The US Olympic team may have crashed out of the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament earlier this week, but Kansas City is still going to be a happening place for soccer this weekend. And I'm not even talking about Mexico vs. Canada or Honduras vs. El Salvador.
I'm talking about Budweiser Poolball. If you haven't heard of it, which you probably haven't, check out the video below. As someone who enjoys the occasional game of pool and takes any opportunity to kick the ball around, this is a beautiful marriage of footy and nightlife entertainment. Kansas City had the good fortune of having a couple of these tables set up around the city on Thursday and Friday for the lucky residents to enjoy.
If you gave me a day to mess around on one of these tables, if that's the right term, without limit, I would ask for three. Seriously. It's that awesome. I'm sitting at my desk imagining trick shots, seeing-eye combos off the rails and chips cross table. The possibilities are literally endless.
Even more intriguing, what if MLS organized a Poolball tournament around All-Star Weekend? Who wouldn't want to watch Dwayne De Rosario and Graham Zusi go head to head? Thierry Henry vs. David Beckham?
When MLSsoccer.com adopted a new logo for the “Kick Off” series earlier this month, we didn’t expect a great deal of response from fans who wanted the mug back.
But after an outpouring of emotion and questions about where the mug had gone, we decided to reach out, and welcome back the mug. We’ve offered him his own blog series every Friday on MLSsoccer.com to keep us posted on his activities since he retired.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Take a second, and imagine you’re on a beach. The soft, warm breeze drifting over your rim, gliding gently past your handle. The birds are singing, your lady mug friend is by your side, and there’s not a care in the world that can pry you away from the good things in life: sun-splashed afternoons, bottomless coffee, blissful retirement.
And then your phone rings. It’s those morons from MLSsoccer.com, and they want you back. And not only that, but they want you to … wait for it… write a blog, so everyone knows what you’re doing with every waking second of your life.
You wanted me back? You got me. I appreciate all the lonely fans who pined for my return and I certainly understand your sentiment. Your mornings were better with me. I am awesome.
So what did I do this week? I came down to Nashville to catch some CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, and boy was it a drag.
Anyway, it wasn’t the best of weeks. Not for me, not for anyone who watched that game. I’m just glad I didn’t have to greet everyone on Tuesday morning with the news that the US team isn’t going to the Olympics. Guess I’ll just watch badminton.
I’ll be back with another blog post sometime next week, but in the meantime you can follow me on Twitter. Oh really, you’re already on Twitter? Good for you. Follow me if you want to be cool.
There are lots of things you can take away from this video, and I'd love to hear all about them in the comments section. I trust you all will keep it classy, civil, and good-natured.
For whatever reason, though, I honestly thought the most interesting part of this video was that for every red card Roger "Rojo" Espinoza accumulates this year, he owes the entire Sporting KC squad lunch.
I'll point out that this ultimatum was unilaterally imposed by one Kei Kamara, and is a little bit unfair because, despite his reputation, Roger got only one red card last year on a team where seven different players earned their marching orders in MLS play.
But oh, man, there are so many questions that come up, now. Does this deal include coaches, staff, front office people? What's Roger's favorite kind of food? If it's cuisine from his native Honduras, then how easy is it to get carne asada and coconut in Kansas City?
It's worth mentioning, by the way, that one of the tiebreakers for playoff berths this season is disciplinary points. At the rate SKC are going – 3-0-0 for those who just woke up from hibernation – it won't be an issue. But still...
Talk amongst yourselves.
Check out the latest video from the guys at Kick, who on Thursday welcomed Claudio Reyna onto "The Mixer." The current youth technical director for US Soccer spoke to Jimmy Conrad about the US Under-23 team's failure during Olympic qualifying, the team's lack of competitiveness and what US Soccer needs to do to reach the next level.
Entre les équipes qui ont surpris la semaine dernière en quête de confirmation et les internationaux espoirs américains en quête de rédemption, l'optimisme sera une valeur recherchée lors de la quatrième journée de compétition.
Après son bon partage à Vancouver, DC United veut redevenir maître de son stade et remporter sa première victoire depuis le 25 septembre dernier. Dallas sera toutefois favori à Washington devant les caméras de NBC Sports Network, malgré une équipe chambardée par les blessures et les retours.
Samedi, les téléspectateurs canadiens seront gâtés. TSN et RDS diffuseront d’abord Toronto - Columbus, où l’on pourra voir si la demi-finale de Ligue des champions a laissé des séquelles chez les hommes d’Aron Winter, avant de nous montrer le déplacement à New York de Montréal dont l’équipe devrait être davantage remaniée que par le simple remplacement de Brovsky, suspendu. Dans le même temps, à Philadelphie, où on est enfin optimiste, Vancouver tentera de prolonger sa série de 276 minutes sans encaisser, son record en MLS.
En soirée, Salt Lake pourrait compter sur ses vétérans Morales et Saborio pour un déplacement toujours difficile à Portland. Malgré l’absence possible de Donovan, le LA Galaxy partira favori face à New England (direct NBC Sports Network et TSN2).
Dimanche, le leader Kansas City se déplacera à Chivas USA alors que Colorado tentera d’infliger sa première défaite à Chicago, devant les caméras de Galavision.
LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Vendredi 30 mars
19h30 : DC United - Dallas
Samedi 31 mars
14h00 : Toronto - Columbus
16h00 : New York - Montréal
16h00 : Philadelphie - Vancouver
22h00 : Seattle - San José
22h00 : Portland - Salt Lake
23h00 : LA Galaxy - New England
Dimanche 1er avril
19h00 : Colorado - Chicago
21h00 : Chivas USA - Kansas City
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs ou LiveSport.tv
One final consideration before we close the book for good on the Colin Clark-ball boy incident: Isn't it time soccer gets rid of ball boys once and for all?
Take a moment to let this sink in: Soccer is the only sport that depends on little kids to fulfill a critical function IN THE RUN OF PLAY. Professional soccer allows little kids to take active participation in a game WHILE THE CLOCK IS RUNNING!
In a game in which every second counts and a quick re-start can decide a match, it's time for pro soccer leagues to go the NFL rout and swap out their ball kids for adult ball persons. And even pay them a gameday fee. Forget using these ball person positions as a promotional tool. Get someone who can do the job and have them come back for every game if they're competent.
I've seen kids wiping the floor at basketball games, but they do it during clock stoppages. Baseball's bat boy is only seen when play is dead and there's no urgency. Tennis ball kids are never performing their duties during an actual exchange that matters. In these sports there is zero pressure on the kids taking part.
It just doesn't make sense any more in soccer. And not only because most ball kids don't do their job well to begin with and often times don't even know the game (Admit it. We've all made this comment at one point or another). The issue is that they're interacting with adult players during the heat of competition. It doesn't happen in other sports.
Why subject a kid to the pressure of getting yelled at by a goalkeeper who wants to quickly take a goal kick? Why give a kid a front row seat to soccer's intense moments and some of the other colorful language that is used during matches?
No, there's no excuse for what Clark said and he's paying the price. But would he have made the same comment had he been dealing with an adult who was working the game?
If we really care about these kids, soccer shouldn't put them in the line of fire to begin with. When it comes to the pro game, the field should be rated Adults Only.
Jimmy Conrad has already had a number of big names on his show "The Mixer" on Kick, but we doubt he's ever smiled this much while interviewing a guest.
That's because US women's national team striker and recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Alex Morgan was his guest in the latest episode, previewing the US women's huge upcoming game against Japan, her new role as a leader on the team and what it was like to pose in nothing but body paint in a very "uncomfortable" experience.
It wasn't MLSsoccer.com interviewing him after a league loss, so NYRB's Thierry Henry was in a good mood for this Fox Business talk in which he revealed an interesting tidbit.
"It wasn't a business decision [his arrival to MLS]," he said. "Since I was 17 or 18 I said to myself one day I'll come play in MLS and I want to play for a team in New York. I love New York."
He's not lying. We worked out the math to see if this statement was true: He was born on August 17, 1977 which would have made him 18 when MLS celebrated its first kickoff in April 1996.
But since this was a business interview, he contributed an opinion as to why European soccer telecasts enjoy relatively solid ratings in the USA: no competition from other US sports on Saturday mornings.
It's worth sticking around until the very end of this video clip. The co-anchor does her best David Beckham impersonation. Really?
The Portland Timbers' third kit that won rave reviews over the offseason will make its official debut against Real Salt Lake this weekend (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).
As if the match-up between the two teams wasn't attractive enough.
What's your favorite Timbers jersey? Vote in the poll below.
La demi-finale aller de Ligue des champions entre Toronto et Santos Laguna a été chaudement disputée : buts, exclusions, suspensions, contestations et un score de 1-1 (video) qui préserve le suspense en vue du match retour.
Laissant leur buteur Peralta sur le banc, les Mexicains ont dominé un début de match pauvre en occasions avant d’ouvrir la marque par Gomez à la demi-heure. Toronto n’a jamais abdiqué et a égalisé peu après, grâce à Aceval sur coup franc.
Une phase à double tranchant puisque dans un premier temps, le ballon avait été joué trop vite, ce qui a valu une carte jaune à Koevermans, qui sera suspendu au retour. Les Mexicains seront eux privés de Mares et Quintero, tous deux exclus lors d’une fin de match houleuse, et reprochent également à l’arbitre Salazar de leur avoir refusé un penalty.
Malgré les nombreuses possibilités de but en deuxième mi-temps, le score n’a pas bougé et, même s’il aurait préféré les voir gagner, Aron Winter a aimé la prestation collective de ses hommes. Il faudra toutefois s'imposer ou marquer au moins deux buts à Torreon pour passer, ce qui ne s’annonce pas simple.
Dans l’autre demi-finale, Monterrey a fait un grand pas vers la qualification en battant les Pumas de l’Unam 3-0 grâce à un grand Suazo (impliqué dans les trois buts) et à un De Nigris (auteur de deux d’entre eux) inspiré.