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Rick Kitchen

Soccer (or Football, if you prefer) in the US

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They're in the running for one of the expansion cities, including Miami and Minneapolis.  Miami is actually a given, but they have to build a new stadium to get approval and that isn't a sure thing (though having David Beckham as one of the owners is helpful).  Sacramento is working with the owners of the Sacramento Kings NBA team looking into building a new stadium that meets MLS requirements.  The first few games of this USL Pro season, they were playing at the Sacramento State football stadium and drawing almost 20,000 a game, but it had the wrong dimensions for soccer so they built a new stadium that only seats 8000 but they sold out all the rest of their games and set an attendance record for the league.

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Now that the men's WC has passed, the US ladies begin qualification for their WC tonight. Expect them to breeze through the tournament, with none of the drama that was present in 2010.

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The big question is how they, and the rest of the world, deals with the artificial turf in Canada (unless the lawsuit gets ruled in the players' favor).

 

Most of the players play regularly on turf. It's awful to watch at times.

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I've had to play on it. It's terrible and should be outlawed.

Oh, it's awful. Have you seen some of the turf burns that the plaintiffs are using in the turf lawsuit? We'd never see that shit on grass.

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Not to mention the ball runs weird on turf. You don't necessarily need to be technically sound if you can just out run everyone. 

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The bounce of the ball on turf is too unpredictable, the injury risk is much higher, the fast play of the pitch favors teams with speed over technical play, recovery is slower. [sarcasm]That sounds wonderful[/sarcasm]

 

Now I get that grass is not feasible in every part of the world. Countries with cold or hot climates can't sustain grass for long. In those situations, or if you're a brand new league trying to survive and turf fields are the only fields available, then I am less opposed to it. But when we're talking about the biggest sporting event for these ladies, it's unacceptable.

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The fact that FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Tournament are refusing to even comment or engage with the players on the turf issue is deeply disturbing.

 

I practiced on it long ago and far away, and it is awful.  It's slippery, it's a completely different game, and just taking an ordinary fall produced bruises that made my knee look like a demented grapefruit.

 

I can't believe it would really be THAT expensive.  Jeez, these women train for YEARS for this opportunity, some of them overcome significant personal hardship and put up with being ignored by their home countries.  Does FIFA really want to risk looking like a sexist bad guy, or having a career-ending injury for a legitmate superstar, like Christine Sinclair or Marta or Abby Wambach?  Come ON, guys!

Edited by SophiaD

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FIFA doesn't give a shit, as long as they are raking in the cash. The costs of installing grass has been estimated at anywhere between 3 and 6 million. That's a tiny fraction of the profit they made at the men's WC this year. FIFA says that's too expensive, but they had no problem with shelling out 27 million to make a self promoting film about themselves that was a total flop.

 

I have the perfect idea of what to do with that money- use it to get better refs. The one that was foisted on team USA tonight was so horribly biased against them. Guatemala had the freedom of Chicago to hack US players and not even get called for it, but the US would barely breathe on them and the whistle instantly came out.

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I have the perfect idea of what to do with that money- use it to get better refs. The one that was foisted on team USA tonight was so horribly biased against them. Guatemala had the freedom of Chicago to hack US players and not even get called for it, but the US would barely breathe on them and the whistle instantly came out.

 

I saw that, too.  They even, tactfully, addressed that in the after-game show.  Personally, I vote for grass AND better refs.  Not that anyone asked me.

 

Alex Morgan's ankle injury is inconclusive, so far, but she's going to get a scan. I hope she's okay for the WC. 

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I saw that, too.  They even, tactfully, addressed that in the after-game show.  Personally, I vote for grass AND better refs.  Not that anyone asked me.

 

Alex Morgan's ankle injury is inconclusive, so far, but she's going to get a scan. I hope she's okay for the WC. 

 

Morgan will be out 4-6 weeks. So she's done for qualification, but she should be back for the tournament in Brazil in December. At least there wasn't any further damage other than a sprain. I would hate for the nightmare 7 months she went through to happen again.

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Well, that looked a lot more like USA teams of old.  I did feel badly for Haiti, especially since they have had such a hard time gaining respect, not to mention dealing with earthquake aftermath.  I hope they rebound from this, and continue to build their program.

 

I enjoyed Tony DiCicco as a commentator as well - I have very fond memories of him from 1999.

 

The Haitian goalkeeper was an absolute warrior.  Those were some incredible saves that she made.

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Well, that looked a lot more like USA teams of old.  I did feel badly for Haiti, especially since they have had such a hard time gaining respect, not to mention dealing with earthquake aftermath.  I hope they rebound from this, and continue to build their program.

 

I enjoyed Tony DiCicco as a commentator as well - I have very fond memories of him from 1999.

 

The Haitian goalkeeper was an absolute warrior.  Those were some incredible saves that she made.

 

Haiti's problem's with regards to their team are nothing new. Hell, every team in CONCACAF with the exception of the US and more recently Canada are ignored, then given the bare bones when it's tournament time. A lot of that is the machismo attitude in the countries, but the federations just don't have the resources that the US has. Jamaica wouldn't have even played in this tournament were it not for Bob Marley's daughter helping them out.

