Looked back at the 2002 World Cup, from recapping key moments to kits to goals to the performance of the USMNT.
Read both parts below and let me know thoughts in the comments below.
Archive for the ‘ MatchDay Memories ’ Category
Looked back at the 2002 World Cup, from recapping key moments to kits to goals to the performance of the USMNT.
Read both parts below and let me know thoughts in the comments below.
The big performance feature of the tournament was a mesh panel over a sewn in base layer. Adidas went for contrasting colors on some shirts which worked with most jerseys except for the white ones, with France and China coming to mind. Nike’s template saw an angled chest section accented with several different features: contrasting colored triangles at the collarbone and rib cage panels, raglan sleeves and a mixture of collars.
Of course the most unique kit had to have been Cameroon, which saw sleeves sewn into a tank top designed kit in order to meet FIFA regulations. Germany wore the same kit (white shirt, black shorts, white socks) in every match. I owned the Nigeria home shirt from this competition for while but eventually got rid of it. My post on the shirt and the Super Eagles tournament can be found here.
On the shoe front adidas had recently released the Predator Mania ahead of the tournament. The shoe was much less stylized than the previous versions and didn’t have the fins. A traditional looking boot, the tongue was held in place with an elastic band that went under the shoe, and blades rather than studs were used and the shoe featured a heel cup.
Nike continued on with their Mercurial Vapor line and launched it with the famous Secret Tournament campaign. Focusing on making the lightest boot possible, the outsole was made of a synthetic material called Nike Skin. The shoe also contained an external heel counter and a “glass” filled outsole called NikeFrame.
I couldn’t find much in the way of tactical innovations so I focused on the US v Mexico Round of 16 game and the winners of the tournament.
I had it stuck in my brain that Claudio Reyna played some sort of RBW/RM but didn’t know if that was right or why one of the most technical players in the US Soccer history was manning the channels. Research proved that I remember correctly and this position was the result of squad changes. Bruce Arena rolled out a 3-5-2 against their CONCACAF rivals. Friedel was between the sticks with Berhalter, Pope and Sanneh in a three man back line with Mastroeni back in the squad to help clog the middle. Lewis and Reyna played wing back to provide defensive cover and O’Brien and Donovan started and linked the attack, which was led by Wolff and McBride. The US gave up possession but kept Mexico at arm’s length, only giving up one shot. An early goal from McBride allowed a dogged organization to take over and the United States saw off Mexico. This tactical tweak secured the result for the Stars and Stripes and added another Dos a Cero to the rivalry.
As for Brazil, everyone remembers an awesome attack of the three R’s but the midfield corps was disrupted by an injury to Emerson before the tournament and a change by Scolari in the knockout stages. Michael Cox of Zonal Marking examined the team and saw the Seleccao move from a midfield of Emerson and Juninho Paulista to a midfield of Gilberto Silva and Juninho Paulista, who was then replaced by Kleberson. The result was a 3-4-1-2 with a back three of Lucio, Edmilson and Roque Juinor and Cafu and Roberto Carlos as wingbacks. Ronaldinho took the ball off the back line and got it up to Rivaldo and Ronaldo. Not really a tactical innovation by Scolari but one that got Brazil’s World Cup Qualification back on track, maximized his player pool and captured the country’s fifth title.
Team of the Tournament
Reviewing the Team of the Tournament, the memories came flooding back. Kahn was a beast but had an unfortunate moment in the Final. Rustu would get a cup of coffee at Barcelona but spent most of his career in Turkey. Hong Myung Bo was a rock in the back for the hosts. The three R’ed attack of Brazil was a sight to behold. I loved Hasan Sas and actually created a player based on him for a FIFA game. And of course who could forget El Hadji Diouf. The Senegalese striker had a great summer but a series of terrible spells followed in England afterwards.
