Archive for July, 2012

TSG’s Serie A Expert Giddy About the Romans in Boston’s Hallowed Coliseum

Two old-timers meet: Roma & Fenway that is…

TSG’s Serie A expert Eric Giardini takes in his beloved AS Roma in Beantown

Way back in March when it was announced that Roma and Liverpool were playing a friendly in Boston at iconic Fenway Park I knew there was no way I was going to miss it. Absolutely no way. Tickets were purchased as soon as they went on sale for Wednesday’s match and airfare from DC to Boston shortly followed.

“Great,” I thought. “It’s a 6:30p match so I can take a half day at work, fly to Boston, then catch a 6:00a flight back the next morning and make it back to the office to begin the work day.”

Unfortunately, this plan had its obvious flaws–which I felt the following day–and to make matters worse I was juggling deadlines at work and planning a cross-country move to occur only two weeks later. Do I have your sympathy? Needless to say, the timing wasn’t ideal but there was no way I was missing this match.

The Romanista…

I arrived in Boston about 4 hours before the match started and checked into my hotel, grabbed a quick cup of coffee, and made my way down to Fenway.

It was a gorgeous day in Boston.

Thankfully the weather that day was sunny and in the low 80s – perfect for watching soccer. Based on the number of Liverpool shirts I saw while making my way to the stadium I had a feeling that I, in my Totti shirt, was going to be part of the minority crowd at the game.

It wasn’t until I got to the corner of Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street outside of Fenway did I realize just how many Liverpool supporters were going to be there. Greeting visitors outside of Fenway as you made your way down Yawkey Way to the Red Sox Team Store and vendors selling commemorative items for the “Boston Derby” or “Football at Fenway”, there was a replica of the “You’ll Never Walk Alone” archway where scores of supporters were getting their picture taken in front of. There was also the “Warrior Zone” (sponsored by Warrior, the new uniform maker for Liverpool) which I didn’t venture to so I couldn’t tell you what was there. The bars on Yawkey Way and Landsdowne Street all had signs welcoming Liverpool fans. (To be honest, none of this was surprising given the ownership between the Red Sox and Liverpool.)

After walking past all of this, I managed to find a spot where I could grab a seat at the bar and talk to both Liverpool and Roma fans. I even talked to a couple of guys who had no rooting interest in the game but realized that having a soccer game at Fenway was “a pretty cool thing that doesn’t happen every day” and was coming purely for the show.

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The Weekend: Live Commentary

Can Colorado get off the snide? They’ve got a Seattle team needing to start out strong here in the 2nd half.

“The Count” looks to disrupt Seattle’s go-go-go attack…

“Can You Play?” Don’t Leave It Up To Us!

Editor’s note: The following piece was originally published in November of 2010. In light of the allegation about Peter Nowak and the Union perhaps risking the health of players, TSG republishes it here today.

This is a guest post by Fox Soccer host and former USMNT player Kyle MartinoVisit Kyle’s new web site here.

Martino: The on-field celebrations are few and far between when you’re on the training table.

Every professional athlete has been there,from the David Beckhams to the Devin Barclays (look him up).

You go down on the field, in training, or–for the unlucky ones–while taking that midnight trip to the bathroom.

Before you know it, you’re injured­­­­­ (different from hurt) and the trainer gives his prognosis on how long you will be out of commission. The clock starts then; and so begins the work on getting yourself back, getting yourself “fit” again. The worst part about being injured (and I cant remember a time when I wasn’t), save from missing games, is that you work ten times harder when you are injured than when you are healthy.

You spend an hour before and after training meeting with the trainer and rehabbing, all the while getting ridiculed by teammates: “Look who’s on the table again!” “You ever going to play again, or are you working in the front office now?”

You leave the field lugging that heavy Game Ready ice machine so that when you get home you can attach it to yourself while watching Curb Your Enthusiasm or Arrested Development reruns.

Not an hour goes by during the day when you are not doing some form of rehab; whatever it takes to get you back in time.

I have seen guys try it all: acupuncture, chiropractors, holistic medicine, even meditation. The longer you are out the more desperate you are to find a way–any way–back onto the field. Being away from the team and away from the game begins to fill you with insecurities and doubts you never knew existed while you were playing.

“Is the guy playing my position playing better than I did? Is the team better off without me? Has the coach stopped talking to me, or is he forgetting about me? Am I getting fat?”(The latter obviously was no concern of mine.)

Martino: A rare playing day….

