The Rakes of Mallow's Voice of the Supporters

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

Can anyone name me the only American sports tournament that, in its entire history gone without stopping? That means no strike, no war stoppage, no nothing, just a champion proclaimed every year.
The World Series? nope
US Open? nope
Stanley Cup? American sports tournament
Super Bowl? Surely you can't be serious

I am of course talking about the US Open Cup. Tonight at 10pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel the 96th edition of the Cup will put the Columbus Crew against the holders, the Seattle Sounders. While this tournament doesn't have much glitz, it is the one true piece of history American soccer possesses.

The USOC was stared in 1914 at the National Championship to American club soccer. The tournament covered all the soccer hotbeds of the country, from New York to Chicago to St. Louis. It never really had any participants come from south of Baltimore or beyond Kansas City until the past 50 years. Its winners include some of the greatest clubs in the world at the time including Bethlehem Steel FC and the Fall River Marksmen. Now you may tell me that there was no way these were the best clubs in the world, I say learn more about these clubs. Both toured Europe multiple times in their existence and only lost a combined three times, but I digress. This trophy embodies more of the Cup spirit than most domestic trophies. If you look at the winners engraved on the massive base, you see team names and places that don't exist anymore. It reminds you that nothing you see today will be permanent, but there will always be a memory somewhere that shows you it happened.

So if you aren't busy tonight, take the time to watch the US Open Cup; watch 30,000+ fans filter into Qwest Field and two teams take on each other. Watch a piece of history when you have a chance and enjoy it, you never know how many chances you get.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Your Soccer TV Weekend

Eintracht Frankfurt vs SC Freiburg 2:30 pm GolTV
Stoke City vs West Ham Utd 7:45 am ESPN2
Bayern Muchen vs. 1. FC Koln 9:30 am GolTV
Everton vs Newcastle Utd. 10 am FS+
Tottenham vs Wolverhampton 10 am FSC
Fiorentina vs Lazio 12 pm
Sunderland vs Arsenal 12:30 pm FSC
Sporting Gijón vs Athletic Bilbao 2 pm GolTV
AC Milan vs Catania 2:45 pm
Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid 4 pm GolTV
LA Galaxy vs DC United 10:30 pm FSC
Feyenoord vs Ajax 6:30 am
Manchester United vs Liverpool 8:30 am FS+
Udinese vs Juventus 9 am
Palermo vs Inter Milan 9 am
FC Sankt Pauli vs Hamburger SV 9:30 am GolTV
Chelsea vs Blackpool 11 am FSC
Atlético Madrid vs Barcelona 1 pm ESPN2

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The group stage of the UEFA Champions League always offers the opportunity to see Europe's elite match-up against lesser-known clubs. Now in my opinion there's nothing better after a long day of arduous classes than turning on the television for an exciting conclusion to the day's football and seeing Chelsea take on the Slovakian Corgoň League champions MŠK Žilina. It was truly a neck-and-neck affair. Chelsea only won by 3 goals.

In actuality a few compelling results took hold this week, the most significant of which involved Manchester United only taking a point at home against Rangers. Now, at one point in history, Rangers, along with their much more Irish-friendly Glasgow counterparts Celtic, were a powerful team, capable of winning European competition. In fact, only 3 years ago they were in the UEFA Cup Final. Sadly, Scottish soccer is nothing like it was in yesteryear. Rangers are in such financial turmoil that they have instituted a freeze on player transfers.  But even manager Walter Smith, with all these hindrances, has the sense to start Maurice Edu in an important game. Take that Bob Bradley.

Manchester United, for their part, aren't exactly in great financial shape either, but they have far more resources and compete in a much superior league than Rangers. In theory, the Red Devils should securely win this fixture when played at their breathtaking home ground Old Trafford. In fact, they shouldn't have trouble when they travel to the Ibrox in 2 months. Wayne Rooney should score a hat trick, and everything should be hunky dory in the merry old suburbs of Manchester.

Instead, Tuesday offered a frustrating encounter for Manchester United. Rooney, Chicharito, and the rest of whomever Sir Alex prodded onto the field failed to scare Rangers in a serious manner. Winger Antonio Valencia tore ligaments in his ankle and will miss most of the season. Rangers, for their part, rightfully earned the draw they sought and breathed new life into the England-Scotland rivalry. Manchester United, however, simply disappointed.

Man U's league play has been exciting but not dominant, as they have drawn their away matches against Fulham and Everton. Compared to Chelsea and Arsenal, who have seemed nearly unstoppable so far, Manchester United lacks their normal cohesively consistent domination. They appear unable to take hold of a match for the full 90, an issue that will punish any club.

