3.31.2010

Sounders Weekly is Back! And with Pete Carroll to Boot!



You can catch a glimpse of former USC/current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at the head of this clip from SoundersFC.com. I caught a glimpse of him at Thursday's game at Qwest Field --which he loved-- and I'll pose the same question to you that I posed to myself when I saw him: is he related to Richard Gere? Kinda looks like he could be, right?

The Fredy Montero Mixtape



Not a lot of MLS players warrant a mixtape after a single season, but when you are Fredy Montero you kind of have it like that. Get your fix of diminutive Colombian finishing right here. Just press play.

Retro Video: Top 10 Goals of '98

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Remember 1998? Clinton was getting buck wild in the White House, Saving Private Ryan ruled the box office and people were actually still messing with Funkdoobiest. As for me I was in college, somehow living on only $12K a year and conducting my earliest experiments with whiskey & Shiner Bock. My goals at the time were to A) get a job in the music industry, B) retain my girlfriend and C) graduate...sometime.

In MLS the goals were a little different. They involved some really hairy players, some ridiculous strikes and balls*. Here's the best of the Lewinsky era courtesy of MLSsoccer.com.

*I had a goal that involved balls but it's not fit for print, mixed company or the eyes of the innocent.

Zidane x LA Galaxy 2005



There is no reason to post this other than it serves as an awesome reminder of the bad-assitude of Zinedine Zidane. In 2005, at the height of Galacticos Mania, Real Madrid came to the Home Depot Center to play an exhibition match against the Galaxy when David Beckham was just a twinkle in Tim Leiweke's eye. Zidane put on a show that, at the time, I was only impressed with. Looking back now though I'm completely blown away.

The video quality isn't the greatest, but Zizzou's skillful display damn near is. If you never saw this match or your memory is fuzzy watch the Zidane-only highlights above; the man was incredible.

3.30.2010

Video: TFCtv



TFC has a pretty slick weekly web show. That really is all I have to say about it other than you should watch it.

Video: Wale Drops by D.C. United Training



As mentioned a while back, D.C. rapper Wale will be performing a free show outside of RFK Stadium ahead of United's home opener April 3 as part of the It Takes More Concert Series. Last week the Justice-sampling MC stopped by United's practice and talked go-go music, sports and the affinity that females have for soccer players. He also hit a ball to the upper 90 but don't expect to see him suiting up for the home side anytime soon. Dude can rhyme but I don't know if he can run. And judging by the video he sure as hell can't juggle.

Tony Parker Says Henry Wants To Come to NY

TheFrench

Brace yourself folks. The Soccer-Basketball Mutual Appreciation Society™ has joined the MLS transfer rumor circuit with Tony Parker, France's leading hoops export, commenting that Thierry Henry, one of France's leading footballing exports, will "definitely" play in New York.

The lucky S.O.B. who is married to hot-as-all-hell Eva Longoria and is, like, bezzie, bezzie mates with Handball Henry told Stefan Bondy last night that "he definitely wants to finish his career here.” So there you go...everyblogger* has just been scooped on potentially the biggest signing in MLS this year by a cotdamn point guard.

*not a real word.

NSR: Glasvegas "Go Square Go"



I put the Glasvegas album down for a while but recently picked it back up again. I wasn't a huge fan of "Go Square Go" when the album first came out but after not having heard it in about 9 months I'm kinda of stuck on it. And as the video above (which begins at the :12 mark and features a few F-bombs) will attest, the live version just slays. And yes, I do have a thing for miserable British people in black.

Dynamo to Play at Whataburger Field

Taquitos

Don't worry. It's not what you think. I won't say anything about playing soccer in a baseball field out of respect for my brethren in K.C. However....there is something just wrong about having rocking chair seating behind the goal. Who's going to sit there? The Del Boca Vista Supporters Club? Whatever though...as long as they have potato, egg and cheese taquitos in the house I'm good.

MLS Final Kick: Week 1



Maybe it's just the post-CBA resolution glow but for my money last week had the best First Kick goals that I can recall. From Omar Cummings' sick turn-and-shoot joint to the smooth build up by Seattle for Brad Evans goal, it was all awesome all the time. And don't even get me started on the Kansas City Wizards Show or Real Salt Lake's Bangerfest2010.

Dare I say it but the bar might have been set too high. Hopefully it doesn't come to this but if Week Two yields one garbage goal I'm going to end up calling my shrink on a Sunday and drinking Jack from the bottle in a low-lit dining room while the sounds of Mark Lanegan & The Soulsavers drown out the cries of my disappointed soul.

Kicking It With Brian Ching: Riot on an Empty Pitch Edition



How slow to leave the field do you have to be for the ref to call in a riot squad to get you to leave? Tony Stahl's walk of shame from Qwest Field on Thursday was pretty long but at no point did I think Ricardo Salazar would send in a band of pepper spray and truncheon-wielding coppers with shields.

Now don't get me wrong here, I think that when the ref says "go" you need to move your ass but the police action is just a bit much. You've got to start with The Sandman and escalate from there; never go nuclear right out of the box.

3.29.2010

Villains: Who Do You Hate?



No matter what league or sport you follow, everybody hates somebody. There is always that one player, that one team that makes you want to scream like the long-haired dude out of Underoath. This past weekend I hit the streets and soccer-specific stadia of New Jersey to find out who a few Section 8ers and ESC members hate. Fans of Ben Olsen, you have been warned.