You torment and torture yourself with these thoughts and frustrations because one thing is true of every great athlete I have ever known: they are only truly happy when they are playing. We long so much for the happiness of being in between those lines that we can trick ourselves into believing we are healthier than we are. So, during that vulnerable time, a time where we would give anything to just be instantly healthy, the coach makes the biggest mistake you can make with a professional athlete. He asks these three seemingly innocent words: “Can you play?”

I can remember the time those three words changed my soccer life forever. I was playing for the U.S. Team in the 2003 Confederations Cup. It was my first major tournament with the U.S. Team.  There were expectations of me to be “The Next American Playmaker,” and so far I had not lived up to any of the hype.

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USA 4, France 2: Don’t Call It A Comeback

In the end, it still was celebratory…

Maura Gladys drops science on the USWNT Olympic opener

Don’t call it a comeback. The United States 4-2 victory over France was a comeback in a numeric sense only. The U.S. didn’t rally, or swing momentum or shift fortunes or fight back. It answered two goals with four goals.

The match was a string of mistakes by individuals and groups, not waves of undulating momentum. It was not a true comeback. And that says a lot about how strong the United States is, physically and mentally. They went down 2-0 within the first 15 minutes, but it never felt like they were truly trailing.

That first 20 minutes was a little tough to process as it happened, with three straight jaw-droppers coming right in a row.

1. Amy LePeilbet misplays a header directly back to Gaëtane Thiney, who takes a few touches under no pressure and fires a cracker to the upper right corner to put France up 1-0.

2. Two minutes later, the ball bounces around inside the U.S. penalty box, which has six U.S. players inside it, and falls to Marie-Laure Delie who blasts a point blank shot at a helpless Hope Solo to give France a 2-0 lead.

3. Three minutes later, Shannon Boxx goes down with an injury and needs to be subbed out for Carli Lloyd, a former bona-fide star who has been relegated to the bench. (WAIT before jumping on me for this one.)

Boxx-ed out!

Just 17 minutes in and the U.S. was down two goals and had lost a sub. It had the perfect makings of a monumental comeback with a long, hard-fought battle where the U.S.  slowly clawed their way back from defeat.

But before anyone could even start to wax poetic about the epic task the team had in front of it, Abby Wambach sliced the lead in half with a trademark header into the net, as if to send the message, “We are still the better team.”

2-1. Game on.

On the way to all smiles. (Hate the nickname Baby Horse…..)

Then came the Alex Morgan equalizer 10 minutes later, a perfectly timed ball by Hope Solo that was perfectly read by Morgan who maneuvered right where the ball would land and knocked it in.

At 2-2, the only question left was who would score the winning goal for the U.S. and how many would they score after that.

In the 56th minute, Carli Lloyd won the game with a smashing shot from outside the box that was set up by a brilliant ball from Rapinoe, followed by a true teamwork goal between Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Abby Wambach and Morgan. Rapinoe again played a beautiful ball to Heath down the win, who charged at goal and slid a ball across the goal mouth at the last minute, as Wambach crashed the keeper leaving Morgan wide open for the tap in.

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Going Live: The MLS All-Stars vs. Chelsea; Roma vs. Liverpool

DeRosario, the difference maker last time versus the Blues….

Massive Wednesday of soccer upon us, though it will hardly be pressure-packed contests.

The appetizer so to speak: Liverpool vs. Roma up in Beanville

The main event: The MLS All-Stars vs. Chelsea down in Libertyland.

Thought we would just provide a catch-all posts with some fodder for discussion to-and-through the matches.

» MLS released it’s list of “in-active” All-Stars — those selected as All-Stars who weren’t brought in to play in the affair.

….and the list is quite shocking. It is.

G: Jon Busch (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEF: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Jámison Olave (Real Salt Lake)

MID: Marvin Chávez (San Jose Earthquakes),  Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City), Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

FWD: Fabián Espíndola (Real Salt Lake), Kei Kamara (Sporting Kansas City), Kenny Cooper (New York Red Bulls), Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC)

Jon Busch over Andy Gruenebaum? Um, no. Fredy Montero, but no Saer Sene? Disagree. Brek Shea over Dax McCarty? I think not. And…Brek Shea? .. Where’s Victor Bernardez? That’s disrespectful.

» Sticking with San Jose, it bears watching how Steven Lenhart’s progress from a concussion goes. Alan Gordon has been every bit as good or better then Lenhart at target striker, but San Jose needs both to remain fresh to continue to dominate on the attacking end.

» Most important to the performance of their team in the second half? David Ferreira, Freddy Adu, Tim Cahill or….

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Olympics Live: USWNT vs. France

Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and the Lady Hipsters are now underway in Glasgow versus the Frenchies.

Our USWNT Olympic preview here.

Lots of different looks created by Heath…

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