Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quick run down of the weekend premier league games

Here are just a few comments I sent to some of my friends about the games this weekend in England...Enjoy

Finally saw all the games.

I have to say Arsenal looks good and sorta fun to watch, BUT i still hate them. So Spurs for the title and yes they had a bad lose. Chelsea I believe are def not as good as their 6-0 victories looked. When they play any real opponent I don't think their defense is up to the challenge. In fact I feel like Terry has lost a step or something because he has been looking kind of shaky in all of their games especially the game against Man U.

Newcastle's Andy Carroll is my new favorite English player. I will be following him, and I think Newcastle will be a force (not in the top 5 or 6) but they will give every team up and down the table a problem, so I see them staying in the premier league.

Man U again won and Giggs and Scholes are running shit hard....they are ageless and I know Scholes and Giggs have had a great start, my only concern is can they keep it up for 40 + games. I don't know and i would have to lean toward no they cant because of their age and their bodies breaking down. I just don't see them keeping this fit and sharp till the end. And when they do go down hill, I don't know who they will pt in to replace them. That is when problems will occur.

OK Sundays games were good as well:

Aston villa needed that win, but i have to say both goalies played well (GO USA). Also Ashley Young and Luke Young for Villa were the ring leaders in that offense.

The Bolton game was good because of Bolton's comeback but Villa's goalie was stupid for raising his hand like that.

Finally, Torres scored and it was a nice goal. He looked soooooo much better than he has in his last few appearances especially in the world cup. Im glad to see he is getting fit again and i hope he is great.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

620 miles and 10 hours later....

Well today I left for grad school. After 620 miles and 10hours of interstate highway, Ann Arbor seemed like a great place to end up. So far I have not seen much of the school, but my apartment is great, my dinner was nice, and all I have are compliments so far. My apartment is fully furnished and in a great location. I can walk to my classes, use the buses to get to games and around the city, and everything seems so new. All of the buildings I have passed by, a lot of the roads and town (including all the construction they are doing to make things even newer) all seem so new and well maintained. School is not in session for another week so campus seems a little dead right now, but I am sure it will ratchet up in a few days. One surprising thing, although I have barely seen all of the campuses, is that it sees smaller than I imagined. My only comparison to a big school is U Pitt where I have been a few times to visit a friend. U Pitt, unlike U Mich does not have much of a designated campus per se. They have many buildings that occupy a general area but are spread out throughout the Oakland area of Pitt. U Mich has three distinct campuses and I like that because I feel like I am at a University and not so much a city. I can’t wait to explore more the campus tomorrow with my mom. I also can’t wait to start classes. I am not looking forward to the orientation parts because orientation is usually not very fun. Anyway, I missed the soccer games on today, but I will catch up on them asap. I am exhausted and the only thing I wish I could have is my GF around right now. I miss her a lot, and although I have moved 600 miles closer to her, I’m still 2,400 miles away so it’s not easy but she is worth the fight.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Champs Draw and NFL season

Well today the Champions league groups came out, and there are some surprises, but in general it looks like it will be another great year of soccer. The group of death by far is Group G with AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax and Auxerre. Now I don’t know anything about Auxerre other then they are French, and my guess is they are the weakest out of the three French club teams in the groups. Lyon (who made it to the semi finals last year) and Marseille always tend to be the strongest of the French clubs. But other than Auxerre, the group can swing any which way. Ajax has fallen off in the recent years but in general they are still a reputable club with lots of history and pride themselves on their young talent. AC Milan and Real Madrid are the power house teams who could easily take over the group but both teams had a poor showing in last year’s champions league and neither team have won their respective leagues within the past few years. With that said, Real Madrid is the clear favorite to win this group with plethora of players and their new coach. I personally hate Real Madrid, and that could be from my Barcelona fandom, but also because I hate Ronaldo and Mourninho. Either way AC Milan should come in second if this was a paper game, but I could see Ajax giving them a run for their money.