The Librarian: Chasing The Game

Chasing

On April 26th Filip Bondy, one of NYC's more solid soccer writers, drops his third book, Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup. It's now available for pre-order via Amazon and I would highly encourage you to do so as I think we fans/fiends should support the guys/pushers who provide us with our fix on the regular.

From the Da Capo Press product description:

The U.S. men’s soccer team was a huge disappointment at the World Cup in 2006, but a newly constituted team exceeded all expectations in June 2009 with their inspired play at the Confederations Cup in South Africa—where they upset the number one team in the world, Spain, and lost late in the championship game to a supremely talented Brazilian squad. Their impressive showing gave fans, including the ever-loyal Sam’s Army, a renewed sense of hope that when the team plays up to its capabilities, the Americans can compete with anyone in the world.

In Chasing the Game, Filip Bondy describes the U.S. team’s path to qualifying for this year’s World Cup—to be held on the African continent for the first time ever, in South Africa in June 2010. Bondy also reveals the back-and-forth saga that resulted in the hiring of Bob Bradley as the American coach, and serves up engaging profiles of several core players, including the U.S. national team’s all-time leader in scoring and assists, Landon Donovan, acrobatic goalie Tim Howard, hip-hop devotee and opportunistic goal-scorer Clint “Deuce” Dempsey, up-and-comer Jozy Altidore, and the coach’s son, the reticent yet dependable Michael Bradley.

Chasing the Game also recounts the glorious highlights of past World Cup matches, like the U.S. men’s team’s stunning 1–0 victory over England in 1950 and the 2002 team’s advance to the quarterfinals, as well as heartbreaks like the fiasco in 2006, when the U.S. mustered only four shots on goal in three games. Finally, Bondy also traces the origin of soccer and the evolution of the game in the U.S., chronicling how soccer academies like the one in Bradenton, Florida, have impacted the game at both the youth and national levels. It’s all here for the first time in one book—the complete story of American soccer on the global stage.

Five Burning Questions



The MLS season has returned and once again ESPN's Five Burning Questions has come along for the ride. This week Johnny Harkes & JP Dellacamera tackle the issues of the day without soul (unlike What Up With That?) from Red Bull Arena. Get it before it's gone.

2004 Galaxy Forwards Strike Again!



So check this out. Puebla knocked down Mexican league big boys Club America over the weekend and it was two former LA Galaxy strikers that delivered the one-two punch. The first one came from Carlos "I'm crazy" Ruiz. The second came from Herculez "I have a better than 50% strike rate in a pretty decent league at a time when productive American strikers are as rare as albino wallabies and I still won't get a call up due to bad timing" Gomez. Why aren't these guys playing in MLS again?

3.28.2010

Viva Futbol #51



Being that it's the Monday morning after First Kick I figure we all need a little bit of pick-me-up. Coffee tastes horrible and speed is illegal (I think) so I'm coming with the mixtape heat. If this doesn't wake you up you are as dead as 50 Cent's career.

The Baddest Man in MLS, Today Javi Morales

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The last time we saw Javi Morales he was a tearful mess being helped off of Qwest Field with an injured leg during MLS Cup 2009. Well, apparently having a few months to stew about missing out on most of a championship-winning match has an effect similar to gamma rays on The Hulk. The kid came out strong yesterday against San Jose, dropping a pair of golazo's and one unbelievably ridiculous assist on Joe Cannon & co. For his efforts, Javi Morales is The Baddest Man in MLS, Today.

The Thing About Week 1...

Real Winners

The thing that was awesome about Week One was that it happened. Period. When you think about where we, the American soccer fan, were at mentally just 10 days ago compared to where we are at now it's like we're all Sybil. Sporting mood swings like the one we just went through -from doom & gloom to "the morning after" glow- are no fun and thank God they don't happen often. But we got through it, there were matches this weekend and everything is right in the soccer-specific world.

Well not everything. D.C. United were beaten up pretty bad by the Wizards and their young British import Ryan Smith, who had a goal and an assist in his MLS debut. Seriously, who was that team dressed as D.C. United? The 2009 Red Bulls? Whoever the hell it was they didn't play anything like the D.C. United we all know nor did the Fred, Emilio, Gomez and Olsen-less lineup look anything like D.C. United.

Speaking of Ryan Smith and Red Bull New York, who had a better start to their MLS career? The Englishman or RBNY's Joel Lindere, both goal scorers this weekend? I'd call it a draw because although Smith has an assist over Lindpere, he was subbed out with an as yet to be diagnosed injury.

And judging from a few apologetic, early morning Facebook status updates, things didn't go too well for Joey Cannon in San Jose. Just let those feelings out cousin, let 'em out. Joining him on the MLS Real Talk Express was Union skipper & reformed communist Piotr Nowak, who questioned Freddie Ljungberg's honesty, and former FC Dallas winger Dave van den Bergh, who questioned the morals of some people in the club's organization.

Yes, the game is back with new players, new drama and new beef. I love it. It's like a new year of high school except that no one has to go to Shop class against their will. Can't wait until next week.

3.27.2010

Video: Marching to Matches is the New Black



Marching. Everybody's doing it and in this clip "everybody" includes luchadores, a man in a goat costume, a pep squad, a marching band, and men, women, children of all stripes. This ladies and gents is s occer in America: a parade of passion in a sometimes peculiar package.

3.26.2010

Last Night's Party

Special

It's over. Seattle made a meal of Philly last night and start their season with a 2-0 victory. At times, they moved the ball with utmost grace while the Union played a brand of soccer so bruising that they might change the name of the city they represent to Physidelphia.

