Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Of course, the U.S. wasn't playing Norway's first choice players. It was a very young and inexperienced team.
Cuauh puts the PK away. It’s all
63,328 in attendance. People are making paper airplanes out of their programs and launching them from the upper deck. They’re flying a long way and some are finding their way onto the field.
Ochoa! I think he just stole Oswaldo Sanchez’ regular spot. Pedro Fernandez made it all the way to the top of the area, where he launched a great shot that Ochoa leaped to tip off the cross bar. The ball flew straight up, and came back down to Ochoa, who punched it over the bar, then he hung on the crossbar a bit. The corner kick for
Free kick for
Paco Palencia gets into the game.
Israel Lopez with a long shot pegs the bar. Sanhouse turns around and pulls the ball back from entering the goal.
Final whistle - Guardado wins Man of the Match. Arce and Blanco were the other nominees.
3 - Kikin fouled, top of box, 20 yards out
3 - blanco FK hit wall
5 - JM Rey 30 yard blast, right at Ochoa
7 - Arce whipped cross, Blanco pushed it wide
9 - Guardado gave up easy shot for Blanco, did nothing
10 - Another Arce cross, very active on right side
10 - Torrado elbow flattened Nicolas Feder, nasty shot
12 - Kikin carried into area, shot blocked out to Guardado, ripped from left, ball out to Blanco, wide open goal, hit side netting
14 - Magallon averted disaster, toe-poke clearance
15 - Guardado major flop in area, nothing
18 - Venezuelan counter, only magallon, beltran back
20 - Yellow, Galindo took down Ruberth Moran from behind
24 - Morales 25-yarder deflected off venezuelan, CK
24 - CK right to goalie
25 - 115 minutes into the Hugo Sanchez era and no goals
26 - So much for that, goal, Guardado golazo
26 - Guardado bags first goal in Hugo Sanchez era
31 - Ochoa save off Vallenilla
35 - GOLAZO Arce slammed volley past GK
35 - Cross from Guardado?
38 - Yellow Guardado, tough challenge
42 - Kikin open header, shot wide
45 - one minute stoppage time
In the 11th minute, Kikin Fonseca with a shot, goalie punches out, Temoc had a chance, but hit the side netting instead with the goal completely open.
In the 18th,
Kevin Stott is roundly booed for a yellow given to Gerardo Galindo, but the replay shows it was a good call. Galindo came in hard and late on Ruberth Moran.
So far, at least 70 percent of the game, I’d guess, has been played in
Another CK for
Goal! It had to come. And it’s Guardado! Kick ass. He was fearless against the
He’s an automatic starter for Sanchez now, I’m sure.
On the run, Ramoncito hit a long pass over the defensive line of
The fans are thrilled. I note that I’ve seen Hugo Sanchez’ first loss as
Israel López on for Gerardo Galindo. Could be because of the yellow – could be he’s injured.
Now Guardado gets a yellow for a tackle on José Javier Villafraz.
Arce with the give and go in the box gets a great chance at goal, but can’t put it on frame.It's a good half by Mexico, they'll likely cruise to victory.
Temoc seems to have been inspired by the description, though. He just barely missed a shot.
Perhaps I shouldn't have taken it personally, but it made me laugh.
Qualcomm is nice, but I do realize it's easy to get spoiled at the Home Depot Center.
It's just easier knowing where everything is, having a parking pass and being able to get into the press box early.
But there's still people we know here. Rigo Cervantez, the Chivas USA press contact, introduced me to Paco Ramirez while we all waited in line for food.
Ramirez was in line for the Chivas USA job that Preki eventually won. He was an assistant to Ricardo Lavolpe at the last World Cup.
Sideline Views continues its tour of NFL stadiums. On Feb. 7, we were at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Arizona Cardinals. Tonight we say hello from Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers and, for one night anyway, the Mexican national team.
I don't profess to know much about Saint Kitts and Nevis soccer. I only know that, if you are playing against them at any level, you shouldn't lose.
After all, England was going full force for the World Cup in 2018 and surely FIFA couldn't keep the World Cup off European soil for 16 years, could it?
Well, suddenly the prospect of a U.S. World Cup is great and now that seemingly minor announcement has me downright giddy. The World Cup, right here in my backyard! I was too young and too poor to enjoy the 1994 World Cup. I didn't attend a game nor did the thought even cross my mind. But now, if the World Cup comes back here, I would definitely attend matches. My goodness, how great would that be? How great would it be to go to a World Cup game and then sleep in my own bed afterward? Wow.
