Monday, June 05, 2017

Some Soccer News for Jun 5, 2017

It's Day 156 of 2017.

Real Madrid won its 3 UEFA Champions League Final in 4 years. I am not a fan, but man oh man are they good. You really have to give it up for them. Huge congrats.
  • This is their 12th European championship. Far and away the most of any team.
  • Zinedine Zidane the manager gets the job done in a big big way. By Sid Lowe for the Guardian.

Final results:
-Sat Jun 3
Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid


USMNT U20 team lost in the Quarterfinals of the World Cup, 2-1 by Venezuela.



-Sat Jun 3
Kansas City 3-0 Minnesota

My MNUFC Notes:
  • Game highlights [VIDEO] - if yer smart you will not watch this.
  • Let's begin with the good part: Minnesota fans snapped every ticket they could get their hands on and filled the section they were given to overflowing. And for only a few minutes late in the game when the score, futility, heat, early start to the day, and beer caught up to everyone did they ever slow down. And that was only for a moment. Then it was right back to full tilt boogie. Loud and proud. Well done.
  • Sadly this was pretty much what I feared we would see in Kansas City. Due to the lack of depth there were a lot of holes to fill, and after the injury to Ibarra the coach changed the formation and really hampered any chance the team had of competing.
  • To make things worse, the formation the coach changed to was the same one they used in games 1,2 and 4 when they got hammered into the dirt. (Actually fake turf in games 1 and 3, and snow + fake turf in game 2.)
  • That formation involved 3 central holding/defensive/linking midfielders. You only need 2 players for this area of the field, so using 3 is kinda like playing with 10 men, except its worse. Because those 3 are confused as to who has what responsibility. "Do you have that guy, or do I? Are going forward? No? You are dropping back? OK, well then I guess I will go forward. How about him, who is marking him now? Which side of the field?" etc etc etc ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
  • No Calvo, no Cronin, no JVenegas, then no Ibarra. Yeah its ugly.
  • Ibarra suffered some sort of lower leg injury. I think its an injury to his calf.
  • I know playing at KC is almost a no-win situation. They rarely give up points at home. So maybe I should just stop right here and drop it. Just let it go. Forget about it. Move on. But you know me, there is no way I can do that.
  • So here we go.
  • KC got there payback. They were embarrassed by losing 2-0 in Minnesota a month ago. So they were motivated.
  • MN had managed to keep the game scoreless until into first half stoppage time and then gave up one of the worst goals I have seen all season.
  • The whole team just seemed to stop playing in unison leaving Ike Opara, a centerback, to waltz to the top of the box and then just pass a shot into the open net, while no Minnesota player tried to stop it. Literally, no one even lunged or dove or anything.
  • (You could actually say this about all 3 KC goals. Every MN player standing around watching.)
  • The second half started and KC smelled blood and grabbed goal #2. It was over then.
  • But Minnesota, with Kadrii on the field meekly attempted a comeback. He and Ramirez actually combined, and drew Ibson and Thiessen into the game. Davis came in a few minutes after that and at least pushed forward.
  • KC was in full defensive wall mode though and only 2 or 3 real chances materialized for the Loons with none of them forcing a great save.
  • Sporting hit them on the counter for goal 3 and the journey toward the dark side was complete.
  • Shuttleworth made a couple good saves and horribly watch the 1st goal go in.
  • Kallman was named captain, nice, but couldn't rally the troops.
  • Burch appears to not have much in the tank right now.
  • Warner was just plain bad.
  • Same with Jome.
  • Ramirez had no service, so he wasn't involved much at all. His few attempts were weak.
  • And Schuller came on for Ibarra in the 8th minute, and ... boy oh boy don't get me started on Schuller. WTF? Did he make more than 1 forward pass? Yes he did. 6 out of 57 passes.
  • I kept wondering all game when Molino was going to show up. He must have missed the flight.
  • A lot of guys just booted the ball up field when they got it, and gave it right back to KC.
  • MN had 7 shots total. 1 on goal. This is getting worse every game. You know why? Because other teams do scouting, and they have MN figured out, and MN has no plan B except retreat into a shell and get smoked.
  • On many of the few times MN did get into the attack they whipped in crosses that were easily cleared by Opara who is literally the best leaper in all of MLS and OWNS the air in front of there goal. Who thought those crosses might lead to something?
  • Actually, besides shots and corners the stats were pretty even. It just that KC's numbers seemed to me made of something much tougher and more durable.
  • When I think back on it, KC wasn't exactly great on Saturday. They were a little better then average, yet barely tested.
  • Minn has only scored 2 goals in the last 3 games.
  • And finally, the "missing players" excuse doesn't work, cuz KC had guys out too.

Coach Adrian Heath to media after the game: "Outfought, outplayed, outrun. No desire. No enthusiasm." All correct. But he forgot to add "Outrostered and outcoached," too. I don't think its right to publicly put all the blame on the players with this team


Up Next:
-Wed Jun 14
Sporting Kansas City v Minnesota United - 7:30pm CT.
  • Back to Kansas City for the US Open Cup.
  • KC will roll out a very similar line up to what we saw on the field at the end of the game.

My new article for 1500ESPN: Former NASL players having big impact on MNUFC MLS roster.


My recommendation for watching the 2 USMNT World Cup qualifiers in the Twin Cities, Thu + Sun, is Town Hall Brewery in Seven Corners, Minneapolis.



My USMNT Notes:
  • It was not easy for me to watch this game. I was out on the town in Kansas City and there were a lot of people around to socialize with. So I did that more than watching.
  • I watched at the Peanut bar on 9th St in KC. I love this place. Thanks to Graham for taking me there several years ago. Not great TVs or site lines, but we had fun.
  • One thing I did notice - for a friendly it was played at a frantic pace late in the game. Which was fantastic.
  • That kid Pulisic just keeps getting better.
  • Villafana might be better than I give him credit for. I will save my judgements now for the next two games. Huge for him.
  • I don't think I missed much else by being so distracted.

