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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

OT- Soccer Thread- October 2019

Hey, when I have to submit the thread we get a bad intro, that’s just how it works.

jmurph Posted: October 01, 2019 at 01:55 PM | 532 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   101. Mefisto Posted: October 05, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5886852)
Spurs seem to be missing Trippier quite a bit. :)

Their lack of offense is really hard to figure. I mean, Kane seems to have slowed down and I'm not sure what's going on with Eriksen and Alli, but I'd still expect more offense. Today really sucked for Spurs fans with the injury to Lloris.
   102. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 05, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5886854)
They sure do seem set up for a catastrophic fall, missing the Champions League, basically everyone (possibly even including Kane) wanting out as a result, Levy being Levy and refusing to sell while also refusing to spend any real money on reinforcements. Could get real ugly.

It seems like the players have quit on Poch, but I retain my suspicion it might be the other way around: Poch quit first, having finally reached the limit of his patience with Levy's Levyness, and the players followed suit.
   103. Baldrick Posted: October 05, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5886862)
Tomorrow is Jill Ellis's last game as USWNT coach. I can't say I've been a big fan, but she's managed to get a few extremely important things right, and has also managed to get out of the way. A better coach probably would have been able to get a lot more out of this team, but two World Cups and an Olympic quarterfinal is still in the top quintile, even accounting for the quality of the team.

I will probably not watch the game because god these Victory Tour friendlies are interminable. But I'm excited to see who they hire (odds currently seem split between Vlatko Andonovski, Laura Harvey, and Someone Else as the options), and how the team develops from here.

In other exciting news, England lost again. That's four losses and a draw in five games since they won in the quarterfinals at the World Cup. Phil Neville bought himself a lot of favorable coverage but even the friendly press are starting to come after him. They're hosting the Euros so don't have to qualify, which means they have no technically meaningful games until 2021. But if this run continues, eventually they'll have to make a change.
   104. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 05, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5886977)
A better coach probably would have been able to get a lot more out of this team, but two World Cups and an Olympic quarterfinal is still in the top quintile, even accounting for the quality of the team.


I know we’ve touched on it over the years but what is the reason for people not being high on her. As you note she’s won consecutive World Cups. Is she just the Cito Gaston of soccer coaches and if so why? I can see dinging her for the Olympics but even then, they won the group and lost on penalties to a Sweden team that is pretty good, if not as good as the US.

I remember reading a story, I think in Feinstein’s college hoop book. A guy in North Carolina was talking about NC State which had gone undefeated* en route to the 1974 title. He said “yeah, the coach did a good job but imagine what Dean Smith could have done.” It’s just not clear to me what people are looking for from her? Has she not developed players for the next generation or something?

* just checked, they lost one game
   105. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5887011)
City are in no danger of catching Liverpool playing like this defensively. Wolves should have at least two by now.
   106. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5887015)
And there it is.

I won’t say Wolves have been better than City today but as jmurph notes they have had plenty of chances and that goal is deserved.
   107. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5887016)
Annnnd that’s the league then, more than likely.
   108. strong silence Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5887018)
But 8 teams playing for the other 3 spots will be uhhh.....dull.
   109. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5887020)
City was favorite to win the league before the game today. They won't be favored now, but they still have a very decent shot--better than Liverpool had when the season started.
   110. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5887024)
City were 8 points back last year after the New Year weren’t they? Obviously jmurph is taking this as a fan which is not always a rational experience but I wouldn’t call it over by any means.

That said this year feels different. Liverpool are very good but they were last year. City however feel a bit more wobbly. They seem to have put a bit too much confidence into their ability to score but they aren’t nearly as good defensively. As they noted at the start of this game they have given up as many goals before this game started as they did in their first 15 games last year.
   111. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5887025)
Sure, not impossible. They overcame a similar deficit in a shorter period just last year. But they also employed decent (and healthy) CBs last year during that stretch!

The big thing I keep thinking about is the schedule- Liverpool have played a significantly more difficult schedule thus far and have this big of a lead already.
   112. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5887027)
I just think this season looks and will continue to look much more like two years ago, when most of the other big teams struggled a bit and City ran away with it, than it does like last year, with the great two team race.
   113. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 06, 2019 at 11:06 AM (#5887029)
Yeah there was a stretch last year in the EPL where City didn't even allow a shot in about 180 minutes of game time, and they were just utterly dominant on defense in the second half of the season, giving up about 0.5 xG per game. This was another game where they gave up more than 1.0 xG, and they are at about 1.2 xGA per game. They've given up more this year so far (GA and xGA) than they did the entire second half of the season last year.

edit: this season looks like a 2-team race to me. Not quite with the same ridiculous point totals as last year, but with the league winner in the high 80s. Chelsea maybe 3rd no closer than 10 points behind.
   114. Baldrick Posted: October 06, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5887047)
I know we’ve touched on it over the years but what is the reason for people not being high on her. As you note she’s won consecutive World Cups. Is she just the Cito Gaston of soccer coaches and if so why? I can see dinging her for the Olympics but even then, they won the group and lost on penalties to a Sweden team that is pretty good, if not as good as the US.

