Saturday, May 29, 2010
It's Saturday once again, which means it's time for some videos. Before we get to the videos though, don't forget Turkey plays US in Philadelphia at 12:30 central time on ESPN2. Meanwhile, tonight at 7:30, the Houston Dynamo will be hosting Philadelphia Union at Robertson Field in Houston.
Tuesday wasn't a great night for the US team, dropping a friendly, 4-2, to Czech Republic. Here's some of Bob Bradley's post match presser:
The 23 man roster has been announced, and this past week the team paid a visit to The White House:
Part 1 of The Everton Experience (I think The Everton Experiment is a better title):
Brian Ching discusses getting left off the US World Cup roster:
Now that winter is gone - Gardening Tips from Kige Ramsey:
Yeah, it's a little old, but The Beaver Song is timeless:
Thursday, May 27, 2010
My take on Bob Bradley's moronic decision to leave Brian Ching off the 23 man roster and my take on the rest of the roster, along with audio from Brian Ching and Dominic Kinnear.
Featured music from 2Pac, Public Enemy, Wale, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, & NWA.
On Tuesday night, Craig Waibel joined the guys on The Orange Slice to discuss this weekend's fundraiser - "Bald is Beautiful" - to help raise money to fight childhood cancer. More information on this event can be found at - http://nicksteam.com/ and at http://www.houstondynamo.com.
The Orange Slice airs every Tuesday night, 7 to 9 central, on 1560 The Game in Houston, Texas, and streams over the internet at http://www.1560theGame.com/
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Houston Dynamo bounced back from their loss at Real Salt Lake last Thursday by beating D.C. United 2-0 on Saturday night. Danny Cruz got his first goal of his MLS career with the game winner in the 10th minute, and he picked up an assist on Dominic Oduro's goal in the 55th minute. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Tally Hall had his first MLS start and his first MLS clean sheet. On the whole, the Dynamo had a solid win over an unfortunate D.C. United side that picked up its 8th loss of the 2010 MLS season.
Here's some post match video from the Houston Dynamo locker room, thanks to Erin Dutka:
Here's video of Danny Cruz's first MLS goal:
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Today is a big day in Europe, the last real big club match of the 2009-2010 season as Inter and Bayern Munich meet in the EUFA Champions League final on Fox today at 1:30 central time (yes, that's FOX - not FSC, not FSN, not FX, but FOX). Tonight at 7:00 central time, the Houston Dynamo will host DC United at Robertson Stadium. Tickets are still available and the match will be aired on Galavision. Now for the videos:
The New Nike Commercial(full length):
Some video from USMNT Camp:
What would a video column be without the funny?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years.
As most of you know, on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, the United States and England will meet for the first time in the World Cup finals since the US beat England 1-0 at Estádio Independência in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1950. The June 12th match with England is arguably the most anticipated World Cup finals match in America since the US and Mexico faced each other in the Round of Sixteen during the 2002 World Cup finals.
Let's be honest here folks, since the World Cup finals were held in the US in 1994 two primary branches of football fans have developed in the US. To be clear, the type of football fan I'm talking about here is not an American who is an immigrant or a first generation American who grew up in a household where allegiance to the parents' national team was fostered. I'm talking about someone more akin to myself, someone who's family has been in the US for several generations and who discovered the game outside of the sphere of his/her ethnic background.
Since 1994,the growth of the internet and News Corp.'s ventures into sports broadcasting in the US, access to the English Premier League has grown exponentially. In turn, this growth of access to the EPL has resulted in a large following amongst Americans with no real connection to England. The end result being that a substantial number of American born football fans now support England's National Team over the US National Team.
Meanwhile, between the growth of Major League Soccer and the constant presence of the US National Team in the World Cup picture since 1990, a small, but vocal, group of ardent US football fans has developed in the States. The majority of these US fans are not ignorant of the game as it is played in Europe, Mexico, or South America, and while they may support foreign club teams, their heart is with the US National Team. These fans wholeheartedly support the US National Team in friendlies, tournaments, World Cup qualifiers, and, of course, the World Cup finals.
