Watch more curling, or, as it’s known in some circles: bocce ball on ice.
The last Blockbuster on earth is in Bend, Oregon. Amazing. Now I know where I can rent Tron, Time Bandits, The Last Dragon, Goonies, Harlem Nights, Top Gun, Colors, Caddyshack, Easy Money, Fletch, The Toy, Midnight Run, Running Scared, License to Drive, 'The Burbs, The Money Pit, Breakin’, The Best of Times, The Cannonball Run, reassure myself I'm not stuck in the 80s and then haggle over my dollar and thirty-five cent late fee like an exhausted Silk Road trader.
The Four Year Review: America's Quest for the Cup
United States vs. Ecuador
Where Berhalter was right: Appointing Tim Ream as captain.
Where Berhalter was wrong: Playing Tim Ream at outside defender. Ream is best suited at center fullback. Plain and simple. His skillset is exactly what the USMNT needs back there. Everything starts with the back four. The back four have to be skillful. Tim Ream brings that. Place him at center defense, not outside defense.
Do people want a World Cup championship or more of the same? Despite a good start from Berhalter in the win column, it's looking like more of the same, just a lot of different names. If the World Cup were next month, this team would not escape the group stage.
Berhalter's starting lineup on 3-21-19.
United States vs. Ecuador
Adams Long Brooks Ream
Morris Pulisic Arriola
A better option.
The 'ideal' lineup right now:
Yedlin* Ream Bradley Shea
Pulisic Torres Nagbe
Nguyen** Wood Weah***
This is a better, possession-oriented, lineup. This is the only way to defeat the world's best.
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup is right around the corner. Here are my Top 5 teams going into the tournament:
1. United States
Canada is a close #6.
LA Galaxy Coaching Update
On January 2, 2019 it was announced that Guillermo Barros Schelotto would be the new coach of LA Galaxy. Just shortly before this announcement Major League Soccer 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the Teams was finished and on route to printing. The following is the updated information regarding LA Galaxy’s recent coaching change.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto: A Brief Coaching Portrait
Guillermo Barros Schelotto took on the coaching job in LA shortly before the 2019 MLS season began.* In fact, a bit of musical chairs had been played in the coaching department.
Sigi Schmid—who began coaching LA Galaxy in 2018—has an interesting backstory. He was born in West Germany and eventually played at UCLA. He was later coach of UCLA, and from there he ended up coaching the U20 United States national team, LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, and Seattle Sounders. He originally coached LA Galaxy from 1999-2004, returning to the Galaxy again from 2017-2018 only to be replaced by Dominic Kinnear in 2018. Schmid was extremely successful throughout his years coaching. Unfortunately he died in December of 2018.
Prior to his coaching career, Kinnear was a very talented player that took the field with a number of teams, including the Colorado Rapids, San Jose Clash, and Tampa Bay Mutiny toward the end of his career; he also acquired over 50 caps with the USMNT.
Coach Kinnear had previously coached the Earthquakes and Dynamo. Most recently, he transitioned in 2018 from the role of assistant coach with the Galaxy to running the show.
Though his time was up and he was replaced by Guillermo Barros Schelotto who led LA Galaxy in its season opener in 2019, a win at home no less against Chicago Fire.
Schelotto—born in 1973 in Argentina—played as an attacking player for a few clubs, including Boca Juniors and Columbus Crew; he also represented Argentina for a handful of games. Despite having Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Emmanuel Boateng, and Jonathan dos Santos at his disposal, the Galaxy are in a “proving year” and definitely want to make up for last year’s disappointing end to the season which didn’t amount to a playoff appearance. A rarity for the Galaxy.
Last season an Argentine did wonders for Atlanta United and won the MLS Cup, and the Galaxy are hoping Schelotto can pull off some similar magic for a club eager to find its way back to the top.
While he’s figuring this all out, don’t be surprised to see a 4-2-3-1 come game time.