Short answer: the US has the best roster in the world, and she rarely got as much from them as they are capable of producing. A combination of luck and underperformance from other teams allowed them to win two World Cups despite not really firing on all cylinders for significant parts of both campaigns. And they were pretty poor in the Olympics.

Her great tactical innovation (on two separate occasions) was 'what if we had a holding midfielder.' It was so successful the first time that she abandoned it only to remember it after nine months of terrible results.

Obviously, results matter a lot so it would be insane to call her tenure anything other than a success. And I've often argued that she never got enough credit for the off-field stuff. Despite not being particularly personally popular with the players (who instigated a failed coup in 2017), she presided over a team that had virtually no drama. That stuff matters, maybe even more than tactical acumen. Still, it remains unclear whether she actually brought anything more to the table on balance than any random Avram Grant they could have put in the seat. And a genuinely great coach would very likely have not just won the tournaments, but would also have cultivated one of the all-time great teams in terms of style and results.

She also gave historically terrible answers to media questions. Just nonsense piled on cliche, every time. I certainly think that inspired some degree of frustration within media circles, and highly engaged elements of the fandom. Hard to say if that affected broader discourses.
   115. ckash Posted: October 06, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5887051)
I wholly support Man U.’s insistence on using Ashley Young as the fulcrum of their attack. ( I am a Chelsea fan.)
   116. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 06, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5887059)
They really have so little creativity without Pogba. They are unlucky to be losing, but playing like this they certainly wouldn't win even half the games at Newcastle, and that's not good enough.
   117. ckash Posted: October 06, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5887064)
Injuries or not there is no excuse for ManU having so little depth. This is all on Woodward and the Glazers.
   118. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5887071)
Gotta be Ole out tomorrow, right? Teams seem to like to do this over international breaks.

Since I only care and have only ever cared about Serie A (City who?), I'm enjoying Juventus-Inter so far. Dybala with a ridiculous early goal on the counter from a tough angle. Hoping Inter can pull it out.
   119. Mefisto Posted: October 06, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5887072)
114 is a great summary.

I agree with 117, but United have had really significant injury problems. Few teams would look very good when missing 5-7 starters, but United's lack of depth makes it even worse.

I'm not sure I'd fire Ole right now, though if Poch is available.... Might as well let a new coach take over when there's a real team ready to play.
   120. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 06, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5887077)
I cannot imagine Poch being interested in being next in line to stick his neck in Woodward’s guillotine. Unless of course he were offered ridiculous money.
   121. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 06, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5887080)
Ole is probably out sooner than later but how is this on him? ckash nails it, other than the badge on the jersey is there any reason that collection of talent should be expected to be better. The talent acquisition there has been a mess since SAF left. I don’t see any reason to think a managerial change is going to improve things there.

Juve-Inter was worth it. I don’t see much Serie A but the two big games I’ve seen this year; Juve-Inter and Juve-Napoli have been very good.
   122. KronicFatigue Posted: October 06, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5887084)
Does Mourinho's stint at Man U get reevaluated now?
   123. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 06, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5887087)
City were 8 points back last year after the New Year weren’t they?


They were seven back, IIRC. Then they immediately played Liverpool on January 3, and won a great match 2-1. So it was really 4 points back, and then they dropped an entirety of 3 points over the rest of the season, and not a single one after January. Liverpool, otoh, didn't lose a single match after the game in Manchester, and still lost out on the title because they drew four times against Leicester, West Ham, Man U, and Everton.

Those two teams down the stretch were unimaginably good, they went a combined 29-4-1 after January 3rd.
   124. Mefisto Posted: October 06, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5887095)
@122: Not really, no. Yes, Mourinho had to deal with an incompetent front office and ownership group. But his problem was more that he kept blaming his players and lost the clubhouse. Part of the immediate boost the team got when OGS took over was simple relief that the ####### was gone. And part was that OGS put his best players on the field and let them attack (which Mourinho failed to do). That worked until a combination of injuries and other teams adjusting meant that OGS had to find other solutions. He's failed to do so.
   125. spivey Posted: October 06, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5887157)
They were seven back, IIRC. Then they immediately played Liverpool on January 3, and won a great match 2-1. So it was really 4 points back, and then they dropped an entirety of 3 points over the rest of the season, and not a single one after January. Liverpool, otoh, didn't lose a single match after the game in Manchester, and still lost out on the title because they drew four times against Leicester, West Ham, Man U, and Everton.

Liverpool didn't just not lose a match after the Manchester one, that was the only EPL match they lost all season. It's really pretty wild.