Inter Milan also has a tough draw in Group A with Tottenham, Werder Bremen and Twente. I know nothing about Twente, and I assume they are the weakest of the group. Werder Bremen is a strong German team, and had a great young star who was just moved to Real Madrid named Ozil (most know him now from his wonderful play during the world cup this summer). Tottenham is the fourth English team in the tournament and was the only one to have to play into the group stage. I heard that this is the first time Tottenham has ever made it to the group stage which makes me like them most in this group and tournament. Many people would refute my statement only because many critics have said that they expect Tottenham to just fold in champion’s league and focus on the Premier League. This makes sense because it seems that they would not be able to manage their team for so much play. Unlike Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal, Tottenham has the least amount of depth on their team. Finally, the last team in this group is the past champion. Inter Milan might be expected to win again only because their team has not changed much. I expect them to win this group but I do not think they will win the tournament again.

The other groups all seem pretty lopsided. Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea should cruise through their groups. Marseille might give Chelsea some problems but that’s the only thing I could think of . Man United and Bayern Munich could have some problems with Valencia and Roma respectively but I expect them to win their group. I hope to see Bayern go far again because a bunch of their players were in the world cup and they were very fun to watch. (Robben specifically). The only group I don’t know about is Group B. I feel they have a tough group because Lyon, Benfica and Schalke all can play at the same level. Lyon did have the surprise run last year all the way to the Semis but they proved they could not make it all the way. I would say Lyon is the favorite but I feel like it is a tossup between the three.

To move away from soccer, the NFL are having discussion now about making next year’s season (if there even is a season) longer from 16 to 18 games. I think it should stay at 16 and I only say it because I don’t think the players can physically do it. I don’t like 4 pre-season games but I feel that with less pre season games will only or just create as many injuries as 4 preseason games only because people will not be fit enough to play yet, and that’s when injuries occur. Also, I forget who it was on ESPN Radio, but they talked about how taking away two games/weeks of preseason would hurt the local economies of where the preseason camps are. I think this is right on point, and I do not think it is fair that a huge corporation like the NFL can lengthen their regular season so they can make more money but their preseason locations will lose money. It’s just not fair. I hope it stays at 16.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekends events

So yesterday I went to my first Yankee game at the New Yankee stadium. I have to say I was very impressed. The stadium was beautiful and basically reminded me off the old one. I loved how wide all the corridors were and how easy it was to move around. In the old stadium, it was pretty hectic at times and usually not fun to walk around. Although they were playing the Mariners, the stadium had an attendance of 48,000+ so there were a good amount of people there. Also I took the D train there from Manhattan, and it was extremely easy to get to and get out of. Now about two weeks ago I went to the New Meadowlands stadium, which seemed to be a traffic nightmare. Driving in and out of that place took over an hour each way, and the public transportation to the stadium is sub-par. Compared to the New Meadowlands, the new Yankee stadium is a lot better. As a bonus the Yankees won and it was a great game.

This morning I watched the Manchester United v. Fulham game. It was an excellent game. Both sides played well, but Manchester’s defense seemed to give up on them at times, hence Fulham’s goals and multiple chances. Vidic and Evans had trouble defending the likes of Zamora, Dempsey and Davies. Even though Dempsey was subbed out in the 60th minute, Manchester still was unable to hold their lead and gave up a late goal off a corner kick near the end of the game. Dempsey played well and was involved in most of their chances including their first goal. Zamora played well and was a rock in the front. Davies and Hangeland scored and both had good games. For Man U Scholes who has been playing well at the start of this season, added to his success with a goal, although after his goal he had trouble supporting his defense. Nani missed a PK after a by Fulham in their own box, so that was disappointing. Rooney never played which is unfortunate because it seems he is still having troubles getting fit. Berbatov and Hernandez played alright, but they didn’t get many chances. Valencia basically didn’t do anything. I am glad I saw the game because I missed most of the games on Saturday due to the Yankee game.

Also one note about the Aston Villa game. I didn’t see the game and I was shocked to see Newcastle blew them out, because Aston villa is a good team. Not to take away all the credit form Newcastle, but Villa can be a top 5-6 team. I know they are going through a coaching dilemma (more on that in a second) but I would still think they would have played a little better. As I mentioned last week when they played Man U, Andy Carroll is going to be a good player and I saw that he had a hat trick which I was not surprised about. He will be a force if he keeps this up. About the coaching situation, an article yesterday or today on ESPN said that Bradley would be interested in the job if offered and has had some contact with the club. I am all for Bradley to move to Villa, only as long as a good replacement is found for the USMNT. I would want an American too, only because I do not like the idea of importing a coach for a national team. I think national teams should be national from top to bottom. No foreign coach should be coaching our team. That’s just my two cents.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind about what has happened in the past few days in the sporting world.