During this period of parallel growth between these two branches of US football fans, there has been some heckling, some ribbing, some light verbal jabs between the two groups, but since the senior England and US squads have not faced off in a meaningful game during this period, there has been no real cause for truly hard feelings, at least when it comes to the national teams (this piece isn't about the EPL v. MLS debate).
Since early December, when the World Cup draw occurred and the match between the US and England was announced, the tension between US fans and American England fans has grown steadily. Arguments between these two camps have popped up in bars, in blogs, on Twitter, on podcasts, and on various social networking sites, and of course that red light district known as Big Soccer.
I'm not here to argue one side over the other. I'm not here to convert those I disagree with to the side I support.
No, I'm here to ask a simple question - "Does it really matter?"
Lets face it folks, if we're totally and completely honest with ourselves, it's highly unlikely that either England or the US will be lifting the World Cup Trophy in Johannesburg on Sunday July 11th.
Since 1990, the US National Team has never been consistent when it comes to the World Cup finals. The US experience in the World Cup has tended to be horrid runs in 1990, 1998, and 2006, punctuated by a decent run in 1994 and a good run in 2002. Going into South Africa 2010, much of the talk about the US squad has focused on the match fitness of players coming back from injury and the lack of depth up front. While I don't doubt that the 23 players who will end up in South Africa would love to raise that trophy, the message from US Soccer, including the players, is that a good Cup run means getting out of the group stage. In other words, realistic expectations at Soccer House in Chicago and at the camp in Princeton are not overly optimistic.
While there are some seriously deluded US fans out there, they're clearly outnumbered by the seriously deluded England fans on both sides of the Atlantic. It's somewhat understandable in that England, the fist nation to organize the game of football (note I don't buy into the England creation theory), can still boast one of the biggest football club leagues in the world (while the club leagues of Cricket and Rugby thrive more in the old Commonwealth of England). However, this view is very myopic since it fails to recognize the fact that the top clubs in the EPL are full of non-English players. Yes, there are some English players at Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool, and less then some at Arsenal, who are on the England squad, those clubs rely heavily on non-English talent, and representation of those clubs on the England squad appears to be outnumbered by players from club teams lower on the EPL table. I will concede that Tottenham Hotspur's presence in the top four after this season gives a little more hope to England fans going into South Africa 2010, but do you really want to rely on Spurs players when it comes to The Cup? Despite England's prominence in the early history of the Beautiful Game, the reality is, on the Big Stage, on a global scale, England is good, but not great.
So what's my point? Another question - "Does it matter?"
Does it really matter if you're an American who will be supporting the US or England on June 12th?
Odds are, if you head out to your local/favorite football bar or pub on June 12th, there will be US fans there and there will be American England fans there. There's no real reason to get mad at each other, to argue, to fight. Light ribbing and insults are fine, but in the end, what we really should be rooting for is a good, entertaining match between the US and England. The kind of match that might just grow the game a little more here in the States.
You want a solution from me? Here's my solution in the end - the supporters of the side that win the US - England match buy a round for the the supporters of the side that lose (everyone buys their own drinks if it's a draw.)
Curt Onalfo, coach of DC United, joined the Orange Slice on 1560 The Game for a segment this past Tuesday night. The Orange Slice airs every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 central time and can be heard online at http://www.1560thegame.com/
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Was watching the premier of The Hangover on HBO tonight, in the end credits I noticed that Bradley Cooper was giving Double Rods, I think he's a member of 1560 The Game's Secret Society.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Brian Ching was on this past Tuesday night's episode of The Orange Slice on 1560 The Game. The Orange Slice airs every Tuesday night, 7-9 central time, if you don't live in Houston you can stream it online at 1560 The Game's website.
Monday, May 10, 2010
It's 2010, it's a FIFA World Cup finals year, and, we must admit, the beautiful game has a higher profile in the United States than it ever has since appearing in Italia '90. Granted, we said that in 2006 and we'll be saying the same thing in 2014, hopefully, since there's still plenty of room for soccer to raise its profile in the United States, but that being said, it's been a good 4 years since the US National Team was knocked out of the group stage in Germany 2006.
