Monday, September 29, 2008

Offsides explained

Would that I could use all of my journalistic know-how to explain offsides half as well as this.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008


One of these days, someone's going to do an MLS version of Slap Shot. Right now, though, here's to the best actor of all time.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sarah Palin of golazos

OK, OK, I take it all back. Even Abi Okalaja wouldn't have screwed up this call.

Or maybe he would


The point is, he didn't.

At least not yet.

The Ghost Goal Watford Linesman Referee - video powered by Metacafe
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Becks is the man

You know. my estimation of David Beckham goes up every time I see more of him. The guy is an ultimate competitor, and his defense of Marc Burch here illustrates that.

There's no way that's a red card, even though I think Burch is a punk overall. Becks' defense of him is a slap in the face to MLS officiating, and a well-deserved one at that. Good thing it wasn't Abi Okalaja, though, or Burch and 2 or 3 DCU players who weren't within 30 yards of the play would have been sent off as well. Read more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I do NOT like Ike, but I do love these golazos

The storm blew and blew here at Nutmegged World Headquarters, and even though Dynamo will somehow have to fit a rescheduled L.A. Firpo game into their criminally crowded fixture slate, Houston still is surviving well.

Power is still out across most of the area, but the energy from Brian Ching's little "Hey, we're responsible for the stars on your jersey as well as our own" performance as a late sub in drawing even with the Bay Area Wanderers last weekend ought to power up Robertson all on its own this weekend. Assuming the game is on. Word is imminent about that.

In the meantime, here's some wondergoals that I ran across while wasting my still-very-limited Internet time today. Enjoy.

And try this one at home, especially the second one!:

And of course, this great golazo from Gorgeous Giorgio was a sight to see:

Then finally, just for grins, there's this one, which has a nicer result than the real thing!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Nice art, but what does it all mean?

Now that is one very fine fake photo, don't you think? (It's actually an enhanced (in more way than one, if you ask me) version of the HDC, site of Dynamo's third championship postgame celebration.) Unfortunately, I can not take credit for it, which goes instead to the excellent blog The Original Winger.

The link brings you a great post of Sept. 1 about the state of Dynamo Park negotiations.

My official position is still "Give me a signed deal and I'll start thinking about it again." but if the only sticking point is getting $10 million from Harris County, and commissioner (and Dynamo season book holder Sylvia Garcia), we all really have every reason to feel optimistic. Still, sign the deal and I'l feel good. Until then....... Read more!

Color those frequent flyer miles orange

Courtesy of Bernardo Fallas' blog on the Chron site, check out this schedule from now until Halloween for Dynamo, playing CONCACAF Champions League and MLS (not to mention WCQ games for some of them):

Sunday: vs. K.C. at Robertson, 2 p.m. MLS
Sept. 13: at San Jose, 9 p.m. MLS
Sept. 17: vs. L.A. Firpo at Robertson , 9 p.m. CONCACAF
Sept. 20: vs. San Jose at Robertson, 7:30 p.m. MLS
Sept. 23: at San Francisco (time TBD). CONCACAF
Sept. 27: at Toronto FC, 2:30 p.m. MLS
Sept 30: at UNAM Pumas (time TBD). CONCACAF
Oct. 4: at Colorado, 8:30 p.m. MLS
Oct. 7: vs. San Francisco at Robertson, 9 p.m. CONCACAF
Oct. 12: vs. D.C. United at Robertson, 6 p.m. MLS
Oct. 18: vs. Los Angeles at Robertson, 7;30 p.m. MLS
Oct. 22: vs. UNAM Pumas at Robertson, 9 p.m. CONCACAF
Oct. 25: at Chivas USA, 9:30 p.m. MLS (or at least one team is)
Oct. 28: at L.A. Firpo, (time TBD). CONCACAF

Especially take a gander at the Sept. 23-Oct. 4 stretch. That's starting in Panama, then Canada, then Mexico, then Denver. That's three games at altitude and a fourth in the Great White North. According to the Google Earth, that's a grand total of 1,741 miles from Houston to Panama City, 2,380 miles from Panama City to Toronto, 2,043 miles from Toronto to Mexico City, 1,445 miles from Mexico City to Denver and then another 867 miles from the Front Range back to Houston. That's 8,476 miles in a span of 15 days. Now the discussion over at Bernardo's Soccer y Futbol cafe covers the absolute ridiculousness of all this, so I direct you to that discussion there. Just suffice it to say that, even though the Men in Orange get to spend the next three weeks here in Houston after all of that, my reaction to the concentrated travel is pretty much unprintable. I know that MLS denies players the use of chartered jets because (it seems) the care and comfort of their highly specialized and talented workforce is beneath the Don's interest, but this is beyond stupid.

