IF you haven't see it yet, check out We Want Rapidman's chat with Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith. There are questions about Burpo remaining with the team, the yet unfilled jobs of assistant coach and goalkeeper coach, and scouting for new talent that Smith wants to bring into the club. Thanks again Nick!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I noticed today that not only has Southampton's official web site's RSS been broken for the last 3 weeks, if you actually try viwing it's RSS feeds at it's site (http://www.saintsfc.co.uk/rss) right now you just see the naked PHP code used to build them. Oi vey! A horrible security risk. Is the club really so low on funds that they can't be bothered to fix this?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Major league Soccer held their waiver draft today. The waiver draft process is as sexy as a pair of Rosanne Bahrs soiled undies. It's understandable tha tthe league's marketers didn't put effort into promoting the event.
Unfortunately for Rpaids fans Mike Petke was placed on waivers and taken by the New York Red Bulls. The Bohemia, New York native is the Colorado Rpaids all-time leader for games started with 129 in his 4 years with the team.
Petke looked good later in 2008 once he recovered from last years injury. At age 32 he likely has a couple years left in him. With Gary Smith showing in 2007 that he was happy to start a healthy Petke, it's likely that the Mike Petke wanted this move. It could be that this is a chance for Mike to work his way into the Red Bulls front office.
We wish Mike and his family the best fo luck with the move.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I found myself wondering if Italian legend Walter Zenga's time in Major League Soccer (MLS) damaged his mind after reading this article. If you haven't heard, Zenga seems to think that having his players drop their shorts during a free kick is strategy. Zenga has hist players at Catania, where he currently coaches, lowering their shorts to their knees because it blocks the goalkeepers vision.
To be honest, I don't understand how this act in and of itself is making a difference in terms of blocking the goalkeeper's vision. A free kick situation where the opposing team has a chance to take a crack at goal is usually a mess of bodies with the opposing team forming a wall of players and many others crowded in there. Having a couple players lowering their shorts isn't making it easier for the goalkeeper to see the ball. But it would just be making an already difficult situation a bit more difficult.
And that doesn't leave out the affect it has on the players lowering their shorts. No, I'm not talking not having a clean pair of undies to wear for the world to see. If a players shorts are at their knees, how can they react to the play on the field? How many times have you seen a free kick taken where the team with the kick has a player that was trying to mess with the wall now desperately trying to get out of the way to let it through? How many times has a free kick hit the wall or been saved by a goalkeeper and had everyone scrambling to get to the ball to have another chance at goal? Well, if you're shorts are around your knees you're going to have a tough time reacting to these things. Has Zenga actually taken this into consideration?
Of course it does bring up a few issues. This is a game after all that automatically gives a player a yellow card for taking their shirt off to celebrate scoring a goal. Those are pretty strict standards. Surely showing off ones tighty-whities during a game is worse than taking off a shirt to celebrate a goal? Then again, this is a game that has sunk to the low of accepting diving as something professionals should do; that when they get hit they should go down. If that's being embraced by the game, why should anyone get bothered over a bit of short dropping?
The rules of the game aside, what would ever prompt Walter Zenga to even consider using this?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Gary Smith is a now officially the head coach for the Colorado Rapids. Smith was signed to a 3 year deal. The Rapids also announced they re-signed Pablo Mastroeni, coming off arguably his best year ever in the MLS, to a 4 year deal. Mike Petke, Bouna Coundoul and Jose Burciaga Jr. are all out of contract with no announcements having been made on their status.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
View From The Couch is reporting that it's rumored that the Rapids will announce their new coach today at 1pm. Money is on it being Gary Smith as the Rapids have already signed one of Smith's friend Steve Guppy as assistant coach. In fact Sunday while I was at work eating bugs, Brian Forbes over at the Denver Post reported that short of an official announcement from the Rapids, everything points to Gary Smith including Guppy on a radio show stating that it'll be Smith.
What does this mean for Christian Gomez? Bouna Coundoul? Facundo Erpen? These are all players that Smith didn't seem to fully embrace.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
2 games lef tin the season? How time flies. Seems like it wasn't that long ago I was in San Luis, CO with the season having just gotten underway. And by chance I'm there again as things close down. The weird thing is, I feel more hopeful about the last two games that last April when there were 26-27 left.
Posted by Allen at 10/18/2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It was nice to see the Rapids pick up their 3 win in 5 games with Gary Smith in charge on Sunday. The only other time the Rapids have gone into half-time with a 2-0 lead this year was the July 4th game against New York Red Bull. That game was also at home at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.
With better finishing and possession against Chicago, the Rapids could have done more damage to the league's best road team. Their fast start lead to Colorado being more than happy in the 2nd half to sit back and absorb Chicago's pressure. The Fire, with Brian McBride and Cuauhtémoc Blanco, mustered a few decent chances but that was it.
Most glaringly missing from Chicago's game were free kicks in goal scoring range. This year alone we've seen Chicago pull themselves back into a match they were out of after getting one in a dangerous spot for Blanco to put in the back of the net. On Sunday Pablo Mastroeni own Blanco. Blanco was kept so quiet that the most entertaining moment of the game was watching him in a foot race for the ball with fellow non-speedster Mike Petke.
Speaking of Blanco, in his short time in the MLS he's earned himself a reputation as a diver. He lacked opportunities to show off that "skill" in the match. But he did show himself to also be skilled in the art of whining. Toward the end of the match he went up for a 50/50 ball against Mastroeni. They both ended up falling to the ground. It was directly in front of referee Terry Vaughn. From the beginning of the match, Vaughn established that he was going to let the boys play. While writhing on the ground holding his back, Chicago got the ball and was attacking in the box. This prompted Mexican team legend Blanco to get up and trot toward the box all the while holding his hand on his back. Last I checked, there isn't a medical doctor in the US that espouses healing back injuries via your team getting the ball. But it seemed to work for Blanco.
After the match, Blanco proceeded to head over to match officials to show off his side and plead his case. It's a shame that a player with so much talent can't being a man and just take his lumps. It leaves feeling sorry for his mother. If he's whining like this at age, just imagine what a pain in the rear he was as a child.
With the win, the Rapids still have a good chance of making the play-offs with 6 games remaining in the season (3 at home). But talk about a revival under Gary Smith, like that over at Major League Soccer Talk, are premature. This team still has a way to go in turning around their overall level of play. Sure they've won 3 of their last 5. But note that MLST offers up nothing in tangible evidence of a revival beyond the wins. Nevertheless, the Rapids are on the right path. Could we be seeing Gary Smith at the helm in 2009?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Southampton heads north to London to play QPR today. Saints have a single win with 3 loses in their first 4 games. It's not an encouraging start even for Saints fans who don't have high hopes for this season.
QPR have a few knocks and we should expect a few new faces since their last game, a 1-1 tie with high flying Bristol City. Saints Michael "Killer" Svensson along with Wayne Thomas look like they'll miss the game. So it's going to be a young back line for Southampton with Chelsea loanee Jack Cort is likely to get a start. And that back line will have their hands full with ex-Saint Dexter Blackstock.
Blackstock isn't the only ex-Saint Southampton is likely to face tomorrow. Fitz Hall is with QPR now after being with Crystal Palace and Wigan before landing at Loftus Road last April. The other ex-Saint is QPR's new manager Ian Dowie. Dowie's career as a center forward involved many teams, with his longest stint with with Southampton where he scored 30 goals in 122 games.
Can Southampton pull off a win? It doesn't seem likely with this young squad on the road. Especially with how well QPR has been playing to start the season. Southampton's sole win in league play this season was at Exter. A win but would a surprise. A tie is something I expect to see from this team. They need to show they have the sort of fight in them they'll need to avoid relegation during the long Championship season.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Nick at We Want Rapid Man takes a look at Bouna's situation. The Denver Post also covers it here. It looks to be headed down the same path that lead Herculez Gomez to Kansas City. Will things turn around? Will we see Bouna in nets for the Rapids again? Or could we see him traded to a team looking for a goalkeeper?
The Colorado Rapids take on the Chicago Fire tomorrow afternoon at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. The Fire are lead by first year coach and ex-Rapids Denis Hamlett. The Fire are 2-7-4 in Colorado. They have not won here since 1999.
On the other hand, the Fire have hands down the single best defense in the league this year. Thanks to that they've managed 6 wins on the road in 2008. And they have Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Brian McBride.
While the Rapids beat FC Dallas on the road a week ago last Thursday, they haven't won back to back games this year. The last time the Rapids won games back to back was in October 2007 when they beat Toronto at home and traveled to Los Angeles and snatched a win from Chivas USA. The Rapids are 2-2-0 under interim head coach Gary Smith.
