The Starting Five

Soccer

Alexi Lalas done lost his mind

by on Jun.19, 2007, under Soccer

So, here’s a story I and maybe a dozen other people here in America care about: Alexi Lalas, former U.S. soccer player and currently the president of Major League Soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy, told british newspapers the MLS is on par with the European Premier League.

That’s laughable.

American soccer, on the whole, has made great strides over my lifetime. It used to be a struggle for our national team to even qualify for the World Cup. These days, not only do we regularly qualify, we’re often a threat to reach the round of 16 and beyond. So please don’t take this as a bash on American soccer or the MLS, which hopefully will continue to grow and produce good players.

But saying the MLS is on par with one of the best pro soccer leagues (if not the best) in the world, is foolish.

While a few American players have had moderate success in the EPL, no American has ever made a major impact to the point of being a genuine star. Meanwhile, if guys like Thierry Henry, Ronaldino or Cristiano Ronaldo ever made their way to MLS, they would almost assuredly totally dominate it.

The MLS can only hope to one day reach the level of the EPL.

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Soccer – The Beautiful Game

by on Feb.06, 2007, under Soccer

If you’re a soccer fan, you’ll want to watch this youtube clip. If you’re not a soccer fan, this youtube clip will make you one. It’s the best argument I could possibly make for the beautiful game.

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A Premier viewing experience

by on Dec.13, 2006, under Soccer

Sometimes, the best things I watch on TV I just happen to stumble upon at 2:40 in the morning.

(I know what you’re thinking. No, not Skinemax.)

After finishing my work shift most nights a little after midnight, generally I go home, play a little Playstation and a little online poker, and channel-surf until dozing off around 3. Then I sleep in until 11 and annoy my wife in the process. (My wife’s a go-getter, she constantly has to be doing something, and since her daily work and sleep patterns are more normal than mine, she can’t stand being up at 8 herself and having to wait for me to drag my rear end out of bed before running around on her off-days.)

So after playing a little poker (I should have just skipped it entirely, to give you a clue how it went), I surfed the channels at 2:30 … and stumbled across the Arsenal vs. Chelsea soccer match in the English Premier League.

Awesome, I thought. Arsenal and Chelsea are two of the premier EPL teams, and the game was scoreless entering the final 30 minutes. What a perfect way to end my day.

Well, it wasn’t perfect. It was so much better than perfect.

Both teams were flying up and down the field in enjoyable attack-counterattack soccer. In about the 77th minute, Arsenal scored on a great strike from about 20 yards out and appeared to be on their way to a victory, until Chelsea midfielder Essien struck one of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen to tie the game at 1.

Essien struck a left-to-right slicing shot with his right foot from 35 yards out just to the right of the goal, starting the shot outside the left post and curling it just inside the post. It was breathtaking. It will be on youtube very, very soon, I’m almost certain.

I’ll say it again: Top-level soccer is as good as it gets.

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