There was rain. There were women. There were cards of all colors. There was loud, vocal support for both the home side and the visitors. And most importantly there was soccer, something that we weren't too sure we would see just a week ago.

So while you guys bask in the afterglow of last night's party, I'll be traveling back east from Starbucks City. Needless to say I won't be posting much this morning/afternoon but my boys will have plenty for you to take in. See you tonight for Chivas USA v. Colorado Rapids.

3.25.2010

First Kick 2010: Pre-Game Fan Predictions



Just got into the press box from walking the streets to get the people's opinion on tonight's game. The fans I talked to all have our own guesses as to what we think tonight's outcome will be and they vary wildly from draw to blowout. The only thing constant is that they all think their team is going to win.

Bar Crawling with a No Good Bunch of S.O.Bs



Don't be alarmed but I am blogging in my bath robe right now. I do have socks on though so I'm sure not to catch cold. In addition to being chained to the Mac so far this morning I am dragging a little due to a number of nocturnal adventures that occurred roughly 12-16 hours ago.

Last night I rode shotgun with the Son's of Ben as they embarked on their maiden pre-game night bar crawl. Between that and my own excursion the night involved more bars than a life sentence. How was it? Good times. The Philly crew seem like a good bunch of guys and they didn't give me nearly as much stick as I was expecting for being a New York fan. Don't they know that they are supposed to be hater-assed haters?!

Ebbetts Field Flannel x Soccer



One of the coolest places I've seen in Seattle is Ebbets Field Flannels. Located only a few blocks from Qwest Field, they specialize in all manner of uber-fine throwback sports apparel. Walking past the shop last night I spied these amazing (& ancient) Celtic, Santos and Sounders kits in the window.

The prize though was the 1950 U.S. kit. So sold. I may have to make a return trip to pick this baby up as it's just too awesome to leave town without. Sadly, I don't think it'll get much wear during this year's World Cup; flannel is not a good July look.

I Owe K.C. An Apology



Kansas City I come to you hat in hand today. The other day when I said y'all weren't "street official"? I have to take that back because Michael Harrington should see about replacing Rahzel in The Roots when this whole soccer thing is over for him. Or at the very least putting on a few hundred pounds to replace Buff Love in a Fat Boys reunion tour. Kid's got skills.

Sounders Fans in Aggro-Rock Debacle



How is it that the Emerald City Supporters were asked to sing on a song by the only Seattle band from the 90's that was actually horrible? No love from 7 Year Bitch? Soundgarden is reuniting, doesn't Chris Cornell need some backup? What about the Melvins? Alice in Chains need a singer don't they? TAD can't holler at anyone?

Personally I am disappointed. Not with Grammatrain and certainly not with the ECS but with the myriad of actual cool bands who could have done this but are probably to cool to do this. Y'all missed an opportunity.

3.24.2010

Philly Fans Admit They Are The Silky Johnson of Sports Fans



As previously mentioned, I traveled to Seattle --land of rain and cute earthy girls-- earlier today ahead of tomorrow night's season opener between the Sounders and the Union. Seated beside me where Ryan and Jeff, two recent converts to the Union cause and potential alcoholics; this was their breakfast.

Speaking from row 19 of Continental flight 1581, the Pennsylvania pair issued a warning to Seattle about the true nature of Philadelphia sports fans. To hear them tell it there was a reason they had a jail at Veterans Stadium.

Fans on a Plane


This is exactly why I always carry my camera with me. As luck would have it, the two miscreants seated next to me on the flight to Seattle, Ryan and Jeff, are two Union fans from Bethlehem, PA who are making trip west for tomorrow night’s match.


I suspected they were my type of guys when they swung into seats 19D & 19E with only the following items in their possession: two iPhones, a copy of GQ magazine and four Ziplock bags filed with store-bought, airplane-sized bottles of booze. My hunch was confirmed when Ryan complained that Sportscenter, which was airing on the plane’s Direct TV feed, “never shows any soccer or hockey.”


Needless to say we had some time to kill so we quickly got to talking while the camera got to rolling. Who says Philly and New York can’t get along?


NSR: Gaslight Anthem "American Slang"

Slang

If the other 49 states and overseas territories will forgive me, I'd like to take a moment to talk about Jersey stuff. The Gaslight Anthem have a new record coming out this summer called American Slang. They just released the title track via their Facebook page and you should mess with it. If you're into that sort of thing.

And if you like your Jersey-rock all old-timey, here's a nice transition from the new Bruce to the regular, old one. Always nice to see the generations come together like this, innit?

Craziography at New Ukrainian Stadium



Remember when those Filipino convicts did the Thriller dance video last year and everyone was like "whoa"? This is kinda like that but soccer-specific. The Red Bull Arena opening was certainly grand, but the one thing it lacked was choreography. The opening of this new stadium, Donbass Stadium in the Ukraine, had choreography. Plus the they didn't settle for the other girl from Destiny's Child and had Beyonce at their opening event. So yeah, that's Russian Oil Money 2 -Austrian Taurine Bucks 1.

Off to First Kick 2010



Tomorrow night's the night so I'm at the airport right now about to head way out west for the big event. I'll be doing my usual thing (accosting people with a camera, hanging out with my fellow fans and just being on some SF sh*t in general) this evening through Friday but I'll be in transit for a large part of today but expect to see a few robo-posts to tide you over. Also expect to see a lot of stuff over at MLS Insider and maybe even MLSsoccer.com.

