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Top Moments of 2011

31 Dec

Happy New Year one and all!  2011 has been quite the year and here are my favorite moments:

1. Abby Wambach’s game-winner against Brazil – This goal was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.  Playing a man down and a goal down in stoppage time of extra time, Megan Rapinoe picked out Wambach with a pinpoint cross and Wambach’s header sent the game to penalties, which the U.S. dominated.  Not going to lie, definitely made me cry – on par with Landon’s Donovan’s late winner against Algeria in 2010.  Amazing moment.

2. Hodgson out, Dalglish in at Liverpool – After reigning over one of the worst starts for the Reds in a long time, Roy Hodgson was finally shown the door in January 2011.  His replacement?  None other than the legendary Kenny Dalglish.  The team was revitalized under Dalglish, showing the passion and desire that was missing the rest of the season and moving up the table to finish seventh.  Dalglish was given a three year contract in May.  New ownership, combined with the return of Dalglish changed the outlook for fans all over.

3. Japan’s Women’s World Cup victory – Even though it came at the expense of the U.S., it was impossible not to feel good for Japan.  Homare Sawa equalized for Japan late in stoppage time and the team went on to win the penalty shootout.  It was the first World Cup title for Japan, which was  (and still is) battling with the aftermath of the horrific earthquake and tsunami.  The victory was about more than just soccer.

4. Barcelona’s triumph – Barcelona showed why it truly is the best team on the planet, winning the Champions League title in convincing fashion over an outclassed Manchester United.  Barcelona also claimed the La Liga title and recently the Club World Cup title as well.  The team was (and is) mesmerizing to watch, especially player of the year Lionel Messi and midfield maestros Xavi and Iniesta.

5. City thrashes United – I don’t think it’s any secret that I am not the biggest fan of Manchester United.  Manchester City totally embarrassed the defending champs, 6-1, in mid October, much to the surprise of all but the most delusional of fans.  It was quite the win for City, a warning shot that they are to be taken seriously in the league race.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to see United get knocked off its high horse every once in a while?  To top it off, United (along with City) was eliminated from Champions League play in early December.

What are your top moments from this year?

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Life is busy and Andy Gray is a moron

25 Jan

I have sucked at blogging lately and I’m sorry. I have been ridiculously busy as I am in the middle of moving to a new apartment, coaching lacrosse (another sport I love, so sue me), attempting grad class and oh yeah, working full-time.  I hate not having time to write about soccer and I miss it, but hopefully after the chaos of the next two weeks, I will be back at it.

On the positive side, I now have TV again in the new apartment, which includes FSC (in HD!) as well as GolTV (also in HD).  Huzzah!  So expect much more coverage soon!  I can’t wait to start posting regularly again (and I’m sure there will be rant about the continued incomptence of Sepp Blatter in there somewhere)!

P.S. Andy Gray is a dumbass. His assinine comments about lineswoman Sian Massey were ridiculous and uncalled for. I believe he was rightly fired as it became apparent this was not an isolated incident. Seriously? We live in the 21st century. Women are more than capable of doing a lot of things just as well, if not better, than men. It’s time to get off the high horse of male superiority and deal with reality.

Messi named FIFA Player of the Year

21 Dec

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has been honored as the FIFA World Player of the Year. The Argentinian helped lead Barca to the treble (Champions League, Spanish League and Cup) last season. Messi easily outdistanced his fellow candidates in the voting with 1,047 points. Last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, was second with 354 points. Messi’s Barcelona teammate Xavi was third with 196 points. Earlier this month, Messi also claimed the Ballon D’Or as the top player in Europe. It’s a well-deserved award for Messi as he has the ability to make a game-changing play every time he touches the ball (the most recent example being his extra time winner in the Club World Cup final).

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Marta was voted Women’s World Player of the Year for the fourth year in a row. That’s an incredible feat, but even more so when you realize that she’s only 23 years old.