Just a follow up on Herc's move to Kansas City. The Rapids got a 4th round 2009 SuperDraft pick and a first round (Why can't we just say 5th round?) MLS Supplemental draft pick. They also got some allocation money. How much is undisclosed. It's not a bag of balls but is it enough to make up for Herc's loss?
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Nick over at We Want Rapidman has a nice look at the mess the West is right now. For more on it, click here. I plan on looking at it more. Lately I've been busy with family in town and wine tasting in one of Colorado's two appalachians, Grand Valley (Grand Junction / Palisade / Fruita).
Posted by Allen at 9/09/2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Sorry for not getting at least a little bit out on the Rapids. Between the parents being in town, work, and trying to find time to sleep there hasn't been room for other things. It was wonderful to get up this morning and see the Rapids had racked up a win. With how messy the teams in the West are this year, not only are the Rapids not the worst in the league but it's still not overly hopeful for them to take 3rd or 2nd. 1st? Well, that still seems a bit much for a team that still needs to come together.
More on the win over FC Dallas :
We Want Rapid Man
Friday, August 29, 2008
Blackpool travels to St. Mary's to take on Southampton. The two clubs barely avoided relegation from the Championship (Div. 2) last year, both finishing with 54 points. Leicester was the 3rd to bottom team, the bottom 3 were relegated, with 52 points.
Can McGoldrick continue his scoring ways? Will we see Stern John get a start up front with McGoldrick? Chris Perry has scored a goal and McGoldrick two in the 3 games Southampton has played so far. Will another Saint step up and score in their 4th game of the 08/09 season?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
There was a rumor in SI a few days ago about interest in Terry Cooke back in England. The basis of the rumor? David Moyes said some good things about him. Classic English rumor; that is, little if anything behind it but they'll still print it. I love have Terry at the Rapids. But it would seem odd that PNE, Derby and Cardiff were all interested in him because Moyes said something nice. Especially for a player who had a lot of playing time in England in Div 3 (League One).
"The feeling was overbearing," Gibbs told Soccer365. "I really didn't get so overjoyed because I am a very neutral person, but I did thank God for all he did for me."Gibbs has looked good in Colorado's backline in his first two games. Now if Smith can straighten out the rest of the team and get them playing better, Colorado has a chance.
Getting the team sorted out can't come too soon. The Rapids travel to Salt Lake City for a game Friday night (tomorrow). Why Friday night? Who knows. With the way the 3 Rocky Mountain Cups games were scheduled this year, you have to wonder if the league is trying to kill that rivalry. It's hard enough traveling 600 miles let alone for a Thursday, Friday or Sunday game.
Speaking of the game, as you can see below the Rapids have a lot of knocks going into the match. Could we see Smith go with a 3-5-2? Or will he stick with the 4-5-1 and slide Erpen over to left back with Kimura on the right? And what is with the Salt Lake fans? Have things really been so bleak there over the years that a 3 point difference in the standings is enough to make them think they're talking smack? Anyone predicting for Cleatus to get a RC in the 70th to help CO hold on to a 1-0 win?
Real Salt Lake - Colorado Rapids Injury Report :
REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: MF Nathan Sturgis (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Dema Kovalenko (L calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Tony Beltran (L adductor tightness), DF Ian Joy (R adductor strain) ...
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (concussion); MF Terry Cooke (L hamstring); MF Greg Dalby (R ankle); GK Justin Hughes (L groin); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion); MF Pablo Mastroeni (R hamstring); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (R knee); DF Jose Burciaga Jr. (R hip); MF Jacob Peterson (L hip)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Southampton racked up a second win in the Carling Cup. Last week they beat Exter. Yesterday they beat fellow Championship club Birmingham 2-0 at St. Mary's. Lee Holmes and Adam Lallana scored for Saints.
Southampton landed young Tottenham forward Tomas Pekhart on loan for the year. I'm not a huge fan of this move. This is a club that could use a few more veteran faces around. Aside from that, with Stern John returning to fitness and McGoldrick scoring I wouldn't expect Pekhart to see much playing time anytime soon.
Best of luck to former Saints manager Paul Sturrock. Sturrock, who is currently in his 2nd stint as manager for Plymouth (div 2; Championship), was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This shouldn't affect his duties, at least not for awhile. He was only in charge at Southampton for a few months but he's not a bad manager. He was part of the process at Plymouth that has built that club into a Championship caliber team. Last year, 07/08, he lead the club to within 6 points a play off spot.
Monday, August 25, 2008
(note : idiot author last summer; (c) 2008, Mike Murphy ASN) Nick at We Want Rapidman felt the Colorado Rapids, with new coach Gary Smith at the helm, would be fired up and ready to play at RFK Stadium against DC United. Unfortunately that wasn't the case with the Rapids losing 3-0.
View From The Couch takes a look back at the Clavijo Era. Note that the talk on the street was that Clavijo was a coach in name only. Plush and Wright had already taken over player trades (Rafael Gomes being the last player that Clavijo brought in). Then assistant coach and now interim head coach Gary Smith was to take over naming player line ups for games. Why were the Rapids so reluctant to simply fire Clavijo if they didn't want him around?
Jeff at American Soccer News also takes a look at the coaching change. Of note is that Fernando Clavijo was only 40-49-25 as a head coach of the Colorado Rapids. As noted by View From The Couch, Clavijo's record over 114 games was an improvement of a single win over previous Colorado Rapids head coach Tim Hankinson. Now coaching at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, Hankinson had a record of 39-45-35. By chance Fernando Clavijo also coached the Rapids for a 114 games. Clavijo's record while in charge was 40-49-25. In terms of points, Hankinson amassed more while in charge.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Well, it happened. Fernando Clavijo and the Colorado Rapids have parted ways with 11 games left in the 2008 MLS season.
I didn't think it would with the Rapids front office seemingly content to wait for Clavijo's contract to run out at the end of the year. Likewise Fernando Clavijo didn't seem interested in leaving before his contract was up. But it finally happened with Clavijo officially resigning.
Earlier last week there was some legitimate speculation about Clavijo's departure. The last of it seemed to be over with Fernando Clavijo taking leave from the team due to a family emergency back in Uruguay.
Here at Black Panther, the hope is that Clavijo's resignation is not due to that situation worsening. Unlike the folks at MLS Rumors, I don't see the need to gloat about difficult family matters in Fernando's life. It's one thing to call him out for not being a successful coach in the MLS. It's quite another to take digs at him when a loved one of his is in poor health.
For the time being it appears that Gary Smith, the assistant coach Jeff Plush brought in during last off-season, will be coaching the team. The question is, will they stick with him next year or use the off-season to bring in a new head coach such as Paul Mariner or ex-Rapid John Spencer.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This one has a few twists and turns. As mentioned in a post before, the Washington Post's Steven Goff was reporting that sources in the Rapids organization had told him that Clavijo very well could be losing his job. Then in another post he said that Clavijo himself had reported that there was a meeting Tuesday where a vote of confidence was given for him to have the job for the remainder of the season.
[update] A Rapids official says that, other than their standard Tuesday meeting, there was no separate discussion with Clavijo about his status. "It 100 percent did not happen," he said.In the meantime, Clavijo has left Uruguay to attend to a family emergency. He does not expect to be back in time for Saturday's game against Kansas City at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Hopefully things will get better for whomever in Fernando Clavijo's family is experiencing problems. It's never a good time for these things but the timing is extra worse with it coming in the middle of much speculation over his job as head coach of the Colorado Rapids.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
As mentioned previously, the Colorado Rapids were linked with using their allocation pick to take Corey Gibbs. It's now official. A bit more on the deal by Brian Forbes at the Denver Post, too.
Back before the season began, WV Hooligan put out Fernando Clavijo, Sigi Schmid and Juan Carlos Osario as his top 3 for being in the coaching hot seat in the MLS. Sigi Schmid doesn't appear to be close with the Crew, along with head coaching rookie Dennis Hamlett's Chicago Fire, still in contention with New England for the Supporters Shield.
New York is sitting last in the East with just 22 points from 18 games. Osario's position while not great doesn't seem tenuous, at least not from out here on the edge of the Rockies. But WV Hooligan was right to mention then FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow.
Another guy that could be near the top is Dallas’s Steve Morrow. I don’t think he will be under fire during the season, unless the club just implodes somehow. But watch out later on in the season if Dallas goes into their typical summer collapse. People could get restless about that in the Big D if that happens. And if it does his name could appear on the list.As we know now, FC Dallas did not wait for summer slump to pull the trigger. He pulled it back in May. FC Dallas's assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi, who had a brief stint in the MLS with Tampa Bay back in 1998 and is an ex-Minnesota Thunder player, was the interim coach until SMU coach Schellas Hyndman was named as the teams head coach.
