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?” »

7 Things with a Softer First Touch than Jozy Altidore

Many people don’t know this, but in addition to his role as a medieval siege weapon, Jozy Altidore is actually a professional, international footballer. It has even been rumored that Altidore has not yet worked this out himself, however the facts do not lie: Jozy Altidore has played in 67 games for the USMNTurtles. Rumor has it that he is even paid a weekly wage by BPL team, Sunderland Black Cats United.

However, since retiring from his job as a heavy blunt object, Altidore has struggled in his new role of professional footballer. In particular he needs to work on his first touch, so we have compiled a list of seven things Jozy can use as inspiration for improvement in this area : Continue reading “7 Things with a Softer First Touch than Jozy Altidore” »

The FutFeed Manifesto: Because Viral Content is Contagious

I know, I know. This website has gone through so many “reboots” it might as well be a movie featuring a comic book character as protagonist. The Puffington Host. FutSail Online University. We’ve tried a million-and-one-ways to squeeze a dime from internet content. And we’ve failed. Up until today. Continue reading “The FutFeed Manifesto: Because Viral Content is Contagious” »

Friendly Ire: Past USMNT Near Misses

Life isn’t all sunny days and lollipops. Sometimes, it rains on our parade. Sometimes, a player for the US national team doesn’t get that ticket to the World Cup. Here are a few stunning displays in either friendlies or World Cup qualifying by US players that didn’t add up to a tournament invitation.

Shed a tear for these poor guys. So close, yet so far. Continue reading “Friendly Ire: Past USMNT Near Misses” »