Mexican Wave

June 26, 2011

“On Saturday night, the United States men’s national soccer team lost 4-2 to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional championship of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Between Mexico’s early dominance, Team USA’s shocking surge ahead, and the Americans’ post-halftime futility, the match was a weird miniature of recent domestic soccer history. The United States was terrible (1950-1990 inclusive), then suddenly pretty good (2002 World Cup), then prone to squandering leads (2009 Confederations Cup final vs. Brazil) and stalling (USA-Ghana 2010) after exciting moments (USA-Algeria, also 2010).” Slate – Brian Phillips

Mexico exploits porous U.S. defense
“Breathless, frenetic, utterly absorbing: Mexico was a 4-2 winner in the Gold Cup final, a score line that didn’t seem quite to reflect its superiority, yet so open was the game that the U.S. had enough chances to have itself won the game by a two-goal margin. This was thrillingly end-to-end, a game in which midfields barely existed, settled by the porousness of the USA’s back four. In the end, it simply presented too many chances to Mexico.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Mexico claim Gold Cup glory
“Pablo Barrera scored twice as Mexico came from 2-0 down against USA to win a dramatic CONCACAF Gold Cup final 4-2 at the Rose Bowl. USA appeared to have taken control of the game as Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan put them two goals to the good inside the first quarter of the game, but Barrera and Andres Guardado levelled before the break and the former struck again before Giovani Dos Santos clinched victory.” ESPN

U.S. player ratings against Mexico
“U.S. player ratings vs. Mexico (scale of 1-10).” SI

YouTube – USA 2 Mexico 4

High Five: Top Five FC Barcelona Defenders In The Last Decade

June 26, 2011

“It is quite natural for offensive players to hog the lime-light. We, at TheHardTackle, do not deny that and have already paid our tribute to them. However, trophies are won on the basis of a great defence. It is not a coincidence that teams with stingy defensive lines usually end up winning league titles. Yet, defenders are sadly a neglected lot. They rarely get the spotlight or awards, despite performing well. Here’s a little homage to the top five Barcelona defenders in the last decade.” The Hard Tackle

Jack Climbs a Beanstalk While the Giant Pays Transfer Fees with Golden Eggs

June 26, 2011

“In a more recent piece for the Financial Times, Simon Kuper informs us that top flight football clubs have rapidly turned the business of player evaluation into a quantifiable pursuit. As opposed to a more personal scouting scheme where a club manager might have to rely on whether the opinion of whomever he sent to watch whomever he’s watching is worth a flutter, instead a few statisticians can torture the mountain of numbers at their fingertips sufficiently enough to objectively assess a player’s potential value to his squad. Having read that piece, one might wonder why the Alex Ferguson who misinterpreted the stats on Jaap Stam made, what thus far appears to be, another error in statistical analysis when he signed Bébé without having seen him play.” twohundredpercent