This Sunday in the Premier League against equally unimpressive Liverpool, Manchester United can either join Chelsea and Arsenal as dominant English clubs or fall down the ladder among the mass of good-but-not-great teams in the EPL, like Manchester City, Tottenham, and Everton. This will be a huge match for Sir Alex's men. A win restores their confidence after a few disappointing results. A loss severely crushes their title hopes. Whatever happens, we're in for a thrill of a season as Manchester Untied, with impending retirements and transfers, begins a major transformation as a team.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your soccer TV Schedule for 9/15

UEFA Champions League:
2:45pm Žilina vs Chelsea (Channel 401)
2:45pm Real Madrid vs Ajax (Chanel 200/37)

Concacaf Champions League:
10:00 pm Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC (401)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Champions League returns today

Today Champions League returns.

No, not that Champions League

That Champions League. The Concacaf Champions League returns tonight featuring two American clubs. The Columbus Crew kick-off hosting one of Trinidad and Tobago's best clubs in Joe Public. This match kicks off at 8 pm tonight. The Crew are favorites, but the question is will they field a full side tonight. The Crew are competing on multiple fields. They are going for the Eastern Conference lead, and home advantage throughout the play-offs, the Supporters Shield, the US Open Cup, and of course the eventual goal of getting the MLS Cup. The Crew have always been prudent in international play though, so one should expect some youth players mixed into the lineup tonight.

Then there is the nightcap (10pm FSC) as Seattle Sounders FC travel down to take on Costa Rica giant Saprissa. This match is huge for the Sounders as since the miraculous group qualification, they have dropped two matched and need to take points in a place where not even the USA national team has ever gotten a point in. Expect Sigi to go for the full 3 points as Seattle looks to remove their quest for the Club World Cup from life support.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Irish finish weekend 3-1

It was a nearly perfect weekend for the soccer teams of Notre Dame. Both going up against nationally ranked teams in their respective tournaments. The men's team got the weekend going with a 2-0 victory against nationally ranked Drake. The Irish battered the Drake defense with large chunks of possession and over 30 shots. This constant battering came through as Steven Perry came through with a brace scoring the Irish's first goal of the season. This dominating performance by the Irish was a nice follow up to Cal Poly's upset of our rival Indiana just hours before at Alumni Stadium.

Meanwhile, the women were just short of a another victory against a top ranked opponent. While playing against #13 UCLA, the Irish seemed to struggle mightily throughout the first half, but ended it with a goal by Erica Iantorno. Inspired by the goals, the Irish came out with fire in the second to outplay the Bruins, but it was all for nothing sadly. The Bruins, like their male counterparts had done just a week before managed to parry an attacking Irish team. The Irish were then sent into overtime where UCLA got the Golden Goal.

Saturday came, and something happened, but in the end no one really remembers what. Something about one eyed quarterbacks, one man teams, and misery.

Returning to the pitch on Sunday, both the men's and women's teams, though 3 time zones apart, would play at the same time. The women played Loyola Marymount. Melissa Henderson scored in the second minute of the match. The team went on to dominate the lions and in the end wound up winning the match by Henderson's tally.

At Alumni Stadium, the men took advantage of a Cal Poly team that was a bit proud of their performance against the 6 time national championship on Friday. The first half went scoreless as both teams had their chances, but neither could convert in what seemed like a potential battle. As the Voice had previously pointed out, the Irish seemed to just be missing that extra inch to put the ball in net. And there was a worry among some fans that if Perry was the lone source of goals, what would happen if he went down with an injury. All these worries were flushed away when the flood gate opened in the 50th minute. The Irish continued to pass the ball around the box and the Mustangs packed it in making crosses extremely difficult to put in; but Cal Poly was not closing down that quickly on players at the top of the box. Defender Aaron Maund was the first to take advantage of this as he sent in an absolute scorcher from 20 yards out. This strike, if you ever get a chance to see it, watch. USA U-20 captain and Milk Cup MVP Dillon Powers decided to open his scoring account as well. As the pass from Jeb Brovsky settled at his feet, Power let a shot go. From behind the net one could see the Jubulani ball dance as it hit the ground and went in another direction to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. Then it was followed up by King's wicked strike from 35 yards out and Klazura's shot from 17 yards out and finally a goal by VanDeCasteele from a corner. Bringing the tally to 5-0. Coach Clark then made some changes to give individuals experience and the match settled down. Cal Poly did manage to draw one back in the 90th minute, but it could not help scale a now Everest of a lead.