Side note: why is it that when Americans fly we invariably dress like we are either doing laundry/working out or going to a foreign disco/Caribbean resort from a Toni Morrison novel; sweats, stretch pants and what I will call "island wear" seem to the look this morning.

3.23.2010

Can You Make Soccer Even More Appealing to Suburban Moms? Oh Yes...Yes You Can.

Mayer

If his NSFW Playboy interview didn't get his ghetto pass revoked, this surely will. The K.C. Wizards are many things people, but with all due respect they are not street official. Props to @MBesler for snapping the photographic evidence of this great moment in celebrity glory-seeking last night in K.C.

CTRUS: The Ball You Will Love to Hate



Now this is some next level ish. CTRUS is a ball that is currently in development and it has to potential to change the way games are officiated. Touted as "the first soccer ball you can see through", CTRUS is comprised of an inner skeletal core and an outer mesh flesh that doesn't require air yet emulates to bounce and feel of a normal inflated pneumatic soccer ball.

And just to up the TRON factor, the ball has a GPS-enabled computer chip inside that is capable of wireless communication. What the hell does that mean? It means that the ball can change color to indicate a goal or out of bounds. So no more arguing about did it or did it not cross the line.

It's all kind of cool but kind of The Devil at the same. Before you even get into all of the bells and whistles this thing has to move and feel like a traditional ball, otherwise it's a wasted effort. If you're curious for more info on what I am dubbing the FrankenBallhead over to Designboom.com; they've got some great photos and another slick video.

3.22.2010

Gabriel Ferrari: The TOR Inquisition

Gabe

Here's a name we haven't mentioned in a minute! While clicking through Facebook the other day, I ran across the name Gabriel Ferrari for the first time in ages. Then I thought to myself "what's that kid up to?". So in the interest of going elbow-deep into the Americans Outsourced to Europe file I hollered at the NYC native and current Sampdoria loanee. Guess what? He hollered back.

SF: Hey Gabe. How's thing's?

GF: Things are good dude...pretty good.

SF: Awesome. You're in Italy right now with Ternana, on loan from Sampdoria. How has your season been so far?

GF: Yeah, I got to Ternana in February; 4 games, 1 goal so far so I'm playing well.

SF: And by the way, "Ternana" sounds like a nickname for a lady's nonospecialplace. Just saying.

GF: FC Vagina?? A new MLS franchise perhaps??

SF: I dunno about that. Maybe more appropriate for the Italian ladies league. Or not. So anyway, Sampdoria has the greatest logo ever: discuss.

GF: Yeah, the Sampdoria logo is pretty fly. Looks like Popeye's long lost Grandpa. The Sampdoria jerseys are pretty cool as well I might add.

SF: Yeah, I like that one even though I typically don't like the kits Kappa does. So do you have any idea what is in store for you as far as Sampodira goes after this season ends? Do you think another loan is on the cards? Or is a return to Sampdoria or to the States looking more likely? C'mon now, spill it.

GF: Another loan yes, but hopefully abroad. Abroad in Europe though. I'm doing well here and I want to continue to enjoy this experience in Europe before I go back to the states.

SF: Now forgive me if I get any of this wrong (and I very well may) but you where born in NYC to an Italian father and Brazilian mother, and speak English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. When you dream, what language is it in?

GF: I am pretty sure I dream in slang. Like raw NYC slang, so I guess I speak 5 languages.

SF: So you what you're saying is you hear ODB in your sleep. That's not right. So back to soccer now. You played high school ball in Newark, NJ at St. Benedicts Prep, the same school that also produced Claudio Reyna, Greg Berhalter, Tab Ramos and Petter Villegas. What the hell are they putting in the Gatorade?

GF: S.B.P is the best school ever. That school's mentality will stick with you forever. They are able to attract talent, in both soccer and basketball, and know how to use it. The only downfall is that it's an all-boy's school.

SF: Yeah, prom could be a little awkward I imagine. Now, talk to me about being at the then-Metrostars academy. How was it for you?

GF: Metrostars was a fresh team and a new idea that combined city kids from NY and the suburbia kids from Jersey, which was great combo. Before that I played for BW Gottschee as a rascal in Queens; that's where I really got started.

SF: Let's switch gears for a minute. Why do you have a gun in your hand in this photo? Did you steal it from Major Lazer himself?

GF: [That was at the] Major Lazer [show] at SOB's; it was fire! I also went to the Mad Decent Block Party in Philly in august. Fun times!

SF: Nice. As a side note you need to get the Mad Decent app for iPhone; it's amazing and annoying. So I know you like to party and whatnot so what's the nightlife like in Italy?

GF: I've been chilling in Rome a lot now. My friend organizes the best parties here and I go to the Tea Room often. Gotta spin there soon...splash some grime on these Italianos.

SF: Where do you go out when you are in New York? Le Poisson Rouge or Santos Party House perhaps?

GF: In NY I go to the Box, or wherever else there is good music/a good DJ. Blue Note is great for some live jazz.

SF: Didn't know you were a jazzhead. You DJ though right? What's top bangers right now?

GF: I DJ with my bruv, Luther. He just produced a mixtape with Roxy Cottontail called Strike up the Band. My bangers are all on that tough ass mixtape.

SF: Oh God. When I was young & sexy (read: 2004) I used to go to some of Roxy's parties downtown. So debauched. Last question: do you want to DJ the TOR holiday party this year with me? The theme will either be "Favela Funk Christmas" or "Ballin' Outta Control at the North Pole" with everyone wearing elf costumes made of mink and drinking Jay-Z's new egg nog. You down?