 

But while the funding isn't there right now for Haiti, it sounds like Shek Borkowski has a long term plan in place for them, and I'll be interested in seeing what progress they've made in the next WC qualification. There's definitely potential in a couple of those players.

 

Even taking into consideration the strength of the opposition, and the fitness factor of the two sides, the US played their best match of the tournament so far. It took way too long for them to get going, but once this team gets going, they're hard to beat. The finishes by Lloyd and Klingenberg were world class. Great chest trap and volley by Lloyd, and Kling with a rocket that no keeper would have saved. Houston is lucky to have those two.

 

I cringed when I found out DiCicco was going to be doing commentary, but he did pretty well, aside from finding any reason to remind the viewers that he was the one who brought in players to his various teams. I guess my annoyance with him comes from the two NWSL game he did last year. He spent both matches kissing SkyBlue's ass even when they were getting outplayed the entire time.

 

I wish these qualifying tournaments weren't in such a short time. Fitness is going to be a huge factor in the semifinals, and the US has an overwhelming edge in that department. They probably have a bigger budget for ice baths than most of these countries have in one year, and I'm not kidding.

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Congratulations to USA and Costa Rica for punching their tickets to the WC and making the finals!  The Costa Rican GK is a beast.  Three saves out of three attempts.  Wow.

 

Really nice, precision ball movement from the US, although THREE shots off of the crossbar?  Plus the goal disallowed for being offsides?  Ouch. 

 

OTOH, Mexico seemed to be playing much more defensively than I'm used to seeing them play - anyone have any thoughts on their strategy for this game?

Edited by SophiaD
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Congratulations to USA and Costa Rica for punching their tickets to the WC and making the finals!  The Costa Rican GK is a beast.  Three saves out of three attempts.  Wow.

 

Really nice, precision ball movement from the US, although THREE shots off of the crossbar?  Plus the goal disallowed for being offsides?  Ouch. 

 

OTOH, Mexico seemed to be playing much more defensively than I'm used to seeing them play - anyone have any thoughts on their strategy for this game?

 

In all fairness, those were some awful PK's from T and T. I would have liked to have seen them get at least one, though. But Costa Rica took all of their kicks so well. And I was very impressed with Costa Rica the entire match. This is definitely a much improved side from previous tournaments.

 

After tonight, I am officially sold on keeping Wambach on the bench. The team was playing some of its best soccer until she came in. I could have done with fewer turnovers in the midfield, but that's a small complaint. Once Wambach entered, the US attack went straight to long balls to no one. That might work against overmatched minnows, but against the top teams like Germany, France, and Japan, it's not effective.

 

In my humble opinion, there is no player in the US better in big games and big moments than Carli Lloyd. There have been so many times over the last decade when the team needed a goal or a play to spark a goal, and she has delivered more than anyone else. Tonight was just another one of those moments. Knock on wood that she stays healthy and productive through next summer.

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The MLS Cup Playoffs are upon us. And for once, my New York Red Bulls won a playoff game at home

 

I'm not really a RB fan, but I can't stand DCU, so y'all have my full support in this round. Hopefully it'll be your Red Bulls against my Crew in the next round.

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I read this morning that the newly-announced Los Angeles team (name to be determined) is receiving financing from Vincent Tan, the Malaysian millionaire who owns Cardiff City.

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I read this morning that the newly-announced Los Angeles team (name to be determined) is receiving financing from Vincent Tan, the Malaysian millionaire who owns Cardiff City.

 

 

Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm and her husband Nomar Garciaparra are also part of the ownership group. Supposedly, the team's going to be called Los Angeles FC. They've already got the lafc.com website up.

 

In playoff news, the Red Bulls won a second playoff game at home. I don't even know what to say to that.

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In case anyone's not been paying attention, the draw for next year's WC was held today, and the US women fared about as well as the US men did in their draw.

 

The groups for next year, and the ranking of each team:

 

Group A:

Canada- 8

China- 14

Netherlands- 15

New Zealand- 19

 

Group B:

Germany- 2

Norway- 9

Thailand- 30

Ivory Coast- 64

 

Group C:

Japan- 3

Switzerland- 18

Ecuador- 49

Cameroon- 51

 

Group D:

USA- 1

Sweden- 5

Australia- 10

Nigeria- 35

 

Group E:

Brazil- 6

Spain- 16

South Korea- 17

Costa Rica- 40

 

Group F:

France- 4

England- 7

Mexico- 25

Colombia- 31

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USA v Australia is going to be epic!

 

Yes, it is. Even though the US has never lost to Australia, the Matildas are going to be a scary team to face first. With so many of them playing in the US for the last two years, they've gotten to learn many of our players' strengths and weaknesses, and they can match us physically and mentally. Add in a coach who has been successful at developing young players into international-caliber players, and this could get messy for the US.

 

I smell a rat at all the seeded teams being assigned their groups rather than being done by random draw. I get putting the host in Group A, but has there ever been a WC where the other seeds weren't randomly drawn? And the rather convenient result of Germany getting a easy group and the US getting the hardest group? It reeks of bullshit.