I still think Liverpool is both playing over their head a bit and also can't afford any injuries to their front line talent. From an outsider view they've been lucky there. But City don't look right right now. I wouldn't say they look like a normal team without DeBruyne and Laporte, but they're pretty top heavy without them.
   126. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 06, 2019 at 08:57 PM (#5887194)
Current odds:

EPL winner: Liverpool 57%, City 40% (both above 90% to finish at least in top 2)
Top 4: Arsenal 61%, Chelsea 49%, Spurs 41%, Leicester 21%, United 17%, Wolves 4%, West Ham 2%, Everton 2%, Palace 1%
Top 6: Arsenal 83%, Chelsea 77%, Spurs 76%, Leicester 54%, United 49%, Wolves 18%, West Ham 13%, Everton 10%, Palace 6%

Relegation: Norwich 50%, Watford 45%, Newcastle 44%, Sheffield United 33%, Villa 31%, Brighton 21%, Southampton 20%, Burnley 16%, Bournemouth 14%, Palace 10%, Everton 6%, West Ham 5%, Wolves 4%, United 1%

A current oddity: all but 3 out of 20 teams have between 2 and 4 wins after 8 games. It's much more tightly packed than normal, where you'd have 6-9 teams outside that range. (Watford has 0, City has 5, and Liverpool has 8.) Newcastle, Villa, and Brighton each got their second this week.
   127. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 06, 2019 at 09:12 PM (#5887199)
538's delta since preseason:

--the good--
Brighton: +5.9 (wow!)
Sheffield United: +4.2
Leicester: +3.0
Burnley: +2.5

--the sorta good--
Southampton +1.4
Villa: +1.1
Man. City: +1.0
Man. United +1.0

--the middling--
Arsenal: +0.5
Palace: +0.4
Liverpool: -0.1
Chelsea: -0.4
Bournemouth: -0.5
Wolves: -0.6

--the sorta bad--
West Ham: -1.2
Watford: -1.4
Everton: -1.8
Norwich: -2.0

--the bad--
Newcastle: -3.7
Tottenham: -4.9
   128. manchestermets Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:16 AM (#5887266)
Does Mourinho's stint at Man U get reevaluated now?


He signed Fred, so no.

Sacking Solskjaer at this point would solve precisely nothing. They still wouldn't have anything even vaguely approaching a midfield.
   129. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 07, 2019 at 08:49 AM (#5887272)
Sacking Solskjaer at this point would solve precisely nothing. They still wouldn't have anything even vaguely approaching a midfield.


Clearly the ideal coach for Manchester United is Jill Ellis!
   130. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 07, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5887283)
I'm not sure what United can do. Obviously there is a problem at United, but churning through managers is part of it. United hire a new manager, spend massive amounts of money, then fire the guy and the next guy does the same thing. The structure of the club has to change first (DoF seems to be the most obvious, but getting a baseball-style GM or VP of Football OPs may fit better) because the guy in charge is purely a money man. There were a bunch of rumblings when Mourinho got fired that they were going to go that route and it didn't happen.

That team that was put on the field yesterday wasn't ideal but it should still be able to beat Newcastle. If the players aren't good enough - and it is obvious that they aren't - they need to be jettisoned.
   131. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5887305)
In light of the discussion about Pulisic earlier, I think this chart is interesting. Turns out that, so far this year, Pulisic has been at least as good as, if not better than Mount. And yet Pulisic is the one sitting out.... Hope that's not indicative of Lampard.
   132. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:23 AM (#5887315)
According to xG, Manchester United played well enough to win the Newcastle game 41% of the time, with 21% loss and 38% draw. That's probably about right based on the way the game looked. Even if they had won the game, it's just not good enough to challenge for top 4. Unless they get some more creative midfield players, they really can't afford to have Pogba sitting.
   133. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5887322)
edit: Nah, what I wrote is off topic. I'll content myself with concurring that United is doomed as long as Woodward is in charge of football operations. Someone who actually knows more about football than the average Football Manager player needs to be in charge of football operations--and not while reporting to a Finance guy wielding veto power.
   134. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5887323)
Part of the problem at United is that a lot of former stars think they know how to run the club, which players to acquire, etc. None of them think they have anything to learn from stats analysis. They don't want to lose influence (such as it is) by hiring a DOF or anyone resembling that. Woodard's replacement might very well come from someone in that group.
   135. aberg Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5887324)
He signed Fred, so no.


Didn't Pep also want Fred?
   136. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5887329)
edit: Nah, what I wrote is off topic. I'll content myself with concurring that United is doomed as long as Woodward is in charge of football operations. Someone who actually knows more about football than the average Football Manager player needs to be in charge of football operations--and not while reporting to a Finance guy wielding veto power.


I think even the average Football Manager player could have handled the post-SAF transition better than Woodward and the Glazers have.
   137. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 07, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5887332)
From the Graun:

Aston Villa are “disgusted and appalled” by social media footage which appears to show fans “chanting a racist song” which makes reference to two of their first-team players.

A video following Saturday’s 5-1 win at Norwich shows a group of Villa’s fans singing about the club’s Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and one other player, with references to several racial stereotypes.


I'm sure police suspect alcohol was involved, but what in the #### could these imbeciles possibly be "thinking"?

This goes beyond "dumb fan" behavior like abusing an opponent's player, which, while reprehensible and intolerable, at least makes some (albeit twisted) sense from a "fan" perspective.

