Burn, destroy, wreck, kill

April 2, 2014

Sounders Win in Stoppage Time
“In 1859, an American farmer in the Northwest shot and killed a pig that was on his land. The pig belonged to an Irishman, who demanded $100 in repayment. Instead, the two men feuded for years, a squabble that escalated into an international conflict that eventually led to both American and British soldiers being called in to duty. No one fired a shot, and after a decade of periodic military huffing and puffing, the two sides resolved the issue. The absurd incident became known as The Pig War. A similar war has been ignited in the Cascadia region of the Pacific Northwest between the cities of Portland and Seattle. The battlefield is green turf with painted white lines. No pigs have been killed, but every week the armies suit up without ever stepping foot on the field that separates them.” SB Nation, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers


David Moyes’ simple tactic helps Manchester United match Bayern

April 2, 2014

“Midfield? Who needs a midfield anyway? In fact who needs the ball at all? For 66 minutes at Old Trafford it looked as though David Moyes might have mustered one of the more defiantly retro tactical triumphs of recent years. On a night that began slowly but built to a second-half barrage of rolling noise, Manchester United produced an intriguingly old-school performance of condensed, fast-breaking, midfield-bypassing football, the kind of football that might have come served up drizzled with horseradish and spritzed with gravy and labelled modern British with a twist.” Guardian

Bayern Munich stretched by Danny Welbeck’s pace for Manchester United
“When Manchester United’s starting XI was revealed around an hour before kick-off, there was confusion about whether David Moyes had selected a 4‑5‑1 formation with Wayne Rooney up front and Danny Welbeck on the left, or a 4‑4‑1‑1 with Rooney behind Welbeck. In the end, United actually played a hybrid of the two systems, and Welbeck’s positioning was the key to this tactical battle.” Guardian – Michael Cox

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City: all the attacking down the same flank

April 2, 2014

“Arsenal and Manchester City played out an enjoyable 1-1 draw. Arsene Wenger was still without Laurent Koscielny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a knock, so Thomas Vermaelen continued at the back and Lukas Podolski returned to the side. Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side were unchanged from the side that won convincingly at Old Trafford in midweek. City started well and took the game to Arsenal, but the home side responded and looked more likely to score at 1-1.” Zonal Marking

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City: Tactical Analysis
“A crucial game for both teams, with Man City needing to win to go top after Chelsea losing at Palace, and Arsenal needing three points to maintain their chase for 4th, which has recently been blown open, with Everton picking up 12 points out of their last six games, and Arsenal just 8. Both teams enter the game on the back of a contrast in results, City brushing aside local rivals in a game where other than brief periods they looked very unlikely to lose, easily dominating in central areas against a frustrated United who struggled to penetrate. Arsenal drawing with Swansea, after the humiliating game against title contenders Chelsea, meaning losing the game would surely rule out any chance of winning the league.” Outside of the Boot

Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, and Two Goals, at the (Almost) Same Damn Time

April 2, 2014

“It’s really hard to watch two soccer matches at the same time. All of the things that make soccer a distinct sport — the lack of stoppages in play, the fluid transitions from attack to defense — also make it completely impossible to juggle more than one match at a time. Try to create a RedZone channel for soccer and you’ll end up with just a whole bunch of timely highlights. So, the Champions League quarterfinals scheduling two games at once makes for some angsty decisions. Which game to watch and which to simply be aware of? Sitting at the bar, which TV should I face, and which should I occasionally glance to my left to check in on? It’s an annoyance that the powers that be chose to schedule the world’s premier club competition this way. Except that, sometimes, it’s awesome.” Grantland

From bad to worse for Barcelona – the tarnishing of a golden image

April 2, 2014

<> at Camp Nou on November 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
“For many years, Barcelona enjoyed a golden image around the globe. But that image has been shattered by a series of negative episodes – of which a transfer ban is just the latest. On Wednesday, Fifa announced that it had banned Barca from signing any players for the next two transfer windows. It was another significant blow to the club’s global reputation. It didn’t used to be like this. Barca’s ‘More Than A Club’ motto suggested a club morally superior to their rivals, who turned down big corporate deals to emblazon Unicef’s logo across their shirts while entertaining the world with an attacking style of play led by whiter-than-white superstar Lionel Messi and his fellow academy graduates. That perception has been shattered by a series of off-field events. It has all happened astonishingly quickly.” BBC

A League of Their Own

April 2, 2014

“Weaving through downtown Nairobi on a recent Saturday afternoon, I entered Lazaru’s Inn, a small bar in the heart of the city centre, to join the Kenya Arsenal Fan Club for the Arsenal v. Everton FA Cup quarterfinal match. By kickoff, there are over 100 Arsenal supporters sitting shoulder to shoulder; the rowdiest contingent is gathered around a screen in the back. Fans wearing red and yellow Arsenal jerseys with names and customized messages such as “The Unbeatable” and “Verminator,” for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, emblazoned across the back, are already shushing people. Enthusiasm turns to dismay when the SuperSport channel is changed to the West Brom vs. Manchester United match. The crowd in the back heaves, and people begin hurling insults towards the bar; one fan mutters that the video jockey is an ignorant Manchester United fan. The channel is changed back in enough time for the crowd to roar at Arsenal’s goal in the sixth minute.” Road and Kingdoms

For Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, Mexico friendly offers chance to re-establish chemistry

April 2, 2014

“Exhibitions between the U.S. and Mexico already are pretty unfriendly. They attract large, divided crowds (more than 55,000 tickets have been sold for Wednesday night’s tilt here at University of Phoenix Stadium), and there’s an abundance of history and animosity on which to draw. Conversation this week has ranged from U.S. coach Jurge Klinsmann’s annoyance at Puebla FC’s refusal to release defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco to Mexico manager Miguel Herrera’s claim that El Tri doesn’t owe its World Cup qualification to the Americans. In fact, he said, the U.S. owes Mexico for taking California.” SI