OMFGZ y'all. EOTS is finally dragging their Aussie asses to North America for shows in NYC, Toronto and LA and I'm kind of freaking out about it as I've been waiting for 2 years for their Fleetwood Mac-meets-Cut Copy-in-Siegfried & Roy's-prop room live show to come to town. This is eccentric Antipodian disco at it's finest. Can't wait.
Even in light of last week's goal mouth debacle Kei Kamara is still my guy. You know why? Because he's a brave S.O.B.; brave enough to get into a, ahem, fast car and risk the obvious Tracy Chapman comparison. The man has balls of steel ladies and gentlemen.
It's not the widescreen cinematic masterpiece that is this year's Chicago Fire promo but it does feature a baby with a man-arm, red-carding the elderly and a lady with an improbably awesome horizontal leap so it's still kind of special (and I don't mean that in a short bus way).
This is kind of funny. The two geezers in the track suits are ex-England managers Graham Taylor and Terry Venables. And the old-timer cheering for the U.S. (or more likely he's just hating on England) is Scots soccer legend Kenny Dalglish, father of former Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish. But you know what England? Your old boys may be wise-asses but our old boys are wise.
[H/T to Goffinho]
Dallas Cowboys tight end and resident digital-media hog Martellus Bennett aka Marty B. is kinda becoming something of a regular face around Frisco. A few weeks ago he stopped by FC Dallas training to speak really poor Spanish and talk a bunch of crazy ish. Now he's popping up in the supporter's section to wave a flag, bang a drum and do the "I'm gonna dance but not really commit to it"-dance. It's cool for now but if dude shows up in the post-game shower for a game he didn't play in, it might be time to call the po-po.
My people, I must implore you to check out the trailer above for The African Game, a visually striking documentary that goes deep into the heart of soccer on the African continent. The man responsible is acclaimed director/photographer Andrew Dosunmu who's probably best known for his work in fashion and for cranking out music videos for the likes of Common, Manic Street Preachers, Talib Kweli and Youssou N'Dour. He is also responsible for the beautiful The African Game book of photography that came out just ahead of the last World Cup.
Even if your soccer allegiances lay securely on another continent you should still watch this clip. Dosunmu has an amazing eye and the vision he puts forth even in this short trailer is just unreal. Colorful, compelling stuff; crucial pre-South Africa 2010 viewing.
Remember that super-swell temporary stadium that 2011 MLS debutante Vancouver is having built for the Whitecaps? It's under construction and basically the stadia equivalent of a trailer home yet already looking better than what's poppin' right now in certain unnamed MLS cities. First they get free health care & Evangeline Lilly, then the Olympics and now this? B.C. has got it all don't they?
I said it before and I'll say it again: can someone send this place down to Lew Wolff's land in San Jose when they are done with it? Or can San Jose just build one of these? At only $14.4 million it's kind of a steal made of steel.
Fulham are in the Europa League final. You can't tell me a damn thing for the rest of the day. C'mon you Cottagers!
Lots of chatter on the Twitters and message-boreds* about the this SFW Playboy photo, right? Soccer folk are talking all kinds of noise about how it's wrong and disrespectful and in poor taste and a shame and lame and not cool and offensive and yadda yadda yadda.
Obviously my opinion is irrelevant to whatever you're feeling but I'm honestly surprised by how many of us --easily the most globally connected sports fans in America-- are shocked/offended/surprised by a fairly tame photo like this. Apparently fewer of us are reading the foreign press these days.
*Not a real word.
Happy late morning to you all. Sorry for the delay in posting but I just got back from Niketown for the unveiling of the new home U.S. kit which you've probably already seen on the interwebs. As is now customary for The Swoosh, the event was slick and their were a couple of good hooks to get the non-fashion writers out there for clothing-related event. There were also a few historical kits and warm-up tops for the soccer nerds like me and a giant, scary Clint Dempsey ready to eat Manhattan.
For this occasion the hooks were Eric Wynalda, Bobby Blue Eyes and one of the O.G. England killers, Mr. Walter Bahr. Before breaking off for brief 1v1 interviews the three men (along with Nike's Global Football Creative Director Phil Dickenson) participated in a panel discussion with Wynalda acting as moderator. Here it is uncut and decidedly unfancy but I just thought that some of you who couldn't be there would appreciate seeing it.
Some of the bit's at the beginning with only Waldo and Bradley are a little stiff and schilly but it get's much more entertaining when Mr. Bahr joins them on stage. The old-schooler is hilarious. I wish he was my grand dad except for the fact that he'd probably from upon my wine intake (watch the video, you'll get what I'm talking about).
Not that we needed conclusive evidence that the Beckhams have more money than could ever be necessary, but here is proof that they truly have more than anyone can need: a dude actually gets paid to carry his Posh's bag. Mind you if I had the option I would do the same thing; I love my wife but is it really necessary for me to be holding it down in regard to her purse in the middle of Target? Not in the least.
Disregard the question in the title because we know that ain't gonna happen. I know that there has been talk lately about Johnson and Adu making a last ditch effort to impress Bobby Blue Eyes before the May camp but c'mon now, it ain't happenin'. Let's just let it go.