Overall the Voice would say it was a good weekend for the Irish. The Women went 1-1 on their west coast tour. The loss was difficult, but it's not like it was against a truly weaker team. UCLA was #3 before losing last week, so they are expected to be very good. The Irish showed gusto getting back on the saddle and beating LMU. The Irish men, meanwhile, had pushed back after a shaky opening weekend to get their first win and goal on the season, all while winning the Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

Both Irish teams are due to play local rivals this weekend. We'll give our preview sometime later this week.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No Hex Means No Fun Before 2014

Allow me to introduce myself as Cameron Goodman, a mentally feeble freshman who still has hope that the San Jose Earthquakes can win MLS Cup 2010. That's right with Geovanni, Wondolowski, and Joe Cannon's broken foot, the Quakes are unstoppable, unless of course the other team uses this exotic tactic called defense. Well, that's enough about how I spend my Saturday nights.

Recently, news has surfaced that our ethical friends at CONCACAF are determined to eliminate the Hex from the the final round of World Cup Qualifying and replace it with two groups of four teams each. The winner of each group would qualify for Brazil 2014, while the runners-up would face each other in a playoff to the determine the third North American representative.

While I sympathize with the desire to give smaller teams like Jamaica, Canada, and Guatemala a greater chance to compete, I decry this proposal because it essentially guarantees that Mexico and the USA will be placed in separate groups and won't battle each other in the final round of World Cup Qualifying.

Honestly, what has been better over the past decade than chants of "dos a cero" echoing throughout the chilled confines of Columbus Crew Stadium or 110,000 fanatic Mexican fans causing Landon Donovan to go even balder. This is the rivalry of North America, and it has become one of the most impressive in the world. In an era where most players take the field for money and ego, the USA-Mexico rivalry involves pure national pride on the grandest scale.

Yes, I'm glad that the USA and Mexico are essentially guaranteed a spot in 2014, but without the thrill and challenge of playing each other, will they be adequately prepared to compete in Brazil?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mostly a good weekend for Irish Football

The weekend began with the women taking on #8 Santa Clara. The Irish took it to the visitors from California. They seemed to dominate possession and chances in the first half, and created a goal for the Irish. The second half had Santa Clara try to storm back to no avail as the weather took a turn and it began to pour. In Bloomington, from what reports say, the Irish outplayed #5 UCLA only to be beaten on a 1-0 scoreline. Their keeper stepped up and carried the Bruins to victory. Then Saturday came, Kelly coached and the Irish beat the Boilermakers. Then on Sunday, the women cruised to a 2-0 victory over Texas Tech in what seemed like a dominating performance. The team displayed excellent use of the wings as the fullbacks constantly overlapped with the wingers and forced Texas Tech into a defense mode. The victory sent the Irish to a 4-0-0 record. The men, however, weren't as lucky. Again the opposing keeper decided the match. This time it was #11 Cal's keeper stepping up and preventing chance after chance. The Irish seemed to play well defensively, but could not get that finish that they needed. They finished the match 0-0 2OT, and sent the men's record to 0-1-1.

The women's team has come out with strides and faced their what looks to be their toughest home match all year. As this blogger will be saying from here until they stop playing soccer this year, this team returns too much to not chase a title. The men's team faced the two favorites to the Pac-10 title and could not score, but then again neither could their opponents. The men play well on defense and play well going forward, there is just a lack in that little bit of magic it takes to beat a keeper. Remember, this team remains very dangerous even without taking a win on the weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Man, the Myth, the Legend: a Tribute to Brian McBride

Today it was announced that USA, Fulham, Columbus, and Chicago legend, Brian McBride was set to retire at the end of this season. The man who had seen his fair share of World Cups, English Premier League, Bundesliga 2 and MLS matches, will be finally hanging up his boots after what seemed like an eternity. His career kicked off in 1996 when he was the first overall pick of the MLS Draft. During his time at Columbus he became one of the greatest American players ever. While not winning any silverware, he preceded to score and assist, until he got noticed by David Moyes. He entered the Premier League in 2000 on loan to Preston North End. He then preceded to go out on loan to Everton as well. In both situations he played brilliant, but Everton and Preston North End couldn’t match MLS’s asking price for its star striker.

At the age of 31, Fulham took McBride from America for 1.5 million as he appeared to be entering the twilight of his career. Instead, McBride excelled to a Fulham legend, including teaming up with fellow American Clint Dempsey to help keep Fulham up. There is now a Pub in the cottage appropriately named McBride’s. He then returned to the USA to end his career.

