Thursday, June 29, 2006

Upsetting an Icon

Romario, the Brazilian World Cup champion and goal-scoring Lothario who’s slumming in South Beach this summer with Miami FC, got quite a shock last night in the US Open Cup’s second round in the Dallas suburbs. Taking on amateur side Dallas Roma FC, USL1 Miami suffered a pk call in the match’s ten minute, and went down 0-1 when Roma’s John Waters converted for the hosts. Roma then played eighty minutes of bunker ball to score the most significant upset in the USOC’s MLS (post-1996) era.

The win sets up the first-ever matchup between an amateur (USASA) side and an MLS club, as Dallas Roma now heads to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA. Other Cup upsets last night include 3 amateur PDL (Div. IV) victories, including:
  • Last year’s cup darlings, the Des Moines Menace, overcoming the USL1’s (Div. II) Minnesota Thunder 1-0 in the twin cities
  • The homestanding Michigan Bucks beating the USL2’s (Div. III) Cincinnati Kings, 2-1
  • The Carolina Dynamo taking the USL2’s Richmond Kickers, 1-0, in Greensboro, NC

Third Round matchups, to be played July 12th (League Level)

Michigan Bucks (IV) – Columbus Crew (I)
Wilmington Hammerheads (III)-Atlanta Silverbacks (II)
Chivas USA (I)-Dallas Roma FC (Amateur)
Carolina Dynamo (IV)-Seattle Sounders (II)
Kansas City Wizards (I)-Des Moines Menace (IV)
Rochester Rhinos (II)-New Hampshire Phantoms (III)
Real Salt Lake (I)-Virginia Beach Mariners (II)
Charleston Battery (I)-Portland Timbers (I)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


When I look back on the US’ experience in the 2006 World Cup, I won’t focus on the lack of offense, lack of breaks, and lack of discretion the referees showed our boys. I’ll try to forget the fear of Landon Donovan, the injury to Claudio Reyna, and the absence of John O’Brien. What I will remember above all that negative karma is the one, pure moment of unadulterated joy for our Yanks, the moment that Clint Dempsey introduced himself to the global soccer community. What I’ll remember was the moment that The Deuce blistered a perfectly-served ball from DaMarcus Beasley past Ghana keeper Richard Kingson to bring the US level in their final group match. Dempsey’s strike set off celebrations from Nuremburg to Hawaii. All the frustration of the Czech debacle and Italian stalemale was momentarily erased by the man from Nacogdoches. While the quality of Clint’s goal dance was debatable, it was the certain fury of his shot that allowed all of US soccer fandom to scream for joy, unabashedly. For that, I thank him, and Beasley, for providing a moment of pure soccer bliss.


Mo’s out. ABMOD’s in. Dunivant’s in. August 15th’s out as Red Bull Park’s groundbreaking. September 16th is in. Over/Under for tonight’s home match: 5,000 fans. Yawn. Wake me when the Red Bulls are worth watching.

Yes, Virginia, There Will Be Soccer Today

Though the World Cup has it’s first day off since June 9th, there’s plenty of stateside soccer going down tonight, including the second round of the 2006 US Open Cup. Brazilian Football legend Romario and his Miami FC club take on amateur side Roma FC in the Dallas suburbs in what could be the night’s biggest mismatch. Here’s tonight’s schedule, with links to audio broadcasts of selected Cup matches, courtesy of the good folks at Enjoy.