Regardless, the Yank duo did it right today in Greece with the GAM scoring a brace with The Biggest Midget in the Game™ providing an assist. Not bad for two so-called MLS rejects.
See that truck above? It's a prop from the film District 9, which is a great piece of art/paranoid, sci-fi goodness. See this truck below? It's a riot control vehicle on what is effectively a forced residency camp in South Africa and there is nothing good about it.
Read this article from France24 about "Blikkiesdorp", a place with an eery resemblance to the fictional alien shantytown of D9 and residents who call it a "concentration camp." I'm serious, read the whole damn thing. Or read this piece from The Guardian. When I say this makes me not even want to watch the World Cup it's not hyperbole. I don't know about you but there's no way I'm going to feel good about people being treated so poorly in the name of the game I love.
How FIFA as an organization can keep their hands totally clean on something like this I will never know. Certainly makes you question the sincerity of the organization's humanitarian efforts when you haven't seen any public opposition or condemnation of a forced housing camp being created for the benefit of their signature event. Disappointing to say the least.
In today's helping of The Daily, Greg-Jeezy and Jason "The Producer" Saghini discuss last night's (RBNY v. Union) and tonight's (D.C. v. Dallas) U.S. Open Cup affairs plus some hot, Nutrilite Canadian Championships talk and maybe even a little Champions League chatter. And I'm talking about both Champions Leagues. Basically they seem to have it all covered like a king sized 1000 thread count duvet.
Bring this one back as the weather is starting to finally warm up again. Sunny vibes from the Malawi, London and New York that should have been the real World Cup anthem (sorry K'Naan). Oh well, I guess it will have to be content with being the official TOR World Cup anthem.
Is it just me or has The Score become the biggest instigator in Canada since Tie Domi? Hot on the heels of their 17 minutes in Ali Gerba-heaven video they've got a half-hour of former Toronto coach Chris Cummins just going off on the phone about MoJo and TFC. If you don't have a spare 30 minutes to watch the whole shebangabang, here's the highlights.
Ex-players, ex-coaches...how long before The Score phone up his ex-roommate, wife or haberdasher? No one is safe from the search for the truth people, no one.
On a related note to the last post on Mr. Cartoon, So Me is also doing a France pack for Nike Sportswear's True Colors thigamabob and it's real special. You may think you don't know So Me but you so do. Frenchie is flawless.
If I wasn't headed to the RBNY-Union rematch tonight I would soooooo be heading downtown to 21 Mercer tonight. Notorious and notoriously talented artist Mr. Cartoon will be in the store for one night only customizing the exclusive Mister Cartoon collab Blazer.
If you haven't seen it yet, he's doing a tough a hell line of U.S. themed apparel for Nike Sportswear in time for the World Cup that is beyond on point. If you want to show your support for The Yanks without looking like you're a member of the training staff this collection is a must.
[Video cribbed from my partners at TOW]
RBNY coach Hans Backe wondered where the 5,000 Union supporters he heard about were last Saturday because they weren't at Red Bull Arena. Union President Tom Veit wonders where Backe gets his figures. I'm wondering if the I-95 beef heating up for real or if this is just hot-breathed talk for the sake of a story ahead of tonight's rematch.
Here's the the full, 12" mix version of the Clint Dempsey ESPN E:60 piece that aired last night. Previously, on the the teaser was available online. It's 10 minutes long so save it until lunch time or shut your door so it's not so obvious that you are skivving off.
"Freedom Falls to Independence"; is this about sports or bumper-sticker politics?
I imagine somewhere in these United States a member of a fringe political party has spewed Snapple all over his desktop while reading that headline fearing that America's two greatest ideals had somehow found a way to defeat each other.
Chinatown SC have added Incase to the cadre of brands to co-opt the NYC downtown soccer institution's cool factor for their own nefarious, retail-driven reasons. On Wednesday Incase will drop the limited edition CSC soccer bag featured in the video above; this will join the CSC Adidas shoe, CSC beer mugs, Undefeated jersey, T-shirts and coffee table books in the Chinatown SC merchandise arsenal. Keep on hustlin' boys.
Did y'all see Kei Kamara in The Sun? Jason and Simon sure did. I feel bad for Kei not for the miss but because The Sun tried put his foible ahead of an entire century worth of open net gaffs, missed sitters and whiffs worldwide. You can call it the "American miss of the century" or "the greatest miss in MLS history" or something but to say it's the biggest cock-up in the history of the modern game is just too much, too cold.
On the bright side though, Kamara just went global. Congratulations Kei, you are now big in Basingstoke.
So if you read this debacle of blog with any regularity you're either a friend of mine, an American soccer fan or both. And if you are the latter you're probably very familiar with the Santino Quaranta story. If he had lady parts his tale would make for a phenomenal "Lifetime Movie Event" but since he's got wedding tackle down there he only gets 7 minutes on Soccernet.com.
But it's a good 7 minutes of his tattoo work being used as the script to tell his story. It's been a few years since I've seen the topic of his substance abuse issues approached and it's good to see he's still doing well. Stay up 'Tino.
Brian "The Danish Sensation" Nielsen made his MLS debut on Saturday for RBNY less than 72 hours after arriving in country. He started at left wing, showing a fair amount of speed and skill by getting of a few nice crosses early in the game and even got a shot on goal. But questions still remain about the former Danish Youth International, chief among them "Who is his favorite progressive house/trance DJ?"
You know you thought it the minute you laid eye's on him so it's not just me. Personally I think he's a Paul Van Dyk guy but he's down for a bit of Sasha at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. What do you think? Tiesto? Digweed? Jimmy Van M? The possibilities are endless?
Our David was on Good Morning America this a.m. talking World Cup 2010, kids, his wife's shopping habits, the injury and the state of professional soccer in America. No MLS or Galaxy talk though he did ply the hosts --all four of them-- with customized LA kits. Watch and wanh-wanh.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa from EA Sports is coming very soon and packing a few significant tweaks, including making what was old new again. For the World Cup edition of FIFA they're bringing back old-school two-button controls but with the modern twist of adding a bit of intelligence to those controls. Check out the video and you'll see what I mean.
And as tradition dictates, the game will include the prerequisite soundtrack full of bangers including The Very Best, Fedde Le Grand, Future Sound of London and Miike Snow's ultimate end of the night, big-room anthem, "In Search Of". Can't wait.
#2 pick, Detroit Lion and newly-minted multimillionaire Ndamukong Suh is big, big man. My boy Simon "The Si" Borg' s best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night that Suh was also a big, big footie-freak and went to the NFL Draft last night to get the real scoop.
See what I did there? I tied in 31 Flavors to "scoop". Hopefully that negates the potential whackness of and aged Ferris Bueller reference but I somehow doubt it.
I'm not really sure what we're looking at here. All I can can put together is that it's vaguely soccer-related and, judging by the some of the web addresses laid about about the various derrieres in this clip, Danish. And that's enough for me really.
The XX and Hot Chip on the same stage tonight at Terminal 5. Both ends of the indie-tronic spectrum at full bore...can the city handle it? Find out at 11.
UPDATE: Apparently the city found out last night as The XX opened the Thursday show and aren't on the bill for tonight's gig. Booooooooo.
Here's the "he said" from FC Dallas following last night's match. It's not as emotional as the "she said" from Seattle but I probably shouldn't expect it to be since they where the one gifted a last second goal. You should watch the Seattle post-game video though and count how many times the word "settle" is used; could make for a great Friday morning drinking game.
This does not look like fun but then again being a victim seldom does. EB14 put this dude down like a dog with rabies.
[H/T The Original Winger]
I've got to update the blogroll as it's gotten as stale as that day-old bread you see in the plexiglass case at a bodega. Here's a list of highly readable blogs/websites that I'm feeling right now. These are the folks who inspire and influence me on the regular. You might like them as well.
- Hipster Runoff: total & complete bratty, immaturity in the most subversively intelligent manner possible.
- JRodius: A straight-out funny motherf*cker. Check out his Hatin' From Hollywood.
- ArktipIntel: art, fashion, literature and a bit of sport & music thrown in for good measure.
- Animal New York: Editor-In-Chief Bucky Turco runs the city. Sorry, Diddy.
- MatchFit USA: Jason Davis is alright by me. One of my new favorite footy blogs.
- Granta: website of the high-faluttin' bound Brit-based literary 'zine of the same name.
- Bill Archer and Dan Loney. 'Nuff said.
While mooching a burger from the buffet in the Qwest Field press box during First Kick 2010, I met a photographer by the name of Richard Morrison. Turns out he's actually a doctor by trade but a footie-freak who knows his way around a camera. On June 1 he'll add "published author" to his almost Barbie-esque resume when Sasquatch Press drops his first book, Seattle Sounders FC: Season One. Pre-Order it from Amazon.com today (because, y'know, doctors need your money).
Nicky Firchau and Simon The Si Borg lay out the what's-what on tonight FC Dallas - Sounders match in today's episode of The Daily. I'm putting my coin on Dallas taking this one based strictly on the fact that they deserve a karmic "make-good" after losing to New York last week. That and that famously raucous Pizza Hut Park crowd will just be too much for Sigi's men to handle.*
*Yes, that is a joke.
Over the past 48 hours there have been a slew of announcements and unconfirmed reports about stateside exhibition matches featuring MLS & foreign clubs. And on the heels of this news there have been 101 threads, comments, articles and overly-long blog posts hating on them.
Now I won't regale you with an overly-long post countering the sentiment that these games somehow detract from MLS league play and fan cultivation because then I would be a hypocrite. Also, somewhere deep down in my smutty little web-enabled soul, I am too dignified to argue on the internet; there's no way to do that and not look like a self-important prick who just wants everyone to see that he or she is right.
So I'll just say this: would you rather clubs book more concerts that destroy the field and justify the existence/potential future existence of more of those permanent stages that we all loathe or would rather teams help keep the lights on by booking more soccer matches? Seems like a no-brainer to me but I seem to be in the minority. Plus, it gives us an excuse to see Hans Backe, Roberto Mancini and 'Arry Redknapp testify in the same video.