This is just ... O.o?
   138. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5887389)
The idea of Fred was good. He's a Brazilian midfielder who showed pretty well in Champions League. Sure he came from a 'lesser' league but you can't restrict recruiting to players from big leagues.

However, he is so awful. His passing is so bad. I'm not even talking about all the giveaways he has during games. Passes to his teammates are always off. He never seems to have a crisp ball to a teammate right to feet or ever hit a player in stride.

I'm very sad about all the blatant racism, but soccer fandom is really just a symptom of society.
   139. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5887402)
That sounds a bit too fatalistic. I think the teams should do everything they can to deter it.
   140. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5887566)
I'm sure police suspect alcohol was involved, but what in the #### could these imbeciles possibly be "thinking"?

This goes beyond "dumb fan" behavior like abusing an opponent's player, which, while reprehensible and intolerable, at least makes some (albeit twisted) sense from a "fan" perspective.

This is just ... O.o?
The way this has been reported makes it a bit confusing, but I'd presume the racist comments regarding Nakamba were very similar to those expressed by ManU fans about Lukaku (and his anatomy) when he was scoring lots of goals for them. In the supporters' minds, they're celebrating him, not abusing him; but unfortunately they are relying on racist cliches to do so.
   141. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 07, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5887646)
It really does sound fatalistic. Until there are real consequences it doesn't change anything. I'm not even sure banning fans from attending games (which is all clubs can really do) is a real consequence. That whole Italian ultra fiasco where one team's ultras were defending another team's ultras racism is so emblematic of the problem. Every couple months there is something with a banana or some other horrible incident that happens and you never have to look hard for a player, team official or politician that condones it. Players who speak up or threaten action are muffled or just ignored.
   142. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 11, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5889526)
Are you watching Sargino?

You too could be part of this unstoppable international soccerball force!
   143. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5889560)
You too could be part of this unstoppable international soccerball force!
You mean Andorra, right? Sure they lost 56 straight in European qualifying, but now that they're on a one-game win streak...
   144. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:31 PM (#5889563)
Sadly, the lads from Andorra (FIFA #139) would have likely been sterner competition tonight than the squad from Cuba (FIFA #178).
   145. Pirate Joe Posted: October 11, 2019 at 11:00 PM (#5889631)
Sadly, the lads from Andorra (FIFA #139) would have likely been sterner competition tonight than the squad from Cuba (FIFA #178).


A team of Cuban defectors would have been much better than the team they actually put on the field tonight. How on earth did they qualify for group A of this Nations League thing?

   146. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 11, 2019 at 11:41 PM (#5889668)
Have you seen CONCACAF? The hexagonal barely gets six decent teams in it for any cycle, to get a dozen teams in a “top” league you are going to get some teams like Cuba.

I honestly think this is a huge problem for the US (and Mexico) that the competition level on a consistent basis is just too low. There are too many tomato cans to force them to raise their game. It’s why I so desperately want to see one if not both of the following;

- All America WC qualifying. Lump the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL nations together.

- Find a way to involve the US in the Copa America on a regular basis.

The first is highly unlikely but I think the second is feasible. I enjoy the Gold Cup but the US have lost something like one game in the group stage this century.
   147. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 12, 2019 at 06:45 AM (#5889689)
Cuba qualified last (12th) for League A. They were 3-1 in qualifying with a +13 GD, almost entirely from beating Turks & Caicos Islands (ranked below 200 in ELO, which is very, very bad) 11-0. They also beat Dominican Republic 1-0, Grenada 2-0, and lost 2-1 to Haiti. Ironically, their 2-1 loss to Haiti was probably their most impressive scoreline.

So they got a little lucky to qualify based on the qualifying format--they needed the high GD. Other teams that finished 3-1, like Jamaica and El Salvador, weren't able to run up 11 on their tomato can opponent (Jamaica 6-0 Cayman Islands and 4-0 Bonaire), and El Salvador only beat supposed tomato can Montserrat 2-1--Montserrat won their other 3 games! Prior to the nations league, Montserrat was ranked 227 by ELO, which is just about as bad as it is possible to be, but they are newly coached by Scot ex Man City Willie Donachie, and they played very well in the Nations League qualifying. El Salvador's bigger problem ended up being that they lost to Bermuda (a team supposedly near Cuba's level). Jamaica lost its one hard(ish) game, to El Salvador.

But the larger point stands. Cuba is currently 17th in ELO in Concacaf. The top 13 all made League A of the Nations League (12 teams) except banned Guatemala and the aforementioned El Salvador and Jamaica. The last 2 spots went to Bermuda (16th in ELO) and Cuba (17th). Teams 14&15; aren't really any better (Suriname, and French Guiana).


   148. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 12, 2019 at 06:52 AM (#5889690)
Also, Guatemala is not actually banned, but they were placed in League D automatically and weren't allowed to participate in qualifying. Their unlucky League D group opponents are Puerto Rico and Anguila. +15 GD after two games.
   149. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 14, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5890427)
Just another charming little international get together:

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- England's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win against Bulgaria was temporarily halted during the first half of the Group A fixture in order to warn supporters that the match could be abandoned following racist chanting in the Vasil Levski Stadium.