GF: Favela Funk Xmas SOUNDS GOOD...anything with that theme is bound for success ala Tough As Hell!

SF: Cool. Send me your rider although I'll tell you right now I am not picking out the red M&M's.

Post-Soccer Career Advice for David Beckham



Becks. How ya doing baby? Now look here cousin, I know you're probably dealing with a lot right now with the bum leg and crushed World Cup dreams and all but I just wanted to run something past you. You ever think about going into comedy when this whole soccer career thingy is over? Not American comedy because it's too physical for a fragile fella such as yourself, but good old-fashioned, British comedy?

Seriously, after seeing your demo reel I think you could be massive. Bigger than Little Britain for sure but not nearly as big as Mr. Bean or as brilliant as the original The Office but you could still be pretty good. Just think about it; I could even represent you if you like. I know a guy who knows Barry off of East Eastenders so I'm well connected.

Viva Futbol #50



It's been a minute since we've heard from the all-out footie-mixtape king, Alarazboy, but the fly Frenchman has come back strong with Viva Futbol Vol. 50. Can't believe he's dropped half-a-hundred of these already. I'm not sure what the proper gift is for a 50th mixtape so I'll just say "congratulations"; unfortunately there isn't a chart for these things like their is for wedding anniversaries. And besides, who really wants a gift of "paper" or "turquoise" anyway?

3.21.2010

The Morning After



Can we talk? About last night? Cool. I spent a good 12 hours in Harrison, Kearny and Newark yesterday for the Red Bull Arena opening extravaganza and it was truly eye-opening. If you weren't there you'll just have to take my word for it and not as a professional fan but just as a fan of RBNY, of MLS, of soccer in the states.

I've only been waiting on this stadium for 7 years so by no means am I the most long-suffering fan or long-suffering servant to the club out there. But 7 years is a long time to wait for your bad luck to go away, especially when that bad luck is a big, turfed stadium in the middle of a swamp without a rail connection. But yesterday's opening of Red Bull Arena was worth the wait.

No more buses. No more flattened Field Turf. No more excuses as to why knowledgeable New Yorkers and West Hudson (read: Newark, Kearny, Harrison, Hoboken & Jersey City) soccer fans won't come out. To see masses of people walking across the bridge from Newark, down Frank E. Rogers from Kearny & Harrison in all manner of kit was surreal, like witnessing a renaissance in an area that was once ruled by soccer.

And to see train after train of car-less fans cascade down the steps of the Path train station only 1.5 blocks away was to see a seemingly ancient promise fulfilled, an exorcism of the jaded feelings that have surrounded the team and this project for a full decade.

As for the building itself there is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said other than there is no way this building gets built without Red Bull; for all of the stick they have taken over the years for everything from the name to the play on the field to revolving coaches you can't deny that they have done something truly special in building this stadium.

Yesterday was amazing. Here's to hoping that yesterday's past is next Saturday's future.

3.19.2010

Should Dallas Sign Chris out of MUSE?



Should FC Dallas sign Chris Wolstenholme out of MUSE? He had a hat trick the other day when he and some members of the band's touring party played against the FC Dallas staff. Plus he's about the same size as Big Kenny so I'm sure he could fit into all those XL jerseys they are sure to have laying around from the FrankenCooper era.

In the end it's probably not a good idea because A) he's nowhere near matchfit and B) his $100K a week wage demands might be a bit much for the club to handle. Still though, if he can convince his other two bandmates to do this on the Pizza Hut Park stage after each match it might put a few extra asses in the seats.

Tim Howard Will Return to America, Possibly only for the Champagne of Beers



A few months ago CNN asked us, the American soccer fans, to submit questions for interviews with Timbo and Lando. Today the Timbo interview dropped. Now bear in mind that this is CNN and it's trying to be serious & newsy, but it's really hard to do that when the questions are coming from "Big Mike"and feature the term "smack talk". Kinda odd.

Still, it's not as weird as Howard's revelation that the thing he misses the most about America is light beer. Surely that's grounds for deportation from Merseyside. That's like going to the Playboy mansion and wondering aloud where all of the A cups are at.

I'm Calling It: Juan Pablo Angel Posts on Bigsoccer



In less than one minute's time, Juan Pablo Angel mentions promotion & relegation, expansion, single table, a second division and no playoffs. It's almost as if a list of topics from the "MLS: General" forum on Bigsoccer was on an off-camera cue card in front of him. Kind of surreal to know that players are just as geeky as I am and actually think about that stuff too.

So with that the bounty hunt for JPA's screenname is on. Maximum rep to the first person to positively ID and out him.

Pilooski Outshines Becks in New Adidas Advert



You've probably seen the latest advert for Adidas Originals that's been doing the rounds. A follow up to that house party commercial from last summer, it's got Becks, Noel G., Ian Brown aka King Monkey, Snoop Dogg, DJ Neil Armstrong and whole bunch of other fabulously wealthy people who ooze "originality". But even with all those celebs in tow the real star of this clip is Pilooski.

If you are thinking to yourself "Pilooski? Who dat?", I'll tell you. Pilooski is this French DJ/producer that's pretty much the go-to guy if you want a fresh new edit of an old song. His reworking of "Can't There Be Love" soundtracks the ad and is currently in the heaviest of rotations on Radio TOR. He also did the remix of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons' "Beggin'" that was in the aforementioned house party commercial. Dude even manages to make Del Shannon, Can and Elvis kinda funky.

