• Extra refs could do more
    Thanks to Michel Platini, we now have two extra officials on the field at Champions League games. This is an experiment, you understand. To get the boasting out of the way, it also happens to be an experiment that I suggested in a SoccerTalk column back in 1977 when, basing my idea on the fact that baseball added extra officials for the World Series, I speculated that, during the World Cup, soccer could add "extra 'goal-linesmen' -- perhaps four, one positioned at each corner -- with a purely advisory role ..."
  • Steve loves Roy ... pity about the goal, though
    I always had a problem trying to decide whether I admired Steve Bruce as a player or not. On the minus side was the fact that he was almost a caricature of the typical English central defender (OK, a center half, then). Strong, tall, not all that mobile, a hard tackler (to excess, at times) and -- of course, of course -- good in the air.
  • Soccer's out-of-date word game
    For a long time now I have been intrigued by the connection between how we talk about the game of soccer, and how we play it. It seems to me that the vocabulary always lags way behind on-the-field developments.
  • Did MLS Let Henry Off the Hook?
    What on earth is one to make of the Thierry Henry-Kevin Hartman incident? Well, firstly you have to sympathize with Hartman, who didn't do anything wrong -- barely did anything at all, actually -- but ended up with a knee injury that will apparently keep him benched for several weeks.
  • The ugly truth behind Lionel Messi's injury
    The sight we did not want to see -- but, alas, one that seemed destined to be set before our eyes -- arrived on Sunday, at the very end of the Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona game ... Lionel Messi, clutching his head, being carried off the field on a stretcher, his right foot, stripped of shoe and sock, showing a badly swollen ankle.
  • Barcelona and Arsenal show how it's done
    We've been very lucky people lately -- thanks to the marvels of television, the past 10 days have brought us three wonderful games. There was the Argentina 4, Spain 1 friendly, which I have already commented on. This past week we've seen two UEFA Champions League games -- first, there was Barcelona romping to a 5-1 win over Panathinaikos (Greece), then we got Arsenal's 6-0 dismembering of Braga (Portugal).
  • Toronto belatedly ends Mo's reign of error
    The longest, most drawn-out, most difficult to understand mystery in MLS has finally ended. The guys at Maple Leaf Sports up in Toronto have finally had their fill of Mo Johnston, and have given him the old heave-ho.
  • Wanted: An MLS Cup without rottweilers
    If MLS adhered, more or less, to what are regarded as the "standard" regulations for playing a soccer season. And if the MLS season were to be finished right now ... then we just had the final this past weekend.
  • Need a laugh? Try FIFA's World Cup Technical Report
    I suppose I ought to take the FIFA Technical Study Group seriously. It is, after all an assembly of "18 experts from all around the world who have gained experience as players, national team coaches or football analysts." Their task is to "document developments and trends in international" soccer.
  • Soccer -- The way it ought to be
    Argentina 4, Spain 1. An extravagant scoreline -- certainly an emphatic one from the Argentine point of view. But hardly an honest one, for there was plenty of activity from the Spanish -- including three shots that hit the Argentine goalposts.
  • 'Magic' in coaching not to be dismissed
    Sooner or later, Jose Mourinho -- a man much given to speaking his mind -- was bound to say something interesting, something that wasn't merely yet another way of telling the world that he is "the special one."
  • What's so special -- or stressful -- about coaching the USA?
    Bruce Arena, I see, has been speaking up in defense of Bob Bradley. That's nice -- coming to the defense of a friend is always an admirable thing to do.
  • Banality Bob Returns ... And how!
    Coming up, four more years of Bob Bradley. One thing is fairly certain -- they won't exactly be exciting years. Bradley seems to think they will be -- "I'm very, very excited to continue in the role as the head coach of the United States" is what he has to say about it.