|06.13.10 at 7:58 pm ET|
Yesterday I along with 2,100 or so raucous U.S. soccer fans attended World Cup Boston 2010′s opening match viewing party at the House of Blues to watch our beloved Red White and Blue tie England.
I have to congratulate and thank this small organization for a great job well done. The atmosphere inside the building was as New England Revolution Vice President Craig Tornberg said to me at half-time of the match, “stadium-like,” and it really was electric and lively throughout the match. The only time the place got quiet was after Steven Gerrard’s fourth minute deflating goal, however, my boy and former New England Revolution star Clint Dempsey came to the rescue as you well know later on – and maybe with a little help from English keeper Robert Green.
Folks brought in vuvuzelas – you know the horns that make that buzzing noise you hear every match. People dressed in crazy costumes, I saw one guy dressed up as a Patriot – very funny, but top marks for going to that length. The entire New England Revolution team was in the building, of course on the VIP level, which is another story but still they made the trek. The people from Channel-5 WCVB TV were there. There were many great auction items up for silent bid before the match. And of the 15 or so of my friends that came out, every one seemed to have a great time.
I think this sort of event and the many like it that have been occurring all over the country really show that soccer has arrived for good in the U.S., and I will have another post up tomorrow including an interview I conducted with Tornberg about this topic.
|06.12.10 at 11:25 am ET|
If you’re in Boston today and are looking for a place to catch the big game this afternoon, come down to the House of Blues on Lands Down Street by Fenway. They are having a giant viewing party and it should be a very entertaining atmosphere.
Enjoy the game wherever you are and go USA – Red White and Blue Army.
|06.11.10 at 10:09 pm ET|
You’re undoubtedly familiar with the names of Boston star athletes, but with the World Cup taking center stage (whether you like it or not), you probably need some tips on players worth watching. In no particular order, here are 10 names to remember as soccer’s best players gather in South Africa.
1. Wayne Rooney, England: This guy will be throwing elbows. Not only does Rooney bring energy, but clearly he will do anything possible to win, including stomping on opponents. He received a red card in 2006 for whining at a referee.
2. Christian Poulsen, Denmark: Similar to Rooney, Poulsen is mean, aggressive and willing to do whatever it takes to lead his country to World Cup glory. Not only does his energy and attacking draw the attention of opposing teams and fans, but he has been involved in multiple controversial incidents on the field as well. The most recent problem was when he punched Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg in the stomach during a qualifying match for the 2008 European Championship. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.11.10 at 1:03 pm ET|
Man, oh, man, what a fabulous way to open up the World Cup.
Siphiwe Tshabalala scored what will go down as one of the greatest goals in World Cup history in the 55th minute after Mexico turned the ball over in its offensive end of the field. Taking a quick counter attack with one-touch passing and great movement off the ball Katlego Mphela unleashed a dagger ball the dreadlock-haired Tshabalala, who took one touch to control the ball into the box and then unleashed a cracking finish in the upper right-90 past Oscar Perez in net for Mexico.
Mexico, which had a goal by Carlos Vela disallowed in the first half for an offsides call that at first glance appeared onsides but by replay was the correct call (on the play the goalkeeper for South Africa became the second-to-last defender not the defender on the back post), frantically searched for the equalizer and nearly was punished on several occasions.
But in the 79th minute off another corner, the Mexicans went short to the substitute Andres Guardado, who then delivered a beautiful ball to the back post where three Mexicans were unmarked by the disorganized South African defense. Just one defender hung back keeping all three players onsides and Rafa Marquez, the Barcelona defender, settled the ball nicely before delivering the game-tying goal.
With three minutes to play Mphela nearly broke the deadlock on a great ball played over the top of the defense by the South African keeper Itumeleng Khune as the forward latched onto the ball, held off his defender, and hit a shot that rattled off the wood work before bouncing away.
Neither team challenged net again.
In case you missed my predictions earlier, I had South Africa coming out of Group A as one of the big surprises of the tournament. South Africa is the lowest FIFA-ranked host nation ever sitting all the way down at No. 83 on the table, but you can’t underestimate the power of what a host nation’s fan base can do to lift a squad to its absolute peak. That’s what happened today and I feel like both South Africa and Mexico will come out ahead of France and Uruguay.