Match referee Ivan Bebek instructed the stadium PA announcer to broadcast the message -- the first step in FIFA's three-step protocol when dealing with such incidents -- after England defender Tyrone Mings complained of being the subject of racist chanting in the 22nd minute.

Bulgaria supporters in the crowd were seen directing monkey chants at England players, doing Nazi salutes and holding up shirts with the UEFA logo and the text "No Respect" -- a reference to the European governing body's "Respect" campaign aimed at curbing racism in the sport.


According to the Guardian MBM, the racial abuse continued throughout the 2nd half, with no further action taken to quell it.
   150. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 15, 2019 at 05:04 PM (#5890774)
A bit still going on in the Euro 2020 qualifying groups. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume true group minnows always lose their remaining games.

Group A: England in with a minnow win. Kosovo actually has a chance to snatch the second spot if they beat the Czech Republic on the road. They would probably also need to draw England in Kosovo (in what would be a meaningless game for England).

Group B: Ukraine in. Portugal in with two minnow wins.

Group C: Northern Ireland can still qualify directly, but they have to beat both the Netherlands (home) and Germany (away). Won't happen (but if it did, it would be at the expense of Germany). If Netherlands beats their minnow they are in.

Group D: Switzerland is in with two minnow wins. Ireland is in with a win at home against Denmark, otherwise Denmark is in.

Group E: Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Wales can all still qualify directly, and none have wrapped up a spot. Croatia only needs a draw. Wales needs a win (in their one real game) and some luck. Slovakia and Hungary could each potentially make it with a draw but probably need a win.

Group F: Spain in. Sweden just needs a draw away to Romania (and a minnow win). Romania needs to beat Sweden and at least draw Norway on the road.

Group G: Austria just needs to beat their minnow. Poland in.

Group H: France and Turkey just have to beat their minnows.

Group I: Belgium and Russian in.

Group J: Finland in with a minnow win. Italy in.

If I understand the playoffs correctly (and there is a good chance I don't), that means the four playoff groups are likely to be:

League D: Georgia v Belarus, North Macedonia v Kosovo (this one is easy, assuming Kosovo doesn't advance directly)
League C: Scotland v Bulgaria, Norway v Serbia (also easy)

League B and A are very up in the air, because they depend on who qualifies directly. Probably the most likely scenario is that Croatia, Slovakia, Denmark, and Sweden qualify directly. If so, that means (I think)--

League B: Bosnia v Northern Ireland, Wales v Ireland (very British isles heavy, this one)
League A: Iceland v Romania, Israel v Hungary (the one League A team remaining gets placed in the group with the next best League C teams to not qualify directly or go to the playoff)


   151. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 15, 2019 at 09:24 PM (#5890903)
Well that was bad.
   152. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 15, 2019 at 10:35 PM (#5890944)
Well that was bad.


Oh, I forgot the match was tonight.

Checks ESPNFC.

Oh ...

Yikes ... the only player that got a rating over 4 was Zack Steffan ... in goal.
   153. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 15, 2019 at 10:51 PM (#5890957)
And it wasn't just because they lost. They really were quite poor in the parts of the game I saw.
   154. spivey Posted: October 16, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5891030)
Didn't the US have a young midfielder that was a rotation player for RB Leipzig last year? I just don't understand how the corpse of Bradley and some other MLS scrump are at the base of our double pivot. I hope there were just far better options that aren't healthy or weren't released or something.
   155. Manny Coon Posted: October 16, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5891046)
Tyler Adams has been hurt. But even when he was healthy Berhalter was playing him at right back for some bizarre reason. Morales plays in the Bundesliga as well and has only gotten a few minutes here and there. Berhalter should probably go, but the he's well connected at the federation so who knows how long let him stay around despite awful results and questionable decisions.
   156. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 16, 2019 at 11:23 AM (#5891055)
but the he's well connected at the federation so who knows how long let him stay around despite awful results and questionable decisions.


Yeah, when your boss's boss is ... your own brother, chances are you get a bit more a leash than normal.

I imagine the drift and malaise would have to continue well into qualifying before there's any serious pressure on Berhalter.

In some twisted way, I really wouldn't mind the US missing out on Qatar 2022. I mean, *I'm* not going to be watching any part of it in any case, but it would be delicious if a very important segment of the global TV market wasn't watching it as well because ... #### FIFA.
   157. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: October 16, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5891067)
By ELO, this was the worst scoreline since the two games in the qualifiers last year (0-2 v Costa Rica at home and 1-2 against T&T on the road).

After the big win for Canada, they have risen to 53rd in the world in ELO, only 10 places behind the US (now 43rd, but still second best in Concacaf). By ELO, USA at Canada would now be more or less a 50/50 proposition.
   158. Sean Forman Posted: October 16, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5891118)
Berhalter OUT!


