CHI has officially moved shop and our new digs are ready for your viewing pleasure.

Please update your bookmarks to the following!!!

Now, a little note from your fearless leader.

Last August, I decided to send out a few emails to see who I could get to collaborate on a multi-pundit soccer website. I literally sent out around 30 emails to random bloggers who were doing things on their own, but might want to become involved in something bigger.

Only two of those bloggers responded. Jeff, from It’s a Simple Game, and Breton, from Because I Think Way Too Much About Soccer.

After a series of emails back and forth, I decided to make a site with the three of us all posting about our passion for the game. After thinking long and hard, I christened the site ‘Center Holds It’ and on Monday, August 6th, 2007, the site went live.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have a clue what to expect when the site went up. I was a terrible blogger in the beginning, and found it hard to get going. But, seasoned veterans Jeff and Breton held down the fort and kept this bad boy running day and night.

Since we’ve started CHI, I’ve been interviewed on Spanish Radio, started on a podcast with The Offside, had an article published about me in a newspaper, and have had the opportunity to work with two great individuals, namely Jeff and Breton. I never thought this could come from a PhD student who wanted to blog for a hobby, but after a while, the blogging became part of my life.

Last week, I received an email from Jesse, creator of BigSoccer, asking if we were interested in moving CHI over to Big Soccer. After a series of meetings between CHI and Jesse, and amongst ourselves, we decided it would be a great move for us. Jesse ensured us that CHI would remain intact, and that it would not ‘sell out’.

If you look at our new site, you can see we’ve obviously not ‘jumped the shark’ or ‘sold out’ but rather, just moved to a new home. The three of us will have a chance to post to a wider audience on BigSoccer. You will still see the same types of articles at our new home, and the people you’ve come to know and love.

For the next week, we will all continue to post ‘teasers’ to our BigSoccer posts for everyone to take a look at. Please, I emplor everyone to visit us at and help us settle into our new site. The reason we post is because we have an audience, and the last thing we want to do is lose it. So make sure to come over, register once, and start commenting already.

Right now we are in the process of developing one RSS feed for the site. That will be done in about a week’s time. Until then, you can separately get our feeds by using the following links.

Breton –
Jeff –
Ryan –

I also need to thank Jeff and Breton personally. If it wasn’t for their constant posts and work towards this site, it would never have had a chance. The two of them were truly the backbone of the entire site, and it can be seen in simply the amount and quality of their posts. So guys, I just want to personally thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to CHI. You two are really the reason this site is so popular.

On behalf of Center Holds It, I thank you for the last 8.5 months here at The reason we had the opportunity to move is because of everyone who reads us, and I thank each and every one of you for that, I really do.

See you at the new site!


Ryan Knapp
Creator of Center Holds It

MLS Week 3 Power Rankings: The Last Shall Be First

(This same post appears on my corner of BigSoccer’s Center Holds It page.)

“Lo, and the first among you shall be second, and the second first. The third only gets show…there’s only so much I can do.”
– God (OK, maybe not). Time, irrelevant.

That was one hell of a no-way weekend. I saw a few results/realities coming (e.g. FC Dallas would remain undefeated; New England would come out flat), but a couple results felt so weird, so-made-for-TV movie. How else to explain the league’s teams beat up on the good and the glamorous? Never mind explaining it: just enjoy! Seriously, your emotions are broken if they didn’t share some fraction of the giddy sensation Real Salt Lake must have felt upon being outright, undisputed badasses….if only for a day? The cat pictured at right knows all about that feeling.

All the same, a deeper sensation buzzes below the chatter. How many of this week’s games screamed one-off? How confident should any of us feel as we compile our rankings, no matter how we make our choices? (NOTE: My rankings are based on which team would beat any of those below on the coming weekend…with a pinch of my belief in their capacity for long-term success used for tie-breakers.) I know that’s not wisdom I’m feeling; it’s more like hoping no one thinks coin-flips make the foundation of these rankings.