There’s one more match today from Group A: France vs. Uruguay at 2:30 p.m. Enjoy, folks.
|06.11.10 at 9:28 am ET|
Quick predictions because it’s after 3:30 in the morning and I’ve got an incredibly long weekend ahead of me:
I love their crest, it is kingly – and like Euro 2008 Spain does what France did circa 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euros, win the two biggest international tournaments consecutively just in the reverse order of Les Blues.
Final: The Netherlands vs. Spain
I love the clock-work orange and had been thinking about picking them, but Arjen Robben’s most recent injury concerns concern me. He is too important to that team and a complete game-changer when healthy. If he comes back fully fit, a big if, the Netherlands will trouble anyone they face. If not, they lose their most dangerous wing despite their ability to throw other players in.
However, the Dutch still do have Wesley Sneijder, Rafael Van der Vaart, Dirk Kuyt, Robin Van Persie, Eljero Elia, and loads of other attacking options. I’ve said before this Dutch team made concede 2 goals every time they touch the pitch because their defense is so old and suspect, but at the same time they can put 4-5-6 goals up without mercy.
All European semifinals.
England vs. The Netherlands; Spain vs. Germany
Germany take third place again
I probably will be mistaken by this prediction because if you go by history when the World Cup is not in Europe, the South American powers usually dominate and win. Think about it, Brazil won each of the last two cups that were not in Europe – 2002 in South Korea/Japan and 1994 in the United States – and Argentina won the previous World Cup before that not in Europe in the 1986 Mexico tournament.
I know people love the fact that Dunga instilled discipline and his own imprint on the Brazilian roster, but I feel he is denying the fabric of what fundamentally makes Brazil great – they’re Joga Bonito, which translates to play beautifully. Brazil is not a team to play ugly and win, they need to be free-flowing and this team with a fading Kaka as their hopeful star will not perform up to expectations.
In the same respect I think Maradona is one of the biggest bozos waling the face of the earth right now. Check out this picture of him from a few years back. Argentina have plenty of talent al over the pitch and Lionel Messi maybe the best player in the sport today, but Maradona has him out of place at forward when the little Barca man plays best on the right.
The funny thing is he has more than a surplus in forward depth too with Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero likely to sit on the pine, but Maradona refuses to change up his mind on this subject, so I think they will see an early exit in the knockout round.
Group winners and second-place finishers:
A- Mexico wins, South Africa
B- Argentina wins, Greece
C- England wins, US
D- Germany wins, Serbia
E- Netherlands win, Denmark
F- Paraguay wins, Italy
G- Brazil wins, Ivory Coast
H- Spain wins, Chile
South Africa with Steven Pienaar leading the way I think will improbably come out of Group A. I just have a feeling they earn a draw against Mexico in the opening game and play well from there defeating Uruguay and potentially drawing or losing to France in a game that won’t affect their moving onto the knockout round.
The Netherlands I think will be downright explosive and finally live up to the lofty expectations they have every tournament. Again I think they will average over 3 goals a game throughout the tournament even against good defensive squads because they have Sneijder who can unlock defenses with passing, Robben who can do it with his feat, Van Persie that can do it with his deadly shooting as well as Van der Vaart, and Kuyt who is just a dogged competitor getting to every loose ball.
The U.S. I think will turn heads because this team can score goals. Dempsey, Altidore, Donovan, Buddle, Bradley, Findley, Gomez, Bocanegra, Onyewu – these are all guys that can score goals whether it be on the counter or off restarts. Look for them to turn heads and if they win the group have a great shot to make it as far as they have ever made it in the World Cup -the semifinals ala 1950. It would be a great tribute to that team to wear a replica of the shirt of the 1950 team throughout the tournament like they are, and then advance as far.
If you go by Brazil’s standards – winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing – then a quarterfinal exit for a second straight tournament, this time at the hands of the Dutch, is completely unacceptable. However, I think they got a terrible draw all the way around – the Group of Death in Group G and then the potential delicious match with the Netherlands in the quarterfinals if both teams take care of business. Nothing against Brazil I just like the clockwork orange better in that game.
Italy, France, Argentina I think could face a repeat of 2002 when all had early exits. Neither France nor Argentina made it out of the group stages and Italy lost to South Korea in the round of 16. I’m not saying I don’t think any of these teams will advance out of the group stages, as you saw I think Argentina and Italy will, but I think they all have major problems and won’t live up to their generally lofty expectations. Italy is too old, and France and Argentina both have bozo coaches.
|06.11.10 at 8:03 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Phillies at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
MLB: Phillies at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
MLB: Phillies at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
NBA finals: Lakers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ABC, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News calls Jeremy Roenick’s emotional response to the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup title “selfish teardrops of a phony.” In case you missed it, here’s what happened after Chicago’s overtime Cup-clincher Wednesday night.