If you have a bit of time for a few rockin' rehashes of old-school obscurities, seek his stuff out on Hype Machine. And just for the hell of it and because it's Friday, here's that Frankie Valli re-rub one more time. Let's gooooooo!

Today in Stadium Porn: Now With Testimonies!



Woly, Big Mac, JPA and the Long Island Avenger testify to the greatness of Red Bull Arena for Stevie Cangiolosi and an MSG camera. It really is sad though to hear a long-time player like Woly be so psyched about getting something so simple as their own locker room. Really puts into perspective just how much of a 4th fiddle the team was at Giants Stadium.

3.18.2010

IMG Academy: Not at All Like Fat Camp



12 years, 41 professional players produced. Not a bad track record for the IMG Academy, Florida's futbol factory. Famous alums include a list of names that is as impressive as it is long. They also offer random matches against MLS opposition, stage parent-esque screaming from the sidelines and lots and lots of sweating in the gym. THIS is how you want to spend your teen years (or this is how you want to spend your teen years?!).

Clint Dempsey Post-Golazo Interview



He meant to strike it! I knew it, knew it, knew it. The boy is just cold like that.

Video: That Clint Dempsey Goal



Clint Dempsey y'all. I can't describe the pride I feel right now as an American, a Texan and a Fulham supporter. Thank God I didn't watch this match in a bar; I would be absolutely paralytic.

Can't We Just All Get Along?

Wood

This is unnecessary and the last thing American soccer needs.We all know it's an isolated incident but that doesn't make it any less repugnant. It's just a game people, it's just a game.

Red Bull Arena "Training" Video



I straight jacked this from my guy at The Viper's Nest. Great looking advert for the soon-to-be open Red Bull Arena. Jeremy Hall is doing work right? Kid is working out like he about to fight that Russian from Rocky or something.

The thing that sticks out to me about the clip is that it seems pretty squarely aimed at the urban crowd (read: NYers and people who prefer mass transit), and it's another example of a shift in audience for American soccer. The Dodge Caravan crowd is out, while the "the only car I get in is a cab" crowd is in.

3.17.2010

Hanging Cleats: Helping Kids, Biting Styles



I like the idea of Salt Lake-based Hanging Cleats a lot but the logo is kind of similar to that of another soccer-themed shirt-maker with SLC connections innit? Oh well. The shirts are nice though and the mission is beyond reproach. If you could use a new look for spring and have at least one charitable bone in your body pay them a visit at HangingCleats.com.

Video: New Stand, Grass Pitch for BMO Field



Would you like to watch something from Ontario Soccer Association TV? No? OK, what if I tell you it's got Toronto FC Director of Biz Ops Paul Beirne in it? Maybe? How about if he's talking about the new stand and new grass being installed at BMO while standing in front of them? Yes? Good.

I Have a Lot of Questions About This Thing in Detroit

GreenBowl

Why is the Green Soccer Bowl being held in Detroit? What significance does the word "Green" have in the title? Is it to do with the color, environmentalism or famed Detroit native The Green Hornet? And why call it a "Soccer Bowl" instead of a cup? Why is their an odd amount of teams? And why oh why are Nigeria and Ghana leaving Africa for Detroit 3 weeks before they play in the World Cup in Africa? It truly boggles the mind.

Today in Stadium Porn



The Star-Ledger, a paper you should read every Tuesday for Frank Giase's column, put together this Red Bull Arena video from yesterday's media day. If it all seems a bit excessive at this point I apologize. May the GOd of your choice bless you for tolerating me & my condition (it really is a disease).

The Best "Dam" Behind the Scenes Video


USsoccer.com just dropped their behind the scenes video for the Yanks recent match in Amsterdam versus the Dutch. It's got it all: traveling support (including some camera-time for Monty of the Midnight Riders), talking heads, some intense locker room talk from Bobby Blue Eyes and Stuart Holden's collision with De Jong. That last one is a little disturbing because you can actually hear the impact.

Obligatory/Cliche/Rote St. Patrick's Day Post



Winner of the TOR Award for Best Thing to Come Out of Ireland (non-Guinness or George Best Category): Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott, possibly the only Brazilian-Irishman to ever walk the planet, rest in peace.

D.C. United Was Sprung on Danny Allsop

Allsopp

3 years? 3 years?! Good Lord that is an awfully long time to wait to get the one that you want. I hate to use my annual Keith Sweat reference before the season even starts but damn Danny Allsop, you've D.C. United twisted over you.

FourFourTwo Australia has the story of the man with the almost-garish 50% strike rate and how he landed in the capital, courtesy of SoccerByIves contributor Travis Clark. Nice to see an American writer getting some shine abroad, no? Good stuff from a good writer.

3.16.2010

ESPN Final Kick: 2010 Preview



Now this is what I'm talkin' bout. ESPN's Final Kick is back for 2010 with a 7 minute + season preview for your anxious ass. So light a candle, maybe open up your robe a little bit and sit back with the adult beverage of your choice because this is special viewing for a special evening. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do babies.

Hans Backe is a Brit-Rocka



Hans Backe seemed to have picked up a Brit-rock habit while working for Sven-Goran Eriksson at Manchester City. And here you thought white hair = dead man walking. Nonsense. Hans Backe, you are now officially "my guy".

In other irreverent Q&A news, Metorfanatic has nine massive interviews from today's Red Bull New York Media Day. You should read them since he beat me to noticing that rookie defender Tim Ream has a 110% porno-ish name and had the stones to ask him about it.

