MLS Week 24 Team News; Week 24 Ahead, Ahoy!

Below is the new/usual team news round-up, by no means thorough and coming at the end of an, admittedly, distracted week.  If you don’t see your team in there, I don’t mean to offend.  And, by the way, if you know of or run a site focusing on a team I’m missing, let me know; I mess with my Bloglines account more than you can imagine.

After teams news, I’ll look to the weekend ahead, flagging the games I hope to see and why.

TEAM NEWS…in no particular order…

Columbus Crew
Rumors of messy stuff between Head Coach Sigi and Andy Herron; you can guess whose side Jon Busch takes.
The Crew’s near-trades and trading philosophy (P.S. Pete Vanegas is crazy).

FC Dallas
3rd Degree flagged concerns about outside backs getting isolated on defense (it’s somewhere in there); good tactical stuff generally.
Deconstruction of wimpy win over Toronto FC.

Chicago Fire
Love for new guy Conde (first name William?  Can I call him Bill?)
Status on Justin Mapp, Gonzalo Segares, more Conde

Houston Dynamo
Somewhere after catching up with Corey Ashe’s adjustment to MLS, there’s talk of when some players (Brad Davis, Paul Dalglish) will return.

Real Salt Lake
Linked to earlier, but liked it: missing on-field leadership in Salt Lake (down at the bottom).

Colorado Rapids
General Status – notably for Bouna Coundoul

DC United
Would ya look at all them suspensions?
Emilio’s (unholy) tear; the man will bag 20…dammit.
The DCenters useful insanity; team, streaks thoroughly deconstructed

Red Bull New York
Altidore’s status, plus The Missing Mathis Mystery (the word “personal” is used)

THE WEEKEND AHEAD Continue reading

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One-liner guide to La Liga Jornada 3–Que guay!

Here is your guide to La Liga Jornada 3, why you are chowing down on the biggest paella you’ve ever seen.

Note that since Mediapro and Audiovisual still cant get their heads out of their asses the only games televised this weekend will be Athletic-Zaragoza and Sevilla-Recreativo (sorry Madrid fans, better go jump off a bridge now.)

Home team is First and kickoff is in Spain time (minus 6 hours for the East Coast and so on)

And I will be making a paella this weekend in honor of the Sevilla game, but not as big as this guy’s and minus the seafood. I’m not a seafood kinda guy.

And here are your one-line guides to all of this weekend’s action.

Saturday 14 September

Valencia-Valladolid 8:00pm
Can Valencia escape the mid-season crisis, two games into the season?

Real Madrid-Almeria 8:00pm
Can Wesley Sneijder keep his scoring boots on long enough to give Madrid a win?

Athletic-Zaragoza 10:00pm (Televised)
Welp..at least they aren’t from the Basque prov..oh shit. Run!!! Protect your ATM Machines.

Sunday 15 September

Espanyol-Getafe 5:00pm
A Schuster-less Getafe is looking less than fine this season.

Deportivo-Betis 5:00pm
If it’s from Sevilla, and not Sevilla FC, it’s CRAP!

Mallorca-Villareal 5:00pm
Villareal will be out for blood after getting wacked by Madrid two weeks ago.

Murcia-Atlético 5:00pm
Oh Fernando Torres, why have you left us??

Racing-Levante 5:00pm
Can any of these teams actually score a goal? Anyone?

Sevilla-Recreativo 7:00pm
One Singma Pongolle on the bench down spells relief for Palop and Sevilla.

Osasuna-Barcelona 9:00pm
Will TH14 actually score play against Osasuna?

If you want to try to catch a not-so-legal feed of any of the games, check out Live Footy, thats how I get all my games I can’t see on Fox Soccer Channel.

I’ll be out this weekend as I have games this weekend at 10am Saturday and Sunday in the lovely Fall League BDSL or as we affection ally call it, the Beer Drinkers Soccer League, where if someone doesn’t throw up on Saturday morning before halftime, it’s just not a good game.

Que disfrutes!

Chivas 3-0 LA: Two Kicks to the Moldering Corpse

Last night, for the first time in my time as a Major League Soccer (MLS) fan, I pulled for the Los Angeles Galaxy. I couldn’t help myself, not with them dragging desperately around the pitch like a three-legged dog. I pulled, especially, for Landon Donovan and Abel Xavier, who, together, seemed to be two of those three legs.