Will we see any more coaches fired this year? The Rapids have only won once in their last 10 games. And despite all the talk of making Dicks Sporting Goods Park a fortress, the Rapids lead the league with home losses with 4 so far. Could Clavijo be next? Or are the Rapids Front Offices hands tied by KSE and unable to jettison him until his contract is over?
Or will Juan Carlos Osario be next? One would think that New York is looking to give him time to build a team. But they're last in the East, 3rd worst in the MLS, and haven't won in their last 5.
UPDATE : I wrote this Monday and scheduled it for Wednesday. But already things are shaking out. The LA Galaxy fired Alexi Lalas and Ruud Gullit.
Now Goff is reporting that some folks in the Rapids camp are saying they may finally pull the trigger on Clavijo. It wouldn't surprise me but only because we're in the 2nd half of the season and Clavijo's contract is up come December. They could easily name Gary Smith as an interim coach for the remainder of the season. No need to spend more money than they already have. And beside, Jeff Plush brought in Gary Smith to be an assistant coach. Why would he do that without consulting Clavijo when they already had an assistant coach at the time, John Murphy (BTW, Murphy has since moved into another position with the team).
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
We're still waiting to hear the official word on this one. Soccer By Ives is reporting that LA Galaxy has passed on Corey Gibbs with the Colorado Rapids, next in line on the MLS' allocation list, exercising their pick and taking Gibbs. If one turns out to be true, the question remains if the Rapids will keep Gibbs or turn around and trade him. With one of the worst defenses in the league, the Rapids could use him.
Monday, August 11, 2008
So what is Clint "Cleatus" Mathis up to these days? He was in and out at Ergotelis with the club avoiding relegation but his short contract not being renewed. Awhile back he popped up with some MLS reserve teams with the most recent of those being for Real Salt Lake in a reserve frinedly against BYU. Then, as reported by Greg Selzter over at Soccer365, he had a trial with Norway's IK Start (Kristiansand).
And now Steven Goff is reporting that Real Salt Lake are interest in signing the 31 year old attacker. But what would they do with Mathis? Javier Morales has been a great find for them.
They have 5 strikers on their roster. Surely one of those would have to go if they're going to push Mathis up top. They do have some wiggle room when it comes to the cap but not for their roster. Then again, Matias Mantilla looks to have left the club. It's not official yet but his leaving would leave a roster spot open. And with Robbie Russell having left Norway to come back to the states, they have veteran cover in the back.
Could Mathis really end up joining Real Salt Lake? And if he does will he be that missing piece that helps the team start to score goals?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Colorado Rapids woes continued as they lost Toronto FC at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Toronto hadn't won a game in 2 months. The Rapids had only won once in their last 10. But Toronto was missing players (Amando Guevara, Laurent Robert, Marco Velez, Carmelo Lobo) forcing them to start some reserves. Plus they were going to be on the road playing in the afternoon heat at elevation.
Toronto clearly came out looking to do little other than prevent the Rapids from scoring. Rohan Ricketts was slid into the middle of the park with revent arrival Chad Barrett roaming alone up top. Despite this Toronto was the first to get on the scoreboard with Chad Barrett scoring right before half-time with a perfectly taken free kick (see video below).
The game went downhill after that. The Rapids did have good chances in the first half and the second half. Overall though it wasn't a good showing by the team. Terry Cooke looked uninterested. Clark on the left wasn't much better. Cummings and Casey again squandered their opportunities. Christian had a few long range shots but nothing too dangerous.
The most confusing moment of the game came in the 60th minute when Fernando Clavijo chose to sub Christian Gomez in favor of Nick LaBrocca. At that point Gomez was arguably the best offensive spark the Rapids had on the pitch. Given Cooke's lack of performance on the day, he should've been first choice for coming off. But there it was, one of the most skilled players in the league being subbed for a defensive midfielder while the Rapids were down a goal at home.
In the end the Rapids took a whopping 21 shots with 10 of those on frame. Unlike the Columbus game it's hard to argue that Sutton stood on his head to prevent scoring. There was a lack of quality with their choices. This is a team that doesn't move the ball quickly nor take their chances on net soon enough. I don't expect this to change until a new coach is brought in.
I forgot to post awhile back about Bruno Guarda. Guarda decided to ditch SMU and go pro in the MLS. The Colorado Rapids beat the odds and won his rights in the MLS lottery (more on him at College To Pros here and here). Soon after that the Rapids traded him to FC Dallas. The Rapids got 2nd round and 3rd round picks in the 2009 MLS draft along with a partial allocation. A nice piece of business for a player the Rapids didn't need nor had to give anything to get.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The match kicks off at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in a few hours. Rapids have only won once in their last five and twice in their last 10. They've been scoring goals, with only Columbus and Houston keeping them out of the net (incidentally both of those games were at home).
Toronto hasn't tasted victory in nearly 2 months. Toronto hasn't won in their last 5. They have 2 in their last 10 with both of those being at home. 2-0 at home against LA in May and 3-1 at BMO field against Colorado mid-June.
Nick at We Want Rapidman is reporting that we should see the same lineup that started against Everton. That means unlike recent games we'll see Pablo in the midfield, LaBrocca on the bench and the back 3 will be Ugo, Erpen and Burciaga. It's too bad. I'd rather see LaBrocca instead of Medhi at this point. Medhi's been struggling with his decision making and taking too much time on the ball.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Southampton travel to Cardiff Saturday to kick off their 3rd consecutive season in England's 2nd division. Yes, yes, I know it's called the Championship. But that's just a new label the marketers slapped on the old 2nd division.
Saint's new Dutch manager Jan Poortvliet says the team will be ready. Veteran Polish striker Marek Saganowski has joined Danish club Aalborg on loan until December. Saints are looking to get his £5,000 / week wages off their books. More so though, Saganowski only managed 3 goals in 30 appearances last year. A club in the tight financial situation Southampton is in right can't afford to have veteran players who don't produce.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I don't want to make too much of a glorified friendly like the game the Rapids had against Everton last Sunday evening. Glorified scrimmage? Yes, that is what the "international exhibition" is in terms of the game. Everton was working to get match fit and look at some players. For example, Everton manager David Moyes was using highly touted 17-year old Jack Rodwell as a midfielder. The talented Rodwell, who's the youngest player to have appeared for Everton's first team, has been a defender up until now.
Fernando Clavijo on the other hand put out his first team. The only differences were starting Preston Burpo in goal and using Jose Burciaga as one of the 3 defenders in the back instead of 4 in back. Despite fielding a strong squad, right off the bat the Rapids showed the defensive issues they've had all year (in fact, I've argued in the past defensive issues they've had during Clavijo's tenure with last year being a fluke; here and here). Mikel Arteta got the ball in the middle of the park and ran at the Rapids. Nothing special yet everyone kept backing off of him. Arteta showed his skills using the space he had to let loose with a 22 yard shot for a nice goal. For all the talk about the embarrassing goal by the Crew's Ekpo a few weeks ago for the game winner in Columbus, the Rapids don't seem to have learned.
What makes it more frustrating is that Clavijo is clearly aware of the team's defensive issues. As he said :
It's still a concern that it's too easy to break us down.Jump ahead to the 65th minute. Everton was clearly gased. They're not match fit, they'd been training in 100F heat, and they were playing at elevation (over a mile high). Yet the Rapids did little to take advantage. They were again failing to get the ball to Christian Gomez and utilize his skills. Apart from a couple of wonderful saves by Everton's Tim Howard, the Rapids were failing to put their frequent shots on frame. Only Colin Clarke looked like he was interested in taking advantage of Everton's heavy legs.
-Fernando Clavijo on the Everton games last Sunday
To close the game out, the Rapids defensive organization issues again reared it's ugly head. They young Everton sub Baxter get a little run with the ball in the box where he slotted the ball across to a relatively open Leon Osman to slot it home. With only a couple minutes left in the game and faced with an exhausted Everton, the Rapids defense yet again came unhinged and let the opposing team score their 2nd goal for the win.
It's hard to see the Rapids making the playoffs if they can't count on their defense keeping the goals out, especially when they're on the road. FC Rocky had a guest writer take a look at the playoffs the other day. You can read the post here.
Liverpool's Daily Post on the exhibition game here.
View From The Couch on the Everton game here.
Kyle at The Offside on the game here.
Nick at We Want Rapidman takes a look at the game and also notes Colins 2nd half performance.
And Class VI's Josh Vaismann takes a look at the game with player ratings here.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The internet kiddies are gonna say this one is soooooooooo old. But it was only 2 years ago that Fulham's American Clint "Deuce" Dempsey teamed up with the Big Hawk and Nike to put out this video. Enjoy!
Monday, July 28, 2008
I'd be curious to know more about this. ACL injuries happen but are they is 1500 women a large enough of a group for this sort of a study? After all, ACL's don't happen all that often, do they? And why didn't they have a picture of Heather Mitts?
