The True Importance of Winning?

In the latest issue of The Classical, there’s some pretty words written about losing. In particular, the NBA has stories from the 2000′s about teams that couldn’t win a ring but earned critical acclaim. I speak, of course, of the Chris Webber Sacramento Kings and the Steve Nash Phoenix Suns. These teams both were fun to watch – the Suns tried to score in six seconds each possession, and relied on the delicious pick-and-rolls of Nash and Amare Stoudemire. The Kings, meanwhile, enjoyed solid guard play from first Jason Williams and then Mike Bibby, while Chris Webber’s soft hands freely spread the ball around.

Neither team won a title, but both won fans hearts. Are there any soccer teams in the same vein? Yes. Here they are: Continue reading “The True Importance of Winning?” »

Real Madrid’s History Revisited

Atletico is campeon. Long live Atletico. If you’re a Real Madrid fan, you’re used to losing La Liga by now. FC Barcelona has been off the charts the last decade, so we’ve been happy with Copitas del Rey and good Champions League showings (and the occasional SuperCup). This year, we all know that the big game still looms: this Saturday, the chance at La Decima. For non-Spanish speakers, “La Decima” means “The Decima.”

I’ve had the pleasure of writing some historical summaries/snippets for SoccerPro this past week and the series will run until Friday. It deals with Real Madrid’s past and present. Here’s Part I and Part II. Enjoy.

Some Real Sober Reflections

The Carlo era is a success. By that, I mean he has equaled Jose Mourinho’s trophy haul in his first and third seasons at Madrid (He won the King’s Cup the first year and SuperCup the third). At first glance, Carlo has Madrid playing slightly more attacking, offensive soccer. The team has reached the Champions League final and made the race for La Liga interesting until the last month.

However, a close look that some other things have stayed the same. Continue reading “Some Real Sober Reflections” »

American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions

Lo and behold, the NYTimes relocated/rebranded the Goal Blog but soccer popped up in the Style Section. The general theme was this: the young and hip urban class of New York has embraced soccer (albeit not MLS). This group of childless rapscallions flocks to bars or “pubs” on Saturday mornings to don scarves, drink overpriced imported beer, eat a warm British breakfast, and/or maybe watch grown men kick a ball on TV. Predictably, the super super trendy have backlashed. Why?

Because nobody hates hipsters more than other hipsters. Sadly, the same is probably true of soccer fans in the states. Still, what most intrigues me about this debate is the reality vs. perception of New York City. Luckily, the second part of William Gaddis’ novel The Recognitions also grapples with this slippery concept. And provides some guideposts. Continue reading “American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions” »

US Players: The Winding Path Backwards & Ahead

Remember all the buzz when Jozy Altidore first signed for Sunderland? He’d just scored a plethora of goals in the Eredivisie and was ready to return to the EPL and take it by storm! Yes, the manager at the time was a bit crazy, but the team had survived relegation. Surely Jozy could knock in ten goals and guide the Black Cats to mid-table security? Right?

Then, this season happened. Continue reading “US Players: The Winding Path Backwards & Ahead” »

QUIZ – What Kind of Soulless, Bandwagoning European Soccer Fan Are You?

The bright lights at Old Trafford. The cramped, noisy box that is Stamford Bridge. The vibrating vibrancy of the Bernabeu. The vertigo-inducing steepness of the Camp Nou. You know nothing about any of these places. You’ve never been to them. The closest you’ve come was a week-long school trip in high school to Spain where the autobus had to stop every half hour because paella gave your classmates the shits.

Luckily, though, Maxi Rodriguez of the delightful Futbol Intellect has created a quiz to help you feel better about yourself by putting other similar, miserable souls down even a notch further. Due to WordPress plugin problems, you have to take this quiz by hand. Pull out a pen, a piece of paper, and tally your answers. You wont’ be too disappointed. Continue reading “QUIZ – What Kind of Soulless, Bandwagoning European Soccer Fan Are You?” »

Top 9 Pictures of Footballers and Helicopters

Helicopters, they’re not just for transporting manufactured homes anymore. They can also do other important tasks, like carrying soldiers to kill people, carrying bombs to drop and kill people, and transporting foreign aid to people who will be killed by errant drone strikes weeks later.

More importantly (Ahem, MOST IMPORTANT), helicopters sometimes transport soccer star players. Here are some highlights. Continue reading “Top 9 Pictures of Footballers and Helicopters” »

The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico

Cristiano knows of many reasons for the absolute thievery in the latest Clasico and is not afraid of telling the world. Nothing will stop him naming and shaming these parties and/or organisations who will do him (oh and his team) wrong. For it must be told.

And here is a list of said culpable parties, as named by CRon to Webbie of the lovey Football and Music. Continue reading “The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico” »

Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.

It’s been, say, four years since my last intra-sport comparison. At Run of Play in 2010, I looked at college basketball to talk about Barca’s possession game, the half court offense, and Chinese water torture. A year earlier, I reflected upon the Chicago Fire career of one Cuautehmoc Blanco and another comparison stuck: Steve Nash at Phoenix.

Both were a bit aged. Neither played much defense. Yet both were indisputably the catalyst for their team’s respective offense. Recently, another NBA/Soccer comparison dawned on me: Steve Kerr of the Chicago Bulls during the 1990′s and Pedro of Barcelona and Furia Roja fame.

Here’s why. Continue reading “Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.” »

Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending

On November 29, 2009, I unleashed my three-year old son Junito on the world of soccer and proudly chronicled his exploits. The task was simple enough: mold the greatest ever player for Real Madrid. We’ve all enjoyed the ups and downs, cried at the false early retirement, and were happy to see him come back stronger than ever. And had fun on Vimeo and Youtube. Sadly, though, it must end. Today.

There’s two problems: (1) Junito’s talent and (2) Me getting in the way. Continue reading “Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending” »