Monday, April 03, 2017

Some Soccer News for Apr 3, 2017

It's Day 93 of 2017.

Hello! Hurray! Let the show begin! I've been ready!

The first win in MLS for Minnesota United was as much relief as it was joyous. As the team came together this winter I started to fear that it might be a long time before they got a win, and as the season started on such a horrible run I began to dread the worst, asking myself, "What happens if the losing drags us through April and in to May?" And even in this win the Loons gave up a goal in just the 4th minute, making it seems like another disaster of a game. But alas that was not to be. The team rallied and put on a great show for the home fans eventually building a 4-1 lead. In a turn of recent events it was Minnesota that capitalized on the opponents mistakes over and over again.

On top of that Minnesota has still never lost to Salt Lake in 4 tries! 3 wins and 1 draw. The wins came in 2005 and 2012 US Open Cup matches. While the 1 blemish, a tie game, was this Spring in preseason.



Match Schedule/Results:
-Sat Apr 1
Minnesota 4-2 Salt Lake - MU goals by Kevin Molino, Christian Ramirez(2) + Johan Venegas. RSL goals by Luke Mulholland + Yura Movsysian.

My MNUFC Notes:
  • Game highlights. [VIDEO]
  • The Loons immediately broke the crowds heart by giving up a goal in 4th min, to Luke Mulholland of all people. It brought an impending sense of dread down heavy on the fans.
  • But the team fought back. Hard.
  • And in the 16th Molino lived up to his words to step up his game, from earlier in the week, with a goal on a leaping header to tie the game. He also had 2 very good set ups for other goals.
  • Kallman was a defending demon out there. For the 3rd game in a row the local kid stood strong not letting RSL get ANYTHING on him. The few little errors he made were corrected through tenacity.
  • Ramirez entered the game very sick - as he said, "It was coming out of both ends." Sweet Jesus that's graphic.
  • But Superman did not let that slow him down. He too worked his ass off out there. (What little he had left.) Scoring two goals, the first after fighting off Chris Wingert's arm's-all-over defense. The 2nd after a Nick Rimando error of the season candidate!
  • At some point during the first half my Italian friend Daniele said to me, "The goalkeeper [Rimando] does not look like he is on his game tonight." Rimando had just let an ordinary shot slip under his body and had to scramble to recover it. I had to agree that assessment, and in the 2nd half it got real bad as Rimando misplayed a ball at his feel and had to watch Ramirez snatch it away and walk it into the goal for 3-1 Minnesota lead. Its not often you see a goalkeeper of his quality have that bad of a game. But lets not pretend he is still young and spry either.
  • Speaking of goalkeepers, Minnesota's Shuttleworth - now dubbed Jebus Buttersworth - made 3 big saves that kept the team in the game. Best performance I have ever seen from a player I have publicly doubted many times. Great for him. It feels good to be proven wrong. Keep up the hard work.
  • Now Minnesota has to find a way to instill this level of confidence in Ibarra. He can be great if he gets his full steam engine rolling.
  • The really loud LOON sound over the PA system at the start of each half of home games is FANTASTIC!
  • The attendance number of 17,728 was a serious bummer. It was half of opening day attendance. I have no idea why it fell that far for Game 2 in MLS! And it was a perfect day for soccer outdoors. No excuses.
  • World Soccer Talk called this attendance the "biggest surprise" of the weekend. And they didn't mean in a good way.
  • Opponent RSL has now gone 13 games without a win. Oof.
  • Good: Shuttleworth, Kallman, Molino, Ramirez.
  • So-So: Warner, Ibson, Venegas, Theissen.
  • Bad: Calvo, Davis, Kadrii.

Post-game Media:

MN coach Adrian Heath plans to move recently acquired Sam Cronin and Marc Burch into the starting 11 immediately. By Megan Ryan for the Star Tribune.
  • Cronin for Ibson, and Burch for Davis. I feel that starting two guys in Cronin and Warner who play the exact same way is a pretty huge mistake in my book. It leaves the team without a midfielder to move the ball into the attack the way Ibson does. Booooooo. I would have Cronin taking Warner's place, not Ibson. We shall see.

Shuttleworth will start next week. By Ryan.

With .80 Points Per Game the Loons have put 4 teams beneath them:
  • .75 LA Galaxy
  • .75 Montreal Impact
  • .50 Philadelphia Union
  • .40 Real Salt Lake
(Dallas is the best in the league at 2.33 - Minnesota goes to Dallas next Saturday.)

MNUFC has also scored 10 goal, with just 3 other teams better in that key stat:
  • 13 Portland
  • 11 Atlanta
  • 11 Houston
(And look at it this way, the majority of Port and Atl's goals came against Minn!)

Very cool, from last week:


Where are we at on a new contract for the USA Women? This "negotiation" feels like it has been going on for YEARS! It probably has. By Andrew Das for the New York Times.



Schweinsteiger! New Chicago Fire signing Bastian Schweinsteiger got things off to a rip roaring start with his new team by scoring a goal in the 17th minute. In the end they tied 2-2 with Montreal in a wild finish.

Week 5 game analysis. By Matt Doyle for MLS/.

Top XI topics from the weekend in MLS. By Alexander Abnos for Sports Illustrated.

Bend It Like Bretos - Feeling Minnesota! [VIDEO] By Max Bretos of ESPN.

Vancouver finds better balance on the field and their attack comes to life. Long overdue. Can they maintain it now? By Iain MacIntyre for the Vancouver Province.

Week 5 Schedule/Results:
-Fri Mar 31
Toronto 0-0 Kansas City
Seattle 0-0 Atlanta
-Sat Apr 1
New York City 2-1 San Jose
Chicago 2-2 Montreal
Columbus 2-0 Orlando
DC 2-1 Philadelphia
Minnesota 4-2 Salt Lake
Houston 4-1 New York Red Bulls
Vancouver 4-2 LA
-Sun Apr 2
Portland 1-1 New England

A look at the top prospects throughout the MLS team's academy systems. By Will Parchman for MLS.



Semifinal Schedule/Results:
2nd Leg
-Tue Apr 4
Pachuca v Dallas (1-2) - 9pm CT on Univision Deportes + CONCACAF Facebook
-Wed Apr 5
Vancouver v Tigres (0-2) - 9pm CT on Univision Deportes, Galavision + CONCACAF Facebook



Denver and Dick's Sporting Good Park will be announced as the host of the Jun 8 World Cup qualifier v Trinidad + Tobago. By Mark Kiszla for the Denver Post.



Bobby Wood is apparently not hurt nearly as badly as a "herniated disc" would lead us to believe. He played 90 minutes for Hamburg on Sat and set up a goal. They won 2-1 v Koln.
  • Supposedly a mistranslation of German to English made it seem like he had a herniated disc when he did not. Again, apparently. Thanks to Phil for the feedback.

Matt Miazga is now a starter game-in and game-out for Vitesse in Netherlands. Great experience for him.


The Terrence Boyd + Darmstadt Tracker:
  • Results - Sat Apr 1 lost 4-0 Leipzig
  • Note - Boyd was on the bench but did not play.
  • Standings - Last place, 14 points below relegation playoff and 15 points from safety.
  • Up Next - Wed Apr 5 v Leverkusen


The Miguel Herrera + Tijuana Tracker:
  • Results - Sat Apr 1 tied 3-3 at Atlas
  • Note - Americans Orozco and Corona (set up a goal) went the full 90 while Arriola came in off the bench.
  • Standings - remian in 4th place, 4 points behind 1st after 11 of 17 games.
  • Up Next - Fri Apr 7 v America

BTW, in Liga MX the #1 team is now Toluca. But the top 8 (the playoff teams) are only separated by 6 points.


Biggest games this weekend in Europe's top leagues:
-Fri Mar 31
Hertha 1-3 Hoffenheim - stays at #5 v #4 moves up to #3
-Sat Apr 1
Napoli 1-1 Juventus - both remain #3 v #1
Liverpool 3-1 Everton - the Merseyside derby with Liv moving up to #3
Schalke 1-1 Dortmund - the Ruhr derby is a draw and Dort falls #3 to #4
-Sun Apr 2
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City - remains #6 v falls #3 to #4

Coming Up Mid-week:
-Tue Apr 4
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munchen - #3 v #1 (with 17 pts between them)
Barcelona v Sevilla - #2 v #4
Koln v Eintracht Frankfurt - #6 v #7
-Wed Apr 5
Chelsea v Manchester City - #1 v #4
Manchester United v Everton - #5 v #7


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


With 8 rounds left to go in the Scottish Premier League the race for the title is over - Celtic win again, their 6th in a row.
  • If you are a fan of any other team in Scotland you must get up every day knowing you have no chance of winning the championship - 0%. Sad.


TV show creators Bunim/Murray Productions who brought us the glory of The Real World, Road Rules, Project Runway and Keeping Up With the Kardashians are pitching a reality series on Pele. I kid you not!
  • Other gems include: Bad Girls Club, American Psychic Challenge, Dr Steve-O, Living Lohan, Mrs Eastwood + Company and Supreme Court of Comedy. Yeeeeeehaaaaaaw!

The Bird Is The Word


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