New England v. Chicago Preview (All Right, All Right; I’ll Do It)

I’m about to do something I almost never do: preview a game, namely, the Eastern Conference Final pitting the New England Revolution against the Chicago Fire. For the record, I blame the quality stuff other people are turning out. Even MLSnet.com’s typically tepid preview contains a vital information-nugget: Shalrie Joseph will have to sit out the final if he picks up a yellow in the semifinal. That’s pretty big, bigger than Taylor Twellman being in the same situation to be sure. I also learned that Kevin Stott will officiate…though I can’t remember whether I have an opinion on him or not.

Before getting to my thoughts, here are the other “inspirations” that got me thinking too much about tomorrow night’s game. Ives Galarcep turned in pre-game analysis for ESPN that hits plenty of useful highlights, most notably the potentially defining match-up between Joseph and Cuauhtemoc Blanco – more on this later from me. A couple people took up the rivalry thing: Blue Blooded Journo conducted a Q & A with himself in which he looks into everything from Chicago’s fans to the horror that is Blanco’s face…Chicago fans may want to skip that one. Finally, even though Luis Arroyave failed to get “bulletin board material” out of either side of the rivalry, he passed on an absolutely brilliant alleged quote from Clint Dempsey:

Just last year, a scuffle nearly broke out in the Toyota Park tunnel with Fire defender Gonzalo Segares and ex-Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey. Sources said Dempsey yelled ‘I don’t care–take me to jail’ as teammates tried to restrain him.”

I’ll be asking for a t-shirt for Christmas, along with another inspired by Britney Spears (credit to Ann Romano from the Portland Mercury): “Rehab Is Hard Y’all.”

Now, for my look ahead to Those Things That Will Loom Large in tomorrow night’s game. Continue reading

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Daily Sweeper, 11.7: The Process of Winding Down

I’m coming across quite a few stories today that read a lot like post-mortems. Seemed like a good theme. Before getting to that, however, I want to flag my personal highlight of the day. The Offside Rules found a video of ESPN goofball, Rob Stone, eating one hot motherscratcher of a chili pepper. It’s possible, of course, that Stone is a chili wuss. But, thanks to a local farmer’s market, I’ve fought through my share of chili-eatin’ challenges and the kind of pain he experienced looked familiar. Seeing as he ate “the hottest chili in the world,” I’m guessing he saw God. My personal worst was a Jamaican Chocolate pepper or one particularly surprising habanero – e.g. the ones that are so frickin’ hot you can smell it. Let’s just say my body coped with the experience by attempting to vomit.

OK, enough gawking: on to the goods.

– Credit to 3rd Degree for getting me in this frame of mind. Buzz Carrick wrote a tidy little behind-the-scenes at what professional players – or, FC Dallas players at least – do ahead of and during the off-season. Do note the absentee.

The DCenters offered a great suggestion for a tribute to potential retiree, Joshua Gros. For those unfamiliar with the reasons why such a young player would retire, concussion is the word with “repeated” and “multiple” serving as highly relevant qualifiers.

– Now, the biggest winding down of them all: Red Bull New York, where there are clearly a couple burners running at once. The New York Times’ Goal blog captures the mood fairly well – particularly in the second paragraph – but, as expected, Soccer By Ives gets the details. Red Bull fans in search of a silver lining have one in Juan Pablo Angel’s apparent happiness with life in NYC; looks like he could be sticking around. Another Ives post casts a wider net over who may or may not stay around. The one that caught my eye: Clint Mathis. Yeah, I’m a Mathis whore (yessir, I’ll wear the suit tonight), so I’d be perfectly happy to gamble that he could find, as Ives puts it, “inspiration” with either New England or Columbus or some other team I enjoy following. Sign him up, Mr. Nicol. Seriously, you know you’re worried about Andy Dorman…

Naturally, a couple people are looking forward today. Moving on to that part of the post…

Down the Byline, proudly carrying the Kansas City Wizards’ torch in the soccer blogo-verse, gave a local’s perspective on the Kansas City Wizards’ quonset set-up for the next couple of seasons, CommunityAmerica Ballpark. To quickly sum up that perspective: he’s OK with it. If nothing else, the Wizards could stand a smaller venue. And, in a later post, M (the author), brought the feisty to address some of the general commentary on the move and with the opinion that Major League Soccer (MLS) should move the Wizards franchise out of KC, in particular. It could be he’s responding to (good) lines like the one in du Nord’s Tuesday round-up:

“Bob Luder of the KC Star reports that the Kansas City Wizards are going from NFL-Way-Too-Big to Minor-League-Baseball-Awkward in their stadium situation.”

