Chile vs. the United States: Five questions about the performance that we can answer before kickoff

January 28, 2015

Republic of Ireland v USA - International Friendly
“The United States’ men’s national team faces Chile tonight in what would be a rare out-of-FIFA-window friendly, if the U.S. didn’t do this every year. Tonight’s match against La Roja and next week’s affair with Panama mark the end to the team’s annual winter camp, affectionately if harshly known as ‘Camp Cupcake’ to fans and critics alike. Given that out-of-window nature of the game, it’s always difficult to discern lessons from these January affairs. Thankfully, our years of experience at being a website (that’s been up for less than a year) are here to help. Here are all the major questions that will be asked after tonight’s game, and their answers.” Soccer Gods

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Borussia Dortmund’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Season

January 28, 2015

“Shit happens. As much as you scheme and plan, measure and predict, train and prepare, the games still have to be played — and balls will bounce the wrong way, key players will get hurt, and opposing keepers will make incredible saves. This season, nowhere has more shit happened than at the Westfalenstadion, the 80,000-seat home stadium of Borussia Dortmund. As the Bundesliga returns from its winter break this weekend, Dortmund sits in 17th place out of 18 teams. If the season ended today, the 2013 Champions League runners-up would be relegated. It’s a stunning fall for a team that finished second in both of the last two seasons and first in the two years before that. So, it’s time to ask …” Grantland (Video)


Upset Polish fans broke into their club’s stadium and left coffins for each player

January 28, 2015

“Angry fans and impromptu protests are all the rage this Major League Soccer offseason. Being the relative neophites we supposedly are (but actually aren’t) here in the United States, we can take a few notes on how to send a strong message from fellow supporters around the world. Bear witness to the work of the pissed off fans of Zawisza Bydgoszcz. The Polish first division club is dead last in the league, so bad that it’s eight points behind the next worst team. They haven’t won in 10 matches, and it lost a friendly to a second division team this weekend.” Soccer Gods (Video)


Brighton and Hove Albion – Love At The Pier

January 28, 2015

Lewis Dunk
“In many ways Brighton’s 2013/14 season was similar to their previous campaign, as they once again reached the Championship play-offs, only to fall at the semi-final stage this time to Derby County, leading to the resignation of Head Coach Oscar Garcia. In spite of this blow, the club’s finances still improved with their losses falling by nearly a third from £15.3 million to £10.6 million. Chief executive Paul Barber described this as “a significant improvement”, which seems a little strange, given that Brighton still reported a loss of nearly £11 million, but he’s sort of right, given the crazy finances in England’s second-tier as clubs strive to reach the highly lucrative Premier League. Furthermore, revenue rose 3% (£0.6 million) to £24 million, which is a record for the Albion, though the debt owed to chairman Tony Bloom also increased by £28 million to £131 million.” Swiss Ramble


SC Freiburg’s Football Factory

January 28, 2015

“It’s the first game of the 2012 Rückrunde and bottom side SC Freiburg are facing FC Augsburg at home and neither side have found a way to score as the clock ticks down to 90 minutes. Trainer Christian Streich decides on a final throw of the dice and sends on eighteen year old academy graduate Matthias Ginter for his debut. Two minutes from time the substitution pays off as Ginter heads home the winner from a Michael Lumb freekick. Fast forward to last summer and having just been a non-playing member of Germany’s World Cup winning squad, Ginter sealed a €10 million switch to Borussia Dortmund. Not a bad piece of business for the Breisgau club and absolutely fitting with the way the club is run.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Do Liverpool Need the Cups?

January 28, 2015

“Given that the role of momentum in sport may be overplayed, it’s difficult to know whether cup runs are important. It’s always nice to win silverware, but if that silverware has no great meaning – if it has been devalued (or never was of value) – then it becomes a question of resource management. That is why so many clubs who don’t have big squads are choosing to play it safe. Let’s be clear: Liverpool FC doesn’t exist to win trophies; it exists to win meaningful trophies. (There are plenty of lower league trophies if the club wants to drop down the divisions.) And it also exists to be part of the big occasions. Indeed, it exists to make people happy.” Tomkins Times


In Winter, It’s Time for a Stoppage

January 26, 2015

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“F.C. Basel, the best soccer team in Switzerland, went to work one recent day on a glistening grass field set among chunky dirt mounds, overgrown vegetation and the construction site for what appeared to be a new Burger King. The circumstances seemed a bit incongruous: Basel, which leads the Swiss Super League standings, was preparing for a UEFA Champions League match, yet it was about 1,000 miles from home. On this particular afternoon, the team’s training consisted of a casual exhibition match on an unlikely field against a second-division team from Germany.” NY Times