The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d

The US national team finished 4th place at the Gold Cup, the regional championships for CONCACAF. This is pretty sad. However, what’s more irksome is the prevalence of circular logic and ad hominem attack in the classic debate on the line between the responsibility of a coach as compared to players.

Allow me to elucidate. Continue reading “The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d” »

Hungover Dispatches from Canada: Women’s World Cup Edition

Futfanatico reminds you that Elliott Turner is still on injured reserve, thus we relied on unreliable correspondent GonzoBra to cover the Women’s World Cup in Canada. As per usual, his reporting was untimely, factually incorrect, and offensive. We have edited out most of the offensive parts, but left the grammatical errors because they enhance the entertainment value of this piece. If any.

I.

“On assignment”, you lovely phrase, we meet again! After what happened last summer at the dude’s World Cup in Brazil, I’m shocked no major media player has contracted my excellent reporting abroad services, but genius is seldom appreciated in its own time. At least I got this gig. And as last you may recall, in January I got stuck covering the MLS draft in January, but really spilled the beans on the soccer reporter circle cliques and also embarassed some dudes who owe me stickers for IndieGogo campaigns. Continue reading “Hungover Dispatches from Canada: Women’s World Cup Edition” »

Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports

Futfanatico’s editorial board notes that Elliott Turner is on injured reserve, so we got this guest column from an anonymous but totally respected “Sports Dude” who has a nationally syndicated radio show. Thus, you can trust everything written here. 

Hey there, sports fans. I know that I don’t normally speak, write, or care for soccer or Women’s sports. However, I decided to take a break from my morning radio phone-in show and other writing commitments to pen this super op-ed on some topics that have been getting lots of Google clicks recently and thus are important and worthy of my carefully worded and reasoned thoughts.

I speak, of course, of the Women’s World Cup. More specifically, warm up your brains and put on your thinking caps for my super hot takes on the Hope Solo issue, the turf dispute, and the weird scheduling of elimination rounds. Continue reading “Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports” »

Barack Obama Destroys Hope of US Soccer World Cup Win (Singlehandedly)

I am such a bleeding heart liberal that I need regular blood transfusions to prevent cardiac arrest. I will defend LBJ’s “Model Cities” initiative to the end, and not so secretly took some delight upon hearing of the passing of Ronald Reagan. During the two terms of George W. Bush, I lived in Spain, Portugal, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. If I spoke a third language other than Spanish and English, I probably would have moved to an even farther away country. Sadly, though, my Arabic and Mandarin Chinese are not so polished.

Thus, of course, I voted for Barack Obama and waited for him and government to immediately solve all of my life’s problems. And then he stabbed me in the back. Continue reading “Barack Obama Destroys Hope of US Soccer World Cup Win (Singlehandedly)” »

Affable Alexi Lalas Refuses to Badmouth US Soccer Group Whose Aim is His Imminent Destruction

Alexi Lalas has long been the “big tent” pundit of soccer in the United States. Whether it’s getting in a twitter spat with a US national team player or defending a less-than-popular idealist reformer, Alexi has taken the ACLU First Amendment position that “all speech is good speech.” At least if that speech is about soccer. For Alexi, the tent of US soccer is big enough for different opinions and stronger for encouraging robust debate and dissent.

However, one new US soccer group just may have tested his resolve. Continue reading “Affable Alexi Lalas Refuses to Badmouth US Soccer Group Whose Aim is His Imminent Destruction” »

Landon Donovan: Remembering the man we never knew

The goals. The recent sabbatical. The early retirement. The World Cup snub. The goals. There’s so many trite talking points when waxing on Landon Donovan, the all-time leading goalscorer for the US Men’s National Team. For the past few months, I’ve purposely kept away from the topic to gather my thoughts and hopefully pen something different. Long-time fans will recall the criticism Donovan received as the “kid who couldn’t hack it in Europe” when he returned from Bayern Leverkusen to San Jose. This belief was given further credence when Donovan and team USA failed to advance out of the group stages at Germany ’06. Yet after 2010, fans made peace with Donovan. In 2014, may were even sad when he was left off the roster (despite no role in qualifying).

Still, what’s always most fascinated me about Donovan is not the sport, but rather his personal side. No, I don’t speak about the trite “not motivated” debate about whether “his head is in the game.” Rather, I refer to the weird anecdotes and incidents that popped up about him during his professional career. Many of these went beyond the typical “celebritydom gossip” to really make one ask: WTF? Here are some of my favs. Continue reading “Landon Donovan: Remembering the man we never knew” »

Tactics Talk: Hodgson’s Overreaction Edition

I always love it when one of the top UK soccer writers turns his or her attention to the US national team. Why? Because their often unbiased and well-trained eye will point out obvious, painful truths and occasionally reasons for optimism. One of the best things we forget as US fans about US players and the US team is we give a good effort for the full 90 minutes. Coaches often complain that certain players from South American countries that will zoom in and out of games mentally, or turn off completely on defense or at the 60 minute mark. Not Yanks. Be proud.

Thus, I’ve decided to return the favor by looking at the English team as objectively as possible. Continue reading “Tactics Talk: Hodgson’s Overreaction Edition” »

Wall Street Journal Seriously Lowers the Bar for Soccer “Coverage”

Just when you think the trite “Soccer sucks” narrative in the US media has turned into “MLS sucks”, the Wall Street Journal lowers the bar even further. Jonathan Clegg, an Englishman, has decided that new soccer fans “are welcome”, but he derives the “soccer obsessives.” Or, rather, American soccer obsessives.

I’ll just be taking a quick look at his thesis and what’s wrong with it. Namely, everything. Continue reading “Wall Street Journal Seriously Lowers the Bar for Soccer “Coverage”” »

Landon Donovan’s Omission & a Series of Increasingly Bizarre Analogies

Landon Donovan is not going to the World Cup. As taking a sabbatical and playing a bit role in qualifying, the US coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, has decided the all-time leading goalscorer is past it. Rather, to use Klinsmann’s own terms, there are players who are a little bit ahead of him at the moment.

That’s fine. Players age. Players get replaced by younger players. However, nobody has privy, insider information to Jurgen’s thought process. Instead, the soccerverse is polluted by analogies to past player omissions. Some say that the call is like when Jurgen left a certain Kuranyi striker off the German squad in 2006. Others recall when Pep Guardiola shipped off an aging and uninspired Ronaldinho upon arriving at FC Barcelona.

These analogies and comparisons are fine – they are the bread and butter of soccer writing. But they also have a clearly defined limit. They are a bit, shall we say, yawnable. Thus, here are some analogies to break the bubble, to help you cope with Landon playing in MLS, not Brazil.
Continue reading “Landon Donovan’s Omission & a Series of Increasingly Bizarre Analogies” »

Klinsmann’s Alchemy: Will the US Roster Formula Trump Individual Form?

Unlike many other national teams, Jurgen Klinsmann has named a 30 man roster for the US national team camp and then will name his 23 man World Cup roster later. On cue, hundreds of journalists have channeled their fantasy sport inner banshee and churned out a thousand-and-one “who will he pick?” articles. The majority myopically focus on the century old debates of age vs. youth, class vs. form, defender vs. striker. However, no team is just a spreadsheet of players with grades categorized by positions. In all human endeavors, there’s a, surprise, human element. And World Cup history shows Klinsmann would do wise to focus as much on chemistry as individual skills. Continue reading “Klinsmann’s Alchemy: Will the US Roster Formula Trump Individual Form?” »