The ACL is an important knee ligament. Female athletes are at greater risk for ACL injuries than males doing similar sports. The study included 1,435 players on 61 women's soccer teams in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. For one season, 26 teams used the Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) warm-up program. The other 35 teams served as a comparison group.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
If you don't want to buy fancy socks from mega companies like Adididas and Nike, you can always improvise. Like these folks in South Africa who are using condoms to hold up their socks.
As part of their pre-match kitting up, some Cape Town soccer players are slipping on condoms on their feet, so that their socks can stay up longer during matches. These creative sportsmen have discovered an innovative way of using condoms to secure and keep up their football socks, in the absence of expensive soccer socks, elastic or rubber bands. Condoms strewn on sportsfields in informal settlements have, of late, become a common sight. That they can be obtained free is an added bonus.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Chris Courtney over at Letters From Vagabondia takes a quick look at Landon Donovan's overtures of making a move away from the MLS. He points out something that I don't hear enough these days, that the English Premiership plays a style that would be best called "ping pong". Alright, Chris is much more diplomatic about it. He eludes to how the style of play doesn't lend itself well to players like Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko. I would add to that list players like Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron, and others. It's a style that emphasizes closing down on the player with the ball at the expense of time on the ball and positioning. There are nice one touch passes out there but too often you'll find players scrambling to get a foot or head on the ball only for it to go to an opposing player scrambling to get a foot or head on the ball and then yet again an player on the other team scrambling to get a foot..... get the picture? Ping pong. Let's hope Landon lands someplace where they're more concerned about the beauty part of the game.
Monday, July 21, 2008
A while ago I mention that Jaimie Moreno technically wasn't an MLS original. He joined DC United after the 1996 season was underway. With Tony Sanneh retiring from the game after his 2007 sting with the Colorado Rapids it appears that there are 5 players left that were with the league on it's first day. There are :
- Diego Gutierrez - Chiacgo Fire
- Jesse Marsch - Chivas USA
- Steve Ralston - New England Revolution
- Ante Razov - Chivas USA
- Zach Thornton - New York Red Bulls
Of these only Steve Ralston and Jesse Marsch have played every year in the league. Diego Gutierrez was with Kansas City in 1997. Unfortunately he missed the entire season due to a knee injury. Zach Thorton was not in the MLS in 2004 having left on a free to Benefica. And Ante Razov wasn't around for much of the 2001 season having joined Spanish club Racing de Ferrol.
Diego Gutierrez mulled retirement after the 2007 ended. He came back for one more season. Given the age of these guys, enjoy seeing them play while you can. It's likely that 2008 will be the last season for a few other of these guys.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The Colorado Rapids are in Frisco, Texas today to play FC Dallas. Dallas has 2 wins and 3 ties in their last 10 games. While they're struggled for points during this stretch they've only been shut out once, a 1-0 loss at New York. Can the Rapids shut them out this time around?
The only injuries with the Rapids worth noting at this time, sorry Justin, are Mike Petke, Tom McManus and all-star Christian Gomez. As you may know Petke is working to regain fitness after a long layoff after a foot injury that occurred in the 2007 season. Christian Gomez has been carrying a couple of knocks the last few weeks. And Tom "Tam" McManus was subbed out against San Jose after looking ineffective. It turned out that his picked up knee injury early in the game.
As for the game, Jason at View From The Couch the Couch predicts this line-up : GK : Bouna Condoul Def : Ihemelu - Pablo - Erpen Midfield : LaBrocca sitting back, C.Gomez - Ballouchy, and Cooke and Clark on the wings Forwards : Cummings - Casey
As for myself, I don't see anything too different. I wouldn't be surprised to see Christian Gomez start the game on the bench. If Gomez does start, he very well could be coming out long before the 60th. Gomez has wonderful skills but wasn't blessed with great stamina. Clavijo has commented in the past that the heat and humidity in the summer in Texas means not only is a slower game played but that the coach must be ready to sub players he wouldn't normally need to. Starting a banged up Gomez who normally doesn't have great stamina when they're looking at air temps in Frisco in the mid to upper 90s means Clavijo would already be commiting one substitution to Gomez. Sounds crazy? Keep in mind with the Texas humidity that means mid-90s feel well over 100F. For example 88F there right now has an AccuWeather Real Feel of 97F) at Frisco tonight. Add to that in the past Terry Cooke has also seemed to struggle with that heat and humidity. Given all of that I expect to see John DiRaimondo starting in the midfield alongside Nick Labrocca. Ballouchy will be given more freedom to go forward. That would give some flexibility to the squad. If Cooke gets gased he could be replaced by Peterson or even Christian Gomez with Ballouchy, Nick, or John pushed out to the right.
In other news Nick over at We Want Rapidman has a nice look at the upcoming Rapids friendly against England's Everton FC. Add me to the list of people disappointed that Tim Cahill won't be out on the pitch. At least US fans should have a chance to see US National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard play.
Friday, July 18, 2008
There have been a lot of rumors regarding Everton's Andrew Johnson being sold this summer. It seems David Moyes is interested in finding strikers that can find the back of the net with skill and not just grit. One of the clubs linked with making the move is Roy Hodgson's Fulham. Fulham buying another striker? Apparently having just bought Bobby Zamora and having Erik Nevland, Collins John, David Healy and American Eddie Johnson isn't enough with Roy Hodgson's fulham being linked with a move for Andrew Johnson. It seems unlikely with Wigan having been said to already have put in a £9 million for the scrappy striker. Even without a move for Andrew Johnson, how likely is Rddie Johnson to see playing time this year? Will it be with Fulham or would he be better served with a loan move to another club?
Just in case you though Fulham is only stocking up on strikers, if you're on this side of the pond you might think they're also collecting veteran goalkeepers upon hearing they've signed Mark Schwarzer on free transfer. At this point though it looks as though Kasey Keller did not re-up with Fulham and is available on a free. Will Keller actually pop up in the MLS now? Or will he make a return to Germany for one more paycheck?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
In the lead up to the 08-09 season, Southampton traveled 20 miles up the road where they defeated Salisbury City 3-0. There were even a couple dozen fans of both teams that managed to create trouble and end up in jail (more here). Jason Euell, Bradley Wright-Phillips and David McGoldrick scored for Saints.
Rudi Skacel's sale has yet to become official. It looks as though Southampton and Ipswitch have agreed to a free for the Czech midfielder. Skacel and Ipswitch have yet to agree to terms. In fact, Rudi's agents comments leaves one wondering if they're hoping for another club to swoop at the last minute :
Ipswich look like the most likely option, but still nothing is signed yet. There are still some clubs in the game but they are not as specific as Ipswich are.
Claus Lundekvam''s testimonial is tomorrow, July 18th at St. Mary's versus Celtic FC. With only 6 subs, it looks like Southampton's friendly at Eastleigh the next day, Saturday, will feature most of the first team.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
The easiest way to sum up the Rapids trip to San Jose last Saturday is as follows :
a) The Colorado Rapids were pathetic
b) The San Jose Earthquakes were pathetic.
c) The league should subtract a point from each team
This was a game the Rapids were easily capable of winning. They not only did not win it but failed to at least show that they wanted to win it. They travel to FC Dallas next weekend. The Super Skirts have only managed to win twice in their last 12 league games. Again, another game the Rapids can win. Will they even try this time?
Friday, July 11, 2008
We Want Rapidman has a nice look at Pablo Mastroeni's situation. With his contract up this December and with Pablo himself telling the press he is looking at making a move to Europe the speculation over where he could land has begun. Livorno, Atalanta, Aston Villa, and Cagliari are ones that were mentioned by Nick. Do you think Pablo will actually make the move this time? Will he end with Brad Guzan at Aston Villa?
If you find yourself saying "but Brad Guzan plays in the MLS for Chivas USA", well, you're a few hours behind the times. It's official today that Aston Villa has bought the young American goalkeeper for $1.5 million. The Offside Rules, par for course, has more information and an entertaining photo on it here.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Most teams in Major League Soccer struggle to win on the road. The Colorado Rapids are no exception. Over half way through the 2008 season and the Rapids have a single win on the road. Worse than that, they have yet to pick up a tie on the road. In soccer part of the game is finding a way to pick up points on the road, even if it's just a tie.
While the Colorado Rapids have only allowed 5 goals in 8 home games, they've allowed 15 in their 7 road games. While that's not the worst in the league, Toronto FC have allowed 16 in 6 games, it's still horrible.
After the 2007 season, when the Colorado Rapids missed the playoffs, much was made by Fernando Clavijo and other Rapids officials about their defense. They had the 3rd best defense in the league as measured by goals allowed (GA). As I mentioned awhile ago (old post here), in looking at how the defense did I felt the GA was better than the defense had deserved.
