2005/06 Soccer Thread

Belgian (Jupiler League): RSC Anderlecht, (4de Provinciale) VC Terheide
FA: Chelsea, since 1995
Primera Division: Barça, from before whenever ten Dutchmen played there (the Van Gaal period)
Bundesliga: right now Hamburg, because of the Belgians playing there

That U.S. vs Japan game, was IMO, a very strange game. Seems like we couldn't do anything right on the defensive side of the ball, but were damn near perfect while on offense. I'm sure a lot of the defensive problems had to do with the back line and goalie never really playing together, but I still would have expected a more communication between players on a Bruce Arena coached team.

When the U.S. was on the attack though, it was the total opposite. Great ball possesion and distribution. Players being unselfish with the ball. Great setpieces and all around good domination whenever they were in Japan's box. As I said before pretty much the exact opposite of how they played while on defense.

The players that really stood out for me were Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman. Twellman has been on a tear the last couple of games and barring a major injury has probably secured a spot in the WC squad. Clint Dempsey has also been in excelent form lately, and really showing what he is capable of on and off the ball. He is also starting to remind me a lot, of Demarcus Beasley, in the way that the only sure way of defending him is to constantly harass and foul him (hard). More and more I see the opposing defense knock him down, trip him, whatever it takes to try and throw him off his game, while hopefully not getting anyone ejected in the process. Pretty much the exact same treatment Beasley gets whenever he is on the pitch. You have to have someone on them at all times, and dont let them hold the ball. The minute you give either one some room with the ball or lose him in traffic they will make you pay.

I would really love to see Dempsey and Beasley onfield at the same time. I think that combo would rip through just about any defense and keep it on it's heels all game long. Unfortunately though, I believe they both play on the same side (right flank), which would make it highly unlikely. I have seen Beasley play the left flank before, but I don't think he's as much of a threat on the left as he is on the right. Who knows though, Arena has a knack for putting together lineups that most coaches would never dream of, so anything is possible. A guy can dream, right?

Haakon7 wrote:

Just as an interesting continuation to the thread: What teams does the board support?

National Teams - U.S., Portugal
MLS - DC United
Portuguese League - Sporting Lisbon
Dutch League - Ajax Amsterdam
La Liga - Whoever is playing against Real
FA/EPL - Fulham (ATM, since they have not just one, but two U.S. players and a portuguese one as well).

I also have a passing interest in ManU and Chelsea, but that's mostly to see how Tim Howard, and the Portuguese (coaches and players) did that weekend, or the antics they got into.

EPL - Fulham FC
Holland - PSV Eindhoven

I only really support Barcelona because they're playing a smart, attacking game of football recently, plus Ronaldinho. And i'll get behind a Serie A team once the Italian FA gets serious about maybe actually punishing clubs whose fans throw bananas on the pitch and hoot like gibbons.

For those of who who've followed, Arsenal lost again yesterday, 1-0 to Liverpool, meaning Arsenal now sit in 5th, four points off Tottenham in the final Champions League place and looking like even holding that spot will be difficult. Soccernet's got a good article up about what is assuredly a "crisis" now at Highbury. Frankly, I cannot see this current Arsenal side overcoming Real Madrid when the CL begins again on the 21st. It'd take a miracle with their current setup. Ronaldo may be overweight, Zidane may be aging, and the Galacticos may be prone to serious moments of crapitude, but Arsenal looks paper-thin.

Who does everyone else have to win the CL this season? I think we all can agree that Villareal probably won't be doing it, but there are a bunch of teams with honest ambitions this season. Chelsea, Barca, Milan, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Juve, Inter, and Bayern are all the favorites.

ATM my favorite is whoever wins the Chelsea vs. Barcelona series. What I wouldn't give to see a Real vs. Barcelona final though. That would be, TEH AWESOME! I'm also rooting for PSV in the hopes of seeing an American (Beasley) playing in a CL final.

Ooh, I forgot national teams and Dutch league.

Holland: PSV Eindhoven, from the days Belgian Luc Nilis (ex-Anderlecht) was topscorer there
national teams: Belgium, Holland. Which is quite rare in Belgium, there's a lot of rivalry between Belgium and Holland in soccer. We played like 125 derby's or so in the history of football, so there are plenty off anti-Holland vibes around here. Well, we did claim our independence by kicking them out

You know, I had a friend who spent a semester in Belgium Dejanzie. He has informed me that Flemish is a crazy redheaded-stepchild language like Welsh, and that half of your nation speaks this mongrel language.

I'd really like to not see Real make the final, because, dear god, someone needs to brain Florentino Perez. I don't want that moron's take on football succeeding anywhere, anytime, anyhow. He deserves all the failure he's reaped.