Jamie HillJamie Hill @_jameshill
Have you ever played a video game or board game where you committed to a clever, complex strategy, then 2/3 of the way through realized that it just won't quite work? And that you've overthought at least a couple elements of the plan?
That's Berhalter right now.

Jamie HillJamie Hill @_jameshill
The ball-playing DMs are a classic "too clever by half" move.
Ball-playing ability is great, but you need the DM to provide the D.
We've also made tiny increases in our ability to build through possession in exchange for a 75% decrease in our danger on the counterattack.



This is where I am 100% The tactics are just completely idiotic. Everything is slow slow slow.

If he sticks with these tactics (the person playing #6 is the tell) in November no way should he continue. There was just utterly no offensive thrust and little defensive steel.

I'm disgusted.


   159. Sean Forman Posted: October 16, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5891119)
play a 4-3-3 and play three of Pomykal, McKennie, Adams and Morales to hound the hell out of everyone in the midfield and then get Pulisic, Sargent and hopefully Weah going on the counter.
   160. spivey Posted: October 16, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5891133)
play a 4-3-3 and play three of Pomykal, McKennie, Adams and Morales to hound the hell out of everyone in the midfield and then get Pulisic, Sargent and hopefully Weah going on the counter.


This is what's frustrating. We have young, talented, hungry players that are playing in Europe but not so much that they're above the USMNT or don't want the minutes to shine.
   161. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5891231)
In some twisted way, I really wouldn't mind the US missing out on Qatar 2022. I mean, *I'm* not going to be watching any part of it in any case, but it would be delicious if a very important segment of the global TV market wasn't watching it as well because ... #### FIFA.
I considered writing something like this yesterday. I hope the US wins all of its friendlies and all of its games in this ridiculous Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup, and bombs out of Qatar 2022 qualifying as early as possible.
   162. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 18, 2019 at 11:17 PM (#5891825)
Interesting slightly old (2 years) article about kits.. Worth the read if you wonder how decisions get made.

The Premier League rules state: 'When playing in league matches the players of each participating club shall wear strip which is of a sufficient contrast that match officials, spectators and television viewers will be able to distinguish clearly between the two teams.'

In the handbook there is then clarification over which kits in every match take priority:

M.22.1. 1st priority: the outfield players of the home club who shall wear their home strip;
M.22.2. 2nd priority: the outfield players of the visiting club;
M.22.3. 3rd priority: the home club goalkeeper;
M.22.4. 4th priority: the visiting club goalkeeper.
   163. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 19, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5891869)
Who lasts longer ... Berhalter or Pochettino?

I can't believe I just typed that ...

Jesus, 85 minutes to score against ####### Watford ... at home.

Pathetic.
   164. Dale Sams Posted: October 19, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5891888)
What the #### are Man City wearing
   165. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 19, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5891892)
For some reason they make me hungry for a popsicle ...
   166. frannyzoo Posted: October 19, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5891897)
"Tequila Sunrise 2." Maybe it's a weird Pep nostalgia thing.
   167. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 19, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5891942)
What the #### are Man City wearing


I just assumed they were rooting for the Astros which is rather surprising.
   168. manchestermets Posted: October 19, 2019 at 05:48 PM (#5891969)
Nobody here pays any attention to MLS do they? Seattle v Dallas is excellent, about to go to extra time at 3-3.
   169. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 19, 2019 at 07:04 PM (#5891983)
Yeah, Seattle - Dallas was extremely entertaining. Dallas could've scored several times in overtime but for some goalkeeping heroics. (And their own goalkeeper should've been thrown out of the game for a second yellow at least twice in the last couple of minutes.) Jordan Morris scored the winner on a scrapping a header at a point when he seemed to be so tired he could hardly walk.
   170. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 19, 2019 at 10:28 PM (#5892071)
Revs and Atlanta played 10 minutes of extra time at the end of regulation but New England couldn’t get the qualifier in a 1-0 loss.
   171. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: October 20, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5892284)
Someone give me a legit reason to pick against Liverpool today.
   172. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 09:36 AM (#5892286)
Top of the Bundesliga is pretty nuts right now. Top 8 teams all between 14-16 points. Schalke the only one of them to play today, has a chance to go from 6th to one point clear in first.
   173. Mefisto Posted: October 20, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5892287)
@171: Depends on the odds, I suppose. Personally, I'd give United roughly a one-in-a-million shot. You should take such odds if they're on offer.
   174. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5892292)
I suspect the Bundesliga will end as it always does with Bayern on top but it’s been pretty fun so far. Bayern have already dropped points to a couple of bottom half teams and while they aren’t completely falling apart those are points that should have been banked, much like City’s loss to Norwich.
   175. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5892293)
Someone give me a legit reason to pick against Liverpool today.


Complacency, playing against a midtable side in poor form?
   176. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5892297)
@171: Depends on the odds, I suppose. Personally, I'd give United roughly a one-in-a-million shot. You should take such odds if they're on offer.


Fair enough. I took Liverpool at -1 at +120 or like 6 to 5. I like those odds. I could have gotten United at like 7 to 2 or a draw at 3 to 1.
   177. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5892305)
I suspect the Bundesliga will end as it always does with Bayern on top but it’s been pretty fun so far. Bayern have already dropped points to a couple of bottom half teams and while they aren’t completely falling apart those are points that should have been banked, much like City’s loss to Norwich.

Sure, absolutely. I almost added a "probably won't stay this way" qualifier to my post.

I have been saying since before the season, that this is the weakest Bayern have been over the last few years. Doesn't mean they aren't still favourites, but I do think they are no longer prohibitive favourites. They are vulnerable in ways that they haven't been in the past few seasons, where it would have taken another team to be near perfect to beat them.
   178. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5892309)
Worth noting also, that Bayern's remaining schedule for the first half is pretty rough. They are in 3rd right now, and play (not in that order): @1 Gladbach, 2 Wolfsburg, 4 Dortmund, @7Freiburg, @8 Frankfurt, 9 Bayer Leverkusen, @11 Werder Bremen, @13 Fortuna Duesseldorf, 14 Union Berlin.

So, if I have that right, they have basically played 5, 6, 10, 12 and the bottom 4, 15-18. That's about as easy a start as you can really hope for.
   179. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5892310)
Rashford gets United on the board! Liverpool have some work cut out for themselves.
   180. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5892311)
On the many reasons to hate VAR the idiotic rules changes. Yeah that ball hit Mane on the arm but that’s not a “hand ball’ by any serious meaning of the term.
   181. Mefisto Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5892313)
VAR has overturned that kind of handball all season long. They're consistent on that.
   182. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5892315)
Yes, they changed the rule so that any contact with hand/arm, that directly leads to a goal, is now a foul. That was the point. It's a stupid, stupid rule change.

Inadvertent hand balls are not supposed to be fouls. It goes against the spirit of the rules.
   183. strong silence Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5892316)
If there is to be only one fundamental and necessary rule in football it is that hands and arms must never touch the ball.
   184. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5892318)
Well that is goalkeepers completely screwed then.
   185. Mefisto Posted: October 20, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5892346)
The "inadvertent" rule was generally there to protect defenders against a penalty award. Inadvertent handballs by the offense have always been called.
   186. manchestermets Posted: October 20, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5892356)
MLS playoffs at it again tonight. It's 3-3 in extra time between New York and Philadelphia.

Why does MLS get so little discussion here? The quality may not be up with the major European leagues, but it's always entertaining stuff when I watch it - Atlanta United last season, not so much this, has been among the most fun I've had watching soccer where I've got no rooting interest. And, well, it is your national league.
   187. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 20, 2019 at 06:52 PM (#5892367)
I'm watching Philly/NYRB on delay. These MLS playoff games remind me of the English Championship, in terms of energy and pace. That's a compliment.

I'm also surprised to discover that I'm enjoying Alexi Lalas as a color announcer. He's clearly a fan, a lot of "ooh!" and "wow!" exclamations. He's at his worst in the studio when he has time to compose himself and be as smug as possible, but in the moment he's a lot better.

EDIT: Ms McGunnigle hates MLS, because she thinks the players are too jocky and macho, which I think is a valid argument but is less visible in the postseason. For reference, Ms M thinks that Rickey Henderson and Son Heung-min are the two greatest athletes in world history.
   188. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 20, 2019 at 08:30 PM (#5892380)
Why does MLS get so little discussion here? The quality may not be up with the major European leagues, but it's always entertaining stuff when I watch it - Atlanta United last season, not so much this, has been among the most fun I've had watching soccer where I've got no rooting interest. And, well, it is your national league.


Not to be overly caustic about it, but for the same reason the South Atlantic League doesn't get a ton of discussion in baseball threads. MLS isn't just a minor league in the soccer hierarchy, it's an extremely minor league.

"It is your national league"... yeah. But it's a, well, worldwide world now in 2019, and Americans--or at least, American adults who are into soccer, who must be 98% Blue Tribe--are the least patriotic people on Earth. The Red Tribe's co-opting of the whole concept of patriotism makes those of us of Blue Tribe sensibilities more inclined to apologize for being Americans than be proud of it. So the American minor league being American doesn't move the needle much; like most sports fans, we'll tend to watch the best leagues if we can.

I imagine those of us who live in/near an MLS city go to games now and again, though, right? In terms of watching soccer in person MLS is the best league available to us.

edit: I'm cracking up now, remembering Larry David's hilarious impersonation of Bernie Sanders on... I think it was Maher's show, back in 2016? "You will watch soccer, and you will like it!"
   189. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 20, 2019 at 09:03 PM (#5892386)
I have a local team (the Revoluation) but haven’t been to a game. It’s kind of a perfect storm though;

- Foxboro is a ##### to get to. The long and short of it is that I’m probably looking at 90-120 minutes each way a lot of it in crummy traffic.

- The season matches up with baseball season and if I want an enjoyable day out at a low cost I’ll go to a nearby minor league baseball game (Lowell, 15 minutes).