In that spirit, let the record show I’m only confident about the placement of the bottom three. It’s basically a handful of mush after that…though I do think the top four would beat all comers #12-14, and everyone else (i.e. #5-11) in 7 games out of 10. That’s right now, though; down the road, I’m not so sure. Anyway, enough excuses. On to the numbers (last week’s rankings appear in parenthesis after the current ranking) – and, please add your own power rankings in the comments, if you’re so inclined: Continue reading

MLS Week 3 Ink-Blot

The idea behind this is pretty simple: whether you’ve seen the game in question or not, results provoke a gut-level reaction. It can be a “wow,” a “meh,” or even an “I told you, you twit,” but there’s always something. That’s what comes below: a kind of “say the first thing that pops into your head” reaction to the scores and highlights from Week 3 in Major League Soccer (MLS). For the record, I catch only two or three games a week, which leaves several games that I “see” exclusively through print and/or highlights. That’s not going to change; if you’re watching every MLS game, every week…I dunno, seems like a cry for help…or maybe a sign that you really need to tell family and loved ones something…like maybe that you hate them? Just thinking out loud there…

Anyway, I’m a day behind on this due to scheduling difficulties (what happened? I’m guessing you want to know less than I want to tell you.) Expect this item every Sunday in future, when all the results from the week are in. I’ll come back later today (possibly a lot later) after I do a bunch of reading on how everyone out there – or everyone I read – viewed Week 3 in Major League Soccer (MLS). By that same token, anyone wanting to flesh out the (very) quick impressions passed on below should feel absolutely free to do so; that could be part of my researches. Finally, I’ll get into more detail on the games I did catch over the weekend in that later post – in this case, Colorado v. New England and Columbus v. Chivas USA.

Moving on…and, what the hell, let’s start at the beginning of Week 3. match reports (which I have not, and generally struggle, to read) are embedded in the scores: Continue reading

La Liga: Jornada 32 Weekend In Review

For anyone that’s new to these parts, I don’t write weekend reviews, but rather link to reviews since I don’t find it to be a good use of my time. And since others do a great job, I just link to them!

La Liga Results-Jornada 32

Saturday 12 April 2008 (Spanish Time)
20:00 Valencia 1 – Racing 2 FT
22:00 Recreativo 2 – Barcelona 2 FT

Sunday 13 April
17:00 Valladolid 1 – At. Madrid 1 FT
17:00 Betis 0 – Levante 1 FT
17:00 Getafe 0 – Zaragoza 0 FT
17:00 Espanyol 0 – Osasuna 1 FT
17:00 Deportivo 3 – Athletic 0 FT
17:00 Mallorca 2 – Sevilla 3 FT
19:00 R. Madrid 1- Murcia 0 FT
21:00 Almería 1 – Villarreal 0 FT

Continue reading

MLS: Pouring Some Sauce over Week 3

With the ground shifting violently beneath my feet and my hands getting burned by all the pokers I’m pulling from the fire, I thought I’d try to post something saucy, topical, and yet not too complicated. I also wanted it to be useful…you judge the extent to which I succeeded.

As such, below you’ll find bold predictions about the weekend (saucy/topical) and a one-stop list of all the injuries deigned to acknowledge (at least one gap exists) in the previews they post every week. Writing as someone who rarely gives credit, I hereby applaud their previews…even if the timing isn’t always the best and that the list of injuries is the only bit that interests me.

Let’s start with the “saucy”…with the league standings as my walking stick…if you catch my meaning… Continue reading

La Liga: The First ‘Jueves de Feria’ Without Antonio Puerta

It would be criminal of me today to not mention Antonio Puerta, on this ‘Jueves de Feria’ (Feria Thursday).

2 years ago, Antonio Puerta single handedly started Sevilla on a run that would Spain 15 months and 5 separate titles (UEFA Cup 2006, 2007, Spanish Copa Del Rey 2007, Spanish Super Cup 2007 and European Super Cup 2006). His goal against Schalke didn’t only lift Sevilla to the finals against Middlesbrough, but it was also a spectacular goal, scored in the 100th minute of the game, in Sevilla’s 100th year of existence.

When this goal was scored, the city quite literally erupted into a frenzy, as you can see from the video. This goal will live as one of the greatest goals in Sevilla history.