♦ Ron Cook in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has started to take steps in his reformation.
♦ Herb Gould in the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Nebraska is a nice addition to the Big Ten, but Notre Dame remains the true target. Neill Woelk in the Boulder Daily Camera writes that the University of Colorado played things out well in moving to the Pac-10. Sam Mellinger in the Kansas City Star writes that the demise of the Big 12 might be the worst day in Kansas City sports history.
♦ Andy Staples in Sports Illustrated writes that the USC football team can bounce back from the NCAA sanctions announced Thursday. Doug Farrar at Yahoo!Sports wants to know what was Pete Carroll’s role in the scandal.
♦ Jeff Jacobs in the Hartford Courant writes that UConn coach Jim Calhoun’s inability to realize his program made major mistakes and faces deserved scrutiny from the NCAA does not reflect well on the longtime mentor.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 11, 1987, the Celtics tied an NBA finals record as five players scored 20 or more points in a 123-108 victory over the Lakers in Game 5. Who led the C’s with 25 points?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is what legends are made of, this is where you grasp the moment. Just play in the moment.” — Celtics forward Glen Davis, on his performance in Thursday’s Game 4 win over the Lakers
STAT OF THE DAY: 0.84 — David Ortiz’ batting average in June (3-for-33)
‘NET RESULTS: Dude Perfect cliff jump basketball shot.
Even after winning the Stanley Cup, Blackhawks forward Adam Burish still doesn’t like Philadelphia’s Chris Pronger, and says he wants to punch the Flyers defenseman.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Dennis Johnson
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Graham Russell of Air Supply is 60 today.
|06.10.10 at 7:55 am ET|
As the Celtics continue to battle the Lakers in the NBA finals, news has surfaced that C’s assistant coach Tom Thibodeau will be named the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls. While it will be tough to see Doc Rivers’ right-hand guy depart after three successful years with the team, many may not realize he got his coaching start here in Massachusetts. Although it was years ago and before he became a defensive mastermind in the NBA, Thibodeau was once the head coach at Salem State College, his alma mater. In honor of Thibodeau’s well-deserved opportunity with the Bulls, here is a list of current or former NBA head coaches who once were college head coaches in New England, ranked in order of their success in the NBA.
10. tie, Satch Sanders, John Kuester and Doggie Julian
Sanders won eight NBA championships with the Celtics before he took the head coaching position at Harvard. His four-year stint with the Crimson (1973-77) led him back to the Celtics, where he served as an assistant to Tom Heinsohn, then head coach for parts of two seasons (1977-78 and 1978-79), although he had an uninspiring 23-39 record.
Kuester was an assistant to Rick Pitino at Boston University before he took over for him in 1983 to become the youngest head coach in NCAA Division 1 history. From there he has spent time with eight NBA teams, including the Celtics, Magic and Cavaliers, mainly serving as an assistant coach. He just finished his first season as head coach of the Detroit Pistons with a record of 27-55.
Julian may be most well known for his coaching stint with Holy Cross, where he led the Crusaders to the NCAA title in 1947. One of the members of that team, Bob Cousy, helped Julian come close to winning the title again the following season, but HC lost in the semifinals. He was courted by the Celtics after his time at Holy Cross but found very little success in the NBA, amassing a less-than-stellar 47-81 record before being let go in 1950. He then returned to college, guiding the Dartmouth program from 1950-67. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.10.10 at 7:36 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WRKO)
NBA finals: Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m. (ABC, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
Video of investigators’ interviews with Ben Roethlisberger’s Georgia accuser were released, along with clips of the Steelers quarterback partying at the bar. Roethlisberger responded with a statement that included an apology to his fans and a promise to work harder.
♦ David D’Alessandro in The Star-Ledger of New Jersey writes about Avery Johnson landing the Nets coaching job despite the fact that neither was the other’s first choice.