- None of my local friends have any interest. I’m not enough of a soccer aficianado to go to a game solo.

- MLS gets ZERO press coverage. You have to seek it out before you get any kind of “come see the Revs on Saturday!” Or “come see the Revs take on Wayne Rooney and DC United!” So I’m not really getting the nudge to go.

I’m sure I’d love it and it’s one of those things every year I say “I should do that” but never do. Gilette Stadium seems widely regarded as being a terrible stadium for soccer (largely because it’s a 70,000 seat stadium with 20,000 in it) but I have no doubt it is a good take. The fans do seem to enjoy themselves. I just...don’t go.
   190. Sean Forman Posted: October 20, 2019 at 09:55 PM (#5892392)
After a 1.1 npxg+xa, 26 minute performance today, Christian P is at 0.80 xA/90 with Chelsea in premier league games. He's playing really really well.

https://fbref.com/stathead/share.fcgi?id=/F0gbg&lang=en

For players with 300 minutes played he's 9th in the Premier League in npXg+Xa/90 and second on Chelsea just being Tammy Abraham. Maybe that overstates it as he's only assisted two goals and scored none.
   191. Baldrick Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5892395)
Meanwhile, the NWSL semifinals were this afternoon with nary a comment.

The two best teams on the season both won, so it'll be North Carolina hosting Chicago in the final next Sunday. I'll be there. Should be a good game. NC will definitely be the favorites, but this is the best Chicago has ever played, and may well be the final match Sam Kerr plays in the US. Would be great for her to go out on a high note.
   192. Sean Forman Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:55 PM (#5892405)
Baldrick, one of our crew, Jaclyn Mahoney, will be there as well.
   193. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: October 21, 2019 at 07:15 AM (#5892428)
npXg+Xa/90

I feel like that doesn't quite roll off the tongue. Maybe needs some... rebranding?
   194. spivey Posted: October 21, 2019 at 08:37 AM (#5892432)
Meanwhile, the NWSL semifinals were this afternoon with nary a comment.

The two best teams on the season both won, so it'll be North Carolina hosting Chicago in the final next Sunday. I'll be there. Should be a good game. NC will definitely be the favorites, but this is the best Chicago has ever played, and may well be the final match Sam Kerr plays in the US. Would be great for her to go out on a high note.


I watched the second half and extra time of the NC/SEA game and all of the Chicago/Portland game. First NWSL action. I found the second game a bit slow mostly, but NC looked awesome. They look like a super fit team, they just bossed the middle of the park and were creating insane amounts of high xG chances.
   195. jmurph Posted: October 21, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5892465)
Not to be overly caustic about it, but for the same reason the South Atlantic League doesn't get a ton of discussion in baseball threads. MLS isn't just a minor league in the soccer hierarchy, it's an extremely minor league.

I mostly agree. I've tried on multiple occasions in multiple cities to adopt a team and it just doesn't take. It's just bad soccer to my eyes, with the added aesthetic knock that much of it is played on artificial turf.

I also LOATHE the MLS/USMNT fan cosplay, it actively repels me.
   196. Manny Coon Posted: October 21, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5892527)
I've been to some Galaxy games and it's been great experience. It's the correct size stadium for soccer, has natural grass and they invest in interesting players. Got to see Zlatan this year and in the past I saw Beckham and Donovan (never made it there when they had Robbie Keane).

I need to check out LAFC at some point. It's further away from me, but they are a better team and from what I've heard its also a good stadium/environment.
   197. jmurph Posted: October 21, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5892614)
Arsenal has been trailing since the 30th minute, and have somehow only generated 6 shots?
   198. spivey Posted: October 21, 2019 at 05:18 PM (#5892644)
It's early, but I'm pretty impressed with what Lampard has done with Chelsea. I'm not really sure they're the 3rd most talented team, but they're playing great. Arsenal, Man U, and Tottenham are all shambolic. Leicester really could finish top 4.
   199. Baldrick Posted: October 21, 2019 at 08:54 PM (#5892672)
I watched the second half and extra time of the NC/SEA game and all of the Chicago/Portland game. First NWSL action. I found the second game a bit slow mostly, but NC looked awesome. They look like a super fit team, they just bossed the middle of the park and were creating insane amounts of high xG chances.

Yeah, that's North Carolina. If they have the finishing touch they can absolutely obliterate you. If not, you might just barely hang on. They play a narrow 4222 box but are so dominant in the middle that they almost never get exposed out wide.

Portland has been awful for the past couple months. Virtually all of their World Cup players have really struggled since coming back and the coach spent the last month grasping at straws to find to find something to kick them into gear. Sunday was actually about as well as they've played recently, which is a sign of how bad it's been. They tried to kill the game and mostly succeeded. Only problem is that they gave up an early goal and never had much hope of finding an equalizer.
   200. Mefisto Posted: October 21, 2019 at 09:03 PM (#5892674)
I'm happy to have CRS win, if only to give someone else a chance to beat NC.
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