* Tom Bogert, “LA Galaxy name Guillermo Barros Schelotto new head coach,” MLS website, published January 2, 2019, accessed March 3, 2019, https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2019/01/02/official-la-galaxy-name-guillermo-barros-schelotto-new-head-coach
Have a Latte with NFL Pundits
Like many people, my favorite sporting event is probably the Super Bowl. I love football as much as soccer, and I would argue I know just as much. I grew up around it, a cousin of mine won the Heisman and was part of a Super Bowl championship, and I heard a lot about football. But hold on. As much as I love the Super Bowl, and the experts ranting and raving about their great event, there is an amazing amount of disinformation coming from the overly enthusiastic mouths of Super Bowl pundits. Men who once gathered in huddles, complaining of having their bell rung only five minutes earlier, to which they hear, “Shake it off! You good!” You know who I’m talking about: Well-dressed men jumping off couches with more passion than Tom Cruise on Oprah, celebrating touchdowns from twenty years ago as though it just occurred, pumping their fists, laughing like pirates, shaking hands with one another on an average of three times every four seconds. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. The biggest sporting event in the world is not the Super Bowl. Stop saying that. Please. You sound like lunatics. The World Cup final is the biggest sporting event in the world. Nor are the Super Bowl champions “world champions.” They are by default, but they are not “world champions.” There aren’t other teams from Argentina, Norway, Cameroon, Brazil, China and Germany lining up to challenge them. The World Cup champions are “world champions.” To reiterate, the Super Bowl champions are, without a doubt, world champions by default. Why? Because nobody else plays football! Nobody. Unless you count the CFL and disorderly NFL Europe; which you don’t; you’ve treated them like they don’t exist. Face reality NFL people, the Super Bowl champs do not compete with anybody from around the world. Not even the CFL champs. Which would make total sense BTW – play the CFL champs for the ultimate championship of North America, not the world. FYI, almost every single player in NFL Europe and the CFL are from America. Football might be the greatest sport in the world, alongside soccer, hockey, baseball and basketball. Though football is a niche sport played by Americans. But I love the Super Bowl. However, the disinformation has gotta revert to reality. Come to a complete halt mister. As entertaining as it is.
Call Bob Evans, apologize for my behavior.
New Book Release
Major League Soccer 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the Teams.
Writing Major League Soccer 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the Teams was an honor and the whole experience was intriguing, to say the least. With fan bases like NYCFC, Atlanta, Sporting Kansas City, LAFC, Portland and Seattle, to name a tiny few, it’s hard not to get swept up. I was already watching, pretty much regularly. In writing the book I (of course) had to watch even more. This should go without saying, but, as I moved along with further research, a ton of interesting things came about, which included players, coaches, team histories, ownership, stadiums and much more. As with anything, I realized there were new and fascinating things to discover around each corner. Despite the league starting in 1996, there's a great deal of history that would require a room full of encyclopedias. Without a doubt, it was a great pleasure learning more about this exciting league, one on the move with a lot of momentum.
My first book, Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yet, has a title alone that indicates a strong sense of “something’s wrong with American soccer.” Here’s the simple answer: Yes and no. The meaning behind the title is fairly simple: US soccer will be “there” when the men win the World Cup. The true nature of the book is based in hope, optimism, observation, and criticism for a nation finding its way. And, I should hasten to add, there’s much more to the story. There’s good and bad with American soccer. The bad would be the USMNT not winning the World Cup. The good would be MLS is crucial for the USMNT winning the World Cup, someday.
Having said that, in many ways, US soccer is “there.” (As it turns out, the word “there” is more complicated than it seems.) After all, soccer in America is more popular than ever, soccer is on American TV (it hasn’t always been that way youngsters!), the USMNT is definitely getting better (despite not qualifying for WC 2018), American players are taken more seriously around the world, and, probably most importantly, MLS is expanding and doing well.
