Archive for July, 2012

Bracket-matics: Street Soccer USA’s 2012 NYC Cup (& Win A Signed Dempsey Jersey)

This week, Street Soccer USA’s NYC Cup competition hits the Big Apple!

Street Soccer USA is designed to assist men, women, and youth of all ages who lack permanent housing. The SSUSA model brings builds relationships of trust through the constant supportive community of the team.

75% of players will move off the street within a year of joining the program.

That, dear friends, is the beautiful game truly in action.

Thursday! Yes, this Thursday the 2012 NYC Cup kicks off where teams from all over the United States will vie for the right to hoist the Street Soccer USA Cup Leonis Trophy.

And you, TSG reader, will vie for the rights to own an autographed Clint Dempsey jersey by picking the winner(s).

It’s bracket time…and it’s really simple.

HERE’s WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

» Pick the top two teams in each group. (1pt each)
» Pick the two teams that will compete for the title (3pts each) meaning select the right order
» Pick the winner (5pts each)
» Pick the final score (3pts each)

SOME MINOR INSIGHTS:

* There are number of team profiles hanging around the Internet. Go find ‘em.
* A little birdie has imparted this knowledge:

Minneapolis won last year-they are only 2 time winner. SF won once, finals twice and 3rd place in 2011. Montgomery County has 2 finals appearances, and 1 3rd place finish. FYI

* A major player is out

* Be lucky.

Win and the Deuce is loose…on your back!

HOW DO I ENTER:

• Merely add your picks in the comments section below. Only entries that are filled out in the correct format will be accepted (see below).

(One entry per person please; honor code.)

• TSG will score all the entries at the end of the contest

• In the event of a tie, there will be a blind Clint Dempsey trivia question.

Thank you, Modelo Especial graciously providing the prize.

Take a read of their contest below!

Stylin’

 

(CHICAGO) July 2012 – Modelo Especial, the number three imported beer in the U.S., has teamed up with international soccer stars Clint Dempsey and Gerardo Torrado to give 10 lucky winners and a guest the chance to participate in a fantasy soccer camp experience in New York City. Partnering with Sports Illustrated, this national sweepstakes is part of Modelo Unido, a community created by Modelo Especial to unite soccer fans over their shared passions for soccer and beer.

From now through July 31, fans 21 and older can visit Modelo Especial’s Facebook page daily to register for a chance to win one of 10 round trips for two to participate in a fantasy soccer clinic alongside Dempsey of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Torrado of the Mexican National Team and Grant Wahl, senior sports writer for Sports Illustrated.* Off the field, the winners will have the chance to enjoy a few cold Modelo Especial beers with the star athletes. In addition to the trip hosted by Sports Illustrated, fans will also win signed Dempsey and Torrado Modelo Unido soccer jerseys.

And the Deuce is loose on your back

Here are the groups!

GROUP A

DC
Charlotte
Sacramento
Philadelphia
Ann Arbor
Minneapolis
Montgomery County
St Louis

Group B

New York
Los Angeles
Tulsa
Fort Worth
San Francisco
Seattle
Richmond
Chicago
Dallas

EXAMPLE ENTRY:

Name:  Curt Onalfo, Carson, California

Entry:

Group A: (1) Charlotte (2) Sacramento

Group (B): (1) New York (2) Los Angeles

Final: Charlotte vs. New York

Score: 7-6

TSG’s USWNT Olympic Primer, Double A Battery Included

So many ways to score…so little time….

Welcome back Maura Gladys. We missed your USWNT coverage.

No one knows when the exact moment occurred. We don’t know if it was a instant of enlightenment at a day of training, a late-night soul-searching session or the second that Japan lifted the trophy at the Women’s World Cup last summer.

But at some point in the last year, Pia Sundhage made the conscious decision to start both Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, and that was the moment that determined the outcome of this summer’s Olympic Games women’s soccer tournament.

Because of that pairing, along with several other tactical shifts and decisions, the United States is rolling on all cylinders and is poised to defend their Olympic gold medal.

Unlike the men’s tournament, which is essentially a U-23 tournament, the women bring their strongest squads and the stakes are just as high as the World Cup.

With the U.S. playing at their current level, they are the odds-on favorite to defeat the likes of Brazil, Japan and France to claim their third gold medal in as many Games.

The move to put Morgan and Wambach together up top is huge in that endeavor.

The two play beautifully together, with Wambach still operating largely in her target striker role and Morgan using her speed, balance and vision to sneak behind defenses and create opportunities for herself and Wambach. It’s what “we” were begging for from Pia a year ago. Add in Sydney Leroux a lightning-quick super sub (a role Morgan donned in apprenticeship last year), and the forward position is completely stacked and more than equipped to take on any defense in the world.

Now, the other key moments that have and-or will, define the U.S. women’s road to gold.

January 20th, 2012, USA vs. Dominican Republic, 43rd minute:

Youch!

As soon as Ali Krieger crumpled to the turf of B.C. Place in the middle of the United States’ 14-0 rout of Dominican Republic, the U.S.’ defense changed drastically, and not for the better.

Krieger was arguably the best right back in the world and the bright spot on a usually sputtering defense.

Krieger tore her ACL and MCL in her right knee, sidelining her for the Games and forcing Sundhage to accelerate her experiment of converted forward Kelly O’Hara at left back, and switch Amy LePeilbet, a converted center back who had been playing on the left, over to the right. Instead of easing into a defensive role in preparation for Christie Rampone’s retirement and subsequent need for more depth, O’Hara was essentially handed a starter’s role and forced to learn on the fly.

