Archive for March, 2012

Caleb Porter & The US U-23’s Open Olympic Qualifying With Cuba

Caleb Porter, hoping for the US to stick out in the CONCACAF crowd...

Editor’s Note: No in-depth preview here today.

Jay Bell will be covering the Olympic qualifying semi’s and final at Livestrong Park in Kansas City for TSG.

The United States Under-23 Men’s National Team opens Group A play in the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament against Cuba at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, March 22, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Can't really call this post "Orange Slices"...so "bits" it is...

Broadcast: The match is televised live on the Universal Sports Network, Mun2 and CONCACAF.com.

• Digits

13 players on the roster have played in at least one World Cup at the youth level, and four players – Adu, Jared Jeffrey, Shea and Sheanon Williams – have appeared in both the U-17 and U-20 tournaments.

4 Players who were coached by Caleb Porter at Akron (Teal Bunbury, Perry Kitchen, Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin)
4 Goals scored by Freddy Adu during the USA’s 2008 Olympic Qualifying
8 Players who have earned a cap with the U.S. senior team

Last Time at LP for the U-23‘s: March 20th, 2008

In the semifinal on March 20 against Canada, midfielder Freddy Adu scored a pair of goals and Sacha Kljestan added a third as the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 win and a spot in the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The U.S. lineup that: 1-Chris Seitz; 2-Marvell Wynne, 3-Michael Orozco, 17-Jonathan Spector, 5-Nathan Sturgis; 16-Sacha Kljestan (14-Robbie Findley, 88) , 6-Maurice Edu (capt.), 10-Dax McCarty, 7-Stuart Holden; 11-Freddy Adu (20-Eddie Gaven, 82) 12-Jozy Altidore (9-Charlie Davies, 75)

11 At The Whistle

A possible deployment. *Disclaimer, review of U-23 has been infrequent here at TSG to date.


Gaffney: The Slithering Path to Brazil 2014 Continues…

Professor Christopher Gaffney updates TSG on Brazil 2014.

Chris Gaffney

About: Professor Gaffney is a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminese in the Department of Architecture and Urbanism. His research and teaching at the university are focused on the urban and social impacts of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Gaffney, also, is the author of “Temples of the Earthbound Gods” an annal that explores the history, geography and culture of stadiums in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Finally, Professor Gaffney currently serves as the Vice President of the National Fans Association (ANT – Associação Nacional dos Torcedores, torcedores.org.br).

Professor Gaffney has written exclusively for TSG on the impending disaster of Brazil 2014 over the past two years.

You can find more of Gaffney’s writing on his own publication, Geostadia.

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The past month has not been pleasant for Ricardo Teixeira.

The coming month will be even worse for João Havelange.

Teixiera. Out.

Citing reasons of health, Teixeira has resigned from his positions as the president of the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation), president of the Brazil 2014 Local Organizing Committee, and FIFA Executive Board member.

Teixeria had been at the helm of the CBF since before the Berlin Wall fell and it was a position for which he was never qualified, either personally or professionally.

Well, personally, he was connected through marriage to Havelange who TSG readers will likely not remember as the president of the Brazilian sports federation CBD from 1956-1974 but will remember him as president of FIFA from 1974-1998.

The nonagenarian Havelange was admitted to the hospital last week and appears to be getting worse.

These two have been linked to the ISL/FIFA corruption and bribery scandal laid open recently by Andrew Jennings.

An anonymous plaintiff has petitioned the Swiss courts to hold the incriminating documents, ostensibly until the ink has dried on the obituaries.

Havelange and Teixeira leave a twisted, opaque legacy that will take years to sort through.

Havelange and a twisted legacy

As head of FIFA, Havelange coddled dictators in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay as well as in Africa and Asia. The one federation, one vote policy of FIFA (where the F.A. of São Tome e Principe has the same voting power as the USSF) allowed Havelange to exploit his significant wealth and influence to maintain power. It is important to note that Havelange’s family was extraordinary wealthy, their fortune coming from the international arms trade which ol’ João also reportedly dabbled in.

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MLS Mornings: Pre-Game Roasts & Brews

Eric Giardini spills the beans on what should be in your mug….the first in TSG’s MLS Travel Series

Morning...

It’s 7:00 in the morning and you’re settling in on the couch to begin a long day of soccer viewing.

What are you reaching for?

If you are like me, perhaps 7:00 is a bit too early for beer (and if it isn’t, you are my hero).

Perhaps you need something else. Something that can wake you up for a long morning and afternoon of games.

Or, if you’ve ever road tripped to see your club or national team play and have had to leave first thing in the morning, what are you in need of? If you are anything like me, you are reaching for a cup of coffee.