First, today news broke that Roger Clemens (a former Yankee) will be indicted for lying to congress about his steriods use. This is no shocker. He deserves w/e punishment they come up with. No one should lie about thier past especially if it is so obvious. Clemens could have easily been the good guy in this siutation if he followed his ex-teammate Andy Pettitte. All he had to do was be truthful and none of this would have been as big of a deal. In general the way I feel about steriods is, if you took them admit it, but honestly do steriods really make someone a better baseball player? He might be able to recover faster, and be less fatigued (I get that), but Bonds still had to hit a 90 mph fastball, and Clemens still had to throw his pitchs in precise locations, so dont give me the ideological backtalk. I would just like the players that did do steriods to admit to it and I will have no problems with them. I like A-Rod and Pettitte even though they did something wrong.

Next, I have been listening to a lot of sports radio, all on ESPN radio, which I love. I am able to do this because I drive for work, so I am in a car for about 3-4 hours a day. Anyway, all the programs are good, but my favorite is "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd. I love his in your face reporitng and I feel that he shines light on the reality of what is happening. Most recently he has been talking about the Reds and there "fake" first place. I think he is dead on, and not just about the Reds (who I dont care about) but just about most sports topics.

Also, the Carmello reports are intriguing . First I like the idea of him in the Tri-state area. Next, rumors said that his suiotrs are the Knicks, Nets and Rockets. Before I say my two cents, I just want people to know Basketball is my least favorite sport. If anything college basketball is way more entertaining than the NBA and the difference is EFFORT. The majority of NBA games are not close, and usually effortless. Defesnse is secondary to scoring, and only the best players are fun to watch. Whereas NCAA bball has it all. Scorers, defenders, and hustlers and the reason why is becasue they are playing for pride and glory, where as the NBA superstars play for money. Kobe, Lebron and other elite players of course leave everything on the court but normally the NBA is boring to watch. With that said, Carmello is a great player, and I think it would be awesome for the Nets to get him, rather then the Knicks only because New Yorkers feel like they deserve him. BS! The Knicks felt like they were robbed of the Lebron deal, and they have been robbed in the past before. I think they just do not have the best place to play basketball. Everyone says there is no place like NY but if that was true then why havent they done anything recently, and even in Ewing's day. I think the Nets are better set up for Melo, with thier new owner and soon to be new arena in Brooklyn. Thats just how I feel. Also, I do not know how the Rockets are even a choice in the matter.

Fianlly, the Favre saga continues, and I think the man is a great QB, but I hate the games. I wish he could make up his mind, and I understand why he cant let go of the game, but then he should just keep playing. Play until your arm or ankle falls off. That is what he should do. Also today's reports say he is not getting along with the coach, and honestly Chidlress probably knows less than Favre, so I think Brett should be the ring leader, because obviously last year it showed that Childress's conservative play was not as succesful as Favre's gun slinging.

Just one last item, good for the Yanks for winning 3 out of 4 with the Tigers. Im glad to see they are getting some wins against a team they need to beat. These are crucial wins with their battle against the Rays heating up. Lets Go Yanks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Man U v. Newcastle

Just finished watching the last game of the first week of the Premier League start. Good game, and I was excited to see Rooney play although he seemed rusty. It was good to see Berbatov score, because I think he will need to play a bigger part in the scoring then he did last year. I don't have many comments about the game, but overall I think Man U played well. It seemed to take them a little while to warm up, but once they scored their first, they were on a roll. They clearly out possessed and out performed Newcastle, although no one had Newcastle as the favorites. Their first game back to the Premier League and they certainly did better then West Brom, but maybe could have done a little better. They did have a few scoring chances, mostly by crossing the ball in to Carroll. Caroll by the way seemed to have a lot of promise and in a few year might be a good addition to any major team, and the England national squad.