I kind of want to see Chelsea win it, because I want to see them do that, buy 45 more players over the summer, and actually have their First-stringers, Second-stringers, and third-stringers all make up a World Class team.

Ooh, I forgot national teams

Me too!
National: US, England, Ireland

I'm a big fan of Dutch football, too, Dejanzie. They've given us Spurs two fantastic pieces of the puzzle - Jol & Davids!

As far as the CL goes, I'd love to Bayern win it, but that's an outside chance, considering their draw for next week. Shev is an amazing player.
The Reds have a better draw against Villareal, but I'd be surprised to see them win it again.
Unless the Blues play like they did last week, I think it will be a Chelsea v Barca final.

I'm going to have to back up the Arsenal-Real sentiment, Pred. With their injuries and general lack of form, I don't see the Gunners winning ANYTHING substantial anytime soon.

Pred wrote:

Flemish is a crazy redheaded-stepchild language like Welsh, and that half of your nation speaks this mongrel language.

Grammar is exactly the same in Holland and Flanders, only the vocabulary and accent may differ slightly. But Flemish is not what I'd call a mongrel language. It was one of the reasons for seperation with Holland though: the French Bourgeoisie was afraid they would be forced by the Dutch king to learn Dutch. As a counterreaction after the independence everything even remotely Dutch tongued was not only culturally (because only peasants spoke it back then) but also politically incorrect. So it's kind of a sensitive subject over here. For instance, thousands of Flemish soldiers were sent to certain death in WWI because all the officers orders where in French and French alone.

I do agree Chelsea-wise though, but only out of irrational fanboihood

dejanzie wrote:
Pred wrote:

Flemish is a crazy redheaded-stepchild language like Welsh, and that half of your nation speaks this mongrel language.

Grammar is exactly the same in Holland and Flanders, only the vocabulary and accent may differ slightly. But Flemish is not what I'd call a mongrel language.

Well, nothing well and truly is a mongrel language, I just like saying that about any language i'm unfamiliar with because it makes me sound like a British explorer circa 1821.

As an aside, there's more action from the UEFA Cup tonight as a whole crapload of teams I don't give a fig about play some other teams I don't give a sh*t about. On the more humorous side, Middlesbrough is taking on Stuttgart tonight in a game that should prove, at the least, "interesting".

Huzzah! The Champions League is back!

If you've got the time, you'll be wanting to tune your American ElectroTainment Boxes to ESPN2 to watch live coverage of one of the games (TVGuide.com says we're getting Arsenal v. Real Madrid today and Barca v. Chelsea tomorrow). Or, if you're in Europe, you can just watch the games on some big, important, national TV channel because I hate you.

Anywho, this weekend, Liverpool beat ManU in the FA Cup for the first time in 85 years. A bigger headline was the news that Alan Smith's leg nearly snapped off. Other than that, not much happened (although Newcastle did win. Albeit against Southampton. 1-0. They'll take it.)

All this week's hype is, obviously, about the CL and the upcoming games. Barca prepared for their game with Chelsea in style, and if last year's encounter is any indication, we should be in for two more good legs.

NOTE: If you did not see/have not seen the Chelsea-Barcelona tie from last year's CL, you're depriving yourself of some of the best Soccer i've ever seen.

Analysis On Arsenal from The Guardian.

And More Fun from the Serie A.

As tempting as Arsenal - Real Madrid would've looked 10-12 months ago, I think The Fiver has a pretty good grasp of the situation at hand.

Everywhere you look on the pitch, there'll be duels to make you drool like John Prescott in a pie shop: French genius Zinedine Zidane versus his compatriot and rumoured strife-partner Thierry Henry; trigger-happy Brazilian Buddha Roberto Carlos versus free-roaming French hitman Thierry Henry; big-boned striking phenomenon Ronaldo versus backtracking one-man band Thierry Henry; trying-to-work-his-way-into-England-contention Jonathan Woodgate versus trying-to-work-his-way-to-Barcelona Thierry Henry.

EDIT: Also, they're still not done building Wembley. Back to Cardiff then!

Well, you could've put me in the "Arsenal will get their butts kicked" column prior to this game, but lo and behold, one moment of glory from Mr. Henry and it's 1-0 to the Gooners! A pretty good game IMHO, 60 minutes of good football before Arsenal put up the shutters completely. The only gripe Arsenal can have is that they really should've won by more. If they'd taken even half the chances Real Madrid literally handed them, they'd have won 3-0.

Now, it's not over, of course, but this is great for Arsenal. The next leg back at Highbury should be very interesting indeed. I just hope Arsene understands that his defense isn't good enough to sit back for 90 minutes and hope.

Meanwhile, the news on Merseyside isn't good, but it's not completely awful. Liverpool went away to Benfica and lost, 1-0, and will have to try and make it up in the return leg at Anfield. If you flip the home-away setup, I might think that 'Pool were dead, but I don't think that going back to Anfield and getting a good win is beyond this team.

