Getting My Head Around Olympic Qualifying

Yeah, about 75% of you covered this stuff a couple months back, when all this was announced, but I’m just getting to it now. For what it’s worth, I blame February. In spite of being the shortest month, there’s just something about it that takes forever. With any luck, though, I’ll help out a couple other people coming late to the party.

So, Olympic qualifying for the United States U-23s (aka, Lil’ Yanquis) starts this coming Tuesday. All Li’l Yanquis games will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel, as will both semifinals, the third-place game (what? who cares?), and the final. A quick list of games, the opposition, and kick-off time (Pacific Standard):

Tuesday, March 11, 5 p.m. v. Cuba
Thursday, March 13, 5 p.m. v. Panama
Saturday, March 15, 4 p.m. v. Honduras

With that, you have all the teams in our group, that is Group A. There’s just Group B besides, so, to put it all together: Continue reading

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England’s UEFA teams in trouble, Scots sit pretty

Fiorentina 2, Everton 0

Fiorentina kept Everton to 1 shot on goal…1 measly shot. The chaos started early for the Toffees as the Italians were relentless, attacking from the get-go. Tim Howard was the only thing keeping Everton in the game as Tim Cahill couldn’t get anything working past the midfield, Yakubu was border-line non-existent as well. David Moyes kept pressing onwards though, determined to leave Florence with an away goal. He inserted Arteta and Andy Johnson in an attempt to wake up the offense. No dice. Howard wasn’t beaten until the 70th minute when Zdravko Kuzmanovic rocketed a shot right outside the penalty box. Ricardo Montolivo – a wing midfielder heavily touted in the Serie A – got the second ten minutes later after a nice exchange left him open to bury a first-time volley past Howard. The American goalkeeper was probably man of the match as a rout looked possible from the beginning.

PSV Eindhoven 1, Tottenham 0

The Spurs had their chances, but ultimately it was young Jefferson Farfan’s day. The Peruvian youngster – although it seems like he’s been in PSV’s set-up for the longest time – hit the only goal of the game in the 34th minute. Tottenham has cooled down considerably since their Carling Cup victory a couple weeks ago, but with Woodgate and King returning in the back, you would expect a different score-line. In fact, the two veterans weren’t at fault for Farfan’s goal. Gilberto, who had a pretty terrible European-debut for Juande Ramos, toyed with the ball in the back and Farfan made him pay. He stripped the Brazilian and proceeded to give PSV the 1-0 advantage. Both Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov were firing, but nothing was finding the target and the result stuck. The Spurs now face a tough away leg in Eindhoven come next week – by then, they could be up to the challenge.

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One-Liner Guide to La Liga-Jornada 27

The one-liner guide to La Liga is coming back just like your in-laws every Christmas.

Ready? Set? Go.

Your Spanish Cosita

Pro Evolution Soccer. PRO, which is what the Spanish call it, is as much a part of the footballing culture as La Liga. Whenever groups of guys in Spain get together, everyone wants to ‘echar un partidito’ (play a little game). Some people take it a bit further and take Pro and tweak it to their liking. Last year’s edition, someone made a ‘La Sexta’ edition complete with Andres Montes and it is by far the best edition. Thanks to Swap Magic, I can play that edition when I’m home and relive all of my La Sexta memories with Andres Montes yelling all the time.

This one is one of games that people alter, called in Spanish, ‘parché’. In this game, everything is changed to Canal + which is one of the television networks that has La Liga games in Spain.

In case you don’t know who Montes is, here he is calling the Italy-Germany game from WC 2006 with the rest of the La Sexta crew.

La Semana Pasada

Here’s some of the week’s top stories.

–The return legs of the Champions League saw Sevilla knocked out in what some are calling one of the Champions League’s best games (not based on defense). Barcelona went through after winning at home against Celtic 1-0, but losing Leo Messi for 6 weeks (more on that later). Real Madrid went down against Roma 2-1 at the Bernabeu. It really should have been a 2-0 scoreline as Real Madrid’s goal couldn’t have been more offside if they tried.

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MLS Results and Moves: A Soft-Lens Impressions

Having been “underground” when Major League Soccer (MLS) Roster Compliance Day came and went (and, to celebrate, I threw out tons of crap, just like the teams I like!), motivation to soberly analyze all those rosters isn’t coming; besides, fans and fan sites have probably did all this to near-death earlier in the week. Moreover, not knowing much about the players coming in, I’m not really equipped to do a hard-data write-up. As such, a looser approach feels more appropriate – or, as I put it in the title, a soft-lens impression, which I’ll form based on what I recall of each team’s results (I’ll provide links when I have ’em) and the moves each team has made so far. I’ll be using Soccer America’s round-up of off-season moves for this last bit.

And away we go…

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