Scholes seemed to be the ring leader of the offense, with Nani, Evra and Valencia running like mad men up and down the wings. Berbatov did a good job of planting himself in the center of all the action, and it seemed to work really well. I don't know at this point who would be my top team, Chelsea or Man U, but both teams played well for their first game. It should be a great season, and I cant wait for more

Ari's Fall from Mt. Olympus

So last nights episode of Entourage was very interesting. I am a huge entourage fan, and sometimes I cant watch the episode the night of its airing but I always watch it the next day. The episode last night was a culmination of what Ari, as well as Vince, have been dealing with. Vince seems to be a drug addict now ever since his accident on the action set of his upcoming action film. He has been seen using cocaine, vicodan and drinking heavily. This seems to portray what a lot of Hollywood actors go through, because you always hear of stories about someone going into rehab for some sort of substance abuse. It seems as of last night that Vince will be checking into a rehab unit if he does not wise up.

On the other end, the bad mouthing Ari seems to be dead (for now at least). last night after some of his tapes were release he got teary eyed and very discombobulated. Which is a characteristic Ari rarely shows. At the end of last season, he was seen as Greek God taking over LA, and now he seems like he has fallen off of his throne. If Amanda did it, I think it was a cold move especially because she just wanted to hurt Ari. Now at the same time there is something in the back of my mind that says Lizzie is not being truthful and is trying to back-stab Ari and was the one who actually released the tapes. Either way Ari seemed heart broken because as he explained, his family is now going to be tarnished not to mention his business. I think it will be an interesting season from here on out, and this is by far the darkest season we have seen yet. This season has focused a lot less on glamor and more on reality and the pressures of Hollywood.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Opening Day Spurs v. City

What a great opening 25 minutes for Spurs. With five wonderful shots on net, and five great saves by Joe Hart, the spurs certainly looked like the team they ended with last season. Bale played like he was in peak form, as well as Assou-Ekotto. Both of them played on the left side, and Ekotto had a few great balls up the left side for Bale on the sprint to move the ball down the wing, which started a few good goal chances for Spurs. The majority of the team looked good as well. Ekotto and Bale were the best. It was also nice to see Dos Santos get playing time, after having a great World Cup and previously being loaned out for the past few years by Spurs. I think he will have a great future ahead of him, and it looks as if Mexico could have a power house of a team maybe in 2014, but certainly possible for 2018.

Anyway, the real question for the game was not how well Spurs would play, because they had little change during the off season, but how well Manchester City would do with all of their big spending. As many commentators and I’m sure reviewers said, they looked like a team with a lot of individual talent but no cohesion. Tevez played the best I thought and really had the only good chances during the game. Overall the Toure brothers played alright together but Yaya seemed to be trying to figure out City’s system. I also enjoyed watching Silva, but he never really had much space to run and dodge the Spurs defense. They did a good job of having at least two guys cutting off his direction, and so Silva, like Yaya, seemed to be a little lost at first. The only good sign for City, was their goal tending. If it wasn’t for Joe Hart, City would have been down at least 2 or 4 goals to nothing. He made some dazzling saves in the first 25 minutes to keep City in the game, when they looked like a beaten team.

Overall, the game satisfied my pallet for the opening of the Premier league. Although other games had more goals, Chelsea 6-0, Aston Villa 3-0, I thought this was the best Saturday match. It could be a crucial battle in the second game for possible 3rd or 4th spot. Anyway Man City still has plenty of time to get their new star players used to the system, but they had a relatively poor showing for their first game. They were lucky and I am sure happy that they made it out with a draw.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fifa's new plan

I just read an article from ESPN.com reporting that FIFA was going to think about changing its overtime and tie game situation.  They might eliminate all ties, and either impose a Golden Goal overtime format, or just do away altogether with the overtime and if tied at the end of 90 minutes, have shoot outs.  This is said to be for ALL world cup games (But I assume they mean all group stage games considering those are the only games that can be finished in a draw).    I do not think this would be a good idea, because I think soccer thrives in its overtime system.  The NHL did away with ties a few years ago after the lockout and although I think it has worked for them, they are looking for any ideas and changes to attract more people.  Soccer is already the most popular sport in the world and so unless the MLS was trying to get more spectators and fans, I do not think this will be a good idea.  If they do want to get rid of ties, I would prefer a golden goal, or just the same format as any single game elimination format.  Full 30 minutes of overtime and if still tied go to PK's.  I think that would be the best format if they do away with ties.  I also think ties are very important in the group stages, becasue if everyone was seperated by wins and losses, then the tie breaker would be goal difference.  Where as with ties, points are divied more evenly between teams and more teams fight harder for ties and what not.  Now it will take out some of the fun if ties are eliminated.