In 2006 the Colorado Rapids allowed a whopping 49 goals in 2006. That was bad enough to be worst in the MLS (tied with then 2nd year Real Salt Lake). 34 goals allowed in 2007 was a huge improvement. While they're scoring more goals, Clavijo's Rapids are on pace to let in nearly that many, 32, while on the road this year.
As many of us fans of the beautiful game know, goals are sexy but to advance in a tournament or the playoffs, a team needs to have a stingy defense. If the Rapids are going to get points on the road, important if they are to make the playoffs, let alone advance in the MLS playoffs they need to find a way to stop the opposing team from scoring goals. Surely that shouldn't be too tall a task for the Rapids. After all they're coached by Fernando Clavijo who played defense for the US National Team.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Southampton's pre-season starts tonight at Farnborough. The soap opera over Jan Poortvliet is over with Rupert Lowe having finally officially getting his man. Now the real work begins.
Poortvliet was quick to let 6 players leave St. Mary's. Inigo Idiakez, Alexander Ostlund, Darren Powell, Mario Licka, Jermaine Wright and Josh Dutton-Black have all been allowed to leave on a free. Since then Youssef Safri has also been allowed to leave Southampton.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Like most teams in the MLS, the Colorado Rapids have a single win on the road this year. As Nick over at We Want Rapidman points out, the key to the Rapids doubling that total this weekend at San Jose will be scoring first. Will things for the Rapids start to come together with another win to follow-up their season high 4-0 win over hapless New York.
If you didn't catch the news, again mentioned over at We Want Rapidman, the highly touted Rapids goalkeeper Justin Hughes recovered from his hernia injury only to turn around and see his bad luck continue in dislocating his shoulder. Best of luck in recovering Justin!
It's interesting take a look back on some comments about the Rapids earlier this season. Are the Rapids carrying out that unique, fast-pace play that is leading to home-field advantage? Is it hurting them on the road? MLSnet.com's Article :
And although Clavijo has unveiled a new formation in each of the last two home games, helping to establish the unique, fast-paced, home-field approach he hopes will give the Rapids an edge playing a mile above sea level, he expected the latest look to have legs enough to play on the road, depending on the opposition. "There are teams that are more open for us to do that," Clavijo said of the 3-5-2 formation's future. "There are teams that we may need a different system. For the first time I'm going to apply what I think, regardless. I have a lot of intelligent players, and we can switch back and forth between different systems depending on the team we play."
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Who Ate All The Pies likes to have fun. I especially enjoyed this one where they look at footballers who should be figure skaters. I especially got a laugh at the thought of ol' David Ginola being a figure skater.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
In case you didn't catch it last week, Brazilian Rafael Gomes was released by the Colorado Rapids. One would assume this was to make room for Mike Petke coming off of the injured reserve list. I'd be curious to know why Clavijo brought him into the team, barely had him play, and then was quick to release him.
I get a bit tired of the ex-MLSer rumors that involve them coming back to the MLS to play for the same team they played for before their move overseas. Often they don't make sense given the situation whether it's because of the MLS' arcane rules for bringing an ex-MLS player back from overseas or just that their ex-club didn't need them.
This time the rumor of Josh Wolff seemed to make sense. KC needs goals and they need to shake things up a bit with their squad. Sure, some of that comes from a goofy schedule that put them on the road 6 games in a row. But they've had their chances at home and came up short too often. With only 11 goals in 13 games, KC's not scoring the goals that they need. Kansas City's signing of Josh Wolf, who is still only 31, should help inject some life into their attack. Will this be enough for KC to make the play-offs? I don't think so.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I had my nose in a book too long and had to make a stop before catching the game in the 28th minutes. Speaking of things after that, in general the Rapids didn't have a bad game. It wasn't a possesion oriented match for either team. Not that we've come to expect Clavijo's Rapids to do much when it comes to holding onto the ball and working it around the pitch.
Bouna had a nice game other than his big whiff. He came out for a ball and gave us a glimpse of the ol' Bouna, somehow flubbing the kick. Luckily it didn't cost the Rapids. What frustrates me the most about this is that Bouna is very athletic. He's not trying to thread the ball inbetween a couple defenders for a picture perfect pass. He simply needs to get his foot on the ball and make it go high, far and out. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me but the problem seems to be him leaving his feet to kick the ball. Come on Bouna, just plant a foot and kick the thing. I don't mean to overplay the incident in terms of the game. But you have to wonder why foreign scouts wouldn't cringe when seeing that sort of thing.
The penalty kick call was frustrating to see. That sort of a "foul" wouldn't be called half the time outside of the box. To see it called in the box, where referees normally have a higher threshold was confusing, to say the least. Normally I don't like to lay into the referees for the job they're doing. In this case I really hope that Toledo looks back at his call and regrets it.
Another key moment in the game was Ekpo's run that lead to his wonderful shot that resulted in the game winning goal. Ekpo got the ball and made a long, fast run down the middle left of the Rapids defense. It was the perfect seem with no one on the Rapids side of the ball willing to step in before it was too late. I suspect that had Ekpo made that run just a little more wide or just a little more in the middle we would have seen LaBrocca, DiRaimando or Jordan Harvey step up earlier to for Ekpo to make a pass or at least stop his sprint. It's easy to blame Harvey but it's not just his fault. One of the midfielder should've been on Ekpo earlier. I wonder if Pablo had been in his usual role of cleaning up in the midfield if he wouldn't have recognized the threat earlier and stopped it. Whatever could have and should have happened, what did happen was a simple, straight fast run topped off with a great shot while still going at speed. You have to give Ekpo props for a great goal.
Where was Christian Gomez?
The question for the Rapids is what are they missing? More time on the ball? Better runs? A striker with a nose for the goal?
By the way, if you were wondering wear ex-rapid Nicolas Hernandez was last night, he was waived by the Crew before the game. More on that at American Soccer.
Friday, June 27, 2008
When is Garger going to grow a pair and start fining and suspending players for actions such as these? Saragosa, with no one around him, goes down. At best he's trying to feign injury in hopes of avoiding a yellow for pulling on Dwayne DeRosario's jersey. At worst he's hoping the referee will assume DeRosario did something. Either way, it's puerile bullshit that does not belong in the game.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Read more about the half-time sprinklers over at FC Rocky.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Rapids will have US Mens National Team midfield Pablo Mastroeni back tonight when they take on the Houston Dynamo tonight. Is Pablo healthy and ready to start? The team hasn't said he's not despite him coming off early in the USMNT World Cup Qualifier against Barbados last weekend with, well, what appeared to be a sore butt.
View From The Couch has a suggested lineup for tonight's match :
D :Ihemelu - Erpen - Harvey
Mid :Pablo/DiRaimondo - LaBrocca
Mid :Cooke - C.Gomez - Clark
F : McManus - Casey
I doubt we'll be seeing Terry Cooke starting tonight. As We Want Rapidman points out, Fernando Clavijo wants to see Cooke playing both sides of the ball. Clavijo doesn't feel that Terry Cooke and Christan Gomez can be on the pitch at the same time. They're both defensive liabilities. Fernando feels the team can afford the hit from either one but not both at the same time. This may provide us with more insight into the experiment of Christian Gomez as a second forward. Injuries to strikers may have been the impetus behind the experiment. But in pushing Gomez forward, something Christian was infamous for doing on his own during his DC United days, Clavijo may have been hoping to get around that issue. Gomez up top wasn't working and now Cooke's riding the pine.
FC Rocky, among others, carried the news that John Murphy is no longer an assistant coach for the Rapids. Word on the street is that Murphy and Clavijo's relationship was deteriorating. A change was needed so Murphy's assistant coaching duties were ended. He will focus on his duties as director of play development. My take? If their relationship wasn't good the change was needed. It's common for MLS teams to only have a coach and an assistant coach. The Rapids brought in a new assistant coach before 2008, Gary Smith. The question here is if this a way for the Rapids Front Office to pull Murphy out of the picture so he doesn't need to be axed when they move to replace head coach Fernando Clavijo.
In case you didn't catch all the news the last few days :
ex-Rapid David Kramer Named As Goalkeeping Coach
Rapids drop Murphy as Asst. Coach
Brian Forbes at the Denver Post on Omar Cummings
Colorado Dads Interviews Coach Fernando Clavijo About Being A Dad
American Soccer News On The Upcoming Houston Game & Mike Petke's Health
Friday, June 20, 2008
Saints still have not come to terms for hiring Jan Poortvliet as their new manager. Their inability to do this doesn't install confidence in me that Lowe's return is bringing much change.