File Under: Japan...Still Weird



What's odder? A game between a professional 11 versus 100 school children or the fact that their are are American football lines on a field in Japan? Neither is normal but the first is at least enjoyable. And I'm sure there is a "How many kids does a take defend against a J-League team?" joke in there somewhere but I am too lazy to find a punchline.

Video: RBNY Take to the RBA Turf For the First Time



It's a surprisingly sunny morning in North Jersey today and as I type this, RBNY are engaged in their very first practice at Red Bull Arena just below me. Having not been in the building since before the seats were put in it's kind of shocking to see in it's completed state.

Hats off to the Austrians because this is the best thing they have put out since Falco; with the roof, no benches and close proximity to public transportation they really raised the game with this place. Plus it smells like a mix of new car and sweet, soft natural grass. Amazing.

And yes, those rays of light you see are the Soccer Gods shining upon the New York franchise. Doesn't happen often but when it does...

NSR: Broken Bells "The Ghost Inside"



If you haven't picked up the Broken Bells album you are missing out on one of the year's best record so far. There really isn't much else to say about it other than that.

Last night, main men James Mercer (The Shins) and Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz) took their band of merry men (read: paid session musicians) over to Jimmy Fallon's place to rock "The Ghost Inside" for the late-night TV crowd. Is it just me or does Mercer's falsetto on this one sound very Damon Albarn-esque? I guess Danger still had a bit of Demon Days that needed to get out of his system...

3.15.2010

How Passionate Fans are Spending Thier CBA-Limbo Time



A scab player parody video? Why not. With all of us anxious for a deal to get done it's nice to see some of us turning the frustration into creativity. Personally, I find this far more enjoyable than another 800 word treatise updating us on the situation when there have been no updates. But if this is too sunny for any of you doom-merchants out there --which is ironic being that it was shot in the snow-- perhaps someone will take it upon themselves to make a hostage video or something equally dark.

Video: New MLS App Demo



Today at the MIX10 Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft demoed the new MLS app for the Windows Series 7 phone. To say it's 110% baller is an understatement. And to say that Microsoft's involvement with MLS is balls-deep into MLS right now might not be a lie either; between Paul Allen's part-ownership of a team, Seattle's XBOX sponsorship, Zune's custom MLS models and this they may as well be going steady.

U.S. Adds Match vs. Australia to South African Agenda

Cahill

So with Beckham's injury ESPN/ABC/Disney lose out on one of the better story lines of the year, soccer-wise. No more will they be able to hype the opening-round, intra-squad derby between Dave-o & Lando in this summer's World Cup. In exchange they get Donovan facing his now-former Everton teammate Tim Cahill. In a friendly. Not quite the same thing is it?

JImmy Bulard is Pretty Much Amazing



Best thing he's done since leaving Fulham (God I bet he regrets that move now).

Video: PressPass on the Beckham Injury



Apparently you lose your blogger license if you don't address the Beckham injury. All I can say it that he must really and truly be going through his own emotional hell right now and it's too soon to say anything other than I feel for him right now. The Shaka and the PressPass crew have a few words they can spare though so let's let them take it away, shall we?

Wizards Players, Staff Turn to Speed Dating to Get Close



Over the years many of us --including myself-- in the soccersphere have used Kansas City as a poster child for what's ailing the game in this country. Common gripes included "the jersey is ugly", "the team name is silly", "the stadium is too big" and, now, "the stadium is too small". Sometimes the argument may have been justified but half of the time the fingers were pointed out of sheer laziness. K.C. (nor any other market) is not perfect but I think it's taken more than it's share of the weight.

I can only speak for myself but I think the days of beating up on K.C. for off-the-field reasons are over. Something has changed in K.C. and I'll point the finger squarely in the direction of @RobbHeineman & his fellow owners as being responsible for it. With their regular video updates on the stadium construction to connecting with the fans via Twitter to helping to acquaint the players and staff through a speed-dating style happy hour, I get the sense that there is a new attitude surrounding this franchise. One that embraces intimacy with it's fans and within it's organization which can only be a positive thing.

Some of this is based on things I have seen or heard but a lot of this good feeling is just gut so take it for what it's worth. But in 3 years time I see this club as being utterly unrecognizable from what it was 3 years ago. And then the only thing quieter than the way they are going about the rapid construction of their unique new stadium will be the voices of those who cried out vainly to "move Kansas City".

"New York Red Bulls Award Midnight Oil Creative Design and Production Duties on New Arena's Experiential Fan Zone"



When I read the headline "New York Red Bulls Award Midnight Oil Creative Design and Production Duties on New Arena's Experiential Fan Zone" I have to admit I was kind of surprised. I was down with that bald geezer and his mates when I was in middle school and I know that they are talented and all but I thought they were kind of an odd choice to operate a children's fun fair. But Australian's know how to party so this could actually turn out alright.

Oh wait. What? Different Midnight Oil? Booo! I was looking forward to a kangaroo-themed bouncy castle.

Malawi's Rapper Corroborates Malawian Galaxy Trial Rumor



I can neither confirm or deny this report that Malawi international Andrew Green [Malunga] is on trial with the Galaxy but I can however confirm that his daddy is a former Malawian international. I can also confirm that if you run a site that is basically an African bootleg of the NewYorkTimes.com, the first person you go to for commentary on football news is a rapper.