You may have heard that Kansas City starlet Ryan Smith does a bit of music on the side. The video above is for his latest track entitled "Summer Flowers", a breezy slice of UK R&B with a bit of a "Weak Become Heroes"-esque nostalgia about the lyrics. As for the visuals, we find the (cough, cough future USMNT) midfielder getting all sensitivo in a garden and on the mean streets of his childhood home, Mayville Estates (aka the non-gentrified bit of Islington, North London). And if you are wondering who's dishing out the assist on the hook it's Crystal Palace midfielder Neill Danns.
This is OK and I won't say anything to discourage the kid from gettin' his hustle on. I will say that I really hope to hear a nasty dubstep remix of this in the future, perhaps something by Nero or Jamie XX. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to have a glass of Pimm's and listen to some MJ Cole, my own personal soul-tinged, English Summer nostalgia trip.
Attention fellow book-nerds: if you made it through Markovits & Hellerman's Offside: Soccer & American Exceptionalism AND Rangers, Rovers & Spindles with a smile on your face have I found a treat for you. It's called Star-Spangled Soccer and it has interviews with everyone who has ever had anything to do with American soccer over the last 20 years except for Tiffany May; Chuck Blazer, The Don, Sunil Gulati, Clark Hunt, Jonathan Kraft, Joe Roth, Will Chang, Tim Leweike, Mark Abbott and John Skipper are just a few of the people quoted in this 256-page, hardcover textbook that may actually make the footie-business nerd in you want to go back to school. Below is the product description from publisher Palgrave Macmillan:
For more information visit StarSpangledSoccer.com. To pre-order your copy of Star-Spangled Soccer from Amazon.com here.
Drawn from a 20 year career as a senior executive in the American soccer market and supported by first person interviews and insights with all the key personalities and decision makers Star-Spangled Soccer is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the American Soccer Market, where it has come from and why it is positioned for tremendous growth over the next 10 years."
So yeah, Seattle is dropping a third kit that appears to be created with the blood of 1000 highlighters. Didn't they see how well (or not well, actually) day-glo worked out for Chelsea? Or for Ke$ha on SNL last week? Oh well, at the very least Sounders fans with children now have a safety-conscious clothing option when sending their young ones out to play in their local street ball league.
[H/T to GoSounders.com]
ESPN, "the Worldwide Leader in Sports", has already dropped their 2010 World Cup Guide "bookazine" and next month will lay upon us the 256-page, hardcover ESPN World Cup Companion written by David Hershey* and some other guy with a foreword by Canuckistan's most-fabled Celebrity Glory-Seeker, Steve Nash. Here's the description from ESPN Books:
"Nothing unites—and excites—the sporting planet like a World Cup. For one month every four years, billions of people rearrange their lives, play hooky, and ignore their loved ones in order to watch 22 men kick a ball in pursuit of a small gold statue and athletic immortality.
On the eve of one of the most historically significant World Cup of all—the first to be held in Africa—you need a tour guide more than ever. Learned yet lively, elegantly designed, and bursting with historical photos, The ESPN World Cup Companion celebrates every World Cup since 1930, highlighting each era’s Greatest Players, Games, Teams, Players, Rivalries, and Cult Figures. But coauthors David Hirshey and Roger Bennett relish the game for all its beauty and vulgarity, subtlety and brutality, examining every aspect of World Cup culture; here you’ll find a rogue’s gallery of the game’s biggest divas and divers, the DNA of the world’s powerhouses, the psychodrama of the penalty shoot out, the physics of the free kick, the five soccer fans you’ll meet in hell, and even the art of scoring off the field.
The ESPN World Cup Companion captures all the sweat, blood, tears, and bad hairdos of the last 80 years. Whether you’re a casual fan or a long-time aficionado of the sport, this book bridges the gap between merely watching the planet’s biggest sporting event and truly understanding it.
So paint your face, hoist your vuvuzela, or just grab your trusty remote, but whatever you do make sure The ESPN World Cup Companion is by your side."Pre-order your copy of ESPN's World Cup Companion from Amazon.com here.
*Roger Bennett co-authored the book but until he buys me a pint (like Hershey has), I can't remember his name. Some people practice "checkbook journalism", I practice "barroom acknowledgment".
The Debate is back in session and today's topic is all about questionable calls: did the refs get it right with PK's in Colorado and New York this weekend? Personally I think they were both spot on but no one ever asks me to participate in these things. Which is fine by me because I'm a lover, not an arguer.
Clint Dempsey gets the biographic interview treatment tonight when ESPN's Jeremy Schapp features Deuce on tonight's installment of E:60 (7pm EST). By the look of the preview we'll go all the way back to Nacogdoches --where, true story, my mother once bought me a pair of nunchucks at a flea market-- to Clint's grandmomma's backyard for this one. Can't wait...going to go set the DVR now before I forget during the height of #MessiMania later today.
One of the greatest MC's of all time, Guru, passed away last night following a lengthy bout with cancer. He was one of the few MC's to really touch me back in the day and his passing is a loss for hip hop heads worldwide. And as I just found out on Thursday that my old man has been diagnosed with colon cancer this is almost a little too poignant for me right now.