Goalkeepers: Oliver Kahn (Germany); Rustu Recber (Turkey)
Defenders: Roberto Carlos (Brazil); Sol Campbell (England); Hong Myung Bo (South Korea); Alpay Ozalan (Turkey); Fernando Hierro (Spain)
Midfielders: Rivaldo, Ronaldinho (Brazil); Claudio Reyna (United States); Michael Ballack (Germany); Yoo Sang Chul (South Korea)
Forwards: Ronaldo (Brazil); El Hadji Diouf (Senegal); Hasan Sas (Turkey); Miroslav Klose (Germany)
All in all, a strange tournament due to the timing and multiple locations but one that I will remember for the United States’ fine performance and exposure to new teams like Senegal, Turkey and South Korea. Kit game wasn’t that strong but some of the goals were quite tasty.
Read Part 1 here and check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.
2017 promises to be another great year for American soccer, and this year is particularly special because Atlanta United kicks off their first ever MLS campaign. But soccer happens all over this country at all levels and my goal each year is touch base at each level.
This year began with Atlanta United friendlies. First up was the quick drive up to Chattanooga for the game against Chattanooga FC. The Chattahooligans were great hosts, providing space at First Tennessee Pavilion and a huge breakfast buffet spread. Besides getting to meet fans from Atlanta and Chattanooga, I ran into Dennis Crowley, founder of Kingston Stockade FC of the NPSL. He came in from New York to check out the scene and we had a quick chat. Read my recap for Terminus Legion.
The following weekend was the opening match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. Atlanta United fans descended on Charleston to watch the Five Stripes face off against Columbus Crew SC. All four Atlanta United Supporter Groups did a shared tailgate, which was awesome. Returning to Charleston was great as well as the housing at Camp Cheek. Read my recap for Terminus Legion and listen to my interviews with Atlanta United fans on the Terminus Legion podcast.
I went to the first ever Atlanta United game. The club kicked off at Bobby Dodd Stadium and it was awesome evening. Tailgate, march, tifo, great match. As a season ticket holder, I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Here’s the Terminus Legion podcast from the tailgate.
Here is my proposed schedule for the rest of 2017.
Here are some of my previous trips.
You want to join me on a road trip? Comment below or hit me up on twitter @austinlong1974.
And check out Steven Bernasconi’s project, The Soccer Tour. He has put together an amazing 2017 and can’t wait to learn more about his adventures.
Four years on from France 98 and I was ready. Having been completely consumed by Euro 2000, I looked forward to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. With the help of the internet I was able to learn more and more about the teams and stay up to date on the most recent results.
The tournament started earlier than usual due to the rainy season and, due to the time difference, games kicked off in the middle of the night here in the United States. The United States had qualified (including the first Dos a Cero in Columbus) and opened up against a Portugal team led by their Golden Generation (Vitor Baia, Sérgio Conceição, Jorge Costa, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, João Pinto, etc.), who had made the semis of Euro 2000.
The night before the game I had a strange dream, a dream in which the United States thrashed the Portuguese in a stunning upset. Quite the premonition but complicated by the fact that I had slept through the match, missing the Stars and Stripes stunning achievement. I awoke in the early hours and drove to a friend’s house where local coaches were assembling to watch the match, and, as the memorable first half unfolded, my dream was becoming a reality. Portugal fought back and nearly saved a point, but the US held on and set the stage for a historic tournament, in which they reached the Quarter Finals.
This tournament was memorable for several reasons. Recently wed, my wife and I had rented the upstairs of a house and were starting our lives together. Our house didn’t have air conditioning, so I was sweating in the heat even at 2am. I was able to get out of the house to watch the morning matches, as a local bar hosted watch parties for the US games. It was my first taste of communal watching with US fans and not just ex-pats watching EPL and FA Cup games.
Referees were in the news due to several key decisions: Italy falling to South Korea, partly due to some dubious decisions; Spain also losing to the hosts and some even more questionable calls (ball not going out of bounds, phantom whistles, etc); and the no handball call in the Germany/USA game. Frings stopped the shot on the line and nothing was called.
