• Only Beckham matters to Beckham
    The return of David Beckham nears. Far from being a return in triumph, this is not even an occasion for celebration. Beckham, apparently, understands nothing of this. Guilty of deserting his post with the Galaxy, he hopes that the team's fans "realize by now the reasons why I made this move. I'm sure they do deep down. I'm sure they'll be supportive when I come back."
  • A Night of Soccer Magic from Barca
    The Rout of Rome. Manchester United, for sure, will want to forget this one. The 2-0 scoreline doesn't sound all that bad -- but it was, it was. Apart from a hectic first 10 minutes or so, when ManU charged energetically forward, trying frantically to be the first to score, this was all Barcelona.
  • Diagnosing the Champions League final
    The UEFA Champions League final has come to stand for a good deal more than just a climactic game. It represents a yearly check on the health of the soccer body, a temperature reading, a diagnosis. How goes our sport? Healthy? Feverish? Sick? Strong? Weak?
  • Witch Hunt Puts in Question Yellow Suspensions
    Inevitably, Werder Bremen lost yesterday's UEFA Cup final to Shakhtar Donetsk. I'm not belittling the Ukrainian club, which deserved its win. It was better than Bremen. That is to say, Shakhtar was better than Bremen without Diego.
  • The Delights - and the Dangers - of Sporting Delusions
    The way that so many people involved in sports manage to live happily with the most extraordinary delusions continues to bewilder me.
  • Seattle plays the ref-bashing game
    Referee Tim Weyland was kept busy by the Sounders and the Galaxy on Sunday -- to the tune of eight yellow cards and one red. He also called 27 fouls -- which is high, but not outrageously so.
  • Chatty refs and wasted corners defy common sense
    During the first half of Sunday's game between Arsenal and Chelsea, there were two aspects of the modern game that sprang to my attention. Two highly irritating aspects.
  • Who's Manly Now, Guus?
    Chelsea lost big-time yesterday. With almost the last action of the game, it lost a 1-0 lead over Barcelona, and so it lost the chance to be in the UEFA Champions league final. But it lost a lot more than that.
  • Revs Revert to a Reverie from the 1950s
    In gentler, less clever days, there really wasn't too much to know about soccer tactics. In England, anyway. Team formations were cast in concrete, immutable, a 3-4-3 with three fullbacks, four midfielders and three forwards. We never called it a 3-4-3 though. It was always a W-M formation.