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De Jong's barren MLS stint helps debunk the holding-midfielder myth

Holding midfielder. Defensive midfielder. Are they the same animal? I'm not sure. And frankly, I don't care. Because I have a long-standing mistrust of English soccer terminology. As well as serious suspicions about the value of tactical talk.
»25 Comments

Jordan Morris: ruthless enough to be a great goalscorer?

The pitiful lack of clarity that infests English-language soccer terminology was intriguingly exposed in Taylor Twellman's recent interview with Jordan Morris.
»14 Comments

The truly Greek Olympic final: Apollo vs. Dionysus

So the men's Olympic final comes down to this: Apollo vs. Dionysus. Apollo, god of reason and logic (that's the methodical Germans, you see), and Dionysus, god of emotions and instincts (and that's the free-styling Brazilians).
»17 Comments

Under-17 age cheating and FIFA's mysterious MRI tests

FIFA's Under-17 World Cup -- for me, the liveliest and the most enjoyable of all the global tournaments -- has, since its first edition in China in 1985, always been played under a heavy cloud of suspicion.
»24 Comments

Olympians bring back soccer with a smile, Brazilian soccer

Watching Brazil toy with Denmark was quite like old times. Not so old, of course -- let's say just 30 years ago. Admittedly, this was the Brazilian Olympic team, one of those bizarre combinations of young and old and whoever might be available.
»21 Comments

The tedious Martyrdom of Marsch -- but he happens to be right

The New Jersey Red Bulls, it seems to me, had every reason to be miffed after their 2-2 tie with the Galaxy. They had seen their 2-0 lead snatched away by a spirited late Galaxy comeback.
»5 Comments

Castillo goes, MLS loses

The Turkish city of Trabzon holds a cherished place in my thoughts. Not that I've ever been there, or will ever go. But in my youth I read a most wonderful novel, "The Towers of Trebizond" -- and the ancient town with the lovely name of Trebizond has lost none of its attraction for me by becoming a modern Turkish ...
»24 Comments

Farewell Sigi -- for the moment

So Sigi Schmid has gone the way of all coaches who don't win games, or don't win enough games, or don't win the important games ... coaches who, we are told, have lost the locker room, or who have run their course, while the club needs to take "another path," to move "to the next level," and so on and ...
»5 Comments

MLS DisCo makes another dubious diving decision

The MLS Disciplinary Committee -- the DisCo -- continues its far from satisfactory activities.
»17 Comments

Copa America: a lively tournament, a scandalously poor final

The grand final of Copa America Centenario was simply a disgrace. An ugly, shameful event. It sullied what had been an enjoyable tournament, it utterly ruined what should have been a wonderful evening of the best the sport has to offer.
»32 Comments

Goalkeeper cheating -- yet again

Are these guys for real, or what? A penalty kick. A regular occurrence in soccer. Any experienced referee will have had plenty of them to deal with. He should then, surely, know what the rules say.
»36 Comments

Imported coaches: A formula for failure in MLS

This business of foreign coaches in MLS -- why does it drag on? Have we not learned enough during the 20-plus years of MLS activity that these guys do not do particularly well here
»20 Comments

Soccer's new-look rulebook (Part 2): Making room for the Spirit the Game

Alongside the changes in the organization and wording that David Elleray and his team have brought to the revamped rule book go what I think of as "mood" changes -- the business of modernizing the rules, of making them "more accessible," etc. Tucked away in that category is a time-bomb of a phrase that makes its first appearance in Rule ...
»12 Comments

Soccer's new-look rulebook (Part 1): Much improved but still a way to go

No doubt it was asking too much of ex-referee David Elleray and his colleagues to turn soccer's rulebook, almost overnight, into an easy-to-understand, organized, readable document.
»3 Comments

Two badly botched PK calls -- but the MLS remedy is misguided

Well, not that brilliant a weekend for MLS refs. Specifically, a couple of dead-cert penalty kicks not called. If you assume -- which we always do, I think -- that a PK means a goal, then these were arguably game-defining calls, given that both games were won on one-goal margins by the team that profited from the miscalls.
»9 Comments




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