Alex Morgan vs. Christen Press: Who Should Start for United States Women’s National Team? by Knute Rimkus

My niece and I recently attended the double header soccer game of the national women’s teams, Japan vs Brazil then US vs Australia.

It was interesting to watch the game between Avani, my nine-year-old niece who, like many in the stadium, is a big Alex Morgan fan, and a pair of serious women soccer . . . → Read More: Alex Morgan vs. Christen Press: Who Should Start for United States Women’s National Team? by Knute Rimkus

New summit for U.S. soccer, by Claude Iosso

After the United States’ 2-1 Copa America quarterfinal victory over Ecuador Thursday night, the team jogged and sprinted by turns around the pitch. It may have been helpful conditioning, but they looked like they were running for sheer joy, reveling in the cheers from the fans still filling half of CenturyLink Field here in . . . → Read More: New summit for U.S. soccer, by Claude Iosso

Limerick for Leicester, By Claude Iosso

Has the news of the greatest underdog story in all sports reached you? Leicester City have been perennial doormats in the English Premier League, when they haven’t been relegated to the second or even third tiers. This season most predicted them to finish near last and be relegated again. They were 5,000-to-1 odds to . . . → Read More: Limerick for Leicester, By Claude Iosso

Have the wheels fallen off for Sounders FC? by Claude Iosso

How did Seattle Sounders FC lose their mojo the season they looked poised to finally seize the MLS Cup? Forget the injuries and attrition from national team callups. With an appalling 3-0 loss at home Saturday to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders looked as clueless and toothless as they’ve ever looked.

Clint Dempsey . . . → Read More: Have the wheels fallen off for Sounders FC? by Claude Iosso

Charles Pierce – FIFA and the Sports Crime of the Century, by Chuck Strom

I’ve referenced articles from Charles Pierce before. This one, with the quote below, is another reason to admire him as perhaps the most insightful and entertaining writer on sports today:

And what we also have learned is that FIFA’s corruption wasn’t in the least covert. It was lying out there, like a mackerel in . . . → Read More: Charles Pierce – FIFA and the Sports Crime of the Century, by Chuck Strom

World peace might be a stretch, but Oba’s magic on the pitch, by Knute Rimkus

SEATTLE – Obafemi Martins may not wear a cape, but he is most certainly a superhero for the Seattle Sounders FC. The Nigerian striker can snare long passes on his feet and juke defenders into submission. Bringing peace to his troubled homeland might be a stretch, but Oba racks up goals and assists that . . . → Read More: World peace might be a stretch, but Oba’s magic on the pitch, by Knute Rimkus

I love you. I hate you‏. By Claude Iosso

Rihanna tweeted this photo of her with Mario Goetze claiming it to be a selfie. With parts of both of her lovely arms/hands in the field of view, she clearly could not have taken this herself.

The World Cup final between Germany and Argentina delivered much. The world’s best player on the biggest stage. . . . → Read More: I love you. I hate you‏. By Claude Iosso

The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner, by Claude Iosso

Neymar in contention no more

Pity Brazil, for the historic pasting by Germany and  for the weight that was slowly crushing them throughout the tournament. They were a middling bunch asked by a desperate nation to sprint past cheetahs.

According to the brackets I’ve collected, most people figured Germany could take Brazil . . . → Read More: The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner, by Claude Iosso

What about the goals?‏ by Claude Iosso

Angel DiMaria – Reuters Photo

Yes, the Group of 16 games were all stemwinders, packed with drama to the end as scrappy underdogs repulsed the big boys time and again. The U.S. got the script too, pushing Belgium to extra time with a Herculean effort by goalkeeper Tim Howard. But I’m not satisfied. I . . . → Read More: What about the goals?‏ by Claude Iosso

King of the Ticos‏, by Claude Iosso

Bryan Ruiz

Let me introduce you to my favorite hero of the World Cup so far — Bryan Ruiz, the cheerful captain of Costa Rica — who seems bent on proving nice guys can finish first.

I had never heard of the sprightly midfielder before June. Fulham has been loaning him to Dutch club . . . → Read More: King of the Ticos‏, by Claude Iosso

Lucky little fish, by Claude Iosso

Neymar

So I had Chile beating Brazil. It didn’t happen. The weight of 75 years of history and a poor nation’s passion for futbol finally crushed the lusty lads in red. Still, my skepticism about Brazil was confirmed. Neymar is awfully good, maybe even great, but his teammates are just good. Many start for . . . → Read More: Lucky little fish, by Claude Iosso

Don’t draw too much from this draw, by Claude Iosso

Michael Bradley, hot

Sure, it’s too bad the U.S. soccer team gave up a last-second goal to drop into a 2-2 tie with Portugal, but it’s not a major disaster. The Yanks’ chances of advancing to the knockout rounds of the World Cup are still pretty good, and they’ve played well enough so far . . . → Read More: Don’t draw too much from this draw, by Claude Iosso

Another girl, another planet, by Claude Iosso

If it seems like Hope Solo’s from another planet, it’s because she is. People shake their heads at the nutty antics of the United States and Seattle Reign goalkeeper, but it’s not easy being the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

It’s boundary issues really. If you were told to go to . . . → Read More: Another girl, another planet, by Claude Iosso

Mon Dieu! Serious contenders already emerging, by Claude Iosso

Karim Benzema

Midway through the group stage of the World Cup in Brazil, the genuine contenders — and the hapless pretenders — are already emerging. Germany, Holland and France have all looked fearsome in the early going while Spain is suddenly yesterday’s news and England is doomed by a leaky defense. Argentina and Brazil, . . . → Read More: Mon Dieu! Serious contenders already emerging, by Claude Iosso

The passing of an all-time great team, by Claude Iosso

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

I think this quote from Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” summarizes Spain’s swift demise in the World Cup. They were flattened by the Netherlands and Chile, unable to hoard the ball with their trademark stylish passing and too old and slow to keep up . . . → Read More: The passing of an all-time great team, by Claude Iosso

Frank Deford Never Met Xavi’s Foot, By Claude Iosso

Xavi Hernandez

With absurd ease, Andres Iniesta steals the ball in A.C. Milan’s half of the field and sends a pass forward to Xavi, who slides a deft ball past a sliding defender to striker David Villa. In the box, at an angle, the Spaniard stops the ball, then drives it with his left . . . → Read More: Frank Deford Never Met Xavi’s Foot, By Claude Iosso

The Football Feeling

El Clásico Animation Barcelona vs Real Madrid

With Richard Swarbrick’s previous effort:

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Wheelchair Man Invades Pitch at Sixfields

Real Madrid Drops Trophy in Victory Parade, Bus Runs Over It, With Intro by TheKiman272

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