Archive for April, 2012

Report: Vasco Accused of Slave-Like Football Training

To be sure, this story is one that is not without precedent.

From the AP….

Brazilian club Vasco da Gama has been ordered by a juvenile justice judge to immediately suspend activities at its youth training facilities because an investigation found teenage footballers were living in “slave-like” conditions.

Judge Ivone Ferreira Caetana issued the ruling on Wednesday in response to charges by state prosecutors who have been looking into conditions at the club’s main youth facilities in Sao Januario since 2009.

It was only in February, after a 14-year-old boy died while trying out in Itaguai, a more remote training centre, that investigators even learned of the existence of that facility, which housed dozens of boys aged from 13 to 17.

TSG Brazilian resident, expert, professor Chris Gaffney on the alleged debacle.

The Weekend: Live Commentary

And we begin….

Oh look, Drogba's falling again..

MLS Predictions: Will Sporting KC Use The Timbers To BBQ?

John Nyen proves again it’s not who you know, it’s what you don’t

Encino Man heads' to Nyen's Den this weekend: Burnside

You are sitting at home, watching a movie and that soft talking part comes on the television.

The male or female speaker gently whispers into your ear the dulcet tones of any inane speech, but that soft tone and pattern gives your brain the jollies. You feel a chill run up and down parts of your extremities usually in your brain and spine, and it feels like your cerebral lobes are percolating slowly. This is currently called ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response, a function not fully understood or really even fully named. ASMR is just the common parlance (as The Dude would say) of its time.

Well, this week has some subtle tones, games that are whispering ever delicately into your ear and making the spine tingle just a hitch. Revenge games, historical games, streak games and slobberknockers. And these games are on your television, fully available, fully local as the season starts to spin up into fourth gear.

Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way.

I went 4-5 last week, a marked improvement over the 2-6 drubbing the week before. That takes the record to…

22 – 22

I’m right at the .500 mark and the season now begins in earnest.

As always, All times are east coast, Shea Salinas is out for 8 weeks and Rafa Marquez is out for 3, and be careful with the rainwater and grain alcohol this weekend… they want to steal your precious bodily fluids!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

3:30PM – Toronto FC v Chicago – BMO Field – Television: NBCSN

Pappa needs to play Big Daddy this weekend...

Toronto is really just awful this year, having somehow managed to spit the bit in every MLS game so far this year. Compare that resume to the sparkling CONCACAF Champions League play and you have a discrepancy of a team. With some defensive reinforcements making their comeback soon, Toronto should see an up-tick in their form.

Meanwhile, lightening struck Chicago couldn’t help the weather conditions as they played to a conditions shortened draw against Houston.

Toronto need to find the spark that they had early season in order to start playing up the field without turning the ball over. They need to control their possession through the middle of the field on their counter attacks. The key here for me will be the ability of Toronto to pass to themselves and space rather than Chicago. Meanwhile, Grazini and Pappa need a bit of the same in the midfield for Chicago. They need to have the ability to hold up play, get others into the game and not turn the second half into a midfield track meet. While Chicago probably have the upper hand with Dominic Oduro, Toronto have plenty of guile and pace with Plata. BTW: Did you know that Toronto has a goal differential of -8?

I’ve been predicting this for awhile, but I am going back to it again….

My prediction: Toronto breaks the slide and gets the win. 3-2

Last Game for Toronto: L 0-1

Last Game for Chicago T 1-1

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"TSG, I'm sick of this running Chad Marshall gag."

7:30PM – Columbus v Houston – Crew Stadium – Television: Local Only

Columbus is a bit of a dual-personality team. It makes them exceptionally difficult to predict (at times). Meanwhile, Houston are exactly what we expect of them. They are tough, play good defense, utilize hold up play, they try to lay off from the strikers to the midfield and get others into the attack, and close to the 18 yard box they are going for free kicks. Will Bruin finally scored (although with a whiff of weird keeper play), which should give the Dynamo a boost from the forward position. There is going to be quite a bit of play through the midfield on this one with Columbus dumping their long passes out to the wing into space and Houston trying to get their long passes up to Bruin and Ching up top.

Theoretically, if form follows function, Columbus should win this game going L-W-W-L-L in their last 5. Also, Columbus were pretty hard done by the Union up in Philadelphia as they outplayed them for long stretches of the game.

No problem Chuck...

My Prediction: I think Columbus won’t be able to control Houston like they did at times against Philly, however they will have some attempts on goal. The question is if they have the players to convert said chances. I tend to think that the road warriors, Houston, will grab a win here, as I think the moving parts are better drilled than Columbus currently. Houston 1-0

Last game for Columbus: L 1-0

Last game for Houston: T 1-1

9:00PM – Colorado v Los Angeles – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Television: Local Only

Colorado gave a game performance and still ended up on the wrong side of the stick against SLC. Meanwhile, LA relied on a second half comeback against a team that gives away second half comebacks like a new Start Up IPO gives away stock.