The fervent prayers of ten thousand well-wired saints, never mind my feeble pitying support, could not have saved the team the Galaxy fielded last night against a strong Chivas USA side. What life is left to pray for runs through Donovan, Xavier, Joe Cannon, and, arguably, what’s left of Kyle Martino’s after you account for his nagging injuries. No disrespect intended to the rest of the Galaxy team, but, player-for-player, they just don’t stack up right now.

The shortcomings are both most apparent and painful up top. Carlos Pavon looks like my dad could push him in a foot-race, while one-dimensional stands as the most polite insult one can direct at Alan Gordon; he’s 80% target-player and 0% open-field runner; the time Chris Klein tried to play the latter into a foot-race through the defense painfully illustrated Gordon’s limitations.

We were all in for an evening of mildly appalled viewing from the moment Chivas scored the first goal; that Razov scored the goal with his RIGHT FOOT only poured more salt into the wounds. With LA’s forward line so unequal to the job, the game seemed over and, the Galaxy, dead. Still, Donovan and Martino pushed bravely – if, in the case of the former – recklessly forward in a spirit that recalled a tortured doctor from a hospital drama, the man who recoils at the thought of losing a single patient. One could almost hear Donovan screaming, “NO! Live, damn you! LIVE!!” In my memory, though, the Galaxy never came meaningfully close to scoring and that’s in spite of getting into position: Xavier sailing a near-range shot almost implausibly high over the crossbar or Gordon flopping on his back trying to trap a high, through-ball with his foot come to mind there.

When, around the 85th minute, Chivas scored a second – this one on a well-taken shot by Francisco “Panchito” Mendoza – the entire affair turned a touch morbid. When Laurent Merlin scored off a sloppy clearance – a play that originated when still another Galaxy defender was caught dicking around with the ball too long – it all became essentially grotesque. That’s two hard kicks into the side of a helpless corpse. I tried to change the channel after the first, but it all happened so fast.

And to think, we’ll get to see this at least a few more times this season.

LA Story: Humor, Soccer, and “Racism”

I started, wrote, and re-wrote a blurb on this for yesterday’s Daily Sweeper; it’s possible six or so people read it before I yanked it.  The post dealt with a touchy subject: the intersection of fan humor and race/ethnicity.  By the time I finished, though, I wound up with a blurb – not nearly enough to address so contentious an issue.  But, big and interesting as the subject is, I didn’t want to duck it.  So, I’m trying again here.

To start at the beginning, Dan Loney wrote a frustrated post in response to a preview written ahead of last night’s SuperClasico by a reporter named Billy Witz, who writes for the Long Beach Press-Telegram.  As part of an attempt to describe the heightened tension surrounding the SuperClasico, Witz reported an incident from the previous “LA derby” in which the Riot Squad, an LA Galaxy supporters group, wore sombreros and hired a mariachi band, a bit of fan theater that Witz reports left some of Chivas USA’s Mexican nationals feeling “mocked” and “irate.”  Loney responded with subscription-canceling ire growing from his sense that he’d been branded a racist.  You can best get their sides by reading Loney’s post, though the original article forms the primary source material.

But the whole thing got me thinking…and that leads me to a story: Continue reading

Violence In Football, Tarnishing the Beautiful Game?

Ed. Note..This was an old post I did way back when and figuered I would bring it out of retirement onto CHI to see what people have to say about violence in football.

Remember the old adage, ‘Enough is enough?’ Well, I ask myself, especially with most of Europe’s top leagues winding down and the EPL champs already crowned, one question that needs to be addressed in this off-season.

When is football violence going to be controlled?

I ask this question because too many times since this past September I have watched on Spanish television countless numbers of fans being beaten by riot police most notably the Manchester United fans who are taking the beating in the above picture. I’ve also witnessed fans riot in Sicily resulting in one police officer being killed, (yes killed). And I continue to ask myself for what??? A football game?? Your ‘allegiance’ to your team?? Come on now, this needs to stop.

For those of you in the American sphere and are not aware of what’s going on, or how crazy football can be. I can make an easy comparison. I went to Ohio State and watched as many a Buckeye lay waste to couches, chairs, bookstores, anything flammable in the immediate area. I was also a part of many Ohio State vs. Michigan games. However, there was a difference. When a Michigan fan walked by and some people yelled ‘Michigan (fill in your expletive here)’ that was the end. Some people did a bit more, sure there was a fight or two, but those are few and far between.