But this ain't about me, it's about the man who was one of those rare MC's who could deliver the illest lines in a manner that was so smooth that you (or it's intended victim) probably wouldn't be offended. He was jazzhead. He was a pioneer. He was the G.O.A.T. He was Guru.
And now we get to the meaty bit of the sandwich. Part Two of the OneGoal saga finds my boys from the ESC & North Jersey Brigade coming at you live & direct from the belly of the beast: the Azteca Stadium. Well not "live" live but you know what I'm saying.
If you've always wanted stand and deliver in Mexico City but have never been able to get your sh*t together to do so (like this guy right here) this is your chance to live vicariously through the eyes of a few well-traveled, loud-mouth louts that I have been lucky enough to call friends; Brent taught me how to sing, Thomas is the most intensely passionate fan I have ever met (and hopefully will ever meet), Ed runs the NJB and always shared his sausages with me at the old tailgates in lot 16A at Giants Stadium and Corey is has played cruise director for many a boozy, footie-filled occasion...which is ironic since he's teetotaler.
It's a 10+ minutes clip so you'll have to carve out some time to watch it all in one go but it's worth it just to watch Chuck Davies' crispy goal and celebration one more time; I never get tired of seeing that no matter how many times I Youtube it. Probably my favorite goal ever scored by a Yank.
You see? I wasn't playing earlier when I said I would prove that LD doesn't mind stupid questions. I asked a couple of them (and a few good questions from selected MLS fans on Twitter and Facebook) the other night and no equipment was damaged. Hell, he even laughed at a few of them. Brooks Peck, you've been found out!*
*Brooks Peck curates Dirty Tackle. You should read, him.
I bet Kyle Beckerman would be a pretty rad teacher to have. Dude would be that eccentric type that would hold class outside on nice days, bring in weird food from different cultures, play Hacky Sack in the stoner parking lot and maybe even date the mousy but kinda hot English teacher.
But sadly for America's youth, our Kyle chose a different path. A path marked by grass stains on soccer jerseys instead of coffee stains on corduroy blazers. It sucks for the children, but it's great for the nation's footie freaks; so in a way Kyle teaches the kids a valuable lesson...life isn't fair.
Sorry EB14, but people are going to quit talking about you for a minute. Former Toronto FC striker Ali Gerba has just given an interview to Canada's The Score in which he calls MoJo and/or Preki a "fraud", says that he's "not a rapist" and in no uncertain terms lays out that the team's lack of success is not the fault of the players or the club but the coach. So grab a gas mask and a hazard suit kiddies because the fallout from this may last a few days.
[H\T to The 24th Minute]
I lost my virginity to my second-ever girlfriend at the age of 18. Speaking to the first girlfriend years later, she said that she felt like "caller #8" because I held out on her (was trying to be a good Catholic boy and hold out for matrimony, but that didn't really pan out) and gave it up to the next girl instead. I wonder if Toronto FC, a team that has been looking to score since it's inception and Edson Buddle's last employer, feel like that these days?
It goes without out saying that EB14 remains The Baddest Man in MLS, Today™. He was bestowed with this high honor last Monday and I really wanted to give it to someone else this week --Bouna Coundoul or Michael Fucito for giving their respective teams wins that they in no way deserved were the other candidates-- but we all know that I would be only lying to myself if I did.
I won't bother to remind you of his exploits because Baller Emeritus' Dan Loney and Bill Archer have addressed the topic 134X better than I could. Read them, you'll thank me. Or hate me, it could go either way really.
How drunk do you have to be to forget that you have to be to leave a functioning prototype of the new, unreleased iPhone 4G on a bar? This drunk I imagine. And as bad as the hangover might be it can't possibly touch the moment that A) you've lost a prototype of the new iPhone, B) that Gizmodo got their hands on it and C) Steve Jobs is about to get his hands on you.
Here is the opening verse for the musical composition "Outta Control" by the artist Baby Bash which accompanies this video by Alarazboy. Quite possible the most inappropriate soundtrack to a soccer-themed mixtape ever.
It was midnight, I got the booty call,
She said I'm at the club,
So I threw on my draws
Can I tell you something? The thought of Baby Bash laying around butt naked does not get me hype to watch this video and in fact has the opposite effect on me. Perhaps I am not in the demo for this clip; maybe it was put together for the ladies and homosexualist out there. I dunno, I'm just going to watch it on "mute" with the new LCD Soundsystem on in the background.
One of theses things is not like the others. Can you guess which one?
15,418 in Portland
14,843 in Houston
13,667 in New York
9,928 in Colorado
9,082 in San Jose
OK so that was a trick question. Shame on me, I know. But disregard the four-digit number at the bottom and contemplate the five-digit number at the top because that is a Second Division side outdrawing half of the First Division sides this weekend. No matter which way you slice it (I prefer julienned) that is pretty f-ing special. It's like seeing Lupe Fiasco play the Garden while Weezy plays the state fair.
For years the Timbers have been one of the USL's better-drawing sides but now that they've got the scent of "promotion" about them, 2010 might be the year where they run the USL/NASL/AARP/Whatever-The-2nd-Division-Is-Called League attendance table. They'll have a tough fight with Montreal for the crown, but with the certainty about their MLS bid on their side they may have an edge.
