Saturday, July 30, 2011
This week the 2011-2012 Fixture Schedule for Serie A was released, and I have it laid out below for your reference (granted there may be some changes due to weather etc.)
The season starts in less then a month on the weekend of August 28, 2011 and will end on the weekend of May 13, 2012. I've highlighted some of the more interesting match-ups below.
Although these schedules are balanced in that each team plays each team twice, there are nuances involved especially for teams involved in the UEFA Champions League, such as Napoli, and Napoli's Owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, was less than pleased with the schedule:
Here's the schedule, good luck to all:
Weeks 1 & 20
August 28, 2011 – January 29, 2012
Weeks 2 & 21
September 11, 2011 – February 1, 2012
Weeks 3 & 22
September 18, 2011 – February 5, 2012
Weeks 4 & 23
September 21, 2011 – February 12, 2012
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Today the United States Soccer Federation announced that it had parted ways (fired) US Men's National Team Coach Bob Bradley. The Era of Bob Bradley began after the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany where the US failed to get out of their group. The poor showing in Germany resulted in Bruce Arena being fired and Bob Bradley being named interim coach, and then, in 2007, being named coach.
Those familiar with my opinion know that I'm not a big fan of Bob Bradley, never have been. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in 2007, pleased he coached the US to a Gold Cup finals victory and giving him a pass on the type of squad he had no choice but to take to the Copa America (anyone notice Mexico had to do the same thing this year thanks to FIFA player vacation rules?). It was the horrible losses to Brazil and Italy in the 2009 Confederations Cup group stage that turned me against Bradley, realizing he was not the guy to take the US to the next step in the world of international football. While many will remember Bradley for the US's win against Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals, it's those two group stage losses that are most representative of his tenure.
The sins of the Bradley tenure were clear for all to see: questionable roster decisions, conservative play, poor substitution decisions, poor defense, poor in match tactical decisions, lack of backbone in dealing with foreign clubs.
Soccer House should have given Bradley his walking papers after the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010; instead, they gave him a contract extension. Speculation that Bradley was out as US coach hit a high point again in June when the USMNT had a lackluster showing in the group stage of the Gold Cup and then lost, 4-2, to Mexico in the final.
US Soccer is set to make an announcement on Friday. Speculation is that Soccer House will announce the hiring of Jürgen Klinsmann as coach, that Soccer House had quietly taken the month since the embarrassing loss to Mexico to search for a coach and/or come to terms with Klinsmann. If that's what happened, I have to give Soccer House credit for doing so totally under the radar. Yes, US Soccer fan was distracted by the 2011 Women's World Cup finals in Germany, but let's be honest, it's still amazing that such could occur without any leak.
I suspect that Bob Bradley's firing was more a result of the United States falling to No. 30 in the most recent FIFA rankings, which were released on Wednesday. Say what you will about the rankings, but they are important to Soccer House (just as polls are important to the politicians who say they don't care about polls), and a 6 place drop in the rankings was more than Sunil Gulati and friends could stomach. If this is the case, Friday's announcement may concern the process by which Soccer House will go about its search for a new coach for the Men's National Team.
If my suspicion is correct, I ask Soccer House to show some guts and imagination by performing a broad and extensive search for a coach that has what it takes to push US Soccer forward.
On Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro, Neymar once again showed why he's one of the most talked about young Brazilian football players thanks to this beauty of a goal in the 26th minute that gave Santos an early 3-0 lead over Flamengo. Unfortunately for Santos, they ended up losing this offensive battle 4-5, with Ronaldinho picking up a hat trick for the visiting Flamengo, which managed to score three goals in the first half too. This was only Flamengo's second win at Vila Belmiro Stadium since 1976.
And See Also - Neymar . . . Copa Libertadores . . . Enough Said
Saturday, July 23, 2011
A few weeks ago Sgt. Scott Moore asked actress Mila Kunis to the Marine Ball in November via YouTube, at the prodding of Justin Timberlake Mila said yes. Mila's reply has since given other Marines the courage to copycat Sgt. Moore, with the most recent one being the video below whereby this young Marine named Eric Sears asks Alex Morgan from the United States Women's Soccer Team to attend the Marine Ball with him. Sears is a Corporal, works in supply, crucial to any fighting unit, and will be shipping out to Afghanistan later this year. To put some perspective on this, Corporal Sears was a tween 10 years ago when the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed on September 11th. Godspeed and return home safely Corporal.
As a man who is recently returned to the dating world, I could totally relate to Eric's manner and composure in the video. I'm from an Army family, but I don't look down at Marines, they're clearly some bad ass motherfuckers, but even a Marine is humbled by a good woman, and you can see that in the video. So, without further adieu, here is the video:
Here's a look at the 2009 Marine Ball:
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Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday night's 2011 Copa America semifinal between Venezula & Paraguay ended up being decided on penalty kicks, which Paraguay won, 5-3, but then the situation went south quick as a brawl erupted on the pitch.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Considering the response with which the fan response to the Landon Donovan goal against Algeria was met last summer during the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, not surprising that Abby Wambach's more than last minute goal against Brazil (and Ali Krieger's penalty shot) has received the same treatment.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
It was a roller coaster of a match in Dresden, Germany on Sunday July 10, 2011, when the United States and Brazil met in the quarterfinals of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.
It was an own goal, put into the net by Daiane, that gave the United States an early lead:
Then in controversial confluence of events, Rachel Buehler picked up a red card in the 65th minute, but after Hope Solo stopped a penalty kick taken by Cristiane, but, after an encroachment call, the penalty was retaken, and converted, by Marta:
The match stayed tied at 1-1 as regulation came to end. Marta picked up her second goal of the match, giving Brazil the lead, early in extra time:
The score remained 2-1 in favor of Brazil as the clock ticked off 120 minutes, but it was Abby Wambach who saved the United States with this header:
Thanks to Wambach's header, the math was sent to penalty kicks:
The United States will face France in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Brazil and the United States met in the Quarterfinals of the 2011 Women's World Cup (match is ongoing as I post this). No matter the result, it's this sequence of events that will be discussed and remembered the most:
Last night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, David Beckham did his best Jorge Espericueta imitation as he scored the game winner for L.A. Galaxy against Chicago Fire on this corner kick:
On Thursday, Espericueta scored on this corner kick for Mexico in the U-17 World Cup:
Friday, July 8, 2011
Last night in the semifinals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Mexico gave notice and fired a figurative shot across Soccer House's bow when Julio Gomez, head wrapped in gauze, scored the goal that gave Mexico the 3-2 win over Germany with the lovely bicycle kick shown in the video below.
The young German squad, which had knocked out the United States in a 4-0 victory during the Round of 16, took an early 2-1 lead, but then, in the 75th minute, Jorge Espericueta picked up the equalizer on an improbable corner kick (you can watch it in the second video below). Finally, in the 89th minute, Julio Gomez, who suffered a head wound earlier in the match during a collision with a German player, picked up the game winner, sending Mexico to the final, where they will face Uruguay.
After the beating that the Mexican senior squad gave the United States senior squad in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup final, Soccer House should be worried about its place in CONCACAF, past dominance means nothing if you allow it lead you to stagnancy, and, right now, Soccer House looks like a stagnant, scum covered bog when compared to the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación.