No Short Corners Archives for January 2011

Handicapping the MLS offseason: The Western Conference, Part 1

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We are falling deeper into the mineshaft of the 2011 MLS offseason. It's usually about this time - maybe more around Christmas - that things feel the darkest, as most other world leagues are just kicking into gear and we are left with a barren, windswept plain where our soccer once was. But fear not, intrepid travelers, for into the breach I step.

Executive decision time

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I have decided (or realized, which ever came first) that I am over-tired and burnt. I need a little breather, so I'm gonna be scarce this week. It's almost silly season again and I need my strength, don't want to be caught napping then.Do not fear: Will has a big ol' MLS series planned and I still have a few promised posts that I keep forgetting to spring on you after I'm recharged - including

Must See TV

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The first NBC promo of their MLS package. Betchya hundred bucks Bob Costas turns up on a broadcast at some point...- Greg Seltzer

A few MLS notes

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MLS snuck this in on us just before Thanksgiving, so it deserves a look if you missed it. One question: where can I get one of those snazzy Galaxy blazers? A few things going on this week worth noting in the afterglow of the MLS Cup. The most notable is that PSG's Qatari oil magnates are willing to pony up enough cash to double David Beckham's salary.

En-Chandler-ed

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With his side badly needing a win today, Timothy Chandler has fired hosts FCN ahead 1-0 on 13 minutes.- Greg Seltzer

Oops.

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If, like me, you got so busy and blanked on the USWNT match against Sweden this weekend, no worries. You can watch the entire match here (or just the highlights and reactions, if you wish).Since I didn't know, I won't reveal anything about the result.- Greg Seltzer

Who likes goals?

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Guess who forgot something last night. Oh well, gives me a chance to sneak in a Champions League strike...Listen to how bored the Russian broadcast team had gotten with Real Madrid dominance by the time Gonzalo Higuain tucked home this beauty against Dinamo Zagreb last night.Traveling back to the international break, Nani lit the cannon to help Portugal punch their Euro2012 ticket against Bosnia.

Extra Teal

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This post contains two options for the meaning of the title. Please pick your favorite and ignore the other.Option #1 is additional info on Teal Bunbury's proposed visit to Bolton - and perhaps also Newcastle. There now appear to be a few potential stumbling blocks that could nix the trip to England.

Your friendly neighborhood UEFA NextGen report

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The NextGen Series seeks to feature the premier youth teams of Europe. In effect, it showcases the next generation - get it? - of European talent.If Rosenborg and Aston Villa's do-or-die Group 3 clash at Lerkendal Stadium is any indication, we have years of little Frank Lampards to look forward to.

It's that time again... already.

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Sheesh. A couple more years and my silly season work will precede Christmas music at the mall. In any event, I am here to drop a couple of quick tidbits, just to offer some needed clarity...First off, allow me to clarify that the F-Word interest recently revealed by Chris Wondolowski is not current. In fact, the Kakkerlakken had a bid for the San Jose ace rejected last winter.

A few things...

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Don't think you're getting away from our MLS Cup fracas that easy. #1 - I was not there. This guy was. He has some thoughts. It did in fact rain in LA. That did happen. #2 - There has been some rearranging of the deck furniture at ESPN. John Harkes was told his contract was not being renewed. Into the void steps Taylor Twellman.

Awesome Auction Alert!

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You have five hours and change left to bid on autographed game-worn USMNT shirts from their recent friendly in Paris. Proceeds go to the Disabled Veterans Charity.- Greg Seltzer

The MLS Grinder: LA, bay-bay

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Ever think you'd see this? Our last Grinder of the year. A little wistful, a little sad. But I suppose it's not all tears. For the folks in the blue and gold, anyway. Sorry Houston. Number four will have to wait. It's finally LA's turn again. I've trawled the internets for some immediate analysis from both supporters' sections, since the nerves are

On Tap: MLS Cup

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Is anyone else sick of all the conjecture? Well, got some good news for you. It's finally here. Every time I've been ready to crown LA this week, I keep harkening back to Dallas-Colorado last year. The Hoops were fresh off a beating of the Galaxy while Colorado was the quintessential hot November team.

Goodson and services

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Yep, Clarence Goodson buried the first goal of that game (and his first of the season) from an 18th minute free kick and then marshaled the Brøndby backline in a 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen that now gives Michael Parkhurst's FC Nordsjælland a chance to cut into the league lead. Clip to come...- Greg Seltzer

LIVE: Battle of the Year final - ? v ?

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Let's kick of championship weekend with the 2011 Battle of the Year final, which is about to start as I post. First, we will have popping/locking exhibitions, then we learn the finalists after semifinal battles between Battle Born (USA) & 9 States (Japan) & favorites Vagabonds (France) v TPEC (Taiwan).

The Forest Prince bags an onion

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No, Robbie Findley hasn't gone to market, he's hit the 1-1 equalizer near halftime for Nottingham Forest. Unfortunately, visitors Ipswich have gone back ahead after the break, but perhaps the US international has another strike in him today.Clip later... - Greg Seltzer

DeRo it is

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A deserving award for the second-half goal machine. And it's a fascinating case this year, probably the strangest MVP we've ever had. What's interesting is how DeRo was discarded not once but twice, first by hometown TFC and then by New York, who really needed Frank Rost (epic eye roll here) in that DP spot.

The Friday Five

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It's a special MLS Cup edition of the Friday Five today, where we peer into the crystal ball to explore whether Brad Davis' absence has unofficially put the kabash on Houston's chances, whether Donovan has anything left to prove and if Jacob has the stones to pick against LA. Let's dive in, shall we?

Hello Muddah - Around The Horn Edition

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Fully aware that I owe one more Hope Solo dance marking, let's go around to the various US camps (two of which are now closed) and I'll get to that some time this weekend. I've got other things crack-a-lacking that have busied me. You will soon be happy about it...- Greg Seltzer

A gaggle of MLS awards

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We've got some business to tend to since work caught up with me yesterday and I missed Seattle Sounders Tuesday at the MLS awards bureau. But first... Nagbe??? Be still mine beating heart. Eric Hassli was robbed I tells ya. Nagbe's goal gets a 9.1 on the Parchman-Richter goals scale. Hassli gets like a 12.

Some flash post-Slovenia thoughts

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First off, I didn't see Koman Coulibaly anywhere. So, good for... everyone supporting red white and blue. The game was played in the midst of a bizarre fog bank that bathed the broadcast in an eerie white sheen, and the visible breath condensation in the knife blade-cold air sort of gave off the kind of bitter, November non-WC qualifying game this would turn out to be.

It's Jay Heaps

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On the heels of the surprising dismissal of Steve Nicol, which is still sending a tremulous reverb throughout the portion of New England that's left over from the bloodletting, we have Mr. Revolution himself, Jay Heaps, riding into the soupy morass. Martin Rennie just got a drinking buddy. Heaps of course is the Revs' career leader in appearances with 294, and he's now the second-youngest

SO much "excitement"

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Alright, I promised a few tales from my trip, so let's get to it. Buckle up, it's a coaster ride.The night before I have everything in place and ready, I get to sleep not quite as early as I'd hoped, but certainly early enough. Everything had been settled and booked, and it looked like smooth sailing.

Extra time

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Have had things popping on me all day, so the Paris gonzo is bumped again until tomorrow. For now, let's do another one of these from my U-23 camp chat with Sebastian Lletget.On what the Championship looks like up close:"I've never seen a second division like it. The pace is ridiculous. Even if some players aren't as technically skilled, they make it up with their endurance and drive.

An MLS award double dip

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We've got two awards on the docket today: comeback player of the year and coach of the year. And finally we have our first controversy. We'll start with the easier COY, beginning with my selection three months ago. Coach of the YearPiotr Nowak, PhiladelphiaIn the running: Robert Warzycha, Schellas HyndmanNotes: Philly's eye-popping turnaround is the story of the league through July.

Hello Muddah - The U-23 Chronicles

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The gonzo post is still to come (dozed off last night, no surprise that), but first let's trip to U.S. Under-23 camp for some reportage of all kinds from the weekend...- Greg Seltzer

Extra time

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My first bit from U-23 camp dropped at MLSS last night. There's more to come, but I wanted to share the things Tony Taylor said about club life that didn't make the final product.On whether the club wants to make his loan permanent:The coach wants me to stay. I'm happy. I'm playing, the team is winning.