FIFA also announced the World XI, which features six players based in Spain and five from England:
GK – Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Defenders – Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Dani Alves (Barcelona)
Midfielders – Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Forwards – Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Liverpool)

Messi wins Ballon D’Or

1 Dec

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi captured the 2009 Ballon D’Or by the largest margin ever on Tuesday.  The award is given to the European Footballer of the Year and Messi is the first Argentine to win.  Messi received 473 of a possible 480 points to take top honors.  Last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo finished second, while Messi’s Barca teammate Xavi came in third.

It is a deserved award for Messi, who led Barcelona to the treble last season.  The talented forward led the Champions League in goals with nine, including one in the final.  He also scored 23 goals in La Liga competition.  An incredibly dynamic player, Messi has the ability to change any game he plays with his sublime touch and deceptive quickness. He’s already off to a great start this year with nine goals.

2009 Ballon D’Or Results
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/Real Madrid)
3. Xavi (Barcelona)
4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
5. Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona/Inter)
6. Kaka (AC Milan/Real Madrid)
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter/Barcelona)
8. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
9. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
10. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Check out the awesomeness of Lionel Messi here:

Real Madrid is the richest club in the world

13 Feb

Spanish giant Real Madrid topped the list of world’s richest football clubs based on revenue.  The list was compilled by accounting firm Deloitte.  All the teams on the list are European- England leads the way with seven teams, while Germany and Italy both have four.  Spain and France each have two, while Turkey’s Fenerbache also cracks the list.

1. Real Madrid, Spain,  €365.8 million ($576 million on June 30, 2008).
2. Manchester United, England, €324.8 million.
3. FC Barcelona, Spain, €308.8 million.
4. Bayern Munich, Germany, €295.3 million.
5. Chelsea, England, €268.9 million.
6. Arsenal, England, €264.4 million.
7. Liverpool, England, €210.9 million.
8. AC Milan, Italy, €209.5 million.
9. AS Roma, Italy, €175.4 million.
10. Inter Milan, Italy, €172.9 million.
11. Juventus, Italy, €167.5 million.
12. Lyon, France, €155.7 million.
13. Schalke, Germany, €148.4 million.
14. Tottenham, England, €145 million.
15. Hamburg, Germany, €127.9 million.
16. Marseille, France, €126.8 million.
17. Newcastle, England, €125.6 million.
18. Stuggart, Germany, €111.5 million.
19. Fenerbahce, Turkey, €111.3 million.
20. Manchester City, England, €104 million.

Manchester United is most valuable franchise in sports

15 Jan

manu-piggy-bankForbes has come out with its list of the top 10 most valuable sports franchises in the world.  Manchester United tops the list with a value of $1.8 billion.  Two other clubs make the list as well.  Real Madrid is No. 6 at $1.29 billion and Arsenal is No. 7 at $1.2 billion.  The list is dominated by NFL teams with soccer being the next most represented sport.  You can read the complete article here.

1.  Manchester United (Premier League) – $1.8 billion
2. Dallas Cowboys (NFL) – $1.66 billion
3.  Washington Redskins (NFL) – $1.5 billion
4.  New England Patriots (NFL) – $1.32 billion
5.  New York Yankees (MLB) – $1.3 billion
6.  Real Madrid (La Liga) – $1.29 billion
7. Arsenal (Premier League) – $1.2 billion
8.  New York Giants (NFL) – $1.18 billion
9.  New York Jets (NFL) – $1.17 billion
10. Houston Texans (NFL) – $1.17 billion

Subotic snubs US to play for Serbia

19 Dec
Neven Subotic will play for Serbia instead of the US.

Neven Subotic will play for Serbia instead of the US.

Neven Subotic, a Borussia Dortmund defender, has decided to play international football for Serbia instead of the United States.  Subotic has a US passport and played for the U-17 national team.  Subotic can play for Serbia because he was born in Yugoslavia.

Subotic is the second player this year from the US to choose to play for a different country.  Giuseppe Rossi, a New Jersey native, made the decision earlier this year to play for Italy. 

Both Subotic and Rossi would’ve been major contributers  for the US national team.  It’s a blow that they chose to play somewhere else and something that must be stopped.  However, I can understand the appeal of playing for Italy or Serbia, since both have stronger programs than the US.  If US Soccer wants to stop the exodus of players, the team has to make more of a splash on the international scene – like making a deep run in the 2010 World Cup.