Manolo Jimenez wrote a great remembrance today in MARCA about this topic. Remember that Jimenez was Puerta’s coach in Sevilla Atlético for a few years before his move up to the first team under Joaquin Caparros, and ultimately under the guidance of Juande Ramos.

His few lines says it all:

No resulta fácil encontrar las palabras adecuadas cuando se trata de recordar la figura del gran Antonio Puerta. Es un futbolista, una persona, por la que siento una especial predilección. Se cumple el primer Jueves de Feria sin él, se cumple el segundo aniversario del Jueves de Feria que cambió la historia del Sevilla y el destino de Puerta.

It’s not easy to find the right words when trying to remember the great Antonio Puerta. He’s a footballer, a person, for whom I felt a special predilection. It’s the first ‘Jueves de Feria’ without him, and it’s the second anniversary of the ‘Jueves de Feria’ that changed Sevilla’s history, and Puerta’s destiny’

Continue reading

La Liga: Jose Maria Del Nido Strikes Again

Anyone who reads this blog realizes I love Sevilla President, Jose Maria del Nido and all of the lovely things that comes from his greedy, sketchy lawyer mouth. Look at what a stud he is, in all his Feria de Abril glory, hanging out in his fancy caseta

Today, Del Nido came out with a classic. Talking about Dani Alves and his supposed desire to leave for Barcelona, the Sevilla president had this to say.

Por 25 millones de euros le mando al Barcelona las botas de Daniel Alves para que se las ponga un lateral del filial. Es quizás el mejor lateral derecho que hay actualmente en el mundo, y mi ilusión es que continúe los cuatro años que tiene”

For 25 million Euro, I’ll send Barcelona Dani Alves’s cleats so that a youth squad player can wear them. He’s possibly the best right back in the world and my hope is that he will stay here for the four years he has

Haha. What balls this guy has. I swear, the best things come out of this guy’s mouth. Basically he just told Laporta to screw off, and Dani Alves isn’t going anywhere.

Later in the convo, Del Nido denies that anyone has contacted him about the Brazilian, but does say that he won’t talk to anyone until the season is over.

It just so happens that this comes out in MARCA which sticks it to the Catalans any chance they get. But Del Nido knows how to deal, I’ll tell you that. He’s not afraid to stick his neck out there and say something stupid, but its what he’s known for.

CCCO8 Semis: Strategery Before the Second Leg

I think that sums it up nicely.

The general mood of optimism going into the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals renders the funk looming over the second leg all the more blue. I’ll be surprised – and, for the record, damned happy – if either DC United or the Houston Dynamo make the final. It’d be one thing if only a handful, or even half, the pundits I read shared my view, but even the bigs ( and Soccer America) put out previews with a funereal, almost post-mortem tone – e.g. it’s more lessons learned for the next go-around than what to do about tonight.

One can even find such talk out of the proverbial horse’s mouth:

“’I was thinking about that while I was watching the [Pachuca-D.C.] game the other night, and boy, we’ve got to do better,’ said MLS commissioner Don Garber. ‘For this league to win over the core audience, we’ve got to be able to be among the best clubs in North America.’”

Fortunately, the future is not now…or, rather, it better not be because there’s not a lot anyone besides Houston and DC can do today to get the MLS clubs through (well, there’s the ref, I suppose…).

So, to throw out a question before (briefly) digging into some thoughts and details, which club would you rather be coaching today? Or, more practically, if you had to put money on DC or Houston to overcome the odds and advance to the final, which would it be?

My answer will appear at the bottom and after the jump; for now, here are some thoughts kicking around in my head these few hours before kick-off. Continue reading

Li’l Nuggets from MLS, 04.08: Blessed by Bruce

Now, cynics might think this is me trying to revive the Daily Sweeper on the sly. No! It is so much more…and less. The concept is similar – e.g. it’s just me flagging crap I find – but, rather than direct you to entire posts and/or articles, I’m mainly interested at lifting quotes and specific concepts, notions, etc. from said posts and/or articles. The thinking is that you’re more likely to miss something like that than an entire article.