Not that it's anywhere close to being the same thing, but before I moved to the East Coast I lived in London for a bit and was lucky enough to frequent The Cottage the year Fulham won promotion. That season, their final one outside of the Premiership to date, they won their first 11 matches IIRC with the likes of Eddie Lewis, Luis Boa Morte, Louis Saha, Marcus Heinemann and Chris Coleman suiting for the side. To say that the promise of playing at the top brought a new energy to the place, not only on the pitch but in the stands as well, is an understatement. At the beginning of the season 16 quid could get anyone into Craven Cottage without worry; but after the their Edson Buddle-esque start and a series of dominant performances that saw them start to run away with the league by Boxing Day, tickets were suddenly as scarce as a Landin goal. Hell, they even made the back pages of the London dailies a few times, a space normally reserved' for Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs et al.
Y'all know I have my allegiances but I honestly cannot wait for Portland and Vancouver to come in next year and make a Sounder sandwich in America's Upper 90™ (I am coining that term for the region now before Who Are Ya? goes an makes a T-Shirt of it). Sh*t is going to be fantastic. The only question is will this beef be juicier than the I-95 rivalry between NY, Philly & D.C.? The west coast teams have hated each other longer but the east coast is home to America's most abrasive citizens so the banter/verbal abuse has the potential to be unmeasurable through current scientific means. I guess we'll get an answer next year.
I love this video of FC Dallas players being taken for ride courtesy of Team Taurine. The only way this would get any better would be for tomorrow's game to be a Dallas home game instead of at Harrison; that way the doing donuts in the Pizza Hut Park portion of the clip would seem a little more symbolic.
Anyone care to take a stab at a caption for this? It's a photo from the Champions of Gaming event I went to the other night in Manhattan that was sponsored by EA Sports and Gillette. I've left it blank as I was hoping someone out there in TORland could inspire me...any thoughts?
The 2nd annual Kicking & Screening Soccer Film Festival, New York’s first soccer film festival, has announced the lineup for the 2010 installment of the event and I'm just going to go ahead and co-sign on it now.
K&S/NY 2010 kicks off with the U.S. premiere of Fifteen Minutes That Shook the World and boasts a total of five feature films and six shorts. There will also be special guests, including noted author Simon Kuper (Soccer Against the Enemy, Soccernomics). And just to keep things nice & charitable, a portion of the 2010 proceeds will be donated to Play31, a footie-themed charity which uses soccer to help the reconciliation process in post-conflict nations such as Sierra Leone.
As for the lineup, here are the films slated for screening this year. If you like what you see, you can buy tickets at KickingandScreening.com. And to get the latest updates follow @KSFilmFest on Twitter and check out the Kicking and Screening fan page on Facebook.
JUNE 1: The 12th Man
Feature: Fifteen Minutes that Shook the World — directed by David Kirby. This English film is a humorous slant on the most compelling Champions League final of all time: Liverpool’s miraculous comeback from a 3-0 halftime deficit to AC Milan in 2005.
First Short: Because There Are Things You Never Forget — directed by Lucas Figueroa (Italian with subtitles). Naples, 1950. Four friends play football on a deserted street when one accidentally kicks the ball into a mean old signora’s yard. They may never play with their treasured ball again, but they will get their revenge.
Second Short: Loucos de Futebol (Beyond Soccer) — directed by Halder Gomes (Portuguese with subtitles). This short examines the Brazilians’ passion for football that proves, contrary to what some might believe, the world’s most popular sport is much more then just 22 men chasing a ball on the pitch.
JUNE 2: War and Football
Feature: Last Yugoslavian Football Team
Directed by Vuk Janic. (Serbian and Croatian with subtitles) — This poignant dissection of Yugoslavia’s upheaval in the 1990s is seen through the former nation’s “Golden Generation” of players. Tensions climax in the qualifying rounds for the 2000 Euro Championships when wartime enemies Croatia and Yugoslavia face off against each other on the soccer field for the first time.
Short: Ana’s Playground
Directed by Eric Howell — A multiple award-winner on the film-festival circuit, this suspenseful cat-and-mouse game played between a young sniper and a soccer-playing girl will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
JUNE 3: The Man in the Middle
Feature: El Arbitro (The Referee)
Directed by Justin Webster (Spanish with subtitles) — This film captures the unique and revealing perspective of a top referee—working a day job during the week—who is tasked with keeping control of a fiercely contested game between Barcelona and Espanyol.
Short: L’Arbitro (The Referee)
Directed by Paulo Zucca (Italian with subtitles) — An Italian referee demoted and exiled to the remote island of Sardinia finds out what it takes to handle a real match.
JUNE 4: The Power of the Game
Feature: Eine Andere Liga (Another League)
Directed by Buket Alakus (German with subtitles) — This powerful feature tells the story of a young football-loving Turkish woman in Germany who is diagnosed with breast cancer. With the news of her illness, all seems lost. Redemption is found through the game as she reconciles her life with her family, her confused feelings for a new coach, and her new self.
