Category: MLS

Timbers win again and I like funky livestreams.

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The Timbers just beat Dallas 3-2 in the Open Cup- their unbeaten run just keeps on going. I saw a little bit of the game- the last part of the second half where the Timbers battered away at Dallas’ goal- but then sadly I had more pressing things to do.

What struck me as I watched it, was how I was watching it, which sounds dumb, but anyone familiar with how livestreams like this can relate. It was on FC Dallas’ website, and had the narrow-scope feel of a home recording. Weirdly, the bleachers on the opposite side of the stadium were completely empty, and I’m not sure why because I didn’t have the sound on. Which was also weird, but my fault- I have a Heisenberg uncertainty thing where I add weirdness to whatever I observe.

But the weird icing on this strange cake were the super-retro instant replays. They were sponsored by Advocare, which must be a Texan corporation that really cares about its customers/clients/patients. The logo above would flip in over the screen like a bad Powerpoint transition, and then there’d be about a 5 second replay of the action you just saw, from the same angle you just saw it at. They made me feel like I was time traveling.

Be aware that I’m not complaining. I think this is awesome. It’s refreshing to see a game unpolished and unadorned with gimmicks- or at least, as the case was with Advocare, an extremely cheap gimmick. In the sporting world is there anything worse than those damn NFL robots? I mean, besides John Terry?

Low-rent streams like this are there so those of us that are interested can watch. In a funny way, this sort of thing radiates a vibe of hard work that televised games do not. It’s there because someone wants us to be able to see it- not because someone wants to make a buck off it. At least for now.


Summer transfer season in Europe. Time to divert some love to the MLS.

I greeted the end of this Arsenal season with relief- it really wasn’t a whole lot of fun. And since they’ve qualified to qualify for the Champions League, all us fans can take a little time and delude ourselves into the belief that international superstars are coming our way. It’s kind of like being in seventh grade and daydreaming about your pretty teacher’s legs. Except not such a necessary and fundamental stage… I guess it’s just adolescent.

And if you spend too much time thinking about the transfer business, it gets dull fast (unlike legs). And what a nutty cottage industry they have in Europe pushing all this stuff! Every day there’s a rehash of the previous day’s rumor, which was made up to begin with. I think it’s growing, too: in listings for freelance writing work, I’ve seen openings for “football transfer writers” willing to dredge the tabloids and rewrite all the stories for sports gossip websites.

It’s kind of surprising that there so few transfer stories, considering the global nature of the game. Everyone seems to be interested in only a handful of superstars. This summer’s buffet is Neymar, Rooney, Bale, Lewandowski, Jovetic, and Higuain, and while the last two are excellent players, they’re not really superstars. That’s only six people. Maybe I’ve forgotten a couple, but who cares. And they’re all, or almost all, going to end up at one of about six clubs. Of course this is the summer of coaches moving as well, but that’s not as exciting as the rags are saying, either.¬† Ferguson’s already been replaced; Mourinho is going to be back where he’s been before; Madrid is going to get what they want with Ancelotti; City is going to get Pellegrini; Milan might do something stupid and sack Allegri, but Berlusconi doing something stupid isn’t really news. The famous coaches seem to play musical chairs.

So, while I’ve got my fingers crossed that Arsene Wenger is on the hunt for someone exciting, what I should really be doing is paying better attention to our rough and tumble and pretty exuberant domestic league. The Timbers are the best they’ve ever been! Manchester City and the Yankees have made an unholy union and produced a readymade object of hatred! NYCFC, go to hell! Now I just have to figure how to watch more… it’s been easier to catch the European stuff.

Goal from bro!

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My brother sent me this a week ago, my favorite kind of treat. A modern classic Henry goal; counterattack from the left, right foot, far post, stony eyed celebration.

His comment: “Still got it- Pace is overrated, it’s all about timing and technique.”

My comment: This is the sort of situation fullbacks hate. Your midfielder doesn’t pick up his man fast or aggressively enough, the attacker drifts wide, beside you, and then behind you. While he’s beside you, there’s a moment when you know you should be making a decision: where do I go? How do I commit? But that moment ends before your decision is made. There’s a longer subsequent moment you spend wishing you’d made the earlier decision, because now you have no facility, now you’re merely chasing the play. And then the ball is in the back of the net.

The elegance in the move is in Henry’s simultaneous understanding of the space he’s inhabiting, and the speed and direction of all its component parts. It’s not easy to run like that.