Now, taking it back to Spain. In Sevilla there are two ‘La Liga’ teams, Betis and Sevilla. Now, I’m a Sevillana (aka I root for Sevilla) and I was a part of a ‘derbi’ which is when both teams play each other. Hearing horror stories, I wasn’t expecting much as I have seen the OSU-UM games enough to know what a rivalry is. However, I watched in awe and complete shock as a Betis fan walked in front of a group of Sevilla fans and was beaten so bad that the police arrested all of the fans and the Betis fan was rushed to the hospital with ‘life-threatening’ injuries. And why you ask? No reason, it was because he was wearing a Betis jersey.

There is all sorts of violence that exists in football. This year’s Barcelona-Espanyol game featured Molotov Cocktails and riot police escorting Barcelona fans into Espanyol’s stadium before kickoff for fear of large scale fighting. Sevilla and Betis fans clash everytime a game is played, and even this year a fan threw a bottle down from the stands which knocked Sevilla coach Juande Ramos unconscious and forced the game to be stopped and replayed behind closed doors. Manchester United fans took a savage beating from Italian Riot Police and 11 were taken to hospital. But this came after Man U fans were seen tossing ‘missiles’ (which is a fancy name for ’stuff’) at opposing Roma fans. Newcastle fans were beaten by Spanish ‘Guardia Civil’ in the opening legn in the UEFA Cup in Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium for chanting and singing. It’s a football match, that’s going to happen.

Continue reading

La Liga Para Todos-Sept 13th-Ballack, Pongolle, and a New National Anthem

Remember that time I shut my finger in the cardoor, oh yeah, that was today. Thanks to that, my typing skills are lacking, thus today’s La Liga Para Todos will be a ‘hot links’ edition, so get your Spanish Translators out kids.

Real Madrid said that they will leave the door open for Michael Ballack to come to Real Madrid when the next transfer window opens. What a surprise. Ballack was actually denied permission from Chelsea to go back to Germany to do some type of Adidas appearance. Which is funny since Adidas is a huge sponsor of Chelsea. Hum…Chelsea are just playing with Ballack now.

Sinama Pongolle will be out 4 to 6 weeks for Recreativo de Huelva with a muscle tear. Recreativo will have a hard time replacing Pongolle as he already has 2 goals this season and was on track for many more. He was impressing me this year, showing great pace and controlling the ball well. My guess is Javi Guerrero will join Camuñas upfront in the Recre attack this weekend against Sevilla.

Luis Fabiano and Adriano are back and training normally with Sevilla after being injured for the past 2 weeks. This is good news for us Sevillistas, as Kanouté will have his preferred striking partner back this weekend against Recreativo.

–My good friend Cesar at The Offside thinks there is a Crisis at Valencia already. Maybe overreacting? Maybe not. Valencia have had their woes this season so far, getting shut out 3-0 at home to Villareal but then winning their second game

And ‘La Palabra del Día’ is A bit heavy on the F-word, so I’ll put it behind the jump.

Continue reading

Fresh Meat at Center Holds It and Get Your Comment On

Greetings avid CHI readers.  Just wanted to let you all know that we have adopted a new blogger from ‘Down Under’ to join us here at Center Holds It.

His name is Dustin and he will be joining the fray sometime this weekend I would imagine. (as long as he can figure out how to use WordPress).

Make sure to treat him with the utmost respect  give him all sorts of hell when he starts to post here.  It’s his first time here around the E-Bays and with blogging, so make sure to comment as you see fit.  I wanted a picture of Kevin Bacon getting paddled from Animal House, but will settle with the oh so college picture of John Belushi in his ‘college’ sweatshirt.

That’s another thing.  If you like a story, don’t like it, think I’m a complete asshole, whatever, make sure to comment at the end of our articles.  It’s a good way to spark debate and gives us some more to write about and lets us know what you want to see.

So G’Day and welcome to CHI Justin, and don’t mind Jeff, you can’t post as much as he does.

Also, if you were wondering, don’t shut your finger in your car door.  Just don’t do it.  My pointer fingernail makes me look like one of those cool ’emo’ kids that paints one fingernail completely black.  Just some advice.