Since that inglorious showing in Germany, the US National Team went on to win the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and beat European Champions, Spain, in the Semi-Finals of the Confederations Cup in 2009. Additionally, American players like Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan, etc. have managed to find playing time, with mixed results, in European clubs.
Speaking of the club side of the sport, the past four years have seen interesting developments in Major League Soccer. Since 2006, MLS has expanded to Toronto, San Jose, Seattle, and Philadelphia, with plans to expand to Vancouver, Portland, and Montreal. Of course, the expansion to San Jose was like NFL expansion to Cleveland since the old San Jose team had relocated to Houston prior to 2006. In January 2007, MLS announced the creation of the designated player rule, a/k/a the Beckham Rule, as it announced that England National player David Beckham would be joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in July, after wrapping up the season at Real Madrid. Since 2007, the DP Rule has been expanded and the prospect of French National player Thierry Henry joining MLS after the World Cup finals is something the European press is already talking about. Finally, let's not forget the growth in soccer specific stadiums here in the United States, in a few years, only Seattle, New England, and D.C. United won't have soccer specific stadiums, with Seattle and New England being special cases cause of their relationships to the local NFL teams whose stadiums they share.
Meanwhile, since Germany 2006, the popularity of European club football has grown in the United States too. Fox Soccer Channel has seen its ratings for English Premier League matches grow to the extent that ESPN has teamed up with FSC so that it can air at least one EPL match a week. ESPN also developed a similar arrangement with GolTV so that it can air choice La Liga matches. But it's not all peace and harmony amongst the big US sports networks, ESPN saw good ratings from its coverage of the UEFA Champions League, only to lose the competition to Fox Sports, which has been using its network of regional sports stations to push the competition. On May 22nd, for the first time ever, the EUFA Champions League Final will be aired on national network television in the United States when it is broadcast live on the flagship FOX Broadcasting Company.
What's also interesting is that in the past four years it seems that two main cliques have developed among soccer fans in the US: the Eurosnobs and the American soccer fans. To be honest, for some time now, I've felt that the conflict between these two groups has been a bit contrived, a bit shallow,and while I know this fissure is not the result of some conspiracy by the soccer hating American sport fan, like Jim Rome, it does remind me of how the US Government placed the Hopi Indian Reservation so that it was surrounded by the Navajo Indian Reservation, meaning that the two tribes would focus on bickering with each other instead of teaming up against the federalies.
I for one am getting tired of the bickering between these cliques, and I want to nip this in the bud before the United States and England square off in South Africa on June 12th.
To those of you who find yourself, or put yourself, in the Eurosnob camp, fine, I can understand your desire to spend your soccer viewing time watching some of the best players, best club sides, and best leagues in the world. Heck, I watch as much or more EPL, Serie A, and FMF as I do MLS. As it stands, I'm anxious about Sunday's matches in Serie A, can the stars align giving Roma the Scudetto? And that's kind of my point, the majority of us who follow MLS and the United States National Team, and who are honest with ourselves, know that MLS is not one of the best leagues in the world. We know the quality of play needs to be improved, we know that youth development needs to be improved, and we know that, as it stands, MLS is a feeder league. We know that MLS has bizarre rules that hamstring teams in bringing in high-quality, foreign talent. As for the US National Team, we know it's not the best in the world, we know it will take a miracle and a bunch of luck for them to win the World Cup anytime soon, and we know that the power structure at USSF is a governor on the speed at which the national team will develop.
While MLS is not a top tier league in the world of club football, we can't deny the fact that clubs in EPL, La Liga, and Serie A have been grappling with serious financial issues these past few years. The MLS economic policy might not be a good deal for these top European leagues, but as James Lawton recently pointed out in The Independent, it might be a good idea for EPL to follow the NFL's lead when it comes to finances.
So, my request to you, you so-called Eurosnobs, for this summer is just relax, this isn't a battle of whose is bigger. Most of us know the score, we know the reality, no need to bash those who follow MLS or USMNT. Why would you want to emulate those in the US who ignorantly bash soccer in general with no regard to where or at what level the game is played?
