Vancouver Whitecaps FC
This ex-soccer player could perhaps rival the star of the cult Dos Equis commercials as the "most interesting man in the world."
German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel is now an international scout for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, yet his playing career, which included a stint with current MLS outfit the Vancouver Whitecaps, wasn’t quite as conventional.
He was declared dead while on the pitch when playing for Bradford Park Avenue and was also locked up in a Singapore jail. He has spent five days in an igloo in a German ski resort, during which his antics were streamed live over the internet. He was also, believe it or not, a member of the "crazy gang" at Wimbledon and was stripped naked by Vinnie Jones and his teammates during a jog through London on a cold November morning in his first few days with the club.
Pfannenstiel spent time playing in North America with Vancouver in 2007, making four appearances, while also turning out for the Calgary Mustangs in 2004.
His title as an international scout for Hoffenheim means that current US national team players Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and U-23 player Joe Gyau are all know to the eccentric German.
If those three have careers half as interesting as Pfannenstiel's, then we are all in for a real treat.
Stay thirsty my friends.
Le coup d’envoi de la saison a été donné et il n’a pas fallu attendre longtemps pour assister à la première surprise : le LA Galaxy, qui n’avait plus été battu à domicile depuis le 14 novembre 2010, a mordu la poussière contre le Real Salt Lake. Buddle a ouvert la marque à moins de 20 minutes du terme, 120 secondes avant que son équipier Franklin ne marque… le premier but contre son camp de la saison. Lors d’une fin de match tonitruante, les virevoltants Morales et Espindola ont fixé les chiffres à 1-3.
Il n’a guère fallu attendre non plus pour voir le premier but de l’année, œuvre de Sébastien Le Toux à Vancouver face à Montréal. Jamais dans l’histoire de la MLS n’avait-on marqué aussi vite lors d’un match inaugural ! Forts de cette avance, les hommes de Martin Rennie ont été patients et ont porté le coup de grâce en début de deuxième mi-temps. Battu 2-0, l’Impact espérait de meilleurs débuts en MLS.
Le bonheur québécois de la semaine est donc à aller chercher chez André Hainault qui, dans les arrêts de jeu, a offert la victoire 0-1 à Houston sur le terrain de Chivas USA (décidément, le Home Depot Center était maudit ce week-end). Houston n’est jamais aussi dangereux que quand ses défenseurs montent sur des coups de pieds arrêtés. Même fin de match complètement folle à DC United, où Sapong a offert la victoire 0-1 à Kansas City après la fin du temps réglementaire.
|Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo|
As a videographer for Major League Soccer I have the privilege of watching a lot of games from field level. As a result, I get to see a lot of goals from close range.
Today in Vancouver, the Whitecaps put two past their Canadian rivals the Montreal Impact and I had the perfect view for the 2nd, as Camilo poked one past Donovan Ricketts. Click on the video below and you can see it as I did from field level.*
*Note: I do see everything in slow-motion (it’s like I’m always ‘in the zone’)
Last year, before the season started, I very cleverly predicted that LA would win the West, the Shield and the Cup. I predicted that Houston would win the East. And I came up with a few other good ones that panned out.
Unfortunately I made these predictions on Twitter, and 4000 posts later, I was no longer able to have my moment of glory. Not gonna make the same mistake this year.
Real Salt Lake
US Open Cup
Defender of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
And the most important question... will another forward come out of the blue and rack up double-digit goals? Wondolowski and Dom Oduro have done so in the last two seasons. This year's version will be... Tommy "Disco" Heinemann.
Feel free to bookmark this and throw it in my face 9 months from now.
Cheers, and enjoy the soccer.
First Kick is all about new beginnings, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew. For Joe Cannon and the Whitecaps it's about erasing a rough debut season in MLS and moving forward with a new coach, new players and a new outlook.
It's also about performance, at least in the short term. According to Cannon, tomorrow's match against the expansion Impact won't be about the final score but about how Vancouver plays the game. That may be true for the players but something tells be that the fans wouldn't mind seeing a result as well.