Let's see the Cuba Cinco try that amount of travel!

Here's a great song I found from the Screaming Trees about this:


Can't take a train you know they move too slow
Gotta take to the airport where I wanna go
Heart beating like a million miles an hour
Listening the wind is turning sweet to sour

Orange airplane
Take me to a new day
Little orange airplane
Take me to a new day

I land downtown in the middle of the day
I'm coming down hard so get out of the way
Looking up to heaven trying to find a clue
Said I'm too far gone, gotta pay my dues on

An orange airplane
Take me to a new day
Come on
Little orange airplane
Take me to a new day

I'll be heading into orbit on a sunday morning
My legs are broken and my ears are ringing
Orange airplane takes me to my home
Take me to the graveyard and bury my bones on

An orange airplane
Take me to a new day
Come on
Little orange airplane
Take me to a new day

Take me far away
On an orange airplane Read more!

The Cuba Cinco are true American heroes

That image right there is courtesy Grant Wahl's very fine FanNation blog and it showcases five very brave American heroes who are willing to defy official persecution to support their country's national team.

Here's Wahl:

HAVANA, Cuba -- The U.S. national soccer team arrived here yesterday from Miami for its first-ever World Cup qualifier against Cuba, but they weren’t the only Americans who found their way to Havana. On Thursday night I met up in the Plaza Vieja with five hardcore U.S. soccer fans who defied the U.S. government’s ban on unlicensed travel to Cuba and got into the country by flying separately through a third country.

I won’t be naming them here for obvious reasons, so I’ll call them the Cuba Cinco: four men and one woman ranging in ages from 28 to 38 and hailing from California (two), New York (two) and Colorado.

I have blogged several times this year over the completely gutless lack of effort from U.S. Soccer to arrange a way for US soccer fans to travel to Cuba to support the Rattlers in our WCQ against the Red Menace on Saturday. (Here, here and here.) And what did the esteemed home of the world's game on these domestic shores do about it? Not. One. Damn. Thing. They hid behind the old "The U.S. State Department says...." wussy excuse.

Now comes Wahl profiling these five true patriots who are rising to the occasion and taking matters into their own hands to support our country and our team. As one of the Cuba Cinco say, this is not about politics. This is about our team.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer,” said one who travels to every U.S. road qualifier. “The U.S. is playing Cuba and we follow the U.S. team. Then there’s the historical significance of the game. For people who are really fans you can’t miss it. The team’s playing here, embargo be damned. We’re not going to make a political statement. We’re just going to watch the game and take in a new culture.”

And this, my favorite part of the story:

The Cuba Cinco says they’re aware of the risks that come with traveling to Cuba. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, criminal penalties for violating U.S. sanctions against spending money in Cuba range up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in individual fines. Yet it’s hard to imagine a Stars-and-Stripes-waving U.S. fan would face such harsh punishments.

“I’m fine with [the risks],” said one. “I don’t mind being the person that ends up asking for a hearing and then becoming the big constitutional civil rights case. Because I don’t think it’s constitutional for the U.S. to make it illegal for Americans to spend their money in Cuba.”

“If you think about it, too,” added another, “we’re here to support the U.S. national team in another country. If they were going to make an example of us, what kind of example would that set?”

“I will go anywhere our team plays to support our team, which is thereby supporting our country,” said another. “I’m not doing this to hold the middle finger up to the country or the government or anything like that. It’s just that I don’t really care about any arbitrary law that’s going to restrict my ability to travel. We’re supposed to be free. I consider that to extend to the right to travel.”

All five admit they were nervous coming into Cuba and will be again when they return to the States. But each one said the effort and the risks are worth it. “We all know that [the U.S. players] are coming to a stadium where their fans are outnumbered 10,000 to 1,” one said. “I want to be that one guy there supporting them--and show that I’m a fan and I’m willing to spend my own nickel and come out here to see you play.”

“Do the U.S. players know they have fans coming out to support them in Cuba?” one member of the Cuba Cinco finally asked.

I told them I didn’t think so.

“Well, they’ll have at least five.”

More power to them. Read more!