In this particular case the rapper is called Chazz. Is he a good rapper? You can watch the video above and decide for yourself. The thing about this though that is awesome is the wording in the piece: "Malawi’s US-based rapper, Chawezi Munthali better known by his showbiz name “Chazz” told Nyasa Times that Malunga is helping his son in building the football career."

It's funny right? They make it sound like A) there is only one Malawian rapper in America and B) it's an official position like an ambassadorship or something. I think we should do this in the States. The next time there is a rumored signing of an American in Europe we have to get commentary from some kid in England who went over to study abroad, joined an Oasis tribute band and never came back.

Video: 30 Minutes of Philadelphia Union



Now this is a treat for you Union fans. 30 whole minutes of hot, uncensored Philly soccer and MLS talk with Union honcho Nicky Sack. Not a bad get for the Philly PR staff and not a bad way to start out your Monday. Unless you hate Philly, MLS, Soccer or Nicky Sack. In that case DO NOT PRESS PLAY!

Part one
Part two
Part three

3.14.2010

I Have a (Stadium) P0rn Addiction



Last week I lied to all of you and said that the end of Red Bull Arena-themed stadium p0rn was nigh. At the time I swore it was the truth, but being that I am an addict --I can admit that now-- the determining the end is never so cut & dry. For the true junkie there is always that one last hit.

Will this be it? Or will I fall off the wagon tomorrow? I can't say...only my disease can.

3.12.2010

Video: Seattle-Portland Charity Grudge Match Recap



The things I love about this video are as follows:

1. The obvious: 18K+ for a pre-season friendly on a weeknight. Do you know how many clubs would kill to be able to do that on a Saturday night in season?

2. Steve Cronin wearing number "0" in goal for Portland. That is a number that just doesn't get called enough.

3. The unselfish pass for the goal. Sure, sharing is caring and all of that but it is also a good way to score goals against your arch-rival in their house.

The Librarian: "World Cup 2010: The Indispensable Guide to Soccer and Geopolitics"

WorldCup2010

I haven't read this book yet, but I figured I would give them a shout-out anyway before my review copy arrives solely because one of the authors is a former Fulham F.C. ballboy who was once bottled in the by a fan. I'm sure a blog post doesn't make up for childhood traumas but I just feel for the guy, y'know?

From the Amazon product description:

The World Cup is the planet's biggest event. Yet no one on this side of the pond has ever set out to explain comprehensively why it matters and what's likely to happen this time around.

In this sharp, fun, and sassy guide, Stark & Stark lay it all out for both the casual and impassioned fan - the spectacle, the tradition, and the teams. Learn why Spain never wins, Brazil often does, and what the US and Mexico really need to do to win the Cup. Discover, too, what the first World Cup in Africa will mean - from Mandela to mythical spirits. Each team profile features a squad breakdown, players to watch, predictions, and an analysis of team tactics, tradition, coaching techniques, and even the national anthems that will be played before each match. Through it all, the book highlights the cultural politics that still make every England game resemble the Charge of the Light Brigade, as one writer put it, and every Italian team a cross between Machiavelli and Michelangelo.

You'll laugh out loud, you'll argue, but when it's all over, you'll know more about the World Cup and soccer than an ESPN analyst. This is not only the best introduction to the 2010 World Cup; it's a book about soccer you'll want to read and reread for years to come.

World Cup 2010: The Indispensable Guide to Soccer and Geopolitics is available now; order it from Blue River Press so the authors get a bigger cut than they would from Amazon.

NSR: The Pacifc



I love Band of Brothers but after seeing it air 1000x on HBO, A&E and the History Channel I'm kind of in the mood for a new take on an old war. Luckily HBO has seen fit to satiate my appetite for throwback military drama by getting the BoB crew together again for The Pacific, a 10-part mini-series that begins airing this Sunday.

With an oeuvre that includes bangers like Six Feet Under, True Blood, Big Love, The Sopranos, and the aforementioned Band of Brothers I honestly don't know why any channel other than whoever is showing the NFL and Family Guy even bothers to air on Sundays. I'm sorry y'all but Cold Case and Undercover Boss just can't compete.

Wale to Bring That Hippity Hop Sound to DCU Home Opener



My guy @KyleSheldon is pretty much amazing. Not only did he have a cameo on The Real World this week but he's also booked D.C. hip-hop luminary Wale to perform at United's home opener against New England. Y'all know New York is my squad but damn, this is so much better than Shakira. Unless we are talking about the butt. In that case Wale can screw off.

If you don't know Wale, check out the mini-doc above and get familiar. And try not to get too caught up in looking at the butt; it's kind of hypnotic and before you know it you've lost 7 minutes of your day.

Reality TV x Penis Talk x D.C. United



It's probably a bad idea for me to start gathering wisdom from reality televison but this is The Real World, the O.G. of the genre, so they get a pass. If they say having a penis is great because it means you'll never have to be alone, it's a fact. And if you spill said wisdom while wearing enough MLS apparel to adequately outfit a five-a-side team with enough left over for two bench players it's that much better.

If you are curious as to how this season's crop of The Seven Most-Attractive/Promiscuous Sociopaths Under The Age of 27™ came into their apparent bounty of D.C. United gear, skip to the 3:45 mark in this week's episode of The Real World. And if you happen to see that hater-ass hater of a redhead around your way be sure and give her the gas face.

3.11.2010

Earthquakes Ask Question You Never Want to Hear While Swimming



I like this. It's irreverent, physical comedy with a soccer-specific ending. It also features a pretty lady and snack foods. I give it a 7.8 on the patented TOR Scale of Comedic Footie Adverts.