Also I will be writing about the opening of the Premier league today and the Tottenham game which I watched and was the first game aired on ESPN this season.  I am excited!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Journey to 2014...starts...tonight! (but I hope it ends better)

So tonight I went to my first US men's national team game.  They played Brazil at the Meadowlands and it was not their best performance.  The only real threat came in the first ten minutes by none other then Donovan.  Edu (or it might of been Buddle I forget) threaded a beautiful cut back pass to Donovan who maneuvered past two defenders and after the second defender was knocked off balance and once he stepped into the box the ball was poked away by a third defender and he fell to the ground.  There could have been a penalty marked right outside of the box, although Donovan was making the case for a possible PK.  Either way nothing came from it and that was the end of the night for the most part for the US.

The US played lethargic and out of place.  Their midfield was basically just Bradley who was playing his usual holding midfield position but Feilhaber, Edu, and Badoya barely helped out and so Bradley had to move the abll himself many of times.  It seemed to me that without either Dempsey or Donovan on one of the wings/sides, the ball could not be moved quickly up the field or precisely anywhere on the pitch.  The midfielders struggled to get the ball to the two strikers, Buddle and Donovan.  I understand Bradley's idea for Donovan up front, because of his speed, but if no one can get him the ball with space, Donovan is pretty useless.  This was just one troubled spot.

The Defense played pretty stiff as well.  They seemed to be playing an offside trap that completely broke down during the second goal.  Gonzalez didn't mark Pato making a run, and Bocanegra either kept him onside when he attempted to chase him and tried to pull back to keep him offside, or it was just a nice run by Pato and both centerbacks were beat.  Either way no fullback played particularly well.  Bornstein got burned both trying to hold back Brazil's speedy wingers crossing the ball, and he got beat defending a cross and basically stood in front of a Brazil attacker as he jumped up and got a uncontested header for the first goal.  It was sad to watch, but luckily it was just a friendly.

The strikers did no better either.  As I mentioned above, Donovan was not able to find much space with the ball and so his speed didn't play a factor.  Buddle had some awful touches, and it seemed that every goal kick that was sent his way he either couldn't get to, or he just headed it to nobody.  I don't watch Buddle that often but I certainly wish he played more in the World Cup, but after tonight's performance his size did nothing for the US.

Even after all the subs, and it was awesome to see Jozy Altidore play (although he did nothing either), nothing really happened.  Bradley had a nice chance but it was called offside, and like the whole first half of the game none of the midfield subistutes were able to push the ball to the fowards. 

Overall Brazil played their normal speed and flash game, with Robinho, Alves and Pato all contributing in some form.  They didnt play their best but they played better then the US.  It was nice to see Bradley coach possibly his last game at the US men's head coach.  Rumors have him possibly going to Aston Villa.  Anyway even though the US lost, I still love them and I am glad I was able to see them play.  I hope the next time they play better.  But this was just the start to 2014...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Red Sox v. Yanks and Community Sheild

Last night I watched the Yankee game and was glad to see the Yankees got the win.  CC again and again keeps showing the Bronx why he is their best pitcher.  Even though he gave up two runs early on, he was able to stay focus and throw a pretty good game.  Also, Robbie Cano had another solid game, and like the announcers were talking about, he is becoming one of the premier second basemen in the league.  Both his batting and fielding are very impressive, and I have watched about 5 Yankee game in the last 15 days or so and every game i watch, his arm strength and quickness seem to be unmatched.  Any slow roller, or mediocre flip for a double play almost is always completed for an out because he can get the ball out of his glove and whipped to first base before you can blink.  All the while, he seems like he is just using his wrist or slight shoulder strength to throw the ball.  He makes almost every play look as if he is not trying.  Its really fun to watch.

Furthermore, this morning the Community Shield game was on FSC.  Chelsea and Manchester Untied battled it out at Wembley.  It actually was a pretty good game to watch and Manchester looked pretty sharp. Two strikers, Valencia and Hernandez (aka Chicharito) had wonderful games.  Both scored and both are new members of the team.  Valencia, I knew little about and so I was surprised to see he was an Ecuadorian national and he was so talented.  I don't know if he will start during the season, but after this game his chances for getting good playing time seem good.  If he doesn't start he would certainly be a great spark off the bench.  Hernandez was signed right before the World Cup started, and as many noticed during the world cup, Hernandez had a great outing with Mexico.  He played a solid striking role and seemed to the future with Dos Santos.  Other players for Man U also looked good.  Rooney had a great feed to Valencia for his goal, where he beat Terry on the wing from a lobbed ball and then was able to slide the ball toward the middle of the box for Valencia to knock in.  Berbatov also had a good lob goal over the keeper in the last few minutes of the game to seal the deal.  Scholes played well, and seemed to have most of his passes successfully completed. 

As for Chelsea, not much seemed great.  They had a few good opportunities here and there but overall i was not impressed for reigning Premier League winners.  The Defense looked lazy, Ashely Cole and Terry were both beat for goals and goal chances.  Essien played well for the first half, and it was nice to see him play considering he missed the world cup and many games last season due to injuries.  I hope he will play well this season, he is a great player to watch.  Malouda played average, Anelka played alright, Drogba played well except he was not in till half way through the second half.  The best player I though was Sturridge.  He had a few blast with his left foot that really impressed me, and it was a rebound from his shot about 18 meters out that got the goal by Kalou. 

I heard no talk about Wembley's pitch which was apparently one of the worst in England last season, even though it was only used for major games and events.  I read a few months ago how the grounds crew there was either fired or quit because of its poor maintenance.  I wonder if they have fixed the problems, but maybe this was just the beginning so the pitch was in good health.

Anyway, another Yanks v. Sox game tonight which is good.  Cant wait. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

1st post

Hello all,

My name is Isaac, and I have created this blog for fun.  It will mostly pertain to sports and my daily life, but sports is 50% of my daily life.  Besides sports, I love my family, significant other (of course when applicable), friends and life.  Sports are my passion, along with Cities and city planning.  I am about to start a Master program to get a degree in Urban planning, and I would love one day to help in the planning of a stadium either in the US or abroad.  I am originally from Northern New Jersey and with that said I am a die hard NY Yankee, NJ Devil,  NY Giant and (when they are good) NJ Net fan.  Additionally I am very passionate about overseas and domestic soccer (football for most of the world).  I plan on blogging about all sports, but I think soccer will take up most of my time. 

My passion for soccer started four years ago, during my freshman year of college.  My roommate as well as two of my best friends from school began enjoying the game of soccer.  My roommate and my other friend Pino had already loved the game for years and really got me passionate about the game and following leagues such as the English Premiership, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and Italian Serie A.  Of course there are more leagues and I try to follow as much as I can, but its tough in America because most games on TV are English games or some games from the above mentioned leagues.  In addition to my passion for watching soccer, our obsession was strengthened by our devotion to the video game Fifa.  Fifa 07, 08, 09, 10 not only have been great games, well maybe not 08, but have also strengthened our friendship to the furthest height.  With out Barto, Pino and Muff (I will never use real names), I would not be the person, Soccer Fan or Fifa player I am today.  These guys are the best guys in the world and they only fuel my passion.

My favorite soccer teams include, Tottenham Hotspur FC, FC Barcelona, USA National Team (GO USA!!) and the NY Red Bulls.  I also try to follow as many American soccer players playing abroad as i possibly can.  Players like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard, Freddy Adu, Carlos Bocanegra, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley and many others...

With all that said, anyone who follows me, will learn more about me as my blog gets bigger but for now you can  describe me as a young adult who loves all sports, especially my teams, and enjoys cities and life.  I hope you enjoy...


Urban Yankee