Posts Tagged ‘ Copa America ’

SoccerNomad Podcast: USMNT–Post Copa America Centenario Recap

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USMNT: Post Copa America Centenario Recap

The guys from @ussoccerfeed  came on the SoccerNomad podcast to recap Copa America Centenario for the USMNT and look ahead to the road to World Cup 2018. We discussed match-ups, roster selections, and possible additions to the roster.

Follow them on twitter @ussoccerfeed for their thoughts on US Soccer, MLS and more. And check them out on the Mouths of the South podcast.

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Summer of Soccer–Copa America Centenario

As I looked ahead to the summer of 2016, I just couldn’t believe all the soccer would be on. The addition of the Copa America Centenario and the expanded Euros created a month of wall to wall coverage that surpassed even the World Cup in terms of soccer coverage.

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I’ll admit that the Copa America does not make my radar. I caught bits and pieces last year, even watching the Final in the locker room at Silverbacks Park after a Reserves game. This year I was looking forward to possibly going to a game in Orlando but was defeated by time and money (and to be honest, matchups). I made it a point to watch all of the US games as this would be a good test of how the Stars and Stripes matched up against superior South American competition.

US v Colombia

I chose to not go to the AO Atlanta event at Red Brick and played homefield advantage at Rose and Crown. Met some Terminus Legion members there and had a good time despite the result. The game was over early and the fear of not making it out of the group started creeping to the surface.

Mexico v Uruguay

Crazy game with the ten men of Uruguay taking it to El Tri. In the end, Rafa Marquez put Mexico in front and a third was added to put a period on an entertaining match.

US v Costa Rica

Headed to Rose and Crown again. The US got an early goal and put the match away before halftime. Jurgen stayed with the same line up and the team pressured Los Ticos, creating lots of chances.

US v Paraguay

After watching England v Russia at the Righteous Room I went to Fado Buckhead for the AO ATL event. Getting there early allowed me to get in the door, with Terminus Legion setting up on the roof right next to a reserved area for an engagement party. Cannot imagine what they thought as fans kept filling the rooftop and going mental with the US goal and Yedlin red card.

Brazil v Peru

After playing with the TL team in the Sons of Pitches Supporters League, I made the short trip to Bottle Rocket in Castleberry Hill. Watched the first half with the Castleberry Hill Athletic Club and then headed home for the second half. After missing the dramatic events of the previous nightcaps (Chile’s late late PK and Costa Rica stunning Colombia) I watched all the way to the end. My reward: seeing Brazil getting absolutely screwed.

US v Ecuador

With kickoff at 9pm and me being old, I stayed close to home at Rose and Crown. Ran into some of the ATL Evertonians, met up with frequent pod guest JR Francis and met some new soccer fans. The US played well and with the second goal I relaxed. Bad idea as Ecuador pulled one back and made things nervous at the end.

Mexico v Chile

When I showed up at the bar after watching a Georgia Revolution game, it was 2-0 to Chile at halftime. Over the next 45 minutes I didn’t know if it was fatigue or alcohol or something else influencing my vision as El Tri were eviscerated.

US v Argentina

After a rough weekend I stayed home and watched the game on the couch. This also allowed me to engage the twittersphere. Hot takes ahoy! I was upset that we lost (though not surprised) but was really pissed at the lineup choices. Yes Jurgen was forced to make changes but I would have not made those changes. The game was over early and just had to be endured.

Argentina v Chile

I headed to Fado Buckhead to meet up with the Terminus Legion gang to watch the Copa America Centenario Final. I was surprised to find the bar full of fans of each team and, as the teams walked out for the national anthems, tension was in the air. The game was standard South American fare—fouling, whining, handbags and occasional skill. The referee was front and center with several questionable decisions. I spent most of the match talking with fans because the conversation was much better than the game. Once normal time was over I left, knowing that I could get home before penalties. Sure enough, kicks from the spot were required and when Messi missed his, I thought only Romero can save him now. No chance. While Messi will end his career without an international trophy, no one can deny his greatness.

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This was a special tournament, a celebration of soccer in the Americas. A few memorable moments dotted the event but don’t see this edition living long in the memory. US Soccer is posturing to reshape international events in this hemisphere and I hope their efforts do not come to fruition. Each region needs a quadrennial competition to showcase the teams and bring the festival to different parts of the continents. But money talks so see everyone in 2019 or 2020.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

SoccerNomad Podcast: Summer Tournament Kits

copa america Euro-2016

Summer Tournament Kits

Fellow #KitNerd JR Francis (@paynomind) came on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk about kits for the upcoming tournaments this summer–Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016. We didn’t discuss all 80+ kits but discussed some general trends, mentioned some of our best/worst and had a passionate discussion about the future of US kits.

For more information, check out these podcasts and posts.

Below are images of the some shirts we discussed:

Uruguay home/away

uruguay-x-puma-2016

Ecuador away

ecuador away

Jamaica away

jamaica away

Germany away

germany home

Portugal away

Portugal-Euro-2016-Away-Kit (4)

Belguim/Portugal friendly

belguim portugal

Albania set

albania

Hungary home

Hungary-Euro-2016-Home-Away-Kits-Vote (3)

Wales home/away

wales

Belguim away

17943_3_max

Mexico home

mexico

Argentina away

argentina-2015-away-kit-1

England home

england home

Croatia

929379_2013636628861358_1362808606_n

USA home/Dorothyusa-2016-copa-america-home-kit-4 Dorothy - Inspiration

USA away/Cop Car

usa-2016-copa-america-away-kit-1 download

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now Part II (Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz)

Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United.  That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player.  For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor.  On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage.

Part I  Luis Suarez Miramontes

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Moving forward fifty years, the talent of El Pistolero or Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz is undeniable.  From the streets of Salto and Montevideo in Uruguay, Luis Suarez used the beautiful game to escape poverty, eventually securing a spot with Nacional in Uruguay.  After growing as a player and making a name for himself at Nacional, where he helped the club win the 2005–06 Uruguayan League, he was discovered by Dutch club FC Groningen.  As Michiel Jongsma tells the story for Benefoot.net, club representatives were visiting Nacional to look at Elías Figueroa.  They left trying to figure out how to sign Luis Suarez, with the player also looking for a move, as his girlfriend, Sofia Balbi, had moved to Barcelona to study.  So at 19, Suarez headed to Holland, played for Groningen, and averaged nearly a goal every three games.

Ajax came calling and Suarez forced his move to the Dutch giants, scoring over 100 goals in three and a half seasons.  Suarez never won the league in a full season with de Godenzonen, but he did help the club to the 2010 Dutch Cup.  It was during the 2009/10 season that Suarez scored 49 goals in all competitions and won the Dutch Player of the Year award. European success eluded both the club and player during his time there, with their best finish coming in the 2008/09 Europa League in which the squad got to the Round of 16.

Luis-Suarez-ajax

During the winter transfer window of 2011, the Uruguayan player moved to Liverpool with Fernando Torres going to Chelsea.  His arrival was part of a rebuilding project for the storied club, along with Andy Carroll from Newcastle, which finally paid dividends during the 2013/14 season as Suarez’s partnership with Daniel Sturridge saw the Reds finish second and return to the Champions League after a four year absence.  His only silverware with the Merseyside club came in the 2012 League Cup Final.

Luis-Suarez-liverpool

Suarez made his International debut in 2007 and is currently Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in 79 appearances as of the 2014 World Cup.  He was part of a wonderful cycle that saw Uruguay finish fourth at the 2010 World Cup, losing to the Holland in the Semi Finals.  The following year, La Celeste claimed the Copa America, with Suarez scoring four goals and being named the player of the tournament.  With that success, Uruguay qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup, making it to the Semis before falling at the hands of the hosts Brazil.

Luis_Suarez uruguay

Heading into the 2014 World Cup, El Pistolero only played two matches after undergoing surgery after the 2013/14 season but knocked out England with two well taken goals, which set up a high pressure game against Italy in the third group game.  He did not score and was involved in an incident with Chiellini, but Uruguay progressed 1-0.  Suarez was suspended for the match against Colombia, who won to move on to the Quarter Finals.

Recent Media Intake

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been reading/listening to over the last week . . .

Eddie and Robert broke down the fallout of Shirtgate for the Manchester United Redcast, with Rio failing to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt, which left Fergie out on a limb.  Is this the beginning of the end for the defender or just a simple miscommunication?  As for the Chelsea game, they noted that once Rooney starts scoring, he usually scores in bunches and they hope that Fergie doesn’t make a mistake like the one against City last year, ie highly defensive 4-5-1.

Speaking of Manchester United, I found an excerpt from Rob Smyth on Guardian Sport.  He wrote a piece on Roy Keane for an upcoming book Life’s a Pitch: The Passions of the Press Box about Smyth compared the Manchester United midfielder to pop icons Tyler Durden and Tony Soprano, which was interesting.  Reading this piece you understand why he will never be a good manager—he simply demands a level of performance that is impossible to consistently attain.

Moving on to Arsenal, Nick Hornby was on last week’s Men in Blazers to talk about the release of the 20th anniversary of Fever Pitch, the future of fandom, comments on the season thus far and thoughts on his e-book Pray, which recounts the dramatic 2011-12 season.

As for the Premier League in general, looks like the US EPL rights are going to the Peacock.  After a relationship of over 15 years with Fox (regional channels, the creation of Fox Sports World which morphed into Fox Soccer Channel and even led to the Champions League Final being shown on FOX), and leased games to the four letter network, the biggest league in the world is being shown the money and is moving to elsewhere.  Richard Deitsch posted Friday on SI.com that NBC, in particular NBC Sports Network, looks to be in the driver’s seat, with BeIN also a possibility.  It will be interesting to see if NBC shows games a la FOX national and if they develop an online platform and/or use their vast array of channels.

Nike sold Umbro.  Yawn.  The company will not exist in 10 years. Get over it.

Finally, there was lots of buzz this week about the possibility of the US hosting the 2016 Copa America.  At first it seemed like a done deal but there has been significant back tracking and conflicting details.  Would it be a 12 or 16 team tournament?  If it is 16 teams and involves several CONCACAF teams, does not seem like a Copa America but a Copa of the Americas? I don’t mind the US hosting and being and invited participant but it does seem weird that this country would host the 100th anniversary of a South American tournament, radically changing the structure and make up of the competition.  Just sayin.  Grant Wahl offered some other considerations for SI.com.

One player who probably won’t be there is Landon Donovan.  Roger Bennett sat down with US star for ESPN FC.  The long time face of MLS and the USMNT spoke about his future, including possibly not playing at the 2014 World Cup.  I appreciated his self-analysis about motivation and his desires for the future.  He has given a lot to his clubs and his country and maybe it’s time to move on.

MatchDay Memory–What I Did This Summer

Eric Abidal lifted the Champions League trophy at Wembley and the 2010-2011 club season was over. This could have led to two months of aching and emptiness and hunger for football. For some, it may have. For me, I kept myself busy doing a number of things, some of them soccer related, but when I saw the Premier League schedule posted, I admit I did start jonesin’ for some footy.

In the last couple of weeks I have been trying to keep track of all signings and rumors, focusing on teams and leagues that interested me. Tough job. Don’t know how people do it. So here are my selected thoughts as of 8/4/11, which will probably change as soon as I hit PUBLISH. I didn’t cover everything and I know that I missed some items, but here we go.

Manchester United came out firing, picking up Phil Jones from Blackburn, Ashley Young from Aston Villa, and de Gea from Atletico Madrid. Then they shipped O’Shea and Brown off to the reserve team otherwise known as Sunderland. Liverpool was busy as well, signing Jordan Henderson, Doni as cover at goalkeeper, Charlie Adam and Stuart Downing. @JamesT from the Unprofessional Foul blog broke down the Reds midfield thusly: http://bit.ly/qvw5rA. Chelsea has been eerily silent, as AVB figures out his next steps as the new manager. Arsenal look a shambles. Signing only Gervinho, losing Clichy and Denilson (addition by subtraction) and maybe even Bendtner, their summer has been dominated by Nasri and Fabregas and whether they will stay or go. City has been busy, off loading Jo, Given and Boateng and bringing in Clichy and Savic. What they will do with Adebayor and Tevez remains to be seen. Finally, there is Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs finally said goodbye to Woodgate and O’Hara and added Friedel, Coulibaly and Ceballos. They may still lose Modric but really need to strengthen in all areas if they want to get back into Europe (read Champions League) and compete for the title.

In Italy, Inter continue to retool in the post-Mourinho era. Rumors flew around all summer that Sneijder was on his way out. They brought in Ricky Alvarez amongst some fanfare, but that was about it. AC Milan offloaded Pirlo and brought in Taiwo and Mexes as they move forward with a more dynamic team to win at home and abroad. Roma is in the midst of a new direction, led by Luis Enrique. Gone are Doni, Riise and Mexes and in are Stekelenburg, Heinze, Lamela, Krkic, Cicinho and Jose Angel (who I don’t know anything about). What the end product will be is anyone’s guess but they are definitely reshaping the team of Spalletti and Ranieri. One of the biggest rumors going around is Pastore moving from Palermo to PSG. That would be quite the signing, spurning offers from bigger clubs, including Chelsea.

As for the black and whites of Juventus, The Future Mark II, is underway. They will start with a new manager—Del Neri out, Conte in—possibly a new formation depending on which reports you read, and a load of new signings—Vucinic, Lichstenier, Pirlo, Vidal, Pazienza, and Ziegler—for a second summer running, plus finalizing the purchases of Matri, Quagliarella, Motta, and Pepe. This off season also saw a massive clearing out: Melo, Aquallini, Sissoko, Salihamidzic and Tiago. Amauri is still on the books and needs a new home. Please help. The result of all this activity—either back towards to the top of Serie A or an unsettling plateau (7th two seasons running) or a plummet down the table—will be the focus of the fans as they grade the top brass of the club.

For me, the biggest story in the Spanish off season was Malaga. An infusion of money from Qatar has led the club to be on one of the top spenders this closed season. After bringing in Julio Baptista, Ignacio Camacho, Sergio Asenjo, Enzo Maresca and Martin Demichelis, in the winter, they eventually turned things around and finished 11th. Now they’ve added Joaquín, Sergio Sánchez, Toulalan, Mathijsen, Monreal, van Nistelrooy, and Cazorla in an attempt to buy their way up the table. According to La Liga Weekly, Pelligrini will try to use these old hands to steady the ship and qualify for Europe until the youth products are ready and additional signings are made. I think they will finish in the Champions League spots and really put pressure on Valencia, Villarreal, and Sevilla.

I’m very worried about the Yellow Submarine. Gone are Carzola and Capdevila and Cicinho, with only Zapata from Udinese of note coming in. (Obligatory Jozy Update: transferred to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar). Looks like they will hold on to Rossi for at least one more season, so they should at least be among the goals. And what to say about Atletico Madrid? Aguero has gone to City and de Gea to United and Ujfalusi to Galatasaray, with Simao leaving last winter, and the club has brought in Tiago, Gabi, Adrian Lopez, Silvio, Thibaut Courtois, Julio Alves, names that don’t set the world alight. One of two things will happen with this squad: they will respond, possibly with a renewed Forlan, and finally achieve some of their promise or they will continue their descent down the table. I actually think they may be relegation candidates. Then there is Valencia, who will be in the Champions League again but for how long? Archie from http://elcentrocampista.com sums up the ins and outs of the squad: http://bit.ly/pgR9ws . Maybe this will be Canales’ big chance to shine.

As for the big two, FCB continue to chase Fabregas and I’m not sure why. At first I was all for it but after seeing the war of words and then seeing Thiago light it up in the preseason and the signing of Alexis Sanchez, I’m not so sure. One worrying thing is the club selling a lot of B team players. Some were sold with buyback clauses, but still. A lot of the Blaugrana’s success has some through La Maisa and it seems as if they are moving away from that. The Evil Empire continues to put together a squad to topple the team of our generation. With the addition of Varane, Sahin, Jose Callejon, Hamit Altintop and Fábio Coentrão and another year of the Special One, I think this is entirely possible. I predict Real Madrid will win the league as injuries, the number of fixtures and constant pressure catch up to Barcelona.

I tried to watch Copa America, I really did, but failed miserably. A couple of issues: 1) About half the group games were on Telefutura, a channel that is almost impossible to find. I went to four bars to find the opening match of Argentina/Bolivia and was unsuccessful. 2) Early games were relatively drab, which didn’t excite me to make the extra effort to watch the ones I could. 3) My Over 30 team was involved in a soccer tournament and game conflicts led me to miss several matches. From the podcasts I listened to and reports I read, the Quarter Finals were gripping. Honestly once the big two were out, I really gave up. The final was in direct conflict with the State Cup final I played in, and when we lost, I really wasn’t in the mood to watch the Copa America Final on delay. I vow to try harder in 2013 or 2015 or whenever the next one is.

Even though I don’t watch MLS, which I explained earlier this summer—http://bit.ly/ppnqsL—I planned a trip to the Pacific Northwest to watch MLS games in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, in an attempt to jumpstart my interest in the league. Between money and timing, I wasn’t able to execute it this summer but plan on making it a top priority in 2012.

From a media perspective, I read Soccer in Summer and Shadow. If you have not read this book, get it today. A series of short essays on the game, its fans and its history. There are some amazing insights into the beautiful game, as it evolves from a hobby brought by the English to a global sport with political underpinnings that captivates the world. I also watched the history of Manchester United for the umpteenth time. Every time I watch the Fergie Era, I go back to the days when I first started following the game, to those amazing days of when United finally broke the league hoodoo and went on a run domestically and on the continent that may not be seen again. Finally, I picked up Once in a Lifetime—http://imdb.to/o4Rq1B—and watched that again. What a story with so many great characters—Steve Ross, Chinaglia, Pele, Clive Toye, Beckenbauer, Messing. For a short window of time, soccer was popular in the US. I’ll be honest, the only thing I actually remember was the name Chicago Sting. Don’t know why. The couple takeaways from this viewing were the fact that the Cosmos really were ahead of their time in assembling talent from all over the world; say what you want about Maradona, Best, Zidane, and Messi, Pele is truly a global icon; MLS did their homework and have built a stable league that will never conquer the American market but will continue to flourish.