Coffee, much like beer, has undergone a revolution in recent years. Gone are the days of the giant tubs of pre-ground coffee, scooping it into a machine and hitting “Brew.” Coffee is becoming more and more like beer with localized roasters fine-tuning their craft around the country, which allows for a higher quality, fresher product.

And so, piggybacking off the success of any of the beer focused pieces we’ve done in the past, we though we’d reach out to local roasters in cities with MLS clubs and compile a list of those doing great things with coffee.

Our goal is to provide a resource for places to grab a cup when in town for a match, or beans to brew at home. We contacted roasters in each of the 19 MLS cities and, while we weren’t able to hear back from all of them, we had quite a few that were more than happy to participate and were gracious enough to send samples. It was a difficult task drinking fantastic coffee every morning from some of the best roasters around, but I did it for you.

(Also, I’m not a professional taster so forgive my amateur tasting notes. Thank you in advance.)

Eastern Conference

Old City....Philly vintage...

Philadelphia: Old City Coffee

Founded in 1984, these guys have been a staple in the Philly coffee scene for 27 years. Roasting in small batches guarantees that the freshest coffee will be available at either of their two café locations in Philadelphia. I was fortunate enough to be able to taste their best selling Old City Blend coffee, and I can see why they sell so much of it. The Old City Blend nicely combined the earthiness that South American beans tend to give with the more floral, citrus notes of Ethiopian beans. If you find yourself in the Old City District of Philadelphia, stop by their location on Church Street.

Kansas City: PT’s Coffee

While technically not in Kansas City, we would have been remiss to leave out a former Roast Magazine Roaster of the Year out of Topeka. After beginning as a single café in 1993, PT’s has grown and supplies coffee around the country. Of the coffees we were able to try, the Guatemala Finca El Injerto was my favorite. The caramel and chocolate flavors were pronounced; yet overall the coffee remained round and well balanced.

The "make-it-happen" team at PT's

And to tie this into soccer, PT’s has partnered with the Prodigy Youth Soccer Association in Topeka to help Topeka-area youth soccer players receive the funding to offset annual dues. Through the sales of Flor del Sol, PT’s hopes to raise $1500 for the Jon Kaspar Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of a former barista and soccer player in the Prodigy Soccer set up. The Flor del Sol is only available for a limited time, so if you are into great coffee and helping youth soccer players and their families, act quickly. I know I will.

Dynam-ic

Houston: Java Pura

With five cafes in the Houston area, there are plenty of locations for Houston coffee drinkers to find Java Pura. Named the Best Coffee Roaster in Houston by the Houston Press, Java Pura’s mission is to provide drinkers the freshest, locally roasted coffee possible. Many of their coffees are Fair Trade and organic. The Costa Rica “Don Teofilo” was sampled and the earthy, nutty aroma was balanced with chocolate and citrus flavors to create a very enjoyable cup.

Western Conference

Portland: Stumptown Coffee; Public Domain Coffee

Stumptown...hard to go wrong...

Not surprisingly, two roasters from Portland participated in our guide. Stumptown is a fairly easy-to-find coffee that can be purchased by the bag across the country, and they have cafés in Portland, Seattle, and New York City. The Hair Bender blend is their most popular coffee and most versatile as it worked well in my French Press or as espresso.

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Selected Images: DC United Falls To The Los Angeles Galaxy

Matt Mathai’s eyes are back! About time…..


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Video: A Peek In On The U-23’s Where Freddy Adu Is Now Captain…

Freddy Adu, made captain of the U-23’s today….

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Off The Rails & Only Tangents….It’s Your MLS Preview

John Nyen…let’s call it “Working on New Material…”

Laaaaaaaaadies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Shin Guardian MLS preview. A column in which I will frequently go off the rails on tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the game, and I may or may not encourage you to check out certain beers, music, website’s that will corrupt your very soul and make your mother/father very upset with me.

To start, let me first dictate the rules to you in reading this mess.

#1 I am probably incorrect about all of this so don’t use it for gambling.

As Marvin Gaye would say…. “Let’s Get It On”

SATURDAY GAMES:

(Format will be home team, visiting team, and all times are East Coast. All music and beer will be quasi-local to the home team this time around)

Okay...go...time. (Oduro for the Fire)

2:00 pm Montreal v Chicago – Olympic Stadium – Television: TSN RDS

Almost 60,000 people will be in Olympic Stadium in Montreal to take on the “we like to open stadiums” Chicago Fire. Montreal (last week) were dropped by Vancouver 2-0 in a game that pulled in great television ratings in Canada and apathy in Central (but not Western) Germany. Montreal recently held a practice in which 2,000 Impact fans decided to show up, so expect a decent atmosphere…. well… IF you can watch this. See if you are in the United States, you CAN’T watch this (easily) because it isn’t being broadcast unless you have a MLS package.

