Fighting Talker

Entries categorized as ‘Sports’

2-Nil in O-HI-O …

December 16, 2008 · No Comments

Ed here.

… It was announced today on GoffBlog that the US-Mexico qualifier to kick off action in the Hex will indeed be played at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, February 11. I plan on being there - hotel room is already reserved. Ticket information hasn’t been announced yet.

I know there was some sentiment and even some reports that the new Real Salt Lake stadium was up for consideration for this game, but I have to think here that the Columbus pick is the right one. There’s a good history vs. Mexico there, of course, and it’s the right kind of venue for this game. Small, limited fans, tickets will have a demand to them, and the fans that go should be more of the vociferous kind, which is exactly what we need against Mexico.

Categories: International Soccer · Soccer · Sports

Ince Out at Blackburn - Does it Matter?

December 16, 2008 · 1 Comment

Ed here.

… So, I’ve been wondering to myself for most of the day about the Paul Ince dismissal at Blackburn. I don’t think it can be characterized as a surprise. Blackburn are in the relegation zone currently and perhaps worse, are not really relevant in the Premier League this year. As a United fan, Blackburn used to be a game I would circle on the fixture list - only because on its day, Rovers could play with anyone and they seemed to come up with stirring performances against teams like Manchester United in the past.

Then I started thinking about it in a larger perspective. This past weekend was another in which the supposed top four teams in the Premier League all sputtered through their games, each earning a point - but with Arsenal getting jumped by Aston Villa for fourth place. It was a whole lot of blah, basically, and it seems to me at times that in a sense, this has been what the whole season has been. Maybe it’s a jaded perspective because United isn’t top of the league - but they haven’t necessarily been top of the league at this stage in recent years when they’ve won the title, so I don’t think that’s it. (more…)

Categories: Arsenal · English Premier League · Personal · Soccer · Sports

College Cup At a Glance

December 11, 2008 · No Comments

Wake Forest is 43-3-3 in 2007 & 08, but will the Demon Deacons be celebrating again Sunday?

Wake Forest is 43-3-3 in 2007 & '08, but will the Demon Deacons be celebrating again Sunday?

Ed here …

… It’s an Atlantic Coast Conference party at the NCAA men’s Division I College Cup this weekend, as the defending champion Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Maryland Terrapins, and North Carolina Tar Heels converge on Pizza Hut Park for tomorrow’s semifinals. The party crashers are St. John’s from the Big East.

Let’s start with Wake, which enters the national semifinals with a 21-1-1 record - the loss coming to Virginia in the ACC semifinal, and the only other blemish being a scoreless draw vs. Duke. Statistically, Wake is the closest thing you’ll find to a PlayStaion team. They have more than double the shot attempts of their opponents (415-204) and they have outscored their 23 opponents by a combined 81-16. That’s right, more than 3.5 goals per game scored, and less than 1 goal per game allowed. On seven occasions this year, the Demon Deacons have scored at least five goals in a game. Five! (more…)

Categories: College Soccer · College Sports · Soccer · Sports

The Worst Kept Secret is True …

December 10, 2008 · 5 Comments

When Sigi leaving Columbus, does he have to give back the scarf?

When Sigi leaving Columbus, does he have to give back the scarf?

Ed here. …

… Sigi Schmid will not return to the Columbus Crew, after leading the club to its first MLS Cup victory in 2008.

The news is being reported by ESPNNews, courtesy Allen Hopkins, and is available on Soccernet.

It’s not a surprise, I suppose, except that for some odd reason to me, it is. It has been long rumored and discussed that Sigi the Scarf (does he get to keep the scarf?) wouldn’t return in 2009, with Seattle his most likely destination. And if he wants to be on the west coast, then you can’t blame him. I guess in some ways it just doesn’t make sense to me.

But the questions left for me are, did the Crew make an attempt to keep him? Had they put enough money on the table, could they have made Sigi change his mind about wanting to stay (assuming his wanting to leave is the reason he’s leaving)? (more…)

Categories: MLS · Soccer · Sports

Schuster Out, Ramos In

December 9, 2008 · 2 Comments

Schuster out, Ramos (above) in at Madrid.

Schuster out, Ramos (above) in at Madrid.

Ed here.

As we mentioned in last week’s podcast, the days were probably numbered for now former Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster, once he got the always dreaded “vote of confidence” from those above him. The end came this morning, as Schuster was sacked and replaced by none other than Juande Ramos - he of that glorious spell at Spurs, of course.

I don’t think you can blame Madrid for the move, and it certainly was in the cards after a 4-3 loss to Sevilla on the weekend. It also comes during the week leading up to the club’s match at Barcelona on Saturday. A loss there would leave Real 12 points adrift in La Liga, and it would be safe to extinguish the last of the club’s title hopes right then and there. (more…)

Categories: Soccer · Sports

MLS 2008: The End is Here

November 25, 2008 · 3 Comments

The Crew lifted the MLS Cup trophy, beating New York in the final, 3-1.

The Crew lifted the MLS Cup trophy, beating New York in the final, 3-1.

So, another Major League Soccer season - the 13th in fact - has come and gone. Raise your hand if you thought you’d see 13 consecutive seasons of MLS.

Anyway, the Columbus Crew are champions, and deserved ones at that in my humble opinion, after their 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Stade de Home Depot. Despite New York having the better of the play early, I don’t think they did enough over the course of the game and eventually the class of Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over and it was painfully obvious that the Red Bulls had nobody in their lineup (and it’s no shame, many teams didn’t) that could contain him.

His class, of course, was summed up on the Crew’s third goal - his lofting, soft pass flying over the top of the back of the Red Bulls defense and into the path of Eddie Gaven Frankie Hejduk, who put it away in the late going for victory. It was clutch for the Crew, of course, because at 2-1, there’s still no guarantee that referee Baldomero Toledo won’t screw up the game somehow in the final minutes and for the match to somehow end up level. (more…)

Categories: MLS · Soccer · Sports

LiveBlog for MLS Cup Final

November 23, 2008 · 3 Comments

Join us tomorrow for a live blog of the MLS Cup Final between the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls. I will update with the direct link to the live blog as we get closer to game time tomorrow.

LiveBlog available here.

As for the game, as I’ve said before, I think it would be better if Columbus won. There’s something to be said for the best team in the regular season winning the playoffs. Despite what FSC’s Max Bretos wanted to tell you over and over again last week, the Red Bulls are not a Cinderella story. Davidson in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was a Cinderella. A team that qualifies as a Cinderella should be one that when they finally lose, people are sad. Very few people would have been sad had New York lost at some point along the way up to now, and few would be crying if they get punked tomorrow. Hell, even if they did win, the victory parade would probably be in 60-90 days.

But as much as I don’t want to admit it, New York has more than a puncher’s chance here. They present a big issue for any opponent due to Juan Pablo Angel’s ability on free kicks. If they are within a goal, they are always in the game. I don’t expect either team to come out and play too defensively, but the game could certainly use for an early goal to get things going. (more…)

Categories: MLS · Soccer · Sports

Donovan to Munich on Loan

November 20, 2008 · 1 Comment

Landon Donovan will spend the winter in Munich.

Landon Donovan will spend the winter in Munich.

Ed here.

Soccernet is reporting that Bayern Munich have agreed a loan deal with MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy for Landon Donovan - starting in January and going through March, but possibly to the end of the season.

Donovan was on a training stint with the club for the last few days and now will go there for what appears to be a limited time (at least right now).

“As a person and a player, I am completely different now to how I was then, I have matured,” Donovan said in the Soccernet article. “I am ready. I believe I can keep up with all the other players, even if I am not the best player here.” (more…)

Categories: International Soccer · MLS · Soccer · Sports

US-Guatemala Recap

November 20, 2008 · 3 Comments

Freddy Adu scored a goal and the US beat Guatemala, 2-0.

Freddy Adu scored a goal and the US beat Guatemala, 2-0.

Ed here.

In case you haven’t heard, the United States finished off Guatemala, 2-0, last night in Commerce City, Colorado, eliminating the visitors from the upcoming Hex and finishing with a 5-1 record for this round.

I know somewhere, deep in the recesses of BigSoccer or other gathering places for US fans, there are folks working through their brains to highlight all of the things that the US did wrong and how that all means coach Bob Bradley should be fired and all that.

If you are looking for that here … wrong blog. But thanks for reading. (more…)

Categories: International Soccer · Soccer · Sports

Walcott: Possibly Out 3 Months

November 19, 2008 · No Comments

Theo Walcotts shoulder has Arsenal concerned.

Theo Walcott's shoulder has Arsenal concerned.

Ed here.

Aaron is still in Denver - and I can report there’s no truth to the rumor that he is now part of the new coaching staff of the Rapids. Though if he can tackle at all, he might get signed to play safety for the Broncos.

Anyway, Soccernet is reporting that the shoulder injury to Theo Walcott of England and Arsenal could cause him to be out up to three months. It is left to question whether this is just bluster a bit on the part of the English press, and how significant the evidence is regarding Walcott’s possible absence.

Let’s argue for a second that the news is worst for Walcott, and he’s gone until mid-February (roughly). Once Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gets over his rage about losing Walcott to an injury suffered in training for a friendly - I won’t say a “meaningless” friendly, because I don’t guess the English folks consider any match with Germany as meaningless, but anyway - the long-time leader of the Gunners is going to have some thinking to do. (more…)

Categories: Arsenal · International Soccer · Soccer · Sports