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” »

The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Affluent European soccer team comes agonizingly close to winning two major trophies but falls just short! Equally affluent rival claims both! Oh soccer, you bizarrely wonderful world. Sport has always been torn in two directions: the idealists and the pragmatists. Some care about how a team plays, does it attack, will it win, while others care only about results. The two often come together, but not always.

Thus, when a team plays well but doesn’t win, what’s a club to do? If you’re Real Madrid, the answer is simple: sharpen your axes. Continue reading “The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid” »

The Relegation Savior Fallacy

Just before the summer transfer rumor tradewinds pick up, another gust blows in another Spring rarity: the relegation savior. Every April across Europe, clubs at the bottom of the table claw, elbow, scratch, pull hair, and do anything and everything to avoid relegation. As if written in stone, the bottom three must take the drop. Clubs, fans, players, and owners get desperate. They clutch for any and all lifelines, yet with the transfer window closed since January, there’s only one: a new coach.

In comes a new coach and, sometimes, the team avoids relegation. But then what? Continue reading “The Relegation Savior Fallacy” »

The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article

Unless your last name is Carnegie or Rockafeller, you dislike monopolies. The reason for your disdain is understandable. In the open market, a single business growing to gargantuan proportions can use its weight to either screw over consumers or suppliers. Often, they do both. On the one hand, you have Amazon and Wal-mart always trying to reduce prices and thus benefit consumers. However, how do they do this? By leaning hard and unrelentingly on suppliers. In Amazon’s case, for example, they’ve used eBook dominance to slash prices which reduces royalties paid to the authors and editors who make books happen in the first place.

Thus, we all dislike monopolies. However, there’s only one thing worse: trite journalism. Continue reading “The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article” »

Greed, Graft, FIFA and….Hope?

Textbooks. Don’t they smell nice? What with all that paper and ink and stuff. I remember when I was a student and had them. I also read a few. In fact, I studied Economics and recall vividly lots of convoluted hypothetical situations and painful historical analogies that purported to support different theories. Basically, capitalism exists because greed is good and the key to unlocking each individual’s potential. When we’ve unlocked each individual’s potential, then we unlock all of society’s potential. Or something.

And I can’t type about greed and goodness without writing about FIFA. Continue reading “Greed, Graft, FIFA and….Hope?” »

Chelsea’s Disingenuous Penaltology

When coaching Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho made a famous remark about Pep Guardiola. He said that in the past, there were two types of coaches: those who complained after a game about the ref, and those who shut up. He then said Pep was a new, third type of coach: he who complained about refs before the game had even started. Coming from a coach who once hung out in a parking lot after a game to speak with a ref, it was pretty disingenuous but humorous all the same.

Chelsea FC’s recent blog post, though, makes Pep look like a ref cheerleader. Continue reading “Chelsea’s Disingenuous Penaltology” »

The Quintessential MLS CBA “Smoke has Cleared” and “One Side Won” Post

Hello there, reader. In case you missed it, the MLS season started on time last weekend. Crowds flocked to games. Young men (and Clint Dempsey) kicked balls. Some scored goals. Others were less fortunate. However, last week the major story was this: less than acrimonious CBA negotiations between the owners of MLS franchises and the members of the MLS Players Union. They scheduled a two-day mediation before the season started, primarily swapped offers on a form of free agency, and reached a deal late at night on the second day.

But you shouldn’t be happy. Continue reading “The Quintessential MLS CBA “Smoke has Cleared” and “One Side Won” Post” »

The Astroturfery Behind the Failed Beckham Stadium Plan

In case you don’t follow me on twitter or already read Vice Sports, here’s a link to my up close look at how and why Beckham has failed to get a stadium deal done in Miami (so far). For the record, it was edited by the excellent Eric Nusbaum and the elucidating Patrick Hruby. Like all kinda long stories that require original research, there’s little snippets and footnotes along the way.

One of the footnotes that I want to share is the story of the “Downtown Neighbors Alliance.” ‘Tis a class tale of astroturfery, snobby rich people problems, and a Mayor’s flooded inbox. Continue reading “The Astroturfery Behind the Failed Beckham Stadium Plan” »

How Old is Too Old?

Bayern Munich has enjoyed a wonderful Bundesliga season to date. They’re top of the league despite an embarrassing loss to 2nd place Wolfsburg. They are also favorites to advance in their Champions League tie, despite tying the first-leg 0-0. However, for fans of beautiful soccer, not all is well in Munich. Why? Because of midfield. That’s why. And what hurts the most is that the players at fault are beloved, world-class veterans.

I speak, of course, of the Spaniard and the pig farmer. Continue reading “How Old is Too Old?” »

The Two Most Misunderstood Words of MLS CBA Talks

“Work stoppage.” As a fan who enjoys watching live soccer, these words strike terror into my heart. Thus far, the current MLS labor talks have followed the same pattern: MLS owners, happy with increasing revenue and a one-sided owner/labor balance, complain they are “still losing money” and profess to not be worried by the talk’s slow progress. Meanwhile, the MLS Players’ Union makes vague threats about “strikes” and says “free agency” over and and over.

I don’t know who has the upper hand in negotiations. I also don’t know what will happen. I know there are some creative quasi-free agency solutions. I know that MLS salaries also lag behind North American counterparts (and way behind England). However, here’s one thing I don’t know: would a work stoppage really be that bad? In that vain, I looked at recent work stoppages in other North American sports leagues. Things didn’t always end up so bad once the dust settled. Continue reading “The Two Most Misunderstood Words of MLS CBA Talks” »