Average goals continued to decline for the third straight competition but there were some amazing strikes (apologies for the awful music). Uruguay produced two great goals, one by Darío Rodríguez against Denmark and another by Forlan against Senegal. Edmilson hit a half bike against Costa Rica, there was Torrado’s laser against Ecuador, and Japan’s interplay for the single goal against Russia was fantastic. Dynamic free kicks were also on show with Roberto Carlos against China, Raouf Bouzaiene for Tunisia against Belgium, and Johan Walem for Belgium against Russia. The champions produced two wonderful goals, with Ronaldinho torturing Cole before laying off for Rivaldo and their second against Germany in the Final.
Defending champions France were absolutely abysmal, going home with only one point and no goals scored. Brazil made the Final but not before Rivaldo had a shameful dive against Turkey in the Group Stage. Unfortunately Ronaldo unleashed a horrible haircut on the world as well. But one of the lasting memories of the tournament was the noise of the South Korean fans. Watching them support one of the surprise packages of the tournament was a joy. This summary from the Guardian team really captures the highlights (and lowlights) of the tournament.
I’ve become a groundhopper, not to the extent of Paul Gerald or Peter Miles or Tony Incenzo, but I take pics, talk to people and write posts about teams, supporters and venues in the United States. But what about swag? As a big kit nerd, the obvious choice would be to get a shirt at each match, but that strategy has a couple of problems: 1) not every team has a merch store or even jerseys for sale; 2) at $55 to $100 a pop, a one stop/one shirt policy could get pricey; and 3) where would I put them all? I don’t have a mancave (yet) and as much as I would love to wear a different jersey every day, society and my workplace frown upon that.
So my solution has been to pick up a scarf at each game I attend. This strategy has paid off in several ways. Scarves are almost always available at games, and if not, readily available on club websites. Plus at $25 to $35 each, this is the better option financially. On top of that, scarves are packable and easy to display.
Here is my current collection:
Manchester United–The club team I have been supporting for 20 years. One day I will make it to Old Trafford. C’mon you Reds!!
US Soccer–I have seen several US games over the years , and I continuing to engage my own country instead of wishing I was Croatian or Dutch or almost anything else.
Atlanta United–MLS club kicking off in 2017. I’m a season ticket holder and can’t wait for the team to launch and play their first game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Seattle Sounders–One of my first trips and had an awesome time.
Chicago Fire–Used to watch them at Soldier Field. Saw the new home out in the middle of nowhere.
Atlanta Silverbacks–Former NASL team playing in NPSL, I have been to many games and worked for the Reserves team.
Charleston Battery–Fantastic USL team with great supporters playing an intimate venue filled with soccer memorabilia.
Lansing United–The club launched the summer before I left Lansing and is doing things right on and off the pitch.
Detroit City FC–My first taste of real supporter culture. It has been wonderful keeping an eye on this team from the first days.
Nashville FC–Vanderbilt Stadium wasn’t the greatest venue but wonderful fans.
Chattanooga FC–Love going up to Chattanooga. Real passion behind a successful NPSL club.
Birmingham Hammers–Met some fired up supporters for the Hammers’ first season. Looking forward to going back.
Georgia Revolution–Under new ownership, this club is providing players a stepping stone to next level.
Knoxville Force (Scruffy City Syndicate)–Growing club with ardent supporters, playing right in downtown Knoxville.
Juventus–Fell in love with Alessandro Del Piero and followed the bianconeri until I decided to focus my soccer supporting efforts.
MSU Spartans–Went to many a game at DeMartin Stadium during my time in Lansing.
World Cup 2022–My wife won this in a raffle. It’s the scarf from the US 2022 World Cup bid.
American Outlaws Atlanta. I love hanging out with these passionate supporters of US Soccer.
Terminus Legion 2015–Joined this Supporter Group at the intersection of Atlanta and Soccer in 2015 after moving to Atlanta in 2014.