Rumors are that Joey Saputo and Jesse Marsch will be signing all the unprotected fans from Regina, Saskatchewan and then trying to trade them for fans from Novia Scotia plus a case of roll up cups from Tim Hortons. As reported by Brian Straus of the Sporting News, Chicago have opened up (now) 4 stadiums in MLS (Portland, RBNY, Sporting KC, and Montreal). In those 3 prior games, Chicago is 0-2-1, not entirely confidence inspiring for the Fire supporters.

Music for this game: Arcade Fire, who have done wonders for Montreal by improving the hideous shadow cast by Celine Dion.

Last Game for Montreal: L 0-2

Last Game for Chicago: NONE

Beer for this game: Unibroue – La Fin Du Monde

Language for this game: Parlez vous Francais?

My prediction: I will go with 1-1, which (given their recent record with draws) would be cruelly unfair on the Chicago Fans.

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5:00 PM EDT San Jose V Houston – AT&T Park – Television: Local Only

Wondo: Double "Go" time

It is the annual classic of two teams with the same origin fighting itself for the right to not be referred to each other any longer. Houston will be featuring the “I never want to leave San Jose” Brian Ching after ransoming him back from Montreal by offering an extra-large size of KFC Poutine. San Jose will be featuring Jon Busch and Chris Wondolowski plus a bunch of other guys in and around the defensive third of the field. Houston (how shall we put this) are a physical team capable of making tackles that Chad Ochocinco would only dream about. This game will be for the purist who enjoys prize fights, beta-max copies of Rocky 2, and assembling Ikea furniture without the instructions.

And…I do predict that any traveling Houston fans will not be carrying any flags or drums as they were prohibited from doing so by the MLS front office.

Music for this game: Chuck “Don’t call me Marvin” Berry

Last Game for San Jose: W 1-0

Last Game for Houston: W 1-0

Website for this game: Zombo.com

My prediction: Houston wins 1-0 and there will be at least ONE kerfuffle during the game which will look like people are going to swing at each other but ends in steely eyed stares and people separating.

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8:30PM FC Dallas V Portland – FC Dallas Stadium (NOT Pizza Hut Park) – Television: Local Only

The Portland “we only won twice on the road last year” Timbers go to Frisco, TX to take on a team from Dallas. After the pain in the rain game against the Union, the Timbers are prematurely riding high on their double frame bicycle (parked out in front of Annex bar), while Dallas nervously (in the second half) took down Red Bull and their new attacking mid-fielder Thierry Henry.

To play or not to play...the Achilles is in question

FC Dallas may or may not be missing “Le Coq Sportif” Brekhino Shea as well as David “I like walking boots and I cannot lie” Ferreria for this match. Meanwhile, Portland will be missing Futty Danso, Franck Songo’o (probably), Sal Zizzo, David Horst, mass transportation and good coffee.

As reported by John Strong, Portland were not good last year (on the road) when the temperature was over 85 degrees (0-4-0) and fortunately for them, there is cool-ish weather in the forecast. Dallas, last year, absolutely spanked Portland in Frisco and would be looking to continue the trend, however they will have to contend with an improved offense (Kris Boyd, Alhassan actually scoring) and what appears to be a more congealed defense. Areas of concern to watch for Portland are the left side with Rodney Wallace getting the start there in the last game and Eric Alexander playing in front of him (presumably to cover Rodney’s defense). The Timbers are currently a more right-sided offensive team and it will remain to be seen if they can kick-start their offense from that position in this game.

For Dallas, Blas Perez paid dividends immediately by sliding a great pass in for a score in his first MLS game. Perez is the kind of player that will make you very angry if you are a fan of staying on your feet. However, his talent cannot be denied. It will be interesting to see the Dallas offense if Shea is not available as there will be less of a driving force, particularly on the left.

[RANT] A word here for the front office of Portland… Having an official viewing party on St Pattys Day AT Kells Irish Pub is one of the daftest things I have seen you do recently. Many people would rather avoid the insane lines at the bar, the bro-fest party atmosphere of way too much imbibing, the sticky floors, and the stale smell of the porta-poties that dot the outside of the tented Irish dancing area. Don’t get me wrong here, despite my Norwegian heritage I like me some fiddle, pipe and bodhran music; and I love beer and whiskey (non-green please). However, Kells (at times) can be an absolute nightmare on St Patty’s day… ESPECIALLY when it falls on a weekend. [/Rant]

Music for this game: Tripping Daisy

Last game for Dallas: W 2-1

Last game for Portland: W 3-1

Beer for this game: Austin has the breweries in Texas, to be honest. So instead of suggesting you drink Shiner, I suggest you grab something from Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

My Prediction: 1-1

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8:30PM Sporting KC V New England – Livestrong Sporting Park – Television: Local Only

Oh New England… What to say these days. Seemingly stuck within the certain hell of disinterested ownership they plow forward in an attempt at relevancy in the tough Boston sports market. From 2007 on, it has been a slow slide down the table; but it begs remembering that, at one point, the Revolution were one of the top teams in MLS.