Bruce Arena gives his assessment of the game. By Jeff Carlisle for ESPNFC.
  • I think he needs the Iron Skillet Method to clean up the set pieces

Friendly Result:
-Sat Jun 3
USA 1-1 Venezuela - USA goal by Christian Pulisic. Ven goal by Jose Velazquez.

Next Up - 2 HUGE World Cup qualifiers:
-Thu Jun 8
USA v T+T - 6:50pm CT on FS1
Denver CO
-Sun Jun 11
Mexico v USA - 7:30pm CT on FS1
Mexico City DF

USA Roster (26 players):
  • G: Brad Guzan - Atlanta United, Ethan Horvath - Club Brugge, Tim Howard - Colorado Rapids, Nick Rimando - Real Salt Lake
  • D: DaMarcus Beasley - Houston Dynamo, Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City, John Brooks - Hertha Berlin, Geoff Cameron - Stoke City, Timothy Chandler - Eintracht Frankfurt, Omar Gonzalez - Pachuca, Matt Hedges - Dallas, Tim Ream - Fulham, Jorge Villafana - Santos Laguna, DeAndre Yedlin - Newcastle, Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City
  • M: Kellyn Acosta - Dallas, Paul Arriola - Tijuana, Alejandro Bedoya - Philadelphia Union, Michael Bradley - Toronto, Fabian Johnson - Borussia Moenchengladbach, Dax McCarty - Chicago Fire, Darlington Nagbe - Portland Timbers, Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund
  • F: Jozy Altidore - Toronto, Clint Dempsey - Seattle Sounders, Jordan Morris - Seattle Sounders, Bobby Wood - Hamburg
  • C: Bruce Arena

2009 Flashback - Game highlights from the WC qualifier in Mexico City, the last time I was at the Azteca stadium. Quite the memorable day. [VIDEO] Attendance was a staggering 104,499

USMNT lineup for that game:
  • G: Howard
  • D: Cherundolo Onyewu DeMerit Bocanegra
  • M: Donovan Bradley Clark Dempsey
  • F: Ching Davies
  • S: Holden, Feilhaber, Altidore
  • C: Bradley

The USMNT Gold Cup 40 player preliminary roster is out. From US Soccer.
  • It will be trimmed to 23 at some point.
  • I saw the list and said to myself, "Who the hell is Kenny Saief?" Never heard of him.
  • Turns out Saief is 23 year old American-Israeli left footed wide midfielder who plays for Gent in Belgium.
  • He has played for Israel national teams at the youth and senior level, but only in friendlies, so he will need to file a request to transfer to the USA and that move would be permanent.
  • The other real surprise is the exclusion of Danny Williams. I thought he might be in for the WC games, but no Gold Cup either? Huh.


  • Samantha Kerr of Sky Blue named NWSL Player Of The Month for May
  • Nemanja Nikolic of Chicago Fire named MLS Player Of The Month for May
  • Zach Steinberger of Jacksonville Armada named NASL Player Of The Month for May



My MLS Notes:
  • Toronto just got smoked by New England! The mysteries of MLS will never cease to exist. Thankfully.
  • And how about the beating Dallas put on Real Salt Lake. Wow.
  • Horrible week for RSL with a 5-1 and 6-2 loss on their trip through Texas.
  • RSL coach Mike Petke: "I've never been a part of anything like this."
  • Colorado got a win. Good for them. Still really bad though.
  • Orlando held on for a tie at home against Chicago even though 2 of their players got ejected.
  • Will Bruin got revenge on Houston for dumping him by scoring the game's only goal for Seattle.
  • I didn't see a single minute of it, but I bet DC + LA was a horrible game.
  • DC played 2 games last week and didn't score in either.

  • MLS XI for Week 14. By Alexander Abnos for Sports Illustrated.
  • 6 takeaways from Week 14. By Caitlin Murray for Fox Sports.
  • The full analysis of Week 14. By Matt Doyle for MLS.

Week 14 results:
(15 games)
-Wed May 31
Columbus 3-0 Seattle
New York City 2-2 New England
Orlando 2-0 DC
Houston 5-1 Salt Lake
-Fri Jun 2
Portland 2-0 San Jose
-Sat Jun 3
New York City 2-1 Philadelphia
Kansas City 3-0 Minnesota
Vancouver 3-1 Atlanta
DC 0-0 LA
New England 3-0 Toronto
Montreal 1-0 New York RB
Dallas 6-2 Salt Lake
Colorado 2-1 Columbus
-Sun Jun 4
Orlando 0-0 Chicago
Seattle 1-0 Houston

43 goals in 15 games = 2.9 goals per game - decent, but not good enough. Try harder.

Week 15
(I loudly BOOOOOOOOOOOO all 6 of these teams for playing during the International break)
-Sat Jun 10
Chicago v Atlanta
Kansas City v Montreal
Portland v Dallas


Men's U20 World Cup - South Korea

And the USA is out. I did not see the game. All accounts said they were outplayed. But it was still scoreless after 90 minutes. All 3 goals scored in Added Extra Time.

Quarterfinal Results:
Portugal 2-2 Uruguay - Uru advance 5-4 on penalties
Venezuela 2-1 USA - USA goal by Jeremy Ebobisse
Italy 3-2 Zambia
Mexico 0-1 England

Semifinal Schedule:
-Thu Jun 8
Italy v England
Uruguay v Venezuela

-Sun Jun 11

The tournament.


My soccer columns for 1500ESPN.

The Bird Is The Word


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