Historical Faccuracies

Major League Soccer

Right Said Fred Adu

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No country produces a never ending stream of star players. Even South American giants like Argentina and Brazil have their fair share of "the next big thing" that turn out more dud than stud. On the one hand, we as fans deserve share of the blame for rushing to heap praise and feverishly clasp at the next young prospect.

Landon Donovan: Remembering the man we never knew

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The goals. The recent sabbatical. The early retirement. The World Cup snub. The goals. There's so many trite talking points when waxing on Landon Donovan, the all-time leading goalscorer for the US Men's National Team. For the past few months, I've purposely kept away from the topic to gather my thoughts and hopefully pen something different.

Totally Random List of Former Sporting KC/KC Wizards/KC Wiz Strikers

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At long last, Sporting KC has reached the MLS Cup final. They've been a regular contender these past few years but pretty much always fell to the Houston Dynamo. During the past three years, though, the team has experienced a pretty constant shift in personnel. In part, that's the reality of pro sports, especially in MLS with a pretty rigid salary cap.

FC Barcelona

Folha Seca: The Arbitrary Importance of History

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When researching and writing (and later "recording") my first book, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish, I looked closely at the history of the Spanish soccer term: chilena, which is "bicycle-kick" in English. Basically, a Spanish expat in Chile pulled off a bicycle kick near the start of the 20th century, it was reported, and the name caught fire.

Celebrating Johan Cruyff the Asshole

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Lots of smart and knowledgeable people have chimed in on Johan Cruyff, the Dutch soccer legend who recently passed away. Yet, as pointed out by Brian Phillips on Twitter, nobody has noted or observed or come to grips with the fact he was an asshole. Like all geniuses, Cruyff was difficult to work with as a player, a coach, and even an executive.

Where have all the Enganches gone?

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The above picture recently surfaced of now retired Juan Roman Riquelme with Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano and Riquelme's son. Arguably, Riquelme was one of the last enganches to excel in Europe and possibly the world. Of course, you ask, what exactly is an enganche?

Allow me to explain.

eBook Preview #8 – The Beginning

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Real Madrid fell a single goal short in their comeback attempt vs. Dortmund. Barcelona got smoked at home by Munich. All glory is fleeting. But fans of both clubs can glance back at 100 years of history to conjure up fond memories and look forwards to a future of trophies. Thanks to my Kickstarter backers, I had the pleasure of researching, writing, and now publishing a book on the first hundred years of this rivalry.

eBook Preview #6: Which is Mightier – the Mind or the Foot?

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In the 1970′s, Spain amended its oriundo law to allow clubs to field two foreign born players-a-piece. FC Barcelona immediately benefited by signing Dutch all-star Johan Cruyff. In his first season, they beat rivals Real Madrid 5-0 and won La Liga. More importantly, he embraced left-leaning Catalan politics and even bestowed a Catalan name upon his son.

eBook Preview #4: Ricardo Zamora, To Whom Does History Belong?

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History is a funny thing. If you're not successful, you're forgotten. However, if you're an all-star, everybody wants a piece of you even after your dead. In the 1920′s and 1930′s, no goalie could compare to Ricardo Zamora. His broad shoulders and 6'4 frame made him a force in the box. He won several trophies, and, today, the award for top goalie in Spain is named after him.

eBook Preview #3: Ladislao Kubala, the Broad-Shouldered Ballerina

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Power vs. grace. Speed vs. strength. For the most part, the universe forces us to choose between one good thing or the other. We seldom can have our cake and eat it too. Soccer players (and athletes) normally come in two categories: slow & strong, or small but quick. In a world of limitless budgets, you could have Diego Milito and Xavi Hernandez on the same team, but they'd never be the same player.

eBook Preview #2: Paulino Alcantara, Barca’s Forgotten Goalscorer

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Comparisons between past players and present all-stars always come out fuzzy. On the one hand, everybody gripes that "the competition has improved" and the past player would get suffocated by modern defenses. On the other hand, we have to admit that the past player would have had access to superior training techniques and diet, and just may have upped his or her game.

Real Madrid v. Barcelona: A Glance Back at Past Pasillos

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Pasillo is the Spanish term for "hallway." However, in the world of La Liga, it has a secondary meaning: guard of honor. After a team wins either La Liga or the Copa del Rey, at the very start of their next game, it's customary that the opposing players will stand in two lines near the entrance tunnel, forming a hallway, and salute the champions as they enter the field.

Champions League

The True Importance of Winning?

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In the latest issue of The Classical, there's some pretty words written about losing. In particular, the NBA has stories from the 2000′s about teams that couldn't win a ring but earned critical acclaim. I speak, of course, of the Chris Webber Sacramento Kings and the Steve Nash Phoenix Suns. These teams both were fun to watch the Suns tried to score in six seconds each possession, and relied on the delicious pick-and-rolls of Nash and Amare Stoudemire.

Real Madrid’s History Revisited

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Atletico is campeon. Long live Atletico. If you're a Real Madrid fan, you're used to losing La Liga by now. FC Barcelona has been off the charts the last decade, so we've been happy with Copitas del Rey and good Champions League showings (and the occasional SuperCup). This year, we all know that the big game still looms: this Saturday, the chance at La Decima.

eBook Preview #7 – Regime Team Who?

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Want to bring up a bad taste in the mouth of a Real Madrid fan? All you need to know is a term and a song. The word is "regime team." The song is "Asi....asi....asi gana el Madrid." [That's....that's....that's how Madrid wins]. Both bring to mind a very dark chapter in Real Madrid's history: the rule of General Francisco Franco over Spain.

World Cup

Klinsmann’s Alchemy: Will the US Roster Formula Trump Individual Form?

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Unlike many other national teams, Jurgen Klinsmann has named a 30 man roster for the US national team camp and then will name his 23 man World Cup roster later. On cue, hundreds of journalists have channeled their fantasy sport inner banshee and churned out a thousand-and-one "who will he pick?" articles.

World Cup Moments: The Goals That Weren’t…..

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As you may have noticed, it's not all lollipops and summer days around here. I've been pretty dissatisfied with media coverage of World Cups since 2010, when the press focused too much on the "Africa" in South Africa. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Except when everybody talks only about voodoo and raises doubts about "proper organization.

Every World Cup Article Ever: Stupid Animal Predicts Result

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No, there will be no Piers Morgan joke. Too easy. The above picture, though, depicts a similar creature: an amoeba. A amoeba, of course, is a protozoa that lacks a definite shape and also no brain, just a nucleus. Amoebas aren't cute. They aren't cuddly. They just float around, digest, and reproduce asexually (booooring).

Some Hot & Spicy Mexican Content

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Don't you just love stereotypes? I'm half-Mexican and fair-skinned, which has given me a unique window to know what white folks think of Mexicans and vice-versa. The general consensus is that Mexican Coke is better than American Coke, and that people can't even agree to disagree about the rest but I can dance salsa quite well as long as it's not with your daughter.

Qatar 2022: Will FIFA Learn Anything from the Australian Open Debacle?

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FIFA has awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2022. Newsflash: Qatar is a pretty hot country. This past summer, Ecuadorian striker Chucho Benitez died from heart failure shortly after signing and playing for a Qatari club. Many construction workers have died toiling away in the heat. Qatar is a "subtropical dry, hot desert climate.

An Apology to Mainstream Media on Behalf of Richard Whittall (And Me)

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Sometimes, the mainstream media is wrong. For example, a columnist at ESPN recently went on a posh vacation to Qatar. Surprise surprise, upon his return, he wrote a pretty bland, half-assed defense of Qatar. He had written quite movingly about the death of an Espanyol player years ago, but, like, the death of dozens of immigrant workers was brushed off as blogger chatter.

North American Soccer Narratives: Mexico and the US

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For the last fifty years, Mexicans and Americans have lied to ourselves. At least about soccer. That is to say, we've constructed elaborate narratives to explain, gloss over, and/or glorify the sport at home. In the US, the story is simple: between the fall of the NASL and the rise of MLS, soccer ceased to exist.


The Scott Baio Anti-Defamation League Orders You to Cease & Desist Referring to Player W with Injurious Language

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A career in soccer is not an endless stream of Happy Days. No, while we'd all like to be the Charles in Charge, some things lay beyond our grasp. Luck. Chance. Fate. As fans and followers, we often project our own anger and insecurities onto players. In their defects, we see our own, yet desperately yearn for the athlete gods to overcome this weakness.

The Joey Lawrence Appreciation Society Proudly Remembers Player Y

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Nothing breaks the heart like a candle whose flame is blown out by the wind. Noted actor Joey Lawrence's career burned with promise and brimmed with energy. From the very first episode of the late 90′s TV show Blossom, audiences fell in love his "whoa" and looked forward to decades of avant grade artistry.

The Gerard Depardieu Appreciation Society Proudly Draws Your Attention to X Player…

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Genius is not always recognized in its time. Genius is not even always recognized in its own language. We of the present must sometimes toil to correct the omissions, slights, and errors of the past. But above all, we must live fully in the present.

We can never turn back the pages of history to correct the sinking popularity of acting genius Gerard Depardieu.

Copa America 2011: Stray-ker, the Unofficial, Unleashed Mascot

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Man's best friend has not always been so friendly. While the latest edition of the Copa America plays out, a recurring problem in South America, like, totally repeats itself: stray dog pitch invasions. This dilemma is nothing new. Nor unique to South America. Nevertheless, I invite you to take a walk down memory lane as we re-live some of the greatest canine cancha romps in recent and distant history.

The Rest

Friendly Ire: Past USMNT Near Misses

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Life isn't all sunny days and lollipops. Sometimes, it rains on our parade. Sometimes, a player for the US national team doesn't get that ticket to the World Cup. Here are a few stunning displays in either friendlies or World Cup qualifying by US players that didn't add up to a tournament invitation.