Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The USA finally got the offensive effort that was promised when Jurgen Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley. It was a fantastic show of offensive prowess, at least for the first 45 minutes today in Slovenia. Up 1-0 inside the 10 minute mark, thanks to a far out shot by Edson Buddle. The U.S. could have doubled their tally at the 13 minute mark, but Jozey Altidore's boot was just under the cross right at the foot of the net, pushing it up and over the cross bar. I personally think the added presence of Michael Bradley, who has been almost non-existent since the departure of his father as the national team coach, was the difference. Known for his tenacity on the ball defending, he was the main supplier for balls going forward today. His keen corner set up Clint Dempsey for a header to make it a 2-0 game early on, right after Slovenia almost made it a 1-1 game. Following a foul inside the box, Altidore finally found the back of the net on a penalty furthering the Slovenia deficit to 3-1. For the first time since taking over, Klinsmann finally had the right squad out there today. Going with 2 up front is what we need to do to score goals, and I think also the fact that it was a predominately European squad helped out a lot as well. Clint Dempsey is proving to be the go to guy for the Americans, and really can take over a game when needed. Here's to hoping that this was just a sneak peak of what is to come in the future with Klinsmann at the Helm.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
After years of trying to find the perfect exit strategy for their legendary, but aging, coach JoPa, Penn St. University finally have found their way out. Though this is probably not the exit strategy that either the AD, or coach Paterno had initially thought, but he will finally step down at the seasons end. This is an unfortunate event for the storied coach. A series of reports of sexual abuse to kids as young as 11 years old by an assistant coach, and a cover-up allegation to go with it by coach Paterno himself. Penn St. have been feeling the push from alumni the past few seasons to move in a different direction, with alumni saying Paterno's outdated coaching style doesn't fit with the modern game. The year after the pending move made national headlines, JoPa responded by leading Penn St. to a bowl game. In the following seasons since that first report, Paterno has made a mockery of himself, his product, and Penn St. football with a series of comical events. Florida St. had a similar choice to make with coach Bowden when it came time for him to move on, but at least he wasn't seen booking it for the bathroom running his players over because he couldn't hold it any longer. Notre Dame faced had a JoPa ordeal they went through with Charlie Weis when he was incapacitated, but at least he remained on the side lines to coach, unlike Paterno who retreated to the press box. This is an unfortunate occurrence to a storied football coach indeed, but for every new recruit, current player, and alumni, this will be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully Sandusky will not be allowed to rear his ugly head around children ever again, and hopefully this black cloud will not linger above College Station Pa. for too long.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
So tonight the so called "game of the century" should have had the national title at stake, and it most likely did, but, LSU will still have to wait until early January to claim their title. The BCS is broke, and it is taking college football down as well. Gone are the days of meaningful bowl games, only to be replaced with BCS sponsored bowl games and the national championship game. Gone too, or soon to be gone, are the regional rivalries that make college football so great. The Pac 10, er I mean 12, the Big Ten, I believe it is still called that, and a portion of the Big 12, are the only traditional college football conferences left. To my disliking, the Pac 12 expanded this year all in the name of gaining a conference championship game, and ultimately, a better shot at a BCS title contender. So many schools are jumping their own conferences for new conferences for a hope of some big BCS money. The landscape of college football is suffering. Just think of what kind of world it will be with Texas A&M not playing Texas every year. To the Aggies fans, they may like this idea at first, but that will only last as long as their first season in the SEC. Facing the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, and Florida year in and year out will leave them yearning for the days of a Baylor or Kansas matchup. Likewise with the rumor of Boise State going to the Big East. What on earth are they even thinking? Traveling to the east coast every other week is going to become extremely expensive for this tiny school in the middle of Idaho. Sure they have been a "powerhouse", I use quotations because they still haven't proven they can fare well in a real FBS conference, but they still aren't giving themselves the proper footing for a much desired BCS championship berth. The big east may be a glamorous conference to the Broncos, but how about trying their luck filling one of the vacant spots in the Big 12, that would be a better scenario for regionality, and for tougher competition. I for one am ashamed at the Pac 10 for not going after a big time program when they decided on expansion. Utah and Colorado are not big time programs in the least. Sure now they can have their precious conference championship game, that is if it is not vacated by USC this year, since they cannot keep their players or coaches from breaking the rules for more than five minutes at a time. The matchup most fans would want to see this season would be Oregon vs. Stanford. But the rules do not allow for this in the new and improved Pac 12. Chances are it will be Oregon vs. ASU, which could be a decent matchup, but with a BCS berth on the line, Oregon vs. Stanford should be the game that decides the champion. Just like tonight in the Alabama vs. LSU game. That should be the national championship game, not just the SEC championship game, and not that it ever could to begin with, now that will never happen. Alabama has to hope that LSU loses a game now, just to catch a glimmer of a chance at the BCS national championship game. We are in dire need of a playoff in college football. Purists say the bowls are too important to get rid of, but last time I checked, the integrity of them went down the drain when the BCS came into play. Let's get rid of this nonsense, restore regional rivalries even if non-conference, and get a damned playoff. The players deserve this as much as the fans do.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Well on a night that ended a little bit short of the expectations of this fan, Seattle says goodbye to one of the best professionals that the state of Washington has ever produced. Kasey Keller posted a clean sheat in his last professional game of his storied career that has seen fantastic keeping on just about every continent in the world. Keller made only one save tonight, a big one, that kept the Sounders ahead in the game, but ultimately found them losing 3-2 on aggregate goals to Real Salt Lake. It's always toughest to lose the series when your team posts a 2-0 shutout, but that's just the way the game is played. RSL go on to the next round, and the Sounders are forced to take an early trip to the offseason. What might have been, is what we will be talking about until next season, but what was, is what we will be talking about forever. Kasey Keller was the first superstar in the modern age of professional soccer in the pacific northwest. He kept the net like the world class keeper he was for three seasons at the end of his glorious career. On the way helping Seattle to not one, not two, but three straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final matches, and three straight victories to follow each time. Not since the year I was born had the city of Seattle been able to raise a championship trophy of any kind all of our own, and with the Sonics gone, this is the only current one in the city. Of course there were the two by the Storm, and the co-national championship by U-Dub with the Buffalos of Colorado, but this is big time, real, professional sports. Yes, it is not the MLS cup, which is the reason why we play the game, but three straight championships over every available team in America is even more of a feat if you ask me. So, so long Kasey, go ahead and hang up your boots now. Your presence was much appreciated, and will never be forgotten.