Where is the only place on the planet that unfussy, workman-like players like Jay DeMerit can become ankle-breaking, opponent-shaming playground superstars? And don't say "in their dreams."
It's FIFA Street, the grimy, showboating cousin of EA Sports' venerable FIFA franchise. Check out the clip above for an exclusive look at what a few of the MLS clubs look like in one of the game's 35 arenas.
Interestingly, the game features 23 national teams but only 6 leagues. Don't worry though: MLS is in there --boasting a hefty 234 players-- alongside Serie A, the Barclays Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga and France's Ligue 1.
Personally I can't wait for this to drop on 3.13.12. Download the demo now for XBOX 360 or PS3 if you've got the itch as well.
Creativity is definitely a collaborative process. In this case, the idea was to have Jay DeMerit try to fit the names of all seven dwarfs into his recent interview with Temryss Lane (watch the interview HERE if you're not sure what I'm talking about), and the collaboration came between Jay and I after a sunny Whitecaps training session in Orlando last week. We had pitched the 1-on-1 interview to Vancouver's PR Director and I was following up with Jay to discuss the specifics and the timing of meeting him at the team hotel, and we both thought that adding some kind of gimmick to the proceedings would make things a bit more fun.
As the team captain and a veteran of the professional game, Jay has become more than accustomed to these standard sit-down interviews, so some variety here would be a good thing for all parties involved. My first thoughts were about the various goofy games the characters in "Super Troopers" played, primarily when the one guy (pretty sure it was Foster) had to fit "meow" multiple times into his interaction with a motorist (played quite ably by Jim Gaffigan), but there wasn't a real logical connection there. Being at Disney World, however, we quickly came up with the idea of the seven dwarfs, though I don't think either of us could name all of them off the top of our heads. Going through the ones we did know, we figured "Doc" and "Happy" were going to be pretty easy, then came up with possible uses for "Dopey" and "Grumpy" as well. The team left shortly thereafter, and the rest was going to be up to Jay.
Our next task (besides researching the whole list) was trying to keep the secret from Temryss, who was conducting the interview. I told her we were going to try doing something a little different, and for her to just to keep the interview going as she normally would, but it quickly became apparent what was going on when Jay lost it after dropping "Bashful" the first time (the first clip in the video). By the time the second clip happened, she was onto it, and when Jay threw "Grumpy" in there, she couldn't hold it together. As Temryss was wrapping up the interview, Jay had fit six of the seven in, and I was off camera pointing to the word "Sneezy" on a piece of paper. He thought quickly, and came up with the sneeze at the end, but hadn't really thought out what else to say to conclude, so that funny exchange (clip three in the video) resulted. All in all, it was a blast to collaborate with such a funny guy, and made for a great time throughout the entire production process. "Work" can indeed be fun.
Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson won't join the Vancouver Whitecaps until this summer, but his future coach, teammates, and fans must be salivating.
For the second match in a row, the Scot -- who recently returned from a longterm injury -- put in a dominating performance in a 3-1 win away to Portsmouth. He opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and his freekick set up Boro's second.
Boro are now level on points with Blackpool for 4th place in the English Championship, with a game in hand. That means they're definitely in the hunt for promotion to the EPL.
If Robson is on similar form when he joins the Whitecaps, who already boast some impressive firepower -- have you seen them in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic? -- he could be the integral midfield piece to drive them into the playoffs.
Hell, at this rate, he might be the driving force to help them finish atop the Western Conference, as my colleague Simon Borg thinks they will. I laughed him off when he first said it. I'm only semi-chuckling now.
I promise you this was not set up.
Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli spent today's post-practice media availability talking up his teammates as players but also citing new sense of camaraderie among the team as a reason for their impressive preseason form (they've been the best team here in Orlando, at least for my money). And then, as if on cue, this happened. It's like the soccer gods willed it to offer proof to the world that what Hassli spoke was the truth.
There's no doubt that the Whitecaps will fare better in 2012 than they did last year and that they now seem more like a team that 11 guys wearing the same colored shirt --that's the Impact's problem now. We'll just have to wait and see if their good times will roll all the way to MLS Cup.