Monthly Archives: June 2009

Confederations Cup results: A balanced view

When looking at the U.S. finishing 2nd in the Confederations Cup, it is easy to start getting excited about the team.  I think, however, the excitement might be a little premature.

If we look at the tournament in its entirety we see, not a soccer team ready to vie for a World Cup, but rather a team that made the semifinals via the longest of long shots.  Did they deserve to be there?  Sure, they made their own luck, but that’s not to say that they’ve been a dominant team recently.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the victory over Spain was an excellent win, but it was a bit like surviving a siege.  The U.S. were dominated in every aspect of that game except on the scoreboard.  The U.S. will not get very far next summer, or even in CONCACAF letting Tim Howard get shelled every game.

That’s the problem.  The U.S. played the same way for every game of the Confederations Cup except for their game against Egypt, a team ranked considerably lower than them that they should beat every time.

When you look at each game of the tourney, it becomes even more obvious that the U.S. is not nearly ready for primetime.

Game 1:  They go up 1-0 at halftime and then let in 3 second half goals to Italy and lose 3 -1.

Game 2:  They get blown out by Brazil, who score 3 first half goals and cruise.  The final is 3 – 0.

In fact, going into the third game against Egypt, who beat Italy and nearly beat Brazil, most thought it was going to be another blowout.

Game 3:  The U.S. did a great job and finally played to win rather than not to lose, but the 3-0 win only helped them when Italy collapsed against Brazil.

Game 4:  The U.S. scored a goal early, then held on for dear life against Spain, who everyone knows overlooked the U.S..  Even then, Spain had most of the chances and were unlucky to score.  A late U.S. goal makes the final 2-0, but there was no time in that match that U.S. looked equal to Spain.

Game 5:  Finally the U.S. played like they may be ready to do something in the World Cup.  The first half against Brazil was the best they’ve played in months, but 45 minutes doesn’t make a game, and to be fair, Brazil still had most of the play.  If Tim Howard doesn’t make several huge saves, the game is tied at the half.  The U.S. comes out  and gets crushed in the second half when Brazil scores 3 (really 4) goals and ends up with the trophy.

The U.S. really played about 120 minutes of good soccer out of a possible 450 minutes played.  Not really the type of performance we should be expecting out of the 14th best team in the World, according to FIFA.

In fact, I believe that if the U.S. keeps playing the way they did for most of the Confederations Cup in CONCACAF qualifying, they might not even make it to the World Cup next summer.

The U.S. has a lot of work to do before next summer.  They would do well to study their play in the whole tourney rather than focusing on where they finished.

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Filed under Just Sports, Soccer Coaching Craziness

Turnabout is fairplay

I need to say this upfront.  I’m generally pro-bike on the roads.  I give them as much space as I can when passing.  Heck, I even have a bike I ride around town now and then.  Bicycles are a great mode of transportation.

What I don’t like, however, are the bicyclists who don’t obey the traffic laws, are belligerant, and basically have no respect for drivers, like me, who go out of their way to be courteous.

The worst is the Critical Mass folks.  Having been caught in one of their protests, I can tell you first hand that they had no respect for me or other drivers.

So this in today’s Daily Camera gave me a smile.  It talks about a “Critical Mass” with cars protest to stop bicycles from hogging the roads.  Part of the flier reads:

“On July 25, in celebration of driver’s rights, many cars will use the Left Hand Canyon Road, drive slowly and many may break down unexpectedly, blocking areas to the cyclists on the return leg of the ‘Sunrise Century,’” the anonymous, one-page note reads. “Many cars and safe drivers all working together can send a message to the Statehouse to restrict cycling on our roads which are our only alternatives during family emergencies, commuting and required duties.”

I love it!  It’s about time that drivers employed the same tactics to bicyclists that they have had to endure for years.  Of course the reaction from bicyclists is hysterical, and predictable:

David Flores, 46, an avid cyclist who lives near Lee Hill and Left Hand Canyon drives, said he and his neighbors found the fliers stuffed in their mailboxes Thursday.

“There is nothing to be gained in trying to line the roads with cars to try and disrupt people on bicycles,” Flores said. “I don’t hope cyclists unite and decide to block U.S. 36 to make a point.”

Flores said the tone of the letter is obviously meant to incite a confrontation during the ride, despite its suggestion that pulling over to “inspect” vehicles for “engine trouble, sounds or other safety issues” is a form of civil disobedience.

“If that happens, there will be either an accident or some kind of confrontation,” Flores said. “There are people who will go out of their way to light the powder keg on both sides.”

Flores is right.  It’s obviously a form of civil disobedience to incite a confrontation.  It’s what Critical Mass bicyclists have been doing for years.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, however, bicyclists don’t like it.

Well turnabout is fair play and it heartens me to know that there is still a bit of rebellious spirit left in Boulder.

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Filed under Just Cool, What the F%$#!!!

When coaching pays off

As a soccer coach, wins are fun and losses are tough, but it’s off the field accomplishments that make me the proudest.  Over the weekend, one of my captains did me proud.

Tomas Garcia accomplished something no one in his family has ever done. On Saturday, he graduated from the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) with the hope of becoming an architect.

Excellent news, but they didn’t report that Tomas was one of only a few graduates to not only win a state ACE scholarship but receive a national ACE scholarship as well.

Great job Tomas!!

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Filed under Just Cool, Soccer Coaching Craziness