♦ David Thomas in the Fort-Worth Star Telegram writes about the madness of college conference realignment, with the Big 12 being raided and possibly headed for destruction.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 10, 1970, pitcher Jim Lonborg went on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury and the Red Sox activated which coach to take the roster spot?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “All the things we used to brag about when he was in our uniform, he showed it tonight. He maintained his velocity from the first pitch to the last. That’s about as good a game as you can pitch.” — Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Indians pitcher Justin Masterson’s performance against the Sox Wednesday night
STAT OF THE DAY: 0-6 — The Flyers’ record in their last six Stanley Cup finals appearances, following Wednesday night’s loss to the Blackhawks
‘NET RESULTS: A series of Austrian commercials used the Zinedane Zidane World Cup head butt as inspiration. The commercials were pulled for being construed as promoting that “violence can be used to solve conflicts.”
Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live filed a report from Los Angeles’ Staples Center at NBA finals media day and asked the players about the “Sex in the City” movie.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Outfielder George Thomas, who hit .343 in 38 games
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Shirley Reeves of the Shirelles is 69 today.
|06.09.10 at 8:35 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ David Whitley at AOL FanHouse looks at evidence unveiled this week of Pete Rose allegedly using corked bats — owners of game-used Rose bats recently had them X-rayed — and requests an asterisk for Rose’s career hits record.
♦ Jeff Passan at Yahoo!Sports looks at the dominating debut of Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who fanned 14 Pirates and got the win.
♦ Mark Cannizzaro in the New York Post writes about the disharmony at Jets camp, even with the return of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who isn’t happy with contract negotiations.
♦ Chris Dufresne in The Los Angeles Times looks at “The dark side of the UCLA basketball dynasty” in the person of Sam Gilbert, a booster who counseled player during the John Wooden era and allegedly committed NCAA violations in the process, eventually helping to land the program on probation a few years after Wooden retired.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 9, 1980, the Celtics traded two first-round draft picks to the Golden State Warriors and received a player and a first-round draft pick. Which two players did the Celtics end up with?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Every shot I took I felt like it was a good shot. For me, I always think it’s going to go in. It was frustrating. We were like one, two points back, just a play here or there could have made the difference.” — Celtics guard Ray Allen, after his 0-for-13 shooting performance in Tuesday night’s NBA finals Game 3
STAT OF THE DAY: 2,777 — Innings pitched by Tim Wakefield in his Red Sox career, moving him past Roger Clemens into the top spot in team history
‘NET RESULTS: One fan’s musical tribute to Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.
An adult Mets fan reaches out and steals a ball intended for a kid so that he can give it to his kid. Another ball later was given to the kid who missed out the first time.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Robert Parish and first-round draft pick Kevin McHale
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jackie Wilson, who died in 1984, was born on this day in 1934.
|06.08.10 at 8:14 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WRKO)
NBA finals: Lakers at Celtics, 9 p.m. (ABC, WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ One day after the Nationals selected Bryce Harper with the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft, Stephen Strasburg makes his major league debut for the Nats vs. Pittsburgh, and he’ll have a tough time living up to the hype.
♦ The Detroit Free Press has a great piece on umpire Jim Joyce and how he dealt with his now-infamous blown call in Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game in the days immediately following.
♦ The Cavaliers reportedly are pursuing Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Michael Rosenberg in the Detroit Free Press looks at why Izzo is letting this play out. John Niyo in The Detroit News writes that Izzo should accept the challenge of the NBA.
♦ Jeff Miller in The Orange County Register writes about “drama king” Paul Pierce’s proclamation that the NBA finals won’t return to Los Angeles. Mitch Lawrence at FoxSports.com writes that the refs are screwing up the series. Michael Ventre at NBCSports.com thinks someone should wake up Kobe Bryant.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 8, 1976, the Red Sox had a productive draft, selecting seven players who would go on to play for the Sox, including which two players who would end up in the team’s Hall of Fame?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s the most important game. Game 1 was the most important, Game 2 was the most important, now it’s Game 3. It’s just the next game, simple as that.” — Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, talking about Tuesday night’s NBA finals Game 3 at TD Garden
STAT OF THE DAY: 5 — Wins for Daisuke Matsuzaka after Tuesday’s victory over Cleveland, putting him one win over last season’s total
‘NET RESULTS: Actor Woody Harrelson scores the winning goal on a penalty kick in the Soccer Aid 2010 charity game, won by the world team over host England.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Bruce Hurst and Wade Boggs
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Boz Scaggs is 66 today.
- 3A on Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos WR Wes Welker suffers second concussion in 4 weeks
- Mike on Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos WR Wes Welker suffers second concussion in 4 weeks
- Tony on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Mike on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- depo on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Jeter_Cheats on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Chris on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Herb on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- the truth on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- shutiggyupdotcom on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners