Monday, March 06, 2017

Some Soccer News for Mar 6, 2017

It's Day 65 of 2017.

Huge congrats to the USA Men's U20 National Team who won the CONCACAF Championship on Sunday!
  • Its the first time the USA has won this tournament.


Francis Kone is WAAAAAAAAAAY more than a professional soccer player. Over the course of his career he has used medical techniques to save the lives of not one, or two, or three, but FOUR players on the field. By Dominica Fifield for the Guardian.



MNUFC is now officially a MLS team!

Yes Minn lost badly, very badly at the end, but at least it was close on the score board until after the 80th minute.

A message to Portland: We came, we saw, we got conquered. But we will return. Thanks for the "Welcome to MLS." It was a great weekend.

Fittingly Christian Ramirez got the teams very first goal in MLS. [VIDEO]

My Notes:
  • We got beaten by Leapin Larry! Yaarrrrrrggghhhhh!
  • The 4-3-3 formation with 3 holding midfielders is a joke - that is 3 players for 2 jobs and all it does it lead to confusion amongst them - might as well play with 10 men.
  • When they FINALLY switched to 4-2-3-1 they came to life - imagine that.
  • Only used 2 subs: 1st one in 69th min, and 2nd in 88th min. That is a crime.
  • The whole team looked mentally exhausted at the end of the game. Hence the 2 goals in stoppage time.
  • 3 of the 4 players in the back line really struggled, and the goalkeeper didn't add anything beyond being very average.
  • The Good: Calvo, Ramirez + JVenegas together.
  • The Bad: Besides that formation? Taylor, Demidov, Davis and Saied.
  • The Conclusion: Portland's front 6 are really good.

Keep this in mind - on Sat Mar 25 at New England the Loons will be without Calvo, Molino, JVenegas, Taylor and Schuller. That could be brutal.

I think this is a pretty good neutral-party review of the game. I have too much bias to see it this clearly. By Ives Galarcep for Goal.

And a search for positives in the loss. By Matt Doyle for MLSsoccer.

Rob Stone of Fox came out to say hello to the Minnesota fans outside the stadium on Friday night just before the game: (thanks to Kendrick for the link)


My Portland trip review:
  • Great travel companions
  • Great friends
  • 23rd + Thurman NW neighborhood
  • Yur's Bar
  • Loons fans
  • Hugging Manny + Amos
  • That living, breathing stadium
  • That incredible tifo!
  • Great people + Timbers fans everywhere
  • The campus of Star Fleet Academy - aka Nike
  • Verne Gagne stories
  • Powells Bookstore
  • Weed (everywhere)
  • Beacon Sound
  • Zam Zam Sounds
  • Red Onion Thai
  • St Jacks
  • St. Honore Boulangerie
  • Hotlips Pizza
  • Muu Muu's
  • Besaw's
  • Eat Oyster Bar
  • All to a soundtrack of John Coltrane, Jorge Ben, Augustus Pablo, A Tribe Called RED, Don Rickles and Richard Pryor



Dallas (beat Arabe Unido) and Vancouver (beat New York Red Bulls) advanced from MLS.

Tigres (beat Pumas) and Pachuca (beat Saprissa) advanced from Liga MX.

I would rank the favorites like this:
  1. Tigres
  2. Pachuca
  3. Dallas
  4. Vancouver

But I will repeat that I think Dallas a the better chance to win this tournament than any MLS to come before them. They are that good and have a near perfect personality for a CONCACAF winning team.

Match Schedule/Results:
1st Leg
-Tue Mar 14
Tigres v Vancouver
-Wed Mar 15
Dallas v Pachuca
2nd Leg
-Tue Apr 4
Pachuca v Dallas
-Wed Apr 5
Vancouver v Tigres



My 8 Key Topics from Week 1:
  • Dallas won on the road at LA
  • Houston with a big win over Seattle
  • Portland rolled over Minnesota
  • NYRB came from behind to beat Atlanta
  • Salt Lake held Toronto scoreless
  • Colorado kept winning, beating
  • Orlando beat rivals NYC

Smokin Hot G(o)als:

And one great goal scorer salutes another:

Opening Weekend Results + 1 comment for each:
  • Portland 5-1 Minnesota - it was 2-1 in the 81st minute.
  • Columbus 1-1 Chicago - Psychologically neither team could afford to lose.
  • LA 1-2 Dallas - big road win to start the season.
  • Salt Lake 0-0 Toronto - Rimando saves penalty kick, AGAIN!
  • Colorado 1-0 New England - Rapids keep denying the doubters.
  • DC 0-0 KC - road point for KC.
  • Houston 2-1 Seattle - Houston needed a strong start.
  • San Jose 1-0 Montreal - best goal of the weekend.
  • Orlando 1-0 NYC - opened that brand new stadium in style.
  • Atlanta 1-2 NYRB - a packed house could not save Atlanta from savvy veterans.
  • Vancouver 0-0 Philadelphia - road point for Philly.

Only 20 goals in 11 games = 1.8 per game. Yuck. (The Portland 5 is the only thing making this not HORRENDOUS.)

The best analytical breakdown of Week 1. By Matt Doyle for MLS.

The eight best personal performances of Week 1. By Caitlin Murray for Fox Sports.

