Fantastic weekend of footie:
• MLS Playoff Odds
Big changes in the little schematic we put together last week:
• Seattle Sounders (now: 12 to 1) vs. Real Salt Lake (remains 6 to 1)
Mauro Rosales are no Mauro Rosales, Seattle now looks dusted. While the Sounders are capable of offensive explosions (the Sounders’ 56 goals led in the regular season), hard to imagine they are going to hang at least a three-spot on the visitors from Rio Tinto on Wednesday.
For one thing, pushing for three goals creates more of an up-down game, one where RSL can be just as lethal on the counter to Seattle’s foray; for another, you have Real Salt Lake able to play a possession game and limit Seattle’s time on the ball.
With a three-goal home lead in aggregate, you would think that RSL’s Cup chances go up. But that all depends on the health of their starting centerbacks, Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers who both left with injuries.
Knock, knock, that’s just Kyle Beckerman rattling the cages of all the naysayers who said he was a weak link on the US. Without Olave and later, briefly, without Borchers, Beckerman provided the cover over the back to preserve the shutout at home.
• New York Red Bulls (remains at 20 to 1) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (remains 4 to 1)
Los Angeles now the favorite–for now–on The Shin Guardian. They basically did what they had to in New York. The Galaxy–as is Bruce Arena’s perennial game plan–played for the draw on the road (Los Angeles concedes almost 50% less shots on goal when away from the Home Depot Center) and the tandem of Omar Gonzalez and AJ De La Garza sealed the central defense while Castrol Index Best XVIII’s Mike Magee tallied the lone goal.
This isn’t over for New York heading out to mid-week game in HDC. The Red Bulls appear more comfortable and commanding on the road and has of course that “nothing-to-lose” thing going for them. The loss of Rafa Marquez only stokes the fire more for the Red Bulls younger guard to prove themselves.
A dangerous position for Los Angeles, but they should still see their way through.
• Houston Dynamo (was 14 to 1, not 8 to 1) vs. Philadelphia Union (was 7 to 1, now 15 to 1)
Whoa is TSG….flip-flopping the odds here.
How in the world do you test out a new defense–of all things–at home in Game 1 of the playoffs.
Peter Nowak–who TSG is now casually humming and walking away from as their Coach of the Year candidate–did the unthinkable. Whether the strategy to employ a five-man (or three is you prefer with wingbacks) defense may be defensible at some level–which I don’t understand because the Dynamo’s team set-up doesn’t exactly scream, “Don’t come through the middle!”–what’s not defensible is attempting to employ it on the fly in the playoff.
Philadelphia looked flummoxed in the first half on what to do and it’s their coache’s fault alone.
I find it hard to see how the Dynamo won’t defend the series at home, especially since Philadelphia made their strikers even seem dangerous.
• Sporting KC (remains 8 to 1), vs. Colorado Rapids (was 10 to 1, now 20 to 1)
I’m not sure what bothers me more: pretty everything about Colorado or Sporting KC’s playoff mantra “I believe that we will win.”
Addressing the latter, what is this….Notre Dame or something. There’s no crusade for respect going on in Kansas City. What happens if they don’t win this year, what’s their motto for next year, “I believe last year; this year I know”….c’mon now.
As for the former, from Gary Smith leaving to Omar Cummings ability to turn it on or turn it off to the overrated Marvell Wynne and Jeff Larentowicz, I just want the Rapids to go away now.
They’ve got no shot in Kansas City on Thursday, but if they somehow eek the playoff series out, I’ll say, “Both time that team acted like defending champions.” (And yes, I know they have injuries.)
• The Golazo Czar
…couldn’t agree more…
Last week on Twitter, CBS Sports Reporter Dana Wessel and our friends over The Yanks Are Coming suggested that before we start calling every Kei Kamara or Fernando Torres sitter a “Golazo” that someone, perhaps TSG, rules on it over Twitter or elsewhere.
Our dual credentials: First, we’ve got the Jozy Altidore “Jolazo” trademarked over here. Second, we’ve been of the opinion for some time that it only makes Americans look (needy, desperate, insecure) if every time an American–specifically those playing outside MLS–gets a goal, the “Golazo!” term is invoked.
