Sunday, May 29, 2011

UEFA Champions League - Twin Cities Style

His name is Tim Blotz, he's from Wisconsin, I've lived there, that explains it all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Winner of the 2011 Champions League is . . .

Nike is the kit sponsor for both Manchester United and Barcelona, and they're loving it (oh wait, that's McDonald's).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There Are Things On The Pitch

One of the things that sets soccer apart from the standard sports in America is the crowd atmosphere, often created by the supporter groups of the clubs. Want to experiment this summer? Go to an MLS match one night and an MLB game another night and compare how the fans at an MLS match create the atmosphere while the scoreboard at an MLB game tells fans when to clap and cheer.

Unfortunately, this enthusiasm can get out of hand and a bit dangerous, as seen in some recent incidents in Europe

In Sweden, a match between Malmo FF and Helsingborg on Tuesday was abandoned after either a flare or firecracker was thrown at Helsinborg goal keeper Par Hansson, and then a fan ran onto the pitch and attacked Hansson.

Meanwhile in the Romanian Cup on Wednesday, a firecracker was thrown at Dinamo Bucharest midfielder Elis Bakaj. Steaua Bucharest ended up winning the Cup.

And of course the obligatory David Beckham catching a pitch invader at the Neville Testimonial:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Visual History of ESPN & Soccer

Today was a day many people were looking forward to because today was the day that the long awaited book about ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, was released. I expect to receive my copy to review within this week, and since my focus tends to be soccer, I am interested in whether the book mentions anything about ESPN's coverage of the Beautiful Game. I wouldn't be surprised if the book doesn't mention soccer, after all, this book is more about the history of the people who made ESPN what it is today, but we'll see what it contains in its over 700 pages.

Until I get a chance to read the book for myself, figured now is a good time to take advantage of the fact that ESPN is a tv network and see what kind of visual history of ESPN and soccer that I can splice together - and not surprisingly, most of the clips are fairly recent.




circa 2008

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ryan Giggs Affair Gets Animated

Those animators in Taiwan are at it again, this time the present us with the news swirling around Ryan Giggs.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Episode 28 of The Zygo Soccer Report - Houston 2 - 2 New York

Houston Dynamo get a home draw against RedBull New York, 2-2, on Saturday May 21, 2011. This episode has post match audio from Tally Hall, Andre Hainault, and Dominic Kinnear, of course. Music featuring Kanye West, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, and Fitz and the Tantrums.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Goodbye Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo is leaving Milan after this season, which ends on Sunday. He's only 31, and considering it will be a free transfer it will be interesting to see where he lands, possibly at Juventus.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Match in Kenya Abandoned as Gor Mahia Fans React to Officiating Calls

On Wednesday, a Kenyan Premier League Top Eight match between Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars at the Nyayo National Stadium in Kenya was abandoned after 60 minutes when Gor Mahia fans, known as K'Ogalo Green Army, became incensed with two calls made by the referee and began throwing stones. Police fired tear gas in an effort to quell the crowd, but in the end at least an estimated 1 million in Kenyan Shillings of damage occurred to the stadium and the Ulinzi team bus.

Gor Mahia will most likely be fined for the actions of its fans, and it's not clear if the match will be replayed or handed to Ulinzi, who were winning 1-0 when the match was called off. The Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Committee will decide the punishment at a meeting on Friday. Already on the agenda for Friday's meeting, a February match that was called off because of Gor Mahia fans.

The officiating calls that got the Gor Mahia fans all riled up? A goal was disallowed for keeper obstruction and a handball.

Gor Mahia's next match is against Tusker this weekend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

[VIDEO] Interesting Trick Play on Free Kick

The video of this interesting free kick suggests that it's from a college soccer match; however, considering the video has a May 3, 2011 date stamp, my guess is that's from a high school soccer match. If you have information on the teams involved in this match, please feel free to share it in the comments section. If not, just enjoy the trickery used in this free kick.


Apparently this occurred in a match between Bryant and Conway High Schools in Arkansas.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is AS Roma Targeting Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan This Summer?

This Sunday is the last match-week in the 2010-2011 Serie A season but the fates of most of the Italian sides are already known. At the top of the table, Milan has secured the Scudetto while Inter and Napoli are assured spots in the Champions League. At the bottom of the table, Sampdoria, Brescia, and Bari will be relegated to Serie B for the 2011-2012 season. In the eternal city, Lazio still has a shot at a Champions League spot, but Roma, after a rocky season, needs to beat Sampdoria to guarantee a Europa League spot.