For the record, I only know KC has some place to play and I’m OK with that. Badly as the franchise struggles with butts in seats, the league would be weird without them.

– The last item today comes from something Soccer Source found in an “ESPN France” (or whatever the hell they call it) write-up on a few French soccer players’ experiences with soccer in the U.S.:

“Interestingly enough, the story predicts this is due to change. It quotes Michael Wiesenfeld, Merlin’s New York-based agent, who anticipates MLS will add a second designated player in time for the start of the 2008 season. Wiesenfeld also predicts that the minimum wage for players and salary cap for teams will both treble in 2009.”

If the source on this wasn’t an agent, I’d headline this bad boy under a title reading “All Problems Solved.” And I’m referring, there, to the stuff about 2009. Expand the roster size, rock a firm-ish salary cap and ditch single-entity and I’ll be a happy monkey.

That is all. (Oh, and I’ll pound sand right up yer ass. (Reverse the order and name that band and song!))

The Morning Hi-5-Weds 11/7

The best footy links you can check out while pondering why the British are so damn funny…

1) Barcelona takes to the field against the Scottish wall that is Rangers…(Barcelona Offside)

2) Another Sevilla blog, actually in English. Rafa is the head of starting up the Sevilla Peña in America...(Brigada Americana)

3) Beach Soccer anyone? Spain beats the US in the opening round of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup…(SI)

4) You think medics would know how to pick up a stretcher…(The Red Cauldron)

5) Phil Ball takes a trip to the Basque region. Don’t go near any ATM’s!!! (ESPNSoccernet)

And here’s some beach soccer action for everyone. Don’t forget to check out the Champions League games on http://www.live-footy.org. That’s where I’ll be.

La Liga Para Todos–I’m Back, Schuster’s comments, Kanouté and llorón

Hey all, did you miss me?

It’s been an absolute mess with me the last couple of weeks with school, but since I’ve got a few minutes to spare daily now, I’ll play Jesus and bring ‘La Liga Para Todos’ back from the dead, and maybe even the Morning Hi-5, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Without further adu, let’s get to it.

—Say it isn’t so Freddy, say it isn’t so. Freddy Kanouté’s agent came out in the English press today saying that there is a possibility that Kanouté could return to Tottenham come season’s end, especially if Berbatov says goodbye to Spurs. This is going to be the fallout from Juande Ramos leaving. Not that Sevilla go into a shell and cannot win but rather that Juande is going to come in and swoop all of Sevilla’s players up and bring them to the promised land. This could be an expensive move for Tottenham as Kanouté is inked with Sevilla until 2012 and will need to be bought out of his contract with Sevilla.

—Bernrd Schuster gets the quote of the week after the Sevilla -Real Madrid game. Schuster was less than happy with the referee in the encounter and made his feelings known after the match. When talking to reporters, Schuster asked

‘Where is the ref from?’

The reporter replies. ‘Catalonia’

Then Schuster replies with the classy statement.

There’s nothing more that has to be said. (No hace falta decir nada mas)

What a classy statement by Schuster. Really. Oh yeah, it turns out that referee Alfonso Álvarez Izquierdo is an Espanyol fan, and not a Barça fan. I watched the game, and yes, it was a bit rough of a game for the referee, but to throw the ref under the bus is uncalled for. Between Schuster and Sir Alex Ferguson, managers are all about tearing the refs a new one lately, a trend that I feel needs to stop.

–Spanish teams in the Champions League…Valencia lost 2-0 to Rosenborg in the Champions League nullifying the debut of new manager Ronald Koeman. I didn’t see the game but my friend Cesar at the offside gave a review of what he saw. Valencia may have problems that a manager change cannot solve. Their defense is ragged and in need of a change. Real Madrid drew 0-0 with Olympiakos. I was able to catch the last few minutes of the game and from what I’ve read, Madrid just didn’t have it today and could very well be reeling from the loss to Sevilla on Saturday.

And the last note, inspired by Sevilla’s beating of Real Madrid.

arrogance_122-copy.jpg

It feels good to be back. As always, comment away.

Also, if anyone wants to see anything in La Liga covered specifically, let me know. I can do the translating and follow the league on the forums, etc, so make sure to let me know!!!

Palabra del Día

Don’t think I forgot about this. Today’s word is

llorón crybaby, whiner (comes from verb llorar-to cry)

Joder tio, Schuster es un llorón.