Golazo: Harkes for Sheffield Wednesday vs. Derby County
Before we start ruling unilaterally, some questions to ponder:
» Should we make this more of a triumvirate? Instead of just a Golazo Czar–maybe we should call it the “Golazo Panel?”
What if the Czar isn’t available. Is there a second in command? Also, a blending of point tallies–”The Russian judge gives it a 4.5!”–would be better than just a single person.
» Should probably publish the results afterward. Gain feedback. So something like the “Board of Directors” of “Golazo Czar Incorporated” should be formed. You know, keep the Czars honest so that no one is on the take.
» Finally what attributes should constitute a “Golazo!” Here are some to consider:
>>> Theatrics (is it a key match?, is it two bitter rivals?, what time during the game is it?)
>>> Expert feedback (Were Eric Wynalda, Jozy Altidore or Herculez Gomez impressed?)
>>> Individual brilliance (Sheer force, distance, location, struck with authority….all the goodies.)
Golazo: Paul Caligiuri for the USMNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago
» And one more finally, what do we call something better than a Golazo? A Boombosa? Suggestions? How about a goal that shouldn’t have went in?
• The Global Cup
More from Twitter….
With ESPN losing the World Cup TV rights bid for 2018 and 2022 last week, we put forth two questions: (1) Would Fox ante up and improve their production value and coverage to one that is befitting of owning the TV rights and (2) Maybe this is just some elaborate ploy by Sunil Gulati, USSF and ESPN to break away from FIFA, form a legit conglomerate and have the world’s powerhouse teams sign on for a new top international prize. The Global Cup.
One reader, Brad Dulay, ran with this:
The Global Cup (AKA the ESPN Cup)
In light of ESPN losing the rights to the World Cup, I’ve developed a tournament which would allow them to maintain the rights to a major tournament and have a slightly different format that could be easily distinguished from the World Cup.
To preface, I am sure that some of these ideas may have been presented in other columns. Just go with it.
The primary issue with creating a new tournament is that with current tournaments eating up so much time for national teams it would be nearly impossible to have an elongated qualification process similar to the World Cup.
Therefore qualifying needs to be a very quick process where the draw is determined some exterior body that evaluates a nation’s performance over the past four to eight years and selects those who are most deserving.
Obviously the current FIFA rankings system is a joke, so it would be if that was just thrown out the window entirely.
There are a couple of ways that this selection could take place. The most obvious solution is a rankings system where a certain number teams are selected but since we are talking about a cup formatted specifically for ESPN, I think the way to go would be the combination of some type of rankings system and a selection committee which would have final say on selection and seeding. This gives ESPN and other networks hours of programming to discuss all the classic issues normally reserved for the NCAA tournament.
Hell, even Dickie V could make a cameo.
Interference with continental tournaments (Confederations Cup, African Nation’s Cup, Gold Cup, etc)
The second major issue for a new tournament is determining when the tournament should actually be held. In order assure the participation of CONMEBAL and UEFA footballing nations, it would be best to avoid their two continental tournaments, pushing the tournament into conflict with the Confederations Cup in 2013.
This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because it would allow teams other than the 8 in Confed Cup the opportunity to have a major tune-up the year before the World Cup and could potentially set up rivalries and revenge matches, which often are dampened due to the length of time between Cups.
The problem with an additional tournament is that the offseason for top footballers is already very short and more matches could threaten to wear down these players even more. In order to address this issue and to make the format friendly for an ESPN audience the best format to use would be that of the NCAA College World Series with a couple of adjustments. It would be either 8 or 16 teams, with double elimination.
This means that yes, sadly penalties would be called upon in every non-finals match and teams wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed to play more two matches. When each group was narrowed down to the two remaining nations, just as in the CWS, the team with one loss would have to defeat the winner’s bracket team twice in order to advance.
In an eight-team tournament this round would act as the semi-finals and the winning nations would advance directly to the finals. In a 16-team tournament, the winners of these rounds would advance to the semi-finals which would only be one match, regardless of previous records.
This format would ensure the tournament moved quickly and would allow the creation of a two-legged final where the winner would not be determined by penalties. If the second match were tied after two legs of extra time, it would immediately become golden goal until a winner was determined. Thereby a true winner would emerge from the final without the asterisk that is often mentioned after a penalty.
• And in the spirit of today….Take our Footie Celeb Halloween Costume Matching Quiz: