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Beware the banalysts and the blight of banalysis

The usual tripe from the TV commentators this past weekend: "The more they can get the ball, the more they can create." Or how about "Both teams want to win"? There was plenty more such pathetic stuff -- but of course, you listen to a lot of it as you want to get some insight as to what's going on.
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Soccer and Metrics (Part 2): A troubled partnership

OK then. The aim of metrics in soccer is to improve player performance. After that, the problems begin.
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Soccer and Metrics (Part 1): Beyond the marketing silliness

Now here's a nice example of the extravagances, the exaggerations the deceptions, and, yes, the downright silliness that are inescapably linked to the methods of the marketeers.
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Impeding the goalkeeper, tackling from behind -- difficulties of definition

The new FIFA Rule book for 2015-2016 presents the usual problem. What has been changed? The book is helpful in identifying what has been added -- any new wording is clearly indicated as such by a prominent vertical line in the margin.
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A Soccer Rarity -- A Triumph for Common Sense

There are three heroes in this story -- though heroes is really much too dramatic a word. Three good guys, then, who saw that something was wrong in soccer, did something about it, and got things put right.
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Soccer's Defensive Bias (Part 2): How to blunt your own team's attacking powers

I'll focus on one aspect of the defensive "duties" that all players are now required to assume. One that you'll hear repeatedly mouthed by the TV commentators. Tracking back. No matter how far upfield you are expected to play as a forward, you must be ready at all times to track back -- to chase an opponent, to harry him.
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Soccer's Defensive Bias (Part 1): Chile champion! But the soccer was a total disaster

Chile deserved its win over Argentina in the Copa America final. Well, just about. This was 120 minutes of parity, of total stalemate. So the grotesque mechanism of the shootout decided matters, and Chile was certainly the better team at that.
»26 Comments

The Beautiful Game lights up Yankee Stadium

That the expected, hyped, awaited, delayed, announced and finally postponed debut of Frank Lampard with NYC FC didn't happen during Sunday's game against Toronto was no doubt a disappointment to many.
»11 Comments

MLS plays down the passion thing

Toward the end of last month, a decidedly curious press release sprang forth from MLS headquarters.
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Seattle's love affair with the Open Cup turns sour

The controversy surrounding Clint Dempsey and his trashing of referee Daniel Radford's notebook is quite ridiculous. Ridiculous because there should be no controversy. We know, we saw (and now we've seen it repeatedly) what Dempsey did. We know what U.S. Federation regulations say about that sort of thing -- it is clearly considered, as it should be, an assault on ...
»16 Comments

Flying bat at Fenway Park should send warning to MLS

The recent horrendous "accident" at baseball's Fenway Park, where a fan suffered what was, at the time, called a "life-threatening injury" when she was struck by part of a splintered bat, should ring some alarm bells at MLS.
»18 Comments

Mourinho defends counterattacking soccer, calls other coaches stupid

Jose Mourinho has raised, yet again, the old argument about the pluses and minuses of playing possession-based soccer -- a style that is often scornfully dismissed as "pretty" soccer.
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Clampdown on tactical fouls way overdue

My notes on the recent Seattle-Red Bulls game inform me that referee Jose Carlos Rivero called the Bulls for 17 fouls. Which is a lot for one team in one game. Actually, I had under-recorded the Bulls' fouling activities. The official MLS website records that they committed 19 fouls.
»18 Comments

Lincoln Phillips provides perspective on black soccer in 1970s USA

As a goalkeeper, Lincoln Phillips should not feature among my most cherished soccer memories. I have little time for goalkeeping escapades. But there he is, the begetter of a wonderful moment that is as clear -- and every bit as delightful -- as it was when it happened 40 years ago.
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The remarkable Clive Toye -- who brought showmanship, excitement and color to American soccer

The debt owed by American soccer to Clive Toye is a vast one. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say, flatly, that without Toye's blind faith in the sport in the 1970s, pro soccer in the USA would have withered and died.
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