Anyway, in an earlier post I gave my options for host cities and venues should the U.S. ever host the World Cup. I'd like to get back into it now but the game in San Diego beckons.
Now, a 2018 North American World Cup would likely be a battle between the U.S. and Mexico because I can't imagine the Mexican federation not wanting to host that. So if Mexico gets it, that would be great too. I've driven from Riverside to 50 miles past Guadalajara several times in the last five years and I feel comfortable driving their - except for the stretch of road from Mazatlan to Tepic. But the autopista system there will be expanded more than it is today by 2018 so it would be easier to traverse across Mexico by car.
Unlike the U.S., though, games in Mexico might be in concentrated areas. In 1986, Mexico World Cup games were played in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Leon, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Irapuato, Nezahualcoyotl and Queretaro. As of the Clausura 2007 season, there are no first division clubs in Leon, Irapuato, Neza and Puebla. Queretaro seems kind of dumpy and Toluca is very, very small. It would need some expansion or not be used at all. I'd like to include Morelia instead of Leon, Culiacan instead of Irapuato, Pachuca instead of Puebla and Veracruz instead of Neza. That would spread the tournament over the entire country and make for some kick-ass road trips.
For pure fun and spectacle, a Mexico World Cup would be great. For convenience, a U.S. World Cup would be ideal. Either way, us North Americans would win!
Party time in 2018!!!
I'm taking my trusty camera so I should have some cool pictures to share.
I think the game is on Telemundo. As far as a prediction, well, I can't imagine Venezuela putting up a fight. Their guys are pretty much all domestic players. Mexico needs to come out focused and try and generate offense and finish. If Venezuela is to succeed, it will have to break down the untested international duo of Joaquin Beltran and Jonny Magallon, whom I expect to start in central defense. The backline could be shaky; none of the usual suspects back then. It's actually good because the players will play their way off the team in a meaningless game instead of in the Gold Cup or Copa America.
Having said that, I think Mexico will win 2-0 with Blanco and Guardado accounting for the goals.
Oh yeah, Mexico's staying at the Marriott in La Jolla for those wondering. If you get out there for that, let me know how it went over there. I think it could turn into the North San Diego Zoo for a few moments.
I finally got a chance to talk to Jonathan Bornstein yesterday. I've talked to him many times, both in person and over the phone and he's usually a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He's honest and he always puts things in perspective. He's really a great guy and he doesn't seem to let things get to him.
But when I talked to him yesterday, I could sense a bit of disappointment in his voice. He still talked a lot and answered all my questions honestly but he just seemed like this injury has affected him quite a bit. Can't blame him at all, really.
I know it's not much consolation but this injury right now is not entirely squashing his spot on the national team. Yeah, he'll miss the March friendlies but the World Cup is not around the corner. I feel bad for Bornstein of course but I really felt bad for Todd Dunivant a year ago. I really believe that he would have made the World Cup team had he not gotten hurt. He was in line to go to Germany for the friendly there in March but he got hurt and wasn't able to go. Had he gone, he would have played well and would have made the team.
Like Bornstein, Dunny's a class act. He never sulked and said many of the same things that Jonny did, that these things happen and he'd get over it.
Anyway, Bornstein might be ready for the season opener or he might not. I'm betting that he'll be in uniform and on the field April 7 against Toronto FC and that he'll be in at least one tournament for the US this summer.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Despite that, I think it's no contest which tournament is ultimately more important to U.S. soccer this year, even if it's not the sexy choice.
"All that is gold does not glitter."
This is an annual thing, actually. X Games dominates the landscape at HDC the first week of August and after we get past that abomination, there are, uh, well, not sure. Two years ago, a tennis tournament and concert were slated for weekends at HDC. Not sure what will be held at the soccer-specific stadium that precludes soccer.
Anyway, as a freelancer, no home dates means less money and then there goes the kids' college fund. No, but seriously, home dates are good and quiet Saturday nights are bad.
Unless, of course, Rage Against the Machine comes in to save the day.
SUM announced that they've already sold close to 50,000 tickets for the game. Damn. That's like a lot of people. Wow. I was planning on leaving Riverside at about 3 p.m. but now I think I should leave earlier, unless I want to sit in traffic and miss the first 20 minutes of the game.
I was excited to go to the US-Mexico game in Arizona and, aside from the rivalry and all that, I was looking forward to going to the new stadium and did not anticipate any problems. I am not having the same feeling about Wednesday's game. I guess I don't do well when I'm going into unfamiliar territory. For instance, I tend to leave two hours before the start of a game at Home Depot Center. If it's a big game, like a Gold Cup game (which there will be two dates in June there) I give myself more time. I know that stadium fairly well and know how to avoid the traffic (I just stay away from Avalon and go in off Victoria coming down from Central).
I guess my best bet is to get there early. Hey, maybe I can take a 12-pack of Tecates and... nah.
Perhaps some long lost relative of new Chivas USA defender Alex Zotinca was searching for him and stumbled upon our site.
Romania, yeah, I thought their national team was bunk but they made a late run in the Netherlands/Czech Republic group last year and looked like they could have made it through but they dropped too many points early on to get through.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I was disappointed when Juan Pablo Garcia and Francisco Palencia both left Chivas USA and MLS in December. Garcia had the makings of a star but instead chose to go back to Mexico to be closer to one dream - playing for El Tri. Palencia, meanwhile, probably wanted another challenge. The guy has accomplished so much in his career that he could have stayed here and played out his days and nobody would have thought too much about it.
It's funny how different their careers are now that they are gone. Garcia can't get any playing time while Palencia is back with El Tri, back after spending 18 months in MLS, which I guess isn't too much of a hindrance on someone's career after all.
Garcia improved in MLS. He's better now than he was when he arrived. His troubles with Tigres are due, in my humble opinion, to coach Mario Carrillo's defensive tactics and his goal of staying in the first division. Garcia is a loose cannon and Carrillo is rather not so the two don't mix well.
Palencia also improved in MLS. He is as fit now as he has been at any time over the last six years or so. He's an excellent teammate and only cares about winning. He doesn't care if he scores. He doesn't care if he even plays. As long as the team wins, then Paco is happy.
There was just a matter of the MLS. If I could swing the game without missing a game, I'd definitely consider. Seems there is a game that night on the MLS schedule. It's nothing really, just the Galaxy and D.C. United.
Lame. Lame lame lame. I'm not missing Galaxy-United for a friendly. In fact, that I'll watch the US-China game at all is only because I'm out here in Carson. RSL-New England kicks off 30 minutes before the US-China game while New York-Kansas City starts at the same exact time.
First, I checked out the Marriott in La Jolla. What a perfect place. It's kinda near the stadium and - Hey! The Mexican national team is staying there. What a perfect place it would be to hang out with Kikin Fonseca and have a beer with him while we ponder just what the hell happened to his career. So I looked at the hotel and tried to find out the rates. Simple enough: check in on Feb. 28, check out on March 1 (ha, the same day that Kikin checks out from El Tri and three weeks after Jared Borgetti checked out), one person (unless I can convince some groupie that I'm part of El Tri, I mean, who really knows what Emilio Hassan Viades looks like up close?) and one bed.
But alas, the hotel is booked up for the night. So I looked at the nearest Marriott. I'd still like to have that beer with Kikin, although now I won't be able to drive. The Marriott Del Mar is only four miles away so maybe I could get away with having one beer (one for every goal Kikin scored that mattered in six months in Portugal). Holy crap! Was I in for a shock. Damn Marriott wants $229 a night for a quality room and $259 for the concierge level and since I'm neither quality nor concierge..erly, I chose not to continue with the process.
So I scoured around some more and found the Sheraton in Mission Valley. Okay, it's not the Marriott but it's a nice hotel and - hey! - Venezuela is staying there. Oooh, perfect. Now I'd get some groupie for sure because who the hell knows any player on Venezuela? But then, there probably aren't any Venezuelan groupies so I became sad. Oh well, I still plugged along.
But I hit a roadblock. Damn it. Seems there are no rooms available for Wednesday night. Hmm.. maybe there are groupies there after all. Oh well, I figured I'd give it a shot at the nearest Sheraton until - Holy Smokes! $209 a night for the cheapest room?!? $244 for the most expensive?!? For Venezuela? Couldn't they put them up at a Super 8 motel instead? I mean, come on, it's Venezuela.
In the end, I decided to scrap my idea of staying in a San Diego hotel. Instead, I'll drive back home and try to figure out about how many rooms the respective Venezuelan and Mexican delegations take up, figure about $230 on average per room between the two and see how much it costs to shack up these two teams for one meaningless game. Of course, it's the hard-working, Tri-loving fan who foots this ghastly bill.
I must say, I was surprised to see the Swiss advance to the second round of the World Cup last year. I thought Korea would get through from that group along with France and really didn't think too much of it afterward. But Switzerland proved me wrong.
Also, I don't know much about the Swiss league but Grasshoppers doesn't sound like an intimidating name. Locusts maybe or even Cockroaches FC but Grasshoppers...
But when you talk to young and talented girls, it's almost depressing. Their moment is now because their soccer future is pretty much non-existent. Sure, the U.S. will always field a senior national side but unless you are the cream of the best crop in the world, chances are many young ladies' careers will end when their senior years in college are over.
Here's a good yarn by Andrea about post-collegiate options for women soccer players, or lack thereof.
Anyway, I just got off the phone with Temecula Valley coach Adam Skumawitz and was gracious with his time. I'd talked to him a few weeks ago after a 1-1 tie and he seemed irritated with the officiating but we had a fine chat regardless. I was researching him this morning it turns out he was once a Yank Abroad. Anyway, he was a star at Cornell University in 1997 and after graduating starred in the Verbandsliga, an amateur league in Germany. From there, he landed a contract with Aalesunds F.K. of Norway (Adin Brown's current club) but injuries forced him to retire, apparently.
Now, he runs the Football Proper academy in Temecula, which is just north of San Diego county.
Several weeks ago, Brad Friedel told me that he thought the youth developmental system in this country is farcical and that 70 percent of coaches here were in it solely for the money. I don't know him that well but I think Skumawitz falls into the other 30 percent.
Let's see, what do I know about Singapore? The capital is of Singapore is Singapore... uh, I've seen some nice pictures of the capital city and it looks kinda like Tokyo in that there are giant buildings with a ton of people scurrying about everywhere.
In soccer terms, Singapore is, well, poor. They are currently ranked 123rd in the world by FIFA, right between Namibia and Lebanon. Singapore is ahead of such powers as El Salvador, New Zealand, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic, a veritable murderer's row.
So after the team's recent win, when he took his shirt off for the jersey exchange, he had a little fun.
Ronaldinho seems like a good guy. At the Barcelona/Chivas game here in LA last year, the mixed zone was crazy. They stationed the reporters in certain sections. Catalan newspeople were given a prime spot, and most players only stopped there and then moved past everyone else. Ronaldinho did talk to me briefly, though. He has this trick of backing away from reporters when he needs to leave, smiling and waving. It may be the brush-off, but it's endearing.
I've got to admit, Jesse Marsch is a cool character. I really became fond of Marsch last year. Before then, I had never interviewed him (as far as I can remember) and didn't know too much about him. But man, the guy has character and charm and charisma. He just gets it. He's a perfect teammate and a straight shooter as well. He doesn't throw guys under the bus but he speaks the truth; it's difficult to balance the two.
Word is, Jesse can do a spot-on Bob Bradley impersonation. I haven't been lucky enough to hear it but if and when I do, I'll pass along that info to you all.
Of all the guys who have played in each of the 12 MLS seasons, I think Marsch has the best bet to last the longest. The guy is in incredible shape and could pass for someone in his mid-20s. I don't know too much about his final days in Chicago - the two sides did not part on the best of terms - but I'm glad he ended up with Chivas USA and got the chance to get to know him.
I echo Andrea's feelings about Jesse being a great future MLS coach. Hell, I would have supported him for Chivas USA player-coach.
Uh... quick thought about Macedonia. In the lead-up to the 1998 World Cup, the U.S. scheduled a friendly against Macedonia in San Jose. The game was sometime in May and I seriously considered driving up there from SoCal to watch the game as a fan. I relented because I didn't really have the time and money and there was also a friend's birthday party that I couldn't really miss. I watched the game on TV instead of in person.
The final score was 0-0 so I'm glad I didn't go after all.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
David Lindholm is a stand-up guy. I wish he taught out here so I could see him at Chivas games more often. He looked pretty good on the field too but his biggest drawback was his age. He can't sign a developmental contract since he'll be 25 so he'd have to join the senior roster, and as good as he is, Chivas already has Preston Burpo and Brad Guzan.
Still, David's not the kind of guy to mope. He told Republica Deportiva that he was sad but not depressed.
I took so many pictures yesterday that I won't be able to use for anything else so I might as well put them here.
It was funny because before the thing started I was taking pictures of random players while they were warming up. It wasn't until after I got home that I realized I had taken some pictures of Andrew Robles warming up.
One thought about Portugal. I was impressed by Simao Sabrosa in last year's World Cup. That guy is a player. He can score anywhere, anytime and I wish he played in MLS simply so I could see him more often. I also liked the way Maniche plays. He's got an overbite or something on his face - I wouldn't put him on the Bueno Looking XI - but I'd take him on my soccer team any day.
Sadly, he will not be joining MLS or any other club this year. He was part of a huge brawl in Ecuador last year and was suspended for a year. Still, the Red Bulls thought they could get the ban lifted. But they couldn't. FIFA said no, and now the Red Bulls will miss out on a strong forward and MLS will lack a star player.
I've always liked watching Delgado play. He's a monster up front and has a knack for scoring goals. He played for Southampton for a brief spell, I believe, and I was looking forward to seeing him succeed in England but he didn't do enough to establish himself and returned to the New World.
Aside from scoring in the 2006 World Cup, he also found the back of the net in 2002 against Mexico.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Of all the people involved with Chivas USA, undoubtedly one of the most important is Dennis te Kloese. To say this guy has a football mind is like saying Bill Gates is rich. With Chivas Guadalajara, te Kloese was the chief scout and under his watch brought in guys like Carlos Salcido and Omar Bravo.
It's really a coup to have him aboard because he is of the mindset that scouting young players will lead to great things in the future. He was the impetus behind Chivas USA's youth development system, which was put into place in 2005. He helped the club's Under-19 side get off the ground before MLS required an organized youth system. He outlasted fellow Hollanders Hans Westerhof and Thomas Rongen at Chivas USA.
In one, he's with Antonio Cue. In the other, he's with the club's Under-19 coach, Sacha van der Most.
Okay, so maybe he's not quite there - he doesn't even have kids - but David Lindholm was the oldest dreamer out there.
I got to know David last year when he spent the summer with Chivas USA. I didn't realize he was a teacher for a private school back in his Salisbury, Connecticut. I just thought he was an intern trying to latch on to a professional club.
He tried a different method of latching on today. A goalie by trade, David did fairly well for himself. I'm sure he'll have lots of tales to tell his students back East and will surely take back many fond memories from his multiple visits to Southern California.
I spent most of my day Saturday around five dozen dreamers. Chivas USA held their penultimate round of tryouts in Bell Gardens on Saturday. I chatted with a few of the hopefuls, about their dreams and their stories, hopes and goals.
One of the youngest ones out there was Andrew Robles. I couldn't help but feel excited for this kid. At 16, he already had a taste of professional soccer. His older brother Eder is a full-fledged member of Chivas USA. So when Andrew said their family was from a poor area and few people from his 'hood make it, that feeling of excitement grew. How great would it be for Andrew to make it, just like his brother has? How positive would it be for the community and youngsters who know the Robles clan?
Of course, his family ties made him one of the more sought-after players. I was among them. When I found out Eder Robles' brother was among the dreamers, I wanted to talk to him.
Beckham's everywhere - well, perhaps not, but he's certainly getting more press coverage than any other soccer player I've ever talked to.
He's involved in Swiss politics, too, apparently.
The latest reports about
Beckham's Galaxy contract are making it look like MLS lied with the 250 million dollar number, though it was all along an estimate of a very unique deal. Even though Beckham's base salary is even lower than I'd guessed, (I'd thought 9 million a year), what Beckham has done here is take a share of the house profits. It's like when his buddy Tom Cruise has a movie deal that pays him half the profits of the movie. Cruise's salary at that point doesn't matter, because that contract will make him millions more.
There's lots of players who are pretty polite, but I can't ever remember one who asked about my boss or any who thanked me for taking the time to interview them.
Anyway, this isn't a great pic, especially with the yellow mesh they made the U.S. players wear to distinguish them from the blue jerseys of the other team, but here is quite possibly the future of U.S. soccer in action - Charles is on the left, Sebastian on the right.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The team poured out of the gate. I remember Francisco Palencia and Rafa Marquez were hanging back wearing their shades. I talked to Alberto Garcia Aspe first, then approached Cuauhtemoc Blanco as he was waiting for his luggage. He talked, begrudgingly.
The Mexican national team will be flying into San Diego on Monday night. They'll be on Aeromexico Flight 488 which is scheduled to get in to San Diego International Airport at 7:35 p.m.
Anyway, I was the San Gorgonio-Marshall game in San Bernardino today. It was cold (yes brucio, I'm wimpy, what can I say?) and windy and bright outside. Weird combination.
I found myself more entertained by the Marshall coach, however. Not that the game was bad - it was actually quite good. But this coach was something else. I think he was Costa Rican - he looked like Hernan Medford from afar. He spoke Spanish fluently and had a rhythm to his voice.
Some of the things he said were classic but the best was:
Amarrense los huevos y juegen! (Tighten up your balls and play!)
But the game ended in controversy. A PK was called in the 9th minute of the first overtime session. On the spot kick, a kid from Marshall ran up and took a stutter step and then scored. It shouldn't have counted. I don't know what the rule is in pro and international soccer but in high school you can't take a stutter step on a PK. He should have been cautioned and the goal should not have counted.
I looked up the rule. Yes, I did some homework on the matter. Wanted to get the story straight.
Mexico called in its squad to face Venezuela on Friday. Among the players called in was Fernando Arce. I've been on Arce's bandwagon all season. I think the guy is a good player and recently I said this about Arce:
"Hello Morelia? Hi, this is Hugo Sanchez. Can I speak with Fernando Arce?"
I know, I'm prophetic. Okay, maybe not. Maybe I say like 50 things and 49 of them are wrong but one is right so I gloat...
Still, Andrea's call on Adam Cristman was great. I honestly wouldn't have picked him to be the best U.S. player in Japan. I would have picked Sacha Kljestan or Patrick Ianni before Cristman.
I'm fairly ignorant about Chinese soccer. I was, however, watching House of Flying Daggers today. I was thinking "Man, wouldn't it be cool to know how to speak Chinese."
Then, I thought "Man, wouldn't it be cool to be able to shoot arrows from 100 yards away and ricochet them off something and pierce some dude in the side of his body?"
It started with the Jason Kreis crisis, also known as the great "Mo knows better" outsmart move of the expansion draft. RSL exposed their team captain in the draft, assuming Toronto would pass on the player and his expensive salary. The gamble backfired, as Mo Johnston promptly took the veteran. RSL scrambled to regain him, and Mo profited well from the outcome.
Then there was the stadium groundbreaking, which was quickly transformed into the, "Debacle, Drama and Disaster" as the stadium deal went under, Dave Checketts threatened to move the team, and the state legislature finally stepped in and strong-armed the whole plan into place.
Now, the team may be generally innocent in the last move, because the suddent retirement of Scott Garlick left them scrambling, but how often does one see a team trade a player (Nick Rimando) and then turn around and ask for the same player right back? Let's call this one, "Goodbye, just kidding, Hello".
Scoring two goals in the game makes him look good before he heads to the NE Revs, plus it makes my prediction look none too shabby, either.
I'd said: "However, if Adam Cristman continues the form he brought into camp, he could be the revelation of the Japan tour."
Here's what Adam said about joining his MLS squad after U23 duty.
"I’m now with
I mentioned that the Revs had some quality strikers to learn from and Adam nodded.
I'll go ahead and predict that Cristman sees onfield time with the Revolution this year - especially because Twellman will probably be involved with the national team this summer.
So I went to CIF's web site (CIF is the governing body for California high school athletics). I wanted to see where the finals would be at. I found it to be a little vague, actually. CIF says the finals will be at Warren HS and Downey HS. They don't specify who would play where or the times or anything like that. They do, however, inform us in bold and large print that there will be NO phone service at either site.
How am I supposed to do my live blog?
No, seriously though, it's absurd. Phones? They still use those things for internet? Now, if you are at home and choose to use dial-up, that's your choice. Whatever works for you and your budget, right? But for an organization that wants coverage and is trying to provide coverage for its members to basically tell the media that we won't be able to file from there is ridiculous.
For me, personally, it won't be too much of a hassle. I think the games will end early enough for me to go home or to the nearest Starbucks (mmm... coffee) or somewhere else to write. But for prep writers and staff photographers, it means a long haul back to the office (because there are some papers who will have to drive quite a distance to get there and back) and then try and bang out stories and photos quickly.
I guess I'm spoiled. Covering games at Home Depot Center has done that to me, I suppose. The wireless feed was available all season long last year. I don't even think twice about it anymore. I turn on my laptop and - Voila! - I'm online. I worry sometimes about games at other venues but the US-Mexico game in Arizona was the same drill as HDC. Instant internet access.
I'm not a tech guy but it seems to me that it wouldn't take too much trouble to get some sort of cable or broadband internet feed, run it through a router and provide it for us hacks. I know I sound like I'm complaing but when people get their papers on Sunday morning and the story about their school's soccer final is subpar, it's probably because the writer had to rush back to the office to get it done. If I had to hurry and go home after Galaxy games to write my stories, they wouldn't be that good... hmm.. I guess some people would say they're not that good now.
That's because, meanwhile, I've been fielding a series of emails from ardent fans of the U.S. men's national team who are firmly convinced that U.S. Soccer's administration is hancuffed by the tiered structure of the organization - that it gives far too much power to different factions, especially the youth programs and the women, and that those in charge are basically impotent figureheads who are unable to focus the resources exactly where they are needed - namely, on the men's team.
They've sent me Excell charts of how they believe the finances break down, hinted at shadowy power brokers behind the scenes, and claim that Sunil Gulati was denied in his quest to bring in Jurgen Klinsmann because the German would have toppled the whole structure.
In fact, the USSF has streamlined the organization, partly due to the recommendations from a landmark independent study done back when Gulati's predecessor, Robert Contigulia, was in charge.
Would Chinaglia want to return to the days of a 40-member board?
The problem with a medium center point solution is that too often, both sides on the extreme end believe they have been equally wronged, are bitter about the outcome, and determined to attack the end result.
Anyway, Giorgio Chinaglia and Charlie Stillitano host this show and they had on someone who is involved in soccer in New York. Forget his name but his dad was the president of US Soccer at some point in the past, like a long time ago. Anyway, the three of them were complaining that US Soccer is too centralized in terms of the power decisions that are made and that about 4 people hold all the power in US soccer.
Chinaglia, who seems like a crotchety old man, just complained about everything and said the federation should invest money in youth soccer. The guest corrected him and said they do spend more than a million per year on youth development programs and Chinaglia took his words back. Then, this guest said that he wanted for the president of US Soccer not to have another job, which seemed like a direct swipe at Sunil Gulati but he then said he spoke to Sunil before he presented this idea at some meeting and told him it wasn't personal.
When I got to my job, they had moved on to talking about Inter Milan-Valencia. Listening to soccer talk on the radio was a cool way to start the day.
I'm still waiting for an all-MLS talk show, though. Perhaps Andrea and I could start one and call it Sideline Voices. Now wouldn't that be something?!?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Well, there in attendance was the English side that had pounded Denmark 3-0 days earlier in Niigata. I had been up there for that madness as well. England's entrance drew attention from the onlookers at Kobe Stadium but one certain spiky-haired player drew the most oohs and aahs. David Beckham's then-signature hairstyle was easily spotted amidst the players. I snapped a picture of him and the team but since I used a disposable film camera (film? ick) I have it stored in some shoe box somewhere. I'll try and scan it in at some point in the near future.
Again, I follow things more closely on this side of the pond but the highlights I saw today from UEFA Cup games were entertaining. No, it's not the Champions League but what is?
REV won again, 1-0 in double overtime on a soft goal off a set piece. This game, though, was even better than the boys game the day before. These girls played well and both sides did well to maintain their composure.
Murrieta Valley - the losing side - was unfortunate. They hit the post twice - once in the 75th minute and the other time early in overtime. I interviewed the girl who rattled the first shot off the woodwork. She was in tears but managed to string some words together, basically telling me that they had their heads held high because no one expected them to get that far.
"On sabbatical? A four-year sabbatical?
In his classes at Columbia, where he's a popular professor, Gulati fits in a few soccer references now and again. He gave the reporters an example, from, I believe, his Sports and Economics class:
"David Beckham – I put up a slide and I ask my class, 'How many of you know who this is?' 90% raise their hands. Then the next slide is of Jeff Sachs. I’m not going to embarrass anyone (the reporters, that is) by asking if you know him (I didn't). He’s probably the most famous professor at
When asked if his students knew about his involvement with U.S. Soccer, Gulati nodded. "They’re all aware of it now."
It could just be something of a "changing of the guard" thing, though, as it is very hard for even great teams to always stay on top. Players get restless or discontented; coaches perhaps find that they're not listened to the way they were before. Or another team just gets better. This is a pretty special group for Barca, though. They'll be remembered for a while.
The U15 team at their training scrimmage. Up top, #5, Andrew Craven, gets into the mix for a header. Then Craven works an outlet play with a really special player in this age group, Charles Renken, #35. I wasn't trying to make Renken look mysterious through the netting or anything, it was just in the way.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Then, it went to golden-goal overtime. The game was all set for PKs when REV scored on a set piece. The goal was not worthy of the game, though. To win that game, there should have been some blistering 18-yard rocket that the keeper would have had no chance of stopping (think Phillip Lahm against Costa Rica). Instead we got some cheap goal on a save the keeper should have made.
Redlands East Valley, incidentally, is where Landon Donovan attended high school. I saw him play a few times with REV. I remember one game where he scored five goals against Indio HS.
I love this blog and I hope you, our trusty reader, also enjoys it. It's going to be fun during the MLS season around here and there will be plenty of things to chew on around here and interesting items that won't have made it anywhere else.
Plus, we'll have our trusty cameras ready to snap pictures for your enjoyment.
Of course, we still have March to go...
The day before, America and Necaxa each won by 2-1 scores, against El Nacional and Alianza Lima respectively.
Maybe I shouldn't have been so harsh on Necaxa...
Anyway, it's interesting that Necaxa played its first-choice team while America (Blanco, Cabanas) and Toluca (Zinha, Vicente Sanchez) each rested some of their better players. I don't think that necessarily speaks to which tournament the teams are making a priority - league or cup - but rather the coaches trying to balance out the busy schedule and decide what's best for their club.
It's tricky because many Mexican clubs that have done well in Libertadores have not done well in league. Cruz Azul's 2001 team that walked through River Plate and Rosario Central and came up short at Boca Juniors on PKs did not even make the Mexican league playoffs that year.
Dynamo, meanwhile, weren't as lucky. I didn't see the game so I don't want to comment one way or the other but I heard the referees were giving Houston a hard time. But I will say that the Galaxy got completely hosed in Costa Rica a year ago. The Galaxy played an impressive first half against Saprissa, probably the best half I've seen the Galaxy play in the last several years, especially when you consider the opponent and importance of the match. Saprissa came back in the second half, scored two and sent it into extra time. In extra time, the Galaxy was called for some garbage foul deep in their own third. I can't remember who was whistled for the foul but it was complete and utter garbage. Saprissa knocked the set piece into the net and they won 3-2. It was disappointing considering I was already looking at flights to Toluca, where the Galaxy would have played had they won.
Oh well. Houston apparently learned the hard way that, if you don't want the refs to be a factor, then you need to score four goals.
It's just natural, really. As the MLS representatives in the CCC, these two teams seem to carry the flag for MLS and, in many ways, American soccer.
I don't know if I'll live long enough to see this day, but I hope it gets to a point here where Red Bulls fans will wish ill on Houston and everyone in MLS will hope United loses by three goals to some nothing Central American side. If and when that happens, we know MLS will long have arrived and we won't worry about how MLS is perceived to naysayers from outside our borders and, frankly, those from within. I hope the league will be strong enough at some point for fans of GIVEN MLS CLUB will cheer for GIVEN MLS CLUB and hope all other clubs rot in hell.
I'm a little sad that UCLA's Kyle Nakazawa didn't make the U23 squad, because I'm sure the media there would have loved the story of his Japanese heritage.
Sturgis performed well in the match - which is something he's made a habit of during the tours abroad that he's taken. Of course, he's played well for the Galaxy, too.
Here's a quick mention of the match from another Japanese source, where the U.S. defense is praised. There's also a minute-by-minute report.
I wouldn't be surprised if Sturgis draws attention from Europe after the U20 World Cup in Canada.
After playing well against Bayern Munich, Becks could be eyeing a return to play for England.
Perhaps we could start a poll, or maybe people will just share their thoughts in the comments.
1) Should Steve McClaren call up David Beckham?
2) Will he?
3) What odds would you place (gamblers unite) on Beckham playing for England while a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy?
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
If Beckham wishes to be the Fresh Player of Bel Air, there's pricey options there, too.
Most likely, most of the properties the Beckhams are looking at are going to be privately listed, though.
Actually, though I didn't look very long, the most expensive property I found was actually listed in Pasadena, which would have been perfect if the Galaxy were still playing at the Rose Bowl.