In a sport so obsessed with the meaning of shirt numbers I found 6 of the Red Bulls starting players to be wearing some crazy numbers: 31, 92, 33, 55, 77, 99 - Why?

The biggest negative of Week 1 is a hamstring injury to Kaka of Orlando that will take him out of action for 6 weeks.

The mass of Argentine players in MLS keeps growing and their presence on the field more dominant. By Jack Williams for the New York Times.

Finally, you can't help but be blown away by what they are doing in Atlanta: 30k season tickets. Packed house of 55+k for first home game. Extremely loud and crazy crowd. And even took the lead over the Red Bulls. Not a bad start. Congrats to AU and all those fans.


You can never have enough quality HST (but you gotta avoid the newer mountain of dreck):


USMNT U20s at the CONCACAF Championship and U20 World Cup qualifying

The USA won the Final on Sun Mar 5 over Honduras in Costa Rica.

The game ended 0-0 and the USA won 5-3 in a Penalty Kick Shootout.

The USA had already qualified for the U20 World Cup by making it to the Semifinals.

A lot of people dogged coach Tab Ramos after they lost the first game to Panama and looked pretty bad in doing so.

The midfielders Erik Palmer-Brown, Tyler Adams and Eryk Williamson lead this team from start to finish. They were the keys to victory, and EPB was named tournament Golden Ball winner as MVP.

By the way, this is Williamson's goal against El Salvador in the Semifinals! Yowza! [VIDEO]

Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann was named Golden Glove as best keeper of the tournament.

On the bad side, 3 USA players suffered injuries due to the referee letting Honduras play like unpunished goons - Williamson and Justin Glad left the game injured, and Palmer-Brown stayed on while injured after all 3 subs had been used.

USA roster:
  • G: Jonathan Klinsmann - U California, JT Marcinkowski - Georgetown
  • D: Marlon Fossey - Fulham, Justen Glad - Real Salt Lake, Aaron Herrera - U New Mexico, Erik Palmer-Brown - Sporting Kansas City, Tommy Redding - Orlando City, Auston Trusty - Philadelphia Union
  • M: Danny Acosta - Real Salt Lake, Tyler Adams - New York Red Bulls, Coy Craft - Dallas, Luca De la Torre - Fulham, Jonathan Gonzalez - Monterrey, Jeremiah Gutjahr - Indiana U, Jonathan Lewis - New York City, Sebastian Saucedo - Real Salt Lake, Eryk Williamson - U Maryland
  • F: Jeremy Ebobisse - Portland Timbers, Brooks Lennon - Real Salt Lake, Emmanuel Sabbi - Las Palmas
  • C: Tab Ramos



A big moment for the USMNT as Geoff Cameron returned to the starting lineup for Stoke - he has been out for 6 months with an ankle injury and he will be a key to success in the late March qualifiers.

Fab Johnson is back to full-tilt-boogie baby! Playing 90 and scoring 2 goals(!!!) for Gladbach as they best Schalke 4-2.

Christian Pulisic came off the bench in the 44th min and scored his first goal since late October as they won 6-2 v Leverkusen.

Emerson Hyndman started and went 82 minutes for Rangers as they won their Quarterfinal game in the Scottish Cup, 6-0 over Hamilton Academical.

Joe Corona took his now usual spot in the Tijuana lineup, but this time he was Red Carded in the 77th minute. And they lost 2-3 to Pachuca, knocking them out of 1st place.

The Terrence Boyd + Darmstadt Tracker:
  • Results - Sat Mar 4 Lost 2-0 at Werder Bremen
  • Note - Boyd came off the bench in the 78th to no avail - fellow American Aron Johannsson was in the 18 for WB but did not play.
  • Standings - Last place, 11 points below relegation playoff
  • Up Next - Sat Mar 11 v Mainz



The Miguel Herrera + Tijuana Tracker:
  • Results - Fri Mar 3 Lost 2-3 v Pachuca
  • Note - the home loss cost them 1st place in the league, and they now sit in 3rd after 9 rounds.
  • Standings - 3rd Place, 1 point our of 1st and 2nd
  • Up Next - Sat Mar 11 at Queretaro

Results from the pseudo-mini-tournament:
-Fri Mar 3
Tijuana 2-3 Pachuca - #1 v #3
-Sat Mar 4
Guadalajara 2-0 Toluca - #4 v #2

Those results saw the standings at the top completely change and finished looking like this:
17 Guadlajara - up from 4th to 1st
17 Pachuca - up from 3rd to 2nd
16 Tijuana - down from 1st to 3rd
16 Monterry
16 Toluca - down from 2nd to 5th
Up Next:
-Sat Mar 11
Tigres v Gaudalajara - last seasons champs against the new #1



Biggest results last weekend in Europe:
-Sat Mar 4
Roma 1-2 Napoli - remain at #2 + #3 but now a tighter race
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal - #5 + #4 switched spots to #4 + #5

Coming Up:
-Fri Mar 10
Juventus v Milan - #1 v #7 - nasty old rivals
-Sat Mar 11
Hertha v Dortmund - #5 v #3


Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action. From the Guardian.


UEFA Champions League

Round of 16 Matches this week:
2nd Leg
-Tue Mar 7
Arsenal v Bayern (1-5)
Napoli v Real Madrid (1-3)
-Wed Mar 8
Dortmund v Benfica (0-1)
Barcelona v PSG (0-4)

The Bird Is The Word


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