It's been a disappointing season for Roma, but the sale of the club to American Thomas R. DiBenedetto does mean that Roma could be very busy during this summer's transfer window. DiBenedetto, who also owns a stake in the Boston Red Sox, has indicated an interest in expanding the Roma brand across the United States; therefore, it's not surprising that Soccer Italia is reporting the rumor that Roma will be targeting two high profile American players this summer, Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley.

Landon Donovan currently plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS, but is no stranger to European club football. While Donovan had some lackluster stints in Germany's Bundesliga, during the spring of 2010 he impressed on a short loan to Everton in the EPL. With rumors that Marco Borriello, Mirko Vucinic, and Daniele De Rossi could be leaving Roma this summer, Landon Donovan could easily find playing time in Serie A next season alongside Francesco Totti.

Michael Bradley has been on loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach to Aston Villa, where he's seen very little playing time. Bradley could bring some physical play to Roma's midfield, which can use some talent upgrades, and be a potential replacement for the enforcer role once filled by French defender Philippe Mexes, who is apparently headed to Milan on a four year deal.

Keep in mind that Roma is looking to make some noise on the transfer market this summer, and that will include occasionally linking the club to certain high profile players for marketing reasons. Whether the rumor of Roma's interest in Donovan and Bradley is a marketing ploy or a serious attempt to bring a couple Americans to the Eternal City, we'll know the answer this summer.


Tuesday evening, the official MLS website published Greg Seltzer's interview with Thomas DiBenedetto, in which DiBenedetto confirmed Roma's interest in Donovan and Bradley.


The Americanization of Roma -- New York Times

DiBenedetto confirms Sabatini for Roma -- Boston Globe

Roma Interested In Signing Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley -- The Big Lead

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Player on Coach Violence: Jesus Corona Head-butts Sergio Martin

It's playoff time down in Mexico, so it's not surprising that passions are strong and tempers can flare, but that doesn't excuse the latest football incident of a player taking his anger out on an opposing coach. On Sunday May 15, 2011, Morelia beat Cruz Azul 3-0, giving them a 3-2 aggregate in the Clausura semifinals.

Skirmishes erupted after the match when a fan ran onto the pitch, and in the midst of the chaos on the pitch, Corona managed to head-butt Morelia assistant Coach Sergio Martin.

Another Trophy Dropped from a Bus in Europe - This Time in Amsterdam

This weekend Ajax matched to win the Eredivisie title with a 3-1 victory over FC Twente. The win enabled Ajax to jump ahead of FC Twente on the table and secure its 30th domestic title.

Subsequently, in a scened reminiscent of Real Madrid's post Copa del Rey victory, Maarten Stekelenburg dropped the Eredivisie trophy from the top of a bus. You would expect better from a goal keeper.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prostitute at Heart of French Soccer Scandal Now a Lingerie Model

In the months leading up to and during the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, the French National Team found itself and its players involved in numerous scandals. One of the most infamous of those scandals involved allegations that Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema, and Sidney Govou had sex with an underage prostitute. Since turning 18, said prostitute, Zahia Dehar, has had her pictures splashed all over the tabloids in Europe and has seemingly embraced the fame that has come with her role in the scandal. Dehar is now 19 years old and she has embarked on a new career as a lingerie model.

Related Stories:

Franck Ribery football scandal prostitute breaks her silence - The Telegraph

Soccer Player Ribery Charged in Underage Prostitution Case, AFP Reports - Bloomberg

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Red Card in 0 to 5 Seconds

This past week in the Japan's J-League, the match between Nagoya Grampus and Shimizu S-Pulse ended in an unremarkable 1-1 draw. What was remarkable about that match was that it only took 5 seconds for Grampus defender Takahiro Masukawa to get a red card.

I note that there is some dispute over whether this video depicts said teams and Masukawa. Nonetheless, it does show a player earning a quick red card. I'll rework this post if I get more accurate information concerning this dispute.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Cameras Turn On & The Brains Turn Off - Football Foolishness from Ibrahimovic & Klitschko

This weekend brought us some football related foolishness in front of the cameras.

First, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whilst celebrating Milan's clinching of the 2010-2011 Serie A Scudetto, decided it would be fun if he kicked his teammate, Antonio Cassano, while Cassano was being interviewed:

Meanwhile over in Germany, Wladimir Klitschko held a press conference as part of the run up to his fight with David Haye. Klitschko decided that with all the press around, it would be a good time to show off his football skills:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Breaking Bones in Major League Soccer - What do You Think?

For the third team in the two plus month old 2011 MLS Season a player has suffered a broken bone as a result of a tackle. This weekend it was Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake who broke his ankle during this tackle by Chivas USA's Marcos Mondaini:

This tackle induced injury comes on the heels of two other high profile incidents where tackles resulted in broken bones.