The lasting impression from tonight? More than anything that's happened this season, if Arsenal lose Thierry Henry, they're dead in the water. I don't think there's a player in the world who means more to his team than Theirry does right now.

Chelsea v. Barca tonight, and, once the second half began, it was a great game. Asier Del Horno's Red Card was spotty, and could've arguably been a Yellow, but instead, Chelsea will head to the Nou Camp down 2-1 on aggregate to Barcelona, with the Catalans holding the trump card with two away goals.

And, to remind you that other teams are playing as well...

Bremen 3 - 2 Juve

Ajax 2 - 2 Inter

Sadly for Chelsea, they weren't bereft of chances after Barca clawed back into the game, and if Didier Drogba was worth half the money they spent on him, he would've made it 2-1 late in the first half and it would've been a different game. Chelsea's a funny place. They win and win and win and win, but it seems like it's where strikers go to die. Hernan Crespo, Drogba, Kezman, the kind of seasons Theirry Henry, Eto'o, van Nistelrooy or Roy Makaay seem to have just do not fit in Mourinho's plans. When I watch Chelsea play, I really do not expect their strikers to score.

Chelsea strikers do more than score. Chelsea tactics include fast build-up through direct passing (not really a counter-attack, but still) to Drogba's head or feet, who then lays it down for the upcoming midfielders - mostly Lampard. Never noticed how much Lampard scores in one season? That's because of Drogba.

That I fully understand. I should clarify, i'm talking about some of the gilt-edged chances i've seen Chelsea's strikers blow. I understand the Special One's tactics do not neccessitate a free-scoring striker, yet nevertheless, save for Crespo, they've had some donkeys.

True enough

Though they did have Zola before the Enlightened one...

That was a damn good game!

Not sure if it lived up to all the hype, but it was still an entertaining game. Great pace throughout, and some amazing individual efforts from Ronaldinho, (yeah, big surprise) and Eto'o for Barca, and John Terry for Chelsea. The Chelsea defense should be forced to buy John Terry dinner every night until the second leg. The game would have been a blowout if it had not been for the two goal line clearances he made, and he was involved in the Barca own-goal. The only mistake he made all game was his own-goal. If Chelsea had won the game Terry would still have gotten my vote for man-of-the-match.

Two things really surprised me about the game though. One, that pitch was just as bad as Barca kept saying, if not worse. I dont recall ever seeing a pitch that fracked up in a CL game. Two, the referee was blowing calls all game long. No way was that foul worthy of a red-card, at the very worst it's a yellow-card. For me the worst part was that there were plenty of far worse collisions and tackles during the game where nothing was called. If you're going to hand out re-cards, at least be consistent about it. Also, there were at least three handballs that were never called, two of which were in the box, and would have been penalty kicks if called. In the end I think the score was pretty much the way it deserved to be.

I keep meaning to post a link to a site called SoccerCommercials.com for a while now, but always end up forgetting. The majority of commercials are from U.S. TV, but there are some from other parts of the globe. Enjoy!

EDIT: My personal favorites are the Eric Cantona pwns Satan, and Brazil vs. Portugal melee. Good stuff.

Football commercials are usually hilarious. I really enjoy the Brazil/Portugal fracas as well. The music in the one 'Broadway Jungle' is also good, though more for the music.

Ronaldinho's flick at the end is un-be-freaking-lievable. You have no idea how many times I've practiced that and I still can't get it quite right.

My favorite is still the 'Let's take two minutes to talk about soccer', which was airing recently. Good tone, good pace, and it really captures the growing essence of American soccer, I think.

Indeed. Nike's been pushing that "This American Game" advertising campaign pretty hard for the past few months. It's a nice sentiment, even if it's mostly there to sell shoes. The "Don't Tread On Me" rap however, featuring Clint Dempsey is going a tad overboard.

I wonder, thanks to Ronaldinho, how many kids across the world have now all but mastered the "Elastico", as that little foot-flap is named.

Sunday is the Carling Cup Final (like the FA Cup, but only important to Premiership teams placed between 6th and last) between Manchester United and Wigan. There's articles on the match and what it means to both teams here and here.

Of course, the chance to get into Europe means a ton to Wigan, while Manchester are looking at the only piece of silverware they'll get this year. How times change.

Glory (Sort Of), Glory Man United!

4-0 over Wigan, Man U takes the Carling Cup. And while this certainly won't satiate the Glazer's demands for utter world domination, some silverware is better than no silverware.

My favorite EPL player, Norberto Solano, goes off on Everton. It was a fun game to watch and Mr. Solano's second goal was a thing of absolute beauty.

Solano's a class player, and I'm glad to see him get a couple of notches on the boot. (See what I did there? Its boot, instead of belt!)