He was picked up by his hometown club, Chicago and has played there with the aging Blanco leading the Fire to play-off appearances, but sadly McBride has tasted limited silverware, which is a pity for such an amazing player. So when you go to your next soccer match, whether it’s ND, MLS, or your kids match, remember the man who avoided the spotlight and drama, and just kept playing the game how it’s supposed to be played. Brian McBride taught us that in a world filled with divers, cheaters, and thugs, one can have finesse, a physical presence, and be a personable human being even with fame. So if you ever raise a kid to play soccer, teach them how McBride played, because the world of soccer could always use more players like McBride

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hello World

Hey all,

My name is Eric Owens, I'm a junior at ND and Tim has allowed me to contribute to this blog. I thank him for the opportunity to share some of my soccer thoughts with you, the reader. Though I do love Notre Dame and soccer, truthfully I have not been very involved in combining these two loves and attending ND soccer games, men's or women's. I have been to a few, but I look forward to attending many more in the coming season. That said, I am an avid soccer follower, most notably of the EPL. My favorite team is from the blue half of Merseyside- Everton. I try my best to watch the MLS but I am just not closely connected to any one team to follow the MLS like I do the EPL. Without further adieu, here is my take on the first three match weeks in the EPL.

You can't talk about the start of the EPL without mentioning the champions. Chelsea have looked absolutely stellar to begin this season. 3 games, 14 goals, 0 goals against. The mercurial Nicolas Anelka has been in fine form and has been irresistible partnering with Drogba. Flourent Malouda has been great for the Blues too, and it really is difficult to see any team challenging the aging Londoners this season if they can continue this form.

Going down the table, I have been impressed thus far with Arsenal new boy Maroune Chamakh. His movement has been very intelligent, but I would say I don't think he is quite clinical enough in front of goal. Of course Theo Walcott has been brilliant for the Gunners thus far, but Wegner is going to have some serious decisions to make about where to deploy the talented Englishman if Chamakh cannot convert enough chances up top.

Man U is a tough team to read right now. Roo Roo is in terrible form, his terrible World Cup still haunting him every time he takes the pitch. The former Everton star is an integral part of Man U's success as witnessed last season. Dimitar Berbatov, however, has been very impressive for the Red Devils so far. Could this be the season that he finally breaks out and scores 20+ goals? No one questions his talent level, but his partnership with Rooney has never quite seemed to pan out quite like Sir Alex would like. Scholes has been phenomenal for them. It's been great to see him boss the midfield like he used to all the time in the late 90s. If he can continue the rich vein of form he is in, Sir Alex will certainly have some personnel headaches.

On the other side of Manchester, the Citizens have been a bit hit or miss. A 1-0 loss to Sunderland following a very convincing win over Liverpool has seen Mancini catch a lot of grief for his starting 11. Carlos Tevez did miss an open goal against Sunderland, and Micah Richards clumsy foul in the 87th minute more or less gifted Sunderland 3 points they most certainly did not deserve. If this loss is but a minor blip, then City can very well challenge the top four and are my favorites to secure a Champions League spot. Two players that NEED to stay in the side despite heavy competition are Joe Hart and Adam Johnson. Hart, finally given his chance at City after a very impressive loan spell at Birmingham last season, fully deserves to be the England No 1. Quite a talented young goal keeper (and good looking if I do say so myself). Adam Johnson's left foot and style of play is very similar to Lionel Messi. He loves playing from the flanks, cutting inside and challenging defenders, meanwhile opening up space on the outside for fullbacks to make forward supporting runs. Quality quality player.

Sorry reader, I am writing way too much right now. And if I were to continue down the table and reach Everton, which would take another 13 painful overviews as it pains me how poor Everton are playing. Not to mention I could right an essay about how much Everton suck right now. We will save that for a later day. Hope you enjoyed it, and I certainly do not blame you if you are not reading this right now. Too long I know. Thank you again Tim for the opportunity. See you all again soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big weekend for Irish Football (the one you play with your feet)

This weekend feature several important matches for the men's and women's teams in the quest for the College Cup. The #3 women begin their journey against #8 Santa Clara on Friday at 7:30 pm. This match will kick off with a March to the Match led by bagpipers from the Dillon Hall Pep Rally. Upon arrival to the match, the first however many fans in the stadium will get free scarves. This is ND's biggest home game based on the current rankings, and will be a test for a loaded Irish team.

Meanwhile, in Bloomington, the men's team will clash against the #4 team in the country, UCLA. This match will say a lot about the team, as most polls have placed them to the lower echelons of the Top 25, if not out of it. Hopefully the Irish will spring a surprise on the Bruins and the pollsters.

