Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forlan, Bradley to Serie A

Topping the soccer headlines this Wednesday morning...

Uruguayan star Diego Forlan going from Atletico Madrid to Inter.

US midfielder Michael Bradley (son of the former coach) is heading to Chievo Verona from Borussia Moenchengladbach. He is the only American in Serie A.

Clint Dempsey will miss the US v Costa Rica friendly Friday night in Carson, Calif, with back spasms, but is expected to join the team for the game at Belgium next week.

Finally, US/magicjack goalkeeper Hope Solo will be on Dancing With the Stars. Small window of opportunity for these US women to capitalize on the World Cup. Go, Hope!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manchester Celebrates!

The City of Manchester, England is a happy place today! On Sunday, Manchester United crushed Arsenal 8-2 (no, that is NOT a typo...8 to 2, which sounds more like part-time work hours than an EPL score!) and Manchester City beat Tottenham 5-1. Edin Dzeko scored FOUR goals for Man City and Wayne Rooney had a hat-trick for ManU. Arsenal had not given up eight goals in 115 years -- since 1896 -- and the Gunners have just one point through three games, the worst start for the club since 1991. ouch!

Over on this side of the pond, Western NY Flash beat Philadelphia Independence in PKs in the Women's Professional Soccer championship. A crowd of 10,461 was on hand, biggest crowd for a WPS final in the league's three-year history. That is great news. Let's hope MagicJack owner Dan Borislov and the WPS execs can work things out so we have a team close by next season.

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers lost 2-0 to Tampa Bay on Saturday night, and are hanging onto the sixth playoff spot by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. They have two home games coming up -- Sept. 3 vs. Montreal and Sept. 7 vs. league leader Carolina -- and are hoping for big crowds to root them into the playoffs. For tickets, call 954-606-0400 or go to www.strikers.com

What's on your soccer-loving minds as we enter September and the European leagues get going? Share with the group!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MagicJack playoffs, UM vs. UF!

It's a big week for women's soccer in South Florida.

MagicJack, the Boca Raton-based Women's Professional Soccer team, hosts a quarterfinal Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel) against the Boston Breakers at FAU Soccer Stadium. MagicJack is led by Women's World Cup stars Abby Wambach (who doubles as player-coach), goalie Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Shannon Boxx, and 36-year-old mother-of-two Christie Rampone. MagicJack finished third in the six-team league with a 9-7-2 record. Boston finished fourth at 5-9-4.

Solo is recovering from a right shoulder injury, and has been replaced by Jill Loyden.

The winner advances to a semifinal at second-place Philadelphia (11-4-3), and that winner plays first-place Western New York Flash (13-2-3), the team that features Brazilian star Marta, U.S. forward Alex Morgan and Canadian Christine Sinclair.

League attendance has jumped nearly 90 percent since the World Cup. Average attendance before the World Cup was 2,714, and it has been 5,176 since. MagicJack crowds have been between 3,000-4,000. Tickets are available through TicketMaster.

On Friday night, the University of Miami women's team takes on 9th-ranked University of Florida at Cobb Stadium. Anytime the Canes and Gators face off, it's a good time. It will be the UM debut for coach Tom Anagnost, who was hired from Central Michigan University.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marta scores 2 to beat MagicJack

Brazilian star Marta scored two goals to lead the Western New York Flash to a 2-1 win over magicjack at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton Wednesday night. Sophie Schmidt scored for magicjack in the 71st minute with an assist by US World Cup player Christie Rampone. The Flash leads the league with a 12-2-3 record. Magicjack is 8-7-2. Both have clinched playoff spots. MagicJack is home again Sunday at 4 p.m. against Philadelphia.

Klinsmann era has begun...

So, what do you think of the Klinsmann era after one game? Here's what I think...

The U.S. looked disorganized and a step slow the first half against Mexico, and was lucky to be trailing just 1-0. Edson Buddle, the lone striker, didn't get the ball much, and nothing seemed to be clicking. Second half -- particularly the final 30 minutes -- things changed. It all got going when subs Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea entered the game. They jump-started the Americans. Agudelo is aggressive, and unafraid, and a very promising forward who made some nice runs and passes. Brek Shea was a terrific add (despite his '80s hairdo). His beautiful cross in the 73rd minute is the reason Robbie Rogers had such an easy tap-in to tie the score 1-1. Shea also had a nice shot in the 83rd minute that could have been the game winner had the Mexican goalie not made a save. Rogers also brought energy to the US offense, and he appeared to be sprinting toward a second goal when Torrado dragged him down by the shirt (a red card in a regular game, but not in a friendly).

Landon Donovan remains the best US player on the field. Smart, fast, opportunistic, great passer.

What I liked most of all is that Klinsmann SMILED! A lot. He seemed loose and after the game said he "Had fun'' in his debut. A coach having FUN? Is that legal? Klinsmann is known for his enthusiasm, positive attitude and infectious energy, and we got a glimpse of it last night. He has accomplished nothing yet. A 1-1 friendly with Mexico means very little. There's a long road ahead for the US as it heads into World Cup qualifying next summer. But, if those final 20 minutes are an indication, I am optimistic. You?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Real Madrid signs 7-year-old! Bradley to Egypt?

Hey there Soccer-holics. Just getting back from vacation.

In case you missed it, here is my Sunday column addressing Miami's MLS hopes and new US coach Jurgen (no umlaut anymore) Klinsmann. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know. Would love to get more conversation going on this blog. Don't be afraid. Jump right in. Just keep it clean and respectful.

In other news, soccer matches all over London have been canceled today due to rioting. Very, very sad. London -- one of the great cities of the world -- is burning. Hope it stops soon.

Also read today that Real Madrid signed a 7-year-old! No, I'm not kidding. A 7-year-old Argentine kid signed with Real Madrid today. And his nickname is...Leo!  Read all about him here!

Finally, word is that former US coach Bob Bradley is in talks with Egypt about becoming their coach. Good man. Wish him well wherever he lands.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Chivas stuns Barca 4-1!!

Hi from Sun Life Stadium..place is rocking! Crowd of 70,080 is largest for soccer match in state history! Heavy traffic getting here. A sea of Barca jerseys in the stands (mostly Messi's No. 10)

Barca's starting 11: Pinto, Piqué, Thiago, Xavi, Villa, Keita, Dos Santos, Abidal, Fontàs, Carmona, Cuenca

Chivas starting 11: Michel, DeLuna, Reynoso, Araujo, Esparza, Fabian, Arellano, Medina, Ponce, Baez, Mejia

National anthem. Fireworks! Here we go...

 Chivas nearly takes lead in second minute, but Barca defender Abidal clears it off line in time.

David Villa GOOOAL! fourth minute. Barca 1, Chivas 0.

Halftime: Barca 1, Chivas 0.

Second half: Xavi, Villa, Pique out. Iniesta, Pedro, Busquets in.

60th minute, Chivas SCORES! Golazo by Marco Fabian, into upper left corner to tie the score 1-1.

63rd minute. WOW! Fabian finds back of net again, this one on a gorgeous scissor kick to give Chivas 2-1 lead. Crowd, stunned, begins to chant "Barca!"

72nd minute. Chivas strikes again! Giovanni Casillaas scores to make it 3-1.

And the Mexican team isn't done yet...Jose Luis Verduzco scores in extra time and it's 4-1 Chivas over Barca. Crowd -- and Barca bench -- are stunned. Exhibition, yes. But nobody expected this score.

Thoughts?