The thing with LA, is that I am still not entirely sold on their performance. They relied on good play, but also some extremely boneheaded defensive lapses by Portland to get back in the game. Their first half was listless again, and relying on Beckham golazos (one that should have been blocked by the “lets cover one guy with two people” LB/CB of the Timbers) is not a formula for success.

I think Colorado has the ability here to pressure LA where it hurts, up the spine. They can hit them in the midfield enough to push back the attack from LA and if the CB’s of LA are occupied it may be Colorado who scores first.

My Prediction: I am going with the home team here. Colorado to win 2-1.

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Live: Barça vs. Chelsea

Line-ups are in. Torres to the pine; Drogba up top. No Pique for Barca.

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Alves and Barca "victorious" in 2009

Yes, today has Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich. Is there a doubt that Mourinho still has the chops to get the Munich into the Champion’s League Final? Not really.

Tomorrow is the main event. Chelsea vs. Barcelona and Dani Alves had this to say in the Guardian about the 2009 semi-final second leg–a 1-1 draw at the death–that saw Barca through to face United in Rome.

“Chelsea did not reach the final because of fear. The team that has got a man more, is playing at home and winning should have attacked us more. But of course, if you don’t have that [attacking] concept of football that Barcelona have, you stay back and you get knocked out. You have to go forward. Stay back: losers. Go forward: winners. I think Chelsea lacked the courage to take a step forward and attack us. They paid for it.”

More from Alves here.

In that match, there were dubious foul calls on both sides with Chelsea dropping to 10 men and Didier Drogba looking to go fisticuffs with the refs at the exit. TSG of course will remember that match for the wonder strike from Michael Essien in what sadly seems as the pinnacle of the Ghanian’s career that thereafter robbed by knee injuries and surgeries.

The Weekend: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC & More

And now onto MLS.

The big one: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City.

The years have been kind...

MLS Week 6 Predictions: Haiku?! God Bless You.

The best restaurant in Portland...that would be Screen Door.

John Nyen has moved back to Portland. Everything is slower. Especially the previews. When you ride a fixie with Toms on.

Ahhh life… wonderful, painful and sometimes quite busy. I managed to watch a fair number of games this week and even attend one.

This week, my pithy analysis will be replaced entirely by Haikus. Almost certainly, I will actually screw up the necessary 5-7-5.

THE RECORD!

I went 2 – 6 again this week, which honestly was expected. However, I took heart from looking at the win percentage and overall picks of those on the MLS website. This is a tough sport to predict.

That pushes my record to…18 – 17 with 4 exactas. Time for a comeback. Time for… revenge.

As always, all times are east coast, all music is subject to taste and all dogs go to heaven or at least a Don Bluth film. Some dogs go to the pound while others simply go out for Italian.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

3:30PM – Philadelphia v Columbus – PPL Park – Television: NBC Sports

All defensive game

Much depends on the midfield

Does Nowak get Fired?

My prediction for the game: Draw 1-1

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Nguyen Dos Santos

4:00PM – New England v D.C. United – Gillette Stadium – Television: Local Only

Rejuvenation here

New England is stout and tough

Which DC will show?

My prediction for the game: Jay Heaps really has done a good job so far molding the Revolution in his image as this dieing ember of a rivalry gets going again. New England play tough, DC tries to play at all. I tend to think this game has a high potential of New England laying an egg at home. DC 2 – 0 Revs

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4:00PM – Seattle v Colorado – CenturyLink Field – Television: Local Only

Identity flux

Rapids must find their road verve

Mullen is getting booed

My prediction for this game: Seattle is winning this one, I would think. Seattle 1 – Colorado 0

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"That's all you got?! C'mon give me your best shot!" -- Dan Kennedy

4:30PM – Toronto FC v Chivas USA – BMO Field – Television: Local Only

Chivas is a stout

team, where Toronto is not

advantage first score

My prediction for this game: Chivas is better than you realize. They are tough, coached well and could be a surprise team causing some havoc at times (when they are playing well) in the West. Meanwhile… Toronto…. er…. I’m going with the Chivas verve just running out here. Toronto to get their win at home. Toronto 3 – Chivas 2

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Balotelli On Twitter, DeMerit Sings Beiber

Why...always...because we love ya!

Worlds are colliding!

George is actually really happy!

First Mario Balotelli joins twitter today.

The, stolen from our friends at the Jay DeMerit Story documentary, Stu nabs DeMerit in the shower singing the Biebs!

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