After a game of American football on Saturday feature Notre Dame and Purdue, football returns to Alumni Stadium for 2 more matches. At 1:30, the women will take on unbeaten Texas Tech in what is set to be an important match.

Then at 7 pm, the men's team is set to take on the Pac-10 dark horse, Cal. This match is going to be huge because it will be a battle for the Irish with another dark horse, and we are going to attempt to break the all-time attendance record for men's soccer at Notre Dame. The first however many fans will pick up a free 16 oz glass (Google if you don't know what that is equivalent to) and the Rakes of Mallow will have their first test to see if we can not only pack the house but "bring the ruckus."

Friday, August 20, 2010

The other football

Today starts the Women's season with a match against Minnesota at 5:30 pm and we are two weeks away from the start of another season of men's soccer at the University of Notre Dame. With it will come 9 months of work by the players and coaches to bring what should be a great year. Both teams are set to have huge challenges ahead.

The Men's team will have quite the grueling schedule. They are set to face #5 UCLA ( 9/3 in Bloomington), #14 Drake (9/10), @ Michigan for the grand opening of their new soccer specific stadium, #24 Michigan State (9/19), #17 St. John's (9/25), #9 Northwestern at Toyota Park (9/29), @ #20 and long time rival Indiana (10/6), @ #20 Louisville (10/16), @ #22 and division favorite UConn.

In addition to the tough matches, the Big East semifinal and final will be held in the new Red Bull Arena.

Sweet isn't it? This tough schedule will tell us just where the Irish stand and will hopefully have the battle ready for the NCAA tournament. Perhaps the best part of this team is that it seems they are good, but no one knows about them. They should be ready for a few surprises.

Meanwhile the Women's team is playing right as I type this and are due to play some tough foes including #9 Santa Clara (9/3), @ #3 UCLA (9/10), and #18 Rutgerts (10/10). The Irish are expected to finish top of the Big East, but are not being given the recognition for the amount of returning firepower they have. It seems many expect the Evil Powder Blue Empire to march to another trophy without much ado.

It's good there isn't much talk about the two Irish teams who have great talents and coaching; so come November, the Blue and Gold will be hopefully shocking the nation on marches to Santa Barbara and North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lady Irish begin training/MLS survives in Champions League

First note I'd like to make is that the women's soccer team is on campus and begins training at 6 am (per @NDSoccer) The team is loaded to the gills, retaining 88% of goals scored and 80% of starts made from last season's semi-final run. Not to mention 3 U-23 USA players. Be prepared for some fireworks as this team marches on to victory.

Meanwhile in Major League Soccer, Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC nearly blow their 1-0 aggregate leads, only to storm back. Toronto FC went down 1-0 real fast. So fast that I was just loading up the stream after getting back from Chipotle and I heard "ITS IN THE NET." The first half was pretty dull, but the second half made it worth the while. Toronto decided to attack and it opened the match up. DDR scored on some quick passing early in the second half and it looked as if Toronto was through, but then the Honduran club struck back with former TFC midfielder Amado Guevara scoring his second goal on the night in the 64'. This sent TFC reeling as chance after chance was loaded into the box and it seemed like a matter of time before TFC's luck would run out. TFC instead got even more lucky. In 79' striker Chad Barrett of TFC got the ball a good 30 yards and ran at the back line. Now this seemed a routine defensive play, the problem became poor communication and a bad touch by a defender gave Barrett the ball with 20 yards to goal and only a keeper to beat and beat the keeper he did. His goal sent Toronto FC into the group stages for the first time with a 2-2 draw, 3-2 on aggregate.

Seattle, meanwhile didn't seem too inept. On a pitch that looked like the La Brea Tar Pits, Seattle played on the worst pitch ever. It had rained nonstop since 3 pm local time to 8 pm match time. Metapan looked to have a simple strategy, score on the long ball, play lots of defense, and pray for a shootout. Metapan's lone goal came on goal kick which the Sounders' defense looked lost on. They basically surrounded the player receiving the ball in the box and did nothing to prevent him from heading it in on the cross. At best the Sounders seemed lazy and relaxed and it took them a good half to figure out that Metapan wanted the 1-1 draw. Then the World Cup Semifinalist Alvaro Fernandez came off the bench. Him, Montero, Alonso, and Jaqua opened the match up for the Sounders. A cross into the box found Fernandez and he headed it home to give them the lead on aggregate and a two goal mountain for Metapan to climb. As the game went on the fresh legs of Fernandez and Jaqua began to run and pass around Metapan's defense. From what I saw of Fernandez, I don't know why he didn't play more at a club level, he was dominating. In the end Seattle won 2-1 on aggregate and advanced to the group stages.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

College Soccer

While we are a college soccer group, if you ever want a topic that draws out the fire from Americans who love soccer, talk about college soccer and development. Aside from promotion /relegation and single entity in MLS and the recent failings of whoever happened to be the US coach at the time, college soccer has carved a nice niche as something that can result in war of words because to be honest, its a system that works for some but not others. Rather than talk about my opinion I will send you along to our experts
So when your not busy check them out.