JUNE 5: To Africa, With Love
Feature: The Game of Their Lives
Directed by Daniel Gordon (English/Korean with subtitles) — A fascinating “behind-the-curtain” snapshot of the seven surviving members of the North Korean national team that upset Italy in the 1966 World Cup. With unprecedented access to North Korea and the players, this film relives one of football’s most magical moments and its aftermath.
Short: Africa 10
Directed by Jason Mercer. This is a sneak peak at an American feature set to be released this fall. From kids kicking a homemade ball in the street, to passionate fans, community activists, world leaders, aspiring young players and African soccer legends, this street-level view of Africa’s first World Cup depicts the rich—and at moments heartbreaking—story of life and football on the continent.
In honor of DeRo's brace last night, here's a mixtape of his greatest hits going all the way back to his days in the bay. With 4 MLS Cups, 2 Goals of the Year and game-winning goal in the All Star game against Chelsea, dude has to be considered one of the most accomplished players in MLS today.
And by the way, if anyone hit up his afterparty at Ultra last night I need an update; photos, tales of Canuck debauchery, regrettable text messages, whatever; don't leave America out in the cold with the door man while y'all are on the other side of the velvet rope!
Here is an excellent example of art imitating life. I've no idea who actually assembled this piece of Photoshop wizardry but I tip my hat in your general direction. But this image just begs the question: if Danny Califf is Captain Caveman who are The Teen Angels? McInerney, Mwanga and Torres?
DaMarcus Beasley with hair & a job playing ball in an American league. Jamar Beasley with blonde hair and a job playing ball in an outdoor American league. Bobby Convey wearing number 15 and looking not a day older. Marco Etcheverry rocking an absolutely glorious mullet. The year was 2001...and it was awesome.
Danny Califf has some really nice tattoo work. Dude's got one full sleeve and a second one that I will call PPL Park because it's under construction but still looks pretty cool. He's also got a few family pieces on his torso as well that you usually can't see because for whatever reason FIFA mandates players wear some form of shirt while playing. I imagine that the rule is in place to keep Frankie Hejduk in check but it is Danny, Santino Qauranta, and Becks that are paying the price for it.
With 8 goals in 13 games it was only a matter of time until Herculez Gomez got
How Does It Make You Feel?: A Song By French Avant-Pop Band Air and a Question for the American Soccer Fan on the Internet
So I was reading BrooklynVegan's recent post about Bloc Party's Kele Okereke yesterday when I was struck by how negative a large portion of the comments were on the both the post and the blog at-large. As I was reading I thought two things:
- Do these people even like music?
- These people sound like American soccer fans.
I'm not going to front and act like I don't belong in this boat. Like many fans and bloggers I have taken shots at people, players, clubs and calls in the past and I reserve the right to do it again in the future. It's like trying to stop drinking when you live in New York: you want to quit but it's just too easy when every night of the week there is an open bar within walking distance.
And perhaps that's the problem, that it's just too easy. It's easier for me as a fan to bring up every bad move a club has ever made when I decide that I've endured one loss too many than for me to think about any good players they've acquired, any facilities they've invested in or any perks they've ever dished out to me for my support. That's not me saying I (or you) shouldn't ever be pissed at a team, coach, player, administrative organization etc. That's just me saying it's often easier to be negative than positive.
As a blogger the same thing holds true. It's much easier for me to go negative than to go positive. I could (and have) slam something, make up/"report" some BS rumor or complain about a myriad of injustices, bad calls and colossal f*** ups for the sake of page views (something I'll address at another time) because it is loads easier than doing something truly original or positive.
In some parallel, indie music universe the hipsters (and I use the world with zero connotation attached to it as I understand that it is put-down for some and a compliment for others) commenting on BrooklynVegan are the bizzaro world version of us; they are reactionary, have more bad things than good things to say about something they allegedly enjoy and are often cowardly people who will say online what they will never say in person. They are the message board "troll". They are the anonymous wind-up artist/flamer in the comments. They are the MLS-centric blog run by the Euro-snob that see's their relationship with the league as something of an arranged marriage (they'd rather be with something sexier & European so they will forever compare the one they are with to the one that they love/want).
In short they are are me and they are you*; this is us in a different genre, people. How does it make you feel?
*Obviously they are not all of us. So if this is not you, ignore the post and go along with your day knowing that you are not as whack as I am.
Reason #171 that I can't wait until MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto: they seem to have an afterparty for everything. National team games, All-Star games...any excuse to pop champagne and T-Dot is all over it. Salt Lake City, it is not.
So why not throw an afterparty for the home opener? Who gives a damn that it's a Thursday night? It's been a long winter, soccer is back and DeRo is hosting so I can see no reason NOT to go out and drink your weight in Nuvo, shake your ass, holler at some scandalous piece of Canuckistani tail and make a late-night/early-morning trip to Tim Horton's on a school night. So do it Canada...do it for America.
Here's an interesting bit from the latest episode of Inside the SuperDraft. It's Erik Soler & the RBNY brain trust debating who to take with their second pick. Ritchie Williams was thinking of nabbing Zach Schilawski at #14 and taking a gamble on getting Tim Ream at #18 (which is when New York eventually took him). But New England ended up with Schilawski as the #9 pick and New York took Austin da Luz at #14.