First there was Brian Mullan's tackle on Steve Zakuani on April 22nd:

And then 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira broke his ankle on April 23rd when he was tackled by Jonathan Leathers:

We know that Mullan was suspended for 10 games and that Leathers, who was not carded for the tackle, was not disciplined for his tackle. Mondaini received a red card but, as of this posting, the MLS disciplinary committee has yet to rule on whether he'll receive an any additional punishment for the tackle.

It's also important to point out that while Dejan Jakovic's recent tackle on Geoff Cameron did not result in any broken bones, the tackle was not all that different from Mullan's tackle on Zakuani, but Jakovic was not disciplined by the committee.

Not surprisingly, this recent string of tackles has resulted in a large amount of chatter amongst MLS fans and journalists who cover MLS, but nobody seems to have a good idea as to what MLS should do about these tackles.

So now it's your chance to use the comments section of this column to explain what you think MLS should do to prevent reckless tackles that result in broken bones in the future. Or, maybe you don't think MLS should do anything about this issue, if so, use the comments section to explain why you feel that way.

I'll wait about a week, see what people say, and then do a column about your responses and my thoughts on the matter. Please type freely and let's not get into flaming wars. All opinions are valid, because they are opinions.

Linesman Takes Out Livorno Coach Walter Novellino

On Friday, Livorno and Pescara squared off in Serie B at the Stadio Adriatico in Pescara, Italy. While both teams have had decent seasons and sit in the top half of the table, neither team has enough points to challenge for a promotion spot. That being said, Livorno coach Walter Novellino couldn't contain himself and he got too close to the sideline, resulting in his being run over by the linesman.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Crazy Latin American Night in Barranquilla with Pitch Invasion & Angry Goalkeeper

On Thursday May 5, 2011, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Atletico Junior and Jaguares Chiapas battled to a 3-3 draw that resulted in Jaguares advancing to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals on away goals.

After giving up three goals to Atletico Junior, Jaguares' coach, Jose Guadalupe Cruz, decided to pull his goalkeeper, Jorge Villalpando, whose errors were responsible for at least two of those goals. Villalpando did not take to kindly to this idea:

Shortly after that scuffle, a Junior fan decided to invade the pitch, this was not well received by Jagueres' Ricardo Esqueda:

The Dave Wilson School of Football: Run into the Box and Fall Over

A classic football skit from the British show "A Bit of Fry & Laurie." Yes, that is Hugh Laurie, who most Americans will recognize as the evil genius on the Fox show "House."

Bonus video - Lothar Matthus upset with Al Jazeera:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Armand Masimzhanov Banned for Life For Flying Tackle Assault

Armand Masimzhanov, who played for Kairat, has been banned for life by the Federation of football of Kazakhstan for this flying assault on Lokomotiv's Radmir Muksinov last month:

Mourinho & Ronaldo Throwing Funny Gang Signs at the Airport

The final Clasico of the 2010-2011 European club football season took place yesterday in Barcelona where Barcelona and Real Madrid battled to a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal. In the end, Barcelona beat Real Madrid with a 3-1 aggregate to advance to the Champions League Final, which will occur on Saturday May 28th at Wembley Stadium in London. Later today we'll find out whether it'll be Manchester United or Schalke 04 that will face Barcelona at Wembley. Manchester United currently leads that match up with its 2-0 victory at Schalke last week.

Yesterday's Clasico was not as entertaining as last week's Clasico where Messi picked up a brace, Pepe picked up a controversial red card, and Jose Mourinho was ejected from the technical area. Therefore, it's not surprising that the Spanish press has been focused on the interesting hand gestures that both Ronaldo and Mourinho made at the airport following yesterday's match. The hand gestures, which you can see in the video below, are not really funny gang signs, rather it is a Spanish hand gesture for: We got robbed. Funny that it was a couple guys from Portugal throwing this Spanish hand sign.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

AEK Athens Fans Riot at End of Greek Cup Final

Greek football fans are a fascinating lot, they bring a huge amount of passion to club matches and videos of the pyrotechnics uses by their Ultras tend to show up on sites like Deadspin and The Big Lead. Unfortunately, that passion can get a bit out of control, can get a bit ugly.

The dark side of Greek football passion was on display this weekend during the Greek Cup final when AEK Athens fans stormed the pitch with a minute left in the match. AEK fans attacked riot police, Atromitos players, and Atromitos fans. In addition, the rioting left a large amount of property damage in its wake, especially in the stadium where seats and advertising boards were ripped up.

The violence was not limited to the stadium though, AEK fans allegedly attacked Panathinaikos supporters in other parts of Athens.

The result? AEK beat Atromitos 3-0, with the goals coming from Nikos Liberopoulos, Nabil Baha, and Pantelis Kafes. It was AEK's 14th Cup victory.