Still suffering from World Cup withdrawl? We've got a continental competition for you. At 8pm on Fox Soccer Channel there is Toronto FC trying to get into the CONCACAF for the first time, leading 1-0 on aggregate they venture down to Honduras to take on CD Montagua. Meanwhile, the love'em or hate'em Seattle Sounders FC go to El Salvador to finish what they started last week. Up 1-0 on Metapan after an overpowering performance last week, let's see if the Sounders' dream to get to the Club World Cup becomes slightly more real. They play at 10 pm on Fox Soccer Channel.

Also follow one of the best coaches in college soccer on his twitter and help him get to 300 followers by September 3 (First game of the season) Coach Randy Waldrum

And while your at it, you can follow us and a couple others on twitter and facebook
Rakes of Mallow: Twitter, Facebook
Notre Dame Men's Team: Twitter, Facebook
Notre Dame Women's Team: Twitter, Facebook

These will keep you updated on the goings ons of Notre Dame soccer as it looks to have a great year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Return of the Cosmos

Yes you read that right, the New York Cosmos are back. Or so the legendary Brazilian Pele says. After Copa NYC on Sunday, Pele announced that the Cosmos were returning to New York. The brand was merging its name with a local Queens academy at first and then on to MLS. Now I was shocked at first but then when one reads into it, this is as likely to happen as USC going to a Bowl game on New Years. The president is a former chairman at Tottenham. What you may not know is that he is currently bankrupt and everything he now touches turns to fire. The Vice President is David Beckham's best buddy. He was the one attempting to pull the strings in the Galaxy front office which led to two abysmal seasons and his keister getting flown out of Carson. Last but not least is Pele. Now Pele was a brilliant footballer and is a perfect spokesman, but sometimes he doesn't have the right ideas in mind and flounders big time. There's a reason he's never managed a club. I could talk about the disaster of getting a stadium, finding an owner who cares about the team, and how there exists a salary cap, so you won't see the "Cosmos" of old, but that's been rehashed prior to this announcement.

So the question remains will the Cosmos upset the Red Bull applecart or is it just going to be FC New York with a well known name?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sing a song

As the season draws closers I have been thinking of a couple ideas to bring an atmosphere to the stadium. Among them is a song that is a supporters song. By this I am referring to many famous songs sung from the terraces of Europe. Coach Clark brought it up today and I've been trying to figure out what is the best song. Here are a few.

Many know this one in perhaps its second most famous moment:

And another famous one:

Now the question remains, what should the Rakes of Mallow's song be?
There exist such a large bunch of songs

Rakes of Mallow is of course an option:

But the lyrics and speed of the song doesn't resemble something like the above two

The there's the Fields of Athenry:

This song is very deep, and slow, but it's already used by Glasgow Celtic.

Another Song I've kind of taken to heart is Long Journey Home

Replace one of the last set of colors with green, blue and gold, and it sounds quite good

If you have any suggestions of something that resembles the above, or if you like any of the suggestions, please comment below.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hope for China World Cup 2026

Everyone remembers the Bird's Nest right? Well it might be used for sports again. There are now greater talks that China wants to host the World Cup. Ok, that's nice but what does it mean?

It means USA 2022 just became more likely. With the two cycles between the same continent bidding again rule, if China wants the World Cup in 2026, it has to pray for the only non-AFC nation to get 2022. What nation is that you say? USA. USA and China are now allies in the world of football. The question remains, can China convince AFC to force the 2022 nations to let USA win it? So pray for the rising Dragon to convince Japan, Korea, Australia, and Qatar to abandon all hope

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Dives, Dirty and Dullness of a World Cup Final

Well it could have been worse. For anyone who was expecting the 1974 Total Football Clockwork Orange to play the blazing, speeding, and controlling Spanish side of 2008, please put down the peace pipe. Anyone who had seen these two squads play throughout the tournament knew the Dutch played rough and counterattacked. They didn't overwhelm you with skill, rather with brute force and speed. They removed themselves from that team that absolutely imploded in the 2008 European Championship and realized that beauty has to be sacrificed if one wishes to win the trophy. We are in the age of Jose Mourinho football. Ever since the Special One led Porto to the European title we have seen the decay of beauty for victory. Where teams will pack the box, outmuscle the smaller player, and then run down the pitch full speed. This doesn't result in many goals, but it is very effective. The Dutch enacted this throughout the tourney, especially the out muscle part. The Dutch played dirty and physical. A point to be made was how this final had the most yellow cards given out ever combined and to one side.
To reemphasize how physical it was I have a wonderful picture:
I really felt bad for Howard Webb in how the Dutch played. He didn't want to be that ref who gave someone a straight red so early. So he basically warned the entire Dutch team, but the Orange colored street gang persisted. Now many people will slag Mr. Webb for letting a diver send off a player and letting Spain dive (I will address that next). I have a problem with that. The Dutch beat the ever living snot out of the Spanish players and probably should have had one more player sent off (see above). The Dutch came into this in the hopes to beat the Spain by playing a dangerous level of football, and failed. And I say good. It's a lesson that teams who play dirty should never win; but then again neither should teams that are dull and dive.

Spain, the World Champions, should thank the heavens they played a more enjoyable brand of football than Dutch or I would have exploded about how they played today. The Spaniards are quite deserving of being World Champions. They beat teams 1-0 on a very consistent basis, as they passed and passed and passed and passed and passed. Now the Dutch didn't get the memo from USA and the Swiss that smart organized play beats Spain. The Spanish at points were ripping holes through individuals who looked and acted like traffic cones, only to have these traffic cones be bailed out by a errant pass or a poor chance. The Dutch occasionally looked lost. The Dutch did have one thing going for them though: Spain being slow.

Now the Spanish team in 2008 ran wild on teams and combined their short and accurate passing with speed and a constant whir of gears all being fluent. Not this time. The Spanish were slow moving and didn't seem to be in that much of a hurry. Pedro, who just doesn't seem to fit, constantly possesses the ball and never passes. The remainder of the team all want to be heroes so they never pass to the open man on the other side of the box. As for tactics, as soon I saw Spains lineup, I thought this game was going to be mind-numbing at points. They took no risks, no thoughts of putting heavy weight on the Dutch for a full 90. Fabrigas needed to be there to create space. Torres should have paired up with Villa later in the game, it was like the Spanish wanted to go to a shootout. They got lucky in one of the moments where the traffic cones failed to clear the ball. Spain lacked intensity I was expecting.

Spain also went down very easy. Yes the Dutch played deplorable defense, trying to break legs, ankles, knees, and the occasional sternum, but the Spanish chose to throw themselves down as soon as contact was felt. I believe going down easy is a tactical maneuver which should be used occasionally to get the ref to notice a constant barrage of fouling. Doing it repeatedly, no. Diving, which the holy goal-scorer did, just was sickening. I hate watching replays and seeing no contact and a player flying through the air.

Now given these were the biggest complaints about this game and I do understand that its a World Cup. Single elimination title games are always cagey and uncomfortable and usually rely more on mistakes than skill. Usually teams play physical, or timid, or a little dirty, but both of these teams didn't make an enjoyable final. For those of you who are only with us every four years can go back to your soccer hating. For those of who you follow soccer, at least domestic play will be a constant. So congrats to Spain on being the slightly better team and winning the Cup in which you have always seemed to choke in. As for Holland, I have a movie for you to watch.

See you all in Brazil!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Battle of the Chokers

There is one difference as you can see between these two teams. One has a trophy the other does not. Now the question is what teams will be showing up on Sunday afternoon on your televisions. Will we see the Spain side that dominates possession and makes a back line look inept as passes slice through or will we see the Spain that dominates possession and makes the back line look like world beaters, cutting out predictable passes and making Spain overcommit for the ensuing counter. The same goes for the Dutch squad. As I posted the other day, the Dutch have only lost to one team in regulation dating back to 2007. People have slagged on the Dutch saying that the team is weak, not as talented and has nothing going for them. That same team has won every match at this World Cup. The Dutch know how to win, that's not the question. The question is can they win. They could show up play brilliantly and lose or show up, play ugly and win. They are a team that will be interesting to watch from the first minute because they can play in more than one way.

These two teams are historically bad when it comes to winning a final. They are always fun to watch, attacking, and very technical, but both teams have always come up short on the global stage. Luckily for one of them, they can toss off that mantra on Sunday, while the other one will sink further into infamy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hup Holland Hup

Image Curtosy of Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Looks like Soccer City will be very orange on Sunday. The Dutch team who many people thought had an easy path to get out of their group and then fall to Brazil. Well the Clockwork Orange is still ticking in South Africa and Samba was sent home. But its not like the dutch team has been lucky this time. They are good; very good. The Dutch have not lost a match in regulation since November 17, 2007. The only match that they lost between then and now was with Russia the 2008 European Championship, and that took extra time. I hope Spain and Germany don't think that the Dutch will choke as they have always done, or else they will be in for a surprise.

Speaking of Spain and Germany, the Dutch's win today made this the first ever World Cup played out of Europe to be won by a European team. To put another point in perspective, this event resembles a bit like the 1974 World Cup. A team devised a system to win using style and beauty, and have always been the darlings of the tournament they never won; while another team played hard every game. The question is are the rolls reversed this time?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Change in blog

Considering the potential growth of the club and the access that more members of the group should have to creation of content, I have begun the converting from iweb to google based sites. Also the University will likely be requiring I put a site on their server. So this will make the transfer easier. All the older blog posts can not be converted, however they can still be accessed through the following link:

Have a good summer,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

USA Send off in Philly

Yesterday I attended the final USA match before the squad flies off to South Africa. It was an awesome match against Euro 2008 Semifinalists Turkey, who sadly missed out on the World Cup this past year. It was the first time ever I have seen a very pro United States crowd in a NFL stadium. When the Yanks would storm down the field in search of a chance, you could see the people rise to their feet and a buzz ripple throughout the stadium. When Donovan rounded the keeper and fed the ball to Altidore, I saw pure jubilation in tens of thousands of people. For a USA match, just achieving a 50% support is something special, but this was beautiful and stunning.

The USA flew out of Washington today and will arrive in South Africa on monday. They are getting there much earlier than many squads it seems, hopefully it will pay off.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Irish to face tough Non-Conference Fixtures

Notre Dame's Fall Schedule
It includes west powers UCLA and Cal, quarterfinalist Drake. Then there are the regional non-conference foes. The squad plays Michigan and Michigan State, but the biggest two matches will be within a span of a week. First the squad is to take on Northwestern, who knocked us out of the tourney two years running, in Toyota Park. I'm going to begin working with the Athletic Department and see if we can get a huge crowd to this. Then a week after this match is what is the biggest match on the schedule: Indiana.

23 Mon. UIC (exhibition) 7:00 p.m.
28 Sat. vs. Ohio State# (exhibition) 8:00 p.m.
29 Sun. vs. IPFW# (exhibition) 2:00 p.m.

3 Fri. vs. UCLA! (Bloomington, Ind.) 5:00 p.m.
5 Sun. CALIFORNIA! 7:00 p.m.

10 Fri. Indiana vs. Cal Poly 5:00 p.m.
10 Fri. DRAKE 7:30 p.m.
12 Sun. Indiana vs. Drake 11:30 a.m.
12 Sun. CAL POLY 2:00 p.m.

17 Fri. at Michigan 7:30 p.m.
19 Sun. MICHIGAN STATE 2:00 p.m.
25 Sat. ST. JOHN’S* Noon
29 Wed. vs. Northwestern (Toyota Park) 7:00 p.m.

6 Wed. at Indiana 7:30 p.m.
9 Sat. at West Virginia* 7:30 p.m.
13 Wed. MARQUETTE* 7:00 p.m.
16 Sat. at Louisville* 7:00 p.m.
20 Wed. at Seton Hall* 7:00 p.m.
23 Sat. at Connecticut* TBA
27 Wed. PITTSBURGH* 7:00 p.m.
30 Sat. GEORGETOWN* 11:00 a.m.

3 Wed. BIG EAST First Round (Campus Sites) TBA
6 Sat. BIG EAST Quarterfinals (Campus Sites) TBA
12 Fri. BIG EAST Semifinals (Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.) TBA
14 Sun. BIG EAST Championship (Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.) TBA
17 Wed. NCAA First Round (Campus Sites) TBA
21 Tue. NCAA Second Round (Campus Sites) TBA
28 Sun. NCAA Third Round (Campus Sites) TBA

3-5 Fri.-Sun. NCAA Quarterfinals (Campus Sites) TBA
10 Fri. NCAA Semifinals (Santa Barbara, Calif.) TBA
12 Sun. NCAA Championship (Santa Barbara, Calif.) TBA

home games in CAPS
# — Fort Wayne, Ind.
! — adidas/IU Credit Union Classic
* — BIG EAST Conference game

I'm going to be here over the summer for classes and will be trying to commandeer places to watch the World Cup, email if you're going to be around. Also I may start to work on TIFO, flags and a few other things for the upcoming season. Have a good Summer