• 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 town with an ugly name that sounds like a prescription drug -- Trabzon.
  • 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 so forth and what have you.
  • MLS DisCo makes another dubious diving decision
    The MLS Disciplinary Committee -- the DisCo -- continues its far from satisfactory activities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 5, which tells us that referees, in making their decisions, will factor in not only the rules but also the spirit of the game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Soccer, from the Heart
    A small book, the classic "slim volume" if you like ... but Brian Glanville's "The Man Behind the Goal" weighs in as a massively important contribution to any telling of the phenomenon that is soccer.
  • How long for Nigel de Jong?
    So the talk is now focused on what sort of punishment the MLS Disciplinary Committee will settle upon Nigel de Jong.