The General–Special edition summer scarf produced by Terminus Legion to celebrate the history of Atlanta.
Soccer in the Streets–An amazing organization that brings soccer to underserved youth in Atlanta. Just launched Station Soccer, a pitch on top of a transit station.
Castleberry Hill AC–An organization looking to use soccer to improve their community. Currently trying to build Old Trenholm in the shadow of Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Top three scarves I have come across. . .
I usually buy the team scarf at each match but when I was at the Chicago Fire tailgate, I saw people walking around this scarf and knew that I had to have it. The scarf tweaks the Chicago city flag, using navy blue bands to frame the edges instead of the sky blue and then uses the four red stars through the middle. Great looking piece.
While standing with Timbers Army, I spotted a Battlestar Portlandia. Having just come out of my Battlestar Galactica geek phase, I really loved the merging of pop culture and sport. Doubt I will ever get my hands but one of these but a really slick design.
A scarf from Detroit City FC’s inaugural season is one of my favorite scarves. All the design elements come together, with of color scheme of rouge and dark yellow, a clean font and the argyle print adding a wonderful touch. DCFC has absolutely crushed it from a brand and merch perspective from day one.
If you want to see a real scarf collection, visit Kenny’s Football Scarves. He has over 2000 pieces organized by league and region.
Read more about my groundhops and supporter group interactions at the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast, which focuses on Supporter Groups and kit design. Finally follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.
Paul Gerald is a self described soccer nut and is working on a book, An American’s Guide to Soccer in England, which he plans to have his book out in the summer of 2017. He has been on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk about his trips.
After our last chat he shared some similarities and differences between being a soccer fan in England and the United States.
The latter was a magical night at the end of a magical run and gave me a taste of Major League Soccer away days. The former is part of research for a book, a sort of travel and cultural guide to the English game
Here a couple of comparisons of the fan experience in each country:
In the US, many stadiums are on the edge of town and/or were originally built for American football. There are exceptions – all three Pacific Northwest stadiums, for example – but other places like Kansas City’s Sporting Park are between an outlet mall and a racetrack, and RFK Stadium in DC was original built as a multi sport facility in the 1960s and abandoned by the Redskins years ago, for good reason.
In England, most stadiums are smack in the middle of town. Chelsea, for example, are one of the great clubs in the world, with a cabinet full of trophies. But their stadium, the sparkling 42,000-seat Stamford Bridge, is about a two-minute walk from a tube station in a busy neighborhood in West London. The same is true for Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle, and many others.
Some of the newer grounds are rather stale and on the edge of town (Stoke and West Ham, for example), but I give the advantage here to England.
Here there is some similarity, except for MLS sides who play in giant stadiums made for the NFL. The biggest club stadium in England is Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, with about 75,000 seats. The next five biggest are between 50,000 and 60,000, and after No. 10 it’s all under 40,000. In the Premier League they get as small as 20,000 at Swansea City and 11,000 (!) at Bournemouth.
The average purpose-built MLS stadium is around 20,000. So we’ll call this one a draw.
The vast majority of seats in English stadiums are covered – as they need to be, since the season runs from August to May and at least half of that is rain with temps in the 30s and 40s. In the US, we have the sense to play in the summer and sit in the sun. Advantage MLS.
My Timbers have the league’s most heated rivalry with Seattle, which is “only” 170 miles away. For comparison, Liverpool and Everton are one mile from each other. Queens Park Rangers and Fulham, two bitter West London rivals, are three miles apart. You could walk to those two and Chelsea in a total of six miles. It goes on and on. Big advantage England.
By rule, but not always in practice, away fans are supposed to get 10% of tickets to an English match, and up to three times that for a Cup tie. This means that throughout the Premier League, and in many lower league games, there are generally thousands of away fans singing their guts out the whole game. The biggest I saw was 9,000 Sunderland fans at Manchester United.
Look what they did when they scored a late goal in that game.