On top of it Southampton is implementing a lot of minor cost cutting measure. Well, minor as long as your not the long time kitman losing their job. http://www.thisishampshire.net/sport/hampshiresport/display.var.2329579.0.saints_begin_costcutting_programme.php
Saints are this week embarking on the "painful process" of making a round of redundancies as they look to slash their wage bill.
The cuts are not just for the management and the players but are also extending to ordinary staff who are currently finding themselves under threat.
Already gone are long serving kitman Malcolm Taylor and club secretary Liz Coley.
The popular Taylor had been at Southampton for 30 years - 14 of them as kitman.
He started out as a steward at The Dell's Archer's Road end, then manned the car park and the player's gate before looking after the directors in the boardroom.
With Saints short of a kitman during Ian Branfoot's reign as manager, he juggled that with his other duties and it was Glenn Hoddle who later invited him to take on the kitman's role full time
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Anyone know where Clint Mathis is these days? The Greek club he was with, Ergotelis, barely escaped relegation. He was released at the end of the season. Is he in Europe trying out with other clubs? Maybe trying to get one last pay check with a Mexican club?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I wouldn't expect to see Roman Abramovich showing up at any Rapids games anytime soon. Well, unless he decides that Chelsea needs to do some training in Denver while he visits his new house in Aspen for a summer vacation.
From Rocky Mountain News : SNOWMASS VILLAGE — Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovich bought the Wildcat Ridge mansion in Snowmass Village on Tuesday for $36.375 million. The sale ended more than three years of attempts by Leon Hirsch to sell the estate using different brokers and even an auctioneer. “We’ve had multiple offers,” said listing broker Maureen Stapleton of BJ Adams Real Estate, which handled both sides of the transaction. The sale goes down as the third-most-expensive residential real estate deal in Pitkin County. The standard was set in February 2004, when Hollywood movie mogul Peter Guber sold his Mandalay Ranch, outside of Snowmass Village in the Owl Creek Valley, for $46 million to Dawn and Roland Arnall. And in December, Prince Bandar bin Sultan sold his 14,395-square-foot guest home to the Soffer family of Florida for $36.5 million — $125,000 more than what Abramovich paid. Abramovich, was ranked No. 16 last year on Forbes’ list of billionaires, with a net worth of $18.7 billion. In February, he bought a Snowmass Village home for $11.8 million. Stapleton said he likely will hold on to both properties and live there part time.
Thanks to Who Ate All The Pies for catching this one. Last week before the Germany - Poland game in Euro 2008 a Polish tabloid had the headline "Leo, gice us their heads!" with Polish coach Leo Beenhaker holding the severed heads of Michael Ballack and German coach Joachim Low. Yes, it was horrible. But doesn't part of you wish the Rocky Mountain News would have something similar on their front page? Maybe a picture of Pablo holding onto Jason Kreis and Dave Checketts severed heads? Speaking of Euro 2008, in letting Turkey come back from behind to win 2-1 yesterday Switzerland became the first team of the tournament to be eliminated from the 2nd round. Could the other co-host Austria be next?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Ever wonder how much success money can buy? Soccer Orb had a nice chart the other day plotting out points by wages for teams in the English Premiership for 2006-2007. It shows that success just may be as simple as spending money. The question is, does the success bring the money or does the money bring success?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Yesterday Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez was arrested in Chicago. Mexico had played Peru at Soldier Field. More on the store over at the Red Card.
My advice for Sanchez ---> Call Mike Hatch. The guy has loads of experience on how to work the system and make sure you get set free. A few years ago when he was the attorney general in Minnesota, his daughters went our drinking and somehow managed to get arrested. they ended up, among other things, kicking out a window in a police car. Being the great daddy he is, instead of having his daughters take responsibility for being mean, dumb drunks he went to bat for them. Oswaldo, no matter what you did, this guy knows how to work Chicago to get you set free.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Euro 2008 kicked off today in Basle, Swizterland. The Czech Republic faced off against the co-hosts Switzerland. Many pundits have picked Switzerland to get out of Group A. For myself, I didn't. In fact, the Czechs are my dark horse pick for winning it. Today, this morning for those of us in Colorado, the Swiss showed why the pundits shouldn't have gone with them.
What is that? They showed why they shouldn't have been picked to advance? But they generated more chances and better chances for goals.
It's true that the Swiss generated better chances. In failing to convert on those, they demonstrated on the pitch what we already knew on paper. The Swiss have shown they're solid but not the sort of team that's capable of putting away an opponent. They're missing that killer instinct, so to speak.
The embodiment of that was in the 70th minute. With the Czech Republic already in the lead, the Swiss had a golden opportunity. I believe it was Yakim, who came in at half-time for the injured Alexandr Frei, who had an excellent shot parried by Petr Cech. Swiss substitute Johan Vonlanthen was wide open and well position for the rebound. He only had to beat Cech who was still recovering from the initial save. Vonlanthen put the shot off the cross bar. The Czech's held on to the lead and won the game 1-0.
Vonlanthen was unlucky to not score on that chance. But add that in with the other opportunities and it's not a matter of luck, it's a matter of skill. In this case the lack of ability to put away a chance when it presents itself.
Other than a the last half of the first half, the Czech's didn't manage to control the game for long periods of time. They weren't generating shots like they needed. But they've been in these games before and didn't panic.
Early in the second half long-time Czech manager Karel Brückner replaced Jan Koller, who at the point had disappeared from the match, with 25 yyear-old Václav Svěrkoš. Svěrkoš went on to finish the one chance he had at goal. The Swiss failed to effectively clear from a corner. A header from David Rozehnal(or was it Tomáš Ujfaluši?) went over the Swiss defense. An unmarked Svěrkoš scooted through and used the outside of his right foot to put the ball away.
The difference in the match? The Czech's now how to put the ball away when needed (they won Group D in qualifying; beating out Germany and scoring 27 goals in 12 games). The 26-year old Petr Cech is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. It showed in qualifying with the Czech's allowing a miserly 5 goals in 12 games. And it showed today with Cech having several excellent saves and the Czechs blanking Switzerland.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
There's been a lot going on lately. Euro 2008 is about to get started. The US Men are going to play Spain in a friendly. Southampton's coaching situation is an even bigger mess with Nigel Pearson's contract not renewed and the new coach, that Dutch P guy, apparently still under contract someplace else (I thought Lowe was going to clean up the mess instead of adding to it). The Rapids are taking on Kansas City in the US Open Cup. Tickets for the fancy-pants scrimmage between Everton and the Rapids go on sale in a few hours.
As for last week's FC Dallas game, well, I hope they can repeat that performance against the Galaxy. In theory they should be able to. The Rapids didn't let FC Dallas' midfield do very much. On paper they should be able to do the same again. Then again, we're talking about Clavijo's tactics versus Guillit's. That doesn't seem to bode as well for the Rapids.
We Want Rapidman was happy for the win but wasn't overly impressed by it. More by Nick here.
FC Rocky looks at the Dallas match noting the sloppy defending by the Rapids. He also mentions that, and I agree, Rapids' Scottish striker Tom McManus may be emerging as a player that can score goals when the team needs them. More on that at FC Rocky.
View From The Couch looks back at the match at Dicks Sporting Goods Park against FC Dallas. He notes 2 interesting facts :
1) This is the first time we've given up a lead this season.
2) Its also the first time we've won when allowing the opposition to score.
More from View From The Couch on the game here.
FC Rocky is passing on some comments from a fellow Rocky Mountain News employee who is in Italy and went to see Pisa and Bologna play. Are the marketers paying attention to this?
"To me, it's kind of how sports used to be when we were growing up without all of the annoying music, dancers, blimps flying around etc. Just the passion for the game."
Monday, June 02, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
It looks like Nigel Pearson got a big "thank you for saving us from relegation" today in the form of being shown the door. Southampton announced that they will not renew Nigel Pearson's short term contract that comes due in a month. Instead they will be bringing in Jan Poortvliet. Who? I was wondering the same. Poortvliet's CV has clubs like Den Bosch, Roosendaal and Stormvogels Telstar. Seeing a new gaffer in charge who's biggest club managed is Southampton isn't exactly the sort of thing to get the fans excited.
Monday, May 26, 2008
With the Rapids loss to Chivas USA at Dicks Sporting Goods Park, they have yet to win 2 games in a row in 2008. At least in 2007 they pulled off a couple of winning streaks. One was 3 games and the other was 2 games. Not much to brag about? Yep. But so far 2008 hasn't been much better.
This loss really gets my goat. Somehow the Colorado Rapids didn't manage to own this game. Chivas USA was missing an entire backline (Suarez, Thomas, Vaughn, Zotinka). They were playing a 3-5-2 because, well, they didn't really have any other choice (Or did Preki actually trying calling that a 3-4-3?).