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I am so done with Hope Solo's bullshit. I don't give a shit how good she is, her antics are just a distraction at this point. Wearing the NT jersey is a privlege that she seems to think she's entitled to, and it's time to move on to a keeper that doesn't have those issues.

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Hope Solo's husband was DUIing while driving the US National Soccer team van, huh?

 

Yes, and it wasn't even a week after she got the DV charges dismissed. She just can't stay out of trouble, and now the team is faced with the possibility of having to start a very inexperienced keeper in June because of her nonsense. But some of the blame for that has to be laid at the feet of the coaches who kept playing her in meaningless friendlies instead of giving others some time in goal.

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The NBA's Sacramento Kings have announced that they are going to be part-owners of the Sacramento Republic FC, and now there are reports that the NFL's 49ers are going to become part owners, as well.  The team and the city are working hard to get Sacramento bumped up to the MLS.

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The NBA's Sacramento Kings have announced that they are going to be part-owners of the Sacramento Republic FC, and now there are reports that the NFL's 49ers are going to become part owners, as well.  The team and the city are working hard to get Sacramento bumped up to the MLS.

 

Considering what they've drawn for lower level soccer, It's easy to see why it would be an attractive market for MLS.

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Sacramento Republic was playing a friendly against UC Davis, there were multiple yellow cards issued against Republic players, and one of Republic's assistant coaches was ordered off the field.  Finally, Republic's coach, Preki, said enough was enough, and took his team off the field.

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I don't follow MLS, though I do have NYCFC's game on right now. I have two ideas, and I'd like some opinions from the experts . . . or, at least, from those who watch the game beyond the World Cup . . .

 

1. Proper Nicknames

 

Am I too ugly an American to want traditional American nicknames? Sure you have "Fire," "Crew" and Galaxy, non-plural names that are passable . . . but New York City Football Club? Real Salt Lake? Sporting Kansas City? By the way, I know that Red Bull New York was originally called "New York/New Jersey Metrostars," and that reeked of focus groups. Also, NYCFC isn't as odd as "Knicks" or "Mets."

 

2. Scoreless Ties

 

I like ESPN2's policy towards 0-0 draws . . . no highlights from those games during halftime. Would it be too much to expect a partial refund for games with no offense? Disclaimer . . . I do think of soccer/football as perhaps the fan-friendliest sport, given that a typical game is over in two hours.

 

Oh, and I would be going up to the bad Bronx (I'm a Mets fan, lapsed as I may be) to join NYCFC supporters in watching a game. Anybody up for joining me?

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Literally *all* the pro soccer clubs around the world are named like that. It's unique to the sport. MLS is trying to be part of the soccer world. What's wrong with Fire? There's the Quakes, Galaxy, Timbers, Sounders, Union. It's no different than Athletic Club Milan, Real Madrid, ManU Red Devils, Saints, Rangers. Barcelona doesn't even have a name. I think it's just FC. Typically, a lot of teams are just called The Red, The Blue, The Blancos. The shield logos and names are stylized. They're cool names. I'd rather it be like that than have a team like the Washington Redskins.

 

A 0-0 tie doesn't necessarily means there's no offense. You could have a ton of shots on both sides. I don't like them either, but I would suggest that they aren't the norm. I would wonder what percentage of games actually end 0-0. It happens, but I'm not sure it's a likely outcome. 

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I like traditional nicknames. And maybe you should get a free sandwich if you had to endure a 0-0 tie. Bear in mind, I'm an American . . . the NHL got rid of ties with shootouts, MLB and NBA games can go on forever with overtime, and draws are pretty rare in the NFL, let alone games with no scores. I think if an NFL game ended 0-0, the head coaches would probably commit hara-kiri on the 50-yard line.

 

One thing I'm learning from ESPN2's coverage (or at least the halftime show) are trademarks of MLS  However, as a comic geek, I'll think of this first whenever I see "Doop Doop Doop" associated with Philadelphia Union.

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What is 'traditional?' I suggest that Sporting KC or Real Salt Lake are traditional soccer club names. It's the same thing with the shield logos. New England is called the Revolution. I don't see how you can get more traditional than that. 

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Speaking of the names, I'm a little confused about the FC part of the team names in MLS. I don't follow MLS, but I do follow the EPL, Bundesliga, and La Liga. I mean FC usually stands for "Football Club" but in the US, people call it soccer, not football so calling something "____FC" is a bit odd to me. Is that just them just trying to be more like the clubs around the world? 

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That's my take. They're stylized names, and quite different than other sports. Even in Japan, for example, the Tokyo baseball team is called the Giants, but the soccer team is just FC Tokyo. 

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So apparently Dempsey lost his shit last night at the end of a game with shitty reffing. The Sounders ended the game with 7 men due to 3 red cards and an injury. Sounds pretty hairy but, man, you don't go off on the ref like that. You just don't!

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Especially if you're one of the faces of USA soccer. Save it for the post game and pay your fine. 

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Why did CONCACAF tear down the US Men's team fan group's banner?  Nobody is saying.  But the local police helped the fans to put it back up.

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