The Best Soccer Narratives I Could Possibly Fathom Not Hearing Ever Again

Yesterday, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United played Liverpool in Liverpool. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. Of course, some nil nil draws can be exciting games, pulsating affairs that draw deserved “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. This was not one of them. Over 90 minutes, Liverpool created two chances: a quick snapshot that David DeGea palmed away to the right, and speculative curler from distance that DeGea palmed away to his left.

In between, a lot of nothing happened. Continue reading “The Best Soccer Narratives I Could Possibly Fathom Not Hearing Ever Again” »

Bradley’s Journey has Begun

Less than a week after my “Guide to Getting that European Coaching Gig” post, and Bob Bradley has been hired by Swansea City of the EPL. Mere coincidence? No clue. Honestly, Bob’s brother Steve, who is now doing PR for Toronto FC, followed me on Twitter and we had some pretty awesome, candid, and foul-mouthed exchanges.

Basically, more people read you than you think. If you are penning a profile that will shit on a coach or player, odds are likely they will read it. It’s a small world, after all. Continue reading “Bradley’s Journey has Begun” »

Mow – Ring – Yo?!?!?!

Jose has hit his first soft patch as coach at United. Of course, this means he’s incompetent and should be sacked tomorrow. Or, at least, he feels that’s what we the media are suggesting. Thus far, his pressers have been tame by Jose standards, but, as per usual, he has blamed his players (though reservedly so), the referee(s), and the prior coach. Basically, everybody but himself.

And yet this is what you get when Mou comes to town. As a Real Madrid fan, I know this too well. Continue reading “Mow – Ring – Yo?!?!?!” »

The Rapinoe Debate is Not Even a Debate

There is a saying in Spanish: Dime con quien andas, diras quien eres. “Tell me who you are with, and you will tell me who you are.” As you are aware, lots of athletes are protesting racial discrimination by doing various things during the national anthem. Some raise their first. Some kneel. These are silent protests that do not impede the ability of any person to go about their daily lives: nobody is running to the streets, flipping cop cars, or setting stores on fire.

Yet, people are upset. At a recent USWNT game, star player Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with people of color and other protestors. Continue reading “The Rapinoe Debate is Not Even a Debate” »

Edson Cavani and Greatness by Contrast

What do you think about Uruguayan striker Edson Cavani? Yeah, I have no clue either. In general, we soccer fans like our greatness as our oatmeal: consistent throughout. Cavani, though, is perhaps the least consistent consistently great striker in Europe. He’s scored goals by the boatloads for his club teams in Italy and France, and also a few big ones for Uruguay.

Still, one can’t get over a sinking sensation when you watch him play: does this guy know what he’s doing? Continue reading “Edson Cavani and Greatness by Contrast” »

What does your pathological dislike of Jurgen Klinsmann say about you?

Hating Jurgen Klinsmann is so common, it’s passe. A GenXer columnist would write “it’s jumped the shark” and millenials would mock that columnist just for writing that trite expression. Even fedora-wearing creative types in Williamsburg have gotten over the Jurgen hate. Still, your hate fascinates me for different reasons: not because it is novel, or even very logical – it’s not. Rather, all hatred comes in different shapes and sizes, flavors and forms. And, simply put, I love variety (and haters).

Thus, I have used painstaking, peer-reviewed research (NOOOT) to create a guide to US fans based on how/why they hate Jurgen. Continue reading “What does your pathological dislike of Jurgen Klinsmann say about you?” »

Gawking About

As a blogger born and bred in the roaring 2000′s, I owe a tremendous debt to Gawker Dot Com. No, not in the dollars and cents sense. Rather, in a tailwind sense. Gawker Dot Com, for me, will always stand for two principles: (1) Cynical, at times caustic, observation and (2) Fearless journalism.

What’s so remarkable about Gawker is how neither of those principles is either new or revolutionary. Allow me to elucidate. Continue reading “Gawking About” »

The Re-Education or Miseducation of Pep Guardiola?

Pizza. Pizza was the key. For all the smart and well thought-out words about Leicester City’s run to an unlikely EPL title, only one fact was undeniable: Italian manager Claudio Ranieri treated his players to pizza parties. If the team got a clean sheet, then Ranieri would take his players to Peter Pizzeria – and he obliged them to make their own pizza.

The EPL is a cruel, intense dog-eat-dog world, and a place where only player-eats-pizza tactics can work. The strong devour the weak, along with some pasta and plenty of Olive oil.

So how come nobody told Pep Guardiola? Continue reading “The Re-Education or Miseducation of Pep Guardiola?” »

Requiem for a Team

When Florentino Perez hired Zinedine Zidane as manager, the prevailing narrative was simple: he had messed up the hiring of Rafa Benitez in the summer, and Zizou would play the part of the Di Stefano “player-coach” who filled in coaching gaps. Instead, he’s showed a touch of Del Bosque: a manager with a gift for managing egos and clear tactical ideas plus a bit of game-planning.

Which is why he will be fired much too soon by Real Madrid. Continue reading “Requiem for a Team” »

MLS, Liga MX, and Theory vs. Practice

Everybody wants to talk about TV viewership and make unflattering comparisons between MLS and any other league. As a fan of MLS, I know intimately well both the current challenges, the flaws of the league, and just how far the league has come in the last decade and how much more work is left to do. However, the people who paint Liga MX as some paradise and paradigm to follow are perhaps misguided.

Yes, a bit more flair and technical play in MLS would be fun. However, I honestly dislike split seasons and, in many ways, lots of general public interest and money prop up and gloss over the problems in Liga MX. And these are problems MLS should not ignore or try to replicate. Continue reading “MLS, Liga MX, and Theory vs. Practice” »