At the vast majority of MLS games, the best that can be hoped for are pockets of away fans, and away goals are met with a weird, eerie silence. Advantage England.
Before games in England you get a lot of announcements and ads on the big screen – if the stadium has one, and most do. And there’s an on-field announcer whom everyone ignores. During the game? Nothing. They won’t even show a replay if it will piss anybody off. And I know of one club, Crystal Palace, that has a dance team.
In the US, you get some sponsorship messages here and there, but it’s much better than the nonsense at an NBA or NFL game. English people love that stuff, by the way; they think it’s like going to a circus. For soccer, though, we’ll call this one a draw.
Singing and Chanting
Near as I can tell, MLS culture is pretty much an adoption of English culture, all the way to the point of people wearing scarves to a game in 90-degree weather. There’s plenty of singing in both places, but from what I have seen, MLS severely lacks two things: spontaneity and player-specific songs. There are also very few opening game anthems in the US, which we need to work on.
Here’s 57,000 West Ham fans sing “Blowing Bubbles,” East London accent and all, at their new home stadium.
Slight advantage: England.
Eating and Drinking
My favorite thing to tell English people is that not only can we drink inside an American stadium, there are people walking around to sell you beer! They absolutely cannot believe this. Ever since about 1990, when they started cracking down on hooligan culture, it is against English law to consume alcohol while you can see a soccer pitch – even in a suite. They also have no concept of what tailgating is, but they think it sounds utterly amazing and can’t wait to get over here and try it out.
Big, big advantage to the USA here.
The biggest misconception about English fans is that they are all hooligans. In fact, in 35 or so games I’ve been to, I have felt uncomfortable exactly twice: When I wore my Fulham colors outside Sheffield’s Bramhall Lane after a tense draw (lesson learned) and the time I naively wore a red jacket to a game at Everton (bigger lesson learned).
Still, I give the advantage to the Yanks here. The level of obscenity and abuse (at their own team, most of the time) is really over the top at English grounds – one reason that almost all have a family-friendly area. In the US, except for maybe a few of the derbies, fans mix together well, and everybody really seems out to have a good time.
One big disadvantage to MLS, though: I cannot believe how many American fans talk during the game and get up to walk around. Neither of these happen during the game in England, except when people beat the rush to the beer stand before halftime. It is all about watching, and knowing, the game.
Taken as a whole, seeing soccer in England reminds me of going to college football games in the South when I was a kid: It was mostly local teams with lots of fans there, TV and in-game distraction didn’t get in the way, and the stadiums felt cozy and intense. The English are in the slow process of replacing their old grounds and losing some of that atmosphere, but for now, and for my money, there’s no better sporting experience in the world than heading down to an English ground for a Saturday afternoon kickoff, with scarves and songs flying. I hope to run into you there sometime.
Thanks for reading. For MLS and EPL fans, what have your experiences been? Let us know in the comments below.
In the summer of 2012, I started a project to visit all MLS venues. Washington DC was a must as RFK is literally crumbling and I wanted to see this historic stadium before it fell down and/or gives way to the Buzzard Point site in a couple of years.
The venue opened in late 1961 as the District of Columbia Stadium (renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969), and it has hosted numerous teams and sporting events. The circular design was the result of its intention to be used as a multi-purpose stadium for American football and baseball.
In my posts on early DC United kits (original kit and 1997 third shirt), I state that this was my club only because of the uniforms. I eventually lost touch with the league due to quality (or lack thereof) and presentation (empty stadiums marked with American football lines). What I missed was this original MLS franchise becoming one of the most successful teams in the 20+ years of the league. Four MLS Cups, four Supporters’ Shields, three US Open Cups, a CONCACAF Champions League and even a Copa Interamericana win.
Recent years have been a mixed bag. Since bottoming out in 2013, the team has returned to being a playoff contender, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2014 and making the playoffs last year. This season has been a struggle as long serving coach Ben Olsen has continued to reshape the team, with Jairo Arrieta, Davy Arnaud, Fabian Espindola, Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen leaving and Lamar Neagle, Patrick Nyarko, Julian Büscher, Marcelo Sarvas Luciano Acosta, Rob Vincent, Alhaji Kamara, Lloyd Sam, Patrick Mullins and Kennedy Igboananike coming in.
The game against Orlando saw the Black and Red below the red line and making a push for the playoffs. On the METRO, we met a family headed to the game. They talked about the team, the new venue and the big crowd expected due to the recognition of the Armed Forces and DC school children. Most importantly, they got us exactly where we needed to be. Walking up to the RFK I thought about all those years watching NFL Today and Cowboys/Redskins games and the 1994 World Cup and DC United and United States games from years gone by.
Once inside I was surprised by how good our seats were. Only several feet from the touchline, we were several rows up which gave us a great vantage point to watch the match. DC United has three main supporter groups. I couldn’t get into the Screaming Eagles Supporters Section but got the section just next to them. One plus was that our seats allowed us to get a taste of the atmosphere of the Eagles and the District Ultras. Both groups did a great job of support with songs and noise and flags. (Didn’t make it over to Barra Brava). The feeling of the stands rising and falling is one of my great sporting memories. Must be experienced.
What a match. Both teams had chances early before Patrick Mullins (transferred from NYCFC in the summer) scored just after the half hour mark. DC United took control off the match after halftime with two goals in three minutes from Sam and Mullins. Sam’s goal was fantastic as he headed a cross down and away from Bendik and it happened right in front of us. The Beast pulled one back with a tremendous free kick before Buscher finished off a wonderful night for the Red and Black with some nifty footwork. With the Screaming Eagles tradition of throwing beers in the after goals, let’s just say no one went home dry.
For the Lions, had to be a disappointing defeat. Looks like the playoffs will elude them again. I did get to see Kaka play for about an hour and was surprised by how big he was. Tall, strong and a great touch. Larin was impressive as well with his size and speed. Didn’t get much service and was subbed in the second half as well. His performance didn’t really help my fantasy team so #sadface. Nocerino got sent off after a brief appearance. About all he did in was foul people. A decent sized crowd of Orlando City fans were in an upper level behind a goal. Has to be a long trip back to Florida.
The result saw the Black and Red get back over the red line in sixth place, one point ahead of the Revolution with a game in hand and three points ahead of the Lions, with both teams having played 30 matches. The Lions are a direct rival and the two teams will meet on the final day of the season. The rest of DC United’s schedule looks like this
September 28 D.C. United v Columbus Crew
October 1 Toronto FC v D.C. United
October 16 D.C. United v New York City FC
October 23 Orlando City v D.C. United
As a kit nerd, have to mention the unis. DC United uniforms are not flashy but they looked great. All black with red adidias stripes down side, a series of very subtle black horizontal black stripes and of course their new badge (not a big fan). The exterior neck tape depicts D.C. monuments (Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington Memorials and the National Capitol) and is a nice touch.
Before the match, they were passing out a promotional shirt that tied in to the Armed Forces appreciation Basically a t-shirt with dark digital camo, it looked pretty cool, and it was neat seeing METRO cars filled with people wearing the shirt after the match. As is tradition, I picked up a scarf, which had a light camo pattern and a very different in design than ones from my previous trips.
I got to see the Orlando City away kit in the flesh and it looked fantastic. The new shirt is sharp, with a white main section and purple sleeves. Purple is also used around the collar and for the adidas stripes down the side. The cuffs are trimmed in gold which is a nice touch. This is one my favorite releases for the 2016 season.
Shameless plug alert!! I was on the Design Football pod ahead of the 2016 campaign to talk MLS kits. Listen here.
All in all, a wonderful night in the nation’s capital. While the venue could definitely use a paint job, I didn’t get hit by falling concrete or get bitten by raccoons. Perfect temperature, raucous support and a big result for the home team.
Special thanks to Screaming Eagles.
Read more about my MLS trips here.