Sure, RBNY could have used Schilawski's hat trick last weekend against Chivas but my early, small-sample size, gut feeling is that Ream was a better choice for them. For me the question is why not take Ream at #14 instead of taking the gamble on him being available later? Was da Luz that hot of a commodity?
Either way, I'm loving this series. My boys Jason, Scott & Dan knocked it out with this one. Stay tuned for episode 3...coming soon to a browser near you.
This is a couple of days old but if you haven't read Luke Cyphers piece on Michael Bradley for ESPN the Magazine you really should. It's lengthy for sure but because it is so cotdamn good you kinda don't care. In short though it basically lays out that the reason Baby Bradley is such an outlandishly soccer-driven individual is because he has been immersed in the game since before he was eating solid food. That and a bit of genetic good-fortune that is almost Serpentor-esque in it's composition.
Earlier today I mentioned the D.C. supporters who went to Philly this past weekend and it has been pointed out to me that I did not mention the locals. So without further adieu here are a few scenes from the S.O.B.'s pre-game throwdown at McFadden's, complete with facepainters and even a mayor or two.
Obviously these guys and girls had waited quite a while to host their first pre-game blowout and they certainly didn't cut any corners with an indoor/outdoor affair complete with a band, plenty of loud drunks and some of the cutest bartenders you might ever lay eyes on. There were also jello shots at 1 in the afternoon, which really is more of a 1am thing than a 1pm thing but who am I to judge?
You may not have seen much of them during the FSC broadcast, but D.C. was out in force down in Philly this weekend. Outfitted in more red & black than a typical beefeaters convention, the Screaming Eagles, Barra Brava and assorted other United fans rolled deep into the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot with the amount of buses ferrying them up I-95 going into the double digits.
As you would expect the vibe amongst the faithful was as good as it gets (nothing beats an away day) as they turned The Linc's Lot E into an extension of RFK's Lot 8; there was music, there were chants, there was beer and most importantly there was sun.
There were also some cool people as well. I met Pamela, a proud fifth generation Washingtonian, and Jen from D.C. who were curious to see what Danny Allsopp was all about. Doug and Roy from Richmond, VA fed me beer (natch) while telling me it would be a little weird to see Fred in a Union kit but that it was time to move on since he's someone else's now.
Also from Richmond was a dude called Troy. He's in the garbage clip of random, random footage above. He wore a tophat which seemed a little formal for the occasion but f*ck it, it was his day so he can wear whatever the hell he wants.
As for the match, the D.C. support were in a seating deck so high up that even from the press box you actually had to look upward to see them. Basically they were seated in a pigeon coop. Mind you that didn't stop them from being their usual loud, ribald, passionate selves.
All in all, with the obvious exception of the score, it seemed like a good time was had by all who made the trip north in the name of capital city soccer. And as a neutral the presence of such heavy numbers and banter contributed a little something to the ambiance that we should all look forward to seeing more of between D.C., Philly and New York.
So to those that made the trip, thanks for adding to the atmosphere. And thanks for the beer.
We really should come up with some sort of traditional celebration/acknowledgment for every time an American soccer club, regardless of level, gets it's own digs. Something that we can all do, wear or display so that we can all give each other knowing nods on the street on days like today.
Oh you hadn't heard? The Dynamo received their final approval today for a house of their own in downtown Houston. It's kind of big deal so congrats and all that to Texian Army, El Battalon, Oliver Luck and the entire Dynamo organization. And if you read this Oliver can you figure out a way to make this baby air conditioned? If not you need to have free Anti-Monkey Butt dispensers in every restroom at the very least.
So who's next? San Jose, D.C. or New England? I want to say the smart money is on San Jose but at this point I'm beyond hesitant to go all-in on any of them. Regardless, it's a damn good day to be a fan, particularly if you wear orange.
According to a study released by National Geographic, some experts believe that redheads could be extinct by 2060. Shame that is. While Julianne Moore does not make the list (although she does make another, non-sporting list that I will not mention here), here's a countdown of the six greatest ginger's in MLS history. Why six? Why not?
So word on the street is that RBNY is trying to make an 11th hour move for Notts County striker Luke Rodgers before the MLS transfer window closes on April 15th. If you've never heard of him you'd be forgiven as he's spent the bulk of his career in the English lower divisions playing for the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Port Vale and the mighty Yeovil Town.
I'd never heard of him either until his name popped up on the MLS transfer gossip mill but from what I've gathered via Metrofanatic and Google searches he's played 335 games and scored 105 goals for an impressive career strike rate of 0.31; so far in 2009/10 he's grabbed 10 goals in 37 games for Notts County.
That's a pretty nice strike rate for sure. He's also got an impressive police record as well. See below:
- Arrested in January 2002 after allegedly assaulting a Hartlepool United defender in a car park.
- Ordered to carry out 100 hours community service and pay £5,000 in compensation for misfiring a firework into someone's face outside a pub in October 2002.
- Issued an "adult caution for public order offense" while driving in April 2009.
- Arrested following a post-match bar fight in Nottingham in October 2009.