. Sure they battled hard, but with little or no imagination on how to break down a defense. They just sent every one long and lumped it forward hoping to get a flick. But when you are surrounded by a forest of defenders packed into their defensive third you are only really hoping for sheer luck. Wretched. And painful to watch. I think the biggest disappointment was the fact that they had no outside midfielders or wingers providing service. I think I could go on and on, but I am gonna stop right now and think about Vancouver coming to town next weekend. My pal Andy wrote up a great game report for the beloved Blue Sky Soccer Thunder fans site.
-I guess there is another thing about the game that has me scratching my head. The game was not played at the teams usual home field (The Jimmy in St Paul), but rather it was moved to the teams old home, the National Sports Center, in the northern suburb of Blaine, supposedly to take advantage of the huge number of players and families participating all weekend long in the NSC Cup tournament taking place at the same facility. From what I could tell though, they got little or no attendance bump from this event. On the other hand they seemed to lose a ton of fans from the inner city who had no interest in heading the 15 or so miles up to the hinterlands. And worst of all, that awful stadium in Blaine just seemed to suck the life out of the fans who did attend. Sadly the team has scheduled 2 more games there this season. Why? I have no idea. But I will say on the record again that I think it's a huge mistake.
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USL First Division matches last weekend:
Toronto 0-1 Miami
Vancouver 2-2 Seattle
Charleston 0-0 Atlanta
Virginia Beach 0-0 Rochester
Minnesota 0-1 Portland
Seattle 1-0 Vancouver
Montreal 0-0 Miami
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First Division Table:
17 Rochester
12 Miami
12 Vancouver
10 Portland
10 Puerto Rico
10 Virginia Beach
8 Charleston
8 Montreal
8 Seattle
4 Minnesota
2 Atlanta
0 Toronto
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Jesse has posted the new First Division Power Rankings at Blue Sky Soccer.
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The London Times sends a writer to America to check in on Romario and his Miami days.
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2 MLS games midweek on Wednesday, May 31
DC United v Columbus Crew at 6:30pm central on Direct Kick
Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles Galaxy at 8:30 central on Direct Kick
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Butt Ugly Iain Dowie has taken over as new manager of Charlton in England. But his old boss at Crystal Palace has filed a lawsuit against his former coach who resigned just last week under what the owner now calls false pretenses.
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In other Crystal Palace news, they have sold their great striker Andy Johnson to Everton for 8.6 million Pounds, a record price for Everton.
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Regular starting Italian right back Gianluca Zambrotta has injured his thigh and will probably not play in the team's first WC match against Ghana. Will he be fit to face the USA whose best position on the whole field seems to be the left wing which would be his responsibility?
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Chelsea have signed Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou from Feyenoord.
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The International Herald Tribune with a triple shot: 2 from Rob Hughes: Angola finds identity in its national team - and - No masking the fading Bleu, & Christopher Clarey: Close up of Zidane during a day's work


Blogger Zach Dundas said...

Regarding the allegedly phenomenal attendance at the Australia v. Greece friendly, the key fact is that the visiting side was GREECE. There are almost as many Greeks in Melbourne as in Athens. So the exact equivalent would be USA v. Mexico in LA or USA v. El Salvador in DC. It is, in other words, not a fair gauge of interest in the game in Australia, where soccer struggles at sub-MLS levels of investment and support.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Sasha said...

I was going to say exactly what Zach was going to say. Greeks are one of the top 2 or 3 ethnic groups in Australia. The US vs Mexico in LA example definitely applies...

2:08 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Those quotes from Garber are rediculous. AEG did nothing to promote soccer in the Bay Area. It is entirely their fault the team left.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous bq said...

Did anyone catch some of the comments of the homer team of O'Brien and Balboa. The worst of all may have been the jabber about Kasey Keller being one of if not the the very top keeper in the world. Don't get me wrong, I like Kasey a lot and glad he is in nets for us. But please, look at group E and he may be the 3rd best keeper in the group let alone the w.c.
I still can't believe I am going to have to listen to these two numbskulls dribble on for each U.S. game. Very disappointing.

5:55 AM  
Blogger kebmodee said...

hey bq, couldnt agree more. its painful watching them. o'brien means well and balboa is alright but they are NOT good. yo comprende only a small amount of spanish but i have been watching soccer in spanish since i was a kid. univision/telefutura will broadcast all games live.

why not get jp dellacamera and shep messing for games? or tommy smyth and derek rae who work for espn. smyth is annoying but he is loads better than balboa and rae is quality. i guess they want only american announcers.

lastly, did any of you happen to see the champions league final halftime bit with tommy smyth and anthony lapaglia? what the F was that all about?

8:39 AM  
Anonymous bq said...

Also, from the same Grahame Jones L.A. Times article that Mr. Wolf quotes,

"By being in Europe, they will miss having to listen to the inane commentary provided by ESPN2's virtually soccer-illiterate Dave O'Brien, who spends 90 minutes reading cue cards because he doesn't know the sport.

They will also miss having to endure the gushing Shelley Smith, more cheerleader than journalist, as she hypes the U.S. team ad infinitum."

11:29 AM  
Anonymous ken said...

o'brien is worthless. He just repeats the same useless information over and over. It's that typical delivery of treating the audience as if they know nothing abou the sport. I'd rather watch Univision, even if I only understand 1/2 of what's being said.

11:58 AM  
Blogger brucio said...

for some reason i almost wish we had jack and ty back to do the games again

not really..... but

espn is really a lowest common demoninator broadcaster - its quite sad

we do have some really quality people who could be doing the usa games:

jp dellacamara
glenn davis
derek rae
allen hopkins
phil schoen
ray hudson
eric wynalda
shep messing
dave johnson
just to name the ones off the top of my bald head

1:26 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

hey zach - thanks for the info on greeks living in australia - i love knowing ammo like that

1:27 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

and to charlie
thanks for the note from baghdad - good luck amigo - stay healthy

1:32 PM  

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