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The Latest Rot Mystery Show

New readers begin here: When the MetroStars were around, I anagrammed them into the RotMasters. Rots for short. A rather appropriate alias, it turned out, as the team stumbled and bumbled through 10 years of screw-ups, failures and farces.
» 3 Comments

You'll win nothing with kids especially if they're unexceptional

There is a hallowed phrase in English soccer -- "You win nothing with kids."  A phrase that must have echoed thunderously around the ears of Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert Sunday as he surveyed the wreckage of his young team after that 8-0 demolishment by Chelsea.
» 8 Comments

More curious tales from the world of English refereeing

If you watched last weekend's English Premier League game between Stoke and Everton (for your sake, I hope you did not -- this was just awful stuff) you will have seen, thanks to television replays, three examples of extremely violent play.
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Is the defensive striker a toothless tiger?

Allow me to present the latest (I think they're the latest) developments in the realm of soccer tactics and terminology.
» 8 Comments

A Splendid College Cup Surprise

The contrast at the College Cup bordered on the grotesque. From the sheer excitement and the unbridled, non-stop attacking action of the Maryland-Georgetown semifinal, the event quickly collapsed into the trite defensive boredom of the Indiana-Georgetown final.
» 6 Comments

MLS Cup hits right tone for Beckham farewell

A strange day, Saturday. A triumphant one for MLS and for David Beckham, yes. But a low-key sort of triumph, without the fanfares and the swagger that can so easily overwhelm such an occasion.
» 10 Comments

Goalkeeper footwork needs some explaining

Some rather random thoughts after watching three recent English Premier League games:
» 19 Comments

Who says defenders deserve the benefit of the doubt?

In the 38th minute of Saturday's Manchester United-Queens Park Rangers game QPR thought it had scored a goal. It certainly looked like it ... but the assistant referee's flag had gone up quickly. Jamie Mackie, who thought he had scored with a header, was ruled offside. No goal.
» 24 Comments

The soul of soccer under threat

Future historians -- say some 200 years hence -- researching the regression of soccer back into the brainless, bloody melees from which it sprang, will do well to study the 2012 statements of two Premier League coaches, Tony Pulis of Stoke City, and West Ham United's Sam Allardyce.
» 27 Comments

Belief in playoff system again sorely tested

It looks like a pretty good bet that, when this weekend is over, we shall find ourselves back where we were a year ago ... with an MLS Cup final between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo.
» 17 Comments

Referee gaffe does Dynamo a big favor

Way to go Alexi! For telling it like it is. "A botched call," said Alexi Lalas in tones that brooked no ifs or buts or maybes. He was speaking on ESPN and referring to referee Ricardo Salazar's decision right before halftime in the Houston-D.C. United playoff game.
» 21 Comments

The Bittersweet Departure of Hans Backe

I found Hans Backe's vision of soccer, and his teams, quite appalling. Under Backe, the Red Bulls were never particularly worth watching as they lumbered along, over-weighted with their cumbersome Scandinavians, under-skilled with their naive college-style Americans.
» 6 Comments

MLS playoffs -- a good idea that needs more pizazz

Again, yet again, we are being reminded from all sides that this is playoff time. Which means playoff soccer. Which means ... well, what the heck does it mean?
» 8 Comments

The sad - and sadly predictable - death of a Task Force

The demise of the FIFA Task Force Football 2014 is as sad as it was inevitable.
» 34 Comments

It's time the Commish explained this one ...

MLS Commissioner Don Garber and his right hand man Nelson Rodriguez, plus Peter Walton, the chief of the newly minted U.S. referee body, PRO, might be expected to issue an explanatory statement this week.
» 11 Comments




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