As for you American soccer fans out there, let me tell you story. Over ten years ago I moved from Texas to Wisconsin. While living in Wisconsin, I was constantly accosted by Curling fans trying to recruit me to their sport. I'll be honest, the religiousesque ferocity that they threw into this recruitment turned me off and, for the most part, I steered clear of curling. Since then, I've watched it in the Winter Olympics and have grown to appreciate the sport. I regret that I never took the opportunity to learn the game while living in north central Wisconsin, but I also regret that the fans of the sport approached me as if they were attempting to convert me to another religion.
Let's face it American soccer fans, y'all can be a little pushy sometimes, like evangelicals trying to convert those they deem as nonbelievers. Recently, Travis Rodgers was doing one of his weekly spots on the Sean & John Show on 1560 The Game in Houston and he pointed out that while he could appreciate soccer as a sport requiring high levels of skill, he gets turned off by American soccer fans why incessantly try to sell the game to him. Let's face it American soccer fans, we can be a little, nay, very overbearing at times in our efforts to convert people to the beautiful game.
So, my request to you, the American soccer fan, is to just chill and relax this summer. Yes the World Cup finals can be a good recruitment tool, but please use it properly. Don't demand that your non-soccer fan friends and co-workers watch the World Cup finals. Don't try to explain to them what they are missing, and why they're foolish for not watching these matches. Instead, take the soft approach. Politely invite your friends and co-workers to drink some beer while watching a match, if they say no, politely accept their response and walk away. Don't try to shove the sport down the throats of others, just open the door for them and politely let them to make the decision as to whether they want to walk through that door.
Additionally, American soccer fans don't demand that your so-called Eurosnob fans support the USMNT or even MLS for that matter. Don't accuse them of being traitors. Feel free to hang with them at the local bar during the World Cup matches, drink beer with them, and just enjoy the moment. At the end of the day, politely ask them if they want to see some local soccer for a cheap price, don't push them, they might just say yes.
Finally, I'm declaring a détente between the Eurosnobs and the American soccer fans. Give it a rest this summer, please. Accept your differences, move on, and agree to disagree. While y'all don't have to root for the same countries this summer, at the very least you can link arms and just display your love of the game, without trying to obnoxiously convert others to your way of thinking.
This could be a great summer for the beautiful game in the United States, please fans, don't shoot ourselves in the collective foot.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Poor Chivas USA just can't get a break when it comes to playing the Houston Dynamo. Last month, Chivas USA came to Houston looking to kick the Dynamo, who had just lost 0-2 at home to the L.A. Galaxy, while they were down. Unfortunately for Chivas, the Dynamo bounced back with a solid 3-0 victory. Saturday night, the Houston Dynamo paid their only visit to Chivas USA in LA, coming off a rough 1-0 loss at home to FC Dallas on Wednesday. Once again, Chivas wasn't able to overcome the Dynamo who picked up their first road victory of the 2010 MLS season.
Brad Davis set the tone for the match when he scored a beauty of a goal in the 4th minute, putting the ball over the head of Chivas keeper, Zach Thornton, who had come too far off the line to even think of making a save. In the 8th minute, Adrian Serioux picked up the second, and last, goal of the night when he headed in a corner kick from Brad Davis.
Credit to Chivas for not letting up during the entire match, but once again they were unable to break through the Dynamo's backline, which looked light-years better than it did this past Wednesday. In the end, Chivas only managed 2 shots on goal.
Here's some video highlights from the Chivas USA - Houston Dynamo match:
Up next for Houston is a visit to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy (Big Love), Utah on Thursday night. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7:00 pm central time.
The interesting story line of the weekend in MLS was the number of goals scored. Real Salt Lake, the Dynamo's next opponent, picked up a 3-0 home victory over Philadelphia Union. Los Angeles Galaxy went up to Seattle and pummeled the Sounders, 4-0. Landon Donovan finally picked up his first goal of the 2010 season, and for once, none of the LA goals came from Eddson Buddle. New England's offense showed up at Columbus, but so did the Crew's offense, end result was a 2-1 victory for the home side. Toronto managed a solid 4-1 victory over Chicago, while San Jose pulled off a 4-0 victory over RedBull New York. Finally, FC Dallas took advantage of the shambles that is DC United with a 1-0 victory in Frisco, Texas.