That said, I’ll still pass on entire pieces from time to time – like plugging The Offside Rules’ new Goal of the Weak feature – very clever – or flagging’s United Soccer Leagues-1 season primer/preview.

Anyway, here’s some good stuff that might have slipped through the cracks.

– I plan on doing a proper preview for the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinal second legs tomorrow, but found a good omen in Soccer y Futbol’s preview post:

“I will contact the team once training is over to ask about the condition of the FieldTurf, which, if I’m not mistaken, last month survived a 50,000 crowd that saw Iron Maiden rock it out.”

To hell with the condition of the field. Here’s what each of the Dynamo’s starting XI need to do: find the exact spot inside the stadium where the roadies set up Bruce Dickinson’s mike; stand there and pray. Bruce will see that you win as your reward.

-Speaking of Houston, the guys at Nutmegged inform me that I might have found the “five black eyes” that eluded me while writing up the as-yet-unnamed feature I kicked off yesterday. By general consensus there and elsewhere, Dynamo ‘keeper Tony Caig had a howler (“appalling?” ouch!). Thanks for the tip, guys, I imagine it’ll take me a week or two to get used to scaring up the right material for that….it could also be Monday is too early for me.

– One last CONCACAF-Champs’-related item: Soccer Insider notices a kind of “unfunded mandate” in play during an increasingly crowded Major League Soccer season:

“MLS should be commended for lining up international tournaments for its clubs; now it needs to provide the means to succeed. Just my take. Your thoughts.”

Yes. I do agree.

It’s possible others out there believe I revived a knock-off version of the Daily Sweeper so that I can pass on the random crap I love so dearly…they are also wrong! Though I have to say, it’s a nice fringe benefit.

– I don’t watch this Battlestar Galactica, but I still like this set-up.

Boing Boing reminds us what a work-station looked like a couple decades back. Awesome.

– Hat-tip to on this, welcome to the most poop-inducing hiking trail on planet earth. Somewhere in Spain if memory serves.

– Finally, some days, a body gets on a site and keeps finding little points of interest. That happened on a site called Ploomy sometime last week. I came to it through and it looks like a site with the purpose of making goofy boys into young men – e.g. a cheap version of GQ. Anyway, I started with their “table-manner tips every guy should know.” I knew all those, but a couple other things caught the corner of my eye, so on I went to 10 first date conversation tips and 30 ways “to get your swagger back” – going into that first date, I suppose. Being a married man, these can’t help me – except maybe the table tips (didn’t know that drinking out of bowls wasn’t kosher)

La Liga: De La Red Back Home at Real Madrid

(First off, I’d like to give a big middle finger to Time Warner who, thanks to their love for their customers, has rendered me and most of my friends without the internet for the last 6 hours, allowing me to miss the Offside Podcast taping.  Now, It’s 2:45am and I’m sitting in my Office trying to finish up work.  Thanks Time Warner!)

Anyway, to get back to the news. Arturo Sisó, the most annoying man in football according to La Liga Loca, will now have a new name to announce at the Bernabeu come next season.

Now starting for Real Madrid, Number 10 in your programs, but Number 1 in your hearts…Ruben de La Red!!

That’s right, the former Madrid player who was shipped off to Getafe this season with an all so lovely ‘buyback’ clause attached to him, is back for a cool 4.5 million € Why?

Well, the defensive midfielder shined with Geta and was one of Laudrup’s most important pieces of the puzzle this season.

Based on this year’s preformance, as AS puts it, he passed the test (with flying colors I may add) and will become part of Madrid’s team effective June 1.

According to Madrid gaffer, Bernrd Schuster ”

Rubén ha demostrado en el Getafe que se puede confiar en él. Eso sí, debe saber que aquí no tiene la titularidad garantizada porque el Madrid exige siempre el máximo a los que defienden su escudo”.

At Getafe Ruben has shown that we can believe in him.  With that, he should know that here we don’t guarantee anyone playing time because Madrid always brings out the best in the players who defend it’s crest.

De La Red recently received his first callup into the Spanish National Side against Italy (he didn’t play but it was quite an honor for the youngster.

Look for De La Red to give a challenge against Guti or Diarra next season.