Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Monday

It's Memorial Day here in the United States, so before I get into a quick look at what happened in the world of footy over the weekend, I want to highlight how soccer can be used for good.

Earlier this month, Mitch Howard wrote an article for MLS Talk about U.S. Soldiers using soccer to foster partnership with Iraqi soldiers.

Meanwhile, a team from the Utah National Guard recently played a team from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guard, and the Brits won that match.

Here in Houston, Craig Waibel will have his Bald is Beautiful fund raiser before Saturday's match against Toronto FC. Proceeds will go to Nick's Team for children with cancer.

Houston Midfielder Brad Davis has started Brad's Brigade to help support military families.

Those of us in border States have a sense of the violence going on along the border and in border cities like Juarez. Soccer provided a small reprieve to the citizens of Mexico's murder capital as their team,Indios, made it into the 2009 Clausura semifinals against Pachuca. Indios came close to moving onto the Finals, but a late goal from Pachuca means that Pumas and Pachuca will face off for the title.

In a thrilling 3-2 victory over A.C. Milan at the San Siro, Roma secured its Europa League berth. Meanwhile, both Reggina and Lecce are headed back to Serie B next season. Bologna and Torino are on the cusp of relegation.

Sunday was the last day of matches in the English Premier League. Manchester United obtained the title last week, so it was the relegation battle that everyone was focusing on this weekend. The big news is that Newcastle United is getting relegated, along with Middlesbrough and West Bromwwich Albion. At the top of the table, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal are headed to the Champions League while Everton and Aston Villa will play in the new Europa League.

In Houston, the Dynamo destroyed the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1. Hear my report on an upcoming episode of MLS Talk.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Championship Weekend in European Football

The big news this past weekend was that three leagues crowned their 2008-09 title winners. Inter Milan earned its fourth straight Scudetto after Udinese beat A.C. Milan 2-1 on Saturday. For Jose Mourinho, this was his fifth championship in three leagues, and is the only coach to win both Serie A and the EPL. Considering how Manchester United booted Inter out of the UEFA Champions League this year, this Scudetto, the side's 17th, might feel a bit bittersweet for some of Inter's faithful.

Meanwhile in England, Manchester United sewed up it's 18th English top flight title (11 in the EPL and 7 in the old First Division) thanks to a 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Saturday. Finally, Barcelona FC locked up its 19th (some say 20th) La Liga championship thanks to Villarreal's victory over Real Madrid on Saturday. With their respective titles locked up, Manchester United and Barcelona can focus their attention solely on their May 27th meeting in Rome, Italy for the UEFA Champions League Final.

Here in the states, the Dynamo came close to beating RedBull New York on Saturday night, but Chris Wondolowski's goal in the 78th minute, the MLS's 7,000th goal, did not do it for the Dynamo thanks to John Wolyniec's equalizer in the 88th minute.

It's going to be an interesting summer in Italy as the coaching merry-go-round has already started spinning with Juventus' sacking of Claudio Ranieri on Monday.

Don't forget to check out the latest MLS Talk Podcast, and the latest episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A.

Be sure to check out the blog posts at Soucie on Soccer, there's some interesting ones on how to implement Promotion/Relegation into the MLS.

Some weekend video:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Soccer Day in America

Some links I wanted to share with y'all this weekend.

The U.S. Open Cup is one of the oldest cup competitions in the world,and here's a really good site devoted to the competition.

Thanks to the success of the Puerto Rico Islanders and Montreal Impact in the CONCACAF Champions League, the USL now has a higher profile and with that profile comes a new website devoted to USL News.

Also wanted to give some love to the other team in Houston, the PDL's Houston Leones. The Leones opened their season last weekend with a 1-1 draw against the Austin Aztex U23s. Tonight (5:00pm) the Leones host the DFW Tornado at the Soccer World Center in Richmond, Texas.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Dynamo & Serie A Preview

The Dynamo had a great 1-0 win over FC Dallas last Saturday night here in Houston. The winning goal came from Kei Kamara, with a nice assist to Stuart Holden who is really growing into his new leadership role with the squad. On Saturday night, the Texian Army unveiled their newest banner, the Angel of Death which you can see in the above picture. Thanks goes to Katy Umana who took said picture. My match report with audio from the Dynamo locker room and Dallas' Coach are available on the mid-week episode of MLS Talk.

Speaking of Dallas, if you haven't checked out the Dallas based podcast, Winning Ugly Radio, I recommend that you give it a listen. I'll be the guest panelist on the second episode of June.

This weekend the Dynamo travel to the Meadowlands to take on RedBull New York. We'll see if the Dynamo have exorcised their artificial turf hoodoo in their recent 2-0 victory over New England at Gillette Stadium the other week.

The penultimate penultimate weekend in Serie A is upon us and once again Inter has pretty much sewn up the Scudetto. They have 78 points, AC Milan has 71 points, you do the math, yes A.C. Milan could pick up 9 points, but is Inter really going to drop many points with three matches left? Meanwhile Genoa still has a shot at moving into 4th place, and Roma needs to pick up some points to ensure that they at least get to play in the new Europa League next season. The big fight is going to be at the relegation zone. Reggina still has the ability to pull out of the bottom spot and the relegation zone, but everything needs to break their way.

With the season winding down, time to look at what will be going on in Italy this summer. Once again we enter summer with the prospect of whether the Sensi Family and Italpetroli will sell their stake, or the bulk of it, in Roma. While Roma has denied some recent bid speculation, this week they have acknowledged that Swiss group has expressed a serious interest in the club. The Eternal City side's Gaffer is the position that while he won't be fired from Roma, he might quit . . . is he eyeing Juve?

Well, this will be an interesting footy weekend, hope you get to enjoy some live footy in your area.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Keeping United in D.C.

May 9, 2009 is Keep United in D.C. day.

Here's my article at MLS Talk.

Here's the march flier as posted on MatchFitUSA.

Also from MatchFitUSA, an interview with March Organizers.

And finally, La Barra Brava's website.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Dynamo Links

First things first, the Dynamo picked up their second one of the season, their first three points on the road, and their first win at Gillette Stadium by beating the New England Revolution on Sunday. Dynamo goals came from Stuart Holden and Brian Ching, while Pat Onstad enjoyed a clean sheet. Catch my report on this week's MLS Talk Podcast, due out on Tuesday night. In the meantime, here's the Houston Chronicle article on the Dynamo win.

This weekend the Houston Chronicle had more news about the potential Dynamo Stadium and the goal of moving into it for the 2011 season.

The stadium issue has also been addressed by WV Hooligan and Dynamo Planet.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Will Serie A Breakaway and form New League?

There's been a flurry of chatter lately about the prospect of the top clubs in Italy's Serie A taking a page from the EPL's playbook and forming a new top premier league of its own in Italy.

I'll be addressing this issue on the next episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A. In the meantime, here's an article from the BBC.