Galaxy's strong victory over Seattle puts them atop the table in the west and in the lead for the Supporter's Shield with 22 points. Seattle, a team picked by many to go far in the playoffs, sits at the bottom of the table in the west with 9 points. Over in the East, despite losing to San Jose, New York sits atop that table with 15 points and both Philadelphia Union and DC United share the bottom with only 3 points apiece on the season.
Meanwhile in Europe, the seasons are winding down and champions are being named. The big news today was Chelsea clinching the title in the English Premier League. The even better news for US Soccer fans is that Stuart Holden came off the bench in the 66th minute for Bolton in its 2-1 victory over Birmingham City.
Bundesliga also wrapped up its season this past weekend. In the end, Bayern Munich, who face Inter in the European Champions League final on May 22nd, picked up the German title. On the downside, Hertha Berlin were relegated, meaning Berlin won't be represented in Bundesliga next season.
There's still one match day left in France, but Marseille have already locked up the title in Ligue 1. This is Marseille's first title since the 1992-1993 season. Meanwhile, Charlie Davies did not suit up for Sochaux in its 0-2 loss to Bordeaux. We'll see if he suits up on Wednesday when Sochaux hosts Auxerre on Saturday in their last match of the season.
The title race is still not over in Spain, where Barcelona have a 1 point lead on Real Madrid. The 2010 La Liga season ends next Sunday, with Barcelona hosting Valladolid and Real Madrid visiting Malaga. Both of these opponents are hovering in the drop zone as they, and two other sides have 36 points. The only team assured of relegation is Xerez, which has 33 points.
Finally, it's still status quo in Italy as Serie A heads into its final match day next Sunday. Inter still holds a 2 point lead over Roma, but it was a rough day for both teams. Inter managed a 4-3 victory over a Chievo Verona squad that refused to give up and looked close to getting an equalizer to end the match 4-4. Roma took on a scrappy Cagliari that got the first goal in the 73rd minute. The Cagliari goal fired up the Roma offense and Francesco Totti picked up the equalizer in the 79th minute, after missing a sitter, and then converting a penalty kick in the 83rd minute. Next Sunday, Inter has to face a Siena squad headed to Serie B next season, but it's also a Siena squad with a close relationship with Inter's foe Juventus. Inter cannot take their match at Siena lightly. Meanwhile, Roma hosts Chievo Verona, and based on how the Flying Donkeys played against Inter today, Roma could have their hands full on Sunday.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Here's my thoughts on the Houston Dynamo's 1-0 loss to F.C. Dallas, other issues in US football, as well as Serie A and EPL. I might have mistakenly said that the last match day in EPL is on Saturday, it's on Sunday, apologizes.
Featured music this episode is all The Pixies.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
On Tuesday May 11, Bob Bradley and USSF have to submit their preliminary 30 man World Cup finals roster to FIFA. While those of us outside the team don't get to see the roster until it becomes public, the players getting called up typically find out several weeks in advance of the roster going public. There have been some hints, if you've looked closely, as to who has been called up, but the entire roster is still a mystery at this point.
So, for the heck of it, I've thrown together my prediction of who will make up the initial 30:
Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, & Marcus Hahnemann.
Jonathan Bornsein, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Heath Pearce, Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, & Oguchi Onyewu.
Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden, DaMarcus Beasley, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Jose Francisco Torres, Sacha Kljestan, & Alejandro Bedoya.
Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching, Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Eddie Johnson, & Robbie Findley.
Who's in your 30?
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Despite the rough loss at Chicago Fire last weekend and the PCL rupture suffered by Dynamo Midfielder Geoff Cameron, Coach Dominic Kinnear manages to field a side that picked up a strong victory over the Kansas City Wizards here in Houston on Saturday night. Meanwhile, in Italy, Inter maintains a 2 point lead over Roma in the Scudetto race with only two match days left in the season.
This week's episode features music from Baustelle, Jovanotti, Ligabue, and Shakira.