Tonight's Schedule (Times EDT):
: MLS: New York – Columbus, MSG, DK
7:30pm: MLS: New England – FC Dallas, FSNE, FSSW, DK
7:30pm: US Open Cup: Charleston (USL1) – Sonoma County (USASA)
7:30pm: US Open Cup: Wilmington, NC (USL2) – Virginia Beach (USL1)
7:30pm: US Open Cup: Michigan (PDL) – Cincinnati (USL2)
7:30pm: US Open Cup: Carolina (PDL) – Richmond (USL2)
7:30pm: US Open Cup: New Hampshire (USL2) – Milford Int’l of CT (USASA)
8:00pm: US Open Cup: Minnesota (USL1) – Des Moines (PDL)
8:30pm: MLS: Kansas City – DC United
8:30pm: US Open Cup: Roma FC of Dallas (USASA) – Miami FC (USL1)
9:00pm: MLS: Chicago – Salt Lake, FS Utah, DK
10:30pm: MLS: Chivas USA – Houston, FSPT, DK

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Regardless of the US result tomorrow, the first round of the World Cup has been a fantastic ride. I won’t soon forget watching our boys get stomped by the Czechs with veteran Red Bull defender Steve Jolley at a jam-packed Stout Pub in NYC.

Steve is a big reason why MLS remains one of the fan-friendliest leagues around. Imagine watching the US basketball team in the Olympics with members of the Knicks! On that day, Jolley was just a US fan like the rest of us, and offered some great insight on the US players, the Red Bulls, and his stint in Dallas. After the US match, Steve, Metro/RB diehard fan Joe Tiernan, and our new Aussie pal Felicity and I made it over to the Molly Wee pub on 8th Avenue to watch Italy-Ghana. Leaving the soccer-friendly confines of Stout brought us back into the real world, as a bunch of barflies were giving us crap about rooting for the US in the World Cup.

Questions we fielded:

  • Is Pele still playing?
  • Is that guy Ronaldo... um, Nehemiah still on Brazil?
  • So the US is out of it now, right?
  • Why don’t Americans like soccer?

Ugh. Baby steps, people.

Saturday’s Italy match was a different story. Arena once again proved to be a master motivator, and the US fans were in fantastic voice. The Deuce was huge, and I was so impressed with Gooch and Jimmy Conrad. After watching the epic US-Italy match at a pal’s in Brooklyn, we headed to the Mets game. There were a surprising number of US jerseys in the crowd, and as I had my Gooch #22 on, quite a few folks approached me to find out the result. A few more who had watched the match wondered aloud why Arena had left Eddie Johnson on the bench. I wondered, and still do, as well.

Which brings us to tomorrow. I’ll be back at Stout, where the place should be packed once again. With all four Group E teams needing a win, the morning should be fantastic. With a little luck, the US journey will continue. Enjoy, folks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ready to Go

Wallydrag of Passion Thy Name is Soccer has done US fandom a solid by bypassing the Fed and producing the pictured flag now proudly hanging from the House of Fish in suburban New Jersey.

Talk about user-generated content! For all those in the NY Metro area, you're more than welcome to join me and the Empire Supporters Club at Stout on 33rd Street, just East of 7th Avenue, tomorrow to watch the US open World Cup play vs. the Czechs. I'll be in my Gooch jersey & DTOM hat. The first three "fans" that find me and mention The Kin of Fish win a Nike "Jogo Bonito" box with poster and Nike ID gift card. Only 15 hours to go!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Reason Alone to Watch

Nothing like a big, international sporting event to get the heart wrenching stories of athletes’ perseverance out in the open. As if US Soccer fandom needs another reason to watch the Nats on Monday, check out this story on the Deuce himself, Clint Dempsey. ESPN’s Wayne Drehs does an amazing job telling the story of the kid from Nacogdoches, TX. I dare you not well up while reading about Clint and his mom, Debbie. Good stuff.

Ja, It’s On

Congrats to the Germans for opening the World Cup in style. Torsten Frings has few fans in the US after Japan/Korea, but his 40-yard bomb to close out the Krauts’ 4-2 win over Costa Rica was a thing of beauty.

Oh, What A Feeling!

Chicago Fire broadcaster and sports attendance junkie Kenn Tomasch has some great photos of the new and newly-named Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, two days ahead of the $98million soccer-specific stadium's “soft opening” match between the Fire vs. New England. When’s that Red Bull Park groundbreaking, again? Hmm?

The League, The League

New York (1-2-6) hosts the Houston Dynamo (5-3-2) at the Swamp on Saturday night. The over/under on attendance is 7,000 fans. The silence has been deafening from the Red Bull marketing machine since the April 8th home opener. It’s truly embarrassing.

Here are my thoughts on what to expect:

The Houston forwards vs. The Red Bulls’ back line:
Ronald Cerritos and Alejandro Moreno vs. Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes and Steve Jolley (and Tony Meola). The absence of US Nat Brian Ching is massive here. The Houston forwards have scored one (1) goal in over twelve hundred minutes of play. The New York defense has allowed two (2) goals in the last one hundred and eighty minutes of play (and one pk), or one per game. That’s Houston: 1 goal scored per 13 games; New York, 1 goal allowed per 1 game. Advantage: New York

New York’s attackers vs. Houston’s defense:
Jean Philippe Peguero and Youri Djorkaeff vs. Craig Waibel, Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett (and Pat Onstad). NY is down with JPP, but Houston’s allowed only a goal per game over its last three contests, a loss and two ties. Advantage: Push

The Midfielders:
New York’s Danny O’Rourke, Chris Henderson, Amado Guevara, and Mark Lisi vs. Houston’s Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, and Dwayne DeRosario. It’s old home night in NJ as former Metros Clark and Davis aim to do a number over their old, um, former club. DeRosario will give O’Rourke fits, and Mullan has seen limited US duty. Once again we wonder which Guevara will show up for the Bulls. Advantage: Houston

The Coaches:
Dominick Kinnear vs. Mo Johnston. Mo is only working with what he has, but he’s got to feel the pressure. I mean six ties in nine games? Kinnear gets a free pass with Chingy in Deutschland. Advantage: Houston

The Red Bulls should be playing to remain on the roster when the transfer window opens after the World Cup. Houston should be loose and ready to run all night: Advantage Houston.

The Prediction:
I wish I was more bullish on NY (sorry). Houston wins 2-1.

A TV Party (times EDT):


9:00am: World Cup: England-Paraguary, ABC, UNI

Noon: World Cup: Trinidad & Tobago-Sweden, ABC, UNI

3:00pm: World Cup: Argentina-Ivory Coast, ESPN2, UNI

7:30pm: MLS: New York-Houston, DK, FSNY

SUNDAY, June 11

9:00am: World Cup: Serbia & Montenegro-Netherlands, ESPN2, UNI

Noon: World Cup: Mexico-Iran, ABC, UNI

3:00pm: World Cup: Angola-Portugal, ESPN2, UNI

6:00pm: MLS: FC Dallas-Chivas USA, HDNet

6:30pm: COL: Deportivo Cali-Once Caldas, GOL

7:00pm: MLS: Chicago-New England, DK, FSNE

8:00pm; MLS: Los Angeles-DC United, DK, CSN, FSW

9:30pm: GUA: Municipal-Marquense, GOL

Thursday, June 08, 2006

US Soccer and the Future of Television

US Soccer is one of a host of organizations that have turned to generating their own content (beyond traditional PR) to connect and engage with their fans/customers, and the Fed deserves huge kudos for producing a terrific web TV show from Germany. “Studio 90” has done a fantastic job bringing fans content about the Yanks that the mainstream broadcast, internet, and print outlets simply cannot. Mind you, Studio 90 serves up the party line, so won’t see DaMarcus Beasley’s claim that he’s “irritated” that he doesn’t know where he’ll be playing on the 12th. As long as the ship sails smoothly, however, the added access surely outweighs the lack of "real journalism" on the show. Neil Buethe is growing into his role as host and interviewer as the days roll on, and while the “ad spots” for the team’s online store are as amateur as they come, Studio 90 puts fans right in the middle of the team’s World Cup experience. A blog by the production team, while a little less focused on the players, is a nice addition as well.

