The Rakes of Mallow's Voice of the Supporters

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?