With Benny Feilhaber and Diego Fagundez (DNP in the game) there might be hope in New England, as the Revolution went undefeated in the pre-season. However, a missed-connection by Sharlie Joseph and A.J. Soares cost the Revolution the game against San Jose and Jay Heaps debut as coach went down in defeat. One of the Rev’s biggest problem is the issue of having a forward duo of Fernando Cardenas and Blake Brettschneider which (all due respect to any fantastic professional athlete) doesn’t scare anyone except the person doing the lettering for Brettschneider on the back of the Revolution kit.

Meanwhile in Sporting Kanasas City… Late goals abide with immediate effect as Kansas City grabbed the win off a C.J. Sapong header. It has to be said that Teal Bunbury may return from his call up to the u-23 side to find a tenuous grip on his already tenuous starting place with the first team. For club and country Teal hasn’t exactly been burning up the scene. The “Bobby Convey Experience” had their first album release party on Saturday and I heard they covered a Blind Melon song… (because he is blind in one eye… get it…?) Ok fine… Carrying on…

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It will pay to watch the midfield here as the defense of the Revolution will have their hands full with the attacking 4-3-3/4-5-1 of KC. I would expect KC to dictate the pace of the game and Kei Kamara/Grahm Zusi to make a menace of themselves in and around the back four.

Music for this game: Charlie Parker… What? You don’t like Jazz? TOUGH. Jazz is one of the musical forms of Soccer, where improvisation is paramount, there doesn’t have to be a set flow and (in the case of Bebop) there are staccato punctuations of vagabond excitement interspersed with rhythm.

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MLS: Consider Yourself Challenged: New Season, New Calls

Well, we’re through First Kick weekened and if you had a chance through Direct Kick or MLS Pass to catch a gaggle of game, you heard a generally positive step-up in MLS game calls.

The culmination last night with a well-reheared call from Adrian healy on Kris Boyd’s first MLS Goal:

Healy: “New Country, Same Currency!”

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TSG wants to help out the broadcasters–call us the R&D team–looking to improve their breadth of calls so we’ve started a roll call below for player calls–generally or in concert with “a moment.”

Please add more in the comments–I’m challenging expressely you, Brendan Hannan:

in concert with a certain

Sal Zizzo scores, “Zizzo….and That’s A Spicy Meatball!”

Eric Alexander, Portland or Will Bruin, Dynamo: “Alexander bangs it home. HOOSIER DADDY!”

Dax McCarty scores: “Dax the Facts! 1-0 Red Bulls.”

"C'mon man"

Taylor Twellman flubs a line on ESPN:

“Twellman, who’s had a series of concussions, dusts harke’s helmet on for that one.”

“Think TAYLOR DOT ORG….visit it some time!”

Osvaldo Alsono with a crunching tackle, “File that one under things Xabi doesn’t even do.”

Kenny Cooper, “Super Dooper Cooper puts another through hoopa!”

Landon Donovan scores: “Landy Cakes working on his baker’s dozen.”

Conor Casey, “Is he bald? Is he clean? Do you want to sleep with him? It’s Conor Casey with a pristine finish!” (Swingers)

Thierry Henry misses a sitter: “Henry statuesque on the rebound.”

Fabian Espindola slots home for RSL: “Under the keeper downtown…he put that GOAL AWWAAAY!”

Perry Kitchen with a tackle for DC United, “Can’t stand that heat! You know what to do”

Chris Albright skies one out of bounds, “The Old Man….into the sea.”

Richardo Villar, FC DAllas with a tackle: “Oh Lucy! I’m home!”

Chad Barrett, “Wait, I don’t have anything for Chad Barrett…pause”

Zac Boggs, goal, Revolution, “Chicken DINNER!”

Servando Carrasco misses a sitter, “And you just know that Alex wouldn’t’ve hesitated there.”

Gabriel/Michael Farfan makes a boneheaded play, “Let’s call that….a Danny DeVito.”

Luis Gil beats a man 1-on-1: “As easy as yesterday’s gym class.”

Your move…..

 

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