This leads to my latest book, Major League Soccer 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the Teams. As I researched and wrote this book for the better part of a year, I came to realize, as usual, that I had no idea what day it was. Your welcome. I also realized that MLS is quite simply the world’s next super league. Give it a little time and it will happen, guaranteed. I predict that very soon it will be on par with the Bundesliga, La Liga and the other top European leagues. But it needs a little time, and this is understandable. Keep in mind, the league first started in 1996! Hell, if Tab Ramos had a little Cal Ripken in him, he could still be playing. 1996 is like yesterday. It’s so new it’s ridiculous. For some perspective, it seems like every other Western European league was founded the same year as Stella Artois. So for the critics of MLS (both domestic and foreign): Give the league a break; I’ve learned to. It’s a league full of professional players, and by that I mean how they conduct themselves on the field; the play has definitely improved over the years, and by that I mean the passing and thinking part of the game. The athletic-ness has always been there but to play soccer correctly has almost everything to do with thinking, which has a lot to do with team chemistry, among other things.
It’s actually a good thing that MLS is a new league. We’re seeing history unfold before our very eyes. It’s a league with a vast amount of potential and it’s proving that each year.
As we stand, the league has plenty of domestic talent, including Nguyen, Feilhaber, Zusi, Besler, Adams, Shea, Nagbe and Bradley, to name a few. The leading names of international talent would be Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Martinez, along with many others.
Atlanta United is looking strong for 2019, and it’ll be the team to beat. With that said, the field is wide open, with New York Red Bulls, NYCFC, D.C. United, LAFC, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, and FC Dallas all ready to seize the MLS Cup.
I was very honored to have written this book. There’s so much more around the corner for MLS and to have been a part of its journey is amazing. The 2019 season will undoubtedly be a remarkable one, along with many others that follow.
Create a list of the best sports movies that might, and I stress might, pull me away from the new season of Vanderpump Rules...
Christmas 2018 Best Sports Movies of All Time*
15. Stealing Home
13. The Bad News Bears
12. Raging Bull
10. Slap Shot
8. The Color of Money
5. Chariots of Fire
3. The Natural
2. The Best of Times
* Comedies and Dramas rounded into one. Though it’s a good movie, I’m not the biggest fan of Field of Dreams, get over it. Rudy and Bull Durham are not on this list either. Just stop right now. On an extended list they could theoretically be included along with Hoop Dreams, Invictus, Without Limits and North Dallas Forty, to name a few.
Yes, I predicted Atlanta would win the MLS Cup back in October, blah, blah, blah.*
How do you do it Shane? It's a blessing, and a curse.
Amazing Atlanta won its first MLS Cup in only two MLS seasons. It did so on December 8, 2018 in front of over 70,000 fans at home by defeating Portland 2-0. Arthur Blank, the owner, who also owns the Atlanta Falcons, couldn't have done a better job constructing this team of remarkable players and the dream season that just finished up. (A season in which Atlanta almost captured the Supporters' Shield.) Arguably, this will go down as an all-time great MLS team, and probably the best to date, notwithstanding D.C. United of the late 90s which had a very talented squad, for example. Aside from going into other dominant MLS clubs of yore, it should be known that very few of them can boast playing the game as well as Atlanta did this year. The style it exuded was top-notch. One reason for the prediction was the style Atlanta played. Going into the nuances of such a thing would take many paragraphs, but know this: To play with a top-notch style is not easily done or even understood by most laymen. Though, when it's accomplished, it should very likely bring long-term success such as the case with Barcelona and Spain during the Golden Generation. Atlanta is currently tapping into that area of brilliance, however, things may be unraveling as we speak. Its coach is presumably onto coaching Mexico while Almiron is likely heading to Europe. Despite these changes, should Parkhurst, Nagbe, Martinez, Barco and others stay around, the chances of a repeat should be in order. Next season for Atlanta will be a very interesting one to say the least.
* Prediction occurred here, at the Blog entry of 10-22-18.
(NS) refers to "Non-Soccer" related blog entries, stories and essays.
ALL WRITTEN WORK COPYRIGHT SHANE STAY 2014-2018