And she’s done fine.

Continue reading

The Tree Has Fallen In The Forest, Timbers’ Fans Hear It & The Sound Is Deafening…

Portland & Gavin: Looking back at what could have been?

This piece by John Nyen written *prior* to the Timbers 5-0 FC Dallas debacle.

In the front room of a schoolhouse for survival training, Gavin Wilkinson gives master classes.

Somehow, one way or another, Wilkinson remains a sole surviving and thriving link between the re-incarnated Timbers of 2001 and the modern MLS Timbers of today.

Quite possibly he remains because of his ability to sideswipe criticism, perhaps it is his intensity, or perhaps it is his friendship in the right circles. However, given the issues involved with the Timbers this year it becomes important to the Portland Timber’s Ramiro Corrales–a Timbers Original.

Coming over from Kilkenny City in 2001, Gavin Wilkinson started a now 11-year career with the Portland Timbers, first playing 124 games in the back four for Portland and then as an assistant manager and then manager for the Timbers in the lower divisions.

Renowned as a fierce competitor, Wilkinson has always had a penchant for not exactly being an “easy guy to know”. The former captain of the Timbers, Ian Joy, wrote a column for Prost Amerika saying about Wilkinson, “my former coach and someone who I thought I knew very well but found out in the end I knew nothing about.”

That phrase could be interpreted many different ways, but the discussions and conversations among players about Wilkinson’s reign with the Timbers has always been couched in similar Joy-like terms: “An extremely aggressive man who himself is very passionate about winning at all costs.”

Wilkinson is not without bestowed honors, and nor is he without success.

Did he as manager oversee a 25 game winning streak in 2009? Yes. Did he flame out of the playoffs every time he got the team there? Yes.

Did Wilkinson achieve success at different points in the USL? Yes Was that success with a lineup stocked with former MLS castoffs and also rans that happened to be a step above the competition in the USL? Also yes.

You can’t necessarily give Wilkinson grief for succeeding with talent when given the opportunity, but the contradiction to where the Timbers sit now with that notion is that Wilksonson wasn’t going to have the upper hand in procuring talent for a MLS team as he did previously in USL days.

Wilikinson was appointed General Manager in 2006, appointed technical director of the MLS Timbers at the beginning of 2010.

The close of the 2010 season saw the Timbers finishing 3rd, getting knocked out of the USL playoffs in the quarterfinals by the Vancouver Whitecaps and knocked out of the Open Cup in an epic match with the Seattle Sounders. Upon completion, Gavin hung up the clipboard and redefined his position solely as the general manager and technical director.

He left the sidelines with a sugar-coated 50-29-39 record and two coach of the year awards. From the outside it appears that this was someone the fans should revere, but Wilkinson has never had a rapport with the Timbers Army or the greater Timber fan.

That’s not a necessity, but it helps especially after the sour knacks of falling apart in the playoffs and playing with tactics that would be considered old school in Scotland. Combine that with a record against teams in the USL ranks that were so under supported and funded that they don’t even exist anymore (see California Victory) and the veneer starts to etch.

Now, by proxy,  his time as General Manager for the MLS Timbers is fairly up for debate.

The Timbers fan: Defiant in the face of adversity…

As much as John Spencer made mistakes, had multiple verbal and logic gaffes, and seemingly drove fans crazy with player selection and favoritism, he was still squeezing wins from a roster whose components don’t exactly fit together like Voltron.

The Portland Timbers are team of tweeners and less talented value pickups. Their problems (and to a certain extent Spencer’s problem) resulted from a lack of talent at necessary positions combined with mental and system mistakes. The biggest problems come from the acquisition of players that seemingly aren’t simply good enough at their position in MLS. Looking at this from the outside perspective, one could easily say that “the Timbers are an expansion team that just need more time”.

However this ignores the simple fact that some of the Timbers problems would be fixed had they simply not gotten rid of the talent that they already had on their team.

Continue reading

Tim Cahill About To Run With the Red Bulls

Bit of a personal note here.

Tim Cahill was very much the reason that Everton FC is a frequent watch at TSG headquarters. The now 32-year-old who joined the Toffees in 2004 epitomizes the club.

In his younger days, he had the perfect concoction of two parts lunchpail, one part creativity that made him perhaps one of the most complete squad players anywhere in the Prem.

Now? Headed to the New York Red Bulls of MLS. Will he be a DP? Who goes? And does this seal Tim Howard’s arrival back in the former land of the Metrostars in three years time?

The Weekend: Live Commentary

Hassli is the latest….who’s next? (The Whitecaps mercurial forward dealt to surging Toronto FC for a draft pick Friday).

How about that statement of intent from Toronto FC to immediate bring in supplies once Koevermans went down?

Adrift at sea, Mariner secures Hassli.

Two must-read pieces on the week:

» Will Parchman with an exquisite review of Chris Wondolowski and his scoring efforts against RSL.

» The Sporting News’ Brian Straus takes the time to set up his question in this interview with Don Garber

 

 

Report: Geoff Cameron Fee Agreed

Cameron on the go

Reports out of London suggest Cameron to Stoke City is getting done today for $2.5m (£1.6m).

This seems about right as two other centerbacks were brought into the Premiership with arguably better resumes: Adrian Mariappa (Watford to Reading, £2.5m) and Jose Manuel Flores (Genoa to Swansea, £2m).

Good on you Cameron.

 

 

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