I'm home.

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Though not overly long, what a strange trip it's been. I will return to NSC-world tomorrow to gonzo it up with the tales of my journey for you all, the highs and lows and misadventures and macarons.Awesomeness sneak preview: Like me and Ian Joy, Charles Renken is an Imo's Pizza fiend. That kid is my dude!

The Friday Five

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This week, with the MLS Cup still lingering off in the distance like a bored monolith, we take a look at Don Garber's love for unloved announcements, why Jurgen Klinsmann is America's favorite step dad and more. Assist maestro Brad Davis went down with a quad injury in the first half of Houston's eventual 2-0 victory over SKC in the Eastern Conference Final last weekend.

On Tap: USA v France

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There's a little something to be gained for both sides today. For France, a tuneup for a Euro competition they (characteristically) barely qualified for, needing a late penalty conversion from Samir Nasri against superpower Bosnia-Herzegovina to earn a 1-1 draw. For the US, they'd like some confirmation against a talented side that Klinsmann's project is gaining steam.

It's your MLS Best XI, now with more Keller

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So here was my initial prediction/explanation in August: Notes: It's unfortunate for Brad Davis that Brek Shea plays his position, because his assist record is better than Beckham's. Tried shoehorning him in there, but Becks gets the 11th hour selection over the field so far due to his still-world class ability from free kicks and crosses.

It's Gonzo-bulous

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Okay, so I'm not great at the flashy puns. Guess I'll leave those up to Greg. Omar Gonzalez's career year (I said it) paved the way for his first MLS defender of the year honor, announced today. He can add the piece to his growing mantle, which already includes an MLS rookie of the year honor. He can add an MLS Cup trophy next week.

Grella-ssault

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In Johnstone Paint Trophy round of 16 action, Brentford's Mike Grella did a hat trick alert one better. See for yourself...- Greg Seltzer

Dancing with Hope - Round Eight

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It's another week with two judged performances as our girl enters the top five, including one she and her partner must put together receiving the music only 20 minutes beforehand. Hope claims this is her sweet spot, with the pressure on like that. We shall see, but first there is the standard weekly routine featuring a Quickstep.

MLS Rook of the Year: CJ Sapong

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So the kid doesn't just have fresh flows when Hope Solo drops into KC. Turns out he can ball, too. As I'll do with the conclusion of each of these votes, here's a look back at my rookie of the year ballot on August 3. Far, far before this thing was through. Rookie of the Year Will Bruin, Houston In the running: Rich Balchan, A.

A few things...

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Filling some reader requests, once again back is the incredible...#1 - Quite wisely, Klinsi has let Landon Donovan out of the USMNT travel party.#2 - Let me just get this out of the way, so it doesn't wait until item five to annoy you with anticipation. I have some deluxe goodies of all varieties coming soon at MLSS.

That's a spicy-a-meat-a-ball-a!

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Save the date: the USMNT will be visiting Genoa to face Italy on February 29th. I can almost already taste the risotto...- Greg Seltzer

Ra-ra ah-ah-ah, Guada-rrama-ma...

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I was going to put this up earlier, but then... ya know... I noticed my bike was gone. Better late than never, we have the first Atlante goal of Sonny Guadarrama (play of the foul leading to the goal play starts at 1:18).And yes, that damn Lady Gaga song is ruthlessly stuck in my head today. Bad Monday is more like it.

An open letter to the guy who stole my bike this morning

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Dear "person",Super-mega-duper congratulations on being an adult who steals bikes for a living. Your family must be so proud. Feel free at any time to get hit by a bus. Asshole.Love, Greg

The MLS Grinder: An Orange Creamsicle Galaxy

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First off, big ups this week to J-Klinger, who correctly predicted Houston drowning out KC 2-0 - even had a set piece goal right - and was only a goal off but hit the result dead on in LA's 3-1 triumph over RSL. Dude came quick with it in our Friday Five. I'll getcha next time, bud. Face it. The Galaxy are supposed to be here.

Just when you thought it was safe to bag on him again... (updated)

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AZ forward Jozy Altidore has applied the 83rd minute capper on a 3-0 win over ADO Den Haag. Celebrating his birthday, the (now) 22-year old hypnotized two defenders and danced around the keeper. I'll get the clip up as quickly as I can, you're gonna love it.And if you're keeping score, that's four Eredivisie goals and eight overall as we near the 1/3 marker on the season.

Just when you thought it was safe to bag on him again...

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AZ forward Jozy Altidore has applied the 83rd minute capper on a 3-0 win over ADO Den Haag. Celebrating his birthday, the (now) 22-year old hypnotized two defenders and danced around the keeper. I'll get the clip up as quickly as I can, you're gonna love it.And if you're keeping score, that's four Eredivisie goals and eight overall as we near the 1/3 marker on the season.

Your friendly neighborhood UEFA NextGen report

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If one is the loneliest number, what does that make zero? After Ajax drew away to Fenerbahce they joined the imperfect mass that constitutes this year's NextGen field. Sporting and Tottenham remain unbeaten, but perfection is now a thing of the past for all 16 tournament teams. Yet if anyone can claim to have truly attained perfection it is Barcelona.

The Friday Five

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Jacob and I hatched a scheme for an intermittent Friday back-and-forth questionnaire on pressing matters. With MLS playoffs roaring to a boil, we're putting the league's happenings on the block today. For our inaugural Friday Five, we bring you our conference final edition. Marquez lovers, progress no further.

Okay, I wasn't actually done.

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First off, let me say that I do not wish for this to in any way seem like any commentary on or campaign against Alfredo Morales. He is a promising young player that I would consider an obvious Olympic choice. If he is going to play for the US and he is not eventually on that squad, I will be shocked (or, theoretically, just dismayed that he's not fit).

Hmmm - Part Zwei

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I find it very odd how Klinsi keeps insisting that his camps allow him to 'explore and evaluate everyone in the national team program' when it's basically always the same guys so far.We have no Sacha Kljestan (for some wholly bizarre reason) and no Michael Parkhurst and again no natural left back to speak of, but Michael Orozco Fiscal remains.

Donovan dusts off "LandyCakes"

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Let me show you the real reasons I like Landon Donovan, which have nothing to do with the soccer skills he will take up against New York in their tie decider on Thursday night: the guy is honest and he has an underrated propensity for not taking himself so seriously all the time. Considering his position in the US soccer bubble for the last decade, I'd say those are real feats.

The first Olympic team camp

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Here is new US Under-23 coach Caleb Porter's first group of 31. The most notable omission for me would be Bill Hamid by a wide margin. Do note, that Josh Gatt will not be an active member of the camp - he is still recovering from a hamstring injury and will be there for the team-building aspects.And as we are now a 4-3-3 country, I've changed the "F" for forwards to an "A" for attackers,

Whoa. I actually voted for the winner this time.

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Had the top three angled, actually. Spooky...CLINT DEMPSEY WINS THE 2011 PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY FUTBOL DE PRIMERAHe won his first award in 2006. This time almost fifty percent of the journalists voted for Dempsey in first place SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011) - U.S. National Team forward Clint Dempsey, was chosen by 202 US journalists as the "2011 Player of the

Awesome Auction Alert!

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FYI: You have two days left to get your MLS W.O.R.K.S. Breast Cancer Awareness Auction bids in, folks. And to me, several of these items remain in "quite the steal" range for game worns and autographed jerseys from some fine players.- Greg Seltzer

Dancing with Hope - Round Seven

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After last week's excitement, a twist! Not only with the USMNT keeper tackle the samba for points, there is also a team Pasodoble dance (I totally had to look that one up) with three pairings together that will be judged and count like a regular partner performance. Yep, a double dip,on the floor and the scorecard.

ATTN: Soccer Dreamers

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Being both true blue American and sorta Dutch-ified, I could retire like a rock star now if given a buck for every fan I've had tell me how they'd love to have a real, live stake in a real club. If only, if only.Well, it's time to put your money where your fantasy is, because Dutch second flight side Cambuur SC have a proposition for anyone ready to live that wacky dream of professional soccer

Who likes goals?

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Stay tuned to NSC tube for another episode of HopeTV later, plus word on a chance for you to become an actual part-owner of an actual club you've heard of...Let's start with one to make you feel bad if you don't get your motor revved this morning, a wild ride thanks to Milan Petržela of FC Viktoria Plzeň (a team NSC pal Phil Schoen digs).