This past week saw NY Red Bulls sit idle, Rochester Rhinos crash out of the playoffs in controversial fashion, and Tottenham Hotspur return to the depressing form fans were used to when I started casually paying attention to English football at the tail end of 2004/05 season.
Also, this is the last day of the transfer window in most of Europe. English, German, Spanish, Italian, French teams will all finish their transfers tonight though they can still sign free agents and arrange loan deals for a while longer.
I was recently asked what one competition I would choose if i could get every snobby euro-loving American soccer fan to watch it. Naturally, it wouldn’t be MLS and surprisingly not even my beloved professional lower leagues. My first instinct was the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is currently in the semifinal stage of it’s 98th year. That’s right, 98 years of national cup soccer competition, which makes it 3 years older than the Coupe de France, 8 years older than the Coppa Italia and only 12 years younger than the Copa del Rey. The quality of play in the Open Cup increased sharply with the establishment of the MLS in 1996, and only one non-MLS has won the trophy since then (I’ll give you a hint, they’re from Rochester). But even the cup is not the tournament I think all American soccer fans should tune into this year, that title belongs to the CONCACAF Champions League.
So a reasonable question to ask is, “what exactly is it?” Well at it’s base, it’s the Champions League of the CONCACAF region. Well, duh.
I did not watch Friday night’s game but I followed the twitter feeds about the match that quickly got out of hand. As the top seed in the National Division, Rochester Rhinos secured the right to host Harrisburg City Islanders for the divisional final play-off encounter. Rochester’s usual passing style of play was abruptly and systematically interrupted by hard tackles and chippy plays off the ball. Continue reading →
The Copa Independencia is the self-proclaimed “mejor torneo de clubes del continente categoria sub-17;” the best club tournament in the continent for under-17 sides, and kicked off proceedings earlier in the week. This year’s edition of the under 17 youth tournament is hosted by Club América, Cruz Azul and Pumas. From Mexico, Pachuca, Monterrey and Chivas de Guadalajara join the joint-hosts. Sao Paulo and Santos flew up from Brazil with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors, while Russian side CSKA Moscow round out the 10 team competition.
High quality highlight video of Spurs rout of Scottish side Heart of Midlothian Football Club in the Europa League. Fantastic performance and a tremendous result for the club. Sound off in the comment section.
Also, look at manager Harry Redknapp’s reaction to Defoe’s goal at 1:38. And then Gareth Bale’s goal celebration, haha.
The New York Red Bulls are quickly fading out of the play-off picture. After challenging for the top spot in the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season, RBNY came into the game tied on points with D.C. United who have 3 games in hand. That means that United have to win only one of the 3 extra games to knock the second highest (or highest, who knows; it’s all shady) out of the race for the postseason. This would easily be the most disappointing MLS squad in the 16 year history of the league. If you thought that with the pressure on, the Red Bulls would play with a bit of urgency or inspiration you’d be dead wrong.
On Friday night at Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester Rhinos had the clear advantage against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. A meager but vocal 3273 supporters saw their beloved Rhinos completely overrun their opponents in the divisional semifinals of the 2011 USL Pro playoffs. The first five or six minutes were of the ulcer inducing dreadful kind as Pittsburgh maintained possession and passed in neat triangles against the Rhinos, however that remained their only meaningful action for the whole 90 plus 3 minutes.
The Rhinos lined up in the familiar 4-5-1 formation with Tyler Rosenlund playing the attacking midfield position tucked in behind Issac Kissi. J.C. Banks was again the man of the match for me. Playing on the left wing, Banks played in a ball that tall center forward Isaac Kissi nodded down into the path of onrushing Tyler Rosenlund who deftly chipped it over the Pittsburgh goalkeeper in the tenth minute. Continue reading →
On Thursday evening, Tottenham Hotspur strolled into Tynecastle in Edinburgh and put in a five-star performance. I said last night that I’d be disappointed if Spurs weren’t in control of the game by the halftime whistle, and Rafael van der Vaart took the tie by the scruff of the neck in the fifth minute. Five different players scored to put in a result Spurs fans will be talking about for some time to come.