If you’re reading this, of course, you know how comparatively little press (World Cup-time excluded) that the US team, and soccer in general, gets in this country. With increased penetration of broadband access here, major media companies are getting into the internet television game. Disney’s ESPN360 (which will show World Cup matches LIVE) and ABC, Viacom’s MTV, Comedy Central, and CBS, and Time-Warner’s CNN are a few, and combined with online-only sites YouTube and Fox's MySpace, IPTV (internet television) has finally become a reality.

Soccer enthusiasts need no longer be reliant on their televisions for their soccer fixes. The internet finally offers fans high-quality live and archived video as well as inside access to the world’s most (and least) popular teams. During this World Cup, Asian and European fans can download game highlights through their cell phones. By 2010, that technology should be stateside as well.

Aside from Studio 90, another piece of US Soccer content which I wholeheartedly recommend is the “Journey to Germany” DVD, available at The disc does a great job portraying the ups (and very few downs) of the Yanks’ 2005 final World Cup qualifying round. Watching Dr. Bob and Sunil Gulati hanging in the back of the locker room after the US’ clincher vs. Mexico in Columbus, sharing a hug as Bruce congratulates his players, and then running away to avoid a champagne bath was priceless. Added “extra time” features include a special recap of the US-England match, a recap of every goal scored by the US during qualifying.

With the World Cup finally upon on, it’s a great time to be a soccer fan! Enjoy the games, everyone!

Friday, June 02, 2006


This one didn’t score any points, but our Nats touched down in Hamburg today, where they’ll stay and train before trying to bounce the Czechs on June 12. The hard-cores were in full effect yesterday, with BS’ SoccerScout sending off the team at Newark airport. He’s got some great photos and a nice autographed jersey for his effort. You want to talk about geeked out for our boys? Some loons used the web to follow the Nats’ plane overnight last night to Deutschland.

ESPN/ABC sports have the above Landon & Pope billboard (cell phone photo, sorry) up outside Penn Station in NYC.

Nats on the Web
The Deuce is also doing his thing at his newly launched site. Here's a preview:
Keeper Keller has his final blog posting up at CBS Sportsline as well.

ABC Sports has two hour-long soccer shows this weekend: Tomorrow’s look at the top ten American soccer moments, and Sunday’s World Cup Preview. Krauts vs. Ticos now less than a week away! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Media Mix

We’re only 8 days away from the biggest party in the soccer world kicking off, and in NYC, the excitement is palpable. Lots of jerseys are visible walking the streets. In the morning walk from Penn Station to midtown, I saw Brazil (x3), England, Portugal, Argentina, France, and Ireland. Mind you, one might see these jerseys any day of the week in the big city, but those wearing them had a little more swagger today. Except for the Irish fan :). Sure wish I could wear my Gooch #22 in the office, but they frown on that here.

The US played a little footy at Chelsea Piers this morning on Good Morning America (cross-promo on the Mouse Network) before jetting off to Deutschland today.

Both ESPN (the magazine) and Sports Illustrated graced us soccer fans with their quadrennial cover story. Neither pub picked the Yanks to escape Group E, which is just as well considering the team’s less-than-dominating performance during last week’s Send-Off-Series. As we all know, greater attention will lead to a greater let-down and derision should the Nats pull a three-and-out.

Big ups to Nike for covering a downtown Hartford parking garage with a US jersey, above (HT: Shelly).

NPR’s Tom Goldman has a nice audio preview of the US team.

Just in time from Steven and Harry Stark comes the “Smart Geopolitical Guide” to the World Cup. Only $2 for the four-book series! Support soccer, folks!

Jaime on High

As a Metro/RB fan, I have nothing but disdain for DC United’s Jaime Moreno, but it’s hard not to give the Bolivian striker his due after becoming only the 2nd player in MLS history to hit the triple digits in goals in his club’s 5-1 pasting of injury-riddled Columbus last night at RFK. Moreno has truly been a cornerstone of the league since '96.