They were also missing Galindo, Wicky, Alecko, and Bornstein. Heck, Razov wasn't ready to make a start Saturday night. In 2007 we were told one of the few bright spots was the defense. Folks pointed at their GA and said they were 3rd best. But as I mentioned awhile ago in a post here , I thought there were more problems than the GA was letting on to. We painfully witnessed that Saturday Night when the defense allowed 2 goals despite Chivas USA fielding a 19 year old kid and Attiba "2 brick feet" Harris. With the injuries, the altitude and being away from home Chivas USA had no business tieing this game let alone winning it. This was a game begging for the Rapids to score a handful of goals and to rack up another clean sheet. Somehow the Rapids made sure that wasn't the case.
What will it take for the Rapids to start playing like a better team? Do they really have that much less talent than other teams? Is Clavijo making good use of Christian Gomez? Does Terry Cooke need to start? Is this the last year we see Jacob Peterson in the MLS? Was this just a case of Preki out coaching Clavijo?
But the main question I want to hear answered is this : Why does Clavijo play a 3-5-2 only for the team to turn around and spend 1/2 of their passes trying to hurry up and knock the ball 3/4th of the way up the field in the air? That is, what good is the 3-5-2 when the players are so prone to playing long balls?
Highlights from the game including Tom McManus' incredible 35-yard goal :
More on the Chivas USA - Rapids game:
As Saints fans remember all too well, it was only a couple weeks ago they were escaping relegation on the last game of the season. Somehow when they were playing at The Dell and pulling off a last second miracle it's a romantic feat. When it's a relatively big club that just a few years ago was in UEFA and playign for the FA Cup flailing to avoid the drop to League One (div. 3), it's not romantic but down right pathetic.
Tale From The Revolution touches on this subject with their solution being seen as the Southampton needs a big money owner. Obviously this is needed to compete with the ManUtd's and Chelsea of the world. Heck, I don't think too many folks would say I'm going off the deep end to say it's needed to regularly compete for spots in the UEFA cup or just maybe the Intertoto too. Any one year there's always a club or two that make a good run at these that don't have that sort of financial footing. But to regularly do this year after year without a good amount of cash being poured into the club?
Regardless of those high standards, I don't see Southampton needing this to be able to make the step back up to the Premiership. Bristol City nearly did it this year. Hull isn't poor but isn't exactly backed with huge bank accounts. WBA's Jeremy Peace isn't poor but isn't the sort of investor that can poor tens or hundreds of millions of pounds into a club like Chelsea or Portsmouth to force them up. Stoke is owneded by Bet365; not bad but again not a situation where loads of cash is going to be thrown at the club.
That's the thing with this, I don't see why Southampton needs a sugar daddy to make the step up back to the Premiership. It would definitely help with some resources but really Saints are big enough to do it on their own. What they really need is solid leadership from the top down that can carry out the right decisions to help the club move back up. More on that another day, though.
Rupert Lowe is back at the wheel with Southampton. I don't see where this is going to bring the club. We're talking about someone who took the club a few steps forward but in the end took them even further back. It's not just that they were relegated but Lowe set them on the course that brought them were they are today with shaky finances and a team lacking leadership both on and off the field.
At least Glenn Hoddle has not returned to St. Mary's. Setanta had some fun letter Glendda run his mouth about how many clubs he would like to hire him just so he can walk out on them. I just don't see why Southampton would want him back. But if Lowe can get control of things again, who knows what else will happen. It's too bad as Southampton needs to start moving forward again.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Toronto wins the match tonight 1-0. This time last year would you have imagined that early in 2008 DC United would be on a 4 game losing streak? More so, would you have imagined Toronto FC being unbeaten in 6 straight games?
The Cone is Gone! Not quite as uplifting news as learning that I've magically inherited a billion dollars and can save the Colorado Rapids from Enos "Uncle Scrooge" Kroenke but it's good enough to brighten my day.
For those who thought Glinton (out with injury now, IIRC) and Kamara were going to be able to consistently pose an attacking threat in the MLS, this is Yallop's way of saying his doesn't agree. I don't think anyone here doubts Kirovski's talent. Nor will you find many folks that will argue that his on the field performances have been worthy of his $200,000 salary. Why is Yallop doing this? Because with an expansion team on his hands and Joe Cannon in nets, he never needed Preston "Stone" Burpo. But what Yallop's squad sorely needs is some sort of offense; some sort of ability to hold up the ball and pass it around.
Kirvoski's not going to hold up and spread the ball around anything like we would traditionally picture that role. Nevertheless, Yallop's not going to find anyone better for the rest of 2008 to do this. Guevara crawled back to the MLS to join Toronto. Christian Gomez signed with Colorado. Now there may be some diamonds in the rough lurking in Argentina but Yallop doesn't have much time left to find them.
To compound the situation for San Jose they have 2 attacking player, Glinton and Peguero, out with injuries. Kei Kamara is still looking like USL-1 material more often than not. They need to try to scounge up a few goals. At this point in time, unfortunately for them, Kirovski likely to be their best choice for now.
As for Kelly Gray I'm sorry to see him go. To me he seems like the quintesential MLS defender. That is never quite good enough to get a big salary and no longer young enough to be willing to work for peanuts so he ends up bouncing along from team to team over the years depending on whom is looking for some defensive depth (see also, Richie Kotschau, Eric Denton). I wish him luck in San Jose.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Just a quick post with some random thoughts on the Rapids win last night.
Did Clavijo tell Colin Clark to not dream about taking a run at people? It looked like Clarke may have seen some bench time to get the message he needs to learn to better choose when to run with the ball. He didn't appear interested in doing much more than pass last night. This isn't a bad thing.
What was Kreis thinking? Dema and Beckerman wide? The Rapids wide players Colin Clark and Jacob Peterson didn't look like they were playing in a competitive game. The part of the game involving them looked more like a non-stop crossing drill. I'm sure it happened a few times but I can't remember a single time RSL did anything to mess up wide play by those two.
Was that Kosuke Kimura with the goal line clearance for the Rapids? The more I think of it, it was ever Kosuke or Erpen that I would've given MOTM. Of course the Rapids FO announced the goal scorer Omar Cummings for it after the game last time. Can you think of a time they didn't announce the player with the game winning goal as MOTM? Do they really have that little understanding of the game?
With 4 offsides, a header, and a few short trots at $105,000 Kenny Deuchar was the 2nd most overpaid player last night.
After 60 minutes of failing to deal well with the Rapids 3-5-2, Kreis failed to adjust the teams personnel or tactics. It's good to see patience and sticking to imposing your plan on the game. But after an hour of it not working, why didn't Kries try changing things up? Deuchar and Espindola had little to do all night and had failed to come back to find the ball. Williams was busy making sure his freshing polished finger nails didn't get messed up. Dema and Kyle were running and running and running and running.... but not seeming to have the rest of the team do much to help them get the ball forward. Did Kreis want to win the game or was he just trying not loose? If it's just trying not to loose, is RSL actually better off than they were with Ellinger?
Why didn't Andy Williams retire after 2007? I'm not sure what he did last night other than some simple passes, too many ugly possession-losing flics, and trot around hiding his hands in his sleeves. It's baffling as to why Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis kept him out on the pitch. They missed Javier Morales last night. With RSL struggling to produce much in the way of possession let along generate chances, you have to wonder why Kries didn't throw Cordoba in another 20 minutes earlier. Surely with Dema, Cutler, and Beckerman in the midfield there wasn't any danger of lacking bite in the midfield.
Chris Wingert --> The ex-Rapid was playing at left back for Real Salt Lake last night. He had two howler passes last night that could've easily cost his team another goal or two.
Clavijo Tactics Won It --> The Rapids had plenty of chances they should've done better to finish. They may have only officially had 10-12 shots but, as I noted, at times it looked like a crossing drill for them. The players may have not executed but in putting the 3-5-2 out on the pitch, Clavijo showed he watched his tape and knew RSL's weakness. Good job Fernando!
Do the Rapids need to have 2 players in on taking corner kicks every time?
Props to Bouna on the cleansheet last night. Things were quiet for him more often than not. But he showed maturity and concentration in being able to rise to the occasion the few times he needed to do so. Especially big was his save on a late free kick taken by Epsindola (or someone else?). It was drive low and to Bouna's right. He got low past and pushed it wide.
Have referees been instructed to not call PK's when Omar Cummings is taken down in the box more than once or twice a season? Mantilla man handled him at one point, wedging his body into Omar's back with his right arm hooked onto Omar so they looked like some young drunken teenage couple trying to figure out the whole PDA thing. It completely took away Omar's ability to turn with the ball let alone keep his balance. Mantilla took Omar down, there was no call, and somehow Omar again managed to pop up and keep playing.