And how about Blackburn giving us Spurs a bit more breathing space up top? Honestly, I'm not worried about either Blackburn or Bolton (though moreso about the Wanderers), but rather Arsenal. I guess the Blackburn scoreline reinforces the fact that the team who dominates the game doesn't always win.

So, who's going where in the EPL? Who drops? Who's promoted from the Championship? Who wins a cherished Champion's League spot? Am I the only one who cares?

More Fun in Spain.

Of course, the Spanish FA's method of dealing with this has been absolutely disgraceful (they fined Zaragoza about $700 the last time this happened. $700. $700.) and once again, i'll bet even money that they'll Pooh-Pooh this, play it down, insist it's not really a problem and not deal with the issue at hand. Everyone, let's give a hand to the Good Ol' Boys Club running the Spanish FA.

In the real shocker of the weekend now, the man who instituted the "Rauls y Zidanes" policy at Real Madrid, the man who got the whole "Galacticos" thing started, Florentino Perez has resigned as the head of Real Madrid. It's not much of a surprise, given how silly some of the purchasing practices of Madrid have been, but still, I expected him to be forced out at gunpoint, rather than leave himself.

Thought I'd share a couple of articles, I ran across on Soccernet.com

This one is pretty humorous, but it's nothing compared to the comment made by Bruce Arena, near the end of this article. Just scroll down to "The Adu watch -- Part II" and read from there.

EDIT: Houston 1836 is no more. I wonder who's gonna be pissed off this time.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. I freaking love the new "retro style" U.S. kits.

Great finds, Pred and VicD!

So, I should be watching Chelsea v. Barcelona Leg II right now, but i'm not, because I live in the United States and ESPN2 would rather televise the World sh*tball Preseason f*ck-All Snooze Off. Sonofabitch.

I'd post some relevant articles, but i'm so furious right now I can't see straight. Christ.


Allright, allright, fine,

Here's one on the Italian National Team.

Another on Madrid, the only club in the world who could be having a season like this, and have it be, thus far, near catastrophic chaos.

And Serie A.

If it's any consolation, according to soccerTV.com, ESPN2 will be showing it tonight at 12:30AM EST.

Now, you just need to avoid all news the rest of the day.

A quickie update from work, i'll post with links later....

Arsenal drew with Real Madrid at Highbury, going through 1-0 on aggregate.

Liverpool lost 2-0 at Anfield to Benfica, Benfica goes through 3-0 on aggregate.

AC Milan and Lyon both cruise through to the next round.

Juventus stole one from Werder Bremen.

Rangers tried, but couldn't quite get it done against Villareal.

Inter and Ajax will play on the 14th.

And Houston 1836 has become the Houston Dynamos. Dear MLS, Houston FC would've been fine. Houston SC would've been fine. A lot would've been fine. Dynamos sounds like a NASL throwback. Which isn't good.

Pred's gonna love this.

Other than the name change though, it sounds like great news for MLS and the team. Especially if building a new stadium is high on the list of priorities, and the new owners move quickly, to start construction.

Another year another quick exit for both MLS representatives (Galaxy and Revolution), in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Worst of all though, L.A.'s president/GM died of a heart attack, while flying back from the game in Costa Rica. Very sad day and a huge loss for both L.A. and MLS.

VicD714 wrote:

Pred's gonna love this.

Other than the name change though, it sounds like great news for MLS and the team. Especially if building a new stadium is high on the list of priorities, and the new owners move quickly, to start construction.





It is one thing for Red Bull to be the sponsor, like Vodafone so famously was for ManU, and for the company Logo to go on the kit. BUT TO CHANGE THE TEAM NAME IN ORDER TO ENTICE CORPORATE DOLLARS?!?!

I don't care if they promise Ronaldinho, Jose Mourinho and free blowjobs at every game, that is a freaking taboo you don't cross. You don't change the TEAM'S f*ckING NAME to a corporate advertisement. And this is FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR worse than the "Mighty Ducks" ever f*cking was.

Christ, I really don't know if I can support them now. The "Red Bulls"? There's really no way I can express myself over this issue without cursing more. I WANTED to buy a MetroStars kit, there is no f*cking way i'll buy a f*cking "Red Bulls" jersey. Just... christ, for a league trying to prove itself as not a colossal joke, this makes them seem like a colossal f*cking joke.

I just... this is the most ridiculous thing i've seen all year. It's idiotic, it's moronic, it's stupid, it's selling right the f*ck out, honestly, i'd prefer there was no NY club than have the "New York FedExes" or the "New York Razrs" or any of this. Just freaking pathetic. The MLS can really kiss my ass, them and hteir new stadium. If this is the way they want to take the sport stateside, I really don't care how desperate they are, I hope the MLS goes the way of the WUSA.