Abby --> Next time a player takes a dive, like Dema did right in front of you, please have the balls to dish out the YC. Yes, I know next time it just might be Clark or Herc but I really want to see something happen over diving. Overall though Abbey did a good job calling the game.
Pablo, LaBrocca and Christian Gomez --> I love it. LaBrocca's comfortable getting forward to link with Gomez. Pablo's comfortable doing the same here and there with LaBrocca reading play and dropping back. And Christian Gomez looks loads better when he's played back a bit and allowed to move forward with the ball.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Looks like it'll be a chilly spring evening with a chance for some rain for tomorrow night's game. Real Salt Lake is traveling to The Dick (Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado). RSL has yet to win on the road in 2008. In fact, they've only won 6 times away from Rice-Eccles in their history. Will the Rapids make sure that Kreis' team racks up yet another road loss?
The Minnesota have, as far as soccer in America goes, been around for quite awhile. They're proud of their history having started out in 1994 in the USISL. As they grew they moved up into what is now known as USL-1 (ex- A-league; US division 2). But the last couple of years they've struggled.
Local owners bought the team 3 years ago and cut back on player wages. The team lost too many games and played most of their home games in a high school football stadium, James Griffin (St. Paul Central HS), with artificial turf and football lines. New owners, a Belguim company Wingfield, bought the team and pledged to invest $2 million in it for higher player wages and other improvements.
The investment has payed off with the Minnesota Thunder having their best start in years. They're 3-1 including wins over traditionally strong Vancouver, Montreal and Rochester. The Thunder still have ex-player and St. Paul Academy grad Amos Magee at the helm as their head coach. They have brought in some new talent, among them ex-Colorado Rapids player Luchi Gonzalez (spent last year with Miami FC) and ex-rapids, Ex-Real Salt Lake striker Melving Tarley (spent last year with Puerto Rico).
Duncan "Melvin" Tarley made his name, so to speak, a couple years ago with the Minnesota Thunder. They had had a nice run in the US Open Cup that included Tarley scoring a lot of goals. In fact, he scored four against the Colorado Rapids. But he didn't catch on in the MLS. First Real Salt Lake gave him a try. IIRC his only goal in 9 games was against DC United. Tarley started the next season again with the Thunder. Later in the year the Rapids gave him a try again and again with little MLS success. Tarley join ex-Dallas coach Colin Clarke at Puerto Rico last year. This year with more money on the table the Minnesota Thunder we able to bring him back. He just returned and hasn't played much. Watch for Magee to use him both as a midfielder and forward.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
The Rapids are in Houston this weekend to take on the Dynamo. What changes will Clavijo make? And which Rapids will show up? As much talk as their has been over Houston's slow start, they have yet to win a game, I have a hard time taking Dominic Kinnear's Dynamo lightly. After all, the last time the Rapids had an easy game was against San Jose at home against Dicks Sporting Goods Park. And in that game the Rapids failed to come out and play, gifting the expansion Earthquakes an easy 2-0 win.
A Quick Question : What does the Rapids 2-0 win over DC United mean after seeing the Screaming Eagles fall 2-0 at home to the Chicago Fire? And why did the league schedule DC United for a Thursday night game right after a Sunday game?
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I ran across Martin Roger's list of MLS underpaid / overpaid players from last week. I didn't mind that he cited John DiRaimondo over Nick LaBrocca despite LaBrocca appearing in every game for the Rapids this year. Nor was it his puzzling claim that Brad Guzan has "gone right back to work for Chivas". Yes, Guzan's been playing but he's had a few howlers.
What caught my eye was Roger's listing Real Salt Lake's Kenny Deuchar as being underpaid. His reasoning? Deuchar is "a proven goalscorer". More so, his salary is "low for a British import". Please, Mr. Rogers, take some time to watch some games. What has Deuchar done in those to show you he's underpaid? 2 goals in 6 games? Something more than that?
Citing Kenny Deuchar as a "proven goalscorer" is either knowingly misleading or, worse for someone who is supposedly an expert on the game, flat out ignorance. In his entire career, Deuchar has only scored 6 goals in 15 games in the Scottish top flight. All of those games were this year for the Scottish Premiership in his career. At that they were for Gretna, a club that's gone from having financial problems to being on the verge of going out of existence. A club that a couple weeks ago put out a team almost entirely composed of loan players from England's lower leagues. A club that had loaned Deuchar out to lower league teams until later in the season when financial problems had worsened and Gretna was losing players on free transfers (couldn't afford wages; missing payments).
6 in 15 isn't bad but it's not prolific. What about Deuchar's other years? Those were spent in the lower leagues of Scotland and a bit of time in England's 3rd division. But he scored loads of goals there? Yes, he did. But what's important to point out that he only played a couple handful of games in Scotland's 2nd division. Kenny Deuchar only scored 2 goals in those games. All of his other games and all of his other 90+ goals were all scored in Scotland or England's 3rd division or lower.
On the verge of turning 28, Deuchar has been playing for a long time. Despite all that time he not only hasn't managed even one complete season in an arguably mediocre league, the Scottish Prem, but hasn't managed a complete season in the next division down. Even more sparse than his time in those leagues were his goals. Jason Kries and Real Salt Lake's fans may be hoping they've found a diamond in the rough. But so far the only thing that's for certain is that Kenny Deuchar is better than the last striker Real Salt Lake signed for $105,000, Luis Tejada.
Monday, May 05, 2008
There's always some jerk that finds gloom and a bright, sunny day. Today I'm that jerk. Don't get me wrong, DC United may have not came to play. But the Rapids did their job for most part. They kept pressure on them and didn't let them get things rolling.
The Rapids went into half-time tied up at zero with DC United. They failed to put away their chances in the first half. Where's the harm in that? They risked a DC United that hadn't played well coming out of the locker room fired up and looking to show the viewers on Telefutura that they are championship material.
Luckily for the Rapids, DC United didn't come out firing on all pistons. They finally put things together properly when Christian Gomez, finally allowed by Clavijo to play behind 2 strikers and have the space to run forward with the ball, got around Simms and went forward with the ball. Drawing defenders, Gomez waited until the last moment to perfectly lay the ball up to Jacob Peterson running in from his right. Peterson sharply struck the ball on his first touch. DC United's goalkeeper Zach Wells was cheating centrally in antcipation for a cross. Instead Peterson's shot beat Wells at the inside post.
Being down 1-0 on the road, we expect a championship team to be woken up after letting in a goal. It wasn't their day and the Rapids didn't let them generate any meaningful offense. Erpen eventually put the game away with the Rapids second goal. It was a good game by the Rapids.
So what's the worry? Last year when the Roberto "El Bombardo" Brown was read carded in the match at The Dick against the Fire, they put away their one good chance. It gave me hope to see Herculez perfectly sprung free, slotting home the one good chance they had in the match. If this teams is going to show it's ready to make a run at the MLS Cup in 2008, they need to show they put their chances away when they present them self. I know it seems ticky-tack. But it's the difference between a team that barely makes the play offs and one that's capable of winning it all.
More on the game:
Jacob Peterson's winning goal against D.C. wasn't a candidate for MLS goal of the week? Are you kidding me?
It might not have won. I'm guessing one of the two Beckham goals will win.
View From A Couch
The Rapids had their most dominate performance since the opening match, while DC continued their run of play at altitude. Clavijo made 4 changes to the starting 11, benching Cooke, Clark, Keel and Burciaga in favor of Peterson, Cummings, Ihemelu, and Harvey and switched from the 4-5-1 to the more traditional 4-4-2 with LaBrocca taking up Clark's spot on the left. I questioned this change at the beginning of the game, but the Rapids proved me wrong.
My Soccer Blog : Jacob Peterson's Goal
But Peterson's strike on that crazy assist from Christian Gomez should be among the five choices this week.
My Soccer Blog The first test of Marcelo Gallardo versus Christian Gomez is over and Gomez won hands down (even if Simms tied him up most of the match).The Offside Rules If ever there was a case for a Goal of the Week write-in, Jacob Peterson's one-time screamer against DC United on Sunday is it. Goff's Soccer Insider
THE COYOTE UGLY*Everything about United's performance. ESPN's Steve Davis
5. We need more time to judge United's big Gomez-Gallardo gamble, to assess once and for all whether Colorado or United came out better. But so far it's all Colorado. United jettisoned Christian Gomez to make room for a new Argentine midfield flavor, Marcelo Gallardo. The teams met Sunday for the first time, when Gomez found a way to be a difference-maker. Gallardo never did. Clyde Simms had generally neutralized Gomez. But the Rapids' playmaker spun nicely away from Simms and hit a sweet pass that turned into goal No. 1. Later, Gomez helped keep the ball alive under heavy pressure, making way for the Rapids' insurance strike.